NaNoWriMo 2021, Day 26: 1,620 / 51,320.

It’s alarming how easy it’s been to write this part.

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“I was on the Magellan when the fusion bottle ejected,” Nur told us. He was looking at the water bulb like it was a bottle of whiskey, and I wondered for the first time if there were other reasons beside religion why he didn’t drink. Nobody thinks twice about a Muslim or Mormon not partaking, right? “The emergency power was fine and we had a couple of message drones, so nobody panicked. We sent one ahead and did what repairs we could, just to keep busy. I mean, all we had to do was wait until somebody sent a rescue ship.” Nur shook his head. “Well, somebody did. The Scouts. They must have intercepted the drone while it was in FTL space.

“We didn’t know anything was wrong until after they boarded. The Scouts had come in wearing starsuits, which was good emergency practice, and the first ones weren’t armed. No, they just kept us distracted until the ‘repair crews’ were all over the ship. That’s when the guns came out. And the knives. Those were scarier, you know? Guns were bad, but they were usually over there. Knives are death, up close.“They had their Jamboree after lunch – which they made for us – and it didn’t seem real at first.

The Scouts weren’t what I expected: out of their suits they were just kids, younger than I was then – and I wasn’t even supposed to be on the Magellan; I kind of shaded my age a little to get the steward’s job. They looked kind of old-timey, with those buttoned shirts and short pants they wore, and the sashes with badges they all wore even looked kind of cool. Then again, I didn’t know what the badges meant.