Captain Dave finds a diamond in the rough.
|"It's beautiful," Dave breathed, running his eyes over the sleek frame.
"Are we looking at the same ship?" Charlie scowled, "This looks like a Xunx used it as a baseball, lost its temper over losing the big game and fed it to a Ka'atrin, where it was promptly shat out into a recycling port."
Dave waved away the comment, "With a little elbow grease she'll be good as new."
Charlie snorted, "A little grease? Methinks we'll need the hide of a Pandorian Blubberbeck to clean that rust bucket. And you know how hard the Pandorians cling to their hides."
"Like a baby with a blankie," Dave laughed.
"Or a fat kid with a bar of chocolate," Charlie grunted, leaning closer to the ship. "Ugh. It even smells like a Pandorian Blubberbeck."
Dave patted the ship, "I think she's the one."
"You know love at first sight is a myth, right?"
"You think I should wine and dine her before committing?" Dave asked.
"At least take her for a test drive before spending your hard earned credits," Charlie smirked.
Dave stared into space, thinking. "No...this feels right."
Charlie shrugged. "Well, you're the captain, big brother."
"And don't you forget it, commander," Dave grinned, nudging Charlie with his elbow.
"Aw, shucks. I thought you'd get down on one knee when you asked."
Dave rolled his eyes as Charlie shoved him into Jemmry's office. The junkyard dealer was famous in the Delta Quadrant for his rare finds. His collection, as he so fondly called the bits and pieces of scrap in his possession, took up the entirety of one small moon.
"Yo, Jemmry!" Dave wiggled an index finger at the Tortilian. Jemmry raised his scaly head and pulled a cigar from a cedar humidor. Lifting the stogie to his horse-sized nostrils, he gave an appreciative sniff before opening his mouth and blasting out a flame of fire. Placing the cigar between his razor-sharp teeth, he drew in a puff and finally nodded at Dave.
"Speaking of fire-breathing reptiles, Tammy's gonna flip when she finds out you've bought that ugly tub out there," Charlie hissed.
"She'll get over it."
"Just like she got over that Drandk you adopted?" Charlie chuckled.
"Hey, Rex grew on her..."
"After he tried to eat her how many times?"
Ignoring the dig, Dave shoved Charlie aside and slammed a fist against the counter. He made sure to look Jemmry straight in his beady little eyes. Jemmry's species took great offence if negotiations over a sale didn't border on violent.
"You have a Cruiser that I want and I want it now," Dave scowled.
Jemmry blew out a ring of smoke and slowly blinked his green-lidded eyes. He tapped the ashes from the cigar onto the floor.
"The RL1042 near the pile of replicators?" Jemmry snorted.
"That's the one," Dave snarled. He pounded the desk again, sending a music box hopping across the surface. It tipped over the edge and crashed to the floor. The Tortilian snubbed out the cigar before scraping his talons together.
"You sure this is the right way to handle this, captain?" Charlie muttered, flinching at the sound of Jemmry's claws raking together.
"Standard procedure," Dave said and Jemmry nodded in agreement.
"She is a special ship," Jemmry's voice was deep and gravely. He waved his clawed hand at Dave as if shooing away a fly. "It is too many credits for you."
"She may be special but she also needs a lot of work," Dave growled. "She's obviously been in many a meteor storm. Her hull is completely pock-marked. And then there's the bulging vent..."
Jemmry slithered around the counter and frowned at the fallen music box. He reached down and stabbed the trinket with one sharp claw. A ballerina in a pink tutu bounced out of the box and flew across the room, startling Charlie.
"Dude, be cool!" Dave glared at his brother. Charlie chuckled nervously and bent to pick up the fallen dancer. He held it out to Jemmry who coughed out a belch of smoke and snatched the figurine.
"I will sell it to you," Jemmry sighed as he shoved the music box into a drawer behind the counter, "For eighty."
Dave puckered his lips and crossed the room. Picking up a sparkling, Verna'dunt vase, he looked Jemmry straight in the eyes and threw it to the ground. The vase shattered into a million shining pieces.
"I'll give you sixty," Dave shouted. The glass crunched under his feet as he stomped back to the counter.
Jemmry's claws sounded like knives as he rubbed them together again. His sigh came out as a long hiss as he reached for a broom and dustpan. The glass pieces tinkled as he swept them into the pan and dumped them into the fireplace at the corner of the room.
"Seventy," Jemmry countered. His black eyes fixed on Dave, waiting. Dave's gaze darted around the room until he spotted a piece of material peeking out from a wooden barrel. Stifling a cry of delight, he snatched the material and held it aloft.
"The holy shroud of Mork'n'Mindy," Dave cried, victorious. Balling the shroud in both fists, he yanked the material apart. The shroud ripped into two pieces and fluttered to the floor.
"Sixty-five. Final offer!" Dave said, crossing his arms over his chest.
Jemmry nodded, "Deal."
Dave let the credits spill over the counter before marching back outside to his new ship. Charlie grabbed him by the arm before Dave could access the bay doors.
"What the heck was that nonsense back there?"
Dave furrowed his brow, "What? The negotiations with Jemmry?"
"You destroyed his stuff!"
Dave shoved at the bay doors. His muscles strained as he pried the metal far enough apart to peer inside.
"You're supposed to break Tortilian stuff, Charlie. If I hadn't, I would have offended Jemmry and he never would have sold me this ship."
With a whistle of appreciation, Dave squeezed inside his new ship. Charlie followed, coughing at the dust their feet stirred up. Cobwebs stretched across every surface of the bridge, creating a maze of sticky strings.
"Looks like we're gonna have to take a blowtorch to this place," Charlie's face twisted into a disgusted snarl as he crushed a spider the size of his fist with one black boot. Dave pulled out a small flashlight from one of his many vest pockets and flicked it on. A weak beam of light flickered around the room before settling on the pilot's controls.
"There you are," Dave cooed, nearly skipping with delight to the station of buttons and switches. He swept the palm of his hand over the controls, knocking loose dust and webs, until a cracked screen was revealed.
A skittering sound came from the ceiling. Charlie pulled his laser pistol from his holster and aimed it above his head.
"This place is swarming with creepy-crawlies," Charlie said with a shiver.
"Don't be such a scaredy-cat," Dave's reprimand was muffled from under the console, where he was inspecting wires.
"Hey, even superheroes have one weakness," Charlie sniffed, "Mine just happens to be spiders big enough to bite off my big toe!"
A black blob of legs and fangs fell from the ceiling and darted over Dave's outstretched foot. Charlie lowered his pistol, aimed, and blasted the guts of the spider across the floor. Dave yelped, jerking back his singed foot and cracking his head on the underside of the console.
"Got'em," Charlie grinned, blowing away imaginary smoke from the end of his pistol. Dave rubbed his head and glared.
When the lights on the console suddenly flickered, Dave pointed an accusing finger at his brother.
"Did you shoot my ship with that thing? You should have that itchy trigger finger looked at. I know a great healer back on Optimus Binomial..."
Charlie holstered his weapon and pouted. "Of course not. My shooting accuracy is always one hundred percent. You must have bumped a wire with that huge watermelon that you call a head."
"Greetings and welcome to the bridge," the chirpy voice had both of the brothers reaching for their pistols. A holographic image of a Boolean hovered over the control console. It's Medusa-like hair twisted and spun around the female's purple face.
Dave lowered his pistol first. "It's just the computer," he sighed, relieved.
The Boolean leaned forward as if to inspect the men more closely. Her green lips spread into a smile.
"I see I have a new captain aboard and he's human, to boot!"
"To boot?" Charlie mouthed to Dave.
"I was downloaded with thousands of languages, including human slang," The Boolean humbly shrugged.
"Along with the ability to lip read, I see," Charlie grumbled.
Dave nudged his brother. "Don't be rude, her programming could come in handy one of these days," he turned his attention to the hologram, "So what can you tell me about this cruiser? Any surprises I should be aware of?"
The Boolean lifted a hand and pushed against the sketchy holographic bubble that contained her. Dave's jaw dropped as her purple fingers became solid. With a little hop, she bounced onto the floor of the ship.
"Ah, that feels much better," she said, shaking her wild hair, "I've been sleeping inside that old ship programming for sooooo long..." She stretched her arms over her head and popped her back.
"Amazing what technology can do these days," Charlie leered.
"The name's Tangent," she said, tucking a petite hand into the crook of Dave's arm. Looking around the dark, webbed room, she sighed. "Ah, the adventures I've had on this ship. How 'bout I regale you boys with the exploits of my past captains over a spot of Tilaxian brandy? The galley is over this way," she winked at Charlie and waited for him to catch up before tucking her hand around his elbow.
Walking arm-in-arm, the three ducked into a dusty corridor.
"Yup," Charlie hissed over Tangent's head, "Tammy ain't gonna like this one little bit!"