40 Days Day 4–30

“So you’ll love her, she’s great,” Kevin said.

Helen snorted. “Not that great.”

“Don’t listen to her. She’s still pissed about the car thing.”

“She borrowed my car for a single errand, and it took six hours.  I was very clear about what I was lending it for, and she took it on a joy ride.  She even ferried passengers.”

Kevin rolled his eyes.  “You got it back. Unscathed even.”

“That’s not the point…” Helen started, but Kevin moved on.

“Eddie, she’s a dynamo.  She takes over a room when she walks into it.”

Helen rolled her eyes, and then sighed.  “Ok, I will admit, she does have a superpower of getting impossible things done. She’s amazingly persuasive, and her force of will is something to behold.  You find yourself agreeing to her crazy ideas without even questioning them. And later, you wonder how we all managed to pull it off.”

Kevin nodded. “It’s amazing. And it works even if you know her well.”

Eddie looked at them, not quite sure if this was a good person or a bad person that he was about to meet. “So, where does she live? What does she do?”

Kevin and Helen looked at each other and shrugged.  “It’s unclear.  She’s a bit of a gypsy.  I know at least a dozen people who have hosted her for an extended period of time.  She has a bunch of projects going.  Sometimes she seems flush with cash.  Other times she’s broke.”

40 Days Day 3-2

Wake up.  Wake up, dammit.  Look around, but don’t take too long.

Yes.  Wake up and get up and get out of here.  Worry about the others later.  Get out of here.  Look at this mess, but don’t spend too much time looking.  Grab your bag, grab your comm, grab some food, and go.

Walk outside.  Look at the explosion damage. Try not to trip over the body in front of the building. Make sure it’s no one you know, but don’t spend too much time looking. Try not to throw up.

Keep walking.

Stay close to the walls. Try not to be seen, but keep an eye out for movement, for people.  Jump with a start at a loud sound, but don’t look back. Feel the adrenaline coursing through your body. Decide that flight may be better than fright.  Keep walking.

Turn on the com. Yell at yourself for not having it on before.  Listen for someone familiar.  Sigh at the silence.

Keep walking.

Look around without looking at the details.  Marvel that you survived. Avoid thinking too much about what happened.  Avoid thinking about all of the people you know here.  Avoid thinking about what you’re going to do next.

Keep walking.

Stop.  Look at the garden in the park.  Look at the roses.  Look at how they are unscathed.  Remember being here when the rest of the park was unscathed.   Collapse on the ground and sob uncontrollably.

Get control of yourself.  Look around to make sure no one saw your display.  Get up. Look at the roses again.  Grab a rose and stick it in your jacket lapel.

Keep walking.

Hear an explosion in the distance.  Wait for a reaction.  Wait a bit more just in case.  Decide it was an unexploded grande or a fire hit a gas line.

Keep walking in the direction away from the explosion.  Walk some more, even though it’s beginning to look like nothing survived.

Run.

Run.

Run towards your ship.

Examine the hull.  Feel for cracks. Look at it carefully closely.  Step away. Look at it from a distance.

Decide nothing has been booby trapped.  Decide everything looks safe.

Open the hatch, and step away quickly.  Wait for detonation.  Wait a second longer.  Decide it’s safe.

Board the ship.  Look around. Check for signs of entry, signs that someone was here.  Find nothing out of the ordinary.  Stow the bag, but keep the comm.  Munch on a protein bar.  Take a swig from the flask in the galley.   Run diagnostics, and check inventory.

Settle into the cockpit and check fuel and run preflight procedures.  Turn on the beacon,  just in case someone survived.

Secure the hull. Secure the hatch. Secure anything loose in the main cabin.

Get ready to go.  Look out the cockpit one last time, scanning the chaos and destruction.  Announce on the comm that you’re leaving.  Give anyone who survived ten minutes to get there.

Get ready for takeoff.  Glance out the cockpit, and jump.

Run to the hatch.  Open the hatch.  Run to the figure waving at the ship.  Hug her with every fiber of your being.  Bring her on board, strap her in, and get the hell out of this hellhole.

40 Days Day 2-60

Maga was too far away to hear what being said in the patio, but it was clear that tensions were running hot.   She absentmindely cleaned a glass while keeping an eye on the only customers in the cantina in the last few hours.   The Wookie was sitting ramrod straight and stared straight ahead, occasionally offering a quick roar but otherwise eerily still.

The T’wilek woman, on the other hand, wouldn’t stop moving.  She was the only of the group on her feet, and she was definitely using her feet.   She’d pace. Then she’d stop, waving her hands, saying something very fast.  And she’d pace again.

The human male sitting at the table next to the Wookie watched the t’wilek woman. He was shaking his knee, and his face was beet red.  Every now and then he’d start to say something and then shut down if the T’wilek woman looked his way.

The human female also at the table interrupted the T’wilek woman every now and then, quietly and calmly.  She didn’t look at anyone else, and as soon as she finished speaking, she took a quick slug at the drink in front of her.   The T’wilek  woman listened to her speak, considered what she said, and then started pacing again.

Another human male leaned against the wall by the table, drawing circles in the dust with his foot.  He spoke over the T’wilek woman every now and then, though she tensed at his voice, she deliberately avoided looking at him or otherwise acknowledge him.

Knowing that her customers did not need her immediately, Maga went to the back storeroom to grab a few extra bottles.  While the cantina was fairly quiet right now, the evening would be busy.

When she returned, nothing had changed on the patio.  The group was still more or less in the same position, and their drinks were more or less at the same level.  They didn’t need her for awhile.

This conversation, if it could be called that, went on for a few minutes, seemingly without resolution.  Finally, an astromech droid–older, dirty, and determined–rolled up from the street outside the patio.  Everyone stopped and stared at it, and the T’wilek woman moved aside to let the droid pass.  It stopped at the table next to the Wookie, and the rest of the group moved closer to huddle around it.

The droid projected a hologram to the middle of the group, and Maga could not see the hologram.  Everyone started intently at the hologram, immobile.

After a minute, the hologram ended, and the T’wilek woman started pacing again.  The human male next to the Wookie slumped in his seat and the human female leaned back and crossed her arms over her chest.  The human male walked back to the wall, and banged on it with his hands.  The Wookie roared.

Maga never learned to understand Wookies, but something in this roar caught Maga’s attention.  It seemed to have caught the attention of everyone else, because they also looked at the Wookie.  The Wookie pointed at the human male against the wall and started talking.  The human dropped his head. He then roared at the T’wilek woman, talking to her with choppy yelps, and she stared at him, and slowly nodded her head.

The human female asked the Wookie a question, and he put his arm around her, pulling her close. She rested her head against his chest, nodding.  The Wookie then looked at the human male sitting next to her and gave a short roar.

The human male smiled, said something, and everyone in the group started laughing.  Even the other human male had difficulty controlling his smirk.

Soon the aura of tension had left the group.  The Wookie was no longer staring straight ahead. The human at the table stopped shaking his knee, and leaned into the group.  The T’wilek woman sat down at the table and asked a few questions, and she looked at the human at the wall when he answered them.  The human female kept her head on the Wookie’s chest, and she smiled and nodded at the conversation.    And soon, the drinks were empty.

Maga left the counter and walked over to the patio.

“Are you all all right?  Need anything else?”

The Wookie roared.

“I think we’ll need another round,” the T’wilek woman said.  “We’re going to need it.”

40 Days Day 1–103

J’rell tensed as soon as he saw the stormtroopers.  He’d done nothing wrong that he could think of, but they were notorious for stopping anyone for any reason.    They walked by in a hurry, and he exhaled a breath he didn’t know he was keeping in.

He went back to setting up his tools for the day.  Ship repair wasn’t the most glamorous profession in the galaxy, but it kept him busy.  He had a few shuttles in the bay, and two larger cruisers in orbit that were waiting for a larger crew to be assembled before he could go up to make repairs.   Finding the right crew these days was challenging.  He was sympathetic to the Rebellion, and he hoped they would prevail, but he was a little too close to the inner core to be outwardly opposed to the Empire.  But he didn’t ask too many questions about who owned the ships he repaired.

Another troop of stormtroopers was approaching.  They also seemed in a hurry.  And they weren’t as organized as stormtroopers tended to be.  There was no unison in their movement, and they didn’t even move in pairs.  It seemed less like a patrol than a loose collection of white armor.

The correlian corvette in orbit had a faulty hyperdrive, and the backup was not as reliable as he liked.  The maneuverability wasn’t great either, and he wanted to overhaul the entire propulsion system.  His client seemed to understand that it would take quite a number of credits to get the ship up to snuff, and half of the payment had been issued.  He was itching to get his hands on that ship, but until the client authorized the repairs, he just spent time thinking about how best to approach the project.

Myn, J’rell’s shop director was working on a speeder.  She raised her head when J’Rell walked in, but she didn’t stop cleaning the steering mechanism she was working on.

“Something’s up with the stormtroopers,” she said.

“They definitely seem a little more off their game than usual.”

“J’Rell.”   She nodded behind him.

A stormtrooper was standing in the doorway.   J’Rell started and stood straighter.  He inhaled, and quickly turned around.

“Can I help you?”

The stormtrooper shifted and looked around the shop.  He didn’t say anything for a second.   J’Rell looked at Myn with question. She shrugged, and he looked back to the stormtrooper.    And they both gasped as the stormtrooper took off his helmet.

“Are you hiring? I know a lot about fixing ships.”

There was a large crash as Myn dropped the wrench she was holding.

*******

“I always wanted to wear one of these things.”  Myn was wearing the stormtrooper helmet.  “It’s pretty cool!”

“Take that off!”  There were so many things wrong with this situation, J’Rell didn’t know what to worry about first.  He glanced over at the stormtrooper, who was examining the hydraulics on a shuttle door.  That was his major concern.

Myn took off the helmet and followed J’Rell’s gaze.  “Do you think they can quit? Just like that?”

“I don’t think so.  But something happened.”

The stormtrooper made an adjustment and tested the hydraulic again.  He shook his head and went back to the control panel, grabbing a probe off a nearby table.

Another haphazard collection of stormtroopers started down the street.  J’Rell and Myn instinctively moved deeper in the shop, willing themselves invisible.  The stormtrooper looked up, but he made no move to hide his presence.  One of the stormtroopers directly looked at him, but kept walking on.  Another  stopped and took off his helmet. He stood in the street for a second, and then he turned and walked the other direction.

The stormtrooper closed the control panel, pressed a button, and the hydraulics moved smoothly.  He smiled, and turned to J’Rell and Myn.

“I know how to fix more than this.”

Myn walked up to shuttle and pressed a button.  The hydraulics worked perfectly.

“Looks good to me J’Rell.”  She smiled at the stormtrooper, and he blushed and looked away.

J’Rell looked blankly at both of them, not sure how he ended up in this situation but not liking it at all.

“Who are you?”

“They called me Spinner.”

“Spinner?” Myn asked.

He shrugged.  “It’s what they called me.”

“You can just leave? They won’t come and get you.  I don’t want any trouble with the Empire.”

“I think so.  I think it’s over.”

“It’s over?”

“They said the Emperor is dead. They said the Rebellion won. They said it’s done.”

“The Emperor is dead?”  Myn could barely say the words aloud.

“That’s what they said.”

“The Empire is dead,” J’Rell whispered.

“I don’t know what to do outside the Empire,” Spinner said, “But I know how to fix ships.  And you fix ships.   We can fix ships together.”

a new normal

I’ve not exactly avoided coming here, though there hasn’t been much to say.

In October, Graham and I were both tested, and aside from a small fibroid on my uterus, everything seems to be good. My egg reserves were apparently “unusually good” for a person my age, and the doctor thought that the main thing that was wrong was our age. So I flew home early from Thanksgiving to begin the IUI process. The first month I had follicles that were 18, 15 and 11 mm. I didn’t get pregnant. The second month, I had a cyst on one of my ovaries and we skipped. The third month, I had follicles that were 26 and 24 mm. I didn’t get pregnant. And the fourth month was just weird.

We’re in the 5th month now, and we’re skipping the cycle. My doctor still thinks that everything looks good from the technical side of things. He just thinks my body is waiting for the perfect egg, and with my age, they’re not as common as they used to be. He still thinks the IUI will work, and Graham and I have talked about how far we’re willing to take this. I think two more cycles and then we start talking about what else.

The rest of my life seems to be coming together better now.

I just finished a 40 days of yoga experiment at a local studio, and I think I’m going to stick with it. Graham and I are in the planning stages of the house expansion, and we’re getting closer and closer to construction. We went to Taos for a week last month, and I think it invigorated both of us to get moving on projects. I feel more connected to myself than I have since I lost the pregnancy, and I think I care a lot more now. 2013 was a very stressful year for me, and I think it took all of 2014 to recover.

I feel like writing again. I feel like doing projects again. I feel like exercising again. I’m watching what I eat again.  Everything is not perfect, but I feel a lot better about things.  And maybe that’s the key.