Thursday, November 12, 2015
First the good stuff, mostly because I need to distract myself from the bad. Anrel, my love, my angel, my beautiful little girl! She is really coming along. With her continuing to thrive and all tests showing she’s in terrific health, Tep has taken the monitoring vest off her. Her incubator can monitor her vitals when she’s sleeping in it.
When I went to her this morning, I called in a soft voice, “Is my little girl awake?” I could see she was. My heart damned near burst through my chest when she turned her head towards my voice. She responded to me! Her little legs kicked as if excited that I was there.
I lost no time in hurrying to her, to pick her up and snuggle that sweet baby to my chest. I kissed her soft black curls ... she’s growing quite the crop of hair! Then I held her in front of my face.
“Good morning, beautiful baby. Mommy loves you, Anrel.”
Then another astonishing moment – she looked at me. Those clear blue-purple eyes riveted on my face, focusing. She was seeing me, perhaps for the first time. My daughter looked at me with a gaze that seemed to reach into my soul. Her fist popped out of her mouth and she made her happy chirping sounds.
I couldn’t have been more overjoyed in that moment if all the worlds had given me their every treasure. I was swept up in love so complete that it hurt to try and hold it inside.
When Tep came in to give updates (all good!), I showed him how Anrel seemed to be cognizant of me being there. He nodded, his lean face lighting with approval.
“She’s developing at a normal pace, which is wonderful considering how the odds had been stacked against her from the start. I think we’ll have her in a normal environment within the week.”
I was delighted when Oses showed up a little later, ready to show off my brilliant beautiful daughter. Oses is too intense a man to coo, but there is an amazing softness that appears on that tough Nobek’s face when he’s in Anrel’s presence.
“Hello, you warrior queen,” he told Anrel, cradling her in the crook of one elbow. “Are you looking at me, little Anrel?”
“She is,” I gushed. “See how alert and aware she is? Tep says she’s right on schedule for normal development.”
“As if my tiny warrior would do any less.” Oses looked like he might burst from pride. “Once all her medical issues are past, she will excel at all she puts her mind to.”
Okay, so we were probably ridiculous in our boasts. But Anrel is wonderful, and I’ll talk about it all day to anyone who will listen to me. And I’ll listen all day to anyone who wants to brag on her too.
Unfortunately Oses had come not just to adore his niece, but to deliver awful news. “Shalia, Nang has been sighted.”
My high spirits stuttered and failed. “Where?”
“He showed up working a Dantovonian freighter on the Adraf station where you and I were captured by Finiuld.”
“He’s following me,” I whispered, my eyes growing wide.
“He knows you’re going to Kalquor, and I remain certain that’s where he’s heading as well. His route just happened to put him on the same space station where we were. It was a coincidence. Not a surprising one since that station is heavily frequented.”
“He wasn’t caught?” That upset me. Weren’t there plenty of people looking for Nang?
“You remember how big and busy Xniktix was. With Kalquor heading up the evacuation of Earth, plenty of Kalquorians are in and out of that place. Nang apparently disguised himself to keep from being immediately identified.”
“But someone saw him, or else we wouldn’t know he’d been there.”
Oses nodded. “He made some inquiries about our ship. Our abduction was big news, especially because it confirmed the existence of the Ofetuchan race. Nang was noticed by a couple of mercenaries who happened to be in a bar where he was asking some of the regulars what had happened. They thought his interest seemed to be obsessive, so they made inquiries of their own. They hoped to somehow cash in on helping him find you, since he asked about you by name. They instead found out he’s wanted by the Empire, with a reward offered for information leading to Nang’s capture.”
“So what happened? Why wasn’t he found?”
Oses sighed. “Xniktix is a huge station. He could have hidden himself quite well. If a man wants to disappear badly enough, he can in a place like that. At least for a little while. Or maybe he hired on to another vessel before he could be caught.”
“So he could still be at the station or on his way to Kalquor again.”
Oses gave me a comforting pat. “Even Nang can hide only so long. It’s a sure thing he’s already under way again.”
I felt like a fly caught in a spider’s web, struggling helplessly and waiting for the inevitable end. Nang was still coming.
“Try not to worry too much, pet,” Oses said. “You know you’re safe for now. Plus there will be any number of safeguards placed around you and Anrel once you get to Kalquor. Nang won’t get anywhere near you.”
“I suppose you’re right,” I said. He had one part absolutely correct; Nang was still a long way off. There was no immediate danger.
Yet it still feels like doom awaits on the horizon. What can I do to keep it away?
To distract myself, I decided to move ahead with Betra’s suggestion on keeping Clans Aslada and Seot updated on my life. I recorded messages to each of them. Front and center was the update on Anrel. Meyso received many profuse thanks for sending the Solns our way, so to speak.
Of course I told them about Nang as well, which kind of put a damper on the whole ‘distracting myself’ idea. In my message to Clan Seot, I asked Larten if he could send me some instruction on how to use the knife he’d sent. “Weapons Commander Oses says he can cover the basics, but I’ve heard you’re something of an expert,” I told Larten. “I’m hoping with all of my heart that I never have to use that scary-ass blade, but if I do, I’d prefer not to chop off my own arm.”
I also thanked Seot for the trackers, assuring him both Anrel and I were now using them. Cifa got his due for the latest vid recorder ... not that I told him about all the footage it has captured thus far. It would hardly be polite to tell one beau how I’d used a gift he gave me during sex with two other men.
Off went the messages, each ending with the request that the clans answer even if nothing of note was going on. “What happens in a day in the life of your clan?” I said, showing as much interest as I could without seeming fake. I do want to know ... like Betra said, it’s the everyday stuff that will make up most of my life with the clan I choose.