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To fill square Three-Five (au: steampunk) on my card for [community profile] trope_bingo.

First: The Tod’cxeckz’ri Paper Part I

Previous in Trope Bingo: The Tod’cxeckz’ri Paper Part III

No Ao3 standard warnings apply.


It wasn’t that Jahnan thought her captive was serious. He had just admitted to attempting to seduce the lion’s share of his captors, generally to escape.

It was just that it had been a while, and he was a handsome man, if you liked the type - which, she was finding, she did. And his hand was warm, and his fingers just strong enough, and all in all it was more than a little bit distracting.

She slid her fingers over the controls while Yira slid his fingers over her, setting the coordinates he’d given her and checking them - twice - against her navigation charts.

Then she threw the switch, just as Yira demonstrated exactly how thin her ship-silks actually were.

The world twisted, the probabilities aligned, and they came out in open space.

In open...

“That,” Yira complained, “is in no way space-worthy.”

That was a caravel, its sails furled, floating cheerfully in mid- well, in mid-something.

It took just a moment for the Maru’s sensors to pick it up. “That’s because,” Jahnan said slowly, as if the facts might change if she took her time, “it’s not in space. It’s an etherboat. See the balloons?”

“A... Eth... no, no, no.“ Yira thumped his head back against the headrest. “This, this is why I hate what-if drives.”

“And this-” Jahnan lifted Yira’s unresisting hand off of her lap and deposited it in his own, “this is why you should never distract the pilot. Now think quiet and calm thoughts, and I’ll get us out of here.”

“I don’t trust you.” He grumbled and shifted in his seat. Jahnan glared at him.

“I said be quiet.“ She turned back to her consoles as he made a strangled noise. “All right. If we’re lucky...”

“Attention the Maru. Prepare to be boarded.”

“Right.” She glared at her intercom, which had turned on without consulting her. “So lucky isn’t going to be the thing, check.” She brushed her hand over the “transmit” button. “Attention aggressor, we have no room to be boarded. You’d be better off boarding a lifeboat.”

“..Jana? You got a new ship!” The voice on the other end went from mechanical to a squeal of glee. “Nehanani Jahnan, I never thought I’d see you back in my neck of the woods. Hold on, I’m bringing you aboard.”

Jahnan made triply certain the intercom was off before she leaned back in her seat and swore, quietly but eloquently.

Yira made a soft noise, and then another one.

“What?” She was just about done with - “...what?” His tan skin was ashen and he looked more miserable than she’d known he knew how to look.

Very slowly, as if moving hurt, he touched the collar with two fingers - and flinched.

Jahnan stared at him. “What... aw, rot.” She didn’t have time to deal with this. “Does it hurt?”

He seemed to give that some thought, then shook his head.

“Can you talk?”

Again, he thought about it, then shook his head. He looked worried. It was an interesting look on him.

“Can you breathe?

That one didn’t require thought. He nodded.

"All right. All right." She nodded to herself. "So - That. On the comms, about to bring us into her ship. That is my sister.”


Next: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/930668.html

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