A shorter conclusion to the reveal of my last post. I think this will serve as a chapter break in the novel. I’m rather sure the next scene is of the two young men talking and er… well. Following that will be Turnover: when the ship will briefly be in freefall to rotate end-for-end for their one gee deceleration toward Mars. Much to find out: what does that world look like right now? Will they be allowed to land? Do we get to meet Aqua, at least in some capacity?
And stand-alone Reina starts to develop a personality. This could be good or bad.
Telling Anastasia and Nikita that their sister was just a little disoriented from their tour and all of the excitement, he quickly slid down the two levels to the command deck with two bulbs of alcohol in his hands. It had only taken him just shy of three minutes, but in that time the girl’s head was down with some tears falling onto the suit covering her thighs. Kneeling next to her, he set one down and twisted the top off the other, putting it into her left hand which he held with his.
“Kira?” he asked.
“I never asked for this. To be like this,” she sobbed.
“None of us did. I grew up with it,” he tried. “I am sorry you found out in this way.”
“It’s not just…” she waved her empty right hand in front of herself, “her. But that Mom and Dad…”
“Come on, here. Take a drink.” He opened the other one. “I’ll drink with you. Heck, I’ll even think of a toast.”
“What, foreign cousin, could possibly be appropriate to the moment?” She did manage to sit up a little straighter and raise the plastic bulb. Laszlo did the same.
“To your new life, Princess Kira,” his smile was honest. “For the first time since your baptism, you are born again.”
“Fuck,” was her simple response. But she drank all the vodka and stood.
“I’m going to bed. Please tell my,” her voice caught. “My siblings. If they really are.”
“They are.” He stood with her and embraced her for the first time not feeling self-conscious or ill. “They are and always shall be. Good night, Kira.”
Once up the ladder and hearing her shed her skinsuit, Les lowered his voice.
“I’m going back up to the other two. Reina? You are a nasty piece of work.”
“I’m aware.” She turned back to the control panels.
Naked except for her panties, Kira was faced away from him and brushing her teeth. On the next level up, her brother and sister turned and looked at him expectantly.
This is about her so she owns it, he thought. It’s not for me to break this news. Especially here and now.
“She’s tired and headed for bed,” Les tried a partial truth. “My night watch doesn’t start for two hours. How are y’all doing?”
“With not much out the windows, I was taking a look at what I presume is the declassified material about your ship,” Nikita said to a wave at the terminal screen behind him. “The entire back of the ship can be jettisoned?”
“Yes, even though it’s a molten salt thorium reactor, one of the worse-case parameters is being holed by a meteor and the radiation contamination which might come from that,” Les said, brushed next to him as he changed diagrams on the screen. “The only solid bulkhead in engineering is between the motor and reactor. Explosives here, and in these other places, break Lionheart in two to save her crew.”
“But with no power, we’re just adrift in space,” Annie noted.
“The emergency batteries give us some maneuvering power, if we had to land on a planet or asteroid, for example, but otherwise you are correct, Annie,” he leaned back up and looked at her. “Anywhere else and we would have to wait until rescue comes.”
“Depending on where we are, that could be weeks!” she exclaimed.
“There is food and water for three weeks aboard. In a crisis at half rations, that’s six,” Les said. “And, given who’s aboard this mission, I think help would come pretty quick!”
“Our birth does have some privileges, true,” Nikky said rather drolly.
“Unless you two have any more questions, I’m taking a quick nap before my watch.” They smiled and shook their heads. “See everyone later.”