The trip back to Draye

The Blue Heron is a small ship with four state rooms and very little cargo space (3t). The two rooms are still overcrowded. After a few days, the mood is not great and air is stale.

Once the ship is underway in jump space, Lux takes Kana on a tour of the onboard fuel refinery, showing her the tanks, the pipes, the valves, explaining how expensive it is to refine your own fuel locally, but how necessary it is, in order to avoid mis-jumps, particularly when you’re flying for the Scout Service or the Navy. As they’re both crawling back out, Lux shows Kana the overhaul manual and tells her to give the ship a do-over: clean all the parts, corridors, check all the gauges, and so on. “Before you can be a pilot, you need to be an engineer, and before you can be an engineer, you need to know how to keep the ship clean.”

Outside, Louis overheard the last bit and as Lux moves back to the cockpit, he teases her: “Oh, so you’re an engineer as well?” She just gives him the interstellar sign of imperative silence: the index finger across the throat.