Originally published online September 2014

I can never resist a good pun…or a bad one, for that matter!

Inside a metal building, two women sat at a pair of workbenches where they tested and repaired circuit boards of various shapes and sizes.  Oscilloscopes, power generators and other diagnostic equipment sat above them.  A slight tinge of burnt plastic and melted solder hung in the air.

Rock music blared from a radio.  Akari, a brunette of average build and light brown skin, hummed and bobbed her head slightly to the music while she worked.  The second woman, Luna, was slender with pale skin and blue hair mostly covered up with a bandana; she had an irritated look on her face.  Both women were in their mid-twenties and wore brown coveralls.

The clatter of a garage door opening up came from a far wall.  Luna stopped taking readings and turned to look toward the source of the noise.  She let out an exasperated sigh upon seeing an auto-cart roll in and deposit a bin filled with damaged circuit boards into the repair shop.

“Unbelievable,” Luna muttered under her breath.  “Join the Space Force, see the stars,” she mockingly sang.  “What a bunch of static.  What are we doing here, Akari?” she asked, exasperated.

“We’re keeping them flying, Luna,” Akari replied, taking little notice.  She had grown accustomed to Luna’s outbursts over the years of their friendship and was doing her best to cheer her up…again.

“Really, Akari?”

Akari turned to face her friend and shrugged.  “Okay, so we’re paying our dues,” she said.

“I guess.”

“Look, sweetie, before you know it, our four years in the service will be up.  Until then…” Akari paused, grabbed a tool and smiling, waved it at Luna, “we’ll just have to solder on as best we can!”

“Eep!” Akari squealed before barely dodging the circuit board Luna threw at her.