Minor Servicing Assistance

I punched some numbers into the dashboard of my ship’s computer, tongue sticking out of my mouth as I did some rapid calculations in my head.

‘Why don’t you use a computer to plot the path, like a normal person?’ Astor asked, trudging into the cockpit with a yawn and a stretch.

‘Because,’ I said, pushing past her to get to a different navigation console she was blocking, ‘I’m more likely to make a mistake entering a calculation into the computer than I am running it myself.’

‘Bold,’ she nodded. ‘I like it. Anything I can do to help?’

‘Uh,’ I stopped, mid-trigonometry, ‘there’s a faulty panel over here, if you know anything about auto electrical servicing? Near me, on the right there.’

She frowned and put her hands on her hips. ‘It’s just a light bulb, isn’t it?’

‘I wouldn’t know,’ I said quickly. ‘I haven’t checked.’

‘But you do have the entire switchboard mapped in your head, so you’d probably notice if there was a bigger issue with the electronics?’

‘Well…’ I shrugged. ‘Maybe.’

‘Which means you haven’t checked it for a reason.’

‘Or it could be—’

She held up a finger, shushing me. ‘Which means you think it’s a lightbulb. You want me to change a lightbulb.’

‘If you wouldn’t mind?’ I grinned sheepishly. ‘I’d appreciate it.’

‘Unbelievable,’ she shook her head, walking to the panel. ‘You’re lucky I’m bored.’

‘Thanks!’ I said again, batting my eyelashes.

‘Got any other demeaning tasks?’ she asked, popping open the offending panel. ‘How’s your cruiser running? Need to find a mechanic who can regas a car aircon for you?’

‘Actually,’ I nodded, putting the final touch on our next orbital swing, ‘it has been struggling to keep up with the atmosphere lately—’

Without a word, she popped the panel back into place and swiftly walked out of the room.

Unbelievable!’ I heard her say to herself, as she disappeared into the ship.