Kraglin rubbed the back of his head as he approached Nebula. “So, uh, Cap’n said ya’s gonna help me fix tha ship that’s stranded on Contraxia.”
Nebula nodded slightly without smiling. “Yes.”
“Let’s go, then.”
He turned and headed toward his own M-ship, Nebula following him without another word. They boarded and pulled their safety harnesses over their heads in silence.
After taking off, Kraglin cleared his throat in nervousness and fiddled with a few controls on his console, just for something to do with his hands.
In an effort to start a conversation, he asked, “Ya talked ta Gamora lately?”
He waited for Nebula to say more, but after several seconds passed, he knew no more was forthcoming. “That’s nice.”
The rest of the twenty-minute trip passed in silence and Kraglin was grateful when they reached Contraxia. He read Yondu’s instructions on his holopad again and said, “It’s s’posed ta be somewhere near tha Iron Lotus.”
He landed the M-ship and they disembarked, walking in the direction of the Iron Lotus. As they passed the various shops, Kraglin admired the lights and decorations in the windows.
“These holiday lights are perty, ain’t they?”
Nebula gave a noncommittal shrug.
After a few minutes, he pointed. “There’s tha ship.”
They boarded and Kraglin immediately began running diagnostics on the console. Searching for something to break the unbearable silence, he asked, “Ya know much ‘bout these kinda ships?”
“That’s… that’s good.”
“Do you always talk this much?”
“Oh, uh, yeah, I mean, sometimes.” His face flushed a light purple. “When I get nervous. Not that ya make me nervous! I mean, ya do, a little, but, uh…” He trailed off, not knowing what else to say, but Nebula was already ignoring him.
“Your diagnostic test has finished.”
“Oh!” Grateful for the distraction, he checked the results of the test. “Looks like we gotta faulty propulsion system. One of us’ll hafta go out ta tha outer panel and -”
Nebula stood, interrupting him. “I will take care of it.”
She walked out without another word and Kraglin turned back to the console, fixing a few of the problems listed on the diagnostics screen.
After about thirty minutes passed without Nebula returning, Kraglin decided to go check on her. He found her at the outer panel on the side of the ship.
“How’s it goin’?”
“I am almost finished.”
Kraglin pulled his coat a little closer. “Sure is chilly out here, ain’t it?”
“I am fine,” she replied, though Kraglin noticed that she shivered as she said it.
She leveled him with a silent, though deadly, stare.
“Yeah, ‘course ya are.”
Nebula turned back to the panel and, after another few minutes of working on it, closed the panel door and said, “It should be working now.”
Kraglin noticed that her hands shook slightly as she replaced the screws in the panel door.
“Ya want me ta do that?”
“I can do it.”
“Oh, yeah, ‘course.”
After the last screw was replaced, she turned and walked back onto the ship, Kraglin following behind. Once they returned to the console, Kraglin realized that her shivering had increased, but he decided the best course of action was to ignore it, so he began running the diagnostic test again instead.
He was therefore surprised when she mentioned it. “I am cold. I would like you to hug me.”
Kraglin dropped the holopad he was holding. “What?”
“I’m freezing. You’re warm. Hug me. Is that not what people do when they are cold?”
“Oh! Uh, yeah, reckon so.”
She raised a brow at him, still unsmiling, as he continued to stand and stare at her. “Well?”
“Oh! Sorry. Sorry, yeah, uh, here goes.”
He stepped closer and loosely wrapped his arms around her as she tentatively raised her own to rest her hands on his back.
After only a moment, Nebula said, “That is sufficient.”
Kraglin pulled away, his face flushing an even darker purple than before. He couldn’t help a small smile as he said, “That was nice.”
Nebula sat down and picked up the holopad to check the diagnostic results again.
“Tell anyone and I will kill you.”