Here I place the 'rough' finished chapters as they become available. Remember that I am likely to change or update these as the work progresses.
boarding the Nautilus and preparing to have a meal...
By the end of the week on the shuttle, Xav already knew he was in trouble. Here he had been faulting Jardan for falling for a Regulus girl, and now he was doing the very same thing himself. He consoled himself with the fact that he had the good luck to have brought her along with him rather than deciding to remain on some obscure planet where all his adventuring would be at an end. He didn’t think he would ever be able to make that sort of decision.
They spent most of their time in their seats during the trip, though occasionally Xav managed to coax Glory into walking to the front or the back just to 'earn her sea legs' and watch as the wormhole drew closer. Not all wormholes were even visible, but the Great Wyrm could be seen from quite a distance. It was a huge, swirling pink mass that was constantly sucking in anything that came close to it; both of the currently present Nautilus ships were parked dangerously close but holding their attitude as they waited for all the different teams he’d sent off to work on different worlds to return so they could all go back to Gamlin Quadrant together.
Like all of the ships operated by GalactiCorp, this shuttle was set on a daytime-nighttime timer, and its lights dimmed or brightened in time with the Universal Clock, with about fifteen hours of light and fifteen of dim. The Nautilus ships, on the other hand, operated on the same clock as Gamlin Prime, the watery world where Xav returned whenever he was able, as he considered it his home.
They were quite close to docking inside the main bay of the Nautilus when Xav came over and gently shook Glory's arm, waking her. She smiled as she glanced out the window and realized what was going on.
"Now that we're hooking up with the crew, I should warn you, Glory, they love to tell stories about how I became so legendary," Xav told her as the shuttle was approaching to dock. He grimaced. "Don't believe everything you hear."
Glory giggled. "Come on, Richards, spill. Were you naughty on the Nautilus?"
He laughed along with her, and felt his face begin to flame up. "Um, maybe a little. Just be ready, that's all. Come on, we've docked. I can't wait to show you around."
When Glory moved toward her luggage, Xav reached over and caught her hand, drawing her with him toward the airlocks. "Let one of the workers do that, Glory. You're part of the elite crew, and we have more pressing matters. Besides, it gives them something to do. Out here, the last thing you want to do is deprive somebody of a task when they've been waiting for months on end to be given one."
"Is it really that bad?" she asked curiously.
"It can be," he told her. "Of course, we're currently just running a skeleton crew until all the travelers return from the worlds they were on, and once everyone has arrived it'll be time to tank up. But not before we throw a welcome feast in your honor."
"Oh, wow, you don’t need to do that,” she exclaimed, blushing.
He gave her hand, which he hadn’t let go of, a little squeeze. "We most certainly do, kiddo. There's no way I'd miss an opportunity to show off the new girl. Besides, it's a great way for you to meet the rest of the techos around here. I know it's your first time out, and you're still getting used to things, but I feel I should give you fair warning. These boys can be lazy if you let them, so you're going to really have to show them who's the boss."
She grinned. "Don't worry, sir, I'm good at that."
Xav wasn't sure he wanted to know what she meant by that. Glory was so full of fire, he didn't doubt that she was remembering something from her past, but he couldn't imagine what it might be. He was much more excited by the idea of stepping through the airlock and into the Nautilus at the moment than he was in learning the story.
"Here we are, Glory, your new home until we reach Gamlin Prime. And probably a lot of times after, too. It's not my primary ship, but I do use it frequently."
Glory's eyes were wide with curiosity as they stepped through and started to look around. It was her first time aboard an intergalactic starship, and he wanted to give her plenty of time to enjoy it.
"Come on, girl, let me show you some of the highlights," he offered. "The ship is much too big to see the whole thing now, but we could certainly go eat something in the observation lounge."
"Don't you need to go to the bridge or something?" Glory asked curiously.
"Not until the other crews have boarded their starships and we're ready to take a head count," he said with a shrug. "I'd say we've got at least another day or so before we have to worry about any prep work."