Here is Part 18 of my Describli-prompt inspired story. I’m currently planning on wrapping this up before the beginning of November as I’m gong to write a novel-length story (which this will probably end up anyway) about these character and I think that writing two stories at the same time featuring the same characters could be confusing.
In the meantime, Part 19 will be here next week. 🙂
His eyes fluttered open, and confusion filled them. Lena watched it clear, and his first words, in a rough, scratchy voice, were, “What happened?” Then he seemed to remember something, and maybe recognise her, because his eyes widened, and fear replaced the confusion. “You!”
He tried to get up, but Lena gently pushed him back down again as his face drained of what little colour he had. “You’ve been quite seriously injured,” she told him. “You need time to heal. Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you.”
“But you’re her – my – enemy!”
“Well, that’s complicated.” It was technically true, but right then it didn’t feel that way.
He was back to being confused.
“I want to ask you some questions,” Lena said. Out of the top of her eyes she saw Zinna watching her, that analytical look on her face. Lena ignored it, or tried, and concentrated on the man. “I want to know who you are, where you’re from, and if you know what “beyond the mountains means to you?”
It was maybe too much to ask at once, she realised.
He swallowed, and said, “I couldn’t get a drink, could I? My throat’s rather-”
A beaker of water, straw attached appeared above him. Zinna’s held it.
Lena looked up at her.
She said, “Kind of a basic first thing.”
It was. “Sorry,” Lena said, as she helped him to drink the water, “I didn’t think.”
When he was done, he said, “I’m your prisoner, aren’t I? Why should you think of my comfort?”
Lena couldn’t deny the prisoner thing, although her instinct was to. Zinna’s glare stopped the words before they made it out of her mouth. “Of course I should think of your comfort, prisoner or not. You’re still a conscious being, and human, if I’m not mistaken?”
“Almost. I’m from Galen.”
She felt a little wave of satisfaction at her correct guess. She nodded, then asked the next burning question. “So how did you end up working for the blue-lipped woman?”
“The who? Oh, you mean my mistress.” He sighed, and looked down at his hands, clasped in his lap. “It was the price I paid for keeping my crew safe. She took me and my cargo, and let them go.”
“What was your cargo?”
“Some ore mined from Galen – what did you ask me earlier, something about beyond the mountains? Well, the mines are beyond the mountains from my home. Where did you hear that anyway?” He asked, though he seemed to suspect her answer.
“You spoke it in your sleep.”
He didn’t seem surprised. “My wife told me I do that. She said it would get me in trouble one day.”
“You’re not in trouble,” Lena said, “but Galen might be. We’re on the way there now. There’s a mineral called delat that your mistress wants, I think there might be some on Galen, and that’s why she took your cargo. I think she’s heading there now.”
His eyes widened again as he said, “No. That’s not right at all. She has all the delat she needs. She’s heading to a place in the galaxy where she believes she can use it to achieve her goal. She’s going to get exactly what she wants and there’s nothing any of us can do to stop her!”
And that’s how you got shot?” Zinna asked. “You wanted to stop her?”
He nodded, his hands now clasped so hard that the knuckles had turned white.
Lena’s stomach turned over. She had been wrong. “What does she want?” she asked, the words tracing a cold line along her body as they formed and left her.
“She was created so that her people could live forever. She controls time, manipulates space, changes things without you even knowing. She wants enough power to hold time still. To make it so that we keep moving, keep living, but time doesn’t move.”
“Is that even possible?” Zinna asked.
“I don’t know. But she’s going to try her damnedest to make it possible. An engineer on the ship, a man who was taken like me, thinks that it won’t work. It will just create a massive black hole and suck us all into it. The whole galaxy will be gone.” He was shaking now. With fear? Or anger? Both?
Lena felt faintly nauseous. The blue-lipped woman had to be stopped. But how? She met Zinna’s gaze, and the hard determination she saw there sparked her mind back into life.
“We have to turn the ship around,” Zinna said.
“But where to?”
“I know the coordinates,” the man said, “but I don’t know what’s there.”
“Doesn’t matter,” Lena said, as Zinna handed him her tablet. “Write them down. We’ll find out what’s there when we get there.”
He entered them into the tablet, and Zinna took it back off him. “I’ll set a course,” she said, and left the room.
Lena took some deep breaths and tried to calm her racing heart. She hoped against hope that they would make it on time – and then actually figure out a way to stop her.
This week’s prompt: Making it.