Sunday, November 1, 2015
1st 5 Pages November Workshop - Christy C
Name: Christy C.
Genre: YA science fiction
Title: Seven Seas
The gun clicks and I smile.
Goosebumps cover my arms even though the temperature is always perfectly controlled at twenty-five degrees Celsius. I purse my lips, finding it difficult to keep the foolish grin off my face.
So much for acting like a professional.
“It’s oddly exhilarating, isn’t it,” my boss notes. Following protocol, Chloe takes the gun carefully with gloved fingers. The lid to its velvet-lined casing closes with a quiet hiss of air, locking automatically.
“It’s hard to believe five thousand years have passed since any of these items were seen by another human,” I say, disposing my used gloves in the bright orange burn box by my feet. I know I shouldn’t be smiling over what more likely than not was used to kill, but I push that disturbing thought out of my mind. It’s a lot easier dealing with ancient artifacts and not human remains.
Chloe punches in the security code and a row of glass cases descend under lab floor tiles for storage. I lean against a metal railing, watching as large panels glide smoothly back into place. “Don’t tell me you’ve got the entire pirate ship hidden under there too.”
“We’re still receiving deliveries from the field team. I believe your fabled shuttle will be here by the end of next week,” Chloe says.
I laugh a bit at this. “My ship? Don’t you mean Callum Davis’ ship? I think he’d be turning in his grave if he heard me renaming his pride and joy the Dahlia.”
Until a few months ago, I was sure Callum Davis was nothing more than a fictional character made up by parents to scare little kids into behaving. All children in the Colonies have grown up hearing stories of the dastardly Captain Davis and his wicked band of pirates. I’d knocked over an entire mug of tea when researchers announced the discovery of Callum Davis’ fabled pirate ship. Unfortunately, my celebratory gesture resulted in a flooded central control panel, leading Chloe to install a force field repelling future liquids from what turned out to be extremely expensive equipment.
Good thing Chloe put that force field up because I nearly had another heart attack when she revealed our subgroup would be overseeing restorations on the Callum Davis shuttle. Every department in the museum has been scrambling around for months, trying to get involved on this high profile project. I suppose piecing together the tale of an enigmatic space pirate sounds much more exciting than examining the stomach contents of a person who’s been dead for 10,000 years.
Chloe glances up from her tablet. “Have you heard back about your fellowship application?”
I manage to smile despite the churning in my stomach that makes an appearance whenever I picture the two possible outcomes. “Not yet. The Board of Directors doesn’t meet for another month to discuss the grant.”
“Why do you sound so nervous? I think you have an excellent shot at it! If you continue putting forth your best work on this upcoming restoration project, the spot is basically yours.”
“Let’s not start celebrations too early Chloe. Wouldn’t want to jinx anything. Besides, there are at least a hundred other interns who are just as qualified.” I’m beyond thrilled to be among the interns nominated for the prestigious fellowship, but I’m also terrified I’ll be horribly disappointed when the results are revealed if I don’t see my name on the list.
Unlike the other ninety-nine applicants for the excavation grant, I’m not an archaeologist by training. Not even close! I’ve spent most of my high school career in an accelerated engineering program run by a local university. This amounts to long nights finishing lengthy problem sets, debugging confusing lines of computer code, and reviving crashed simulation programs. When Chloe showed up at my desk a few months ago, I was surprised to get an offer for an internship I hadn’t applied for, let alone knew existed. Working at a museum was so far off my radar, even Professional Asteroid Wrangler came in higher on my list of career goals.
“I wouldn’t have nominated you if I didn’t think you would be a competitive candidate Lia,” Chloe reminds me. “For the next few weeks, the Dahlia is all yours. Shuttle logs and a list of known crewmembers have already been uploaded onto your tablet. Luckily, one of the pirates kept a pretty detailed journal while serving. Stepping into his shoes might help maintain historical accuracy when we start restorations.”
“Are there any photos of the crew?” I like giving people faces while I work. I often spend my time picturing their favorite colors, wondering if they preferred dogs or cats, night or day, coffee or tea.
“Photos? Not to my knowledge. But I’ve always pictured Callum Davis as a lanky blue eyed blonde with a slight bit of muscle,” Chloe muses. Do I detect a dreamy look in my boss’ eye?
“Well, that certainly contradicts with my image of a seven foot tall giant sporting a black scruffy beard.”
Chloe clears her throat. “Anyways, I’m sure Grace on the third floor could help with identifications should the need arise.”
“Fantastic, I’ll ask her to compile existing images from Colony records when she gets back from vacation next week.”
“Unfortunately you’ll have to rely on your imagination for this project, as I’m not sure how thorough Committee records were back in the day. I don’t know if you’ve seen pictures sent in by the excavation group but that pirate ship is massive! The entire front is fashioned like a cobra head, black scales and all!” Chloe shuffles through files on her tablet, marking ones she’ll send me later.
“I’ll look through everything this weekend so we’ll be ready to start . We should get the larger pieces up and working for the Director to approve as soon as possible.” Making good progress on the project can only increase my chances of receiving the coveted training grant.
“My thoughts exactly,” Chloe agrees. “This find has attracted a lot of media attention. The museum wants an interactive display about the only known band of space pirates made public by the end of the year.”
“Pirates in space. That must have been an exciting time to live through.” I help Chloe pack up the remaining items strewn across an otherwise spotless metal table. Has it really been five thousand years since humans were in the beginning stages of space colonization?
“Sounds to me like you were born five millennia too late Ms. Lia,” Chloe chuckles. “The crew of Callum Davis’ shuttle was famous for terrorizing our early emerging space Colonies. I think you would have found the sight of his ship landing at your doorstep more frightening than exciting.”
Maybe my definition of an epic adventure is far more skewed than I thought.
“Well everything looks to be in fantastic shape so far,” I note. We’ve had to come up with a lot more from a lot less on previous projects.
“Oh, and a final word of caution. The guns you saw earlier should theoretically still function, but don’t worry too much. The excavation team removed all bullets before analysis.”
“I’ll keep that in mind. My mother would kill me if I showed up for dinner missing fingers.”
“Yes and I would probably get fired, if your mother didn’t get to me first.”