Lita stepped out of the cleaner groggy and caffeine deficient. Her fourteen-hour shift was going to start soon and she wished she would have slept more than two hours. The culprit that kept her awake all night was still on her bed.
If she had the energy and she didn’t need the CB5-Micro engine, she would have already thrown it against the cold gray metal walls of her berthing room. But she didn’t because she had plans for the little guy. No matter how much she wanted to crush it under a hammer, she had to remember it had a purpose to serve.
It had to power a mini EMP.
But that wouldn’t happen until she figured out how to make the engine turn on by itself. At the same time it had to take direction from a countdown clock. It took her a week to make the engine. It might take her another week to figure out the stupid timer.
Walking to her Federation cabinet with a towel wrapped around her breast, a small chirp sounded.
She groaned slightly.
The chirp sounded, again.
“Hey Burns, activate call,” she said.
A small humm from a homemade communication vibrated the air as a black spherical device lifted from the floor near her bed. She created it with scraps after arriving on Garna. Garna was a massive spaceship. Miles wide and long. It was built to take on a planet. By far the most dangerous ship in the Federation. Which was why Lita joined the Federation in the first place. The best ship had to have the best mechanics, right? Well, she was it. The best. Or at least, that’s what she believed.
Burns was one the many things she crafted. Lita made it so she to talk freely with her sister back on Earth. Most Federation crew members knew that their Minky calls and communications were logged and traced. That might be fine for the rest of the crew, but Lita didn’t like eavesdroppers, regardless if it was for security reasons or not.
Burns was one of a kind. Not only was it hands free, which made life easier, but it was untraceable.
Burns was a three-inch round speaker, microphone with propulsion. At the bottom of the globe was the mini fans. On the sides were the speakers and in front and back were the speakers. The mesh holding everything together was her design too. It also changed colors when receiving a call. At the moment it was orange representing a voice call being connected.
A moment later, it turned light blue.
Her sister Yeme, short for Yemelet was the first to talk. “Look who answered the phone.”
Lita didn’t bother correcting her that it wasn’t a phone, but on Earth, some terms were eternal. “I haven’t had my coffee, so tread softly.”
“Right. The worst thing you could do is hang up.”
“I’m seriously thinking about it,” she lied.
Her sister chuffed. “Okay, but seriously, you need to do something. Dad blew up the shed this morning.”
Lita smirked lightly as she tossed the towel on the bed, grabbed a pair of female-briefs and pulled them on. “He’s probably making something for your birthday.”
“My birthday’s in eight months.”
“So, he only worries about my birthday the day before – and that’s after you remind him.”
“Well, I’m out of ideas,” she said pulling down a sports bra. “Why do you care what he’s doing?” Lita, never spent time thinking of her dad’s every day activities. He was an adult, he knew the consequences of his actions. He was smart, and had taught her how to avoid being noticed around nosey humans.
“You know why,” she said. “If he keeps blowing things up, he’s going to attract attention and then he will be arrested and sent to Debsa.”
Debsa was a Federation prison planet. The place where unreformable humans were sent.
Lita finished dressing in a black t-shirt and Federation issued gray pants and socks. She grabbed her boots, walked to the bed. Burns floated after her. “If they sent Dad to Debsa our family reunions will become the event of the Federation. Everyone will be trying to get arrested.”
“I’m trying to have a serious conversation with you,” Yeme snapped.
Lita finished tying the right boot and slipped her foot in the left one. “And I’m subtly trying to avoid it.”
Over the small speaker she could hear Yeme’s audible exhale. In a more serious tone her sister said, “You know if they find out what he is, they will exile him from Earth. You get that right?”
Standing up Lita walked to the cleaner and the small device buzzed behind her trying to catch up. “You worry too much.”
“And you two don’t worry enough,” she said in a hiss. “I swear, I have no idea what you two would do without me.”
Lita could think of a lot of things that would be better, such as spending hours talking about the many dates, Yeme went on, or how she thought her boss was an idiot, or the grueling conversation about what Lita planned to do when she retired from the Federation in ten years, but she didn’t voice it. Yeme wouldn’t find the comments funny. “Alright, I got to show up for work.”
“As if you actually do anything. That cyborg still have you cleaning the insides of the ships?”
“Finished those yesterday.”
A knock sounded at the door. Lita tapped the top of Burns and it sucked in all its parts, and dropped like the metal ball it was. The loud clang didn’t bother her because the internal parts would stay safe. Another genius design.
The door opened and Katie, a blue haired female with a red heart and black thorn tattoo on her neck, stood there holding two large coffee cups. Katie was the only other female mechanic on Garna. Up until this point, they had politely smiled at each other, but that was it.
“Hazelnut caramel, right?”
Lita took the cup offered and sniffed the small hole in the lid. “Yep, this my favorite.” Lifting her head she asked, “Did you ask Mavin? Or are you my number one stalker?”
Katie smiled, “I thought I should introduce myself properly. I mean, we work together, we can get to know each other.”
“Sure,” Lita said stepping from her room. The door slid shut behind her and Katie lead the way down the long hallway towards the one and only elevator for the ship. If there was ever a design flaw in the building of the mega-ship, that was it.
Katie waited a moment before saying, “I tried to contact you on the Minky, but it didn’t go through.”
“Oh, that’s weird,” Lita said hiding an internal smile.
“Yeah, I thought…” she started but then stopped and her eyebrows came together.
“You thought what?” Lita asked.
Katie shook her head.
Lita paused and faced the female who looked like something was wrong. “What’s up?”
Katie looked defensive. “It’s not my business.”
What wasn’t her business? The hell? “Explain why you’re all,” Lita said as she circled the woman’s face with her finger, hoping that Katie understood the human gesture.
“I didn’t know that you wanted your Minky broken.”
Lita didn’t move a muscle, but internally she was narrowing her mental eyes and wondering how the woman knew that.
Katie leaned back, “It’s not that bad. Don’t get upset.”
“I’m not upset,” Lita lied in the perfect casual tone.
“I’m a Hettan.”
“I know,” said Lita.
Katie tilted her head as if she was waiting for Lita to say something. “Hettans can feel what others are feeling. So when I asked about your Minky, I felt you glad it was broken.”
“Serious?” How did she not know about Hettans and their super powers?
“Yes. But working around non-Hettans we try to let other people have their emotional privacy. Which is why I said it wasn’t my business.”
Lita just stared. First because she had to mull over the intrusion. Second to calculate the possibilities of working with a high-powered empath.
It was when Lita started liking the idea of Katie’s power that, Katie’s shoulders relaxed. “Good, I’m glad you’re okay with me.”
“Likewise,” Lita said turning back towards the elevator.
“Should I worry about the way you’re feeling right now?” Katie said with an odd look, probably tapping into Lita’s giddy feeling.
“Nope,” Lita said not sure if she was lying or not.
Inside the elevator Lita took a long sip of the warm, milky coffee.
“I also wanted to talk to you about a problem I’m having on a transporter’s engine,” Katie said.
Peering over, Lita smiled, “You didn’t have to get me coffee to ask for help. I’d do that for free.”
“The coffee was to introduce myself. And I know you’d work for free, because I can feel the constant sadness whenever you pass someone cranking on an engine.”
Lita didn’t care that the female knew her feelings in regard to that. “So this is a pity help? You’re going to pretend you can’t fix something, but all along you can?”
The elevator doors opened and they walked out. Katie said, “I’m nice, but I’m not that stupid. And I don’t think you’d respect me if I couldn’t figure out the standard stuff.”
Her insides burned with excitement. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I would have taken a pity job in a heartbeat,” Lita said grinning.