Ship’s Hand

I pulled my hands apart

Wednesday has come around again and I’m happy to present this week’s flash fiction.

Even neural mirrors didn’t make the action less disturbing as I pulled my hands apart. First the soft outer layers, a kind of latex meant to simulate skin. Compelling enough for casual contact. Not that I ever had anything else.

The husk drifted away from the alloy interior, spinning slightly in the micro gravity. I stared at the hands nearly blazing in the workshop’s light. Next came the outer casing, the struts, the servos. Each drifting about as I chased their ailment until only the lattice remained.

Ah, there.

The door to the workshop swished open barely proceeded by the override alarm. “Captain Aldman.” Only he could override my locks, and the sudden stopping, shifting of collar, and clearing of throat confirmed him.

Only he saw my hands like this. He’d never grown comfortable with it. “Hrm,” he said. “Will you be operational before we make dark fall?”

“Dark fall scheduled for four cycles.” I twisted the neural mirror, focusing on sliver grit embedded between the index and thumb.

“We’ve pushed the time up.” He appeared in my left periphery, rubbing his hands aprehensively. “The Tilleran attack’s intensified.”

I nodded plucking the grit out. “How long?” The mechanicals and I felt the ship sing in answer.
“Two cycles.” His voice was gruff.

“I’ll be ready.” I didn’t salute when he retreated, my hands otherwise occupied. I thought he almost said something and spoke before he could. “I’ll be ready. The Serrenie’s hands can’t fail.” He coughed again before leaving.

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