Celta Thursday, Cut from Heart Thief
Two Eight-days Later
"We have replaced the warped panels in the energy storage area," the Ship said.
Ruis smiled. He was getting used to the Ship speaking in the royal We. When asked, it stated it was an amalgam of departments integrated to communicate with him.
"We request further orders."
This made Ruis' smile widen and a kernel of pride in him unfurl. The first time the Ship had asked him for orders had startled him. He, Ruis Elder, the despised, asked for orders. People had always avoided him. He had no good friends and mere acquaintances. Lord and Lady knew, Samba, his only companion, never asked for orders.
"Repair additional maintenance androids," he decided.
"Yes, Captain," the Ship replied.
Ruis whistled through his teeth and gloated. He was Captain. The Captain's quarters, his quarters, contained a small room the ship had converted into a workroom at his request. On the table before him was his latest project, an Earth motor the Ship was teaching him to repair and renovate. That was his passion.
He glanced at the table on the right and sighed at the items spread out there, stolen items to be returned when he was emotionally able to do so. That was his disgrace. Now that he no longer needed to steal to survive, his impulsive thefts brought a great wave of guilt.
But it didn't matter what rank he held inside the Ship, when he left its confines and spent time in Druida all the old rage returned as he was cursed, cuffed, ignored and generally abused. He'd tried to keep his hands to himself, but his temper cracked as the disparity between the way he was treated in the Ship and outside in Druida diverged so greatly.
Yet, he'd managed to keep his backsliding ways to only picking noble pockets. Spread on a velvet background were expensive baubles -- an antique haircomb of D'Reed's, a dangling set of sapphire D'Ivy earrings, a brace of engraved silver blasers from the Holly's. No doubt Tinne had endured a tongue-lashing for that loss!
Nothing from T'Oak. The man had stood up for Ruis, in a very minor way. Nothing from D'Vine. She had voted against his banishment and against death. Nothing from D'Ash. Never again would Ruis cross T'Ash, and he still owed D'Ash.
And nothing from D'SilverFir. Oh, he'd been tempted. A haughty woman had swept past him in a crowd, not deigning to even see a person garbed in less than silkeen. His nimble fingers had slid deep inside her sleeve and plucked out a softfur pouch full of gilt. He'd noticed the crest of D'SilverFir and caught up with the woman -- not a lady -- and gently replaced the thing.
However arrogant, the woman had belonged to D'SilverFir. And D'SilverFir was the only woman in his memory that had been personally kind to him.