Monday, November 16, 2015
August 5, Part 1
Anrel’s condition has upgraded again! Her current environment is at the last step before she is to leave Isolation entirely. We are all so excited. Everyone who knows me is shouting congratulations. At lunch, Captain Wotref came to the table I sat at with a bottle of leshella to toast to my baby’s continued improvement. He made the nicest speech too.
“Matara Shalia, I had never met an Earther before I was called upon to transport all of you to the Empire. I had heard stories of frightened, weak Earther women, women who were cowed by an unjust society to the point where they trembled all day long. You and the rest of these amazing Mataras—“ here he gave Katrina a special smile that made her blush with pleasure “—have shown us time and again that not only are you strong, capable people; but that the most fearsome Nobek should quake in fear at your approach!”
That got a round of laughter. Oses made a show of nodding and grimacing as if terrorized, making us laugh all the harder.
When we quieted, Wotref became a little more serious. His careworn face kind, he said, “In all honesty, Matara Shalia, I don’t believe I have ever known a more resilient, stronger person than you. I am delighted to note that your daughter, as young and small as she is, seems to have inherited that same ability to overcome odds that would make many a man crumble. I congratulate you both on all you have withstood. Long life, great health, and honor to you.”
I blinked back tears as I raised my glass and thanked him. He gave me a deep bow, which was echoed by all the Kalquorian men in the room. I was astounded that they thought so much of me. Shalia Monroe, the Earther who seemed to trip over trouble on almost a daily basis? I felt I really hadn’t deserved such notice.
The leshella was damned good though. I wasn’t about to refuse that.
Shit. Shit. Fuck. Fuck! FUCK!
I just received a message. From Nang. From fucking Nang.
He’d recorded it while still within Earth’s system, before he got to Xniktix Station. That son of a bitch had the fucking gall to think I’d want him to come after me!
Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll start from the beginning.
After Tep chased me out of Anrel’s room this afternoon, I went to physical rehab. That therapist Dramok Resan is a bastard, always pushing me to go a little harder than I feel comfortable doing. To say we don’t get along would be putting it lightly.
I came into my quarters after, wringing with sweat, my legs all trembly from exertion, and calling Resan more bad names than he’s probably heard his entire life. I saw right away that a message had been left for me. So I played it.
My stomach became a ball of ice when a familiar resonant voice came from the com unit. “Hello Shalia. It’s Nang.”
My legs, already weak from therapy, damned near dumped me on the floor. I just barely managed to get to my lounger before dropping. I saw my reflection on the wall mirror: eyes wide open, mouth gaping like a landed fish. Horror doesn’t begin to describe how I looked at that moment.
Meanwhile, Nang’s voice rolled on. “I learned of your pregnancy. I know in my heart that I am the father. All the times we spent together – all the fun we had – Shalia, I know you are hoping I will come for you and our child. That we can be the family we are meant to be.”
He was delusional. It was obvious. His tone had that fervent ring that religious fanatics get when they talk about being called on by God.
“I’ve left Trenu and Kru. They have no place in our lives. I never should have clanned them. You and I and our baby are clan enough. I love you both with all my soul. This was meant to be, so we will find a way to live without Kalquor.”
Then he said the words that chilled me to my very core. “I am coming for you both. I will find you and I will take you away. Nothing – no one – will stop me.”
That’s where the message ended. I’ve already commed Oses and he is on his way.