She was coming to know the ship almost as well as she had known her own vessel. A skilled pilot herself, she was happy to tackle many of the routine operating tasks, plus some of those that were not so routine. Despite his aloofness, she found herself learning a great deal from Kerry. She observed the way he handled the ship, the instructions he gave to the computers. It seemed like second nature to him. On one occasion, at Jon's direction, she was perfecting a complicated navigational manoeuvre with the manual controls, under Kerry's supervision.
"She's a large, powerful ship," he said, "and needs handling with a delicate touch. Too much pressure and you would lose her." Jess glanced at him, frowning. Perhaps the ship wasn't the only thing that needed delicate handling. He placed his hands lightly over hers to guide them, and to her embarrassment, she felt her heart thud uncomfortably against her ribs and a blush of colour burn her cheeks.
"This is exactly the position these controls need to be in relation to each other, when the readings here, and here, correspond to the coordinates already set."
To her relief, he appeared not to notice her unease. For a moment, his eyes met hers. She saw they were no longer expressionless, but alight with the pride and enthusiasm he felt for the ship. She looked away quickly to concentrate on the data in front of her, forcing herself to ignore the feelings stirring deep within her. She felt privileged that he and Jon allowed her to handle the controls, and determined to make the most of the opportunity to pilot the immense starship, without any distraction. Besides, she had a mission to accomplish. She had enough to worry about; she didn't need added complications. She thought of the blaster hidden in her cabin. All the crew had free access to the ship's arsenal, and because there was no one else on board the ship, there was no reason for stringent security. She'd found it relatively easy to take the gun when no one was around, but she knew if its loss was discovered she would have to act very quickly.