Phillip watched as the fine metal instrument dipped into an opening in his arm. He had never really questioned how the arm worked. He knew that it was special, maybe even one-of-a-kind, but he didn’t have a mind for machines or the weird. It kept him moving and kept him alive, and he was plenty happy with that. This view was not shared by the girl sitting before him.
He glanced between his exposed arm and its admirer, though Farrah didn’t seem to notice. She had expressed fascination with the prosthesis when they had first met, and now that she had an opportunity to study, there was no distracting her. Phillip suspected that, were he to detach the arm and leave the room, she may not notice his absence. He flinched as he felt a pressure in his wrist, though it was muted, distant.
She was a remarkable young woman. Her understanding of machines rivaled any he had encountered in his years, and certainly far surpassed his own. She handled the tools gracefully and precisely, touching and prodding the inner workings of his arm. He had surprised himself by allowing her to tinker. If another crisis arose, he couldn’t be sure his arm would be restored in time to handle it. But she had promised to return it to the way she found it, and he suspected that the excitement was over for the night. He sighed. Farrah shivered slightly, and the tool dropped from her hand. “Farrah, did a spark catch you?” He put a hand on her shoulder to steady her.
“No, I must be tired only,” she replied wearily. “The day was long and…complicated.” She breathed deeply, and Phillip couldn’t help but notice the silk robe flex against her chest. He gently attempted to withdraw his arm, but Farrah grabbed his hand in hers, pinning it to the table. She continued her study.
Phillip, meanwhile, studied the young miss Al-Azar. She was attractive to be sure, and had a quick mind, though marriage seemed to be the last thing on it. She was naive and idealistic, but considering he upbringing, that was to be expected. Yet in spite of her upbringing, he found himself trusting her, a courtesy he could not extend to others of her name. As he watched, he noticed her features contort ever-so-slightly. She ripped a panel off his bicep and sent it rolling under the desk. She swore under her breath, and he smiled at the momentary lapse in propriety.
Phillip knelt and retrieved the panel, placing it on the desk. “Wouldn’t want to lose this,” he chuckled. Crouching before her, their fingers still intertwined on the table, Phillip met Farrah’s large dark eyes with his.
An hour later, Phillip lay in his cabin alone. In the dim light and fog of coming sleep, a thought occurred to him. It was likely Farrah would be on the ship for some time, and there was no doubt they would be working closely together. Maybe she could use her talents to return the Songbird to her former glory.