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Gold Pilot

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With deep gasps, they lunged from their cryobeds, awakened by the blares of an emergency alarm. The otherwise dull grey interior of the Yellow Submarine flashed with red as Samantha groaned, stumbling, plugging her ears with her fingers.
Her voice steeped in grogginess, Kilner demanded to know what was going on. Dax made no reply as the ship skidded across the uneven surface of a planet's empty moon. Samantha grabbed onto Kilner’s arm to keep balance, letting go only when it came to a halt. Only then did Dax explain that the engines had failed.
Cryogel still clinging to their jumpsuits, the two exited the ship with Samantha carrying Kilner’s toolbox in hand. When she handed it to her, their fingers brushed for only a moment. Kilner smiled at the gold stars painted onto the scratched metal, Samantha was always trying to make things a bit prettier, always finding a way to make what she had initially called squalid beautiful.

On the barren lavender-sanded landscape, Samantha sat on the steps of the ship, absently picking at the chipped yellow paint. Her eyes wandered over the deep navy galaxy surrounding them, counting the moons and distant planets she could see. She wished she would take her to the far side of the moon, to a place where no one could see them.
Brushing a lump of green cryogel from her shoulder, she watched Kilner as she worked, gazing at her with tired eyes at the concentration etched into her features, the way her muscles strained as she worked against the exertion. Rancid smoke billowed from the engines, she had offered her help, but the cyborg would not let her touch her precious, clanking, rusting ship.

Standing back, Kilner rested her hand on her hip while the smoke cleared. Looking back at Samantha, who gazed up at the stars above, she wished she could see what beauty the socialite saw, as all her own eyes could see was Automnicon’s dirty trace against it all. As she tapped the wrench into the palm of her hand, the more her mind wandered, the harder she hit her hand as she dared to entertain the idea of telling her how she felt. An indifferent longing that she had been only vaguely conscious of attimes before became now a recognizable wish. It was so absurd, so embarrassing a desire that she banished it from her mind.
As she joined her side, she outstretched her arm, pointing to the velvet sky. Some of the brilliant stars they admired did not exist anymore, by the time their light reached them they were long since dead. Samantha listened intently as Kilner told her of obsolete constellations, galaxies and planets hidden away in the darker corners of space. Perhaps it was that somewhere there was a constellation of a cyborg and a socialite - together, running through the sky, chasing the shining stars, an untouchable, unreachable hand extended, pointing towards the distant universe.

Samantha had always thought she had seen everything the galaxies had to offer, but it seemed that with Kilner, all seemed limitless, she saw beauty in places usually gone without notice.

With Dax’s call, they set off once more for their destination somewhere else in the vast universe. Sleep did not reach them as they decided to stay awake for their last few days of the journey.

Her ability to breathe properly seemed to disappear as she watched Kilner continue her new routine of sit-ups, all the things she thought were unnecessary - as to her, she was already the strongest person she knew, though perhaps not for the same reasons. Every muscle of her torso flowing from her warm brown skin into the mechanized parts of herself, the parts she was always so curious about.
Kilner sat up, pushing her some of her dreadlocks over from where they had fallen out of place. Samantha could not help but admire her as she sat there in an engine fuel-laden tank top, absently toying with one of the gold cuffs at the end of a lock that fell in front of her face. She imagined running a hand over where her tech stretched into her almost seamlessly. More than anything she wanted to press her lips to her shoulder, to drag her chewed nails down her back for making her feel this way.
Often staring at the scar along her throat, a desire to lightly run her finger down the lighter tissue contrasting her skin manifested itself. If ever the day came that she would suffer from deeper scars or if Kilner would have to make replacements for lost parts of her body, her trust in her would run much deeper.
As for now she only had a bandaid on her nose from when she walked face first into an invisible forcefield.

When Kilner left to take a shower, Samantha laid in her bed. Little nooks carved into the wall, their regular chambers were not the most comfortable, but they did their job. All the things that had been building inside her had to come out eventually, but the fear of ruining what she had with her was too much for her to bear.
“Soulmates” was the word she had used when Kilner had described what it would take to work with someone else, it seemed neither of them had fully realized the weight of that word, how well it reflected in the two of them. Working with her had become the greatest thing to have ever happened in her life, there was an unfamiliar warmth in her heart when she was around her, a softness when she said she believed her innocence. Most importantly to her was the kind look in her eyes when she did something correctly, she made her proud and it filled her with an immense joy she had not ever felt before.
She buried her face in her pillow upon hearing Kilner climb into her own bed.

As far as her memory went, Kilner was certain she had never stayed with anyone as long as she had with Samantha, merely chalking it up to the fact that she was not with her the way she had been with Jault or Andrea. She turned over on her side, on one of her shelves sat a small photograph Samantha had taken of the both of them after an assignment. Herself only had a hint of a smile as opposed to the socialite's grin, before she became more bruised with every mission they went on. A change had certainly come up in her, she was proud of how far she had come. There were some moments where she wanted nothing else than to wipe the grease from her cheek and press a kiss there instead.
Her parents had portrayed her as such a monster. Samantha, she knew, was full of so much light, so much potential yet to be fulfilled. Those rumors, they had big teeth. Kilner hoped it would bite them. Turning over onto her back, she stared at her bunked chambered bed, listening to the shuffling of the sheets above her.

Samantha stared out the circular window, watching the stars pass by. Kilner had once told her that Automnicon owned the stars, though she refused to believe such a polluted corporation could own what was so beautiful and bright. She was certain it was Kilner herself who owned those distant lights with the way she navigated through them.
Clever and bright, something entirely new, she had taken her by the hand and she thought it felt like home. For all her life there was darkness, then there was Kilner, her gold pilot.