Warp Riders – Chapter 29

The Navigatrix was extremely happy to see camp peeking between the trees; the Captain was gray in the face and had to be twice as hungry and thirsty as she was. The trike was in bad shape; they’d hit a few rocks harder than they should have, and one of the wheels had a flat spot.

The trike noises woke the Engineer as they pulled up, and she rolled out of the tent to help the Bosun unload. They both took one look at the Captain and didn’t bother saying anything, just hauled her out of the sidecar and onto a pallet. As the Bosun fussed and got cursed at, the Navigatrix hung back. This wasn’t really her wheelhouse; she’d done the daring rescue and someone else could figure out how to revive someone who was clearly both in shock and in denial about being in shock.

The Captain was explaining how it all went down, and the Navigatrix could hear her get to the flooding of the cave and decided to take a walk over to the stove and start brewing a pot of coffee. No need to participate in that either.

It wasn’t that she was embarrassed about any of it – the Captain was capable of stewing up enough barely concealed embarrassment for the whole crew – but it hadn’t been the dashing rescue she had planned. Too many near-death experiences, not enough swashbuckling glory.

She’d have to work on her heroic dialogue.

The Bosun came to join her at the stove, and pulled out a flask.

“You look like you need something a little stronger than coffee.”

She nodded and accepted a generous pour of something that smelled like a fire hazard.

“You’ve been rescuing all sorts of treasures from our wreck, Bosun.” 

“Well, I like a certain quality of living, and I think y’all do too, so I consider it part of my job.” The Bosun gave her an assessing stare. “You did good, y’know. She’s gonna be fine in no time.”

“Yes, yes.” The Navigatrix waved a hand in the air and swallowed a little too much spiked coffee at once. She felt her sinuses cringe. 

“What, not enough gratitude for you?” The Bosun winked at her, and the Navigatrix nearly spat her drink out.

“I’d never presume to hope for that, Bosun.”

“You’re not letting her get under your skin finally, are you?”

The Navigatrix did not dignify that with an answer.

She could hear the Captain talking about how she’d hauled her out of the cave single-handedly, and that did feel rather nice to hear, because it had been heroic.

But then the Bosun turned to her and said “Wait, where’s the Stowaway?” And then they’d had to explain all of that.

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