Thursday, September 26, 2013
November 21, part three
Most of the Earther prisoners being taken to the Galactic Council were killed in the assault. Ironically enough, it was the attacking Earthers who did the slaying. The force concentrated its efforts on hitting the landing pad where the transport set down. They shot at anything that moved, including our own people. More prisoners would have died, except the Kalquorian guards made it a point to defend them. Can you imagine? The guards actually tried to keep people who hated them safe.
Two members of the Pageant Trio lived to tell the tale. Fran, the perfectly coiffed honey blonde, was killed in the initial onslaught. I can’t find it in my heart to feel she got what was coming to her, even though she participated in the abduction of my mother several weeks ago. Too many people have died for me to get any sense of retribution. Even hearing how Matt King died after catching a blaster shot right in his lying mouth only leaves me feeling tired and defeated.
It turned out he and many other Earthers inside the Academy were working with the Earthers outside who had been attacking us these past weeks. They were determined to kill the Kalquorians here. Also targeted were those who didn’t want to fight against the Kalquorians. People who were seen as traitors were at the very top of the list. You know who was their number one pick: me. And here I thought I’d never be the popular girl.
Mom is fine. She was treated for a little smoke inhalation, but other than that, she wasn’t badly affected in the physical sense. Mentally ... well, she was already on the downward track, and her doctors feared the long-term effects of what happened would only make things worse. They went ahead and put her in stasis. She’ll remain frozen until they do what they can for her on Kalquor. I hate not being able to see her, but I have to put my selfish needs aside. I’ll do whatever it takes to make her better, so I’m Mom-less for a little over nine months.
Smoke did a number on my windpipe and lungs. Dad says he can’t imagine how I stayed conscious for as long as I did, considering how little oxygen was getting into me. I’d stopped breathing by the time they chopped the door down with the axe I’d shoved through. He keeps telling me how close it was, how he was sure he’d lose me. I tell you, the saddest thing I’ve ever seen is that big, strong Kalquorian cry. It makes me cry too, because I know he cares about me so much. I really do have a father after so many years.
I’m recovering slower than I should because Medical burned right to the ground. The Atlanta rescue site has been sending supplies and help to us, but the Academy is now barely set up for medical care of any sort. I’m laid up in an office building that they’re working hard to make into another hospital facility. Unfortunately, we’re still mostly in a ‘making do with what we have’ situation. There’s even talk of shutting the Academy rescue effort down entirely and moving the whole shebang to Atlanta. A lot of important buildings here were firebombed by the attackers, leaving them as toasty as our old medical building. Worse still, a lot of Kalquorians died along with the Earthers. There’s still plenty here to work with. However, most of the rescue effort from Kalquor and the Galactic Council is still months away. With too few people to run what we’ve still got, getting the Academy operating efficiently again is going to be a chore.
If they do decamp, I won’t be going with them. The transport taking Mom, Candy, me, and a few others will be arriving within the week. Dad promises I’ll be on my feet by then. He’s fussing over me more than usual, which I won’t pretend to not enjoy. With Mom no longer a worry for me, I’m wallowing in being taken care of for a change. Candy keeps calling me ‘Grand Lady Shalia’. I don’t mind. She spends a lot of time sitting with me, making me laugh.
Weln also comes to see me when he is able, but he’s got his hands full with the disabled population. I woke up in the middle of the night to find him sitting in the chair next to my bed. He’d cradled his head in his arms on the mattress next to me and fallen asleep that way. I thought he probably needed to sleep, but I couldn’t resist stroking his hair out of his face. His eyes opened and he smiled at me.
“Doing all right, my little hero?” he asked. His voice was thick with exhaustion.
I shushed him. With what little voice I had, I whispered, “I’m fine. Go back to sleep.”
He did, and so did I. I woke this morning when he kissed me on his way back out.
Nang is still alive and made big trouble. Dad said he came while I was unconscious.
“He told me, ‘It’s obvious Shalia can’t be on the next transport to Kalquor. She must remain here until she recovers.’” Dad shook his head. “I explained you would be ready by the time it arrives, but he wouldn’t hear of it. That’s when things got ugly.”
I’ve never seen Nayun mean. I can’t even imagine it, especially since he’s an Imdiko. Note to self: Imdiko does not mean ‘pushover’. It turns out their breed can be just as unbending as the Nobeks if they have something to fight for.
Dad told Nang he was out of line and had no say in the matter of whether I would be on the next transport to Kalquor. He invoked guardianship over me, telling the commander I had acknowledged Nayun as my adoptive father. He called in Weln to bear witness to that, which my sweetheart did.
“I hope that was all right for me to do, Shalia,” Dad said. “I don’t want to overstep my authority, but I had to protect you. It was clear Nang meant to keep you here for his own ends, not for your welfare. I was afraid for you.”
I answered him with a big hug. “You are twice the father I deserve, but I’m keeping you anyway. I will always be your daughter.”
Dad kind of glossed over the rest of the story, telling me Nang eventually backed off. I knew there was more to it, and I got the rest of the details from Weln yesterday when he stopped in for a couple of minutes during lunch.
When Weln affirmed that I considered Nayun my father, Nang tried to invoke his own right to be my guardian, using his office of commander as his claim. At that point, Dad vowed he would tear Nang’s throat out before he would let such a thing happen. Weln backed Dad up, and there was a lot of shouting. Then shoving started, and it looked like things would degenerate into an all-out brawl between Dad and Nang.
Someone must have raised the alarm, because Dad’s clanmates Bitev and Rak showed up and started yelling at Nang. Rak threw the commander several feet down the hall. “You don’t touch my Imdiko and you don’t threaten his child!” the Nobek yelled. He stomped after Nang, apparently looking to lay down a little more punishment.
Before it could go any further, Nang’s Nobek and Imdiko came running.
“I thought there would be a massacre right there in Medical,” Weln confessed. “Nayun was still screaming, telling Nobek Rak to back off because he wanted the pleasure of beating the hell out of Nang. Meanwhile, Nang’s Nobek comes in and growls at everyone. He’s a vicious beast, someone no one wants to fuck with. Even Rak, as pissed off as he was at Nang for shoving Nayun, stopped in his tracks. If you’d seen Nobek Kru standing there, you would have run screaming. That bastard is scary and could have probably taken Clan Bitev apart all by himself.”
However, Kru did not attack Dad or his clanmates. Instead, he and Imdiko Trenu started yelling at Nang. The crux of their argument was that he had no business pursuing me when there is no hope of bringing me into the clan. Nang said he was enough man for me and they should let him have me. Just because they didn’t like women shouldn’t keep him from having a Matara clanmate to love and cherish.
Trenu fired back with, “You’re not in love, Nang! You’re obsessed with her, and that’s not the same thing! If you loved her, you’d acknowledge our clan is not prepared to care for her and you’d let her go.”
Nang’s clanmates told him they thought he was in need of psychiatric care. Trenu threatened to report him to his superiors and have him removed from command if he didn’t get help. Nang issued a threat to his Imdiko that even Weln wouldn’t repeat. At that point, Kru grabbed Nang and shoved him up against a wall. He said something low that no one else caught, but it immediately cowed the commander. Nang turned white as a sheet.
He apologized to the shaking Trenu. Kru told Nang to go to his office and stay there if he valued keeping all his body parts. Nang left the building without another word.
Trenu and Kru apologized to Dad and his clanmates. “Nang will not set foot in here again,” Kru declared. “On my honor, he will keep his distance from Matara Shalia. I swear it.”
“He’d better not,” Dad said, still pissed off. He ranted even with that insanely scary Nobek standing there with his fangs out and looking mad enough to rip walls down with his bare hands. “If I catch him anywhere near my daughter, you will no longer have a Dramok, Kru. I promise you that.”
When Weln finished the story, I sat there with my eyes ready to pop out of my head. “Holy shit,” I breathed. “I wonder what Kru said to Nang to scare him so bad? How can a Nobek act like that with his Dramok?”
Weln smirked. “Nang is not being a good clan leader. His clanmates can certainly take action against him if they want.” He sighed. “They really need counseling. Their union is a big mess because of what Nang has done. I’m glad he’s not my Dramok.”
What a crazy tale. I feel like I dodged a bullet with Nang. I don’t want any more to do with that man. I hope I never see him again.
My com’s going off. Now what?
Weln just commed to ask me if I’m up for visitors. Oh gosh, do I dare hope? Gotta call Dad and ask for a brush so I can do something with my hair.