Xia Phar had a good life for a human on Saer’kah. She didn’t wear a restriction band and the Saer’khi family that had raised her since the Migration treated her like one of their own. Others humans on Saer’kah though had no reason to love the Saer’khi . At least Xia had some semblance of freedom. So when the humans decide to rebel against the Saer’khi and she discovers the real reason for the presence of humans and other aliens on Saer’kah Xia decides to take action. Enlisting the help of her family and her friend Tarek she forms a plan to get everyone out of the alien barracks without arousing suspicion and get them off Saer’kah on one of the newly built colony ships. Sounds pretty easy right? Now Tarek’s crush on her is the least of her problems and leaving Saer’kah is just the beginning.
Author's Note: Here is the new chapter of Twice Removed. Thanks as usual to my readers and of course the Big Closet team who work tirelessly to give us all a great place to post and read TG fiction. ~Amethyst.
Chapter 21: Retrieval
“You look like hell Xia, did you get any sleep last night?” Mandy said over breakfast. Almost everyone else was finished eating and ready to go about their tasks for the day, she had already sent the twins off with Rebecca, and I had started Amy working on the studies that I had assigned her for the day while she would be on call for first aid. I was trying to finish my own meal as I fed Shui, but it had been slow going.
I shook my head in answer to the geologist’s question and muttered, “I don’t think so. If I did, it wasn’t very much.”
“Welcome to motherhood,” Mandy offered with a sympathetic sigh. “It was times like this that I really missed coffee while I was in the barracks with the twins. You really look like you could use some caffeine.”
I groaned in agreement. “I was too young to have picked up that habit while I was still living on Earth, at least before my time in the hospital. They never gave me any while I was in there either. We have some stimulants I could take, but I don’t want to start using them as a crutch, especially since our supplies are limited at the moment.”
“Okay, just try not to do anything too strenuous, you have a habit of pushing yourself too hard, and right now that’s not going to do you or Shui any good,” she cautioned as she lightly hugged me.
“I’ll just be observing the retrieval of Third’s ship, Karran and Tanna will be doing all the heavy lifting,” I assured her.
“Good, you should try to get some rest when you can too, we need you at your best,” she said, giving my shoulder a quick squeeze before heading off to wrangle up her crew. “Anyway, I should go collect the chain gang and head out to the mining site. I’ll see you later Xia.”
I waved goodbye and finished my meal, waiting until Shui had eaten her fill, and was beginning to doze off in my arms, before returning my dishes to the cooking area. Dallas took my metal plate, cup and utensils with a smile and a wink. “Good luck out there today Xia, we’ll try to keep the settlement in one piece while you’re gone.”
“You’d better,” I joked back with a wave and as much of a smile as I could muster in my sleepy state. Then I made my way back to the medical dropship with Shui snoozing in her new sling and Kit following close behind. Once I had gotten there I quickly snatched up my medical pack, adding some of the nappies we had made the night before, my water bottle, some ration bars, and some reusable sanitary cloths. Then I quickly checked on Amy and Krie, giving them both a quick hug, before leaving them to join my teammates for the retrieval operation.
The others were eager to get going when I arrived at the personnel/cargo dropship. I had felt it better that we take it, rather than the medical dropship, to retrieve Third’s ship for several reasons. Firstly, I would rather have the medical ship stay at the settlement in case there were and accidents or injuries that required more than simple first aid. Secondly, the personnel ship was larger and both its engines and its tractor beam were more powerful than those on the smaller dropship. It might not be as maneuverable or quick, but we wouldn’t need either of those qualities for today’s mission. Finally, if something went wrong, and for some reason we couldn’t retrieve the entire ship, than we could use the personnel ship to ferry over anything useful that we could manage to retrieve.
Once I had stepped inside and sealed the airlock I buckled myself in to one of the seats, having to adjust Shui a few times while being careful not to wake her. Then, as I ensured that I had a good hold on the baby, I sent out a quick ping to Tanna, Tarek, and Karran. The latter was already strapped into one of the other passenger seats, along with Third who was seated nearby as well, and as soon as I felt the three other Saer’khi acknowledge my ping I reached out with my mind to speak with them. *I’m buckled in and ready to go when you are.*
*Okay Xia, we have already completed the pre-flight checks and we are ready to launch,* Tarek replied. *Are we headed straight for the coordinates of Third’s ship?*
I gave the three of them a mental head-shake before replying, *No we’ll go back to the camp we made yesterday first. We can retrieve the escape pod that Third used to get us off the ship there and Third can use it to get Tanna and Karran aboard the ship. He’ll need to be aboard to start up the anti-gravity field, and it’ll be easier for Tanna and Karran to just leave by an airlock and use the magnetic boots feature on their suits and walk along the hull to get into position to raise it. Are you two sure you’re going to be able to manage it alone? It’s at least twice as big as this dropship.*
*It should not be a problem,* Karran assured me as the dropship lifted off. *Without gravity effecting it we should be able to raise it just fine. It is going to take quite a bit of effort, but I am sure that we will be able to manage until you can get a lock on it with the magnetic tractor beam.*
*We can handle things from here Xia, we all know what to do and it’s going to take us some time to get on the ship and into position to raise it. You should get some rest while you can, we will have Tarek wake you when we are ready to begin raising the ship,* Tanna offered.
*Yes Tess’rha, please get some rest, I shall wake you when it is time,* Tarek quickly agreed, concern tinging his thoughts. I was too tired to argue the point and, once I had placed my seat into a reclining position, I allowed myself to close my eyes with Shui clutched closely to my chest. I was asleep within minutes and soon dreaming.
I tugged nervously at the robe I was wearing, staying close to the table with the sweets, juices, and the mugs of Passu that sat beneath the flowering branches of the massive Vysila tree. The robe was white and gold, displaying my Ji’turi status, and embroidered with the cursive sigils that displayed my lineage as one of the daughters of Khella Phar. Krie flitted down toward me from where she had been dancing in the golden moonlight with a determined look in her eyes, wearing a robe that matched my own. *It’s Katur Soma Xia, you should be dancing, having fun, and meeting people,* my sister complained.
I was dreaming… I remembered this day, it was the last Katur Soma I had spent on Saer’kah. I let out a sigh and looked above me at all the couples dancing in the air, half-wishing Tarek were here to dance with me. I already knew him. That was part of the problem though, it had been a week and a half since he had left for the space academy after my accidental claim of Dhur-tal on him and I could still feel the distant presence of his mind in my own. Since then Mom and Krie both had been pushing for me to try to find another Tess’hir among the Pi’tak I knew or to meet some new candidates at events like this. It wasn’t just Saer’khi males they were pushing on me though, as they were constantly ‘encouraging’ me to be more social with the human men at the barracks when I made my deliveries to look for promising candidates there too.
I was starting to get frustrated with their ‘strike while the iron is hot’ view of getting me married off properly. And it looked like my sister was going to do her best to try and find me an eligible male tonight. *Ugh,* I counter-complained. *I don’t want to find another Tess’hir, I have one too many as it is. Can’t I just renounce this whole thing and become a lesbian?*
*I am not familiar with that word little sister,* Krie sent back to me, her mind awash with confusion. Out of all of my family, Krie had taken best to learning English and I had even taught her to use wordplay and a lot about human cultures. Since I had joined her family just over six years ago we had become more than sisters, we had become best friends and she didn’t seem to mind my little quirks, they were just part of who I am. Once in a while though, I still managed to say something that she couldn’t understand and the English word ended up as gibberish in her mind.
“Lesbian,” I enunciated clearly out loud so she could hear the word properly, as I often did during these moments of word-confusion. *It’s what you call a female who has no sexual interest in males, but who prefers females.*
My sister gave me a confused look and her mind voice reflected that confusion as she asked, *You have these lesbians on your homeworld then?*
*Yes we do, we also have males who are only interested in other males, and people who are equally attracted to both genders. The standard is for males to like females and females to like males, but in humans there’s a wide spectrum of sexuality.* I admitted.
*How do they have children?* she asked, her brow furrowing and her thoughts tinged with wonder and confusion. She didn’t seem to think it was wrong or disgusting or anything, she just didn’t get it. She even seemed a little bit fascinated by the idea.
*Usually they adopt children from other people who don’t want them, or those that have been orphaned.* I replied with both a physical and mental shrug.
*Who would have children and not want them? Earth sounds like a strange place, but I do not think that you can choose such a thing as becoming one of these ‘lesbians’ Xia. Saer’khi are only ever sexually attracted to the opposite gender. Procreation is not just an option for us, it is a genetic imperative that is very strong for our kind. It is part of who we are. Now that you have one Tess’hir, you should find at least one or two more so you can start your own family. Do you not feel it?* She placed her hands on her hips as she waited for an answer, her surface thoughts laced with concern.
I blushed and nodded, though then I quickly shook my head. I had been feeling things since I had bonded with Tarek: His constant presence in the back of my mind and a desire that I couldn’t quite place. At first I had thought it was sexual desire, and I had been fantasizing about more that a few of the Pi’tak that I knew. There was a human too, one that I had noticed briefly at the barracks on my last delivery. I hadn’t gotten a good look at him since I had only seen him in passing from across the large dining area as I was leaving for the day, but he was blond, well built with what looked like cybernetic arms, and didn’t appear too much older than I was. The sexual desire only seemed to be a small part of it though, it was a desire for more than just that and in all honesty it confused and scared me.
*Yes! No! I don’t know!* I finally blurted out into her mind. *I’m confused, I don’t know who I am half the time, let alone what I want. I need time to figure it out on my own before I go making lifelong commitments for myself, or to anyone else. Besides, who knows, Tarek may just find some cute Ji’turi at the space academy and forget all about me.*
Krie shook her head sadly, hugging me tight and wrapping her mind protectively around my own like a warm blanket. Her words were serious though when she finally spoke. *Please do not get your hopes up about that Xia, some day you will have to face Tarek again and the bond you share. I will be there for you if you need me, but in the meantime will it really hurt you to meet some people and see if you can connect? There is nothing wrong with making friends.*
*I’ll try Krie, but I won’t promise anything else. The ones that I’ve talked to so far have been courteous, polite, and eager to please, just as they would with any other Ji’turi, but they have no interest in me other than that. When they look at me they think I’m a child still, I can see it in their surface thoughts, and the worst part is that I’m probably older than some of them.* I nervously ate a few sweets as I looked up at the Saer’khi dancing to the music in the sky above us, then washed them down with a mug of Passu before nodding to my sister and taking to the air at her side.
I danced with several more Pi’tak that night, but it was the same as it had been before. They were more than happy to shower me with attention and treat me like a princess, I even genuinely liked a few of them, but as we spoke their surface thoughts told me all I needed to know. *You are such a nice young Ji’turi, and smart too. Maybe I will have the honor of offering you my mind, when you are a little older.*
Of course none of them knew why I flew away sad and hurt, but the feelings were there just the same when I once again gave up and returned to the base of the tree to drown my sorrows in sweets and far too much Passu, switching my thinking to Mandarin to keep my depressed surface thoughts private. The really sad thing was that I couldn’t even get drunk from the Passu. I could get a good buzz going if I kept drinking, but my nanites saw the alcohol as a poison and aggressively attacked it, preventing me from actually getting flat-out drunk.
When we returned home that night I laid awake in my soft gel bed for hours in a spiral of depressive thoughts. “Nobody is ever going to see you as anything but a child here at best. On Earth I’d be even more of a sideshow freak than I was before, ‘Come see the Amazing Unaging Halfbreed Girl!’ I mean what are you anyway? Human? Saer’khi? Both or neither? Yeah, your family loves you and sees you for who you are, but will anyone else? Ever? Well maybe Tarek… No! I’m not interested in him that way, he needs a real Saer’khi girl anyway. Let’s face reality Xia, you’ll never really fit in anywhere. You should have known that things were going to end up this way. Mom or Krie can keep pushing you at guys until the universe comes to a fiery end, hell you’ll probably still be around and the same age to witness it, but no matter what they think you’re never going to get married or be a mother.”
It was Shui screaming in my mind and on my chest that woke me. She was hungry again and uncomfortable, I was pretty sure that she needed her nappy changed. I tried to shake off my ironic dream and started to console her, rocking her gently and cooing softly into her ear and her mind. *It’s okay, you’re fine Shui. Momma will change your nappy and then you can eat.*
After coaxing Kit awake and out of the position that she had taken up curled up in my lap after I had fallen asleep, I managed to extract myself from the straps, and the seat, and turned to kneel and place Shui on her back in the seat I had just vacated. Carefully I untied both sides of the nappy and wrinkled my nose at the smell as I opened it up. Ugh. That was a lot of poop; stinky, sticky, only half-solid poop. I attempted to ignore the smell and Shui’s screaming and just got to work, trying to think soothing thoughts to her as I did. Taking her gently by the ankles I raised her bottom and used my other hand, and one of the reusable sanitary clothes to clean up her bottom as best I could before wetting a second cloth with some of my water to finish the job. After a quick inspection to the area showed her to be properly cleaned, I spritzed the area with a disinfectant spray from my medical bag that should prevent diaper rash and put the new nappy on.
She wasn’t near as upset by this time and her screaming had settled into little hiccoughs as she began to calm down. I could sense that she was a bit hungry, but it seemed to be the nappy that had been bothering her the most. *There we go, all better now. Momma will feed you in a minute Shui,* I assured her as I attempted to figure out what to do with the soiled nappy and cloths. I finally shrugged and put Shui in her sling for the moment while I took the soiled nappy and cloths into one of the transport’s two bathrooms, between the passenger and cargo sections. Then I set to cleaning them up as best I could with the sonic wash, followed by scrubbing them down with the antibacterial scrub foam, and then repeating the sonic wash.
Satisfied with how clean and dry they were, I returned both the nappy and the cloths to my medical pouch with the others and opened a seam in my uniform to let Shui start feeding. *Tarek, any word from Tanna and Karran yet?* I inquired as I headed toward the front of the ship to join him in the pilot’s compartment.
*They exited the ship from an airlock a few minutes ago and they are now making their way across the hull to the best position to raise the ship. Third activated the ship’s anti-gravity field before they left the ship so they should be ready soon Tess’rha,* he replied as I entered the compartment. *Did you sleep well?*
*About as well as I could reasonably expect,* I replied with a mental shrug. Then I turned to give him a stern look, lacing my thought with unhappiness as I added, *You were going to let me sleep through this whole retrieval operation weren’t you?*
The presence of his mind shrunk away from my own in a blend of guilt and worry. *You were so tired Tess’rha, and sleeping so soundly. You push yourself too hard sometimes and you and Shui both needed your rest. You weren’t planning on doing anything but observing, so I thought it was best to let you sleep and only wake you if necessary.*
A soft sigh escaped my lips. I couldn’t really blame him for being concerned, and I had needed the sleep. In all honestly I was still tired, but since I was already awake and feeding Shui more rest would have to wait. *I get it Tess’hir, that’s just you being you, and you were probably right.* I wrapped him up in a warm mental embrace and leaned over to lovingly kiss him. Then I made myself comfortable in the navigator’s seat, softly cooing to the baby in my arms.
As I sat down Kit hopped up in my lap and I had to split my affection between the slip and my baby. My baby. It still felt really weird to me thinking of Shui that way, not unwelcome, just weird and a bit jarring. It wasn’t that I didn’t want her, it was just that she was a surprise and unlike a lot of mothers who were surprised by a potential new child, I didn’t have all those months of pregnancy to get used to the idea, it had all just happened so suddenly. One minute I only had myself to worry about… well myself, my friends and family, and over two hundred colonists, and the next I had Shui too.
Despite the shock of it, which seemed to be wearing off some, I found that it was more than just not wanting to foist her off on someone else when she was my responsibility that made me want to keep her. I was happy to be her mother, I wanted it. She was strange and adorable and I might not have given birth to her, but with the mind link we shared it didn’t matter, she was my baby. How could I ever think of giving her up when her first babbling thoughts had echoed in my mind and forged that link, a link I could feel growing steadily stronger with each passing hour.
Smiling to myself, I lightly rocked and fed Shui in one arm and fussed over her, using my free hand to carefully scratch all those annoying places on Kit and fondly pet her, all the while sending loving and affectionate thoughts to them both. Those thoughts were interrupted as I received simultaneous pings from both Karran and Tanna. A moment later Karran’s mind-voice called out excitedly, *We are in position and starting to bring it up now! I wish you would have been able to join us though Commander, even with the anti-gravity field on, lifting this ship is probably going to be difficult.* The last part sounded strained as he shifted almost all of his focus to using his telekinesis.
*Yes,* Tanna quickly agreed, her own mind voice sounding distracted and just as strained as Karran’s from the effort she was putting out. *This is really stretching it… It’s just so... big!*
I snorted and giggled, trying to keep my amusement to myself and in the deeper recesses of my mind as much as possible. They didn’t need the distraction right now of me explaining just how dirty that had sounded. I would have to remember to tease Tanna about it later though. Still, I wish I had been able to go down with them to lighten the load. It had taken Tanna and Karran over half an hour to raise the ship close enough to the surface for the dropship’s tractor beam to get a solid grip on it, and the whole time they had been pushing their telekinetic abilities to the limit.
Once the pair was back on board the dropship, and we were on our way back to the settlement with Third’s ship in tow, Shui had finished feeding and fallen asleep. Tanna was making straight for the pilot’s compartment, but I put a quick stop to that. *You’re not going anywhere Tanna,* I quickly scolded my fellow Ji’turi. *The two of you are going to rest for a bit while I run a few scans and give you a good once over to ensure there haven’t been any negative effects from your efforts. You were using your telekinesis well beyond what you’re both used to for over half an hour.*
*I’m a bit tired, but otherwise I feel fine,* Tanna protested. Karran though, knew better than to argue with a Ji’turi who also happened to be his doctor and commanding officer and had already sat down.
*That wasn’t a friendly request Tanna, it was an order; from either your Commander or your doctor, take your pick,* I told her sternly before smiling at her. *Now could you please hold Shui for me while I get to work?*
She looked at me in confusion for a moment and then seemed to realize what I was asking. *You are going to let me hold her?* Her face lit up and her mind-speech was suddenly radiating joy and excitement.
*Well of course,* I replied sending her a mental image of the Cheshire cat’s grin. *I need both hands for this, and you’re going to have to getting used to holding a baby sooner or later. You’ll have one of your own soon enough.*
Tanna let out a mental squee as I placed Shui gingerly in her arms, and you would have thought that she was the proud mama the way she was grinning as she held the green-hued infant. I had to stop myself from giggling as Tanna cooed to and gently rocked Shui in her arms. I briefly wondered if I looked that sappy when I held her, before turning to Karran so that I could look him over first. I started with simple things like visual and auditory response, then I used my goggles in several different modes, while physically checking his pulse. Finally I produced the handheld bio-scanner from my bag and ran it over his body making sure to do a thorough job of scanning his head to get decent readings of his brain activity. It would have been better and gotten more detail with a full scanner like the one in the medical ship, but this one would work.
Karran checked out fine, there didn’t seem to be any issues or anomalies from his efforts so I had Tanna reluctantly hand Shui over to him while I ran the same tests on her. Again there didn’t seem to be anything alarming or unusual, but I felt better having done it. I didn’t want anything happening to my friends because I was negligent on my duties as their doctor. They meant too much to me to risk that, everyone in the colony did.
By the time I was finished with Tanna we were within sight of the settlement. I had just taken Shui back from Karran and put her securely in her sling when Tarek sent, *Where should we put Third’s ship Tess’rha?*
The ship had proven to be larger than I had first suspected, perhaps a little more than twice the size of the personnel transport, and that wasn’t including the large wings, one of which had been sheered off when it had crashed. *Let’s put it on the edge of the settlement where we had this dropship before, there should be enough room, and we can put this one down behind the medical dropship on the northern side,* I suggested.
It was a tight fit, but we managed to get both ships landed in the proper places without damaging anyone’s shelters. It was nearly lunchtime and many of the people returning from their morning work shifts for lunch stopped to get an eyeful of the colony’s large and shiny new arrival. As we ate I had gathered my advisors to discuss the new ship and what it could mean for us. All of us Saer’khi were in attendance, as was Matt, Dennis, Luiza, Mandy, Lirra, Sarah, and of course Third.
I had decided that for now, nobody would be allowed inside the ship until we had a good idea what technology might be hidden away in there and a decent idea how some, if not most, of it worked. With that in mind, Third would be keeping the garage bay doors and ramp closed for now and would be monitoring the ship closely during the evenings. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust the colonists, well except for certain mutineers, but while I had the results of too much curiosity sleeping and nuzzling against my chest, I couldn’t let the others repeat that lapse of judgement with something potentially far more dangerous than a baby. I didn’t want anyone accidentally activating something they shouldn’t, getting hurt by entering the wrong area, or giving the engineering team even more work to do to restore the ship.
Third would be teaching us how things worked soon, starting with Karran and Xawin so that the two engineers could assist it with repairing any damaged systems, the outer airlock controls that had been damaged by so long under water, and any damage to the vehicles in the hangar. Xawin expected to have the water pipeline finished by the time his team finished their afternoon work shift, so he would be free to work with Karran and the mechanoid starting the next day. Now that we had the water pipeline in place we just needed to make sure that we had suitable materials for the construction nanites to work with to build the bathhouse.
As lunch neared its end we discussed the ship itself, the vehicles on board and how they could be useful to us, especially if an occupying force came from Earth before help could arrive from Saer’kah. At my request, Third had transferred some high resolution scans and schematics of the vehicles in the garage so that we could see what we had to work with. There were three different types of vehicles in the garage, and four of each kind.
The first of the three types was a large transport and cargo hauler meant for loading and unloading supplies, similar to the mag-lev transport we already had, but considerably larger. They would make things easier for the colony, but were by far the least interesting of the vehicles. The second type was some sort of multipurpose planetary exploration vehicle that seated up to ten people and which Third assured us could travel at fairly high speeds at low altitude with it’s antigravity field. It could also move along the ground on rough terrain, had a submersible mode, was resistant even to the high heat of molten lava, and had retractable drills and particle beam cutters for mining and underground exploration. Mandy was understandably excited about those, which she dubbed Crawlers due to the dozen retractable bug-like legs they used to get around in all-terrain mode.
The last type was the one that Tanna, Tarek, and I found the most interesting, and Luiza gave a low whistle before saying “I have to show these to Dot later, she would love to fly something like this.” It was a type of small and sleek single occupant trans-atmospheric vehicle that resembled an aerodynamic fighter jet, if aliens had built a fighter jet. All four of its wings were swept forward and the tail was sort of bulbous, containing multiple smaller versions of its main ion thrusters for maneuvering. There were similar thrusters located on the wings as well for high speed tilts and spins. It was fast, maneuverable, and designed for exploring asteroid belts or high speed travel in an atmosphere or space. I called them Hornets.
“So what kinds of weapons do these vehicles and the ship have?” Dennis finally asked the android.
“Weapons?” Third asked, tilting its head slightly in confusion. “It is possible that the particle beam cutters on the vehicle that you have designated the Crawler could be effective weapons, but the ship was meant to be used first for unseen observation. Once I had passed it on to the inheritors, both the ship and the vehicles inside were meant for peaceful exploration, and to seek out the Originators. Why would they put weapons on them?”
Dennis placed his head in his hands and shook it sadly as he muttered, “Oh I don’t know, maybe because during our exploration there is the possibility of meeting people who want to kill us?”
“The Originators concluded that the only other sentients that any of their nine child species would be likely to encounter would be one another. They determined that adding weapons would not be logical as they did not wish for any of their children to harm or kill one another, thus only defensive measures were put in place,” the android said matter-of-factly.
“Wishes don’t always come true,” Luiza spat bitterly. “Many humans, including those in charge of certain Earth governments have no problems harming and killing their own kind, let alone other species. And we’re pretty sure they’ll be coming at some point to take this planet from us by force.”
“Especially if they ever find out about those new elements that Xia discovered when we got here,” Mandy added with a sigh.
“Could we modify them and add some weapons in case of an invasion? What defensive measures do they have?” I quickly shot off the questions after I considered Third’s explanation.
“The Originators did not upload weapon specifications as part of my programming, it was considered unnecessary,” the robot explained before adding. “Though I believe that any weapon systems of sufficiently small size could be installed into the wings of the vehicle designated Hornets and incorporated into their systems without compromising the vehicles’ function or aerodynamics, resulting in a negligible change in performance. As for the defensive systems, I must admit that the transports have none, they were not meant to be put in hazardous situations. The ship has both the cloaking field generator and high output zero point energy shields, as do the Hornets. The Crawlers are equipped only with the shields.”
I nodded thoughtfully for a moment before finally speaking. “Okay then Third, your first priority will be those defensive systems and figuring out what other repairs are needed to get the ship and any of the vehicles that may have been damaged fully functional again. Xawin, research what weapons we might be able to fit into those Hornets and work with Third on making it happen. Karran, I want you working with Third on whatever repairs it feels are most important to the ship, you can start this afternoon. I also want you both learning everything you can about that ship and how it works from Third, you’ll get familiar with any details it can provide you with; schematics, blueprints, instruction manuals, or whatever else it might find in it’s memory banks.”
“Yes Commander!” the two Saer’khi engineers replied. I could still sense the excitement in their thoughts as our group split up to get to our afternoon duties.
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