How to get by in the Galaxy
By Jamie Burns
“That’s it! The gravity field is working!” Clara told me as she check the ship’s display. “We’re losing them now.”
“Oh thank goodness.” Nathan said, clutching his hands into fists, the prospect of losing his fingers getting farther and farther away.
That was one problem down. Now I just needed to navigate us back through the outrageous amount of space garbage and hope that Clara’s ship the Lamplight doesn't take too much damage before we make it out! For a ship that was much smaller than mine it didn’t maneuver as well.
My ship “The Thestrious” was quite a bit bigger than The Lamplight, but still only half the size of the ship we were leaving in the gravity field at the moment. The Thestrious was our father’s ship, when he retired he gave it to me. At that time it was a simple cargo ship that ran from our home planet to the neighboring planets three times a day for 13 years. But once my father handed it over I poured every penny I had ever earned into it. I turned it into a top of the line transport ship with every mechanical and technical upgrade I could get my hands on. Albeit with a dated outer shell, it flew like a dream. I flew her all over this great galaxy, and I missed her.
“We’re almost out.” I told Clara once I saw where the garbage started to look more scattered and open space lie beyond. I pushed the thrust to it’s maximum so there would be no chance that the backup gravity field would grab us on the way out. We were so close to home free I should have seen it coming. A hunk of garbage the size of a car floated right into our path. I yanked the helm to the right as Nathan yelled. “April lookout!”
I missed the better half of the hunk of metal, but its overly rounded sides still scraped along the side of the Lamplight and then nicked the tail of the ship. We burst through the last bits of the garbage, the gravity field no longer pulling us back toward the dump.
With the damage sustained, The Lamplight barely made it to the nearest planet but it was rough going. Our landing was just shy of having the word crash in front of it. Once Clara and I looked at the damage it was pretty clear we needed some repairs and upgrades before we set off again. Two days in the ship port and we found that even with Clara’s “enhanced” negotiation skills it was still going to cost us almost 900 credits.
The third night, the three of us were sitting in a local tavern discussing our options when Nathan’s face turned white as he looked over my shoulder. I was about to turn around to see what he was looking at when he reached across the table to push me down, as he said. “April, duck.” My heart thumped rapidly, as I lie with my face against the gross bench of our booth. Turning my head to see Clara and him, still sitting up right. Clara with a look of confusion and Nathan with a look of overly forced casualness. Nathan’s eyes darted around the ceiling of the room, then back to the area he has first been looking. “Crap, sorry April, I tried.” He shrugged and motioned for me to sit back up.
When I did, I understood. Nathan knew how I felt about my Ex. The mere mention of him could ruin my day, and the last thing I wanted was to have a run-in with him. In the whole galaxy, the odds of running into someone you know are next to zero. But there he was, walking towards our booth with a stupid grin on his stupid face.
“April, Nathan! It that you? The Norien siblings in the flesh!” He spoke loud so most of the tavern would hear him. It seemed his thirst for attention still hadn't been quenched since we last saw each other. “What in the universe? I haven’t seen you guys since…”
“You cheated off my exam and then dumped me during your speech at graduation?” I made sure I spoke at the same volume he had. He looked around the room then sat uninvited at our booth.
“Michael get out of here.” Nathan told him.
“I just want to catch up. See how you’re doing.”
“Apologize maybe?” Nathan suggested.
“For what? April overreacted. Come on you know how it is Nathan.”
“I really don’t. You need to leave.”
“You can’t prove I stole your test April. You’re just mad I’m a better pilot than you.”
“ No, I’m mad because you know you’re not, but you keep saying it anyway. Oh and the whole public humiliation part doesn't sit too well with me either.” I crossed my arms and waited for him to get the hint.
“Fine whatever, but you,” Michael said addressing Clara now as he handed her a card, “If you need anything you come find me.” He flashed his big slimeball smile at her as she grimaced. I really did like Clara. Michael averted his eyes so he didn’t have to look at me again. He started to walk away but stopped when I asked, “Michael, are you still flying that 271 cruiser around?” He hesitated to answer “Yeah, why?”
“Just wondering. You can go now.” I made a dismissal motion with my hand.
“He seemed downright awful.” Clara said as she started to hold the card Michael had given her to the candle sitting on the table. I quickly grabbed her wrist to pull it back from the flame. “I think he seemed like the answer to all our problems.” I said, taking the card from her and reading the address printed on it. “In fact, it looks to me like I just found a place we can get all our parts.”
“You mean steal them from Michael?” Nathan asked.
“Well he did tell Clara if she needed anything to come find him. Him. His ship. What's the difference? Is that a problem?” I said to both Nathan and Clara.
“No just making sure I understand. I’m in.” said Nathan.
I looked over to Clara to see if she agreed.
“No problem, I love the idea. Free parts and we get to mess with your Ex. That’s a win win.” Clara beemed.
“Perfect, tomorrow night we go shopping.” I said as we clinked our glasses together.
Copyright 2016 JAMIE BURNS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED