The Crimson Wake ii the awkward meetings
As Kit stood there, her nose pressed hard against the plexiglass, her breath steaming up, the image she became aware of both a familiar sweaty onion smell; and a limp hand touching her shoulder. She turned and saw Jacob Weasley. Weasly stared down at her with a smile that she could have easily thought of as a scowl. His greasy plump unshaven face, knotty broken nose and furled brow all hinted at menace, yet as he spoke through his yellow crumbling teeth there was a calmness in his voice.
‘She's beautiful aint she?
‘Yeah…banged up good an’ proper, but but still as beautiful as the day she left high earth orbit… all those years ago. he wheezed as he spoke.
Kit turned and stared at the ship once more. Feeing dirty at the touch of Weasley’s hand and arm but not wanting to say so. She stared back at the huge Omega Ship For some reason she didn’t fully understand she gave a shudder. Though she couldn’t put her finger on why the Wake scared her; there was a sense within her that there was something very wrong with it.
‘I – I see what you mean’ Kit lied beautifully.
Weasley continued. He was either ignoring here lie, or was far too stupid to tell. Kit opted for the latter.
‘I recall the day she left alpha- dock. Those days’ long range interstellar travel was kinda new, ya know… lots of of holo- coverage on those confounded zeta sets. No, Not like today… Na, today no one cares if a ship gets slammed by a meteor or hit by the Khols.
The boarding alarm went off.
‘Sending in droids first…’ muttered Weasley, his sour breath was in Kit’s face as he flicked on his holo communicator and pressed the image feed. She watched the tiny screen as the human like machines, armed with heavy pulse rifles and scanners loped along the walkway tubes.
‘Its best to send in the droids first, let them fucker’s get it.’ Weasley sneered and he wheezed.
‘It might be deserted’
‘It’s protocol in situations like this. Only when the safety is given, then we send in the men. The images come off a droid cam. I, I get exclusive footage, because of my status here.’ Kit didn’t know who repulsed her more at that moment: The Wake, or wheezing Weasley
The image was blurry and distorted. The cam kept breaking down in static lines. The corridor she saw was black and ribbed, The only light sources came from the droids themselves. The droids kept repeating “no movement, no movement no movement”; in a high rasping electronic voice. She could see that the floor was littered with stuff, that she couldn’t identify; and didn’t want to. The droid picked something up. The thing: an empty blue uniform jump suit, came into sharp focus. Just as she felt a firm hand on her shoulder that made her jump.
‘Kit’ exclaimed her father. ‘If Proctor catches you here!
‘Da!’ Kit jumped into his arms and hugged him.
‘Mr. Weasley.’ Davey's voice sounded terse
Weasley grimaced up at the two of them.
‘Its good to see you Davey.’ There’s work to be had there...’ Weasley pointed to the Wake,'... if you want it.’
‘- I an’t one for turning work down.
'Well once the droids have been over the ship, I’m sure it’s just a formality, then you can set up the retrieval team.' Weasly smiled at the surprise on Davey's face.
Suddenly Weasley’s holophone hummed. With a look of mild annoyance, he turned away and took the call.
Davey walked with more of a run towards the turbo lift.
‘You are going to Proctor NOW my girl.’ He spat 'The docks and in particular Jacob Weasley is neither a place or a person for the like’s of you.’
In the background another alarm went off.
Within five minutes she was sitting in Proctor’s holo suit. Images of an earth that no longer existed; a place of green trees and birds and animals, surrounded her, making her feel uncomfortable. she needed gantry cables electric light.
The proctor sat in a chair between both Davey and Kit.
‘I have to say, that I am disappointed at your attendance recently Kit.
Kit looked down and away from the half man machine. The proctors were designed to be people friendly, yet, she had found flaws in the programming
‘Yes…’ the Proctor continued ‘…very disappointed indeed.
‘I’ve told Da, I find the work tough.’ Kit sounded cold but tried not to show it. Coldness, led to a lack of discipline and a mad mark as “compliance was key to good learning” the words ran though her mind with bitter sarcasm
'Your friend Draz has improved no end since our last talk.’
She was going to ask who Draz was, but bit her lip. A tear smarted her vision and a painful lump grew in her throat This was just so unfair I can’t do the work I Can’t I try an I try an I try.
Davey interrupted ‘- Kit has expressed that she finds the latest modules challenging Proctor. Is there any way that they err can be shaped to help her… I have been trying to teach at home, but but I’ve been put on on double shifts for the err last month an-'
‘We understand the problem…’ The proctor sounded sincere, but as Kit knew it was part of its partial programming. Maybe the human part of him was kicking in. ‘…The necessary steps are being taken to see if there is a possible underlying cause…your drinking?’ The comment was cold and clinical. Kit saw her Da’s eyes narrow and the words that followed had a malicious twist in them.
‘ I have a regular blood count done every day!'
‘I have to ask. Protocol.’ The Proctor gave a mechanical smile
‘I am doing the best I can. I I don’t want- ' again Davey was cut short.
‘Mr. Weasley has been in contact with us. The proctor continued. He has pointed out that Kit has an exceptional talent when it comes to ship calibrations and the biological memory servers.
‘He has?’ Davey felt unnerved
‘We could consider her for an apprenticeship.'
Davey stared at Kit ‘ Is this your doing? Have you fixed the Proctor?
‘No Da Honest.’ Kit looked amazed, Davey rubbed his stubble.
‘Mr Weasley has a high regard for Kit…we, think, that is the Proctors think, that an apprenticeship would be better suited and more hands on, than the academic road towards a pilot’s licence. Davey looked at Kit with astonishment.
‘Also this would mean that Kit can start almost immediately; there would be no orphanage, and she could stay here with you.
Davey looked at Kit, and his eyes melted.
‘Would that be acceptable?
‘Yes…yes that would be acceptable.’ Davey said as he took Kit’s hand.
They decided to stop off at the mac –stop for lunch. Kit Knew that Davey hated the place. It was all fake and protein and high sugar, but Kit loved the taste. The stop itself was clinical white all curves and cushions; and rested in the middle of the main mall, on the fourth floor. The crowds were busting past either side as the droid served the food with its “enjoy your meal” flat tones.
‘I didn’t know you were good at bio servers.’ Davey stated between bites of his patti.
‘I gotta a chance to play with the one on the Excelsior. that ship which came in last year’ I found its matrix patterns easy, like mind maps, and the hybrid keyboard skills and holo skils are cool too. I managed to retrieve 99% in my first attempt. So Weasley gave me other jobs. I don like him though he gives me the creeps.'
‘I… I don’t want you spending too much time with him.’ Davey said. ‘he’s…’
Kit giggled . ‘Da, you gotta be crazy...he thinks I’m good at the job besides.' Kit pulled a sonic taser from her waistband. ‘Right in the balls.’ She laughed.
Davey smiled ‘You know how to look after yourself.
Kit looked away and at the crowds that thronged the Mall
‘I kinda had to.’
Davey looked sad. ‘I’m sorry I ain’t been the father you…
‘Da… I love you.’ Kit stared at Davey with eyes wide open. ‘ I will always love you no matter what
It was then that another alarm went off. Kit noticed that the zeta screen on the wall was displaying an image of Weasley. Both her and Davey plugged themselves in. for ful holographic coverage.
‘...So far, there, there has been no damage outside of the bay…an' the droids upon the Wake are still not in communication…and yeah, we are awaiting a download from the coupling… as I said, so far no causalities… okay?’ Weasley walked away shoving the reporter aside as the reporter carried on ‘There we have it, Though there has been a “disturbance” upon the Crimson Wake, so far no one has been hurt.
Davey unplugged and Kit a moment later.
‘ A disturbance?’ Davey looked at the crowds
Kit looked down at her patti, for some reason she wasn’t hungry anymore.