1.58 - The Pariah

1.58 - The Pariah


 

It’s an old military ship, similar to the one Creed uses for missions with small teams. It can comfortably hold about fifteen crew members as long as your idea of comfort is military. Doctor sleeps in the med bay, engineer sleeps in the engine room, but it works. More often than not, it won’t be carrying fifteen people, probably five could run the ship. A captain, a pilot, an engineer, maybe two random squad members if the pilot can navigate as well. Edan’s ship seems outdated at first glance but there’s a lot that has been custom made or at least from places I’ve never been. It’s probably on par with Creed’s ship when it comes to technology, even if I don’t recognize most of it. Probably ill-gotten from Revrell or Draconian space.

“The Pariah isn’t the best ship in the world, but it’s mine and it’s pretty good,” Edan boasts.

“Why did you name your ship The Pariah?”

“Because we’re a ship full of weirdos. There’s me, you know how messed up we are. Mom and dad did a number on us both. Velphi, one of the few Draconians to leave The Draconian Empire and live. Janet is a walking HR violation. Mae is incredibly awkward. Nastas is just, he’s Nastas; somewhere between space pirate and business man. You can see how we would all be considered misfits in society.”

I’m a little envious, I always wanted to reach the commander level. Then I could jump over the Galactic Federation, and they’d give me a ship and let me cruise the universe, doing whatever I wanted. Edan has that, and a bounty, but he has the freedom I wanted. We step into the dining quarters, small, three tables and a kitchen area. Same as Creed’s but bright white like the rest of his ship’s interiors. Ship interiors never have magnificent paint jobs, but everything is painted white in here, or some cold steel finish. It reminds me of the rehabilitation center.

“Hey, this is my brother,” Efrem yells at a petite woman with a blue and gold pixie cut.

“Hmm,” she looks me up and down, making me feel dirty. “I’m Janet Stringfield,” she extends her hand, not for a shake but a kiss.

I shake her hand, “I’m Efrem,” I pull my hand away as she tries to hold onto it.

“Well Efrem, I’m the pilot, navigator and do a little first aid. If you ever need to get checked out, just call me,” Janet steps in entirely too close.

“Yeah, I think I’m good,” I take a step back from Janet.

“Alright, Janet. I told you, either I’m going to find an HR person or another pilot. You need to get it together,” Edan steps between us.

“You know it’s just my medication,” she sips her coffee, “but I wouldn’t mind if you both,” Edan pulls me out of the kitchen. “I’m in the cockpit, pit for cocks” Janet calls after us.

“Is your entire crew like this? Because if so, I’m really eager to go back already,” I say.

“No, and I’m serious about finding another pilot, so if you know any military drop outs, tell me,” Edan actually seems embarrassed.

“I know a guy, but he’s got no legs,” Taffy would probably get along with Edan if he can live with crime.

“I’m going to pretend you didn’t just recommend a man with no legs to fly my ship,” Edan laughs.

I walk into a wall, or what I think is a wall. Looking again, it’s Velphi and his massive frame. He was exiting a room labeled “lab,” I didn’t take him for a scientist, but I’ve been wrong before.

“It is good to see you again Efrem,” Velphi greets me.

“Good to see you too, didn’t know you were a scientist.”

“I am no scientist, but the room can be set for more,” Velphi searches for a word, “reptilian climates. It is more comfortable. This has become my sleeping location.”

“We’re smugglers, why would we need a science lab,” Edan raises a good point, “Let’s go, you two can catch up later,” he leads the way.

“I do not understand,” Velphi responds. “You introduced me to your hatch mate, in hopes that we would become friends, but now you don’t wish for us to associate?”

“No Velphi,” Edan responds. “I simply mean we need to get to the mission briefing before Nastas gets upset,” Edan turns to me, “Nastas is our logistics guy, my first mate and a Meteorian. You probably never met one of them.”

“Can’t say that I have,” I shrug. “I’m learning a lot today so why not meet a Meteorian.”

“They are thin, yet formidable in battle and very good at getting things,” Velphi adds.

“Nastas actually helped me get this ship,” Edan laughs.

“I’ve been meaning to ask; how did you get a military ship? Even with all the modifications, you shouldn’t be able to get this.”

“It’s just a ship,” he laughs.

“No, it’s not just a ship,” I put on my big brother look.

“Are you going to tell mom?”

“I seem to recall you’re the snitch in our group of hatchlings.”

“You’re right.”

“So snitch.”

“Nastas knew a guy on the black market. Sold me the ship piece by piece. Some bigger than others, but over the years, I’d buy a piece, he’d come install it. Took a long time, but eventually, I got a whole ship.”

“Why didn’t you just buy a normal ship? Why a former military ship?”

“Safety features, maintained perfectly, easily modified and comes with a lot of modifications already. Also, if you break a ship down and build it again with some new Revrell and Draconian tech mixed in, is it still the same ship?”

“You really do find a way to turn every conversation into a philosophical one, don’t you?”

“Yes, he does,” I’m startled by a tall thin bald woman. “Hello Efrem, I’m Mae Bluford, the engineer.” Mae could be Janet’s sister if it weren’t for the height and lack of hair. Same warm beige colored skin and big eyes. Mae has a pair of goggles hanging around her neck and is wearing a dirty jump suit, but they look as much alike as Edan and I. Eden wanted to send Janet to human resources, but he clearly has a type and needs to pay a trip there himself.

“How did you know my name,” I ask.

“She knows everything, a real stalker,” Edan says.

“I do not stalk, I simply listen while doing my routine work,” Mae seems flustered.

“What’s your job Mae,” I ask.

“I’m the chief engineer,” she smiles proudly. “I manage everything that makes the ship go fast, and also communications.”

“Which is how you know my name?”

“I saw Edan introduce you to Janet on the cameras. I wanted to meet you before the mission briefing,” Mae seems to hide her face behind a small tablet.

“We should get snacks,” Edan suddenly stops walking. “Nastas can be long winded.”

“Snacks would be good,” Velphi responds before heading in the opposite direction.

“I’ll go make sure we’ve got something besides insects,” Mae follows.

“What do you think so far,” Edan asks.

“Janet creeps me out but Velphi and Mae seem nice.”

“Good, because the last two, a real trip. Pretty sure they’re actually in charge of my ship,” Edan laughs. “I’m so glad to have you here,” he smiles.

“You abducted me.”

“But we’re bonding,” he laughs and starts to walk again.

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