Kimince followed Dukk closely as they exited the rig and came down the access stairs.
They crossed to the pad door, where the observer used the biometric scanner and then entered some codes into a keypad. The pad door swung open.
Inside stood the new crew, Mentor, Marr and Luna. They all wore the customary tightly fitted blue shirt and slacks with matching jackets, the official uniform of the haulier designation. Mentor was cleanly shaven and looked to have just had a haircut. Marr and Luna had their hair neatly tied back in low ponytails.
“Impressive! They even have the Dinatha emblem on the jackets. Made To Demand was fast but to get an emblem too, that is impressive!” thought Dukk as his eyes scanned over the new crew.
Each had a hand on a stacked set of two travel lockers, with built in wheels in the bottom locker and a pull handle in the top locker.
Dukk smiled. These where the type of lockers that Dukk had suggested they get. Dukk wanted his crew to be able to move easily and freely. And, they looked very professional. That was important to Dukk too.
Behind them was the forth. The other observer, dressed in the usual multi-coloured and chaotic garb. The observer was looking flustered. It was as if the observer had just stumbled through the door from the ID Gateway. On the floor were two large lockers. No wheels. No handles. Dukk sighed.
“Welcome,” Dukk opened with.
Dukk paused. The observer looked familiar. The observer was of medium height, slim build. Black hair. Brown eyes. Warm brown complexion.
"Have we met before?” Dukk asked looking at the observer.
Luna tuned in. It was a question she had just asked herself too.
“I don’t think so. Observer level 10, sorry, I mean level 11. Trainee assigned to this long hauler,” the observer shared timidly, “My name is Trence. You are?”
“You can call me Dukk. I am the captain of this long hauler,” Dukk replied coolly.
“Nice to meet you. Where can I put these?”
“You can all bring your travel lockers through the door and leave them there. They will be delivered to your cabin," shared Dukk pointing to a space on the floor just inside the pad door.
To speed things along, Dukk and Mentor helped Trence move Trence’s lockers into the pad.
“Wallace asked me to give these to you,” Mentor shared as he discreetly offered Dukk two small packages.
“Thanks, this way,” Dukk replied as he accepted the packages.
“Wow! Impressive aren’t they,” Trence said on stepping through the pad door. He was looking up at the rig.
“Are you all passengers?” Trence asked generally to Mentor, Marr and Luna. Clearly oblivious to the fact that they were all dressed in a similar uniform to Dukk.
“We are new crew. Just starting today,” Luna shared gleefully.
“Oh, wow, it is my first day too. I am a little apprehensive if I am truly honest.”
“Why so?” Luna continued to engage despite a frown from Marr, and clear disinterest from Dukk and Mentor.
“Yesterday, I was in security control. Today, I am off to space!”
“Wait, what? Now, I have it. You were on the broadcast yesterday. Something about the incident on Pad 16b?”
“Yes, I am afraid. That was me. I let everyone down. I’ve been demoted and now here I am.”
Dukk nearly tripped.
“Ah,” responded Luna, clearly lost for words.
“Oh, hell-low,” Trence announced in a high pitch tone on spotting Kimince.
“Bad omen and not a coincidence!” Dukk thought to himself.
Regaining his composure, Dukk led the group up the stairs and in through the main door. They passed straight through the starboard passenger airlock as all the doors were still ajar.
They then climbed the flight of stairs that led from the mezzanine to the accommodation level.
"Mentor, Marr and Luna, wait here please. You two, please follow me."
Heading forward from the stairwell, Dukk opened the second door on the left.
"Please," said Dukk beckoning the two to enter the medium size room. The room had two portal windows, which currently showed only the inner wall of the pad. In the middle of the room was a large dining table with eight chairs. In the aft part of the room was a kitchenette, with standard beverage and rehydration machines.
"I assume you two have plenty to discuss. Make yourselves at home. You are free to move about this accommodation level and the passenger seating area on the level above. At no point are guests allowed in the crew only areas. By guests I do mean you two as well as paying passengers. The out of bounds areas include the hold, engine room, cockpit, transport pod bay and crew accommodation in the back. Safety first. We must be able to run the rig.”
They both nodded, smiling cheerfully.
Dukk continued, “as discussed with your colleague, I will be needing your assistance shortly."
With that, Dukk turned and left, shutting the door behind him.
“Nope, it’s our first time. What about you?” Marr could be heard saying in the corridor.
“On an old rig like this, yes, but not rigs in general,” Mentor answered.
“It may be old, but it has it where it counts. Now, let's meet the rest of the crew," Dukk said as he brushed past and headed aft in the direction of the crew accommodation.
Passing through an airtight door, Dukk welcome the new comers into a space with a number of doors on both sides. Immediately to the left was a lounge area with a couch and console with cockpit style seat. Just aft was a large oblong shaped dining table with six chairs.
Annee and Bazzer were already seated.
"Take a seat, this is Annee and Bazzer," Dukk shared as he ushered Mentor, Marr and Luna to their seats.
All three removed their jackets and put them on the back of their chairs. Dukk had to check himself as he realised he was staring. The muscular nature and fitness of their bodies was very evident without their jackets. A quick glance at Annee and Bazzer confirmed he wasn’t alone in his thinking.
“I’m used to seeing hot bodies. The nature of what we do on these rigs demands it. But, you three have just set a new standard,” Bazzer blurted out.
His comment was met with awkward expressions.
"Annee and Bazzer, meet our new crew, Mentor, Marr and Luna," Dukk said in an attempt to bring everyone back to focus.
They shook hands and took their seats.
“These are for you. A gift from our new contract agent,” smiled Dukk handing over the packages to Annee and Bazzer.
“A bracelet! And, it matches the ones you all have. How quaint.” commented Annee sarcastically as she put on the bracelet and held her arm out in front of her to size up the new accessory.
After watching Annee, Bazzer didn’t feel the need to open his gift. Instead, he just tried to smile.
(to be continued...)
[Rule of Twelve, Double Take, Chapter 8 - Orientation (Passage 1 of 5)]
All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2021 BJ Allen
If you are looking to catch-up by reading entire chapters, find them on ThinkSpot.
Passages will appear here in Locals first, but I can’t put the entire chapter here because of post size limitations. So, I am publishing the chapters via ThinkSpot. You don’t need an account to read the chapters. Just follow the link and scroll down.
Chapter 1 - A routine descent
Chapter 2 - Perspective
Chapter 3 - Grounding
Chapter 4 - Cause and effect
Chapter 5 - The first meeting
Chapter 6 - Staying goodbye
Chapter 7- Instability
Chapter 8 - Orientation
Rule of Twelve, Double Take - Ch15 (Passage 5/5)
“Hi,” came Luna’s voice as she bounced into the suit locker.
Dukk turned around.
“Are you alright? You are all flushed?”
“Yes, I am fine. I was practicing some yoga in zero-G. I lost track of time. Quite challenging and not what I expected.” Luna replied.
“Yoga?” Marr mouthed silently at Luna from behind Dukk.
Luna smiled cheekily.
Marr held her hands up and looked away as if to say ‘I don't want to know’.
Dukk laughed. He’d been an apprentice too once. He knew what was on his mind the first time he was in zero-g. And, he could tell an intentional lie.
“Are you sure you want to try this now? I can go alone and you can get back to your ‘yoga’?” Dukk asked in gest emphasising the last word.
“Nope, I’m good. Let’s do this.”
Thirty five minutes later, Luna stood at the port outer doorway. She was in awe.
Dukk and Luna had completed the same process Bazzer and Marr had done earlier. Marr, with ...
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