"Like you'd ever meet Alitma," she said, laughing.
She doesn't know what I've done since she left me, Daniel thought sadly. Maybe she didn't care enough to find out.
Jeska's laughter ended in a wince of pain.
Medicloud must have missed something, Jeska thought.
“You hurt?” Daniel asked, his self-pity replaced with concern.
"I’m fine," she said, in a voice that told him she was not. “Doesn’t matter. You sure this … ship can fly?
“Yes. It’s sturdier than it looks,” he said, and then jumped back in terror as a rusty pipe fell from the Afterthought's hull and clanged against the lift exterior.
“Don’t worry about that,” he said, doing a poor job hiding his embarrassment.
“Anyway, I need to check you out..." he said running his eyes down her body.
"Daniel ... " she said blushing slightly.
"I mean, your vitals," he said. "Check out your vitals. We need to have the ship's systems check you out."
He hadn't been leering at her. He had been examining her for injuries.
“Oh,” she said, feeling stupid.
Daniel wondered if the ship's medicloud diagnostic system could examine Jeska without Rachel there to manage the machinery.
He thought about it longer and felt relieved Rachel wasn’t there.
He remembered what happened when Rachel had given Jeska a routine medical examination on his last ship, the Bon Voyage.
After performing the preliminary scan, Rachel had anesthetized Jeska, shaved her bald and tattooed “Spoiled Human” across her forehead.
Having had years to think about it, Daniel admitted it was pretty funny in retrospect.
Then he remembered it had been pretty funny then, too.
But he never told Jeska that.
Stuck On: Pranks
Social morays change, especially in a time when the architecture around you, and, indeed, your very body can be transformed quickly by nanotechnology.
In early human culture, a tattoo and a unwanted head-shaving would be a shameful, heinous act, ruining the reputation of both people involved.
But by the 2700s – when tattoos aren’t permanent and you can regrow hair in seconds – it was an insult and a mild inconvenience at most.
Rachel-7's prank was the equivalent of marking someone's arm with a dot of non-permanent ink.
For a further discussion of human pranks in the 28th-century please read Professor Edii Fnewfnaw's seminal work: Terran Humor: Why Whoopie Cushions are Still Funny.