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   Chapter 16 No.16

High Steaks By Christina Engela Characters: 5192

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02


"Nope." Deire winked at them. "We were goin' to, but after the fellas at the workshop put in the new doors, mats an' side-panels – well, it just kinder changed by itself! Garn!"

"No personality adjustments or attitude tweaks to the bot?"

"Nope." Said Deire smugly.

"You mean to tell me, " Tim postulated, "That all it took was a simple change of – er, clothes – to improve its temperament?"

"Yuh. Purty much!"

"…Incredible!"

As the elevator took them smoothly upward to the deck above, Tim squeezed Dory's hand in his absentmindedly, pondering a little skit entitled 'The Elevator's New Clothes' – and then, frustrated, mentally tore it into little itty-bitty imaginary shreds. The elevator stopped and the shiny new doors snapped open again.

Celeste's bridge had also been given a makeover. In the dim lighting, as Tim dropped their bags – and the pulse-rifle on the deck, he recognized the outlines of Triple-J, Bubba, and Vic seated at various consoles in relaxed poses. They seemed to be eating popcorn, drinking soft drinks and watching a movie on the big screen – which looked new and noticeably straight – at the front of the room. A pair of expensive-looking surround-sound speakers had been mounted on either side of the screen. There were others mounted on the sides, midway, and at the rear of the bridge – which now seemed to be something of a home theater as well!

The quirky captain's chair had been replaced, and seemed to be level too – which sort of explained the screen. The replacement looked like a brand new item

up'. If you needed a detonator and all you had was a microwave oven, she's your girl.

4) Jonn Deire – Skipper of the Celeste. Gray, bearded, said 'Garn!' a lot (whatever that means). Didn't enjoy jokes about his name much.

Someone was missing!

"Where's Nurse?" Tim asked. Doctor Barry Nurse, had been the Celeste's medic when Tim last saw them. He'd been scrapped from the medical roll because, apparently, 'practicing' meant doing it right all the time. He showed promise in making fermented strawberry-flavored moonshine in the sickbay.

"Oh he's gawn!" Said Deire sadly.

"G-gawn?" Tim repeated, taken aback. "Oh – you mean 'gone'! Gone? What happened?"

"He took his share of the money and left!" Said Triple-J.

"Started a fact'ry makin' that moonshine o'his!" Bubba added, chewing his toothpick.

"Strawberry Vile?" Tim asked.

"Yuh, that's the one!" Deire beamed. "He sends us a case now an' then!"

"Best engine cleaner in the business!" Triple-J squeaked.

"Garn!" Deire cried, going into hysterics.

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