Human Resources

Serena wiped the dust from her hands, using her forearm to wipe the sweat from her forehead and looked around the stateroom. It’d been a disaster when the Crew Chief tasked her with clearing it out, And now, it was less dis, but still aster.

“How does one ship collect so much shit?” She said to no one as she sifted through yet another box. Inside this one was a musty, long brown trench coat. Why couldn’t she be kidnapped by a more organized ship? The coat and box contents were folded and stored inside another container in what she was terming ‘crap consolidation.’ The room itself was huge! And another room, on the OTHER side of the ship, was designated for storage. For the most part, anything that was in okay condition stayed, the rest was getting junked, and the crew chief wanted the wing - including the double occupancy room with the giant bed and its own bathroom in livable condition by the time they reached New Kasmir. She’d been working for two days straight and finally unearthed the bed. All the linens were washed while she cleared out the remaining boxes. Thick dust had settled on every surface Armed with buckets, sponges and rags, it took all of four days to clear out the junk, dust, must and mildew, but when all was said and done, it was nicer than all the rooms on the Skyhook combined.

She froze mid wringing out a sponge over the bucket taking longer than necessary, seeing the small puddle of water spilled by her shoes.

“Never sacrifice sure footing in striking distance of your target… you got water all around your feet.” The hair on the back of her neck prickled and she quickly picked up the bucket, stepping away from the water.

She couldn’t shake the memory though, especially since her next stop was the showers, hot, sweaty and covered in the dust that had been long undisturbed in the stateroom, nothing should have been more comforting than the hot water which washed it down the drain.

“You got water all around your feet. What did I SAY?! This is not about ME. Stop straying from the SUBJECT. I really don’t think you're taking me seriously. You believe me now? ” He took a long pull from the pitcher and spit bloody water on the floor. “Then say it.”

Serena turned off the hot water and reached for her towel, her hand hitting nothing but tiled wall as she groped for where she left it. Opening one eye, it was no longer hanging on the hook, and she took a sharp breath in, seeing it in the hands of someone she didn’t expect to be standing there. She stammered for a moment, he wasn’t wearing anything either, but unlike him, she kept her eyes up by his jawline. The mustached man chuckled as she pulled the curtain she could swear was closed around her.

“I didn’t mean to startle you.” he chortled and held out the towel which she quickly grabbed. “Did no one explain the showers are co-ed? Most of us on board have a deep appreciation for the human form. I’m Leo, by the way. And you are?” Still in full view, he held out his hand slightly below his waist, causing her quickly glance downward to make sure it was his hand she was about to shake. She did so quickly, then recoiled to wrap the towel around herself as he seemed to take delight in her discomfort.

“Serena.” She said quickly and quietly, bringing her eyes back up to his teeth.

“Serena. New deckhand, right? It looks good.” He said cryptically, stepping into the same shower stall as she did her best to slink past him. He turned the water jets on while turning to face her. “I may have to upgrade. I’m talking about the stateroom of course.”

Serena hastily pulled her overalls over wringing wet skin, scooping up the rest of her belongings.

“I have some scutwork in my cabin that could use a Deckhand’s attention,” he continued. “If you can handle a really big job.”

“Crew Chief gives out assignments.” She mumbled, her stomach sinking at the thought of the oily man being one of those tasks.

“Oh..” He replied, turning the water back off, standing there, letting himself drip dry. “The previous deckhands understood paying passengers were one of their priorities.” She wished he’d wrap a towel around himself, something. “I don’t really want to get you in trouble with the crew chief, but --”

Serena finally made eye contact with the man who she definitely would have targeted outside of the Skyhook. Over-inflated opinion of himself, it would be easy to get him to follow back to the ship by playing into his vanity. He’d be just as easy to break.

But this wasn’t the Skyhook, and she had no idea where she stood, but wherever it was, she wasn’t about to sacrifice sure footing. She scurried out of the room, whispering under her breath. “Tā shì yīgè guàiwù” (He’s a monster.)

Her heart thumped out of her chest as she ran barefoot down the corridor. She turned the corner reaching her destination, the safest place on the boat. Only by the sink wasn’t the fancy talking Mistuh Doctah Adler - it was Guàiwù himself.

“I… I…” She stammered, out of breath as she checked over her shoulder, “am sorry to interrupt, Crew Chie… Vas, but I need a question. I mean, I had a question. I have a question."

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