One week later.

Bravo slipped through the silent blackness of space as if pulled by the invisible hands of fate or, as Kyra solemnly mused, like Papa’s river carrying them forth; to the next bend or the fall was not theirs to know. Only Emy had joined Kyra and Von. One week removed from departure, one week to contact, the ship had never felt so quiet or so spacious.

“How are we doing Em?” asked Kyra, watching with pride as Em stood watch over the control panel, her sea legs planted firmly in command. Kyra only imagined this was how her father must have stood.

“All systems green. Not a problem in sight,” sighed Em as if disappointed. “I suppose now we just sit and wait. You know, there is something sterile about space travel, something lacking,” Em searched for the right word . . . .

“Something soulless?” offered Kyra.

“Yes, soulless. Do you feel it too?”

“More so since we departed. No offense, but Bravo just doesn’t seem the same without Rog and Yul and Trev and Mairi. Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure Kyra. Anything. And by the way, no offense taken. I feel it too.”

“Do you agree with the others?”

“In what way?”

“Do you think this mission is imprudent? Foolhardy? Misguided?”

“Yes, I do.”

Somewhat surprised Kyra sat up. “Really?”

“In a way, yes.”

Kyra searched Em’s face. She was not joking. “Care to explain?”

“I’ve already told you why I’m here.”

“No, not that. I meant why you agree.”

“Oh, well, my father always said we sail to the sun, not from it, which I suppose was his way of saying we move forward, not back. I do understand the desire and need to pursue this signal, but I believe all we will find is answers for our ghosts, not for us, and I think the bigger question is, why are they still haunting us? Or to phrase it another way, why do we still allow them to haunt us?”

“But you don’t agree?”

“Agree or not agree is not how I would frame the question. I think the question is more, as you might say, one of love.” Em smiled.

“Love?” Kyra smiled back, the kind of smile that said you have my attention now.

“I love you Kyra and so I am here—for you. The mission, I believe is sailing into the void, it doesn’t move us forward. But I’m not here for the mission, for missions will come and go, as will this one. I’m here because, as my father also used to like to say—often, the relationship trumps the circumstance. This mission is important to you and so it is important to me. I’m here to honor you, to serve you. The mission matters little.”

Em paused and Kyra allowed the silence. Em began again. “Now, having said that, I do believe as long as we are haunted, as long as we live in that darkness, then I believe we must seek the light and so I like to see this mission as a ghost busting exercise. What we find on that vessel will matter little in comparison to what we find in the dark reaches of our soul, that place that compels us forward.”

Kyra just sat, her jaw slightly open and her eyes a little wider than normal. “Em, I don’t know what to say.”

“No need to say anything. The look in your eyes right now has given me more than a library of words. On the open water, miles from nowhere, my father would hug me tight; tell me he loved me as he whispered, as fathers do, that without each other we had nothing. As I said a week ago, I am thankful you welcomed me on this mission, welcomed me to travel with you and Von. Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure Em.”

Em’s eyes widened and a sparkle seemed to appear. “Did you see that performance Trev gave?”

Kyra busted out, tears of laughter blurred the corners of her sight. Wiping her eyes and catching her breath she said, “Yes, Em. Yes I did.”


“And what?” teased Krya.

“Whhhaaaat did you think?”

“I think we saw a side of Trev none of us had ever seen before.”

Em’s eyes drifted away. “I’m sailing to the sun Kyra.”

[ed note: this chapter is the first of what I am calling an “outtake,” which is to say, I’m not really sure I like what is said and how it is said enough that it makes the official story, but it has enough redeeming value to be included. So, with that said, enjoy.]

Categories: Story, Kyra, Emy, Outtake