“–really great, don’t you think so?” was about all of Cyrus’ story that Corra heard. Guiltily, she lifted her head from where it had sunken into the mattress of her bed to stare at the console his voice was coming out of across the room. She had called Cyrus because she had been sure that her friend would be able to pull her out of this funk. And he had tried to do just that. Unfortunately, it hadn’t worked.
“Uhm…” she muttered, hesitant to admit that she’d dazed off into her own thoughts the moment he’d started talking.
Not that she needed to. Cyrus knew her far too well for that. “You weren’t listening were you?” She said nothing, which was as much of a confession as he needed. A groan came from the speakers. “I thought you’d like that story. It wasn’t even about ‘nerdy ship things’ as you always complain.”
“Yeah but it was about Addy and as adorable as you two and your budding admiration are, you’re basically ‘nerdy ship things’ embodied in two human forms,” Corra sighed, rolling over onto her back and stretching her arms out above her head.
There was a long moment of silence before Cyrus finally asked, “You think she admires me?”
Corra laughed a long slow laugh that ended with a sigh as she closed her eyes and clapped her hand over her forehead. On the other end of the line, the Dionysian’s mechanic asked, “Hey, you okay?”
“No,” was Corra’s immediate answer, though she regretted it as soon as it came out of her mouth. The last thing she wanted to do was admit all of her insecurities out loud. That would just make them all the more real. Then again, if anyone could empathize…
“I just–I’m really doubting that I’m cut out for this right about now,” she muttered under her breath. When it was followed by nothing more than a prompting silence, she went on, “Everything we’ve done so far has just been such a failure. We barely have enough credits to keep going and everything we do have, it was Finn who got it, not me. But even that, it’s miniscule. No one takes us seriously.”
“That’s just because you’re starting out,” Cyrus assured her. “Don’t you remember when we first picked you up? How everyone treated us back then? It took almost two years before we got the respect we deserved.”
Corra tilted her head back to eye the console skeptically. “Cy-cy have you met your captain? Of course it took that long…”
“Fair point,” Cyrus agreed, “But the message remains true. It’ll take a while to find your bearings.”
Corra let out a sigh. “Maybe. Or maybe I’ll never find them. Because I’m just a stupid ignorant girl who has no idea what she’s doing.”
“That’s not true,” was the predictable response.
“It is true,” she argued. “This job we’re headed to do tomorrow? It’s for this big vessel dealer and I know nothing about ships. Nothing. And he knows it. He doesn’t think I can do it and he’s right. I have no idea what I’m doing.” She groaned and rammed her palms into her eyes. “I should never have left the Dionysian.”
“Nonsense,” Cyrus said at once.
“Not nonsense,” she growled back. “I should have just stayed where I was and been a gunhand because that’s what I can do. That’s what I’m good for. Will Fiear take me back?”
There was a pause before the decisive answer. “No,” he said, so sternly that Corra moved her hands to glance at the screen again. “No I won’t let him.”
Frustrated, she rolled back over onto her stomach. “Why the hell not?”
“Corra, as much as I want you back here with us, I’m not letting you,” he snapped firmly. “You’re going to be great. I know you are. It’s hard and people are going to beat you down and it’s going to be a totally unforgiving experience for a while, but you can do it. This was your dream, to have your own ship, and you’re going to keep it. You have to stick with the Beacon and keep going. I’m not letting you give up.”
Corra was stunned into speechlessness. The man on the phone didn’t sound like Cyrus. Not her cute little Cy-cy, timid and passive and willing to roll over to make anybody happy. She’d never heard him so confident. Suddenly, she found she had no arguments. Well, except one.
“But I miss you,” she whispered. “I miss you and I miss Leta and Amora and Niki and hell I even miss stupid Maya. I miss that big dumb creaky old ship. And I miss my family…”
“I know,” Cyrus said. “We miss you too. But you need to do your own thing, that’s what you said to me and that’s what you’re gonna do. And we’ll see you again soon, I’m sure of it.”
It was a meager promise. Corra couldn’t help herself. “When?”
“I don’t know exactly,” he admitted. “But soon. And whether this job goes terribly or more fantastically than you could have imagined, I promise I’ll take you out to any bar you want when we get there.”
He must have known that would put a smile at the corner of her lips. “You mean that?” she asked hopefully. “Even if it’s a dancing one?”
Cyrus hesitated, but nonetheless Corra felt a grin spread over her face as he answered, “Sure. Even if it’s a dancing one.”