"We need to talk," Kim said without fanfare. She'd let herself into the cockpit, and found that the pilot was staring blankly at his console. "We need to talk now."
He seemed to snap out of his revelry, and swiveled around to greet her. "Ray Patch," he said. "I don't think we've been formally introduced.
"Your name could be Constance Everheart and I wouldn't much care right now," she replied, not even a whiff of sarcasm in her voice. Usually she could be considered droll, and that's how she liked to present herself, but at the moment, Kim was as deadly serious as she she had ever been. "This situation is spiralling out of control, and I'm out of the loop, and I don't like that. You need to tell me everything, right now."
He took a moment, as if he were composing his thoughts, which Kim chose to interpret, while she waited, as a way of patronizing her. "You're right." She was a little surprised, but didn't show it. "I should never have allowed things to develop that poorly. But, things have been a little difficult as a whole. You may have heard."
She wanted to slap him, but restrained herself. "Kim Jones," she said coolly. "From this moment forward, I expect to be included in whatever it is you're attempting to do. Flying this thing would be nice."
"Believe me, that's all I wish I were doing," he said. "Fate interrupted those plans, among many others. I've been forced into a terrible leadership. You're not the first to assume that it's my responsibility, all of this."
"From where I'm standing, it's an easy assumption," she said, but inwardly wanted to add, one I'm now rethinking. She'd allowed herself to be carried away by the hysteria, which she'd only now remembered. "You should be aware that there's a problem with our passengers. They want answers, too, and they're not being as polite as I am about it."
"I've got a solution for that," he said. "We're going to both go out there and widen this discussion a little. This thing's not going anywhere until we figure out where we're going. Sit tight, Kim. This ride's about to get interesting."