‘Ow!’ I cried out, jerking my hand back from the console.
Ayura, my second-in-command, twisted in her seat to look back at me from the navigation station.
‘Did it just spark on you again?’ she asked, eyebrow raised. I frowned at her.
‘No,’ I mumbled, finger stuck in my mouth to soothe the pain.
‘Captain, how many times do I have to tell you—’
‘I’m not calling Engineering!’
‘He knows why,’ I grunted, scowl affixed. Ayura rolled her eyes.
‘Men,’ she scoffed under her breath. Before I could stop her, she strode over to my chair, leaning forward to stab the intercom button with a manicured finger.
‘Could any auto electricians near Brighton please report to the bridge,’ she spoke in clipped, practised tones, voice reverberating around the ship. ‘I repeat, anyone nearby and capable of repairing electronics in this vehicle, please report to the bridge.’
She whipped her finger back, sauntering back to her station with a satisfied look on her face.
The doors behind me whooshed open, and a pale man dressed in red stepped onto the bridge.
‘You called for an auto electrician?’ he stammered. Clearly, he’d never been this close to the bridge before – quite possibly he’d only been on the top deck polishing the windows.
‘Fine,’ I relented, standing up. ‘My chair – it’s been sparking.’
‘Sparking, sir?’ the man almost whimpered.
‘Uh… do you know what the problem is?’
‘I was rather hoping you could tell me that,’ I smiled thinly. He visibly gulped, wiping sweat from his brow.
‘Stand aside, lad,’ a gruff voice came from behind the unfortunate officer. He nodded without seeing who was speaking, and almost ran out of the room. Chief Engineer Taggerty, the voice’s owner, shook his head.
‘A good kid,’ he said. ‘But he’s not often near Brighton. Car repair, that’s what we keep him around for.’
‘Do we have any cars?’ Ayura asked.
‘Occasionally, when we’re thrown back in time. What’s the issue?’