The First Supper Part 1 (Day 1)

Serena hadn’t seen so many people at the crew table in a while, it was packed, and while the teen would like to credit Roose’s cheffing, it was more likely because it was the first time in a while they had food - real food, not protein paste or gritty meal replacement drinks. There was rice and fresh-caught fish, canned vegetables, and enough for everyone. The crew chief shoveled it in so fast she thought for a moment he’d choke, but decided that was okay because she could always put his initials on a tree. He seemed to be in a race with Gil for who could eat fastest. Haddie stabbed things methodically with her fork. Lyen, who offered a blessing before the meal seemed to be enjoying the food too.

“Roose, everything tastes great,” Serena complimented, her own mouth full of rice and fish. “We musta done great on Pelorum for the Lieutenant to get food - real food for all us, which… If swimmin’ and takin’ a break is doin’ a good job, I’m all for it.”

“Toldja she liked us.” Vas said confidently, bothering to breathe long enough to speak. He wasn’t trying to be smug about it but he was.

Patch moseyed in, his shirt and pants marked here and there with stains that he hadn’t gotten around to cleaning after a day of working on little tweaks of the Veil’s engine. He grabbed a plate and looked over the feast Roose had laid out for the crew. He smiled, taking in the atmosphere of being with a crew, a real crew, again. The big man served himself up a little of everything to enjoy each part and squeezed himself into one of the chairs at the table. He took a bite and was a bit surprised. This was better than Serena led him to expect of Roose’s cooking. He raised a glass to Roose. “My compliments to the chef.” He smiled and continued to sample each bit. “So,” the mechanic inquired to no one in particular at the table, “this station stop. How long are we lookin’ before we dock?”

“Fourteen days til we get to High Gate,” Serena said so the crew chief could keep eating. She still wasn’t entirely sure the crew chief was right about Riley liking them. “Only we gotta make a stop to drop off somethin’ at a space station mid way, which means we get to use the shuttle. Not the one Yaz lives in, the other one.”

“The drop-off is a little past Ra Amun I think, so two and half days give or take. That shuttle is going to be crammed …” Vas groused. As if the shuttled weren’t small enough!

Patch nodded as he ate, noting Vas mentioning the lack of room on the shuttle. “Might need a couple things for an upgrade Drake an’ I are workin’ on. Can I give ya a list?” the mechanic inquired to the Crew Chief.

“It may be better if you just tag along then.” Vas could confidently fly the shuttle, but fixing stuff? Or know what a part even was called? Yea, no, hard pass on that! “I’ll have my hands full on landing anyway.”

“I get to go on account of I can work the Quick Lift,” Serena bragged. “We had one on my old ship - most ports have ‘em too. Plus I make for good company.”

Patch chuckled as he took another bite. “That you do, kid!” he said, smiling with a mouthful of food, “That you do!”

“At least this means Roose won’t be experimenting with the protein paste for a while.” Vas said still hung up on sludge night. “Dodge a bullet you did, Patch.”

“I didn’t think your protein paste was the worst thing you ever made,” Serena soothed, offering the cook a smile before turning her attention back to the mechanic. “Have you ever been on a space station before, Mr. Kaleidascopski?”

“Says the girl who hadn’t had duck before she met me.” Vas jibbed. “You’ll just ‘bout eat anything if it don’t make you sick.”

“Once or twice.” The mechanic answered the young girl, unfazed by her getting his name wrong yet again. Oddly enough, he was beginning to find the reliability of her inconsistency strangely comforting. “Couple a big ones. Almost like floatin’ cities, those ones. But I ain’t been to this one.” Patch confessed. “They got a decent tradin’ post?”

“Kinda,” Serena told him. “It’s mostly storage containers, only sometimes somethings aren’t never claimed, then they sell ‘em off. Stuff happens like ships blow up or the Alliance arrests people, that’s what happened to our old captain. So you never know what you’re gonna get. Engine parts, medicine, once there was a whole shipment of creepy dolls, only I don’t think they were supposed to be creepy, it’s just there was so many of ‘em.”

“Are you sure? They had a look about them … like they were gunna jump out at you if the lights flickered.” Vas said thinking about it. “Who needs that many dolls anyway! What kinda kid would even play with that … Haddie maybe but she don’t count.”

“Creepy dolls…” Patch mused. “Well, now I know what to fill both ya bunks with for Lunar New Year!” the mechanic joked.

“Cookies?” Vas perked.

“Sure, kid.” The old man falsely reassured, “sure.”

“Shiney!” He grinned.

Serena giggled to herself as she took a sip of water. She knew first hand what happens when you crossed the crew chief, but some lessons were best learned on their own. They were more valuable. “So it’s like a bazaar. They’re fun to shop at, if you know how to haggle for prices, which I know you do on account of that’s why the mechanics on Pelorum didn’t like you.”

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