It's been a busy week again. Well, at least for the first half of it. Yesterday and today are quieter. Not by choice.
A couple years ago the metatarsal arches in my feet collapsed (those are the arches across the balls of the feet, where the toes connect). It's a really painful injury, but does heal back up with rest and gentle increases in activity to strengthen the area. The arch doesn't come back but the pain goes away and stays away with properly supportive shoes. If I'm not careful with my footwear or I overuse my feet, however, it basically bruises the bones of my toe knuckles on the bottom. And, well.... I haven't been very good at being careful with my shoes due to budget tightening. I have very cranky toe knuckles at the moment, and one swollen li'l right foot.
This weekend I should be able to rest a bit, thankfully, and also have time to talk to my husband about if our current budget can be squeezed for better indoor shoes than I've been wearing. Today I guess I'll wash off my outside shoes and gift myself a few hours of orthotics while getting through my standing-up tasks.
Trevor and Leo theorized why the change in bridge personnel had occurred so suddenly as they changed out of swimming clothes before going for lunch. Unknown to either of them, the ideas they came up with hedging the closest to the truth were the ones they believed to be the most ridiculous… until Captain requested a private vid with Trevor.
Twenty minutes later, Trevor and Leo were standing beside Captain at the opposite shoulder to Dods, watching the reflective dot pass out of the assembly yard and grow into a small shuttle through the interior hold view windows and exterior transglass hull section windows.
Leo wiped his palms on his pants – again – as the shuttle approached the hold where the first lifeboat had been. These types of shuttles were optional attachments to the component transporters lifting pieces of ships from the landside construction site to the spaceside assembly yard. Leo had never been around assembly yards before, but Trevor explained that usually the shuttles were used for prominent visitors or landside-based inspectors and auditors to witness assembly processes first hand. Coming to Dockland’s position in high orbit meant the small shuttle would need a refuel prior to returning to the assembly yard for attachment to a transporter returning to the planet’s surface.
The open hold warning alarm sounded and a few seconds later the large door separating the interior of the ship from the vacuum of space cracked open. Trevor smirked as Leo wiped his palms on his pants one more time.
“Are you planning to throw up before or after they’re onboard?” Trevor whispered out the side of her mouth closest to him.
“There are benefits and drawbacks to both, you know?” he replied quickly. The smile he flashed at her disappeared as fast as it had arrived on his face and he blew out a sigh after turning back to stare, wide-eyed, through the windows.
“They’re going to like you,” Trevor assured him. Without looking at her because he was lost in his own thoughts about how meeting her family could go terribly wrong, Leo nodded and straightened out his uniform. Again.
The hold doors began closing as soon as the shuttle flew in. The small shuttle was dwarfed by the large hold as it set down in the middle of the lifeboat landing markings. The open hold warning alarm silenced a moment after the shuttle maglocked to the deck. Atmosphere began returning to the hold while the shuttle operator was going through standard onboarding protocols. Leo heaved a worried sigh and stared at the nearest door control, nodding to himself when the red light of the controls being locked out flicked to the amber rating of the conditions inside the hold now being non-fatal.
“Hey, look, at least the hold won’t kill me,” he joked quietly. Trevor rolled her eyes as she picked up the small duffle bag by her feet, and Captain’s lips turned up in a small smile.
The door control flicked to blue, meaning standard environment conditions were achieved on the hold side, and chimed as the automatic locking disengaged. Dods swiped the controls and the door slid open for Captain to lead the way toward the shuttle and the people stepping out of it. Trevor and Leo followed Dods.
Two women and two men left the shuttle and approached Captain, Dods, Trevor and Leo. One woman was young, she had a pale complexion and was wearing the uniform of a commuter ship transport pilot. The other woman was older, with dark brown skin and lines of silver in her black hair, and was wearing casual clothes. The oldest in the group was one of the men, wearing installer’s overalls, and he had the same dark complexion as Trevor along with hair as grey as Captain’s. The other man was younger and looked almost exactly like Dockland’s Chief Navigator, Abagail Dods.
Captain stated the required, formal greeting between allies as they were still walking. It was completely ignored by everyone but the shuttle’s pilot, and she just laughed quietly at the attempted formalities.
“Trevor!” Trevor’s mom called, waving and then hurrying forward ahead of the group from the shuttle the moment she realized her daughter was among the small greeting party. “I thought I would have to request you or sneak away to come looking for you!” She beamed a smile before closing the final steps to wrap Trevor into a crushing hug.
“Captain decided this was easier and less of a security risk,” Trevor laughed, squeezing back just as hard and – for lack of a better term – snuggling into the mom-hug she’d been a standard year without.
“Hey, there, Ducky!” The oldest member of the shuttle group smiled warmly and Trevor transferred from her mom’s arms to his.
“You really called me that in front of Captain?” Trevor asked from inside the older man’s embrace. Leo guessed the older man was around the same age as Captain, although Captain had a much straighter posture, and he had the same eyes as Trevor. Also, true to everything Trevor said about her grandfather’s distrust of modern technology, he wasn’t wearing a smart.
“Hey, Abigail!” Dods and his brother, Shelly, exchanged a hug as Captain and the pilot introduced themselves due to the mutual understanding there wasn’t anyone around who would do the service for them.
“Mom, Granddad,” Trevor said, stepping back and resting a hand on Leo’s arm. “You’ve already met him on vid, but this is Leo in person.”
They both turned to stare at him, assessing him from head to foot in a glance lasting (from Leo’s position) for about three and a half millennia before Trevor’s mom made her excited squealing noise and broke into an enormous smile. Trevor’s grandfather only shook his head at his daughter and shrugged at Leo as the younger man was crushed into a welcoming hug.
“Trevor! He’s so much more handsome in person!” she announced while Leo was still in compression, the intended whisper almost loud enough to echo in the essentially empty hold. She stepped back and cupped one palm each of both Trevor and Leo’s cheeks. “All your babies will be so lovely!” she said, brimming over with grandmotherly pride.
“One baby, mom. I’m having one baby,” Trevor corrected, holding her mom’s hand against her cheek.
“Oh, yes, right now. But look at him,” she said, pushing on Trevor’s face so she was forced to. “Soft brown skin, deep green eyes, and those straight shoulders… you two will have lots of children,” Trevor’s mom said, releasing their faces so she could wave her hands in a broad gesture, miming her expectation of a brood of grandkids wider than her arms could reach.
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A weekly blog updating on Fridays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!