"Shit, Jim, I can't hold it, we're going to go have to bail somewhere! The life support systems are about to go!" Jeffrey shouted over the blaring alarms.
"Ugh, you're right!" Jim shouted back, trying to put out a fire with an extinguisher.
"Scanner says that planet over there has a non-toxic environment, I'm setting us down there!"
"Fine! Just get us somewhere we can make repairs!"
Jeffrey nodded to a Jim who wasn't looking and locked in the coordinates. The ship pinged to acknowledge the course correction.
"Warning: The current course will cause you to miss your delivery date," the computer VI said with a weird lilt to its voice. The voice was hardly audible over the alarms. Jeffrey pushed the override button hard and turned to Jim.
Noah switched songs and sat back again. He picked up his phone and looked at the screen.
She had nice photos, but it just didn't click for him. It wasn't that he didn't think she was interesting, but he just felt that nobody was interesting enough. That was in no way based on their personalities -- what little he could gleam from these shallow apps' profile texts -- but purely on the amount of hassle he felt would accompany any attempt to connect. There was just something hollow about it.
"Stop reading these words.
No, really, stop reading right now.
I'm not saying this for me, I'm saying this for you.
Stop. Reading. Now.
He'd been afraid to say anything, but he was also afraid of not figuring out what this all was. They had known each other for years and there'd always been this energy in the air, something he didn't have with any of his other friends, boys or girls. It was new to him, and it sometimes made it difficult for him to think. Over the past few months, that feeling had only gotten worse.
It wasn't always, mostly it was just regular ol' Andy, Elouise and others hanging out. Playing games, watching movies or just talking about random stuff.
He flipped the switch and the primary oxygen systems whizzed back into life. He flipped another and the backups sputtered and stopped. The bimonthly maintenance had become so routine he hardly had to think about it anymore. He pushed off and floated through the corridor, past the pictures of those who had come before him.
There were the pictures of his own crew, 4 of them, all looking happy. They had just arrived at the International Space Station and everyone was excited to finally be out here. For him it had been the 3rd time in space, but for the rest it had been their first stay at this home away from home planet. There had been a giddy atmosphere that he'd been happy to join in on.
Larry shot a fireball from his hands, which would have smacked her right in the face, had she not dodged out of the way just in time. She was floating a few yards above the ground and still had complete control over it, something he was hoping was not the case.
He was hiding behind a car and was thankful for this fight happening in a car park. At least there were enough places to hide.
A bolt of electricity shot his way. Middle-aged as he was, he dodged more by accident than on purpose, as he tried to move deftly to the side but found himself tripping over a metal beam. He slammed down on the ground, and a searing pain shot through his back.
Fucking dilapidated car park, he corrected his previous happiness about the location.
"They rejected it?" Henry said, almost sounding interested.
"You heard me, they said it was derivative and done before. Better, at that," Aria said, almost sounding angry.
"Well, that sucks, babe. But maybe now you'll have time to help me pick out the floor for the work room," he said with a faint smile.
She got up abruptly, stared him in the eyes and turned around with a huff. She went up the stairs and into her work room. He was left confused, but switched the sound on the television back on and sat back to watch.
Jerry looked at his empire and saw that it was good. He adjusted his hat and sighed a sigh of utter content. It had been a long time since he'd been truly happy. His worker bees were busy keeping everything running smoothly, obviously because of his instructions. But it hadn't always been this good.
Jerry had a habit, you see, an addiction. Coffee was his lord and master, and he was its eager slave.
Author's note: Coffee is an old story, probably about 10 years old now. I rewrote it a little, taking out some bits that I now feel were insensitive and taking out a lot of adjectives. This is the one that started the Jerry arc, continued in Something About Coffee and then in There he goes Again. And I'm not done with Jerry just yet.
"Oh my..." Jerry said softly, with a cooing quality in his voice he reserved for moments where he really approved of something. He held the cup with both hands and with single-minded attention sniffed the fumes coming from it. "Oh... my..." he repeated after a meaningful pause.
You see, Jerry loves coffee. And not in the general sense. One could quite factually state that Jerry's interest in coffee borders on an obsession. A very persistent one at that, as he's been a coffee 'aficionado' for as long as he himself cares to remember. He has a specific flavor for every day of the week, one specifically for every holiday and a very special blend only to be used on his birthday. Jerry's walk-in closet isn't filled with clothes, but is filled with an almost limitless variety of coffee.
He kept his mouth shut and braced himself against the wind. The dust storm was howling around him and had come up suddenly enough that he hadn't been able to find a place to hide from it.
He cursed the wind for ripping away his bandana, making breathing much harder than it had to be. The dust clogged his nostrils and he had to hide his face in his coat and unclog them from time to time.