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Awkwardness

Posted on Thu Aug 8th, 2019 @ 1:16am by Chief Helmsman Eden Bowers & Chief Armoury Jake Ford

Mission: Temperance
Location: Corridor Outside Cargo Bay
Timeline: MD 03 14:00 Hours

The non-literal headaches in Jake's life had started to turn into actual headaches. Over the last few days he and his small team had been summonsed by the Rosie's computer to at least four false alarms in different parts of the ship. Intruder alarms, unauthorised weapon discharges, a couple of supposedly broken security protocols in sensitive areas. None of them had panned-out.

He wasn't expecting much from the latest alert from one of the cargo bays. The Mary Rose had taken on board various pods at different points in the last few weeks. Someone probably had an idea where they all belonged, but it wasn't his job.

Admittedly, Jake was half-asleep when he arrived in Bay 2. That was the reason he didn't notice the problem at first. It wasn't until he actually set foot in the bay that he did realise: the artificial gravity had been reversed, and at least a dozen cargo pods were now lining the entire ceiling of the bay.

And of course, as he had taken a single step across the threshold, Jake's feet went out from under him and a couple of seconds later he found himself staring upwards - or rather downwards - at the deck of the cargo bay, and the still-open bay door.

"Whatthedamn-" he grunted, picking himself up and trying desperately to work out his bearings. "Anyone down there?" he called, hoping there was someone still outside in the corridor that might be able to adjust the environmental controls for him.

"Hello?" Eden said looking around for the disembodied voice. "If this is my grandfather, I already ate my vegetables today." It was sort of a joke, but she thought she should cover all her bases just in case. "Jake?" She said, thinking she recognized the voice. "Where are you?"

"In the bay," he called out. "Think the gravity plating has gone all screwy and I'm...well, I'm still trying to figure out what to do." Why was it that whenever something went haywire Eden was nearby? Maybe she was the one fuelling the gremlins. No - he told himself - that wasn't exactly a sane thought. Then again, he was standing on the ceiling of a cargo bay.

"You're stuck aren't you? This is interesting, it's kind of the opposite situation from last time. Let me see if I can get things working again. No wait, if I turn gravity back on you're going to fall flat as a pancake and a squished Jake will not do us any good. Is there anything you can grab hold of or maybe we should try to get you down first before I do anything."

"Woah, slow down there," he motioned, trying to make sure she didn't make the same mistake he had. He looked around. "Just cargo containers. No idea what's even in them. Hope it's not something that explodes when slammed about the place." There was the other horrible thought that this particular glitch might fix itself like the turbolift had. Then he definitely would end up 'flat as a pancake'. "Have we got anything I can climb?"

Eden looked around without actually stepping into the cargo bay. "I could maybe find something lightweight to toss to you. Tie some bedsheets together? Find a rope." She didn't know if such a thing could be found on the ship. "I doubt there's going to be a ladder lying around. I won't be able to reach anything in the bay without falling under the same trap as you but I could look elsewhere and come back. If you can just hang tight for a minute?"

"I'm not going anywhere," Jake sighed. "Just don't take too long, we've got no idea if the gravity will just right itself again any minute." He started looking over the cargo crates, hoping he would get lucky and find a shipment of soft mattresses or a thruster pack or something. Unfortunately most weren't well labelled. One of them smelled strange, so he left it alone. His options not too helpful, all he could do was hang on a few anxious moments for Eden to return.

Eden did return a few minutes later with a long cord. It didn't have to hold his body wait after all. He just needed to be able to pull himself down from the ceiling of the cargo bay with it. "Here it is, I'm sending it up to you." She looked around, planted her feet on the outside of the bulkhead and released it up to him.

It must have looked strange from her viewpoint, but to Jake it was a source of great relief that the cord did indeed float 'upwards' towards him. He took it gratefully in his hands and gave it a firm tug. "It's long enough. Do you need to tie it on to something?"

"I'll just hold onto it. I've braced myself, come on down!"

There was a moment in which he had to decide whether to trust her, but given he had very limited options, he had to take it on face value that the young woman could bear the potential weight of a 6-foot-plus man. Taking a deep breath, he wrapped his forearm around the cord and started to haul himself upwards.

Thinking she'd done pretty well for herself she waited until he was pretty close to the doors before reaching her arm in and offering her hand. He took it and into the corridor he tumbled, knocking her to the ground in the process so that he ended up straddling her this time. "We have to stop meeting like this," Eden joked just as the same two workmen came around the corner and spotted them on the floor.

Jake opened his mouth to speak when there came a loud buzzing sound from the inside of the cargo bay. Followed by a deafening crash as the entire manifest of containers tumbled from their perch and fell as one. "Look out!" Jake called, rolling away with Eden and doing his level best to shield her.

Many of the crates survived the impact, though one or two didn't. Something that looked like a lime green ooze burst from the nearest one, splattering all up Jake's back and into Eden's face despite his attempt to cover her from it. He winced a little at the sight. "I really hope that's not poisonous..."

Eden sighed. "I'm not melting yet. Maybe it has skin tightening properties and it will be like a trip to the spa. Not that I've ever been to one," she said softly, they were still really close together. "You're welcome," she finally grinned.

Seeing her grin he finally relaxed and let out a laugh himself. "Yeah, thanks. If you hadn't shown-up when you did, I'd have been a green goo-covered pancake right now." He put a hand up to her face and smudged a large glob from her nose. "Does that make us even now, or what?"

"Were we not before? I didn't think we were off balance. I should probably go find a shower though before things start growing out of my skin, since I don't know what this stuff is." The awkwardness of the moment was getting to her especially since they were both still on the floor.

"Yeah. Of...of course." He hadn't clicked on their strange situation until that instant. He picked himself up and took Eden by the hand to help her stand. "I meant it, by the way; Thanks for your help there. Could've been real bad had you not saved the day. Maybe...I can buy you a drink sometime to say thanks?"

Eden resisted the urge to brush herself off because she didn't want to get more of this stuff on the floor of the corridor. But his words made her look up sharply at him. "Are you asking me out?"

Jake felt his own hand scratching the back of his neck awkwardly, both trying to figure out the right words as well as get rid of the strange goo. "I guess so?" he replied, unsure if that was the answer to her question. Still, she'd basically just saved his life. It did endear them to you somewhat. "Sure. I think I'm asking you out."

"Yes," Eden said without even thinking about it. She thought about it afterwards. She thought it was a pretty strange coincidence that they kept ending up in awkward situations together. And Sebastian was gone, and as much as that hurt, he wasn't coming back ever. He would want her to be happy right? She thought she liked Jake, he was patient, he had a sense of humor. Those were good qualities. It was a full minute before she realized she was just standing there staring at him. "Right, we can figure out the details later . . . shower." And she turned on her heels and wandered off down the corridor.

Jake watched her go with a strange fascination. Fate seemed to be intent on putting them into these crazy situations, and he had to admit her unique perspective on things was growing on him. Maybe he was the one going crazy along with the Rosie. It was hard to tell.

The two crewmen from earlier, who hadn't moved, just stared at him. Still feeling the goo dripping down his back, Jake pulled himself up to his full height and faced them.

"You two. Looks like someone made a mess in the cargo bay. See about cleaning it up, won't you?" With that, he headed off in the opposite direction.



Eden Bowers
Chief Helmsmen
SS Mary Rose

Jake Ford
Chief Armoury Officer
SS Mary Rose

 

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