It took three days with heavy equipment to dig the crawler out from under the cliff it had toppled on itself. The only major damage aside from an engine being ruined in the explosion was the cockpit. The control panel was totally shot, filled with fragments of the shattered pilot’s chair it had embedded itself in. Anything between them would have been as broken as it was.
Rimares said it was a freak accident caused by us playing with stuff we didn’t really understand. He claimed some of the redundant systems had been wired back together wrong, and instead of backing each other up, shorted each other out. It was probably the only broken thing on the crawler that Rimares never blamed on me. Probably out of pity.
For my part, I kept standing or sitting around uselessly and staring at the crawler, when I could look at it at all. Like everything I ever wanted to do with my life, it was a failure. My first attempt at driving anything real and it just blew up, taking a fiend with it who would never have survived if she weren’t a real pirate, as if to say I had no right. No right to be fixing things. No right to dream of being a pirate. I could have had a nice apprenticeship at the apothecary, settled down with the friends I had grown up with, staying quiet until people forgot who my uncle was, but no, I had to be a pirate. I had let Rimares down, nearly gotten myself and Birch killed, and destroyed a year of work because I wanted things I couldn’t have.
Another three days after we got the crawler back in the warehouse, it was my birthday. Without Mrs. Apothecary around to heal over the pains inside me, I didn’t feel much like celebrating it, even if Birch insisted on throwing me a big party. She was trying to make me feel better about the accident, but it didn’t help. It was pretty obvious she wasn’t all the comfortable around me after I nearly got her killed because of some stupid accident that everyone was so sure couldn’t have been my fault. I sat in the warehouse, staring at the ruined crawler, trying to work up the courage to face that many people, or at least to be able to act something close to cheerful.
I was about to just give up and see if I could sneak home when I heard a familiar sound behind me. It was his stop being an idiot harrumph. “Ya know, the harder ya fail, just means the harder ya try again,” Ornery said.
The Pirate Apprentice by Mootly Obviate is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.