Her Mark

Margaret kept her head level, willing herself not to crane her neck at the long aisles of ships and thousands of dock workers and spacers crawling over them. Don’t look like a damn tourist. She had to work harder to keep the grin off her face.

The dealer, a scruffy old Talerian name of Iolar, guided her toward her new purchase as they approached a quieter area of the starport. It was a battered old ship, a small freighter that needed work and love. Iolar handed her the keys, and now it was hers to work and love.

“Congratulations, Miss. Not gonna lie, we don’t get a lot of your kind buying these older models,” Iolar said, patting his sizable gut as she stepped forward to caress her new atmosphere-scorched make-plate. The shipyards emblem etched into her mind. She knew it well, having worked at the Bombay Planetyards for the bulk of her recently ended indenture. A puddle of stagnant oil under the forward landing skid singed her nose, and she knew what pipe needed replacing as though she’d been flying the ship for years.

“Not a lot of human customers, then?” she cocked her head toward him, smiling. “Or never met a blind pilot before?”

“I’m no bigot,” Iolar scratched the whiskers around his chin, sounding hurt. “No, just can’t recall the last woman captain I met, Miss.”