There’s a new arrival to the Ungstir Landing Pad – a large freighter that has definitely seen better days. On its side the name “Queen Anne’s Revenge” is painted in bold letters but there are some chips and it’s faded in places. Sprawled across its back is a very shapely lower half of a woman. The rest of her has disappeared into a hatch as the redheaded woman tinkers with something. There’s a fair amount of swearing echoing from the ship in Spanish.
“Can’t park here,” grunts a middle-aged Ungstiri with tousled black and gray hair as he wanders toward the Queen Anne’s Revenge. “Berth’s reserved for the Ecliptic.”
It takes a few attempts to get out of the large hole Kam has half disappeared out of but when she does pop up, her long red curls a frizzy mess escaping from the scraped back bun, she glares down at the Ungstiri, hands propped up on her hips. “That loud mouthed, too busy staring at my tits attendant over there told me this was where I needed to park this hunk of metal,” she snaps back. “So take it up with that moron and let me fix my ship.” Her hand points towards a young Ungstiri man with an overlong nose and eyes just a little too close together.
The man crosses his arms. He shrugs. “That’s between you and your boyfriend. I’m just telling you as a kindness. The Ecliptic is due back any time. Her owner’s not a patient man.”
Kam throws up her hands, gesturing all around, “There are like ten other free spaces on this damned pad,” she says exasperatedly. “And the inner wiring of my heap is all screwed up. It’s going to take hours for me to try and fix it all so it will even move.”
“I know a tug operator,” the Ungstiri replies. He points to the next berth over. “I own that slot. You are welcome to stay there until the Mako returns in a few days.”
There’s a big exasperated sigh from Kam before she nods. “Guess I don’t have a choice. Uh, thanks for the help.” she mutters. She squats down to gather up her tools. “Where the hell is he?” she grumbles to herself. “Having to fix the ship all on my own. Going to kick his ass across this pad when I find him.” She hefts her bag of tools over one shoulder as she starts to climb down the side of the ship.
The man extends a hand to Kam. “I’m Owein Panderyn. My boy Newt should be along in a bit with the tug to get your ship moved.”
“Kam,” the redhead replies, accepting the hand. “Thanks for the help. Still waiting for my mechanic to show up.” She shakes her head and hefts her tool bag higher up on her shoulder.
“Yes, well, if your mechanic stays missing much longer, just ask Newt to give your ship a look,” Owein says with a smile. “He can fix just about anything.”
Kam eyes Owein with some skepticism. “I’m picky about who touches my ship,” she says. “But if I can’t find him, I’ll give your kid a chance.” She shakes her head, hands finding their way to prop on her hips again. “He said we’d meet on Ungstir. Where is he,” she mutters with a frown.
“Who’d the missing mechanic?” Owein inquires. “I could ask around, see if he’s holed up somewhere.”
“Fedya O’Dell,” Kam replies. “He came ahead to check things out and we had made arrangements to meet here on Ungstir a while ago.” She waves a hand back at the ship. “Had to fly the ship out myself.”
“All right,” Owein says. “I’ll send my boy over soon as I can. And I’ll ask around about your mechanic.” He smiles. “Welcome to Ungstir!” Then he wanders back toward the cavern city of Resilience.
As one Ungstiri departs, another appears, this one a bit more familiar. Fedya is moving hurriedly from the gate glancing over his shoulder as much as he looks around the landing pad. There is a mixture of joy and concern on his face as he spots the Queen Anne’s Revenge and her redheaded captain. “Kam!” he calls out, hurrying over.
Kam’s slight smile to Owein becomes a bit brighter and far more genuine when her name gets called by an oh so familiar voice. She turns on her heel and strides off to meet at the halfway point, dropping her sack of tools and throwing her arms around Fedya.
“Missed you,” the mechanic replies as he returns the embrace, a broad smile across his pale face. He pulls back just a hair sooner than he normally would though. “Your trip is ok?” he asks, “Hope so, because is time to go.” He takes Kam by the hand and begins making a beeline towards the boarding ramp.
Kam merely snorts. “She’s not going anywhere just yet,” she replies, scooping up her tools and shoving them into Fedya’s arms. “Go do your job and fix my ship. There have been power problems since I managed to land her several hours ago. Been trying to fix it but I’m not a mechanic. You’ll be lucky if I could get her up in the air, let alone travel any distance.”
“Der’mo,” Fedya hisses, glancing back at the gate again and then at the open hatch, “Ok, get in cockpit.” He grabs the tools and rushes over to the access panel.
Kam follows instructions but that doesn’t stop her from shouting back, “What did you do now?” She only sounds slightly miffed.
“I will explaining later,” the Ungstiri shouts back, diving into the hatch. “Try to start her so I see where problem is,” he says.
“Mierda,” Kam grumbles to herself as she plops herself down in the pilot’s chair, hands gliding over the controls to bring up power. She gets a weak response of about sixty percent. “It was a long trip. Lots of bumps along the way and I was just trying to juryrig everything to work!”
“Can see that,” Fedya shoots back, he’s being playful, to be sure, but there is a level of tension in his voice as he tries frantically to rewire the power couplings. “Ok, try it now.”
Kam starts up the ship again and more lights flicker. “I have about 80 percent,” she calls. “I can probably get us off the ground and if we aren’t being chased, I can get us to a different planet.”
Fedya’s head pokes out of a hatch in time to see a hovertruck pull out of the gate with three humanoids sitting in the front. They stop to question someone who points in the direction of the Queen Anne while a massive Zangali lumbers out of the back of the truck. Fedya squirms back into the hatch, calling out, “Hang on, I try something!” He quickly detaches a feed and plugs it in elsewhere, siphoning a bit of main engine power into the thrusters. “Try now!”
“Okay, so apparently we are getting chased,” Kam mutters to herself as she starts up the ship for a third time. It sputters to life. “It’s working for now. Where am I going?” There is some more muttering to herself in Spanish as the ship goes through its start up sequences at am accelerated pace.
“Anywhere!” Fedya shouts, backing out of the hatch and slamming the panel home. As he turns around, the driver of the truck spots him. They make eye contact for a split second before the mechanic makes a dash for the boarding ramp. “I almost on! Lift off!” he yells into the comm as the Zangali climbs onto the tailgate of the truck even as it lurches in the Queen Anne’s direction.
“You are in sooo much trouble,” Kam shouts as she finishes her start up sequence and the ship begins to lift off the ground. The ship moves with an unusual sluggishness but it doesn’t stop her from pushing the ship off to break atmosphere and take to the stars.
Fedya jumps aboard even as the boarding ramp rises from the ground. He turns to see the truck change direction to a small freighter nearby and grimaces as he keys the airlock shut. “I knowing!” he yells back as he nearly drops headfirst into the engine room, “You yell me later, da?” Glancing around the compartment he frowns, “And I yell you for what you do down here!”
Kam risks a quick glance over her shoulder before turning her attention back to her flight path. “Hold on, about to make a jump as soon as we get enough distance from the Rock.” She scowls though. Flying risky paths is nothing new. Getting scolded is something else entirely. “Don’t blame me for the engine room! I barely made it here. I had to get every drop of power out of the engine that I could! Maybe next time don’t leave me to make a long trip by myself.”
“And had to use all money I has to get out here and Ungstir is no accept Hekayti credit,” the Ungstiri calls back as he speedily reroutes power back into the jump drive, “Is no my fault I need work pool table for money. How is I know this man lead local gang. I miss Boromovs. At least with them, you know.”
“Pool?” Kam definitely sounds incredulous. “This may be our universe but it’s not where we came from.” She shakes her head as she lines up the ship for an accurate jump and as they finally ascend to the right distance, the ship rocks back and then shoots forward, heading off speedily toward Sivad. Once the ship goes on auto, she leans back in her seat with a quick sigh of relief. “Stupid to make potential enemies on Ungstir over pool. We’re headed to more civilized areas now, so try to behave a little. Si?”
Looking around the engine room in dismay, the mechanic finally gives up for the moment, clambering up to the spinal corridor and making his way to the cockpit. “Never say I am smart one,” he replies with a grin once he arrives, “This is your job.”
“Can’t leave you alone for a minute, can I? Kam asks fondly. “Hope you were able to learn a few things while you’ve been out here.” She shakes her head, smiling up at Fedya as he approaches. “Just how bad is it down there?” She tries to look innocent. She really tries, but it’s just really not in her bag of tricks.
“Ungstir? Is fine,” Fedya says, plunking down in the co-pilot’s chair and rotating it towards the pirate captain, “More legit work, but no as much easy money, da? Is old days, before biggest war. But is no war. Consortium is everywhere. Even Demaria and Sivad.”
Kam’s smile is wistful as she leans back, tilting her head curiously in Fedya’s direction. “So we are now existing in a universe where we technically haven’t been born yet. Where it seems as though our great grandparents wouldn’t even have been born yet.” She slowly shakes her head, lips pressed together. “It’s… a little hard to imagine. Though I suppose a lot of what’s happened in the last few years is hard to imagine.”
“Da,” Fedya replies, glancing out the viewports, “Not that there is much missing from old… new times for me. Had nothing there, nothing I no have here.” He turns to Kam with a faint smile. “Sorry if is disappointing,” he says.
The red-headed pilot frowns as she tugs on a single curl. “Not disappointed, querido,” Kam replies. “It will just take time to figure things out here. We need to find a way to make money to get the ship in good order.” She shoots Fedya a dark look. “And no more hustling until we know what we’re up against, si?”
The mechanic gets a bit sheepish at this, but nods. “With ship here, should no be hard to find work,” he says, “But if we want fly in Consortium, we need license for you and for ship. Is costing much money. So, I get money.” He shrugs, pulling out a few large-denomination credit chits.
Kam shakes her head in Fedya’s direction. “I’ve been a bad influence on you,” she sighs. “And I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. But we’ll find a way.” She flashes a brief smile. “Our pirating ways will need to wait until we know the expectations and how to slide around them. Just patience now.”
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