Thursday, April 2, 2015

May 11

 Ah, what a day. It could have been better.

I went to help with the club renovations. Okay, so I went to give my opinion. I get fussed at if I do any actual work. The women are getting just as protective as the men as my pregnancy progresses. All I heard for most of the day was, “Sit down, Shalia.” “Take it easy, Shalia.” “Get off your feet, Shalia.” Sheesh.

So I perched on a seating cushion in the middle of the club like a queen, telling people when something was off-center, telling them where the lights needed to be aimed, picking out music for the sound system’s library, etc. I suppose I helped a little, but I mostly felt like I took up space. Others applied colored veneers to the walls, hung mirrors, set down flooring, and all that kind of heavy work.

Overall it was fun because I was hanging out with friends. Then Candy and Katrina got into an argument over the color scheme, of all things.

I was discussing surface options with one of Candy’s pet Nobeks, the one named Ama, when Candy’s voice rose above the noise of construction and conversation.

“I’m sick and tired of you treating me like a child!” she said in the angriest tone I’ve ever heard her use.

She didn’t quite yell, but she was loud enough that we all stopped what we were doing and stared. Near the back of the room, Candy and Katrina stood facing each other. Our would-be cheerleader was red-faced while Katrina looked exasperated.

“I’m not treating you like a child,” the elder woman said in a clipped but controlled voice. “I simply said maybe metallics would look more adult than pastels in the dance club. I doubt the men want to be surrounded by pink.”

“Well, it’s not for the men really, is it? It’s for us. Metallics are cold.”

“The clubs in the Xniktix station were metallics or bright neon tones. So let’s do neon if you prefer color.”

“I don’t want neon!” Now Candy yelled. “And I don’t want a bunch of silver and gray and industrial looking crap that reminds me we’re on a ship! I want pink! I want blue! I want pretty!”

I was shocked that she got so emotional over the color scheme. Surely something more was going on between the two women than a difference in decorating opinions. Candy never got mad over such little stuff. I got on my feet and headed over.

As I walked towards them, heat had begun to fill Katrina’s voice too. “You don’t have to scream at me. We’ll put it up to a vote, okay?”

“Oh, so it’s finally going to be our club and not just yours?” Candy sneered. “The rest of us get to make decisions too?”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Hey, what’s up ladies?” I said as I neared. They were now glaring with real animosity at each other.

Candy spared me a quick glance before returning her furious stare to Katrina. “What’s up is that I’m tired of doing so much work and her getting to make all the calls as far as how our club is supposed to look.”

Katrina’s eyes widened and her face turned just as red as Candy’s. “I’ve taken the lead on this, but everyone’s been encouraged to give their opinions. For crying out loud, I can’t count how many times I’ve asked, ‘What do you think about this?’ in the last hour alone!”

“Sure, but when you get an opinion opposite of yours, you dismiss it!”

“Um,” I began, not sure how to diffuse the situation but knowing it needed to be headed off before something ugly was said. The best I could do was the lame suggestion, “Maybe we should all take a little break, huh? Get out of here for a few minutes, take a little walk—”

“I’ll walk, all right,” Candy said abruptly. She turned on her heel and stalked past me, past everyone. “Keep your stupid club. I don’t want any part of it now.”

She stormed out, not even acknowledging Ama as he called after her, “Candy? Do you want me to come with you?”

“What the hell was that all about?” someone else said.

Instead of answering, Katrina burst into tears. She ran out of the club.

I hurried after her. I thought she might be going after Candy to try and talk things out, but I felt it would be better for our angry friend to have some time to calm down first. However, Katrina stopped just outside the door, shaking and crying and looking around like she was lost.

“Hey,” I said, slipping an arm around her waist. “Let’s go back to my room.”

“I don’t understand,” she blubbered, looking heartbroken. “I really don’t.”

I got Katrina back to the Matara section of the transport and into my room. I fixed her some coffee and myself the pathetic decaffeinated nightmare that pretended to be coffee. We sat side by side on my lounger while she gathered herself.

“What started it?” I asked. “Candy couldn’t be mad just over color choices.”

Katrina stared into her cup, sniffling and rubbing her nose red with the tissue I provided. “I don’t know. She was withdrawn at breakfast this morning, but said everything was fine when I asked. When we got to work at the club, every time I asked her what she thought about something, she said, “Whatever.”

I’d missed breakfast with the gals because I’d overslept. By the time I’d made it to the dining room, almost everyone else was gone, including Candy and Katrina.

“So Candy was mad first thing?” I asked. “With no explanation?”

Katrina shrugged. “At first, she only seemed distant, like she was distracted. Daydreaming. I kept having to repeat myself, because she kept missing what I said. She didn’t seem angry. It was only when I objected to her suddenly wanting to put pink and blue tile accents on the walls that she got mad.” Katrina shook her head, looking at me with hurt confusion. “Shalia, we made our color choices as a group weeks ago! I swear, it was like Candy deliberately tried to pick a fight.”

She was right. We’d had a big meeting some time back to decide the look of our club. At that time, Candy had loved the idea of shiny, mirrorlike surfaces that would make the club look bigger than it was. Pink and blue hadn’t come up in the conversation at all. I remember her laughing about being able to check her lipstick and hair at a moment’s notice.

“Maybe she didn’t get enough sleep last night. Maybe she’s getting sick,” I guessed. It was so out of character for Candy to act the way she had.

“I have no idea,” Katrina said miserably.

“I’ll talk to her and find out what’s going on,” I offered. “I guarantee you, she’ll be sorry about this once whatever is wrong is fixed or figured out. We may never hear the end of her apologies.”

After coffee and more bucking Katrina up, she went back to the club to continue work. Meanwhile, I went hunting for Candy. I couldn’t find her anywhere. She never answered my summons at her quarters’ door and she didn’t go back to the club. Ama didn’t see her either. He looked disappointed when he went back to the destroyer he serves on.

I’d still be out and about searching for Candy, but Betra commed a few minutes ago to ask me if we can have dinner in my quarters. It looks like I get to wear my new blouse and bracelet tonight. At least one good thing will happen today ... maybe I’ll get a chance for more good things when it comes time for dessert.


  1. Hmmm I wonder if Candy was wearing the cuff, something is definitely up,hope they find her and she is ok.

  2. Hey Tracy, is what is going on with the rest of the troops going to affect the pussy porter or are they too far away still to get communications of the issues going on and that whole platoons are turning on their commanders?

    1. Don't forget, Shalia's timeline is back around the events of Alien Salvation - Book 4. Armageddon happened less than a year ago at this point in her story.

  3. What if it's not the bracelet at all....what if Candy is pregnant and knows about it?

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  5. I love the idea that Candy could be pregnant. I automatically suspected the cuff.

    How far are they along in the trip now? Shouldn't Shalia have her baby just before the end? I've lost track of the time line.

  6. I don't like the cuffs. I guess we'll find out after dinner if its the cuff.