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53 - There's no place like -- huh?

After bouncing between Tau and Taungoo, visiting old friends, running some jobs on Kobenhavn and settling back into my first room at Tau (the only one I have never let expire), I headed out to the port to find some items for my special customers. Right there, there was a decomissioned ship, and apparently it was just fair game for anyone.
Free is good, I think.
Well, I spent a couple of days recycling "scrap," inspecting hulls for integrity issues and supervising replacements for those that failed too badly for standard repairs. It's only the second time I've ever had this many credits in the bank.
I stopped for a break and answered a few questions from a new arrival about storage issues. I remember having issues with storage and inventory early on. It should come naturally, right?
Well, it doesn't.
At least I got to be there for someone else the way so many of my friends were there for me.
I sat there, drinking my instant coffee, chewing on biomeat I swiped and dried from the weedpile at Mali, watching the fish I had stolen. There they were, just moving around in the water, oblivious to how much that water is worth, searching around for more algae flakes, unaware that they totally depend on me to put those in, not even having the slightest clue how their water stays clean or that it even gets dirty at all . . .
Do they even know they are being watched, tended and admired?
Would they care if they did?
Are we like that?
Sometimes I wonder, especially after what happened next. It wasn't really my fault, but it sort-of was. Looking back at it, I have to laugh, because it really seems funny. I couldn't keep a straight face when the acting portmaster showed the footage at the safety briefing afterward. I almost remembered it as I was recovering in sick bay, but I would not be allowed to forget.
"THIS is why we wake up before we come to work," she said in her very loud, clear, beautiful voice, almost like that of the soldier, but at least slightly more pleasant.
She had been a trained singer, people said. She could fill a room with that sound and make each syllable perfectly clear, as though she were standing next to you, and she is truly a sight to behold. Tall, slender, with hair that draped across her shoulders and down her back . . . They say the painters and sculptors at Nouveau Limoges refused to paint or sculpt her because they felt incapable of doing her justice. I believe it.
Her brief, disapproving glance told me more than I cared to know.
As I forced my attention to the screen, it was me, reaching past the rack of star map updates to a slate in the next slot over, "Supervise Hull Replacement."
"THIS is why we PAY atTENtion . . . " she glared at me directly, drawing everyone else's attention to me. "to WHERE we ARE and WHAT we are DOING!"
The screen now showed . . . me . . . walking along, no indication as to where my mind had wandered, but it surely wasn't there . . . straight toward the ship the slate identified, passing directly under the loads of three cranes, each an absolute no-no.
What everyone was chuckling about was the color of my virtual name tag, clearly showing me as the supervisor for this job. At the far side of the screen, it showed the assistant portmaster I like to call Mr. Cool, stopped along the way, activating his communicator and summonning medical assistance to Bay 23. On the wall, visible around the end of the ship, was the giant-print number 23.
Then a loud stretching sound and a snap apparently came from overhead, as everyone on the screen suddenly looked in that direction and hurried to move away, just as I had turned to see what the A.P. was up to.
The load of metal that fell on me at the moment I looked up should have killed me. I guess I should hold a little more respect for the medical staff at this station.
"SO," she said, in her choralier voice. "WHO wants to be in tomorrow's video?"
I almost put my hand up, but then I did something I rarely do.
I thought about the consequences.
Later on, it dawned upon me. The problem there was communication. I forgot to say ouch.