Category: Von



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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The Mask


Cait stood in John’s study and released a heavy sigh as her eyes moved not so much from object to object but from memory to memory. Ariel was in bed and although it seemed like only minutes, several hours had past since they took John away. Her gaze skipped as pebbles across his desk and followed the warm light of a single lamp to the wooden cove behind his leather chair. Upon the wall, framed by books of varying sizes and colors, a solitary beam of light fell upon “The Mask” as the Discovery men called it. Passed from generation to generation, the mask represented everything noble in the Discovery lineage, and until a few hours ago, John had upheld the honor of the house as no one before him.

“What is it Kyra?” asked Von, somewhat puzzled by her dour demeanor.

“It’s Rog. They’ve taken him away.”

“For what?”

“Crimes against the state. I didn’t have the energy to argue.”

“What crime?”

“Seems they stole a military vessel.”

“What vessel?”

“The one they rescued us in.”

“Oh.”

A tear slipped from Cait’s eye. She wept not for Discovery honor. She wept for her own.

Von’s Journal #5


Von held a small piece of lace his grandmother had given him. It was one thing before, another now. He picked up his journal and made a singular entry:

At the end of the day, what is the measure of one’s life.

Just Staring

Kyra: Von, what are you doing?

Von: Just staring.

Von, Rog and Em sat without talking, each lost in their own world as they waited for the doctor as children wait to hear their name read from gifts under tree. John had had his bandages removed the day before and his sight was now as it was before. Today was their turn.

The nurse called Von. He entered. Sight restored. Next she called Rog. Again, darkness was left behind. Last was Em. She entered in darkness, and after what seemed to Von and Rog like a awfully long time, she returned still in darkness. Smiles turned south. Laugher vanished quicker than the snap of fingers. Em stood, her arms by her side, her head struggling to maintain posture.

“Frail the doctor. I will regain my sight.”

Von and Rog stood speechless.

Em held out her hands. “Let’s go. These frailing aliens don’t give a shiott about us,” said Em using language Von and Rog had never heard her use.

Von looked at Rog and Rog looked away, his face bloodless. He had his sight back. Em did not.

“Von,” commed Kyra, “how’d it go?”

“Not good.”

“What happened?”

“Em is still blind.”

“Oh my Janus. Is she okay?”

“It’s not Em I’m worried about.”

Curves

Von: Want to talk about it?

Rog: Nope.

Von:(waits a few seconds) You sure?

Rog: Yep.

Von: Okay, if you–

Rog: What was I suppose to do.

Von: Is that a question?

Rog: No, not really.

Von: (few more seconds go by) How’s your snizzle?

Rog: Good.

Von: Good.

Rog: You know what I miss?

Von: What?

Rog: Curves.

Von: (laughs) Curves?

Rog: Yes, curves. (no response from Von) You know. Curves.

Von: What kind of curves?

Rog: Two kinds.

Von: Really?

Rog: Yep.

Von: (says nothing)

Rog: Well?

Von: Well what?

Rog: Aren’t you going to ask?

Von: About what?

Rog: The frailing curves.

Von: Okay. What are the two kinds of curves?

Rog: The kind you see and the kind you feel. Before my Jackassery, I never understood that the two were not one and the same, but when you lose your sight, everything looks different. (laughs at himself) Looks different. Get it. (laughs some more)

Von: Yea. Funny stuff.

Rog: But after awhile, you start thinking and you know what I thought . . .

Von: I have no idea.

Rog: Got any snoot?

Von: (belly laughs and pulls out a bottle) Now render unto me my due.

Rog: What?

Von: Just tell me what you thought.

Rog: Right (takes a sip). Well, when I lost my sight that is when I realized that there were two kinds of curves, not just one. You see, before, I thought a curve was a curve.

Von: Pardon me but what the frail are you talking about?

Rog: A curve Von. You know.

Von: (laughs in a non-laughing manner) Pretend I don’t.

Rog: A woman Von. The curves of a woman. Take Yul for example.

Von: You sure you want to go there?

Rog: (Rog ignores him) There is the curve of her head, so frailing round you just want to roll marbles off the top of it. You can’t look at her head and not see the curve, how her long purplish green hair lies flat, how the light highlights the curve (takes another sip). I’m telling you, you don’t appreciate that curve until it’s gone.

Von: Marbles? Are you frailing kidding me. Marbles.

Rog: Shut the frail up and let me finish. This is my theory. You can talk later.

Von: Please professor Rog, enlightening me more on rolling marbles off the head of women.

Rog: You through?

Von: The floor is all yours.

Rog: Her eyes, they curve like rainbows in the tropics. Her cheeks, curve like mountains rising in the dawn and those mountains Von, are never the same. I swear she can smile a hundred different ways and every time, that curve is slightly different, frailingly intoxicatingly different, almost as if she knows, like she can manipulate the angle of her jaw to communicate the smallest nuance of desire. And then, when you see those cheeks and those dimples, you notice the curve of her nose, that upturned, I will get down and dirty and make you like it nose, that nose that curves in such a way as to fit in places, well, in places, you know, places.

Von: Yes, places. Curves and places. Got it. Continue.

Rog: Her lips Von. Don’t tell me you never noticed the curve of her lips. The upper lip curves intelligently down in a gently sweeping motion but the lower lip, oh my frailing my, Von, that lower lip curves sharply, levels out and curves again. If a curve could pout, that is one frailing pouty curve. Hot damn Von, you know what I’m saying.

Von: Yea. Curves. Intelligent and pouty.

Rog: It gets better.

Von: Oh I’m sure it does.

Rog: Nothing like the curve of her neck and the neck has several curves. The back of the neck, such a short curve compared to the lower back. When she lifts her hair and holds it above her head, both hands, that curve looks regal, almost like a Chatelaine. Can you imagine me with a Chatelaine?

Von: Nope.

Rog: That is a curve for you. See what I’m talking about?

Von: Have some more snoot. On second thought, I’ll have some more.

Rog: Then there is the collarbone. A complex curve and, for curve connoisseurs like–

Von: You?

Rog: Yea, like me. As I was saying, for a curve connoisseur like me, when seen in the right light, at just the right angle, the curve of the collarbone is as sexy as any curve there is. You see, the best curves are the ones you don’t think are curves, the ones she doesn’t think are curves. Call them hidden curves, natural curves, curves without machination.

Von: Machination? Do you even know what that means?

Rog: John loved word games and we had a long seven days on the way to bring your arse back. I got more.

Von: Like what?

Rog: Like, like, like I’ll use them when and where I please.

Von: I see.

Rog: Now the breasts.

Von: The breasts? Since when did you start calling them breasts?

Rog: Since about two days ago. Now listen up (Von laughs, hard). The breasts have two important curves. The upper curve and the lower curve and they have two dimensions, standing and horizontal. From collarbone to nipple is one curve and the one most unappreciated. See, the nipple, especially when hard, erect, distracts from a full appreciation of the upper curve. Now the lower curve, that’s the one every one knows. From rib to nipple, but you know what?

Von: What?

Rog: It is a subtle curve, not a gross curve (Rog paused as if proud of himself for the distinction).

Von: Really?

Rog: And the spot right at the juncture of rib and tit, that is the place.

Von: For what?

Rog: For appreciation to begin.

Von: (shakes head)

Rog: Speaking of appreciation, Yul has the most glorious arse I’ve ever seen. Now the curve there, magnus melodious like twin moons over a placid lake. And this takes me to confluence.

Von: Pray tell what is confluence?

Rog: You know. Where one curve blends into the next curve.

Von: For instance?

Rog: Lower back into the arse. Remember Neraj?

Von: What about it?

Rog: Well, that is where I bought Yul “the tool.” And that first night, we had moonlight so bright, so cool in its bluish shade, it felt like winter at noon, only it wasn’t cold. You remember the huge picture windows we all had in our quarters right?

Von. Of course.

Rog: Well, I showed the tool to Yul and she immediately wanted to try it.

Von: I thought the tool was a solo–

Rog: It was, is. Do you want to hear the story or not?

Von: Go on.

Rog: So we have this incredible moonlight coming into her quarters. She is on the bed and she pulls out the vial.

Von: You knew about the vial then?

Rog: No, no, no. I had no idea. I thought she was rubbing perfume on her wrists. Anyway, she was on the bed, on all fours and, maybe it was the vial–

Von: Wait a minute, what does the vial have to do with you?

Rog: Oh, she rubbed her wrist on my neck.

Von: When?

Rog: Between the–what the hell Von, your confusing me. Just let me tell the story.

Von: So she had the vial and she has intoxicated you with it and herself and you are in a chair and she is on the bed.

Rog: Yep.

Von: And where is the tool?

Rog: In her left hand.

Von: Continue.

Rog: Well, when she dipped her back and rotated her hips with a turn of her head that is when I knew.

Von: Knew what?

Rog: Confluence. Are you listening?

Von: Ahh, right, confluence.

Rog: And you know what else?

Von: What?

Rog: There are static curves, the kind you can appreciate in a photo and then there are curves that can only be appreciated in living motion.

Von: (holds his glass and inhales, lost in the image)

Rog: You know what I’m talking about?

Von: I think I do.

Rog: Von, when she turned her head and I saw that neck muscle catch the light, almost emerging from her collarbone in the bluish glow, and you know how lean and tight Yul is.

Von: I do.

Rog: Well, she looked so frailing feline in that pose, like a hungry predatory cat stalking prey, so lithe, so strong so frailing in control. Just prime Von. Just frailing prime.

Von: (smiles)

Rog: But that’s not what I’m talking about. When she turned her head and parted her lips, she spread and rotated her hips in a single motion, a fluid, effortless move, well, I would call it a dance but that wouldn’t do justice to the art of that move. I just wanted to watch and you know, I’ve never just wanted to watch. That move, if I never see it again in a thousand years, that move Von is as clear in my mind as if it had just happened.

Von: I can imagine.

Rog: Well, that is the first species of curve, the one you see.

Von: And the other?

Rog: (sounds more sober) The ones you touch and the ones that touch you (takes another sip). Well, after my jackassery I started thinking about curves and I realized that I might not ever see those curves again, but I could still feel them, touch them, caress . . .

Von: I get the point.

Rog: At least that’s what I thought. I can’t see but I can touch and if you had to choose–

Von: Touch.

Rog: Yes.

Von: And now?

Rog: Can’t see. Can’t frailing touch. So I ask you. I’m asking. What was I suppose to do?

Von: Depends.

Rog: For crying out loud, what kind of answer is that?

Von: Look. Do you want my opinion?

Rog: No.

Von: Fine. You wouldn’t have like it anyway.

Rog: Well.

Von: Well what?

Rog: At least I can still touch myself (suppresses a laugh)

Von: By Janus, yes you can.

Rog: Pour me another.

Von: With pleasure.

Can You Help Me?


Kyra: Von, we are going to be docking in a couple hours. Do you have a few minutes?

Von: Always Kyra, what’s on your mind?

Kyra: I’m scared. Actually, scared is not the right word. Can I ask you a question?

Von: Please, yes.

Kyra: Why did Papa put you on Bravo?

Von: You want the long story or the short version? (Von wishes he could see her)

Kyra: I want it all. Every last detail.

Von: Okay. I’ll start with the short version. I owed your grandfather a debt. I’m repaying that debt by looking out for you.

Kyra: (silence)

Von: What are you thinking?

Kyra: Not what I needed to hear. Feeling as if Papa didn’t trust me, didn’t believe in me.

Von: That is—

Kyra: Hear me out. Papa didn’t tell me who you were or why you were on board. What does that tell you? What does that say? What do you think that does for my self-confidence? What message do you think I read into that?

Von: Kyra, you don’t need me. Papa—

Kyra: Frail the logic Von. This isn’t about what is, it is about what I feel. You know what is hard?

Von: Tell me.

Kyra: To have an experience that you cannot share. To speak a language no one else can understand. To be given a puzzle that no one else can help you put together. Can you help me Von?

Von: (sighs) No.

Kyra: You know what I like about you Von?

Von: Pray tell.

Kyra: You’ve always been honest. I knew before I asked the question, before I came here that you had no answers for me. And you know what?

Von: What?

Kyra: If you had tried to give me advice, I would have shut you out. But you didn’t.

Von: Kyra, you have seen things I will never see. You have experienced things I will never experience. You have gifts beyond my comprehension to understand. Besides, I am an old Hynerian. My life is all but behind me. My future is uncertain. Hope is in short supply. So I live for my mission, however ill-equipped I am to the task. And, at this moment, blind as I am, ignorant in equal measure, I know the only thing I can offer is my ears, to listen without judgment.

Kyra: (leans over and kisses Von’s forehead) Thank you Von, but you sell yourself short. You have offered me much more than just your ears.

Von: And what might that be?

Kyra: Your heart. (she reaches out and takes his hands) Your debt has been paid many times over. But, you still give.

Von: If—

Kyra: Shhhhh. Don’t talk. I don’t need your words. Feel my hands. Feel the warmth?

Von: Yes.

Kyra: That is not me. That is you. I am terrified Von. I cannot see past this fear inside of me. I feel it consuming me, eating me alive from the inside out and I have no idea how to stop it. My mind is hollow and questions are bouncing around seeking what is not there. This gnawing fear feels alive, as if it has a life of its own and is clouding everything before me and you are reaching out, with your heart. You are not judging me. You are not advising me. You are simply communicating, with your heart, that you are here. And you know what Von?

Von: What Kyra?

Kyra: You are wrong about one thing.

Von: And what might that be?

Kyra: I do need you. I need you without obligation. Without a mission. I need just you. Can you do that?

Von: Yes.

Jackassery


Rog: So you have a dream chip?

John: Von, would you tell our friend it might be best if he kept his frailing mouth shut.

Rog: Why?

John: Why! Are you shiotting me?

Rog: What?

John: Von, you want to take this one?

Von: No John, I think you’re doing just fine.

Rog: You’re not still mad are you?

John: Mad? You think I’m mad? Von?

Von: Rog, if I may, I think the fact that there is a small chance we will not regain our sight, and the fact that cause and effect points to your, how do I say it, Jackassery, well, I think that might have something to do with John’s attitude.

John: Jackassery. Thank you Von. You know what Jackassery is Rog?

Rog: (quiet)

John: I’ll tell you what Jackassery is! It’s you pulling out that las pistol. What the frail were you thinking?

Rog: You know what I was thinking . . . .

John: Well?

Rog: (raises voice) I was thinking someone was going to get off his arse and do something! You heard the same cries I did.

John: Yeah, well, did you not think maybe, just maybe, Von knew what he was talking about? Maybe, just a little? (holds out hand and uses fingers to illustrate before realizing no one could see him)

Rog: Look. I did what I did and it is what it is. I’m not going to apologize for making something happen. In fact—

John: Don’t frailing say it.

Rog: Frail you. In fact—

Kyra: Rog. John. Let it go. Intent, by both parties, was pure and I find no fault in either the action or inaction, as the case may be. Von, you were right. Rog, I love you for being yourself. I wouldn’t want to go into harm’s way without you. And John, get use to it. This won’t be the last time you see some Jackassery out of Rog. (slight pause and then she starts laughing, followed by Von, John and Em)

Rog: Kyra?

Kyra: Yes Rog?

Rog: I love you too.

Kyra: You’re welcome Rog. Now I suggest you guys get some rest. We’ll be docking in about twelve hours.

John: Kyra?

Kyra: Yes John?

John: Care to tell us what happened?

Kyra: No, not really.

John: Okay. Just thought I’d ask. You know, since, well . . . .

Kyra: Don’t push it John. Remember, I still have your chip.

Rog: Yeah John, she still has your chip.

John: Frail you.

Rog: You got that half right.

John: What?

Rog: I’m just saying.

Kyra: Hey. Enough. Lights out. See you in eight. (turns out the lights and leaves)

Rog: Nice job Disco.

John: You’re welcome, Jackassary.

Von’s Journal #4


No one was really sure when Von made this entry since in a very unlike Von fashion, he forgot to log a date. Time estimated based on other entries: shortly after the Kyra Incident.

There is a stillness, like the moment before dawn, in which understanding is reached; and, like the breaking of dawn, surrender to the inevitability of all hell breaking loose.

Eyes do their best work when closed.

Things are never as they seem. How can they be since “to seem” is to separate, to create beyond, to work in interpretation–the playground of the non-Janus.


The concern over Kyra notwithstanding, the crew had much to celebrate. After all, prayers had been answered, how had not been discussed, but six days became seven and seven eight and everyone was just a little too overjoyed to tempt fate with questions.

John poured four glasses of amsec and handed one to Rog, one to Von and the last to Em. Lifting his crystal flute to the center, the others followed suit, the four golden glasses shinning like a chandelier as eyes looked upward for words to be spoken. A toast, he said as his voice trailed off.

What started as a slight vibration, a disturbing ripple across nectar held high, held firm, grew, exponentially; and in an instant, amsec rained down with shards of crystal and their small vessel rocked as if the hand of a giant had slapped the hull. As the four struggled to get to their feet, a second concussive wave knocked them down again as a young boy might shake a box of toy soldiers. Lights blinked and klaxons wailed and as quickly as the vessel was hit, stillness returned.

Rog yelled, although he didn’t need to, “I thought you said we had shields?”

John yelled back. “We do!” Picking himself up, his sea-legs betrayed him and only his strong arms kept his head from banging the control panel. “Our systems must be down?”

“What?” asked Rog.

“I said our systems must be down. Not a threat within a parsec, the screen is blank.”

“Blank?” said Von.

“Nada.”

Rog took the pilot’s seat. Then a low vibration, almost a moan wafted over the comms followed by a sickly gurgling sound. “What the—“

The hair on the back of Von’s neck stood up. Before anyone could react, a blood curtling scream, unmistakable in tone, permeated the room.

“My Janus,” cried Von. “Its Kyra.”

Unknown #1: We put her at great risk.

Unknown #2: We have no choice.

Unknown #1: Are you prepared to lose her?

Unknown #2: (with hesitation) Yes.

“Open the frailing door!” screamed Rog, his nerves frayed by the unworldly cries from within Kyra’s room, his hands bloodied from effort.

“It won’t budge,” screamed John back.

“Move!”

“Won’t do any good,” interjected Von.

“What?”

“The door will open when it is ready to open. You’d just as soon change the fabric of reality as to pry it apart.”

“Are you suggesting we just sit here?”

“I’m not suggesting anything. I’m telling you the matters at hand are beyond our ability to influence. Take that as you will.”

“So what do we do?”

“Bow our heads and pray we see our girl again.”