My Giraffe Call is Open here! Stop in and leave a prompt!

This is to kelkyag‘s prompt.

The Space Accountant has a landing page here

Genique woke out of a sound, somewhat drunk sleep in a startled panic. She was back in the box, she was back in the chain, she was choking…

“Genique? Miss Wadevier?” Someone was pounding on her door. Nobody had knocked before. And that wasn’t Basi. “Are you in there?”

The chain… She was laying down. The chain normally pulled her into a sitting position. She touched her neck, wondering what was going on. “Oh!” She’d twisted her bedding around her throat in her sleep.

The night began to come back to her. The beer. The beers. Lots of beers. She pulled herself to her feet and opened the door.

It wasn’t so much that she recognized the woman on the other side of the door, as that she could match the face with splintered memories. “Am I late?”

“Oh, no, the First won’t be calling for you for for at least an hour. Oh, I’m Marist Irio. I’m the Quartermaster.”

She was, Genique noticed, carrying a small box. “How can I help you?”

“I know First’s got you working on some paperwork, but she’ll probably send you to the Pit as soon as you’re done. And I have some numbers I can’t get to line up…”

“Aaah. Come on in.” Her new room wasn’t much more than her old room, but it had a real bed, and a real desk. “What’ve you got?”

Marist pulled a data pad out of her box. “Supply numbers aren’t adding up, here… and here.” She tapped at the lines in question.

“Hrrm.” Supplies had been part of the question in the First’s missing funding. “I’ll see what I can do.”

“Basi mentioned you were thinking of taking in your jumpsuits? I’ve got a pocket machine… I can work on your suits while you look at my numbers?”

“Oh, that would be great.” A less-bleary glance at Marist’s uniform showed that it was tailored far better to the dark woman’s curvy figure than the off-the-shelf jumps. “That would be really great.”

This was how things happened, she supposed; half an hour of paperwork while Marist’s hand sewing machine zipped along, trimming Genique’s jumpsuits into something trim and fitted.

“You seem so normal.” That was after half an hour, and six jumps’ worth of sewing, seven months of purchase records studied. “I mean…” Marist flailed a bit. “You seem too ordinary to be here.”

Genique didn’t want to laugh at the woman, she really didn’t, but a little snort escaped anyway. “If my family could hear you say that…”

“It’s just… you’re an accountant. You’re the very definition of white bread, sitting here in the middle of a pirate ship doing the paperwork. It’s surreal.”

“Story of my life.” Genique sighed, and put down the pad. “Why do you think my family didn’t find the money for the ransom? Why do you think I’m sitting here waiting for whatever the Pit is?”

“Normal’s different on a farm planet?”

“Normal’s different everywhere you go, I think. At home… I was the black sheep. Unmarried, at my age. Bookish, not that good at the farm work.” She smiled dryly. “Afraid of bugs. Here…”

“Here,” Marist tossed her the final jumpsuit, “you’re bookish, which we desperately need. Put-together, adult. We’re not a very adult crew, you may have noticed, aside from the First. So… normal-seeming, I guess.”

“The old maid once again.” She highlighted the final error in Marist’s bookkeeping.

“Hardly.” The look the younger woman gave her was surprisingly steamy. “Try that on, would you?” Genique turned her back to comply, and Marist continued. “If we’re going for old-fashioned terms, have you heard of ‘cougars?'”

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.

5 thoughts on “Tradeoffs

  1. Heh. I don’t know why accountants are ‘normal’ as well as ‘boring’, but there’s the stereotype for you … Keeping track of stuff seems like a pretty critical part of a quartermaster’s job. But it was already pretty clear that ‘well run’ did not describe this ship.

  2. Oh, when I read the beginning, I thought it was set after The Pit. Now I’m a bit confused, and wondering what her family did to her…

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