[READING] [V & A Shipping] Chapter 14
Joey allowed himself to be led down the hallway. The cockpit where Argmon sat must be the front of the ship. As quickly as Vic had gotten to him in the passageway Joey must have arrived somewhere in this passage. Vic stopped at the end.
“This here is the kitchen where June put you until things were safer.”
Vic pointed to the kitchen. Joey didn’t even want to think about food right now. He was too nervous. The way Vic had been responding to questions just wasn’t right. It wasn’t the way a normal person would have responded.
“And on the other side is one of the bunk rooms. This one is usually mine, but people can sleep where ever they want. I’m not big on the whole ‘this is my space’ so if you want this room, take it.”
“Aren’t there any door?”
“Only on the bathroom. Why? You got a thing for doors?”
“No reason. Just asking. Thought it was a little strange that there were no doors.”
“Would you want to be stuck on this ship behind a locked door? Doors are for emergencies only!”
That did make sense. “I guess not.”
“Now watch your step on these stairs. They’re steeper than the look.”
Vic took hold of the rails with his hands and slid down the staircase. It was closer to being a ladder than a staircase, but it appeared to be permanently attached so they must be stairs. Joey took a tentative step down. The slope was steep and the steps were small. He decided to turn around and go down like he was on a ladder. It was tight also. Joey wondered if he was claustrophobic. He didn’t panic and kept breathing. When he got to the bottom he had to assume that he wasn’t.
The bottom passage continued straight ahead. Vic was already walking, his boots clanging on the deck.
“Here’s more rooms. They’re smaller down here. I think this ship was built with a captain and crew in mind. Just pick a bed and sleep in it. You may want to make sure Joop-Nop wasn’t sleeping in one before you crawl in. I sure hope he changes to something less messy the next time he eats.
“On the other side here is where you’ll probably end up spending most of your spare time. It’s the lounge.”
The room was large and had several seats that looked quite comfortable. A machine that looked suspiciously like a vending machine sat against the far wall. No one was in the room. Joey looked all around the room. Video screens displayed different programs. One looked like news being read by a blue man with large orange sores on his face.
“If you’re looking for the bathroom, it’s on the other side with all the bunks. It’s not big and nothing special, but when you got to go, it’s there for you.”
“Where’s everyone else? I thought you said there was a crew.”
“The rest are probably down in the cargo area.”
“Who else is there on the crew?”
“Let’s see, there’s Dexter. He’s short but don’t under estimate him. He doesn’t talk a lot either. Actually, I’ve never heard him really talk.”
“Hey Vic.” June came up a set of stairs. Joey didn’t notice where they went, he only noticed June. Now that his brain was finally his own, he could finally talk to her coherently. She frowned when she saw him. “Hello, Joey.”
“Still stuck on that one word response, eh? I thought you’d be over that by now.”
Vic laughed and slapped Joey on the back. “The kid is over it. I think he’s just a little shy.”
“I’m not shy.”
June smiled. “So you can talk. I’m glad to know it.”
“Hey June, you got a minute? Joey and I need to talk with you. I thought if you shared your story with him, the rest wouldn’t come as such a blow.”
“Are you kidding me? You told me your story and still thought I was going to go insane.”
Joey tuned out of the conversation for a moment. Vic had said something about not being able to go home. June was talking about going insane when she found out about what was going on. Vic didn’t seem bothered by any of it. What was going to come as a blow?
“Hey,” Joey interrupted. “I need to know what’s going on and I need to know now.”
Vic and June both looked at Joey. Vic motioned for them all to go into the lounge. “Take a seat, kid. You’re going to want to be sitting down for this.”
Joey sat in a large couch that instantly conformed to his body. It was possibly the most comfortable thing he’d ever sat in. It was like being in a bean bag, the one back in his room, but somehow more comfortable. Vic and June sat in chairs across from him.
“June, you remember Joey? I think you should tell him how you got here first. Then I can explain everything else. You want a beer before we get started, kid?”
A beer? Not even his own father had invited him to drink a beer. Joey hadn’t even thought of drinking one.
“Um, I’m only eighteen.”
“Old enough to vote, right?”
“Old enough to serve in the army, right?”
“Then you’re old enough to drink a beer.”
Vic got up quickly and went to what Joey thought of as the vending machine and hit one of the buttons three times. He handed beers all around and then sat back down.
“Let’s hear it, babe.”
June rolled her eyes. “Alright.” She adjusted herself slightly. “I grew up next door to Old Woman Elsa. That’s what we all called her.”
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