Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Part I, VI

  I looked around the bridge, wondering how the five of us would get along in the next twelve months.  Carter and Batnter were already best friends.  Mah…  Twitchy was a bit nervous, but it was understandable.  Rimana, on the other hand, seemed completely insane.  I wondered desperately how she knew Rose’s name.
  Rimana glanced at me on occasion, looking like she knew what I was thinking.  I wondered if she was a telepath, but then she was so obviously a shifter.  She probably was just insane.  I made a mental note to check her background later.
  “So we’re going to leave the port tomorrow afternoon?” Batnter asked.
  “Yes,” I answered.
  “And you’re going to meet the crew tomorrow morning?”
  “Yes.  Why?”
  “Just making sure.”
  “Why?” I repeated.
  “Well, I’ve finished everything I have to do today,” he said, turning to face me.  “May I go home now?”
  “No,” I said.
  “Never hurts to ask,” he muttered, turning back around.  “So what would you like me to do?”
  I hesitated.  On my brothers’ ship there was always something to do.  Always.  If there wasn’t something to be attacked there was something to be fixed.  Or upgraded.  Or removed or replaced or…  Something.
  But when there was nothing to do what do you do?
  “Perhaps it would be beneficial for them to meet the doctor and engineer,” Rimana said.
  “Yes, it would,” I decided.  “Carter, are you finished?”
  “I am.”
  “Good.  You two, go down and meet the main engineer and the doctor,” I ordered.
  “Yes, ma’am,” Batnter said, saluting.  They stood and walked to the elevator.
  “What time is lunch?” Rimana asked, stretching.
  “Twelve thirty,” I said.
  “What did you do on your brother’s ship all day?” she asked.
  “Fixed things, mostly,” I answered.  “And practiced hitting targets.”
  “And attacked things?”
  I grinned at her.  “That too.”
  “Have you ever worked on a ship before?” she asked Twitchy.
  “Have you?” I asked her.
  “Never officially.  But I lived on one for a few months when I was younger.”
  “What type of ship?” Twitchy asked.
  “It was a Carrion,” she said.
  “That’s a warship,” I said.  “How did you get on a warship?”
  “It came to my planet, and I snuck on.”
  “Weren’t your parents upset?” Twitchy asked.
  Rimana looked down.  “I…  Became an orphan when I was three,” she said softly.
  “How?” I asked.  She glared at me.  “My parents died when I was ten,” I offered.  “Car wreck.”
  “Fire,” she said softly.  “I got trapped in the jungle for a year, as a cat.  The longer we stay shifted, the less human we become.  In case you were wondering why my pupils have a hard time staying round.”
  “I was, actually,” I said, yawning.  “How about you, Twitchy?  Got a family?”
  She nodded quickly, but didn’t say anything.
  “Why did your brother kick you off his ship?” Rimana asked me.  I glared at her.
  “Why do you care?” I demanded.  “Why is it so important to you?”
  “Curiosity killed the cat.”
  “You’ve got nine lives,” I said.  “It was a personal disagreement.”
  She just sat there and grinned.

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