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"You taking on passengers?"
gentleman who I immediately knew to be the captain glanced down at me
from the loading bay. "T'weren't planning on it. You have a pressing
need to be somewhere?"
"Anywhere but here."
"I have some cashy money. Also fairly fresh foodstuffs."
"Shiny. Welcome aboard the Serenity." He offered me a hand and I took it politely. "Let's take you to the guest bunks--"
"I know where they are. You don't need to escort me, and I'll certainly stay out of your way and mind my own business."
"I recognize you, sir, and for me, you are a sight for sore eyes."
"If you say so. Go on then."
aye, Captain." Demonstrating my knowledge, I wheeled my bicycle
carefully through the cramped loading bay, toward the medical office,
and which preceeded the guest quarters. On the way, I passed the
mechanic, and passed her the small bag of fruit, and kind smile on my
She stared at me as I passed, and then jumped ahead, presumably to speak with the captain.
guest room was cramped but homely, and I locked up my bicycle against
one wall, on the far side of the bed from the door. I set my bag down,
and my head soon followed it to the pillow.
woke to the sound of engines ramping up, and the grav drive kicked in
with a small lurch. I smiled to myself. The ride was a bit rocky, but I
had little fear that I would soon find myself anywhere but where I left
off. I let myself drift back into a restful sleep, feeling safe for the
first time since I left my apartment.
joined them in the kitchen for dinner, bringing my bag with me and
sharing freely. The crew chattered and laughed through inside jokes, and
I felt myself joining in, telling a bit of my own story, which seemed
to sound pretty incredulous to them.
"You're not a witch, are you?"
"Jayne, be nice."
I laughed, failing to take any insult. "Not unless I became one without noticing."
pilot, the same tiny slip of a girl who spotted me first, laughed with
me, shaking her head. "Was it a vision or a waking dream? Fled is that
"Do I wake or sleep?" She and I finished the
final line together. "Keats. Yeah, I've had some pretty realistic
dreams, but I've become rather adept at discerning them from
wakefulness. I'm awake."
"Maybe we're the ones that are dreaming," the engineer offered, savoring a bite into a particularly large strawberry.
"Nothing would surprise me anymore."
that, a deep whirring sound overrode any further conversation, and half
the crew stood suddenly, drawing their pistols. It faded at the sound
of a gong, and my jaw dropped, recognizing the source.
"No freaking way."
All parts of Only Sweeter.