“I don’t speak Ukhta, but they sounded really happy to hear from you,” I said. Arr had just spoken to the mayor of a small town on Ukhta to announce our arrival and to obtain landing coordinates.
“Me neither,” Jake said. “Arr picked it up from Clint’s new partner, Luza, a couple of jobs back. She’s from Ukhta, though not from this area of the planet. She hails from the capital.”
Jake and Arr had told me about their mission here. It really was an emissary job rather than a mercenary gig. The Ukhta has some unwanted immigrants that had moved into this town from the planet Pajala. None of the Ukhta knew the Pajalain language, so there was no way to explain to them that this was not like their planet.
The Pajalain live communally. They share everything. Want a bucket? And you don’t have one? Go next door and pick up your neighbor’s. Don’t bother to ask to borrow it. Just take it. If he wants it back, he’ll come and get it, or if he can’t find it, he’ll take some other neighbor’s bucket. This system did not go over well with the materialistic Ukhta. They needed an interpreter to set boundaries for the Pajalain if they intended to stay on Ukhta.
“Did they give us landing coordinates?” Jake asked.
“Uploading now,” Arr answered.
“You comin’ down with us?” Jake asked, as he pulled his cap out of his back pocket and placed it on his head? “While Arr is working we can do some shopping. I’ll buy you something for hanging out long enough to take us back to the refitting station,” Jake offered.
He had already given me enough money to wait for him on board until he and Arr returned. But hey, what girl would pass up a shopping spree?
“You sure you can afford me?” I asked. “I have very good taste.”
Jake threw his arm over my shoulders. “For you babe anything.”
“I’ll get my boots and meet you at the pod.” I slipped out from under his arm and headed for my cabin.
“Wear the red,” Cassie suggested as I stood in front of my closet picking through my selection of spacer suits. “It looks nice with your dark hair.”
I took it off the hanger and pulled it on. I stepped into my boots and started to snap the buckles shut as Cassie continued to chat.
“I think Jake likes you,” she said.
“Cassie, I am twenty years older than him. I could be his mother,” I pooh-poohed her.
“He doesn’t look at you like a mother,” Cassie said. “And you don’t look your age. You could be his sister.”
“Cassie, you are a sweetheart. You just keep thinking like that. It helps keep me young.” I grabbed my hat and headed for the bay.
When I met the guys Jake looked me up and down. “You two look like Titan Twins.”
Sure enough, Arr was wearing a red suit too. Usually you don’t run into a guy wearing the red, just too flashy. However, Arr looked good in his, maybe even better than me. Oh well, so much for Cassie’s strategy.
I climbed on board and took the pilot’s seat. As soon as Ma-rye-a detected my powering up the pod she downloaded the coordinates for the landing. “Thanks Ma-rye-a,” I said. “You’re in charge while I’m gone. Sam, locker her down,” I ordered.
“Will do, Cap.”
Once the guys were seated, I started to maneuver out of the bay. Ukhta here we come.