Category: Goldie


Concern

“Ms Kyra, what did you do to your hand?” asked Goldie.

“Don’t ask,” snapped Kyra. “And don’t just stand there looking at me. Find some bandages on this Janus forsaken vessel. Now!”

______________

30 minutes earlier . . . (to be continued)

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

It’s Hynerian

Kyra returned to her quarters not sure if she was more exhausted or more excited. She had practiced a “mindbat” many, many times, but this was her first time under live fire. She felt exhilaration mixed with utter fear mixed with raw animal lust. Calfuray had her in every sense of the phrase with a skill beyond her imagination and expectation. Her tactics, let us say, were not anticipated.

Like dying in the cold, Calfuray’s manipulations of her pleasure centers were harder to resist than anything Papa had ever put her through. The temptation to let go, to have another take you over the edge while they were stroking your mind and taking you places you’ve never been—that was terrifying. Still, her body tingled in ways not completely understood. We love our enemies and share a bond with them that only warriors share Papa would say and she wondered how Calfuray was doing.

“Goldie, can you help me with this?”

“Yes Ms Kyra.” Goldie released a small clasp and tugged on the left sleeve. One didn’t so much as take off a glove as much as peel it away and the sensation of separation was both odd and sexual at the same time. The glove literally bonded to the skin, molded to every curve and anyone who has ever worn one will tell you the sensation had to be experienced to be appreciated.

As tired as she was, she had unfinished business. “Goldie, thanks for the help. Could you activate the waterfall acoustics on your way out?”

“Yes Ms Kyra. Will there be anything else this evening?”

“That’s all Goldie. Thank you.”

As Goldie retreated, Kyra moved to her bed and the light and sound show came to life. Beautiful greens and blues danced in patterns light and airy from the walls to the ceiling and the sound of lush spring water trickling and cascading down the mountain side filled the air. Kyra closed her eyes and allowed her mind to slip back to the edge as a slight blue glow arose naturally. Taking a deep breath, she spread her legs–.

“Ms Kyra,” interrupted Goldie.

“What is it Goldie,” responded Kyra, unable to withhold the irritation in her voice.

“Trev says he needs to speak with you right away. Something to do with the transmission. Says it’s urgent.”

“Tell Trev I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

“Trev, before you start, what’s the update on Mairi?”

“She’s in the med wing undergoing testing. Seems she is going to be just fine.”

“Good. Okay Trev, what have you got on the transmission?” asked Kyra.

“Well, credit goes to Em really. I was working on the transmission when she walked in. Took her two minutes. It’s a distress signal. Hynerian.”

“Hynerian. Are you sure?”

“No doubt.”

What does it say?” asked Von.

“Because of the jamming much of the signal is unintelligible but we do know three things. The signal is Hynerian. It is a SOS call. And we can pinpoint the location.” Trev paused and looked around the room like he was expecting an award.

Kyra was the first to speak. “How old is this signal, is it still being broadcast and how far are we from it?”

“The signal itself is not old. By my calculation we are perhaps a week away.”

“And is the signal still being broadcast?”

Trev rubbed his nose and squinted his eyes. “Nope. It stopped about the time Calfuray appeared.”

“I see,” said Kyra.

“One other thing,” Trev added. “The signal is in the opposition direction from where John will be heading.”

Kyra looked at Yul. “Okay, give me an hour, then we meet in the conference room.”

Categories: Story, Kyra, Goldie, Trev

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Goldie hummed into Kyra’s pristine quarters with Yul in tow. She looked a little uptight, just a little odd, as she usually did whenever she visited Kyra. The room was always so clean, everything always in its place and her taste, although a bit sterile for Yul, was, as she would say, museum impeccable. All of it, a world alien, and for Yul, a world just this side of stuffy. Breathing, she would say, became a conscious affair, as if the air was somehow thicker, although if truth be known, the room simply represented everything she was not.

Kyra stood to greet the pair. “Thanks so much for coming over. Can I get you anything? Something to drink? Goldie, make some fresh snizzle.”

Yul smiled to herself. Seeing Kyra uncomfortable, even nervous was a rare event. To say she did not derive some pleasure from the awkwardness would have been less than true; to say it greased her machination, well, there was nothing false in that. “No problem. What’s up? Oh, Goldie, I’ll take two drachms of snoot in mine. Wait, make it three. I think I deserve three. What do you think Kyra?”

“Three it is. Goldie, I’ll take mine the usual way.”

“Yes Ms Kyra.”

Yul tilted her head and tucked her chin, twirled her hair and put on the saddest face she could. “Join me Kyra.” Before she could say no, Yul added. “Just one drachm, for old time’s sake, for me, a toast to new beginnings.”

Kyra hesitated and Yul widened her eyes like a puppy wanting to be petted. “Okay, Goldie, one drachm. No more.” Yul smiled.

“Yul I do need your help but that can wait.” Kyra reached out, placing her perfectly manicured fingers on Yul’s shoulders. “How are you?”

Yul choked back the urge to say frail you. No need, she thought, in making her job any harder. “Under the circumstances, I’d say I’m doing just fine. Thanks for asking.”

Kyra looked for some sign, some indication but Yul was unreadable. She might as well been Mona Lisa. “Grab a seat. Do you realize we’ve been on Bravo just over a year now?”

“Hadn’t really thought about it. Has it really been that long?”

“Yeah, it has. Time flies when you’re having fun.”

Yeah, suppose it does.”

“So, how is Rog?”

“Don’t really know. Haven’t seen him around much.”

“I see.”

“I hear you are having dinner with John tonight.”

Yeah. How’d you hear that?”

“Em told me. Just a couple minutes ago. Bumped into her on the way over here.”

“Em?” Kyra laughed. “Seems whatever I tell Goldie goes straight to Pinky.”

“I suppose.”

“Yul, not to change the subject, but I didn’t exactly invite you over here to make small talk. I’m concerned about you.”

“Really?” winked Yul. “If you had I’d be concerned, the small talk that is. Kyra, look, I appreciate your concern. But I’m fine.”

“You sure?”

“Well, let me check. Yep. I’m fine. Just,” Yul caught herself, “just fine. Thanks for asking.”

“If you weren’t fine, who would you tell?”

“Well, I do have a little gift from Rog that helps me from time to time. Listens real well if you know what I mean.”

“I’m serious Yul” said Kyra, shaking her head, unable to suppress a smile. “You’re not talking to Rog. You and Em aren’t exactly two peas in a pod at moment. Trev, well, can’t see you ever confiding in him. Von’s not your speed. Mairi’s not here. So if things were not good, who would you tell?”

“Are you trying to make me feel better?

“I’m trying to get you to open up.”

“Then tell Goldie to hurry up with that snizzle, snapped Yul.”

“Yul, maybe it’s none of my business, but right now, the way it looks to me, I’m about all you’ve frailing got. Now, either you’re going to put that tough hide of yours aside and let me in, or you’re going to suffer alone, and I do mean alone because you’ve about pissed off everyone on this ship.”

Yul stood up, whether to smack Kyra or leave she wasn’t sure, but the thought of doing both crossed her mind. “Look, I didn’t mean to snap at you. I’m doing fine, I really am. And I promise you, if I’m not, you’ll be the first to know. Goldie? Where are you?”

“On my way Ms Yul.”

Kyra didn’t believe a word Yul had just uttered. For the first time she let her guard down and Kyra saw two things. She was lying through her teeth and she wasn’t about to open up tonight. “Thanks Yul, that’s all I ask. Now, about tonight, this dinner, I’ve got about an hour to get ready. Do you think you can help me?”

“Hey, that’s what I’m here for. Let’s get started.” Goldie appeared, tray extended with two onyx cups. “Grasping her cup with nimble fingers, Yul lifted it toward Kyra. “A toast. To new beginnings. To tonight.”

“Yes, to new beginning.” Cups lifted and the toast christened with open eyes. “Now, Goldie, could you bring the dresses I was looking at before Yul got here?”

“Yes, Ms Kyra, right away.”

“Yul, I’ve narrowed it down to three options.” Kyra walked over to where Goldie hovered and placed the first dress in front of her. It was a fabulous golden silk evening gown, pleated across the breasts and down the slides. Kyra’s jet black hair looked queen-like against the refulgent gold. “What do you think?”

“Oh my. Looks fab darling, but I’m not sure those pleats really do you justice. Accentuate the positive, not cover it up is what I say. What else you got?”

Kyra took the next selection, a dark blue sequined number from Goldie and modeled it. The blue sequins sparkled like so many stars in the sky and matched Kyra’s eyes perfectly. “How ‘bout this one,” smiled Kyra, hoping Yul would like this one since it was her first choice.

“Sweetie, I can’t imagine you’d look bad in anything but you didn’t call me over here to blow smoke.” Kyra frowned. “If this was a business meeting, I’d say go far it. Formal dinner where you want to make an impression, leave this one at home. Looks a little too cold, a little too professional.”

“Okay. Goldie, hand me that third option.” As soon as Yul saw the red ruby metalique gown she knew that was the one. Hellocks, it was the one she would have chosen.

“Try it on,” said Yul. Kyra did. Each narrow breast plate accented Kyra’s firm amplitude in a way that simply couldn’t be ignored. The crimson plates curved like half moons, holding her breasts in place without hiding the valley of her creamy seduction. Hell, Yul thought, I’d like to run my hands over those delicate swells of joy, to see them grow blue, to feel them respond to touch and breath as waves rising on a warm sea. And the interlocking ruby chain links that formed the skirt had such a glimmering sultriness, such an allure as to make one look twice as to what was gown and what was leg. It moved with the glittering alacrity of a shoal of pelagic fish. “It’s perfect Kyra. This is the one, no frailing doubt in my mind.”

Yul didn’t have to dissimulate. In fact, she was stunned. She had never seen Kyra look so sexy—ever. How John was going to react, well, if he had a pair, the boys would be bouncing like ping pong balls in a lottery. “Come grab a seat over here Kyra. I want you to see what I see in the mirror. By the way, do you have a shawl or jacket to go with this dress?”

“I do. Goldie, would you do the honor?”

“I’ll take that Goldie,” interjected Yul. “Now sit down Kyra.”

Kyra sat on the stool in front of her mirror and Yul stood behind her. Taking the shawl from Goldie, Yul turned. Concealed in the lower sleeve of her jacket was one vial. Quickly, she placed a couple drops on the neck of the shawl and a couple more drops on her fingers. Turning to face Kyra, she placed the shawl around her neck, making sure the drops rubbed against the back of her neck. As if to display how beautiful Kyra was, Yul let her vial covered fingers trace along Kyra’s neck and along her jaw, tracing with a flourish back to Kyra’s lobes and pinching them as it to say, we need something here.

“Oh, I’ve got the perfect earrings to go with this dress said Kyra, too absorbed in how she looked to notice that anything was out of the ordinary. The vial, as Yul knew, would work fast. Since she had it on her fingers, she would know, almost to the second when it would start to affect Kyra, which by her calculation was only minutes, if that, away.

“Let’s see them Kyra. Oh my, do you mind if I do the honors?”

“Please do Yul.”

Yul secured first the right earring, and then the left. Her own head started to feel light and that familiar tingle between her legs told her the vial was working, very well actually as her fingers lingered a little longer on Kyra’s neck than necessary.

“You look magnificent my dear. Just absolutely stunning, as sexy as I’ve ever seen you.” Yul wasn’t lying now. Kyra did look stunning, with or without the vial, Yul couldn’t take her eyes off just how beautiful she looked.

“You really think so?”

“Abso-frailing-lutely!” exclaimed Yul. “If the boy is wearing any socks, he won’t be for long after seeing you in this dress.”

“Well, that’s not exactly what I had in mind for tonight,” said Kyra, less certain if she meant the words she just heard slipping from her lips. Such an odd sensation she thought but before she could follow it Yul interjected.

“Maybe so but haven’t you heard?”

“Heard what?”

“Word is, our boy John has eyes for you.” Yul slowed her diction on the “for you,” letting the words hang in the air as if they needed space to be fully absorbed and understood.

“He’s a happily married man Yul, don’t be silly. This is how rumors start.” Kyra felt as if someone else was speaking for her. Her mouth was moving, and it sounded like her voice and that was her image in the mirror, but there was a warmness in the words Yul had spoken that she just wanted to swim in.

Yul leaned over, her hands on the back of Kyra shoulders as she placed her lips right next to Kyra’s right ear. Her warm breath washed over her lobe as she whispered. “I have it on pretty good authority the boy is not all he pretends to be. Oh, I have no doubt he loves Cait, but Cait ain’t here on this vessel, and it’s been awhile, if you know what I mean.”

Normally, Kyra would have put an end to this kind of talk. That she didn’t told Yul the vial was working. “He wants you Kyra.” Yul let her tongue lightly touch Kyra’s ear. Withdrawing her tongue, she bit her lip, trying to stay focused. “And rumor has it, he doesn’t disappoint.”

“What are you talking about?” Kyra’s tone seemed more curious than scolding.

“I’ve been having dreams Kyra. Dreams about John. Very vivid dreams. A little too vivid, if you know what I mean.”

“Are you telling me—“

“Remember the quilling?”

“Yeah.”

“And the exam John performed on Emy and myself afterward?”

“Yes, what of it?”

“John confided in me later that the exam was a very through one. In fact, he said my exam was much more detailed and inclusive than Emy’s.”

“And?”

“I was unconscious during those exams. But you know, the mind records everything, whether you are conscious or not and I’ve got to tell you Kyra, those dreams didn’t come out of thin air.”

Kyra’s face became flush, matching the hue of her dress. Yul continued as she rubbed Kyra’s shoulders making sure every last drachm of vial found its way to her skin. “The pleasure. I can’t begin to tell you what that man is capable of. I thought Rog was good, but next to John, Rog is pure school boy in the back of his dad’s hopper fumbling his way with stone fingers.”

Kyra sat as if hypnotized. She felt a stirring of lust she had not felt since she had been on Bravo. The feelings for Kieran were love. These feelings, this energy, was of an entirely different order. Her whole body felt on fire and Yul’s words were just so much dry kindling thrown on the blaze. Yul continued to weave, in not less than detail intimate, not sure how much for her benefit and how much to forward her wickedness. And Kyra let her. The smell of desire, the moistness of need, filled the air.

“Ms Kyra,” said Goldie, “John’s staff say they are expecting you. What should I tell them?”

“Oh Goldie. Uhm, tell them I’m on my way.” Kyra stood up, straightened her dress before looking over herself in the mirror one last time. “You know I’m not that kind of hynerian,” she said to Yul.

“I know you aren’t.” winked Yul. “Go have fun and you can tell me all about it tomorrow afternoon.”

Kyra cocked her head and raised her brow trying her best to hold back a giggle. “Got to run Yul.”

“Oh, Kyra. One last thing.”

“Yes?”

“Happy Birthday.”

Categories: Story, Kyra, Yul, Goldie

What Would Grow?

“Kyra, is there anything I can get for you,” asked Goldie, in a tone that implied she could sense something was on Kyra’s mind.

Smiling through closed lips, Kyra nodded. “No thanks Goldie. I just need a moment to myself. Let me know when Yul arrives. She should be here shortly.” How Papa could build a machine, like Goldie, that so mimicked grandma, her heart and mind and even her tone of voice was beyond her. She thought she should be used to this incredible gift and the marvel of it all, but still, every time, she had to smile at the wonder of it all and remind herself, Goldie was but a machine, another unexplained mystery created from the hands of Papa.

“Yes ma’am.” Hovering on a cushion of air, Goldie dipped, as if to bow, turned, and silently left the room.

Kyra walked to her desk and pulled out The Folio. Papa had built in a sentient search panel. How it worked, no one knew, but then again, no one really knew how he was able to build Goldie to so much resemble Grandma either. So many things about Papa she didn’t know. Perhaps, she thought, The Folio would answer much or so she hoped there would be more answers than questions.

Closing her eyes, she placed her ring finger on the golden bluish panel in the lower right corner. It felt warm to the touch and begin to glow in response to her query. As if the search function could read her heart and mind, and perhaps it could, one never underestimated Papa, a single passage, or in this case a question, appeared, somehow magically selected from the hundreds of thousands of passages within the tome. Opening her eyes, Kyra saw these eight words displayed on the screen:

“If you planted your heart, what would grow?”

Taking a deep breath as if inhaling the words, somehow trying to assimilate message and intent, Kyra sighed and closed her blue eyes again. A tingle ran down her spine. Eight words. Just eight words and it seemed as if Papa was front and center. Taking another breath, eyes shut tight, she could have swore his signature scent was in the air and if she only reached out her hand, he would be there.

“Kyra, sorry to interrupt, but Yul is here. Shall I show her in?”

Kyra lowered her arm, closed The Folio and looked up. Her face expressionless, the kind of look that indicates a separation between mind and body, or lost in thought as the phrase is commonly put. “Yes, show her in.”

Categories: Story, Kyra, Goldie, The Folio

The Folio

 

“Time is an illusion of perspective,” said Papa, his holographic image, white tunic and silver hair, glowing brightly from the inside of the folio. “I can only imagine how this last year must have flown by, whipped and driven by the inclement winds of uncertainty. And, I can only imagine how you have grown in the fertile soil of adversity. I miss you more than these words can convey and can only marvel at the leader you have become. With this journal, I officially pass the baton. You are a special one my dear. I feel privileged to have walked by your side on the beaches of Valla. All my love to you my dear sweetest one. Carry on.” The image gently faded.

Through misty eyes Kyra closed the folio and ran her hands over the gem encrusted cover; the central gold and blue shell, the crown jewel from Papa’s own personal collection. Papa had handed her the folio on the dock, a gift locked for one year. She had trouble sleeping last night knowing today was the day—one year from that moment on the dock, from that last goodbye. The precious folio had served its sentence. She wasn’t exactly sure what she was going to find, which only made the anticipation all the more intense. That Papa had given her his personal journal, what amounted to his autobiography, was like the gift of a guiding star to one lost at sea.

“Dear Kyra, are you okay,” asked Goldie.

“Yes, yes,” answered Kyra, her smile like the sun shinning in the midst of a afternoon shower. “So good to see Papa again wasn’t it? Who would have thought.” Kyra stood and walked to her window. Standing before the massive pane she looked into the cosmos and clutched the folio tightly to her chest. “I love you too Papa. I do.”

Commentary: The Folio

Categories: Story, Kyra, Papa, The Folio, Goldie

Embrace the Light

Kyra, open your eyes. Let the light in so that it might bathe your soul in the joy of truth.

Papa always was a bit dramatic with his wordplay reminisced Kyra, as the memories of those last days came flooding back. She wondered what he would say now.
_______

Journal Entry: 07:283:005 M24

I made my normal rounds, snizzle in hand. Goldie came with me with her customary tray of small blue onyx cups, made by Papa of course. Each one filled three quarters full with brew and mixed to individual taste. Von liked his black as did Rog. Yul and Emy both preferred a dollop of Kawai butter, which gave snizzle a smooth and slightly sweet flavor. Trev abstained from snizzle altogether. Just another reason to be suspicious of him (ed note: Kyra’s sense of humor).

Everyone elected to stay in their own quarters even though it seemed kind of silly to be in a room in a ship that was in a ship. We thanked Taren for his hospitality. The rooms he offered us were much nicer than our own, but Bravo-Four-Zero was home and with all the uncertainty, our blanket of the known. He nodded his understanding after profusely apologizing for the detail storming Mairi’s quarters only to find her half-naked and alone. I smiled and accepted his apology. I knew they would find nothing.

We saw Rog and Yul and then Emy before Trev. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits although a bit anxious as to where we were being taken. Then we made our way to Von’s quarters.

“Morning Von. Snizzle, black, for a few minutes of your time?” I asked. Von looked like he had been up for a while, his reading glasses half way down his long regal nose offsetting his immaculately groomed salt and pepper mustache and beard. Von was Zing Tao to the bone and time had not soften the edges of the discipline honed from many years in service. I tried not to stare at the scar on his right cheek, a wound, Rog told me, he suffered at the hands of the Javalinas.

“You must be a mind reader. Please come in Kyra,” he responded, taking his cup from Goldie’s tray as if there was nothing more important in the world. I watched as Von unconsciously scratched his head and wondered if the neural trace, or the vestiges of it, still tortured him or whether he scratched his head out of habit. Or maybe he just had an itch. I suppose a few less assumptions would serve me well.

“How did you sleep last night?” he asked. I wasn’t sure if it was the tone in his voice or the look in his eye that made the question more than a simple pleasantry. Fact of the matter, I didn’t sleep at all, which made me wonder if I looked that bad. Was I assuming again, reading into a look something that wasn’t there? Was he just commenting out of concern because I looked exhausted?

“Just fine.” I lied. And he knew it and he knew that I knew that he knew. How can a look and a smile say so much. Sometimes I felt Von could carry on a whole conversation without ever saying a word. And why did I lie to him. What façade was I trying to protect? What vanity?

“I’m sorry Von. I didn’t sleep at all. Either that, or I haven’t woke yet. Is this a dream? Are you really there?”

Von laughed. “If this is a dream then that damn neural trace has followed me. Goldie, may I have another please. Start from the beginning Kyra. Tell me what you saw,” said Von, sounding more like Papa than I cared to admit.

I’m not sure how long we talked. Words flowed on the back of so much pent up emotion. Von just sat and listened, listened with his eyes in a way that communicated pure attention. I told him everything. I asked him everything but he refused to engage me until I had no more words, until the retelling had wrung every last bit of emotion from me. I sat across from him, utterly exhausted, drained, yet relieved as only deep listening can do. “Please Von. Say something.”

He looked like he was carefully choosing his words. “You make too many assumptions. Clouds the mind and confuses the heart,” he said.

“Give me an example?” I asked.

“Papa.”

“What?”

“You asked why if someone were to return from beyond to visit you that it would be Kieran and not Papa.”

“And your point?”

“You assume.”

“Assume what Von?”

“You assume that your Papa is no more of this world.”

“But—“

“Stop for a minute Kyra. Do you know for a fact that he died on Hyneria?”

“I saw him wave goodbye from the dock as our ship pulled away. He told me his duty was to stay, to help maintain order in the chaos since not everyone would have the opportunity to escape. He would have followed his duty, gone down with the planet,” I responded, somewhat defensive of letting the emotions he was stirring come back to life. It was too late. Images of the last day, images I had locked away, came back with force, like a slap from a cold boney hand.

“We each have our own destiny,” he said, as if words could provide comfort. Words were just words and he must have known from the cold distant look in my eyes that I needed something more. I fought hard to keep the tears from flowing. They came anyway.

“This is not right Papa. You cannot save the planet. A Hynerian such as yourself will be needed to lead these vessels to our new home,” I pleaded, the words branded into my memory. Not just words but the cold wind and steely smell and cacophony of the dock. I couldn’t separate the day and the words. To think them was to feel them, to see them, to hear them, to taste the salty tears flowing down my cheeks.

Papa’s cloak fluttered and flapped in the strong winds issuing forth whip like sounds as if to express its own dismay. My ship, Bravo-Four-Zero, creaked and groaned against its mooring, the anti-grav modules unable to maintain equilibrium in the storm. Wolf-like hurricanes were devouring the planet. The ferocity of the winds whipped us as we stood on the dock, prolonging the inevitable. I was leaving. He was not.

“You look magnificent with your clear crystal blue eyes,” he said as I noticed for the first time his own eyes began to water. “You have the eyes of a leader,” his thumb rubbing the tears from my cheeks as his eyes darted from left to right and back again across the expanse of my brow. “And you are needed for the next generation. This one, here, is mine. You do your duty Kyra. And I’ll do mine.”

How does one respond to that? I just cried some more because I knew he had made up his mind and I knew it was the right thing for him to do. Yet, still, in a small part of my heart, I couldn’t help but wonder why he had to choose between his duty to Hyneria and me. I couldn’t help but wonder why not me.

I thanked Von for his time and excused myself to go check on Mairi. Could I really be such a selfish beotch? I had a ticket out of hell and most did not and all I could think about was having a little bit more, having my Papa come with me. Where did having just a little bit more end? And why was Von playing games with my mind by suggesting Papa might be alive? Assumptions. Why do I make so many. Maybe Von knows something I don’t. He is right. I don’t know with absolute certainty.

Categories: Story, Kyra, Papa, Von, Goldie, Hyneria, Paintings

Touch Me

[Editor’s Note: This chapter directly precedes the Torpedoes post.]

“Yul, come on in,” said Kyra. “What do I owe the pleasure of this visit?”

Yul smiled, awkwardly. “Just wanted to say hi and check on an old friend. Haven’t had a chance to talk to you since before—“

“It’s okay,” interjected Kyra.

“I’m not worried about ‘it,’ responded Yul. I don’t know what happened in that room but Rog, well, he hasn’t been the same. How are you doing sweetie? Are you the same? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.”

Yul’s big pale blue eyes didn’t waver.

“Really, I’m okay. Would you like some snizzle?”

“Fine? Really? Oh I can see that,” said Yul, ignoring the question with raised brow. “You put yourself with open wounds in direct contact with the animus virus, you have some sort of other-worldly experience that knocks you into a coma for the better part of two weeks. You wake to learn the love of your life, who you tried to save, is dead and the rest of the crew has held his service, without you. Why wouldn’t you be just fine.”

Kyra sighed. “Come here my friend. Give me your hands. What would you have me do?”

“Break down and cry. Throw some things, break a few others. Yell at me. Show some emotion for crying out loud. Aren’t you pissed? Bitter? Angry? Mad as hellocks?”

“At who?”

“Fate. Life. Us. The virus. This ship has seven Hynerians left on it. Only three are male. One is old enough to be your father. One is still wet behind the ears. And the third, well, he’s spoken for. You had your love and he’s gone and the chance of you ever having that again is virtually nil. I don’t mean to be harsh Kyra but I’m just not buying the fine bit. I saw your hands.”

“Be careful with making assumptions,” winked Kyra. “You look quite sexy when you get your ire up. I can see what Rog sees in you. Such brilliant blue eyes that sparkle in the starlight. Are you sure I can’t get you some snizzle? Perhaps with a little snoot? Goldie?”

“Coming right up Kyra. I took the liberty,” purred Goldie.

“Thanks Goldie. Make mine without.”

“Frail that,” said Yul. “Goldie, add her shot in mine.”

“So how is Rog?”

“Different, but I didn’t come here to talk about Rog or let you change the subject with a touch of humor. I’m serious Kyra. Talk to me. What happened in that room? What did Rog see that he can’t or won’t explain? Even you, sitting here now, look somehow different.”

“Really? How?”

“Well, your demeanor doesn’t fit. You look as calm and relaxed as can be. Under the circumstances I would say you’re either insane, on meds, or completely entrenched in denial. What did Trev give you?”

“Drink your snoot Yul. Your mind could use a little grease to ease the grip it has on your imagination. Now, have I told you how lovely you look tonight? Did you bring your toothbrush?”

“Oh my Janus girl. You’re wiggin, not very well I might add, but I like it,” smiled Yul, letting her fingernail trace its way up Kyra’s arm. “Are you sure you want me to take advantage of you in this state? You know, I’ve never had a lover who didn’t want more. I could make you forget there ever was an opposite sex.”

“Oh Yul, I have no doubt of that,” said Kyra as she leaned in close, her eyes just inches from Yul’s. “But there is one thing I need to tell you.”

“Kyra,” interrupted Goldie.

“Not now Goldie.”

“Kyra, there is an urgent request from the bridge for your presence. Rog said something about visitors.”

“Tell him I’m on my way.”

Categories: Story, Yul, Kyra, Goldie

Fossil Valley

“Kyra, if you are real quiet, we might see a family of pufferbills come down the valley,” said Papa. “Have you ever seen a pufferbill before?”

“No Papa,” said Kyra, her deep blue eyes wide with anticipation and wonder.

Papa smiled. Was he teaching her, he wondered, or was she mentoring him in the ways of joy. With each advancing year he valued more the raw curiosity and innocence of youth.

“Kyra, look to your right. Here comes a family now. Mom is out front, dad is watching the rear and baby is tucked safely in between. Pufferbills live for more than a hundred years and are considered some of the most intelligent life forms on Hyneria.”

“What makes them so special Papa?”

“Well, Fossil Valley can be a very dangerous place and on more than one occasion a wayward Hynerian has gotten lost in the valley without food or water. Pufferbills have always come to their rescue. The mother stays with the stranded traveler, bringing food and water while the father floats back to base camp at the entrance to the valley. The only time the males come to base camp is to lead a search party back to the stranded traveler.”

“And Kyra.”

“Yes Papa?”

“There is one other thing that makes them very special creatures.”

Kyra’s coal black eyebrows rose ever so slightly.

“If the search party is delayed . . .”

“Yes Papa.”

“If the search party is delayed, pufferbills will sacrifice their own wellbeing, even their life, to protect the stranded party. There is not another creature as selfless as pufferbills.”

“Can you hear me Kyra? Kyra?

“What loving creatures Papa.”

“Kyra, wakeup sweetie. Kyra, I have an important message for you. Come drink your snizzle before it gets cold.”

“Goldie, what are you doing here?”

“Waking you up sweetie,” said Goldie. “Sounds like you had a wonderful dream. We do miss Papa don’t we?”

“Yes Goldie, I do miss Papa. I miss him very much,” said Kyra, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. “How did I end up in my quarters?”

“I’ll let Trev fill you in. I’m afraid he needs to talk to you about Kieran.”

“Oh My Janus, Goldie.” What has happened?”

“I’d better let Trev tell you sweetie. He said to send you down to his lab as soon as you were awake. Should I . . .”

Before Goldie could finish, Kyra was out the door.

Learning to Walk

“Dearest Kyra, should I wake Trev and escort him in?”

“Yes Goldie. Oh, and Goldie,” Kyra winked, “uhm, be gentle this time, will ya.”

Goldie batted her eyes in mock innocence just like grandma used to do. How papa had captured so many of grandma’s traits in a robot never ceased to amaze. Then again, papa himself was one of a kind. So much love, so much patience, so much understanding. Kyra hadn’t met 10 Hynerians that together could have matched the capacities of her grandfather.

Twirling papa’s blue onyx ring between her fingers, Kyra moved across the room as only she could. Her gait, remarked by so many, flowed effortlessly. Her tight and taut body spoke of strength beyond her slight frame, but her gait, oh that walk, both intoxicated and soothed simultaneously.

As with most things, Kyra learned to walk from papa. Not to walk, but to walk. “There’s a difference,” he would always say. “Kyra, few really walk. Most pound the ground with their busyness, their rush to be someplace other than where they are. They live their life in anticipation, forever thinking,” and with the word thinking his eyes would widen as if the word itself carried some special significance, “forever thinking that life would be better over there.” And with that papa would look all around him as if there really was a “there” and then would shrug his shoulders when “there” was nowhere to be found.

“Where is there Kyra?” papa asked. And she would point to some place down the beach. They walked to there and papa would ask again with a grin. “Are we there Kyra?

“Yes papa, we are . . . here.”

“But is here the same as there,” he asked.

She smiled, “No papa here is here and here is not there.”

“Look behind you child.” Kyra glanced down the beach from whence they had come. “Tell me what you see.”

“I see the sand and the water papa,” Kyra responded not at all certain anymore that her eyes saw what papa saw.

“Look again my sweet young jewel, look closely, and tell me what you see.”

Kyra looked again. A wrinkle formed between her eyebrows in determined concentration. Papa had taught her to break down a situation into its smallest parts. “We climb mountains the same way as stairs,” he preached, “one step at a time.”

She started with the ocean. Nothing unusual there. Her eyes moved to the sand. Again, looked perfectly normal. But there must be something she thought. Papa saw something she didn’t and she refused to miss the point. Kyra was nothing if not determined.

“Focus on the facts Kyra. Focus on what you know.”

She thought aloud, “We were there and now we are here.” And then a smile of wonder emerged. “We. Me and you papa! Me and you makes two. Yet I only see one set of prints in the sand and those prints are mine papa. How is that possible?”

“Kyra, my dear sweet child, walk with anticipation and the heaviness of those thoughts will not be forgotten by the lives you crush underfoot. Walk to be, to be here and only here and you walk with lightness and you walk with peace. Would you like to learn to walk my dear sweet Kyra?”

“Yes, papa. Please teach me to walk,” Kyra shouted as she jumped with delight into her papa’s arms.

The door to Kyra’s quarters swooshed open.

“Come in Trev, can I get you anything,” said Kyra.

“No time, take a look at this report on Kieran. It appears the Golden Tree soup is not working. If this data is accurate, he has less than forty-eight hours.”

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