The ground was thrumming. That was how you knew MX-371, or Em-Ex to its crew and cargo of interplanetary waifs and strays, was in motion; the all pervasive vibration that carried through the ancient, pitted decks and into your very bones. It was an odd sensation, but one you could grow used to. In truth, many of the Em-Ex's inhabitants claimed they missed it when it wasn't present during the refugee ship's few stops.
Watching her hydrospanner rattle its way off the countertop and onto the floor for the third time that morning, Elyria couldn't help but consider that an exaggeration. There was nothing, least of all bone jarring vibrations, that anyone could miss about the Em-Ex, the ship that had been both her salvation and her enslaver all those years ago, on a half forgotten world half-way across the galaxy. Sure, she was grateful for her bunk there - such as it was - but that didn't mean she wouldn't have been more grateful for a bunk somewhere - anywhere - else. Coruscant. Corellia. Mandalore. All the places she had read about over the years. Any of them had to be better than this starbound refugee camp. At least, that was what she told herself time and time again, because that allowed her to keep dreaming of a future on one of them. And dreaming... dreaming was what gave you hope when the Em-Ex was your life.
But while dreams gave you hope, it was work that gave you food, and Elyria had work to do so, with a ill-disguised irritation, she snatched up her hydrospanner and set back to work on the panel she was maintaining. It was grim, mundane work, and her hands were already coasted in the thick, greasy dirt that had coated the panel, but that was about all the crew were willing to trust her with when she couldn't even hear their instructions. Stupid, really; didn't they realise that written instructions were more sensible anyhow? Especially when you considered that some of the other workers had roughly half the intelligence and technically capacity of a Mynock. Perhaps fortunately, Elyria wasn't afforded much time to dwell on the subject, for at that moment a shadow fell across her and she started, barely avoiding dropping the hydrospanner once again.
Whirling about, she glare daggers at the familiar man who stood over her. Tall, but hunched and grubby, Deryl Hath would win no beauty awards, but he was one of the kinder souls aboard the Em-Ex, though of course that wasn't saying much nowadays. The soft hearts had burnt out long ago. A thief and a scoundrel, he had taught Elyria some of his tricks a few years back, yet had never pushed for the sort of reward so many aboard the battered transport seemed to expect. Instead, he had tried to cultivate a friendship of sorts, and now the two of them were often together, splitting rations or items of luxury one or other hand managed to purloin. Once or twice, they'd even shared a bag of spice, and it was one such bag that Deryl now produced and flashed before Elyria's startled eyes. Breath caught in her throat, she could merely stare in confusion and Deryl, perhaps sensing the bafflement behind her gaze, shrugged and gestured down a corridor that led toward the docking bays, before swooping his hand through the air like a spacecraft.
A ship. A ship is here. Now.
This wasn't unheard of, but it was rare enough that thoughts of going to see were now warring with Elyria's desire to sample the spice, and she bit her lip thoughtfully as she glanced from bag to accessway. It was difficult, made all the more so by the insidious effects of her previous samples of spice, but eventually she shook her head, as though silencing the demons, and stabbed one finger toward Deryl and another toward the deck. You, wait.
And with that she stepped past him and headed toward the accessway, her steps quicker by the second. She wasn't going to miss this. Not today, not ever.
Because you never knew when it could be your chance to escape the purgatory that was MX-371.