144 Life In Fligh
Now that the Stella Tenebris was in the air and headed due east into the wasteland, things aboard the cruiser managed to calm down a little.
Zoey left 704 in charge of the bridge and went back down to the cargo bay with the others to check on the situation.
Now that everyone had eaten, and for the first time in a long time was in a safe environment, the first thing many of the clanspeople did was sleep. When Zoey stepped out of the grav-shaft with the others following behind, they were greeted by the sight of almost everyone in the cargo bay sleeping in various positions, while those still awake looked only a minute away from falling asleep themselves.
Baiken, who was probably the most aware of how much their people had suffered was nearly moved to tears by the sight, and thanked Zoey sincerely for saving their people from their situation.
Since they had a lot to take care of, Zoey quickly fabricated and installed an interface panel near the lifts and taught them how to use it to contact her should they need anything. The panel was hooked into the Stella Tenebris's conduit system and could be routed directly to Zoey's comm-unit by 704 if someone was trying to contact her.
Then Max and her made their way back up to the bridge. Max was getting tired, so Zoey settled him into a corner of the bridge with some blankets while she sat back on the Captain's chair and removed her mask.
It had been a rather eventful few days, and she had not had much time to herself at all. What little time she had was spent on setting up the spaces in the back of the cargo bay where 704 could transfer in food and water as needed for her guests.
That had worked out rather well, letting 704 transfer the needed items directly to the determined location on the ship had allowed her to provide food and water for the Asurai in a reasonable manner. Not to mention that feeding them had barely used any of the resources that the cube and Custodian 704 was capable of producing.
It wasn't much, but for now it would have to do. Other items that they needed, like clothing or household goods would have to wait for another time. Zoey had an idea for that, but her Aether Engineer talent was still not capable of fabricating the things that she needed to make it happen.
In the meantime, 704 was piloting the cruiser as they followed the trail of corruption to the source deep in the wasteland. They were on course, and the high altitude drones were not showing anything out of sorts, so Zoey decided to take a much needed nap herself.
Things were quiet for the Stella Tenebris for the next few days as it cruised nearly silent over the barren earth of the wasteland. The Asurai clan spent the time recovering from their wounds and mourning those that had not made long enough to reach this point. Their past was a sorrowful one, and the cargo deck resonated for many hours with the hymns they hummed for the fallen.
The busiest person on the cruiser was Zoey. She didn't look busy, as she was sitting on the bridge motionless for the first day, but her mind was a blur of activity as she planned and designed things that her cruiser was lacking.
At the moment, the Stella Tenebris was little more that an empty husk. The entire inside of the ship was bare and empty, completely lacking in basic amenities and facilities. There was literally one chair, the Captain's chair on the bridge, and two public bathrooms down in the cargo bay. So once she had everything planned and designed, Zoey went to work with Max tagging along curiously wherever she went.
The first time she went back down to the cargo bay without her mask on caused quite the stir. Zoey thought it silly that they were so shocked by her appearance, but there was little she could do and she didn't want to wear a mask on her own ship. That said, Taigen blushing when he talked to her was hilarious to Baiken and sparked a humorous series of events whenever Zoey encountered them together.
Also, General Saigo had started seeking them out whenever he had time to speak with Max. The two of them were a little stiff at first, but gradually the scene started to resemble more and more a grandfather teaching his grandson about the history and traditions of their people. Zoey kept an ear tuned to them while she worked, and was able to learn a bit herself while they were at it.
During all of this, Zoey had spent two full days working on the middle deck and the bridge, setting up bathrooms and plumbing along with transfer spots where 704 could move items too and from the cube's space without her direct input like in the cargo bay.
Luckily she had the foresight to make the framework of the cruiser completely modular, so no matter what she designated a certain area for, with a little arrangement she was able to transform it into the configuration that she needed. Unfortunately, with only herself fabricating and installing everything, it was slow going.
On the third day after they took off from the Bulwark, Zoey had been putting the finishing touches on the bridge bathroom facilities when one of the high altitude drones pinged her interface. There was something up ahead.
Zoey quickly finished up the last of her work and exited the cramped space she had set up as the bridge's bathroom. The bridge itself had undergone some changes as well in the last few days. There was now a table in the back corner with some chairs where Baiken was currently beating Taigen soundly at a game of chess. Ssaul was also there engrossed in a book that Zoey had gifted him, and there was Max and Saigo by the front windows going over a history lesson.
It was a peaceful scene that Zoey knew that they all deserved after what they had gone through.
But as with all things, it had to end eventually... it was time for the next step in their quest.
Their destination was at hand.