Saturday, July 4, 2015

Federi vs Paean

From the very first part of Solar Wind 1 it becomes apparent how much Federi cares about Paean.  This is high-flying shenanigans between her and Wolf notwithstanding.  Federi takes a backseat, watches how she runs into a wall there - and quietly steps in to fix things when they break.  This is his nature.

Here's a little scene from the revised Solar Wind 1.  Paean is riddled with guilt, her hands full of blood that no amount of scrubbing can wash off.

Federi looked up from the console.  In  the door to the bridge hung a worried little redhead.
“You okay, Federi?”
The gypsy laughed.
“Fine, Paean.  Except that Captain’s making us sail into a – oh, hell’s gadgets, it’s fine!  We’ll be fine.  Federi’s an old coward, that’s all!  Anna bottle…”
“Coffee for you?”
Federi smiled broadly.  “Now that’s going to make all the difference,” he stated.  “Thanks, little carer!”
“Any day,” said Paean and handed him his steaming mug.  “Got any decks for me to scrub?”
What?  With death hanging over all their heads?  He didn’t think so!
“Funny thing that,” he said, then trailed off.  He could see how she’d had a lot of friends in Milly-Molly-Mandy street.  Anyone who cared for their friends like this, had friends.  He frowned.  It made no sense.  This was her true nature, he sensed it.  Whatever she had done that was weighing on her like that – it had been a fluke, a mistake.  When Captain decided to drill down to the truth – he’d be there protecting her, he decided.  And he glanced at her hands.
The skin was abraded away right up to the elbows from scrubbing.  He knew he’d been giving her a lot of decks to wash, and she’d taken on extra heads-scrubbing duty for reasons only she understood, but this...  it was something else.  He locked the steering and grabbed her hands to take a closer look.  And observed how she shrank away, her breath hissing between her teeth as she inhaled sharply.
All that blood...
“Got to get that seen to, shey,” he said.  “Put something on it.  Captain will think Federi’s working you to death.  Wait...”  He dug in his pockets and unearthed a small flat tin, and slid its lid open.  There was something grey and greasy-looking inside.  He picked out a gob of the stuff and slapped it on the back of her left hand. 
“What’s that?” she asked doubtfully as she spread it over her abused skin. 
Federi hesitated.  “Neomer polycarbon thixotropalene.”
She gawped.  “What?”
“Motor grease,” he grinned and pressed the tin into her hands.  “What!  You expect me to carry medical supplies in my pockets?”
She stared at her hands in horror.
“It works.” provided the gypsy.  “Keep it, I can get more from the machine room.”
Paean pulled a face, but obediently spread the dreadful stuff over her hands and forearms.  Federi was right; people would notice.  Good that he only thought it was from washing the dishes.  She glanced uncertainly at his face and caught him staring moodily into the dark beyond the bridge.
“Doesn’t matter anyway,” he muttered.
“What?” asked Paean.
Federi scowled.  He’d seen it before.  But by now it really was irrelevant.  They’d die in Hamilton, regardless what she was guilty of. Those Stabs in the harbour...
Did she sense about the horror he had found in the machine room of the Hun?  How could she sense, he thought.  And about the irony of Captain being prepared to rescue his arch-enemy…  sail right into the death trap that was Hamilton!  With all his crew.
“Störtebeker,” he said.
“Pirate called Störtebeker.  You should ask Sherman about him.  Federi can’t tell a story quite the same.”
“Tell me anyway,” pushed Paean, still rubbing at the synthetic compounding lubri-squatch he’d made her put on her hands. 
“Aw, alright.  Störtebeker must have been a bit like Captain.  This is long ago.  In the days before mineral fuels.  He and his whole crew got captured by the law, and of course piracy carried the death penalty even then.  So Störtebeker negotiated with the government that all of his sailors could go free past whom he could walk after he was dead.”
“That’s dumb,” commented Paean.
“Wait for it,” said the Tzigan.  “I said I can’t tell it like Sherman!  So they line up his crew and chop off his head.  Paean, atenţie!  He walked past his entire crew with his head chopped off.  All of them!  Before his dead corpse fell to the ground.”
“Whoa!” commented Paean disbelievingly.
“Is true,” said Federi.  “Was a historical figure.  Go look it up in the Sher…”  He sighed impatiently and stared out to sea.  “Go to sleep!”
Paean gaped at him in shock, then she shrugged and left the bridge.  Federi glared at the sea some more.  In his mind’s eye he saw Captain walking past the Solar Wind’s crew with his head chopped off.  Aw hell… and now he’d snubbed the little mockingbird!  For what?