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This is an excerpt from Episode #56 of Falaha’s Journey: A Spacegirl’s Account in Three Movements, copyright 2012, 2013, 2014, by Jeno Marz.
My head was still ringing. The enemy had gone but I was certain about one thing: though their Sangu wasn’t making any moves, the whole Enclave was on its feet by now. Shaamta made sure no escape from them was possible, so he could take his time catching Tagai, along with the ones who had commandeered him. He probably didn’t want anything unwelcome to get in as well. Something big was going on there.
Eyuran’s fingers freed my hair moistened in sweat from being stuck to my forehead. He and Baro were staring at me, their gazes heavy and concerned… I raised my eyebrows with a silent question, “What?” Ah, nose bleed! I took out a tissue and wiped my face and my suit more diligently this time.
“Did you get hit?” Eyuran asked.
“No.” I told them. “I’ll be fine. Got too excited.”
Eyuran shook his head, disagreeing. “People don’t bleed from excitement.” He glanced at my father, saying, “Seriously, what’s going on here?”
“That’s what I’d like to know,” I replied.
Tagai let out a voiced sigh and started breathing.
A knock on Bradoh’s hull was followed by Father’s voice. “Leave the Baali kid inside and get down here, Falaha, Eyuran. Let him rest for a while. Baro, if you’re in for some trash climbing, come, too.” He was refilling his suit’s Life Support from the slot at the bottom of the machine. I peeked at the process controls. Had he been walking with an empty tank before?
I quickly checked my suit’s stats. Baro did the same, while Eyuran completed final biotelemetry checks on the Baal—his vitals improved faster than expected, and even the fall hadn’t affected that. In an hour or two he might be back to normal. Amazing!
It took me two days to reassemble—my brain was destroyed: I died, after all. My body is definitely weaker, but our soma could be of somewhat equal strength.
Finished, me and my spouse stood up, but Baro didn’t move.
If Eyuran was worried about me, the Medan was also uncertain about something else, watching us getting ready to leave Bradoh. Something disturbing was on his mind and on his tongue, and something equally strong hindered him from spilling it out. He looked at my father, then at me again, as if he didn’t know how to put his feelings or thoughts into words appropriately.
“Kieren-rjg, you’ve been on this ship before, haven’t you?” Baro’s sudden question didn’t make my father happy. He turned to look at the Medan with an unpleasant gleam in his eyes, then at me with mixed emotions. Baro probably expected a different reaction, but it still appeared that he’d just vocalized something Father didn’t want to discuss. Turned out it was something we all were thinking about, yet the Medan was the one who dared to scratch Father’s vulnerable side: for a tiniest moment there was a change in him. Baro’s words made Father remember something. He flinched. There existed something that made him shudder. Was I the only one who noticed a different side to him that briefly emerged from under his usual larger-than-life attitude?
“So what of it?” He shrugged. “That’s why I’m back to get the job done,” he replied.
“As usual, not overly wordy about anything in particular,” Eyuran whispered to me.
I sighed. “Wrong questions at the wrong time will get you nowhere.”
Surely, he walked the Enclave like he owned it, and we still didn’t know the answer to why and how he hadn’t got caught. Or what trick he’d used to make Tagai invisible to the Baali. And there was that bothersome question about how Father initially entered and got out of this place alive—something that no one had succeed in doing before, which raised Baro’s concerns and suspicions, undermining his ability to trust. An unstable situation if not handled quickly. I glanced at Father and turned to my men again.
“Baro, do you think taking Tagai with us was a mistake? Or worse, Father plans to get us all killed? You, Eyuran?”
My spouse shook his head in denial—he had no doubts regarding his uncle.
“I don’t know, rjgnis,” the Medan sincerely replied. “I brought him to you, but was it the right thing to do? Is he really the person I met on Quennah?”
I smirked. “If you tell me what happened between you two in greater detail, I might answer your question. Furthermore—is Eyuran the same person you met on Quennah? Am I the same person you met on Quennah? I wonder about that.” Both men’s faces made it clear none of them thought of this, and each found different meaning in my words. I bent over the edge of the cockpit. “Father, Baro wants to know when you will start eating us.”
A faint smile appeared on his weary face. “Does he also want a relaxing massage, a hot bath, and a tasty meal before that?” was the reply. Whatever he did to hide Tagai had taken its toll on him.
“Let’s get moving,” I said, turning to the Medan and breaking the uneasy moment. “He is not the enemy, he’s really my father. You can have my word on that. He does those weird things sometimes, so don’t get the wrong idea. I, too, got confused and intimidated at first, but it’s fine now. You understand what he is about to do, don’t you?”
“I hope so, rjgnis.”
“Then would you please put up with some strange stuff of kennar Fargann?” Even if I don’t really know what all that strange stuff is yet. I smiled. “It’s not like you are not welcome here.”
Eyuran nodded, confirming my words.
I took their hands into mine—Eyuran’s big hand into one, and Baro’s even bigger hand into another. So different, bronze and white.
“Sometimes, I am afraid,” I told them softly. “Of this ship, of its hungry darkness, of remaining here all alone. Yet you two are—” I watched their mouths slowly open, taken aback by my sudden confession of yet another unknown horror, their hands gripping mine tighter. “Worrywarts.”
Baro’s mouth closed in silent protest and Eyuran’s face changed as well.
From under long, thick eyelashes, unblinking grey eyes were staring sideway—Eyuran’s expression became almost menacing, following his imagination, focused to tear anything that came at me into pieces. Did he figure I spoke the truth? Just like his dad, he was slowly growing immune to my methods as our relationship progressed. Another tough sausage, eh?
Oh well, at least the snow on that mountain still appeared fresh and untouched.
I slipped out of their hold.
Eyuran was right; I had no phobia issues at Bradoh’s height. I could sit calmly at the cockpit’s edge, and probably could climb all over the machine without feeling sick or scared. Huge heights, high drops, deep, dark pits, on the other hand… Everything this Enclave was about. Ugh.
Before jumping off the machine, I switched on my nightlights and whispered, “I’m interested in meeting Shaamta.”
“What?!” exploded in a single burst. My words terrified them both, so I sent them air kisses, inflicting minor confusion, which lasted long enough for me to leave Bradoh freely and join Father in the field.
I turned to see their perplexed faces.
Two pairs of eyes were watching my every movement. So intense I could feel their eyeballs rolling on my skin… Oh, here we go again! Steady, men, steady! Don’t fall out of your shared high seat over there! I stuck out my tongue at them. Do not underestimate small people!
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