The old lift-plate rose slowly, taking five minutes to make the 30-foot trip to the Afterthought’s interior.
Jeska and Daniel barely noticed and didn’t break the embrace the whole way up.
Then the sound of the airlock hatch creaking open brought Jeska back to reality.
She managed to pull away gracefully, surprised by the intensity of her feelings for Daniel.
She took a deep breath, tried to forget the exhilarating rush, and looked around instead.
When the airlock hissed shut below her and the walls lit up, she saw the lift-plate had come to stop in the ship’s maintenance bay, a cluttered chamber of half-rebuilt Meks, engines and appliances – a surprisingly high number of toasters, Jeska noted.
Some of them were even on the walls and the ceiling.
As for Daniel, even after the lift had come to a stop, he felt he was rising higher and higher into the air.
In a daze he said, “That was …”
Nothing came to mind. He just grinned.
Examining her new surroundings, Jeska felt a surge of pleasure that made her feel truly alive for the first time in five years.
She rubbed her hand down the wall, and a thin line of sludge stuck to her fingers.
“It’s disgusting,” she said.
“I didn’t know I’d have visitors,” he said lamely.
“I love it."
For Jeska, anything was better than Stuck Station. Even this spectacularly filthy junker.
“Me too,” he agreed quickly, still flying high from her kiss.