Start from the beginning Part 1
How to get by in the Galaxy Part 10
How to get by in the Galaxy
By Jamie Burns
The years spent traveling through space were my best years. It was when I finally found who I was and where I was meant to be. The answers: April Norian and in the sky, out seeing the Universe. A nomadic life of new adventures, it was my perfect fit. Now I was feeling like the whole of the Galaxy was pulling me in as it’s own. I saw an innumerable amount of stars fill every bit of my vision. I was ready to accept the fate that I had been given by the cold hand of death, also known as Tom.
I was ready but I guess the galaxy didn’t want me like I thought.
Feeling returned to my limbs and I sensed cold metal under me. I opened my eyes to a dimly lit room that I had been in before. It was the galley of the Lamplight, and I could see Nathan fiddling with something in one hand at the counter. His other arm was in a messy bandage and sling, his shirt underneath still covered in his blood.
“Hey bro…” My voice cut out. Pushing the words out felt excruciating.
Nathan flinched at hearing my voice. “Oh thank God. You’re awake” He said as he dropped whatever he had been holding and walked to the table beside me.
“Wha… happen..” I managed to force out.
“You should try not to talk.” Nathan instructed me as he brought me a cup of water in his good hand.
“You were passed out cold when I got to you but still breathing. The sounds of the gunshots must have drawn some attention because some of Cryton's men started to head back our way. When the Lamplight showed up without Clara I was sceptical but I didn’t have a lot of options.”
“After we broke orbit and I wrapped up my arm, Lucinda told me who she was and about your plan. She said it didn’t go exactly right, but we’re all alive so I’ll take it. We aren’t sure what happened on Clara’s end. We are on our way to the rendezvous point to meet her and the Thestrious.” Nathan sat down and gently adjusted his poorly made sling.
We were on our way to the Thestrious. The thought made all the pain I was feeling in my body ebb. I took as deep a breath as I could muster and slowly exhaled it though my nose. I let my body relax and rest till I felt like I could sit up without passing out. Then I rested again.
Slowly with rests between most moves I was back up and moving freely. I worked on replacing Nathan’s hastily done bandages. Luckily the bullet had gone all the way through. I fixed him up with a clean shirt, clean bandage and a much more effective sling. I didn’t want Clara seeing him all covered in his own dried blood. As we finished up Lucina called over the intercom.
“We have a visual of Clara and your ship, we’ll be docking in about 20 minutes.” She said.
Nathan and I made our way to the bridge. Nathan moved slower but I would have run if I could have managed. I wanted to see her, The Thestrious. Was she still in the shape she had been in when we were forced to part? Had they cannibalized her? What kind of repairs would she need? I wouldn’t feel totally at ease till I saw the damage.
I stumbled onto the bridge and Lucinda gave me a sideways glance. Like her sister, Lucinda was sometimes hard to read.
There in the distance was my Thestrious. Looking none too worse for the wear. Yes it looking like a few things were missing but I had prepared myself for much worse.
The Lamplight was docked and the air lock between the two ships opened. Clara was waiting on the other side for us. At the sight of Nathan you could see Clara’s body relax. She ran to him and then slowed and gently hugged him over his sling. Nathan pulled her in for a kiss and the contentment on their faces said all they needed to say.
After Clara and Nathan parted she walked over to me and threw her arms around me, I returned in kind.
“Thank God ya’ll are alright.” Clara said.
I smiled and wanted to say something similar but my throat still felt like I swallowed a bag of nails. I was using my words sparingly but I made a note in my head to tell her later how grateful I was. I made for the corridor, eager to walk the ship and see the state of things. Just before I stepped out of the room I heard Lucinda.
“Well Clara Bug, this is where we part again.” she said.
I turned and Lucinda was holding out her hand to shake Clara’s
“Come wait in the galley with us.” I rasped out.
“She’s not waiting for a ride April.” Said Clara
“Your men aren't coming?” I asked.
“No need my ride’s right here.” Lucinda said and pointed a thumb over her shoulder toward the Lamplight.
My heart sank. The private conversation Lucinda and Clara had, the one where Clara convinced her to help us. She hadn't convinced her at all, she had payed her. Clara had traded her ship for my ship and Nathan’s life. I knew that for the rest of our lives I would always feel indebted to her.
Clara pushed past Lucinda’s outstretched hand and hugged her. It was brief but fitting. Lucinda headed back toward the Lamplight and tossed a few sacks that had been laying by the door into the Thestrious.
“Here’s your things… and Clara never come back to this planet again.” Lucinda said and she closed the Lamplight’s air lock.
I closed the Thestriouse’s air lock and the light on the control panel switched to green. We felt a slight jar as the Lamplight broke free. I watched out the small window as the Lamplight grew smaller. I was sure Clara was devastated, but when I turned to look at her she was walking with Nathan back toward the corridor. Unconcerned about the arrangement and seemingly fully content with it’s outcome.
Over the next few days we made our way back from Exodus, making plans for the future. I asked Clara if she would be willing to stay on the Thestrious and act as my second in command. Technically I owed her a fortune, between the money I had promised at the start of the journey and her losing the Lamplight because of it, I would never be able to repay her. Clara didn’t seem to care much about my outstanding debt and happily accepted my offer.
Nathan asked if I would mind if he stayed as well, which I saw coming. I agreed, as long as we set ground rules about his gambling and that he would be required to start paying off all the debt he had laying around the galaxy. By the time we made it back to a civilized planet life on the Thestrious was starting to feel like the new normal.
I sat on the bridge alone in my large, soft cushioned pilot's chair. The sound of the engines whirring down and an electric hum in the air coming to a close. With a deep breath I could smell hints of oil and the leather of my chair, smells that remind me of my dad. Once again it was clear to me who I am and where I’m meant to be.
Copyright 2016 JAMIE BURNS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED