It was a cold and lonely night. She stared up into the sky watching the moons Brypso 3 37 A5 a and b slowly chase each other in the starless sky. Light pollution on this planet was abysmal to say the least as there wasn’t a star in the galaxy she could see that night.
She felt… empty. Hollow perhaps was the word for it. First day in the police academy and she already felt like quitting. How did it come to this? How did she end up on, what could only be described as, a military outpost planet? A fortress world where most job occupancies were mostly just work in the Terran Cosmic Navy.
She felt as if her life was slipping away from her. Like the things she had to do to survive weren’t decisions she would willingly make. Like grains of sand, options slipped between her fingers, yet she did nothing to change that.
Perhaps it was her anxiety, perhaps it was her depression. However, she couldn’t help but just wallow in her limbo. Indecisive of what to make of her life.
“Hey… you okay there?” A voice called out as light footsteps announced a woman was walking up to the railing she was leaning on.
“Huh? O-oh, yeah, yeah I’m alright…” She lied sparing only a glance at the woman before looking back up. Something shifted in her mind as her eyes dipped down again needing to take a second look. Even in the darkness of the night where the luminescence of the city was the only bright light, she couldn’t help but stare in awe. The girl that leaned on the fence beside her was so pretty. The soft light in the dark shadow of the planet only pronounced that beauty even more. If it wasn’t for the dark anyone could’ve seen that bright blush drawing over her face. She needed to look away, just for a moment. Just so she could calm down from the sudden rush of dazzle.
“I’m Brook by the way.” The dark toned girl said extending a hand to her
“Wil-” She began but stopped dead in her tracks. However before she could correct herself Brook chimed up.
“Nice to meet you Will. How long were you planning to stare at the moons?” Brook asked, not seeming to notice the abrupt cut off at the start.
“I’m not sure. Till the star blows up ideally.”
That sure made Brook break out in a fit of laughter as she tapped her shoulder in jest. “You’re funny, Will.”
The girl hesitated for a moment but the world just blacked out from her as she opened her mouth to speak. “If… if it’s not too much trouble... Could you actually call me Lily?” The girl asked, while their stare at the moons saddened just a little more.
A quick gasp left Brook. “Oh... I mean… okay?”
Lily stirred in her sleep. The feeling of the constant haze slowly washed up on her again feeling the drugs still holding her body hostage. The girl tried moving her fingers which resulted only in a slight twitch. Progress! Well… as much as progress could be before everything got washed away in a wave of warmth.
“Nnhhhh…” Lily felt her lips moving a bit better this time around. She was gaining *some* control over herself. Her eyes trailed to the left. Brook wasn’t there. “Nnhhh!” Of course she wasn’t. Lily stirred more, she was alone, scared and undeniably sad.
She tried to move again, this time trying to urge her whole body to work. Allowing Lily only to shift upwards, repositioning her head to look down at herself rather than blankly stare into the ceiling.
‘… Fuck… I regret this.’ She thought to herself looking down at the abundant flowers blooming over her. She felt as if she was decomposing in a potted garden. Yet the more dreadful part of it was how she did not care. How there was no room to care. As soon as negative thoughts entered her they left her in the next instant. She was simply there. Apathetic in the moment, barely able to move, staring into the flower patch that was supposedly helping her heal. How exactly? She didn’t know but curiosity never was her forte.
Voices could be heard from the hallway. Lily did not make sense of them but they sounded… tense.
“<How are we supposed to return this Terran to the General?>” A nurse cried out in complete disbelief. “<She’s in no condition to be shipped back to Brypso!>”
“<I know, I know. But trust me I think if we don’t make the next jump and go in Brypso’s orbit she’s going to chop our roots off and pluck every flower petal off our vines!>” Another voice spoke, packing beside the first one.
“<Well whatever the case. We’ll have to comply eventually. I just hope the little one is stable enough for another jump.>” The nurse said, opening the door to Lily’s room.
Lily heard the door opening. Her eyes trailed to the left looking at the Affini approaching her bed. A white coat and glasses on. Affini also had eyesight problems? Wait… no that was just… those were aesthetics… she wore them just because she could?
“Oh good, you’re up.” The woman said inspecting Lily’s wellbeing. Her vines snaked under the flowery patch that was Lily while scanning the Terran’s body with her databad. “On a scale of 1 to 10 how do you feel? 1 being really bad and 10 being really good.”
“Mnhhh?” Lily felt… like she missed half of that. Her hearing, like her movement, felt sluggish.
“Pitty… We’re to transport you to the next system over. That will take another day or so. Anything you wish to do in that time sweetie?” The nurse unloaded her information onto Lily not even noticing in her hurried wake that Lily just didn’t intake much of it.
The little Terran simply looked to her side. The spot where Brook was, their eyes almost burning a hole into the bedding. She never knew she could miss someone yet feel so apathetic about it. It was just a sense of long forgotten longing that left a bad taste in one’s mouth every time they’d think about it. Lily’s mind struggled to grasp her own fleeting thoughts as her lips attempted to move, forming deaf half words with her lips.
“Miss your friend?” The nurse asked, able to deduct that much from the drugged out Terran’s struggling body language.
Lily’s eyes lit up for a moment as they glanced towards the Affini, but soon after died down as apathy caved in on all of her fears about her friend. She didn’t want to see her suffer. Or… what was it again? Every thought was like thick honey trying to squeeze past a thin funnel. It was just so hard to think through the jelly-like consistency of her thoughts.
“I suppose a friendly visit would do you both good.” The Affini pulled out her databapd and tapped a few times.
Surprise! Or… Surprise? Just like that? No: ‘you’re still recovering.’ or ‘I can’t let you leave this room, little one.’ or… or-!
Lily began to have her own train of thoughts, strange as they were, wondering about what they were doing to her friend. She saw her wearing a collar around her neck. Lily knew what that meant. She saw a lot of them when walking around with Silwey. Many Affini had companions. Her friend was getting domesticated and she could do nothing to help her. Was this all her fault? She was at fault here wasn’t she? Brook was going to blame her for everything that happened! A thick blanket desperately tried to catch up to the rampant car hurling towards a brick wall on a collision course of panic yet as soon as Lily gave in an inch her brain mellowed out again melting everything she thought about. ‘Wow… This really DID suck…’ She wasn’t even allowed to think in her position, but perhaps that was for the best. Perhaps it was better she didn’t think. Who knows how much pain she was actually in. Or how much anxiety, fear and trauma had been building up from the knowledge of being injured so much to the point where her mind broke from the pain. Tears streamed down Lily’s face as she recalled the punches, kicks, bullets and the beatings. Ah… that’s right… No need to think. It’s so much easier to let go and let the sluggish warmth inside her wash everything away. Was she crying? The mosaic flower on her cheeks definitely wiggled to life sending tingly sensations through her. Why was she crying? Could she stop it? Stop what? It doesn’t matter…
“Trutfully, I would have given you a stronger dose of your prescription. However, by how much is already coursing through your veins I didn’t want to risk destabilizing you even more.” The Affini nurse said as her vines began to slowly wrap around Lily, lifting her off the bed and into a princess carry, in the Affini's arms. “Thankfully your recovery seems to be going smoothly. Give it a little more time sweetie, we’ll be able to remove some of your implants soon.” The woman slowly deposited Lily in a wheelchair, making sure to be extra careful where she placed those weak arms and legs. “And I promise you, that your friend Brook is completely fine. Actually, I’ve been told she’s doing better after she spent the night beside you in bed.”
That information made Lily’s cheeks turn bright red for some reason. They were sleeping in the same bed? The two of them? When? Why did she have no recollection of falling asleep? If it wasn’t for that warm feeling inducing a neutral stasis effect on her mind Lily would have imploded on the spot from the feelings trying to bubble up to the surface. Her red cheeks certainly told of that tale.
The nurse only smiled as she slowly wheeled Lily from her room and passed a few hallways. Everything was bright, white and sterile. The monotony of it almost made Lily doze off as she was getting transported. Where was Brook’s medical ward then? Door. Door. Another Door. Hallways. Door. Desk Trees. Grass. Light. Stars. … Wait. Lily blinked a little as her eyes swam around. She was told that she was still in space. This… didn’t seem like… Her eyes trailed up at the canopy above noticing how the stars slowly spun or rather. How they spun in that centrifugal ring. Colours were far too bright for Lily but she slowly began to make out the different parts of her surroundings. It felt like a park. Or rather… A large open forest of sorts with both Terran and Affini flora. One giving Lily a sense of familiarity while the other a pleasant tone of change that soothed Lily’s eyes somehow. Oh… she was crying again. That tingly glow on her cheeks definitely announced that as the mosaic flower implant sprung to life yet again.There were a bunch of light posts scattered around the place illuminating the darker spots that didn’t get covered by the natural light. Lily looked up again wondering which star they were gaining this bright light from but her jaw dropped seeing something far more interesting. It was like a glowing metal rod in the sky. Going along the middle of the centrifugal cylinder she was in, acting as a light source, giving off a pleasant warmth to wherever surface it’s rays of light touched down on. Beyond that, Lily saw the other side of the cylinder. She believed herself to be in a small ship but this… this was ridiculous. And by Lily’s poor sedated judgment not the biggest ship out there.
“I suppose you’ve never been on a ship like this before have you, little one?” A voice came from behind her. Oh yeah, the nurse was still there, pushing her wheelchair around. “You’re on board Alterea, a logistics vessel currently stationed in Skutti 1443. For now at least.” The Affini gave Lily the slowest possible explanation the plant woman could possibly muster.
Skutti 1443. Why did that sound so familiar to Lily? Oh wait…
“Ah I see that glimmer in your eyes. You’re slowly catching on with the stars. Yes, one system away from Brypso 3 37.” The Affini stopped in her tracks slowing down the wheelchair. Her head leaned to the side and right next to Lily’s face. “I’m Garcia, by the way. Garcia Vibran, Third Bloom. I’m sure Silwey hasn’t mentioned me at all to you but I’d like to believe we’re in good standing.” The woman introduced herself while a vine gently wrapped itself around Lily’s right hand to shake it.
“L-Lil-yhh” Lily tried desperately to respond, but only elicited Garcia to smile almost happier.
“No need to talk right now, little one. I am well aware of who you are. Focus on the pretty things around us, kay sweetie?” Garcia suggested a more pleasant thing to Lily to look at. Oh yeah… of course… The park was really pretty. How the colours danced around in Lily’s mind. How the light bounced around giving certain things staggering fractal patterns that completely dazzled Lily’s synapses.
“Goodness you’re just an adorable one aren’t you? No wonder even the great general is vines over roots for you.” The nurse spoke happily, walking onwards pushing Lily along. The girl however was just too far gone to really inquire what she meant.
Lily instead allowed her ears to stop working in favour of her eyes. Trailing those two glassy pupils around to the mirage of strange architectural choices, flowers, trees, bark… or was the last one moving? Lily wanted to look back but that was clearly not a gesture she could muster up. Her body exhaled as it relaxed again, succumbing to the warmth raging inside of her. She didn’t know for how much longer they walked. It sure felt like an eternity or a second had passed when Garcia leaned in again to point her viney hand off into the distance. Lily’s eyes squinted trying to determine what it was the woman was pointing at. In the distance she could barely make out shapes. A bench and two people sitting opposite of each other. One considerably larger than the other. One green and the other in dark tone colours dressed in a green dress with flowery patterns on it. Who could it be?