Odalis walloped a big shiny sphere with her mallet. She was annoyed by the flashing yellow lights connect to the sphere via an intricate network of heavy-gauged, metal-mesh-shielded cables. The yellow lights winced ever so slighly with each wallop. The Floppy Dongle, a ship intended for cargo hauls and extended travel, started to rattle slightly.
“I don’t think that will fix it,” Tom commented with quite a bit of snark.
“What would you know, pencil pusher?” asked Odalis, arms crossed in a challenging pose.
Odalis continued to show the sphere who the boss was. This time, her banging was harder and more frequent. Tom sat, legs crossed as he sat on a crate full of spare parts. His eyes were squinted towards Odalis in a pensive, judgemental gaze. His coy smile was inviting to a swift punch or at least a sneaky spitball.
“Weeeelllll… I know enough to say this starship and your crew is not up to spec, and you know what that means: you have limited access to UNDSA sectors.”
Shane barged in with his usual wide-stanced penguin waddle. Unlike Odalis, Shane had no tool belt or high-tech aides handy. He preferred to travel “light”.
Shane blurted out, “You know, your body looks mighty nice with all that sweat glistening.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand pig,” muttered Odalis, not even giving Shane the courtesy of a brief glance.
“Mmmm.. I love a girl with fight in her.”
Shane smacked Odalis on the side of her voluptuous thighs, her quick reflexes allowing him to miss his intended target. Tom typed in some notes in his holo-pad.
“Hey brotha, give us a few minutes and you’ll have something REALLY good to take notes on.. Know what I mean? Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.”
Shane sat down across from Odalis’ work space, just within her peripheral view, and lit a clove cigarette. He stared at Odalis as she tried to focus on work. Clearly, he was mentally undressing her as a creepy smile materialized on his oil-smudged face. He proceeded to slowly massage his navel area, creepily tracing his happy trail as he motioned towards his junk.
“SUCIO. Ponte una camisa en dejama quieta!”
“I don’t know what you’re saying but if you’re uncomfortable with my shirtless body, why don’t you just follow my lead?”
As if to interrupt the tension of the situation, a strange whistle started to sound off. It was like an antique tea pot left on the burner much too long. The awkward, harpoon-shaped spaceship started to tremble.
“I believe that means that you are low on fuel,” observed Tom.
Odalis quickly responded, “No way.. This is an eco-class freighter meant for long-distance deep space travel.”
“Ugh… I’ve checked all the gauges through my VMU. Our natural fuel tanks are at 60%. That will give us at least 12 days of flight if we avoid unnecessary FTL jumps.”
“That’s great but your primary systems are hydrogen based.. Just sayin’.”
“FUCK ME! That’s not what the vendor in the Orion sector said when The Captain bought it. This sector is devoid of hydrogen sources.”
In the distance, there was the faint sound of a blast door sliding open. The metal of the thick, steel gate grinded slowly against the threshold. A short, stout figured entered the smoky room.
Captain Hart, “Everything okay in here, guys?”
Odalis quickly turned around to salute their leader and replied, “Captain! Shouldn’t you be at the bridge?”
“No need for such silly formalities, Ode. Anyway, Jamal and Leeza have nav under control. I just wanted to check up on you fine folks in engineering.”
“Oh yeah boss, everything is fine,” Shane interjected.
“Ay, callate. Captain, I’ve been trying to figure out why things are getting all wonky while puerco over there just loiters about,” Odalis stated as she shook her head and avoided direct eye contact with Shane.
As the conversation continued, the Floppy Dongle slowly gravitated towards a blue astral body. The flare from the propulsion engines started to die down as the ship slowly gravitated towards the blue giant. The slight rattling became gut-wrenching turbulence as they got drawn in closer.
“Well, no pressure, but that blue giant registering on the monitors over there is a nebula that’s been reported as a high-risk zone so.. We may want to fix whatever is limiting our thrust.”
Odalis took a deep breath. Dealing with Tom’s constant back-seat driving and Shane’s unrelenting sexual innuendo and advances had her frustrated. She was not attempting repairs, she was taking out her anger. Good thing the Floppy Dongle was a resilient little ship.
Shane noticed the determined look on Odalis’ face and quickly commented, “Ohhhh.. I love when you get that determined look. SUPERRRRR SEXY!”
She did not entertain his comments. Instead, she got to tinkering with the systems. After pulling some levers and redirecting some cables, she ran to the engine room.
“WEPA! Ahi esta.. That should do the trick!”
Captain Hart smiled, patted Odalis on the back, and walked away. Shane was supposed to be a reliable engineer but he was clearly out-classed. After Odalis’ quick-fix, the ship quickly started to distance itself from the foreboding nebula. Full thrust had been restored.
Odalis wasted no time to belittle Shane, who had been harassing her since they started their trial voyage months ago. She looked at Shane and said, “You want to know what I just did, huh?”
“Not really.. I’m more curious about what’s under those tight leather pants and knee pads you have on,” Shane muttered as he fondled his cigarette.
As if Shane never spoke, Odalis continued, “Well, this particular model has an optional quick-bypass system so all I did was manually connect the circuits that normally would be bridged by the adapter. In the engine room, I adjusted the intake ratio so that the combustion process would not cause overburn. Pretty simple, if you use your big head and not your little head.”
Shane walked away, hands in his pockets, too proud to admit he was shamed.
“Hmmm, there might be hope for this ship yet… I’ll be sure to include your quick wits in the evaluation,” Tom stated as he fiddled with his holo-pad with great vigor.
“Oh wow.. You’re not a complete dick!”
“I’ll make a note of that, too.”
The Captain called in through the ship comms, “Hey gang, come join us in the mess hall for some almond flan.. Sanjeev says it’s an ancient treat that his ancestors used to always enjoy. Tom, you’re welcome too!”