The Earhart is very different to the Drakonia. Everything is just that little bit smaller, neater and newer. She really does feel like a brand new ship. I know you'll laugh, but I couldn't help noticing the carpets, all beautifully fitted and never been tampered with. They may not be my problem any more, but old habits die hard!
Arriving at our quarters, we discovered that we are all located within a spit of each other—Al and I are actually neighbours.
The door to my room opened at my bidding, and instantly there was a yowl followed by the dull, heavy thud of four fat paws hitting the deck. Shamefully, I can't say that I had missed Beastie while I was at the Academy. I was way too busy there, but it sure was good to see her.
I dropped my things and sank down onto the floor to greet her as she waddled over, her belly swinging from side to side. She meowed and pirruped at me urgently, rubbing every inch of her body against as much of me as she could. It was so funny. I had no idea a cat could be so expressive about her adoration for someone. In the end, I had to pick her up and carry my bags in one at a time. Even then, she kept pushing her damp little nose into my chin and purring loudly.
Finally inside, I had the chance to consider my new home and I've instantly fallen in love with it. When you've always lived your life in someone else's home where nothing is new, and then to suddenly find yourself in a set of pristine new quarters that are all yours, well ... I had to swallow a tear. Yes, I had my own place on the Drakonia, but it was a bit shabby. It was just another room I occupied, but this? It feels so different. It feels like ... home. Finally, I know what home really feels like.
I don't know how long I sat on my little sofa with Beastie nestled in my lap, kneading my legs and purring wildly, but it had to be the best part of thirty minutes. They aren't huge quarters by any means, but they are bigger than I had anticipated. I have no less than three rooms!
The bedroom has a bed (of course) with bedside cabinets to either side, a range of fitted wardrobes with dressing table and mirror and an en-suite bathroom with shower. The main room is much bigger with a small sofa, coffee table and a fully equipped study area.
The best bit though is the view—yes, I have windows! Is this a perk of being an cadet or ensign? If so, I'd have joined up sooner! Now, as I sit on the sofa or lie in bed, I can watch the stars streak by. To begin with, I was a bit disconcerted that there weren’t any curtains and then I thought, duh, what do I need curtains for? Who's going to see me getting out of bed?
The door chime awoke me from my reverie and I found myself tittering excitedly like a mad woman.
"Open," I commanded, and the door slid aside to reveal Luke.
I was delighted to see him, and he looked so healthy and vibrant.
"So, what have you been up to?" I asked, and that's when he showed me his pips. "Lieutenant, Junior Grade!" I exclaimed. "Well done."
He grinned proudly.
"And they didn't come with the job. I earned these babies."
I really wanted him to tell me all about it, but I didn't have the chance. Apparently, I was due on duty in fifteen minutes and I hadn't even checked my roster. How remiss is that? Been here nearly ninety minutes and other than cuddle the cat, I've not organised myself at all.
I spruced myself up very quickly while Luke fed the cat and settled her down for her mid morning nap (that's the one she has before her main snooze) and then the two of us headed up to ... the bridge!
Oh my! I'm on the bridge!