So again, this starts at the tail end of another scene. It's really about three pages, but who's counting.... It starts off with Skylar and Tarik talking about Raena. This happens before the scene you read previously. Skylar isn't human, and he's worried about Raena's xenophobic up-bringing. He's also worried that the ship is effectively dead in the water. There might be three different scene changes in this--the double drops. And also the POV changes as many times as well..... So...Welcome to my Brain. Um, don't touch anything. You don't know what it attached to.
Finally when he couldn’t stand the feeling of Tarik’s disappointment sting the air around him, Skylar said, “Why doncha get something to eat? I got the rest of this.”
The kid left with no further comment. How, after everything this galaxy had thrown at him, could Tarik still be so young? Skylar sighed. He hated that he might have to be the one to break all that. But he would do what he had to. Better Terik be disillusioned than dead.
Skylar tried to let the work ease his mind. The Panacea was a rust bucket that barely limped at the best of times. But Skylar loved her. Almost as much as Doc and Tarik.
But she wasn’t co-operating just now. Skylar knew the only way they would be safe was to put a jump between them and the Noose’s debris field. If he couldn’t get the Panacea moving again they were dead.
The bypass wiring was easy. Skylar finished what Tarik had started, and within minutes had the atmo cycling at one hundred percent again, and rerouted power to the com. But the jump drive was the real problem. He turned away from the circuit panel and scrunched himself farther into the engine compartment. Fixing the drive was hands on, and everything down here was made for much smaller hands.
He squirmed his way passed the (repulsor thingie, or something) to the cradle the drive sat in. Skylar felt dread creep along the ridge of his spine. The smell of metal that was too hot to touch separated itself from the sharp of the burnt wiring. This was bad. (I need some help with the hardware here!) This was damage that he couldn’t fix or patch with his spanner. They needed replacement parts, and even a short detour was going to take too long now. Skylar stayed where he was, looking at the melted hunk of junk that was had been the thing that was going to save them, until he heard Doc’s boots on the deck above him.
“So.” She began. “Is this a good news/bad news situation?”
Skylar untangled himself from the machinery and ducked his head up from the hole. She looked down with a faint half smile on her face. She held a bottle of ambersi in one hand and two plasteel tumblers in the other. He tilted his head and flashed one fang to return the expression. Doc had been a spacer for too long to hope for the good, and he knew it. “Nope.”
She laughed, “Drink, then?”
“We must be desperate, if you’re sharin’.” Skylar levered himself up onto the deck to join her. “The jump’s fried.” And so are we, he thought.
She nodded. “How far are we to help?”
He gave a shrug and sat in the pilot’s seat, swiveling in so he could face her when she took the passenger’s. “There’s Gallherger brother’s, on (one of the planets). They maybe got what we need. At real time, that’s….” The rough calculation clicked in his head. “Thirty hours?”
“Not bad.” Doc handed him the tumblers and cracked the seal on the bottle. “Then we’re not desperate at all. Just movin’ at cruise speed for a day or so, yeah?”
“We’re…..” He paused as she poured. “We’re as good as drifting until we get patched up. Anyone can find us out here.”
Doc took a drink and said, “Not much different from any other day, now is it?”
“Except…” Skylar didn’t finish.
“There’s something else, isn’t there? Besides the diplomat. It’s the girl herself.” Doc narrowed her eyes. “What are you not telling me?”
A soft growl escaped him. He looked down at the ambersi but didn’t drink it.
“You can’t think she’s still working for him.” Doc protested. “She’s been running from him all across the Border Worlds. It’d be hard to believe how many times she’s escaped, if for the damage recorded on her body. She’s serious about not wanting to be put back in his hands.”
Skylar didn’t dispute that. Instead he pulled the medallion from his vest pocket. He held it out for Doc to see.
“Human’s First?” She lifted her lip in her version of a snarl. “You don’t know it’s hers.”
“It’s got a recording on it, calls her by name.”
That seemed to slow Doc’s defense. She took a drink. “Sky, she’s so young. Maybe she started with them, but she’s seen enough of the rest of the galaxy to know how misguided they are.”
“They’re terrorisst.” He countered flatly. “And where’d she learn any different? From Thallian? Because he’s such a proponent of live and let live?”
“If you’re afraid of her--”
“It’s not that.” He growled. “It’s Tarik. He doesn’t need her puttin’ that poison in his head.”
Doc laughed. “I don’t think you gotta worry about that. Maybe you don’t remember being fifteen, but I’m pretty sure Raena’s the first girl Terik’s never even seen sleeping. It’s possible he hasn’t heard anything she’s said to him yet.”
Skylar looked at his drink. Wasted on him. It didn’t do a damn bit of good. “I don’t want her talkin’ to him.”
He took the bottle from where Doc had set it on the com, uncapped it again and carefully pored his back in. “You need to save that. We got parts to buy, so the budget’s gonna be tight around here.”
“You don’t think Tarik would listen to any of that shit.” Doc said. “You know that boy thinks of you as his father. You’re lookin’ at this wrong. Maybe he can take some of the poison out of her head.”
“Just keep an eye on him, then.” Skylar pushed to his feet. “I’m going to gonna grab some sleep. Wake me for lunch.”