Neon and Dust: Chapter 3
More Shoot space western time. Went from taking 6 months to update to 1 so go me.
Last chapter I’m posting on tumblr for this. Moving the whole thing to AO3 shortly for your reading convenience, complete with bad chapter titles.
content warning: mild dismemberment of a bad guy but he probably had it coming. I’m calling this M rated for now. For now….
Shaw woke up only a few hours after she’d stretched out in her bunk. Time of day was meaningless out in space, especially when traveling between planets that had completely different night and day cycles, but they made some effort to stay on a schedule for the sake of sanity. And yet she’d woken up far too early and for no good reason that she could discern.
She stayed still for a few moments, tuning out the familiar ship sounds (and Bear’s doggy snores) to listen for any disturbances, but there was nothing out of the ordinary. Which, it occurred to her, was likely the problem. She’d been tense falling asleep, convinced Root was likely to show up at any moment and try to break into her bunk (though whether it would be to incapacitate her or pick up where they’d left off in that jail cell Shaw was unsure. She was also unsure what she’d do if it were the latter).
Eventually she got up–careful not to disturb Bear–and opened her door so she could peer out into the passageway.
Everything was still.
On some whim she didn’t choose to examine too closely, she went down to the bunk she’d given Root earlier. The door was open and the room looked untouched, spare sheets still folded on the bed. The only thing out of place was the little bag Root had brought here with her, sitting on the mattress.
Shaw debated the ethics of rummaging through the possessions of someone who was technically a paying customer for about three seconds before emptying the bag’s contents onto the mattress.
There wasn’t much in it: a change of clothes, a couple folded pieces of paper, a toothbrush, and a comb. She unfolded one of the pieces of paper, but it was covered in scribbles that didn’t make a lot of sense. It was possibly some form of pseudocode, but, given that this was Root, it was just as likely weird love poetry for the Machine. The third piece of paper she unfolded had the words ‘Hi, sweetie!’ written on it in what appeared to be red lipstick.
The i’s were both hearts.
Shaw almost crumpled the paper up before realizing that would be a dead giveaway that she’d seen it. Instead, she carefully refolded it and put everything back in Root’s bag exactly as she’d found it.
The worst part was she couldn’t even tell Root how thoroughly unamused she was. She settled for rolling her eyes in disgust at the bag.
Despite the fact she’d have heard anyone approaching on the metal grate flooring of the passageway, she still glanced up and down the hall. If Root wasn’t here, where was she? Reese was supposed to be on watch up on the bridge, but maybe she’d gotten to him? Not much she could do while the ship was in blink though.
Shaw went back to her bunk and used the wall panel to call up to the bridge.
“Reese, you good?”
“Yeah, why? What’d Root do now?”
“Nothing? That I know of, anyway. Not in her bunk. You see her on any of the cameras?”
“Haven’t seen anything of note other than your little trip to her bunk just now.”
Shaw frowned at the panel. Asshole.
“Wonder where she went then. Maybe back to her ship?”
“Could be. The top hatch on her ship is shut so I can’t see in. Is there a problem?”
“Only wanted to make sure she hadn’t tased you and commandeered the ship.”
“Not yet. You should get some sleep while you have time. Or get whatever it is you went to Root’s bunk to…”
Shaw hung up on him.
She debated going and checking Paradox to see if Root had slunk back off to sleep there, but decided she didn’t really care enough (and didn’t want to give Reese any more ammunition). If Root thought she was too good for the Indigo Five’s bunks, that was her issue.
She paused with her hand on the bolt of her door, wondering if she should lock it. She shook her head and threw the lock. Of course she should, why wouldn’t she lock it?
She kept listening for the sound of footsteps up until she fell asleep.