Belated Celta Thursday, Original portion of Chapter 8, Heart Thief. "We have replaced the warped panels in the energy storage
area," the Ship said four days after Ruis had fallen ill.
Ruis smiled and leaned back in his desk chair. He'd had some
techbots alter it until it was a pleasure to sit in. 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 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. 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
He had plans of the Ship spread out, covering the huge desk.
With a drawstick -- a *pen* -- the Ship called it, he traced
a thin line of red that showed where the infamous CommonCold
viruses had bred. They were gone. But not forever.
Ship had insisted that Ruis take samples to preserve in case
they were needed for the future. Ruis tapped his finger on
the area of the map that showed the DNA Room, a huge room
filled with samples of all the life of Earth, information on
papyris and film and "bubbles." Encyclopedias of
instructions and diagrams.
He shivered in pure awe at the thought of all that work and
knowledge and potential, all at his fingertips, all
available to be crammed into his brain. So many options for
his learning to follow, and his life, that he struggled to
decide what to study.
But he did know what he wanted to do most. He wanted to see