Early Morning Take Off

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The freight was a monolith of a ship that sat long and flat in the water, with a blocky orange control tower at the far end. Engines whined and groaned as cranes were being lowered into the belly of the beast, surrounded by the great bulk of shipping containers that crowded the ships enormous deck. Tyson kept making obnoxious whooping noises past security and up to the ramp, where the older lady in an orange caution vest led them to a man in his thirties who had a clean shaven face and skin browned by the sun. He eyed Kai and the sleepy Ayah's bulky trench coats.

"Mr. Hiwatari?" When Kai did a jerk of his chin, he averted his eyes from their attire and stuck out his hand. "Dr. Clemens. Iyori Clemens. Dad's from the States, hence the last name. Trust me, I'm older than I look. Me and Dr. Tate go way back."

Tyson gawked. "You're a professor? Dude, you look as old as my brother! Just how old are you?"


"You're almost forty?! Pfft, give me whatever youth-juice you're rubbing all over your face."

"Tyson," groaned Kai, who had to take hold of Ayah's sleeve to stop her from wandering off in a dream-like daze. Who knew she did this badly at waking up?

At least Dr. Clemens noticed Ayah's trouble. "Oh! Of course. We better get you to the bunks. It is blasted three in the morning. I hope you don't mind being a bit cramped. I had to store you all in the room they threw in my equipment. This isn't any cruise ship, after all."

The walk past the looming block of shipping crates to the great orange building at the far end of the ship seemed to take days. By the time they reached a heavy metal door that opened with a metal wheel, like you saw on submarine's, a fog horn bellowed for departure. Great clinking chains snapped and crackled against metal in their retraction. The doctor lead them straight down a white, metal and linolium hallway with bleaching lights, up a flight of stairs, and to the last doorway to the right at the end of the second hallway. He flipped the latch like door handle and pushed it open.

The man hadn't been joking when he said it would be cramped. Three metal bunks, like shallow, man-sized flower boxes, had been folded down from the walls, two on the right wall, one on the left. The space left between the beds to the rest of the room and the doorway was just large enough for one person to walk through. The rest of the space had been taken up by heavy grade plastic crates varying in blue and gray.

"There's a bathroom there," he said, pointing across a particularly low stack of crates at the foot of the single bed on the left to a narrow door that looked like it could have been taken off a cheap camper trailer. "If you can figure out a place to put those two crates it would clear the walkway more, but I couldn't move them by myself. You called rather late minute. This is the best I could do."

"It's alright, I can climb!" chirped Tyson.

Ayah had already floated past Kai to the lone bunk on the left, where she collapsed on the narrow foam mattress with a poof of musty cotton blankets.

Dr. Clemen's chuckled. "Poor girl. How 'bout we wait till morning for all the introductions and questions? Best you get some shut eye while you can. I intend to work you, after all."

Tyson wriggled past Kay and clambered onto the top bunk like a monkey, not even noticing the small ladder set into the wall besides the beds.

"Are there any rules we should know about?" Kai asked.

"Well, for now just stay in this room until I come to get you in the morning. Best we not get into anyone's way."

With that, the brown, young Dr. Clemens wished them a good night and closed the door. Kai checked it for a lock, found it, and flicked it on before making his way over to Ayah and proceeded to tug off her trench coat. She gave an amusing noise between a whine and a question before sitting up to help. Her white wings tumbled over his arms before she flopped back down with a sigh.

"Better," she muttered, a small smile on her lips. A few curls of white hair had escaped her bun to curl about her cheeks. Kai hid his own smile and set to work getting his own coat off.

"When I transform, I'm getting my trench coat in blue," said Tyson from the top bunk.

Kai ignored him. He dropped the pile of black canvas and leather onto the floor, kicked off his boots, and curled into the bottom bunk. The bed was certainly no Temperpedic mattress, but he'd had worst. 

Author's Note: Sorry for the short update! I promise, the next one is nice and large and juicy. ^.^

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