Coming clean

“The captain doesn’t like me, does she?”

Tianyi sounded casual enough about it, and Felicia wasn’t sure if she was actually after Felicia’s opinion or just making conversation. Though in Tianyi’s case, those weren’t necessarily two different things.

“Can you blame her?” Felicia countered. They were on shuttle cleaning duty this week, and were scrubbing the interior clean of whatever mud, dust and unidentified organic material that gathered since last week and that hadn’t been swept out during the daily quick clean.

“Hey, if she got a stick up her ass it’s not my job to pull it out, is it?”

“Well, you don’t exactly have to slam it up further either.”

Tianyi laughed and started to remove the pads from the seats. “I’m just trying to lighten things up, that’s all. You all looked so damn depressed on my first day here, I had to do something. I can’t stand being surrounded by onion peelers.”

“We had a good reason…” Felicia mumbled while rubbing off an oil stain, but Tianyi had good hearing even without amp power.

“But that was ages ago, Scope. I mean, I lost friends too, I know what it’s like, but you simply can’t dwell on it forever. Oooh, I think I found Santo’s lost candy.” She gestured at the seat in front of her.

Felicia peeked over her shoulder, and snickered as she saw the dirty pastilles. She continued on the oil stain. “And he blamed Keith for it.”

“Hey, give me one of those small trash bags, will you?”

Felicia handed one over, and Tianyi started to collect the candy pieces.

“What are you going to do with them?” Felicia asked curiously.

“Put them in Keith’s locker, of course.”

“You’re going to start a war, you know that?”

Tianyi grinned at her. “Yep.” She put the candy bag in her pocket and started to wipe the seats.

“Is this why you had to leave your last ship?” Felicia asked, half jokingly, half seriously.

“What, innocent practical jokes? Nah, I just didn’t get along with one of the soldiers.”

“That’s all? I mean, don’t get along with Cory or Sheng but that’s no reason to leave.”

“They aren’t in your team though.”

“I know, but still. Couldn’t you work it out?”

Tianyi didn’t answer straight away, busy trying to get another wet wipe out without half the package following. “Not really. He wasn’t going to change anyway, so why should I bother? Better for me to find a new crew to pester.” She flashed a grin at Felicia.

“You brought pestilence alright.”

“Oh come on, let that go already, would you?”

Felicia only smirked. “To be honest”, she said, picking up on Tianyi’s initial question, “the captain doesn’t like any new recruit. It takes a while, but eventually, you’ll hear her say ‘you’re not complete shit after all’ and that’s when you know you’re fully accepted.”

“Wow, I can’t wait”, Tiany said with longing in her voice, leaning against the shuttle wall. “How long does that usually take?”

“I wouldn’t know, I only heard people tell the tale about it.”

Tianyi laughed again, and brushed sand from one of the seats. “You know Scopes, I thought you were one damn stuck-up bitch when I first met you, but I’m starting to really like you.”

Felicia raised her eyebrows. “Uhm… thank you, I guess?”

“It’s okay, you don’t have to say you like me in return.”

“No no, I do”, Felicia reassured her, “only I…”

“…think that I’m one annoying pain in the ass”, Tianyi finished.

Felicia held up her hand and then pointed at Tianyi. “Your words, not mine.”

“Hey, I’m outspoken, not stupid.” Tianyi smirked at her.

“And self-aware. I give you that much.”

“You can only hear ‘shut the hell up for five minutes’ so many times before you start considering the relevance in the message.”

“The captain won’t be satisfied if you only know you’re annoying without doing anything about it though”, Felicia warned her.

“I know, I know. I’m just going to push her a little teeny-weeny bit more.” She smiled mischievously. “You’re allowed to have some fun even in the armed forces, aren’t you?” She patted her pocket with the spilled pastilles.

Felicia snickered and continued the wall scrubbing.

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