To Gun, or Not To Gun (Part 1)

JP Winters & Blitzen

“Heya Crew Chief, you got a minute?” Serena asked, pushing the broom into the cargo bay. Like the lieutenant asked, she had made herself busy, and working did help improve the teen’s mood. With afternoon approaching, she hadn’t yet had the chance to talk to him about going to town with the Doc and Lyen.

With the dogs gone there was plenty of work to. E Dong to clean out the smell they left in the cargo bay. It hadn't been so noticeable with the dogs there but now it was kinda impossible to miss. "What's up?" He asked putting down a bucket of soapy water.

“I was wonderin’ if maybe I could go to town s’afternoon with Mistah Doctah Adluh and Sister Lyen? I won’t be gone all that long and I promise I’ll work twice as hard when I get back. Doctah Adluh says he knows a smith that can fit me for--” She asked in one breath, gripping tightly to the broom for moral support, “my own gun.”

"Though you said you didn't want one .. err … or wasn't ready for one?" Vas said confused.

“Doctah Adluh said that it’s good t’be prepared, just in case for defending yourself.”

"I mean … I'm just your Crew Chief dunno if I have any say over you getting yourself a weapon. Just maybe wondering what changed?" He asked.

Serena shrugged, keeping her eyes where she was sweeping. “I dunno, just tired of feelin’ -- like I can’t” the teen paused a moment looking for the right word. “You look out for me, for all the crew, but I wanna be able to look out for me too, because what if you’re not around? Or what if I get fired? Captain said if it was between me an’ Leo - I know it’s not gonna be me.” She’d been proficient enough at avoiding him, but the few times she’d made eye contact, he was like a cat, toying with a mouse. It was only a matter of time in her opinion.

"Tsk … Captain was so far down that bottle he owes it rent." Vas said dryly. "You leave Captain to me. That's my job. Now I ain't saying no you can't, I am just saying that do you really think a gun is going to make you feel better?"

“Unless I shoot myself with it, is it gonna make me feel worse?” She countered, tilting her head to the side. “And maybe then I can watch your back too. You never know when you might need someone to save your life if you’re lookin’ the wrong way.”

"Yes … it can make you feel overconfident." He pointed out. "I mean think about it you ever see me carting around a gun or a weapon at all?"

“No because Crew chief, you are a weapon,” Serena replied matter of fact. “No one in their right mind’s gonna mess with you, and if they ain’t in their right mind, you can go ahead and liberate ‘em from it, I seen it first hand. I’m not. Lieutenant carries a gun, and the mechanic carries two guns, and Mistah Doctah Adluh has two guns, even the nun is getting a gun, what does that tell you? Tells me there’s a lot of bad people out there. I know, on account of I used to be one of ‘em.”

"That there is a lot of verbal unpacking." Vas chuckled. "You can call me a weapon all you want but most folk don't see that. You only know because of what went down on the Skyhook and … wait why is the nun getting a gun?!" Vas said astounded as the impact of what she said filtered through his mohawked skull.

“I dunno. Doctah Adluh said he took her shootin’, and that her hand an’ mine is about the same size. Maybe she had a misunderstanding with someone too. I just wanna be more like you an’ take care of myself.”

"I feel this is slowly leading to me getting shot by you." Vas said rubbing his face. "I don't … I … I am not exactly something to aspire to. You really want folk to look at you like you did me … sometimes still do? Guns. Weapons. They mark you for trouble. You may not be looking for it but it has a funny way of finding you."

“But you are. And if you think you are something aspiring or not, I look up to you, an’ Gil looks up to you and not just since you’re taller than us. I seen you, who you can be on the Skyhook but it don’t mean I think that’s who you are, just means that I know it’s there, so I can’t help but how I look at you sometimes. But I told you Crew chief, I don’t respect you on account of that, I got respect for you on account of who you showed me you are on this ship. “

"Yes I know I'm trying not to sound hypocritical here just want to make sure it's something you really want and not some … idea you have that a gun will make things better for you." Vas said.

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