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     The ship’s in ruins. Crise couldn't be sure it was a ship, if he hadn't seen it before. The hunk of metal is beyond repair, but he has to fix it, he can’t afford a new pod. He's not sure he can afford to fix it either. 

     He saved for months to get it, then months more to find someone selling. At least he still has his life. The wind blows snow over the small pod. He sighs and pushes his goggles off his head. He has to find someone willing to tow it to town first. Maybe Stella would know someone, she knows everyone. It’s a long walk back to town that takes him over an hour. Music drifts from the little cantina sitting in the center of town. Inside most of the tables are full of travelers stopping to refuel for grab something to eat. Stella is behind the counter serving drinks with her three long fingers on each hand. She smiles at him as Crise approaches.

     "What can i do for you today?"

     "I'm hoping you might know someone willing to tow my pod to town...." Stella shakes her head, feathers molting from her crown.

     "You've had that thing for a week and you’ve already gone and crashed it?" She puts her hands on her hips. He nods miserably. She sighs mixing a drink.

     "My Frolish is tied out the backdoor. She'll hall it for you." He’s eyes light up hopefully. "That’s all I can do for you, I'm no mechanic."

     "Thanks Stella," he calls over his shoulder as he heads out back. She shakes her head.

     The frolish is where Stella said she’d be, chewing on some fish from a low trough. Crise runs his hand through her heavy, gray fur then checks each of her six hooves for anything that can hurt her.

     "Hey girl," he murmurs petting her nose. She huffs back. Crise saddles her and rides out to where he left his ship.

////////

     Crise sits at a table in the cantina staring at his glass of fizzy purple drink. His pod is toast. Everyone he talked to said so. Even the best. His eyes wander to the girl on the other side of the room. Her face is pressed against the table, her short black hair pooling around her. She passed out half hour ago and he has half a mind to make sure she gets somewhere safe, but Stella won't let any harm come to her. Stella comes over to top off his drink.

     "No luck?" she asks. He sighs forlornly and shakes his head. "Well, I might know someone." He looks up. 

     "Really?"

     "They say she can fix any ship."

     "Where can I find her?" Stella turns around and looks at the black haired girl.

     "Her? But she can’t be older than me!"

     "She’s not, but that’s what I've heard. Ask her yourself" she says leaving. Crise hesitates. She's drunk, but he may never see her again. He finishes his drink and heads over to her. 

     "Ms?" He slides into the booth across from her. "Ms?" He tries again hopefully. This is going to be impossible; he recognizes the strong scent coming from her glass. She mumbles incoherently shifting slightly. He fidgets and clears his throat. 

     "Go. Away." She mumbles, her voice muffled by the table. She slaps her hand on the table as if looking for something. Her hand finds the glass she's been drinking from and wraps around it. She lifts her head and bright, piercing yellow eyes glare at him through long bangs as she sips her drink. Or tries too. She spills most of it on her way to her lips.

     "You still here? What do you want?" She snaps. Crise isn’t sure if her thick accent is from the drink or if its natural.

     "I was told you can fix any ship."

     "As long as it still ship, yes." He grins.

     "Pod?"

     "Pod, ship, same thing. I fix it." She waves her hand.

     "How much?"

     "How much what?"

     "To fix my pod."

     "Depends." Crise's grin falters.

     "On?"

     "Damage. What needs fix." She glares into her empty glass. "Meet couple hours here, I take look. " her head thumps back against the table.

     "You mean once your sober?"

"Once I sober," she mumbles, or maybe it was just incoherent mumbling, it was hard to tell.

     Crise stands and leaves her be. It'll take hours for her to sleep that off.

     He spends the time once again carefully examining his pod while keeping an eye out for her. It’s more than six hours before the yellow eyed mechanic stumbles from the cantina. Stella probably kicked her out.

  He calls to her and she glares at him before walking through the snow to where he is. A black mask, almost like a muzzle, is over her nose and mouth, and now that they’re both standing, Crise realizes that she only comes to his chest.

     "This," he gestures to his pod, "is my pod." She stares at it.

     "....That was once ship?" His shoulders slumps. He's never going to find another pod around here for sale. "But I like challenge. You buy parts, I fix." He can’t help but smile. "Really?" She nods staring at the ship.

     "Your name?" She asks turning her head to look at him.

     Crise, Crise Mill, yours?" he sticks his hand out for her to shake. She doesn’t take it.

     " Onna."

////////

     Over the next few days, Onna works on the pod and it slowly starts to look like a ship again. Crise sits on a fence sipping a soda as he watches her mess around with the wires in the cockpit. She doesn’t talk much, mostly just ignoring him when he hangs around. Which is most of the time. 

     "Don't you have somewhere better to be?" she asks looking over at him. Crise shrugs.

     "Schools out for the summers and my shift at the cantina doesn’t start for a couple more hours." She rolls her eyes and goes back to work.

     "Just as well," Onna jumps out of the pod," finished, take her for flight, don’t take her for flight, I don’t care." She grabs a rag and wipes the grease off her hands before tossing it in the trash. She saunters towards the cantina, her tools thumping against her leg.

     "You’re not going to wait to see if she works?" Crise calls after her.

     "She work. Have problem, come find me," she yells back then pauses. “On other hand, find me anyway, you owe drink.” She disappears inside. He climbs into the cockpit and shakily starts running through the start up procedure. She rumbles and lifts off the ground, hovering.

     Crise grins. He definitely owes her a drink.

February 07, 2020 04:09

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1 comment

Tori Routsong
21:37 Feb 12, 2020

I really liked your world building here! Other worldly enough that it was intriguing and clearly spacey, but not so much so that it was jarring and not recognizable.

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