Toini stepped onto the bridge, grabbed her seat in the back on the upper level, and gazed out over the world. The sun had not yet climbed above the horizon, but the sky in the east was bright enough it couldn’t be more than a minute or two.
On the bridge, electric light from buttons and control panels lit up the darkness. First mate Arras sat in the pilot’s seat, and the ship’s cat, Polly, lay curled up on the navigator’s chair. She’d woken up when Toini came in, but had since gone back to sleep. It was after all, several seconds ago.
“Arras,” Toini said. “Report.”
The young man spun his chair around to face her. Tall and wiry. Blond hair, pale pink skin, and a rough stubble. Green, camouflage pattern cargo pants. Steel-toe boots, and a knitted green sweater.
“All systems nominal. Everything’s quiet. Weather reports and news are on your screen. Nothing marked urgent.”
“Thank you, Arras.” Toini glanced at her screen, saw the notifications, and decided they could wait. Nothing urgent, indeed. “What’s our speed and altitude?”
The engine was working hard, but the vibrations in the deck hinted they were going into the wind.
“Just over eighty miles per hour at fifteen thousand feet.” Arras paused to clear his throat. “Last I heard we’re not in a hurry, so I kept her in the steady sky.”
Toini nodded. “Good call. We’re not in a hurry, and it’s better to let people sleep. Anything else.”
“No…” Arras spun around again and checked his instruments. “Sunrise in ninety seconds.”
“That much?” Toini frowned into the east. The sky looked bright enough already. Somehow she never judged the time right. It always took longer than she expected. Not that she minded, and maybe that’s why she hadn’t bothered learning properly – or perhaps that’s why she enjoyed it so much.
The true brightness of the rising sun always surprised and impressed her.
Over in his seat, Arras cleared his throat. “Boss…”
“Yes?” Toini raised an eyebrow at him.
“I think Polly’s having kittens again.”