Ziki is a tiny mechanic who works on everything mechanical that flies. The best mechanics are the ones who can fix things from the inside and that's just what she does, using her small size to her advantage to work in engines without the need to take them apart, making her work more accurate and efficient. Her skills have made her a household name, at least among enthusiasts of a certain grade, but she doesn't do it for the money or the reputation. She's looking for her father, and she'll take any job that gets her closer to him.
It all started when Ziki was a little girl. From the time she was old enough to walk her father would bring her into the hangar where he repaired planes. Eventually, he started asking her to help.
"Ziki, hand me that wrench," he said, pointing at the tool he needed.
Ziki stared at it, sizing it up. "I don't think I can, Papa," she said, "It's as big as I am!"
"A little bigger than you yet," her father agreed, "But I think you can do it. Give it a try."
She gripped the wrench, not expecting to be able to lift it at all, but with one heft she had it in the air. It was lighter than it looked, and even though it was longer than she was tall, she was able to carry it over to her father's open palm.
"Remember," he said gently, looking her in the eye, "You may be small, but you can do anything if you have the right tools."
She nodded, taking the lesson to heart.
By the time Ziki was a teenager, she was working in the hangar even more than her aging father. She was still under his watchful guidance, but she had come into her own under his patient tutelage, and he was proud to call her a mechanic in her own right.
Their skills were always evolving with the newer and newer planes, until suddenly they were expected to fix the new spaceships the government had sanctioned as well. They did their work quickly and diligently, and their reputation for quality and speed grew.
Tensions in the government increased, however, and eventually they declared war against another planet in their system. Ziki expressed her worries to her father, but he just squeezed her shoulder. "It's nothing to worry about," he said, "Let them fight their wars. It's just job security for us."
Ziki wasn't so sure about that. The planes and ships that were dragged into their hanger were in increasingly worse and worse shape as the weeks passed. Some of them were barely salvageable at all. She tried not to think about what happened to the pilots or crew members who had flown them.
Ziki was finishing up on a ship that had lost half its engine, along with half its shielding when a man in official military attire walked into their hangar.
"Can I help you?" she asked.
"You're Ziki, right?" the man said, "I'm looking for your father."
Ziki narrowed her eyes. "What do you want with my father?" she asked. She had been growing more and more distrustful of the military as more and more planes and ships came back half-destroyed.
"We need him for a field assignment. I'd tell you more, but unfortunately, it's classified."
Ziki's blood ran cold. She had been afraid of something like this. "You can't have him. His health isn't what it used to be, and my eyes are sharper. Take me instead."
"Trust me, if it were up to me I'd take you both. But, the government frowns on enlisting minors, so if you could please just point me to your father?"
Ziki gritted her teeth. She wanted to swear, yell curses and scream until the man left, but he was military, and bad things happened to people who refused the military. "Just tell me one thing. Will he be safe?"
The man looked her in the eye and Ziki could feel something, perhaps respect? "I can't promise it. But I will be personally overlooking his placement. He will be very valuable to us."
Ziki nodded, and tried to swallow the bitterness she felt.
That night, when Ziki said goodbye to her father, she had a feeling she would not see him again for a very long time. At first there were letters. Security was too tight to allow for any calls or videos, but Ziki could tell from the language that they were indeed from her Papa. Eventually, the letters stopped. She called everyone she could get ahold of in the military and government to try and learn what happened to her father, but they all insisted his location was classified and couldn't even tell her if he was alive or not. She refused to believe he was gone, but years passed with no word, and on her coming of age birthday a familiar face showed up at her door.
"You told me you would be overseeing my father's placement," she said evenly to the man who now looked much older than that day just a few years past when he came for her father.
The man took off his hat. "We got bad intel. Everyone at that hangar was taken as a prisoner of war. For that, I'm sorry."
"And now you want me to come with you, to replace him?"
The man nodded. "Word is the war may be ending soon, but we're still hard up for mechanics of your skill."
"If I do what you want me to, and don't desert before the war ends, will you allow me to look for my father in peace?"
"I can't promise that, but I will do what I can."
"Then I'll come with you. With my father gone there's nothing keeping me here anyway." She looked around the hangar where she'd grown up and learned everything she knew for one last time. "I'm ready."
True to his word, the soldier who led Ziki out of the hangar that day pulled some strings. The war lasted only a few months after, and once Ziki had finished her time serving her government, she was free to go look for her father. She had a letter of recommendation that could get her any mechanical work that came along. She used her contacts to get placed on ships heading to the other side, where she could scour the camps for POWs where her people were slowly being released and shipped home.
She has not yet found her father, but she will not stop looking. In the meantime she puts her skills to good use, gaining a reputation by word of mouth, and doing everything she can to make her father proud every day.
overlay by frederick
profile/story by Faber
coding help by Bug
watercolor tools from freepik
Ziki has a minion!
the Repair Bot
the Repair Bot
The Custom Chibi Terracoon
Age: 1 year, 9 months, 1 week
Born: May 14th, 2018
Adopted: 1 year, 9 months, 1 week ago
Adopted: May 14th, 2018
- Level: 13
- Strength: 27
- Defense: 12
- Speed: 12
- Health: 12
- HP: 12/12
- Intelligence: 81
- Books Read: 79
- Food Eaten: 0
- Job: Stylist
Stubby Draftsman Chalk
Cross Head Screwdriver
Flat Head Screwdriver
Annotated Engineering Book
Build Your Own Spaceship
An Introduction to Engineering
Plane Maintenance Manual
Schematic Art Book