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   Chapter 5 Going there

The Story of the Mimosa By Paul Kater Characters: 9613

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:04

The captain was happy. She finally was free of that annoying humanoid bug Blokman. She had a ship and a crew that ran for her. The helmswoman was awake again (these people could cope with nothing, she had only slapped that woman lightly) and holding the steering wheel even if it was no good for now. On the monitor she watched the progress that was being made in the back of the ship, below the engine room.

One of the Amandians, Ammer, had climbed inside the metal suit and stomped it down the stairs. He had to get beyond the engines with a small mountain of big tools and a few spare parts to get the rudder working again. Worst thing was that it wasn't even a real rudder, it was just a joke set-up which could have easily been done with a decent small joystick to manoeuvre the ship where one wanted to go. But no, this had been done with real cables and hooks and all kinds of other mechanical crap that he now had to fix. He quickly located the first broken wire. By the time he had repaired it he was almost floating from perspiration in the metal suit, that had no cooling of any kind. Instead it was heated from the inside by him and from the outside by the engines.

That done, Ammer stomped further down to the back where some damage had to be which was outside the range of any camera. It was where the cables connected to the steering controllers which the idiot shipbuilder of course had put in the far rear, as if it was a proper wooden sailing-ship. He reached the area where all the controllers had been mounted. Close to the wooden back of the ship of course. Or rather: former wooden back. Whatever had taken a swing at the vessel had taken out quite a severe chunk of wood, so the man in the metal had to tread carefully so as not to fall out of the ship and down to the planet. On second thought he could not blame the shipbuilder. That man did not know he was building a smugglers' ship, otherwise the controller area would have been heavily shielded, as well as put in a less vulnerable spot. Ammer secured a line to the wall that still looked stable and hooked the other end to his suit. Then he got to work on the controller which was disordered by the blast. It took a while, in which the Landarian captain barked several times that he had to hurry.

When he finally got it to work he hooked the repaired cable onto the connectors and asked if the helmswoman could carefully move the rudder a bit. After a growl and a snarl someone yanked the rudder. Probably the captain. The cable broke. Ammer said a dirty word. "I said move, dammit, not tear the bloody ship apart!" With some effort he repaired the cable again. "Move. Not yank. Break it again and the cable will be too short to repair. Then you can try and fix it yourself after I remove my foot from your arse."

Gently the rudder moved left and right, then up and down. How they did that with a round steering wheel was beyond Ammer's knowledge, but he didn't care as long as his work was not damaged. "All fine. Coming back now, it's too hot here."

While Ammer clomped back in the metal suit, two of his fellow crewmen awaited him at the foot of the stairs. They had been talking among each other and waved at Ammer as he came close. One of the men banged his fist on the hull of the suit. Ammer opened the hatch on the back and looked relieved as a cloud of heat emerged from behind him. "What's the matter?"

"I'll take the suit up for you. You look exhausted. And as I go up Limso will talk to you about a few things we as a group are beginning to agree on."

Ammer left the hot suit, his clothes drenched in his own sweat. He looked apologetic as Limso patted him on the soaked back and withdrew his hand with a rather disgusted expression. The other man climbed into the suit and started walking it up the stairs, the hatch open which clanged back and forth. Ammer and Limso followed the noise-maker up the stairs, their words lost in the noise that the man in the suit unleashed.

Neila, the woman who had unveiled and inaugurated the ship's kitchen, was waiting at the top of the stairs with a few large and sturdy glasses of cold water. Ammer drank one down in one gulp and thanked her as she offered him a second one.

The Landarian captain stepped out of the bridge-cabin and watched the proceedings at the end of the deck. "Done?!" she asked in her known compact way.

"Yes, " Ammer answered. He spoke far less loudly but the complex acoustic subsystems of the ship conveyed his words to the bridge as if he was standing right beside her. After all, the wood was wood from the planet they had just come from and that wood was no ordinary wood.

The captain nodded and went back inside. "Now we go, " she completed a remarkably long sentence for the helmswoman. The Landarian plotted th

e course which the systems projected on the window in front of the steering wheel, the engines came to life and with the rudder working again the Black Flower set course to the sparkle which was still there, blinking and waiting for visitors.


Some of the Amandians leaned over the side of the ship and watched the planet shrink as the Flower picked up speed. "We should switch on some lights, " one of them said.

"Good luck. I am not sure if there are any, " the man next to him responded.

"Let's go for a walk and see what we can find."

"Why not." The two men walked off.

"Love-birds, " one of the women remarked, who watched the two disappear behind the door that led into the corridor with the many cabins. "They won't be finding many deck lights in there for a while."

"Do you want to take a walk with me?" one of the remaining men asked. That remark earnt him a slap in the face.

"Pervert. Who do you take me for?" the woman hissed in an angry manner. "You know I am with our helmswoman. I don't understand how your kind can keep living when you cross the gender boundaries so easily."

As he rubbed his cheek the man looked dismayed. "I meant a walk to discover deck lights. Not their kind of walk. But if you feel so aggressively about things like that then I'll go and look for some by myself."

"Oh. Uhm. Please accept my apology. I did not mean to..., " the woman said.

The man looked at her. "Apology accepted. As long as you keep your hands to yourself."

"Don't worry, " the woman smiled. "My hands are for someone else."

They left the railing, a decent distance between them, and went looking for deck lights.

Meanwhile on the bridge the captain stood in front of the window and stared greedily at the sparkle. It was still small but the planet was getting smaller so the sparkle had to become bigger. It was logical. The thing was just very far away and therefore the relative growth of it was minimal at this point. She had it all figured out. As soon as there was a trace of growth in the size of the sparkle she'd be able to determine the exact distance calculated from the speed of light and with that she could estimate the size of the sparkle too. The captain had heard of sparkling space-things like that and until now she had not believed them, as there was no proof. Seeing one for herself however made this an entirely different matter.

What her logical mind did not know was the reason for her desire to examine the sparkly object that beckoned from space. A specific sequence that was embedded in every third gene-string of Landarian DNA had an uncanny resemblance to that of the magpies on an obscure little planet in another part of the Milky Way. Their common trait was that they loved shiny objects and whenever there was one in sight they'd fly towards it as straight as possible. A difference was the patience that was embedded in the Landarian physiology, important for people who had to travel over great distances, like through space, to acquire their shiny things.

The captain noticed some movement on the dark deck and tried to determine what was going on there but the lack of light made that impossible. The glow that came from the instruments on the bridge did not help much either. She assumed, knowing the urges of Amandians, that they were probably going to indulge in some procreative activities under the cover of the darkness and turned away disgusted. Her race was better versed in those things, only exerting themselves in that manner for the sake of actual reproduction.

The Amandian woman noticed the shimmer of movement in the window of the bridge. "She'd better keep her hands off my woman, " she muttered, "otherwise..."

"You are no match for her, " the man reminded her. "Landarians are not easy to overcome."

The woman shrugged and cursed as she banged her knee into something hard.

"What's that?"

"Painful, " she commented as she rubbed her leg.

"Move aside, " the man said, and as she did so he inspected the box. It had an unlocked padlock hanging from a metal ring in the lid. He opened the box. "Looks like your knee found deck lights. This thing is full of them." He picked one from the wooden box and looked for a way to switch it on. His effort was in vain, partly because it was too dark to find a switch, partly because there was no switch.

"Hand me one, " the woman said as she noticed a strange gap in the ship's side. The man gave her the light he had in his hand, she pushed it into the opening. "Perfect fit."

"Yes. But it's not on."

The woman slapped the lamp. It lit up. "Now it is."

After that discovery it did not take them long to fit lights in more openings. Then they found three more chests with similar lights and soon the deck was illuminated.

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