It was a perfect jump! Why the HELL did the deck explode? The decompression sucked me clean out of the ship, and now I'm headed straight downwards.
Alright, don't panic...magic? Nope. I'm spent. Okay, I just have to land on all fours. I'm a cat. I can do this. I can do this. I can...
Well that was unexpected. I've landed on the deck of another airship, in the arms a female android who is certainly not my sister. She had a windup key. How very retro.
"Well hello, kitty!"
"Hi. My name's Koen, but thanks for the catch. And you are?"
"I'm pleasure unit SX-069, but you can call me Six."
"Okayyy...like I said, I'm glad to meet you, but would you mind moving your hand please?"
My fur bristled.
"I meant the other hand!"
"SIX!" Shouted a familiar voice from the helm. "Stop groping my brother and secure the tethers on this wreck!"
"Wait, what...brother? I...Qli-2? Is that you?"
"I was Qli-2, yes, but I'm calling myself Nova Sakigake again. We merged."
I shrugged. This is pretty run-of-the-mill for reunions in my family. I peeked behind Six's shoulder and saw the smoldering shell of the Revenge sitting in some sort of steel mesh attached to this ship (SIXES AND SEVENS according to the paint job on the deck.)
And there's the original Qli at the bow. She must have finally disconnected from the Revenge, what's left of it.
"KOEN" She shouted. I waved back with a relieved smile. "KOEN! YOU'VE AGED!"
Yep. My black fur was back. "Puberty was bad enough the first time! I arranged a controlled leak in the zero chamber! I've got from fifteen to thirty, give or take a few months!"
I'm sure she was gonna give me hell for it later. But I knew exactly what I was doing. I'm getting better at this time travel thing. I could make a career out of it?
I tapped Six on her flesh-painted chin. "Speaking of puberty, I asked you to stop..."
She didn't move.
"Oh Hell...you wound down didn't you? ANYBODY GOT A CROWBAR? MINERAL OIL MAYBE?"
Back in the swing
10 months ago