My pause to think over the weekends is working. After this segment, below, there will be a chapter break in the published book. I will then change perspective. That is, we will not have Aurie as the main character (MC) for a little bit. Instead, we’ll have Jimmy Burns; we shall see the world, and Aurie, through his eyes. I did something similar in “Empress’ Crusade,” where for three chapters the MC became President John Dysart of the Gulf Shore States, rather than Empress Faustina. It’s a fun exercise for me and I think it allows the reader a totally new view of the world. Whenever Aurelia is finished in Nova Scotia, the MC shall again be her.
Aside: had a DayJob colleague read my short story “Cadets,” today. She was going on about “what a bitch that Faustina is!” I laughed. “Wait until you meet Reina.”
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Their orders in, the four men resumed their conversation but in a softer tone. Aurelia looked to her left, pretending to consider the dark water of the harbor. She was, in fact, looking at them.
“Look to your right and do what I’m doing,” she murmured, “and I’ll tell you a secret.”
“How those motors work?” Colour asked around her glass.
“Like hell. If you ever did find out, we’d seize you and wipe that part of your memory,” the General replied with neither a smile nor frown, trying not to laugh as her human friend choked on her wine.
“S… so what’s this new secret?” Jansen managed after catching her breath.
“I can precog a little,” Hartmann said, turning back to face her friend and taking a drink of water. “You are now one of five mortals who know that.”
“I don’t even know, Friend, what you just said!” a bit irritated at what the demi just called her.
“No, I didn’t mean humans,” Aurelia replied, reading her reaction. “I meant non-machines. And it means I sometimes get glimpses of the future.”
After all the other shocks to her quiet, safe world over the last month, this was just one more.
“Because you’re demi-human?” Colour poured more wine. A lot more.
“No. None of us has anything like this,” Aurelia disagreed. “I regard it as a gift, well, sometimes a trial, from God, as part of the Change. Hush now.”
The waitress returned with Aurelia’s chowder and an oyster stew for Colour. Once she retreated, the younger returned to the topic.
“I cannot force it; I cannot do anything,” she said while stirring to cool it off. “Now and then there will just be an image in my mind. So far, they’ve always been correct. Hey! This is really good!”
“So why,” Colour said after dabbing at her mouth with a worn cloth napkin, “tell me? And why now?”
“Recall what I said at the lake?” Aurelia asked.
“Mmm,” she nodded, having just put another spoonful into her mouth. “The guy over there, facing us, right-hand side. He and I will be together tonight.”
“Which gives you,” Hartmann waved her spoon at her friend, “plenty of time to go see Grady is still about!”
“Shut up and eat, Princess!” Colour growled before taking another bite of her dinner. After a moment, she went on. “So, you just walk over there, announce your divine status and order him into your sleeping bag?”
“That would be pretty funny, I admit,” Aurelia laughed, “but the image was in a room, not under the stars. Not that we can see any with all these clouds. No, I’m taking the traditional route. We’ve made eye contact twice and I smiled the second time, so he knows I’m interested. Heavens, Friend, from that look it must have been a dozen years since you flirted!”
“I told you to shut up and eat!”
They did but noted the scuff of boots on the rough deck a few minutes later. Colour glanced to see the young man Hartmann had spoken about was walking over to their table.
“Evening, ladies,” he said in a deep voice. Rugged Celtic features in what little they could see by candlelight and his hair and close-cropped beard were as dark as the night around them. A mug of ale in his left hand. Ubiquitous jeans but some sort of work vest with ‘Nova Scotia Rocketry’ embroidered on it. “I’m Jimmy Burns. You two must be pretty adventurous to come to a nowhere place like this.”
“We are,” Aurelia said, patting the bench with her left hand. As he sat next to her, she went on. “We came to see the spaceport. And I came to see you.”
Colour choked on her wine again.