I watched as the captain walked out of the room. Throughout the dinner he had been in charge. I still did not trust him, but Edwina, or Eddy as she preferred, seemed to. That was good enough. Jericho stopped just before he hit the end of the room. I watched him curiously, my body tense for some reason. He turned and started walking back, his eyes and smile making him seem mischievous to me.
"Ahhh, Ladies," he said, looking at Aster and Edwina before settling his gaze on me, "I am going to borrow your friend here, alright? I have some work I need doing. You don't mind, right?"
Edwina looked worried. "He can't strain himself! We need to...." She trailed off, making Jericho look at her curiously.
Aster stood, pulling attention to herself. "She is just worried. It is her brother after all-" Aster seemed to shiver while saying that "- and he has not been active lately." She gave Edwina a look, then continued. "Jacer is all yours, Captain."
The captain eyed the two girls, then nodded. "Come on, Jacer, I have work that needs doing."
I stood and followed the man out of the dining room. My plate had been left untouched. I did not know if I was supposed to eat it like the others, but I had no desire at the time. Food was to energize the body and to promote growth. I did not seem tired, and growth didn't seem to matter to me. Ever since I woke up the day before, I had not felt tired at all. I found myself surprised that I even knew what it was to be tired.
"You will be helping with repairs."
I looked at the captain as he led me down a hallway, away from my sister. "Repairs?"
"You know, repairs. The ship occasionally has something break or something become weakened. We have to repair these while they are still small, else we'll have a problem."
I nodded. It made sense, I suppose.
"You don't talk much, do you?"
"I find it unpleasant to talk when not needed, unless my conversation partner is Eddy."
Jericho stopped and stared at me, causing me to stop as well. His face was one of curiosity, an emotion I realized was rampant in people as a whole. "You.... What are you?"
I was confused at his question. What am I? "What do you mean?"
The captain laughed and started walking again. "Nothing, nothing."
I was directed to the lower part of the airship and a man known as Falme. He was larger than me and had substance called fat filling his body. I found it odd, but felt it would be wrong to ask him about it. On his head he wore a cap that, from what I could tell, covered bald skin. Despite his looks and dirty status, he was a pleasant man.
"Falme, can you watch our new member here?" Jericho asked the man.
"Of course, just leave it to me, cap'n." Falme's voice was gruff but more understandable than most of the men aboard the ship.
"I am going to ask our other guests if they know anything about steam engines."
With that, I was left alone with Falme. At first, he asked a lot of questions. I answered the ones I felt were necessary, but ignored the rest. Falme seemed worried at this, but continued to show me how to replace pipes. It was odd at first, but I managed to get the hang of it. Falme even said I had talent for the art of repair, whatever that had meant.
After a few hours, I began to grow curious. We had already replaced a few other pipes with abnormalities, but now we worked in a large room with some... contraption of metal. It gave off massive white clouds of steam. I found it fascinating that such a thing was in this airship.
"What is that?" I asked Falme.
He looked to the engine, then back at me and laughed. "You hit your head? That there is a steam engine. It powers the airships propeller, which in turn moves us about the skies." He popped off a small metal pipe with a warp in it and started putting the new one in.
"I see. So it is like a heart?" A heart. Something in your chest that makes your body move. I knew only that much.
"Well," Falme said, scratching his head before tightening a bolt on the new pipe, "I suppose it is. 'Cept a heart can't be replace. A steam engine is just a tool, so it can be."
A steam engine is simply a tool, whereas a heart was unique. An interesting concept. I briefly wondered how my own heart looked. Did it look like an engine? No, from the way Falme said it, my heart had to be different.
After all, I couldn't be a machine, could I?