*! Piece o’ crap bird, ain’t worth the scrap price I’d get for ya…”
Though the curse had been rather loud (as one would expect when an engine sends a mild – but painful enough to register – shock to the person working on it), the following words were muttered under breath. As much as Meredith Powell may have hated her less-than-shiny new ship and home at times, the fact was that ultimately she loved the old girl. An ex-Bernard-class search and rescue vessel, Meredith knew it would attract a few of the wrong sorts when on the move. Reavers loved them as hijack vessels, and the feds would almost certainly be suspicious of an unmarked SAR floating around the rim planets. However, with the massive cargo hold designed to hold refugees of failing or war-torn planets, there was a good chance of getting chosen for work, and this was something that had been a primary concern when choosing. She’d rather fancied a nice Firefly-class ship that had been at the auction, but a man named Reynolds had seemed determined to outbid her.
With a ‘hmph’ of laughter in her throat, Meredith slid herself out from underneath a spot of the gravity drive, straightened up and wiped her hands clean of the rag she’d left on the side. As though apologising after scolding a child, she patted the wall of the engine room with a smile as she walked out, making her way to her bunk to change out of the grease-covered overalls she was in. Though practical, it hardly gave off the professional, well-maintained appearance she usually went for. After years of fighting in ditches and being covered in desert dust, it was nice to finally be able to dress in ‘real’ clothes.
After washing up quickly, she pulled her dark, wavy hair up into a rough, messy bun and pinned it with a pair of wooden chopsticks. It was summer on Haven, and the heat from the rocks and dust on the mining planet prevented the traditional captain’s uniform she would don. It was a shame, she thought to herself, as this was her first ever chance at being captain. She’d been a lieutenant in the war and never rose any higher after the Independents surrendered after the Battle of Serenity Valley. When the opportunity had come along to run her own ship, Meredith would never have been able to turn it down. Instead she dressed in a loose white dress and trouser set, with a brown sash around the middle. Brown was a colour she always wore, a personal choice when her coat wasn’t appropriate for whatever reason. Pulling on a pair of brown boots – to protect her feet from the hot surface and anything they might accidentally or intentionally hit while on ground – she climbed the ladder from her bunk, made her way back through the cargo hold and lowered the ramp, taking a breath of hot, dry air as it rushed in to greet her.
Her footsteps echoed on the metal as she walked slowly down the ramp, spotting a few other ships docking for business. Meredith wished she could take on a job – and had received a few offers since buying the ship – but she wouldn’t risk it as a sole flier. She loved a bit of damger, an element of the unknown, but she was by no means stupid enough to think she could captain, fly and maintain a ship all at once. She needed a crew, and a good one. In her mind, there was nowhere better than home to find one. Pulling a medium sized rock over to perch on, Meredith leaned back on the stone, feeling the warmth through her clothes as the regarded the multitude of people walking between the vessels, speaking to the crew, judging.
“Hey, Puhn Yoh
**!” she called out to someone with their back turned, who had previously been turning in circles looking lost, “You know as well as I do that all these other birds are pieces of Luh Suh
^. ‘S’why I know you ain’t gonna pick none of them, not when The Lassiter here’s still acceptin’. Am I right?”