It’s the very last episode! If you’re behind, now you can read the entire story.
Godfrey sat in the pilot’s seat, looking out over the stars. They’d never dulled for him. From the first time he’d seen it on the ship that took him from Earth, to sitting in front of the view now with a cup of hot klav, space never stopped drawing him.
The only thing that spoiled the view was the thought of what else might be sharing these stars with them.
He glanced up when he heard Liam coming into the cockpit. “Hey,” he said, taking the co-pilot seat. “Gene set up the auto system for you?”
“Yeah,” Godfrey said. “I should get a pilot license for a ship. I can fly some old planes, but nothing out of the gravity field. Would have been useful when I was leaving Earth. You know how much I had to pay some woman to take me out to S86?”
“Probably got scalped,” Liam nodded. He settled into the seat, looking over the stars. “So I guess you’ve noticed that Sennett and me have been, you know, hangin’ out.”
“Yeah, I’ve noticed,” Godfrey said.
“You cool with that?” Liam asked. “I mean, you seemed close. And when you kicked your wife out, I kinda thought it was to be with Sennett.”
“Hold on now,” Godfrey snapped. “I didn’t kick Ki out, she left me. It doesn’t feel good, but that’s what happened. Sennett doesn’t feel that way about me. I thought maybe I did feel something for her, but there’s nothing there but friendship. I love Ki, and when I get home I’m going to call her and tell her that.”
Liam glanced over at him. “You’re gonna call Ki? Ain’t she on Khloe right now?”
“Yeah. Probably staying with her mom who hates me.”
Liam leaned forward, fiddling with the mini simulator. “Don’t it seem like she’s safer there? I mean, I don’t always agree with Ly’s policies about outsiders, but in this case, it ain’t a bad idea.”
Godfrey sat back, sipping his drink. His thoughts went to Ki, as they had been going a lot since he wasn’t under constant threat of death. Her smell, her laugh. The feel of her in his arms, the light glistening on her hair.
Then he thought of her lying on the ground, torn to pieces like the people on Station Central.
“Maybe I won’t call her just yet,” he said.
“How are you feeling, Baby?” Sennett asked.
“Okay,” April shrugged. “Mr. Gene is really sad. He’s in the bathroom a lot, washing his hands. But he lost his mom.”
“Yeah, he did,” Sennett nodded.
April moved one of the stones across the board. “The bad people, do you think they got off Station Central?”
Sennett thought for a minute about lying to the child but realized that it would do her no good. “I think they probably did.”
“Do you think they’ll come to Station 86?” April asked.
“Maybe,” Sennett said. “We’ll be ready for them, though. Don’t worry.”
April looked up at her, her brown eyes glistening. “How, though? How do we stop them?”
Sennett was still struggling to find an answer when Russell came to the door. He knocked on the frame cautiously. “Kind of a small ship for a councilwoman, isn’t it?” he asked.
“It’s her secondary ship, according to Gene. The first one was already out of commission,” Sennett said.
He came into the room a step at a time, as though waiting for Sennett to tell him to get out. When he didn’t he sat down on the bunk at her feet. “Can I talk to you about something? Maybe without April?”
“Why?” Sennett asked.
“Well, it’s about something kind of serious, that maybe you don’t want to talk to her about yet,” he said.
April got up, pressing the button on the game board to close it. “Can I go see if Liam wants to play?” she asked.
“Sure, Honey,” Sennett nodded. She watched April trot out of the room, her hair bouncing.
“She’s a good little kid,” Russell said. “Are we on a good enough level for me to ask you who her dad is?”
“Not yet,” Sennett said. “What was this big awful thing you needed to talk to me about?”
Russell sighed. “The woman who raised you, Thorn? She was someone important on Station 86, right?”
“She was head councilwoman before she was assassinated by one of your Core buddies,” Sennett muttered.
“Yeah, and you and Mason really loved her. She was a good mom.” For some reason, Russell’s mouth was twisted into a snarl when he said this.
Sennett sat up. “She really was, yeah. Which is good, seeing as how our parents apparently didn’t want to raise me.”
“That’s the thing, though. They did want to raise you.”
Russell looked up at her. “Thorn was a member of the Core who defected. Mom and Dad were on a mission, it was too dangerous to take you along. This was before I was born. They left you with Thorn, and she vanished with you. Sennett, whatever you thought of her, she’s a traitor and a kidnapper. Mom and Dad never wanted to lose you. Dad talks about you every single day. He’s got a damned shrine to you, with your baby pictures and little booties. He saves articles about you, and brags about how strong and brave you are, even while you’re running around marrying that Khloe whore.”
“I loved my husband, and I will shoot you if you say something bad about him,” Sennett growled.
“That’s not what I’m trying to say.” Russell ran a hand through his hair. “I’m saying that no matter how you feel about the Core, and how you feel about me, our parents love you and they’re good people. They want you back, and they want to be grandparents to your kid. If we really all have to band together to stop the Hollow Suits, maybe you should give them a chance to do that.”
“Oh, okay,” Sennett said. “Since we’re all banding together, let me show you something.” She stood up and tapped her wrist pad. “Here’s some pictures of April, maybe Mom and Dad would like them.”
She started flipping through pictures of the child from while they’d been on vacation, first in her seeming.
Then out of it. Images from school, from Christmas. All of April with her pink skin, wild hair, and bright gold eyes.
Russell stared at the screen, eyes wide. “She’s not human?” he asked. “How, how the hell did you do that?”
“She is human,” Sennett snapped. “But she’s not Earthian, not even a little. She’s a child of the stars, and of Khloe. So if you want us to all sit down to a great big family dinner, you need to be ready for that. Because you don’t get to be that little girl’s uncle, and they don’t get to be her grandparents unless they’re going to love her just as much knowing this. Can they do that?”
Russell was still staring at the picture of April. “What did you do, to have her like that?” he asked.
“Our parents weren’t that great if they didn’t have the sex talk with you,” Sennett replied.
“We can’t have kids naturally with aliens,” Russell said. “Can’t we?”
Sennett crossed her arms. “You just watched proof walk out the door. You tell me.”
Russell took a few steps away from her. “I, I think I need to do some thinking. I’ll be in my bunk.”
The group finally reached Station 86. Sennett felt her shoulders relax as soon as they stepped off the ship on Level One.
“I never want to leave here again,” Sennett said.
“Let’s just get home,” Godfrey said, adjusting his bag on his shoulder. “I have never needed a shower more.”
“No kidding,” Mason muttered. “Why didn’t you shower on the ship?”
“I was having trouble fitting into the shower stall,” he replied. “Damn six-foot roof. How do they expect anyone to fit into those things?”
As they neared the house, Sennett stopped. There was someone sitting on the front stoop. A white woman with a mess of bouncing red curls and freckles across her nose looked up from her wrist pad, saw them. She stood up, her body tense.
“Holy shit,” Russell said, stopping. “What is she doing here?”
“Who is it?” Godfrey asked.
Mason growled, glaring at the woman. “That’s Candace Campbell.”
Sennett strode forward. “What in the fuck do you think you’re doing here?” she snapped. “I’ve just been through hell, literal hell, Candace. Don’t think I won’t snap your fucking neck!”
“Hold on a second!” Candace cried, holding her hands up. “I did try to contact you other ways before just camping out on your door. Maybe if you’d answered any of the messages I wouldn’t have had to do this.”
“Fine,” Sennett said. “Fine. You have my attention. What could you possibly have to say to me?”
Candace glanced over her shoulder. “Is that Russell? What’s he doing here?”
“Focus, Campbell,” Sennett snapped. “What do you want.”
“Right,” Candace said. “The Core is planning to attack Station 86. They’re going to kill everyone here. And I want to help you stop them.”
Copyright © 2019 by Nicole C. Luttrell
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