Category: Ariel



Trev: Driven by unspeakable shame, he inexplicably heads back to see Sal. Rain slashes his face as a vicious wind whips a steel gray sky. He doesn’t notice.

Mairi: Unconscious on the cold floor, her head in a small pool of dark blood. She tried to stop Trev from going. He punched her in the face.

Emy: Her new found sensitivity to sound is driving her insane. She is currently floating her agitated arse in an isolation chamber. She holds her brooch in her hand, realizes she can no longer see her mother and starts to punch the side of the chamber. No one can hear. Blood drips from her knuckles. She starts to smile as salt stings her open wounds.

Cait: Sitting in the study with the Commander and Tom. She has been informed of the circumstances and looks on as the Commander outlines his plan. When the Commander mentions Kyra, Cait stands up and yells, “I will not have that bitch in my house!” Ariel appears in the doorway and all three adults turn in unison toward the small child.

Kyra: On her way to Duckhead. She is the plan. She sits in meditative silence on the private transport oblivious to the multi-hued lights flashing by.

Von: Refused to take no. He is with Kyra. His left hand has a firm grip on his right. It shakes anyway.

Rog and John: Making idle conversation. The Matutinal Mercy has not yet been delivered. The room is ice cold. Neither notice.

Yul: Still in hospital. Too high to wonder why. Too low to care.

Kieran: Closely watching events unfold.

The Unknowns: Closely watching Kieran.

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“M
ommy, is daddy in trouble?” asked Ariel.

“I’m not sure sweetie. But your daddy is a very brave man, a very, very brave man,” said Cait.

“Do you love him?”

“I’m sorry hon, what did you say?”

“Do you love daddy?” Slight pause. “Because I do.”

Cait was a strong woman. Tears flowed anyway. “Yes, sweetie, yes. I love your daddy. I love him very much.”

Ariel snuggled into her mothers arms. “Good.”

And so the two rocked quietly lost in their own thoughts.

“Mommy?”

“Yes dear?”

“Does daddy love us?”

After tucking Ariel into bed, Cait picked up the phone. “Sue, where is John? Okay, can you put him on the line?”

“Cait?”

“You [censored] [censored]!”

“Cait? Cait?” John shook the receiver. “Cait?”

The Score


Trev, prone, naked and secured by ankle and wrist, swallowed the fifth sip, with a little help from Lil’s firm hand fisting his hair. Sal moved to his prostrated rear and slapped her tight and taut boy like a farmer slapping a side of beef. His flesh was warm, unlike her own species; and he had an instrument, full and ripe, alien and exotic, that seems to pulse and throb and hang with a certain sense of living heft as if his heart were in his arse rather than his chest.

Mairi sat with the quiet patience of a weary cat in a sunny window, content to let Yul sleep as long as she liked. The operation, the doctors had said, somewhat nervously, had gone better than expected. More tests would be run later, they said. So she sat and rubbed her head but succor eluded the feeling of being sunburned from the inside of her skull. Dr. X promised she would heal, fully. She still thought he was a complete bastard.

John played the signal again. Rog listened. John looked. Rog listened some more with the look of a school boy trying to convince his teacher he knew the answer when he really didn’t. John played it again. Rog, blessing his own hide, yelped for effect, and did a little dance; his eyes shown with recognition fueled by hope. John just shook his head.

Ariel crawled into Cait’s lap, the soft light of a reading lamp holding the pair in the warm repose of mother and child. Cait held back a sigh as Ariel nestled in tight to her chest, pushing her little head and primrose hair into the twin softness of living pillows. Turning the page, she read slowly, trying to lose herself in the story, trying to crowd out the anger in her heart until she heard her daughter sigh and she realized she had not turned the page for quite some time.

+My dear friend, we meet again.+

Kyra opened her eyes as one to light after many days in a cave. There was a voice, but no one was there. She looked for Em and Von but they were not there either. The room was white and rather bright, the edges fuzzy and from somewhere in her heart, she would later swear, was a taste of things past and a remembrance of things to be.

Kieran? Is that you?”

Categories: Story, Kyra, Trev, Mairi, Yul, John Discovery, Rog, Lil’ Twilight, Ariel, Cait

You Hung the Moon

Ariel: Mommy?

Cait: Yes dear?

Ariel: Does daddy still love us?

Cait: (takes a controlled breath) Yes, he loves us very much.

Ariel: Then why won’t he talk to me anymore?

Cait: John?

John: Hi Sweetie.

Cait: Your daughter had a question for me this afternoon. Would you like to hear it?

John: Of course. What did she ask?

Cait: If you still loved her.

John: (silence)

Cait: Did you hear me John?

John: Yes, put her on the phone.

Cait: She’s not here. Grand picked her up a few minutes ago.

John: I see.

Cait: Do you know why Grand came and picked her up?

John: (trying to control his growing irritation) Tell me Cait. Tell me what’s on your mind.

Cait: Because I’ve been crying my eyes out ever since she asked the question. Do you have any idea what that felt like, to be asked that question by your child? No, you don’t, because you would have to be here to hear it.

John: (hesitates)

Cait: John!

John: Honey, I—

Cait: Don’t honey me. You have no idea because if you did, if you have any sense of what I just experienced, the look in that young child’s eyes, you’d be here. But you’re not here. Are you John?

John: You know I love you and Ariel more than anything in the world.

Cait: You might fool me John, and I’ll forgive you, but you aren’t fooling that little girl, that precious little girl who thinks you hung the moon. (pause) Did you give her a magic pillow?

John: (rolls eyes) Yes.

Cait: And did you promise her you would fix it?

John: Crap. (shakes head) Hon, I completely forgot.

Cait: I know. But there is a little girl who didn’t, a little girl that misses her father, a little girl that doesn’t understand why you are gone again and why her pillow, you, don’t talk to her anymore.

Rog: Cait?

John: Yeah.

Rog: All good?

John: Yeah, all good.

Rog: Right. We’re just two righteous dudes aren’t we.

John: (knowing smile)

Goldie: Ms Kyra, is everything going to be okay?

Kyra: I don’t know Goldie.

Goldie: I’ve talked to Pinkie.

Kyra: Yeah? What about?

Goldie: We want to reverse flow our remaining power into the auxiliary system.

Kyra: Come here Goldie. (Kyra kisses her metal forehead) How did Papa do it?

Goldie: Do what Ms Kyra?

Kyra: Give you a heart of gold.

Goldie: (blinks eyes)

Kyra: Tell Pinkie I do greatly appreciate the gesture, but I’m afraid even between the two of you, it would make no difference. Besides, if we are going down, we go down together. (Kyra tries to smile) You got that?

Goldie: Yes ma’am.

Rog: So, do you feel like shiott?

John: (laughs) Yeah. That about sums it up.

Rog: Yep. Suppose it does.

Commentary/Reading: You Hung the Moon

Categories: Story, Kyra, Goldie, John Discovery, Caitlin, Ariel, Rog

Parallels

Kyra walked down the corridor to the bridge with steps light, steady and deliberate.

John’s carain pulled inside the central courtyard of his estate.

Von and Em were on the bridge, both hunched over the central control panel.

John stepped out and to his left stood Cait and Ariel, who shot out from her mom like a rocket, half running and half skipping, to John’s open arms.

As Kyra approached the control panel, she took note of the red glow illuminating Von’s gray beard.

John hugged Ariel like a great coat one size too large, and his bundle of energy put her tiny head on this chest, her ear next to his heart. Cait stood at a distance and then John noticed two figures in the shadows to her right.

Em looked up first and then Von. Without speaking they both stepped aside and Kyra glanced down upon the sea of red, like distant stars, twinkling and winking.

John picked up Ariel and put her on his hip. Cait looked nervous. As he approached she motioned and the two figures stepped into the light, slate in hand, faces somber.

Kyra opened the comm link. There was no response. She looked at Von and he looked back, neither upset nor anxious but rather peaceful, in a resigned sort of way, as if he had opened himself to the hands of fate with complete trust.

John looked at the slate, looked at Cait. She held her arms out and took Ariel. “Go,” she said, strong to the last, resolute in duty. John hesitated and she repeated her order. “Go, for you can’t come back till you go. And I want you back, here, not back there. So go.”

“Options?” asked Kyra.

“If you believe in Janus, pray. If you don’t believe, pray anyway,” said Von. “Either way, do it now.”

Categories: Story, Kyra, Von, Emy, John Discovery, Caitlin, Ariel

Sun Globe

John tried the channel again. No luck, which seemed to be the par for the course. Team Kilo had mysteriously lost contact with the voice and this solar storm was preventing all communication back home. Not much to do but wait.

Reaching across his desk, John picked up his sun globe, a gift Cait had picked out for Ariel to give him for this mission. The globe glowed warm to the touch, animated by captured solar energy from Rubion and Triste. Sparkling with light his mind drifted to the sparkle in Ariel’s eyes when she gave it to him.

John closed his eyes and let the warmth from the globe take him back. His bags were already loaded in the Carain and there was that awkward emotional sense of wanting to leave (to get on with it) and wanting to stay. The feeling was one that unless you had first hand experience, simply couldn’t be described. One felt torn between duties, between family and hearth and god and world. It was a feeling no words could salve. He had long since stopped trying to explain to Cait and she had learned to stop asking.

John walked back into the house, standing just inside the door, and like owls in the night, two sets of quiet eyes starred back at him. Then as children are wont to do, Ariel broke the tension with a giggle as she skipped toward him, her hands held behind her back. He had bent down on one knee, his eyes on the same level as hers and the contagiousness of her smile gave birth to his own.

Then, without words, she held the globe out to him, her eyes full of expectant anticipation, longing to join her love with his, to seal a bond known between a father and a daughter. He did not disappoint. Holding the globe in one hand and Ariel on his knee in the other, he hugged her tight and looked at Cait with wet eyes. “It is the most magnificent gift I have ever gotten,” he had said as he felt her little arms tighten with joy around his neck. And he meant every word.

Categories: Story, John Discovery, Caitlin, Ariel

Magic Pillow

Ariel snuggled into bed, her white cotton sheets clean and fresh. Cait leaned over and kissing her forehead said, “I love you sweetie. Sleep tight and I’ll see you in the morning.”

“I love you too mommy,” responded Ariel with an impish smile born in the warmth of the moment, worry and concern absent in the cocoon of her room.

Cait smiled back, stood up to leave and hesitated. She had not allowed Ariel to sleep in her bed for more than a year, yet the thought hung in her mind and she mused, Was this desire for Ariel or me? “Honey, how would you like to sleep with mommy in the big bed tonight?”

“That’s okay mommy, I’m a big girl now.”

Cait looked down at Ariel, her cheeks uplifted with pride. “Yes you are darlin’.” Cait smiled, kissed Ariel again and let herself out, closing the door softly.

Ariel rolled over and in a real quiet voice whispered, “Okay, she’s gone. Would you read me a story?”

Her pillow began to glow and the gentle voice of her father responded, “Well, that depends. Have you been a good girl?”

“Oh daddy, I’ve been really, really good.”

“Okay, then, what would you like to hear tonight?”

“I want to hear the one about the little girl who grew up to be a superhero. Tell me about her rocket shoes daddy, that’s my favorite part.”

“That’s my favorite too. Here goes. Once upon a time there was a little girl with primrose hair and sapphire eyes who found a pair of rocket shoes. These were not any ordinary rocket shoes, but very special ones.”

Ariel jumped in. “What did they look like?”

“They sparkled ruby red and had wings on the back and when the little girl put them on, they glowed and sparkled with the brilliance of Rubion and Triste. “

And so the pillow glowed and talked and Ariel smiled that smile that children do when they know they have the best dad in the whole world. And somewhere, many parsecs away, there was a dad that was smiling too, that smile that dads have when they know they have the best daughter in the whole universe.When the story was over Ariel whispered with sleepy lids, “I love you daddy.”

And the pillow whispered back, “I love you too. Sweet dreams my dear angel.”

Categories: Story, Caitlin, John Discovery, Ariel

Nothing

John tried again. Still no luck. “Tom, you ever seen a solar storm like this?”

“Can’t say that I have John.”

“Okay, well, would you notify me as soon as we have an open channel?”

“Will do.”

John sat back in his chair, holding an ancient solar chart. A gorgeous work of art depicting Rubion and Triste in opposition. If only that was the case now. Solar storms in a dual sun system were common, but one of this magnitude was not. Until it cleared they were for all intents and purposes stuck in radio silence.

Cait watched the reports. Stay inside. Protect yourself if you must go out, all the usual stuff. That is, if you didn’t have a husband on the other side of the sector and cut off from all communication. How much longer this storm would persist no one could say. Could be a day, could be a week.

“Mommy?” asked Ariel.

“Yes darling?”

“Is dad going to call us tonight?”

Cait tried to smile. It had been more than a week since John had called. She couldn’t recall him ever going so long, and now, with this storm, who knew how much longer it would be. Before, she could always check with the base, and her contacts there would assure her he was okay. She knew they would lie if the case was otherwise, but still it provided some measure of comfort. This time, however, they knew no more than she did, which was nothing. Nothing was hard. And there was nothing to do but wait and hope and pray.

“Honey, dad is on a very important mission and is working very, very hard. And you know what?” said Cait as she reached out to tickle her precocious one.

“What?” Ariel squirmed, tucking her elbows in and giggling, her long reddish golden hair shinning on the waves of gentle curves.

“I have it on very good authority that your dad loves you very, very much and he left me in charge of giving out his hugs to you. Let me see if I have one for you.” Cait reached out and took her daughter in her arms, pulling her tight to her chest. Little arms returned the embrace with the enthusiasm of unfiltered belief.

“Mommy, I miss dad.” said Ariel, changing her tone as children do.

“I miss him too sweetie.”

Categories: Story, John Discovery, Caitlin