Thursday, November 27, 2014

April 4, later (part 1)

What a crazy day. We had another encounter with the shadow entity (Candy’s term) and this time it appeared in front of a lot of us. Candy and I are no longer alone when it comes to believing in the unbelievable.

It all started at breakfast in our little cafeteria. Candy and I had every intention of getting an ironclad identity on our unwanted presence afterwards, but Katrina and a few of the other women had hatched a plan that put ours on hold.

“What’s up?” Candy asked as we sat down at the end of our usual table, which was unusually crowded. Women were clustered around Katrina. Conversation all over the room was louder and more excited than normal, I noticed. Several of the women sitting with us were not from our group.

Katrina sat at the middle of the table, her space taken up by a handheld and a half-eaten tray of food.  “We’re getting a dance club on board the transport,” she called.

“What?” I blinked. “Says who?”

“Says Captain Wotref.” Katrina beamed from ear to ear. “After all the fun we had at the clubs on the space station, I thought we should have it added to our recreational options. The boys have their pleasure club, so why can’t we have a dance club?”

That got a lot of happy agreement from the other ladies. Everyone seemed quite excited by the plan.

“Wait, you put this in motion?” Candy asked. She looked duly impressed.

Katrina nodded, still smiling. “Once we had Shalia back and we were on our way again, I thought everyone really needed something fun with no redeeming value whatsoever. And lo, the idea to put a dance club on board the Pussy ‘Porter was born.”

That got a lot of laughs. After my awful night of scares, I was delighted to have something lighthearted to contemplate.  “So you talked to the captain, and he said yes? You are awesome, my friend.”

Katrina shrugged modestly. “It was a little more difficult than that, but not by much. First, I looked at our area of the ship to see if we had the space for a club.  We didn’t. So I went to the main concourse and had a look around there. There are three large trading rooms currently not in use.”

“The main concourse, huh?” Candy grinned. “That way we can invite the guys to come watch ... and maybe find a little company for afterward.”

There were a lot of grins and giggles at her suggestion. Someone else said, “Maybe we can even convince some of them that dancing isn’t all that unmanly.”

“Good luck with that,” I snorted. “Unless we can serve alcohol?”

Katrina sighed. “You know the crew has tight limits on their drinking, even during their off-duty hours. They have to be ready for emergencies at all times. Still, we might be able to put in dispensers with consumption trackers for the boys.”

“Oh yeah. All right, so what’s the rest of the story?” I wanted to know.

Katrina put on her modest face again, which told me she’d done a lot more to make this club happen than she was letting on. “I thought it would be nice to present the captain with good reasons to have a club beyond us having fun and attracting more men into our evil clutches.”

“Yeah, like you need help with that, Katrina!” someone called.

More laughter. Katrina waited for it to die down before continuing. “I discussed the club with that psychologist Dr. Feru. I told him how much fun we’d had on Xniktix and that he should sign off on it as being a good mental diversion for us gals. I showed him a few of the vids we’d taken of each other at the clubs to demonstrate how happy it made us. He agreed I had a valid point and would be glad to support the cause.”

“He’s a big fan of our dancing, isn’t he, Katrina? Or was it your means of negotiation that he appreciated?” Megan teased.

Katrina grinned at her. “I reminded him that he’d been seen attending the club, enjoying the entertainment. Nothing more, especially since his clan is busy wooing Samantha. Maybe Sammie did some negotiating on our behalf?”

Everyone turned to a cute brunette standing in the group. She blushed and waved her hands as if to deny the allegation, but she wore a big grin on her face. “We’ve discussed it! With words,” she cried out in defense.

“Sure you have,” Katrina said over our knowing laughter. “At any rate, I next went to Betra and told him of our desire for a place to dance. He forwarded the request to Wotref, and I met with the captain for a round of – ahem – negotiations.”

“Which have proved to be fruitful,” Bettina laughed.

“Indeed. By the way, ladies, Wotref might not be as pretty to look at as some of these boys, but he is an extremely good negotiator. As are his Nobek and Imdiko.” Katrina sighed. “I love the youngsters’ energy, but you just can’t put a price on men with experience who are used to working as a team.”

“So now that you’ve put in all that hard work as our ambassador, what’s next?” Candy asked when we were done laughing.

“Now we choose one of the three available spaces. Then we visit Acquisitions and see what kinds of supplies that department might be willing to donate to our cause. I think I can rope some of our Kalquorian friends into helping us to put the club together.”

“Because nobody negotiates deals like you,” I pointed out. “Sheesh Katrina, by the time the dance club is up and running, you’ll be too tired to enjoy it.”

That earned more laughter. Katrina picked out who would come along with her to choose the most likely space for our club. Naturally, she asked Candy and me to be a part of it. Though we had planned to work on our ghost problem, we scuttled that to scout out our dance hall prospects instead.  Why not, right? It was for a good cause.

“Picking a room shouldn’t take very long,” Candy told me in an undertone. “We’ll have plenty of time to pull our investigative gear together.”

“Investigative gear?” I asked. “What are you talking about?”

She gave me a look that said silly Shalia. “You can’t hunt ghosts with blasters or butterfly nets. I think my handheld will cover it all, but I want to make sure.”

I wanted to ask her why we would have to hunt the restless spirit when it kept calling on me without invitation. I kept my mouth shut, however. Candy had apparently put a lot of thought into the matter, and she claimed to have some expertise when it came to the supernatural.

Expert or not, she was not prepared when it showed up. Nope, you don’t need blasters or butterfly nets when it comes to stalking spirits. Just Shalia.


  1. Loving this, can't wait to see what happens. Wishing a happy a safe Thanksgiving holiday to all of you ladies!

  2. Question for you Tracy,

    Is it an accident that you have never posted a pic of Shalia like you have for the Matara's in your other stories or a reason behind that? its a question that's bugged me more than once over the last couple years, not being able to make an image of her in my mind. im unfortunately not a creative person.

    1. I have never given any indication of Shalia's look or age or anything because I wanted readers to imagine themselves as Shalia. A first-person diary was the inspiration behind that decision. Shalia looks like beautiful, wonderful you. :D

    2. What and awesomely inspired idea Tracy. Until it was pointed out, I never realized that Shalia looks so familiar in my minds eye because of me. And because her name is so unusual, it's hard to pin down and ethnicity. She really could look like anyone.

    3. Thanks! I have my own mental image of her, which has tried to sneak in a time or two...but I think I managed to catch it when it happened. I wanted Shalia to transcend the boundaries to be Everywoman as much as possible, so all could identify with her.

  3. I still think it is someone phased in a different reality. But ghost hunting is fun to.
    Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

  4. I'm with you Cmarchese, I think its someone stuck out of phase. But why are Candy and Shalia the people to "haunt"? Why not any of the others?
    Tracy thanks for posting on Thanksgiving day but you are a really bad tease. OMG now I have to wait till next week.

  5. Awesome!! Can't wait for Monday! :-) Happy Thanksgiving all fellow US Tracy fans!! :-)

  6. Ok that was a super mean place to stop todays post but its why I keep coming back. Happy Thanksgiving to all.