The Savior sped through the Warp Zone, and its inhabitants, the seven crew members of the cruiser, were readying themselves for whatever laid at their destination where CATS was seemingly destroyed. Engineer Koin was running diagnostics on the ship to make sure that everything was in order for the somewhat-likely firefight that the ship was going to go through (okay, let’s be honest, there was a hundred percent chance of a firefight; that’s just how these things went down). Wins was with her to help, as there was no piloting to be done while the ship was jumping through an alternate dimension.
Koin was currently working on one ray shield generator that seemed to have been damaged while the team was loading the creature on-board (a very violent, very exciting story that would be good for another day).
“Can you hand me the lightscrew?” Koin asked.
Wins fumbled through the toolbox and took out a shining, oblong-shaped drill. “This?”
“No, that’s… um, nevermind,” Koin said. “Actually, I can do this.” She pulled the toolbox closer to herself and began looking herself.
Wins whined. “I’m sorry… I want to be a good help.”
“No, no, you’re fine. Just, uh, check on the other ray shield generator for me and make sure I didn’t leave the lightscrew there.”
“Alright!” Wins scampered off, and Koin almost felt bad for a moment. The girl was such a nice one, and a great pilot too, but sometimes she was just… you know? A bit of a Calexorkier, if you know what she meant. A little thick in her big blue head.
Still, she was by far the cutest member of the team. Almost like their mascot, if a mascot was the person who flew them around and made sure they didn’t run into a stray asteroid and explode into a billion tiny pieces.
Koin reached into her pocket and found the lightscrew. Oh, that’s where it was. Should she call Wins back over? Eh…. Maybe in a few minutes.
Meanwhile, Mikka was pacing around the mess hall, trying to imagine in her head what kind of speech she would give if she were able to rescue a large portion of the Thylium Grand Army once they reached the Zig System. If they even saved CATS… She’d keep the Savior out of loyalty, but she’d get it upgraded into a capital ship because that sounded absolutely badass.
She looked over at the chef/storyteller Luminosa. She– okay, wait, she needed to explain that one, because it was weird. This white-haired angel of a woman, Luminosa, was Mikka’s most trusted crewmate on the ship. She didn’t do anything vital to maintaining or operating the ship, but was actually one of the most important members because of one important thing many ship commanders forget– morale.
Luminosa grew up on the same planet as Mikka (Rethal, not that it mattered) and they went to academy together, so it seemed kind of like nepotism, but Luminosa actually possessed a very unique skill: she was excellent at telling stories, and she was excellent at cooking. No matter where in space, or how long they’d been without being in contact with civilization, Luminosa always had some sort of interesting tale to tell, as if she could read the minds of everyone on-board in order to captivate them all at once. It usually worked.
“Mikka, what are you thinking about?” Luminosa asked. She was carrying over a plate of sauteed-bacon soup with mushrooms fresh* from Cygnus X-1 (*they were not fresh and has been in the freezer for a month). “I hope you’re not praising me too much. I have plenty of flaws, just like the rest of all the humans among the stars.”
Dang, she was good.
Mikka sat down at a nearby table and dug into the food.
Furthermore, her cooking skills were paramount to the success of the XSS Savior and its missions across the galaxies. You’d never think how much a good, home-cooked meal would do to tactical performance, but it really made the difference sometimes, in Mikka’s mind. And her mind was the right one around here, whether anyone wanted it or not.
“Say,” Mikka said to Luminosa. “This is amazing. We really need to go back to Cygnus X-1 sometime and pick up some more of these.”
“I suggest we never have a repeat of what happened last time,” she replied. “That was… too interesting for my kind of life.”
“Oh, come on. It was fun! You can stay on-board if you want, but you’ll have to mope by yourself because I’m not letting any tree-mechs get in the way of some delicious mushrooms and duty-free export goods.”
“I really recommend against it.”
“Though, I have a good story about some other mushrooms, if you want to hear it.”
“Hmmm…” Mikka wasn’t sure if this was the best time, what with the impending probably-firefight and all. “Maenad, how much time until we arrive in the Zig System?”
“Take off every Zig,” Maenad replied back in its strange syntax. “Thirty-four minutes.”
“Hmm… alright. I guess we have to get the twins over here though.” Mikka beckoned to Lor and Tor, two teenaged twins who somehow got assigned to the Savior as the “mission support” members after some unfortunate accidents on Linku cost a few crewmembers. They were almost identical to each other besides hair color– Lor’s was green while Tor’s was gray– and both served as, well, the “muscle” of the team, despite barely being old enough to join the military. They kind of kept to themselves, but Mikka was trying to whip them into the family. “You two! Get over here and listen to Luminosa’s new story!”
Tor whispered into Lor’s ear. “Sir,” Lor said. “We need to suit up for combat soon.”
“This story will whip you into shape too. Come over here, and try some of this soup while you’re at it.”
They reluctantly got up from their table and walked over to where Mikka was sitting.
Luminosa closed her eyes and clapped her hands together. The lights dimmed. “This is the Story of the Lost Mushroom.”
It all began with a red-suited plumber and his taller, green-suited brother…
Don’t read The Glory of Bowsette