Monday, May 23, 2016

September 10

It’s been a big day for Katrina. She and her clan have decided to have their ceremony on the colony of Haven. They’ve apparently built this amazing Temple of Life there, headed up by the Kalquorian governor’s Imdiko. So the priest on board the Pussy ‘Porter is pulling things together with the main priest on Haven.

Katrina came to my quarters with Candy in tow and a bottle of bohut to toast her good fortune. “This isn’t even the really big news,” she said as I found cups to pour our booze into. Anrel was having her nap, so I decided one drink wouldn’t end the universe.

“You’ve got more news?” Candy asked.

“I’m saving that to knock your socks off with in a few minutes. Anyway, my Imdiko is taking care of what will be said in the vows with the priest on board. The priest – oh, what is his name?”

“Imdiko Tineb,” Candy supplied. She sipped her bohut and rolled her eyes in pleasure.

“Right, Tineb. He’ll do a bunch of ‘do you, will you, do you promise’ stuff, which we’ll all answer yes to. It will be quick and painless, thank goodness. This other priest – crap, I’ve forgotten his name too.”

“Your age is showing,” I teased.

“Fuck you, whippersnapper,” Katrina said with a grin. “His name sounds something like ‘rivet’ or ‘ricket’. Anyway, he’s going to decorate the temple. So all I have to do is roll out of bed, put my clothes on, and show up.”

Candy blew a raspberry. She really wanted Katrina to have a big blowout of a ceremony with ribbons and doves and roses covering everything. In short, the exact opposite of what Katrina wanted. “Romance is dead,” she said in a flat monotone. “You’ve killed it.”

“But the sex is still wild,” Katrina informed her. “We’ll have a party afterward too, which this Rivet or Ricket or whatever his name is will take care of the arrangements for. The Kalquorian governor is supplying leshella in honor of the first clanning on Haven. He’s some rich guy, a former councilman or ambassador or some such important dick.”

“Nice!” I exclaimed. “What’s the Earther governor supplying?”

“They don’t have one yet. The colony is still getting its legs under it. They’ve only got about twenty Earthers there so far, but with free land and materials to start with, that will change pretty quick.”

“Are you still hoping Matt will go there?” I asked.

Katrina beamed. “I don’t know. But since you brought him up, let me tell you my really big news.”

Candy squealed with excitement. “He’s asked for your forgiveness!”

Katrina snorted. “Not hardly. Matt is still not speaking to me. But he did let my grandchildren com. I got their message this morning.”

That got Candy and me on our feet jumping up and down with joy. Could there have been a better clanning present given to Katrina? I couldn’t imagine it. The happy tears in her eyes spoke volumes about the hope that had been restored to her.

“What did they say?” Candy asked once we’d calmed down enough to talk again.

“Just ‘hi Grammy, we love you, we miss you, can’t wait to see you, send us a message’. I don’t think they know why we were cut off.” Katrina sighed, her face alight with pure bliss. “Of course I commed them right away to tell them how much I love them. I’ve been walking on air ever since.”

I’m so thrilled for Katrina. She’s been such a friend to me, and I want her to have all the happiness she deserves. Today was the reward karma owed her. With us scheduled to reach Haven Colony tomorrow and her ceremony the next day, I’m hoping for more of the same. I’ve really got my fingers crossed for her to live happily ever after.

Only one thing put a damper on my day. I received the legal forms that would give me the right to make all life decisions for my mother. I’m still struggling with that issue. I’d rather take on Tragooms rather than have to determine Mom’s future for her.

The only thing I’ve decided is to put off making a decision. I’m going to enjoy shore leave on Haven, have a blast at Katrina’s clanning ceremony, and try not to worry about anything for a few days more. Maybe I’ll poll my friends for their opinions too. This feels too big for me.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

September 9, part 2

I had the pleasure of talking to all of Clan Aslada. I do not use the term ‘pleasure’ as a euphemism either. It was a very real delight, because they spoke to me from their whirlpool. The men were having a nice soak. Their wet, glistening torsos were above the churning water, looking all muscled, manly yummy. I think I stammered over my hellos, but I don’t remember the early part of the conversation too clearly. Whew.

I finally recovered my senses to ask Jaon if he’d heard anything about Nang. No was the answer. Jaon didn’t seem too worried about it.

“He’ll turn up if he doesn’t get himself killed out there,” the Nobek told me. “The route from Earth to the Empire is still pretty lawless, especially for a lone Kalquorian. The fact Nang doesn’t want to be found by us puts him in greater danger of crossing paths with our enemies. We may have heard the last of Dramok Nang.”

I bit my lip over Jaon’s cavalier attitude. He was probably right to be confident. Heaven knew my ship had run into more than its share of problems even with the protection of destroyers and fighters. What chance did Nang have out there all alone?

I also kind of felt ill over the idea of something awful happening to Nang. He turned out to be a mess, but we did once share something. As scared as he makes me feel, I didn’t want anything truly bad to happen to him. I just want to see him shoved in a nice padded cell until he gets his senses back.

I shoved aside all of that to smile at the delicious vision of Meyso. “So what do we need to discuss about my mom?”

He smiled, making my heart flip-flop. Who can resist a man who looks good and intelligent too? And is sitting half-naked right in front of you, carved muscles begging to be touched? Yow.

“The first thing we need to take care isn’t medical at all. You need to establish an affidavit of legal guardianship over Matara Eve. That will clear the way for you to make decisions on her behalf.”

I stopped admiring his gorgeous body to think about what he’d said. “I thought I already had that.”

“Informally, yes. The doctors who saw Eve on Earth deferred to you on a temporary basis due to the history you gave them and their observations of her behavior. That was backed up by the tests Dr. Nayun ran.”

“I have to make it formal?” I squirmed a little at that. Mom would be enraged if the dementia allowed her to understand I would be making all the decisions for her. Major decisions, as in letting Meyso play in her gray matter. Yeah, that would not go over well.

“Once on Kalquor, yes. You have to assume legal guardianship over your mother in order to sign off on the procedures, which are medicinal and surgical.”

Aslada added his input, his modulated voice smooth as silk. “It’s simple enough. I’ll have my lawyer draw up the papers. You sign off on them, he attaches the medical evidence of your mother’s inability to make decisions on her own behalf, and sends it in to the judge who will give his approval. It will all be done within a day.”

I’d had that power back on Earth. It hadn’t been easy to sign those papers then, robbing my mother of her right to decide her own fate. It didn’t matter that I was doing the right thing to keep her safe. It was still an awful step, facing the fact that my strong-willed mother needed a keeper. Now I had to do it all over again, but this time they would be altering her instead of simply keeping her from hurting herself.

I knew it wasn’t just that Meyso would be treating the dementia that had stolen Mom’s ability to live on her own and make her own decisions. I was also on the brink of having the bipolar disorder that made up her personality remedied at long last. A decision that should have been hers to make ... one she would never go for.

Did I have the right? Was I playing God by taking away her almost-constant anger, the sudden outbursts of maniacal cheer, and the suicidal bouts of depression? It seems like a stupid question, but that was the mother I had known before dementia subverted those qualities, along with her fierce protective instincts when she thought I was threatened. There had been moments so overpowering that she would have to grab me in a fierce hug while telling me over and over how much she loved me.

How much of that would the surgeries take away? Who would Eve Monroe be when the illnesses were erased and she became the person she could have been? Would I even know my own mother when it was all done?

We talked more about the procedures themselves, the recovery time, the rehabilitation that would be involved later. Yet the decisions I had to make kept me from absorbing a lot of that. I even found it difficult to appreciate the men’s gorgeous bodies.

Before, fixing Mom’s problems were all a theory, an event far into the future. Now the time was at hand. When Aslada told me he’d talk to his lawyer that afternoon and to expect the documents to arrive in the next couple of days, my heart went into overdrive. Could I really do it? Should I? And if I do, will she ever forgive me?

As God is my witness, I just don’t know.

Monday, May 16, 2016

September 9, part 1

We are leaving the space station. On to our next stop: Haven Colony. The Pussy ‘Porter is still a mess, and Rel didn’t have everything it needed to safely finish its journey.

Based on Betra’s suggestion, I mentioned to Katrina it might be worth having her clanning ceremony during our layover on Haven. She considered the idea.

“It’s either that or Kalquor,” she said. “I wanted to check Haven out anyway. That way, I can make a recommendation to my daughter on whether or not she should push Matthew to settle there.”

“If he brings his family into Empire space, you’ve got a better chance of getting him to accept your choices,” I mused.

“That’s the idea. I’ll take a look at what Haven has to offer before we get there and see what my clan says about it.”

“Make up your mind soon,” I advised. “If this ceremony is happening on Haven, we need to pull it together fast. We’re only days away.”

Katrina sighed. “I know. Tell me again why I’m doing this to myself? Why I’m not simply happy with Wotref filing the paperwork and calling it good?”

I gave her a hug. “Because it’s a big deal and you should celebrate. Besides, Candy will never let you hear the end of it if you don’t have an actual ceremony.”

Candy’s got her own love story going on. She and Stud Man hit it off once she relented and let him take her out. Every moment he wasn’t training the troops, he spent with her. Now she’s starry-eyed.
It’s all Stidmun, Stidmun, Stidmun. She can’t talk about anything else except for the occasional word about Katrina’s upcoming ceremony.

I smell trouble heading her way. There had been easy affection for her lovers Mihi and Ama, but this is something different. Because I worried about her, I tried to talk some sense into her yesterday during dinner. We sat in the station’s mess hall, waiting for Stud Man’s glorious appearance.

“Ah, Candy? Is he clanned?”

“No,” she said, her gaze faraway as she twirled a lock of hair around one finger. “He’s been concentrating on his career and isn’t even sure he wants a Dramok and Imdiko.”

“So ... he’s not in the market for a Matara.”

“There haven’t been any for him to shop for,” she grinned. “But here come us Earther girls, so his chances are vastly improved.”

“Not if he doesn’t get himself clanned,” I pointed out.

“Hmm.” Candy didn’t seem worried about the matter. “I suppose that’s true if he wanted to make something official.”

My suspicions grew. “You’re going to Kalquor to find a clan.”

“I guess.” Her look darkened for a moment. “I have plenty of time for that. Two years. There’s no rush.” Her eyes glazed over again and a slight smile touched her lips.

It was pretty obvious to me this wasn’t a mere attraction on Candy’s part. I’d made jokes about love at first sight before, but it’s starting to not be funny. Cupid’s arrow found a target right on my friend’s heart.

Adding to the drama is that Stud Man seems every bit as smitten. His face lights up when he walks into a room where Candy is. When they’re together, his gaze barely leaves her face. He hangs on her every word.

Heaven help those two if they are that gone over each other. I know it’s not impossible for them to have a relationship, but there are hurdles to it. All I can do is wish them luck. They do make a pretty pair.

Something a little closer to home is weighing on me. I hate to borrow trouble, but no one has heard anything about Nang in some time. I’m sent into a panic every time there’s a sighting, but not having any idea about where that man is feels worse somehow. I’ve started looking up some admittedly paranoid things, like how to escape hover cuffs, stasis fields, and containment fields. Then I think how crazy that sounds. Would he really go that far?

I can’t live in fear. But I have to be ready for anything.

Maybe Nobek Jaon has news for me. I’m due to com Clan Aslada anyway, or at least Meyso. With us almost to Kalquor, we need to plan for my mother’s procedures.

So much to do and get ready for. The days are starting to fly by like minutes now.