Haley reclined in the navigator’s chair. For the first time she noticed how large it was, being that it was designed for a large Bagorian, and not for her slight frame. Outside the ship, space slipped by in silence. Trelax sat in his captain’s chair, the ship on autopilot, playing a game of Bagorian chess with Carl. She wondered if anyone had ever explained to him the futility of playing a computer based game with a computer.
Closing her eyes and relaxing for a moment, letting the moment of silence wash over her, something else washed over her. It was a smell. Worse, it was a foul smell. A smell that wasn’t just simply bad, but intolerable.
“Trelax, what’s that smell?”
“Oh, yeah, that’d be you,” he said. He moved his king to avoid check mate.
“No, that can’t be me.”
“Pardon me for saying so Haley, but an analysis of your olfactory glands indicates the odor is definitely coming from you. Might I suggest a shower?” Mike the computer seemed unusually plucky for a computer that just told a woman she stunk.
“Oh my God, Mike!” She was more irritated that he did an analysis of her olfactory glands than the insinuation that she stunk. The clothes she was wearing were so filthy, they could probably stand on their own. She was mortified. “Wait, so everyone knew I smelled bad and no one thought to bring it up in a conversation? You know, like, ‘Hey, Haley, you may want to take a shower. You smell like a garbage truck.’”
Trelax made another move to counter Carl. “Well, you know Haley, I’m a Bagorian and my threshold is pretty high when it comes to anything smelling bad. Mike is programed only to analyze overall health and he is only going to say something if it is life threatening. Carl has no analysis module so he’d never know the difference.”
“Not entirely true,” Carl chimed in. “I would notice if the bed sheets were unusually soiled, but it would not make any difference to me really.”
Trelax nodded. “So basically, none of us care.”
“Okay, new rule. As long as I am part of this crew, you tell Haley when she is stinking up the place. Alright?”
“Okay,” they all answered in monotonous unison.
“Wow, it is like being stuck in a house with three brothers. I’m going to take a shower.”
As she left she heard Trelax say, “Wow, human women are kind of loud, aren’t they?”
As she stomped down the passageway towards her quarters she realized something about her clothes. Mostly that she had no extra clothes. It was probably a good guess that Trelax didn’t keep a set of stylish women’s fashions aboard. Based on the condition of his room, it wasn’t likely he had any interest in fashion at all.
“Oh crap,” she said.
Suddenly the annunciator panel lit up. “Something wrong Haley?” Carl said.
“Well, yes, I don’t suppose there are any women’s clothes onboard are there?” In the back of her mind she realized there had to be clothes somewhere. It wasn’t likely Trelax wore the same thing every day. But, then again, he was Bagorian. They were not known for their fancy clothing.
“Why would there be?”
“Good point. I realize now that I have nothing to wear.”
“Well, what I mean is, we have no clothes on board at all. I make everything myself.”
“Really, you can do that?”
“Absolutely, you give me thirty minutes and you’ll be looking good. You give me an hour and you’ll be amazing them in Paris.”
“Come on Carl, you’ve never been to Paris.”
“True, but I watch a lot of earth television.”
“So, how do we do this?”
“You go take a shower and I’ll access Mikes scans of your body. When you get done with your shower I’ll have a complete set based on your specific size.”
“No kidding? That’s kind of the coolest thing I’ve ever heard.” She took off her shirt and bra, throwing them into a pile on the floor. “You can just throw those away, Carl.”
“You were in them for a week, I was thinking the incinerator.” Two mechanical hands came out of the wall to retrieve her old clothes.
A few moments later she was in the shower. She found everything she needed. There were even fluffy towels in a warming rack in the bathroom. Washing her hair, the third time, she suddenly had an uncomfortable feeling. It was like someone was watching her. That was when she heard Trelax.
“Haley, do Earthlings always take such long showers?”
Haley let out a loud scream and covered herself as best she could while trying to avoid getting soap into her eyes. Trelax, Carl, and Mike were watching her shower from the bridge. “Trelax, what the hell are you doing!”
“Oh sorry, did I scare you?”
“No Trelax. You can’t just watch someone shower. It’s creepy and wrong.”
“It’s my ship, I can do what I want.”
“Telax!” Haley’s eyes pierced through the video screen at him.
“Under the circumstances, Trelax,” Mike interrupted, “it might be best if we do avoid bothering her while she is in the shower. You know, domestic tranquility and all.”
Trelax rolled his eyes at the computer panel. “Fine, naked humans are kind of gross anyway.”
The screen went dead. Haley finished her shower, all while keeping a much closer eye on the screen.
Stepping back into her quarters, on the bed, she saw a brand new spread of clothes. The set was laid out as if being presented for her approval. She picked up each piece and looked it over. It was amazing. Carl really had some latent fashion tendencies. In that short time, he made her a pair of jeans, tank top, leather jacket, a pair of what looked like biker boots, and a holster for a plasma pistol. Everything matched. More importantly, everything fit perfectly.
“Carl, this stuff is amazing!”
“It’s my pleasure. It’s nice to make different things for a change. I got inspired.”
“Well, Carl, consider me your muse then. Anytime you want to make me something you just go right ahead.”
Making her way out of her quarters, she decided to do some exploring before going back to the bridge. About half way around the large u-shaped corridor that made up the main passage-way of the ship, she saw another, smaller, corridor that bisected the ship.
At the end of that hall, she came to a door marked simply, “Engineering/A3A-4”. The door, unlike the others, didn’t open automatically when she approached and its mechanical release appeared to be locked.
“Carl, can you open this door please?”
“I’m sorry Haley, what door are you referring to?”
“This door Carl, the one I’m standing in front of.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t see any door in front of you.”
“Carl, are you still day dreaming about making clothes? I’m standing in front of a door. It’s marked Engineering/A3A-4.”
“How may I be of assistance, Haley?”
“What? You can open the door Carl.”
“I’m sorry Haley, what door are you referring to?”
Carl not only seemed to have lost his mind, but he also took on an uncharacteristic monotone. It was like he had become a recording of himself. Granted, she only knew these guys for a short time, but Mike and Carl were pretty friendly for computer programs. They were the ship’s rock and foundation. So if something was the matter with either one of them, that would be disconcerting.
“Carl, where am I standing?”
“Haley, you are in your quarters, room C4D-1.”
Now she knew something was very wrong. He thought she was standing in a completely different part of the ship. Potentially worse than that, he seemed confused about the existence of this room. Secrets were bad in general, but could prove downright lethal on a space ship.
“Carl, are their sections of the ship which are off limits to me?”
“Upon leaving Splendid One, The Chiny’ll gave order number 315, giving you full access to The Splendid Two. So no, you have full access to the ship.”
Haley made her way back down the hall to the main corridor. There had to be an explanation for this. Why would you have a room on the ship that the computer didn’t even know about. Yet another puzzle to be solved. Maybe she could find some old engineering drawings to look at.
Entering the bridge, she saw someone talking to Trelax on the screen. “That should be no problem Trelax. You can land on platform Zeta Seven. I’ll meet you with a few technicians and we can assess the damage.”
“Thank you so much Zhiara. Oh, by the way, let me introduce my new navigator and tactical officer, Haley. Haley, this is Zhiara, the best fringe mechanic in the galaxy.”
“Pleasure to meet you, Zhiara.”
“I’m honored, Haley. You are both to be my guests tomorrow night at dinner.” The way she said it made it seem like less of a request than an order.
“Thank you so much, your hospitality overwhelms.” Trelax looked a little uncomfortable accepting her offer.
“Zhiara out.” The video screen went blank.
“Zhiara does the best work in the galaxy on ships preferring to remain … hidden. But I want to stress this, I don’t trust her.”
“Why? Is she a spy, or murderer? Or worse, a space assassin?” She laughed as she looked over at Trelax.
“Really funny. No, worse than any of those, she’s a close friend of my father. Nice duds, by the way. Carl must like you. All my clothes come out looking like this.”
“Captain Trelax,” Carl suddenly appeared on a monitor. “I have told you a million times, you need to tell me what you want if you want some variety.”
“Did you just call me, Captain Trelax?” Trelax laughed.
“Seeing how we are actually more of a real crew now, I thought I’d try it out for once.”
Haley thought about it for a moment. Part of a crew. Granted, maybe the oddest crew in the galaxy, but she had to admit, they had their charms.
On the screen Trelax called up an image of their destination. To her it looked a little like wedding cake and a toaster had a baby.
“Haley, I’m more than proud to introduce, Trazhadoria Space Port. The closest thing to heaven you can get while you’re still breathing!”