In The Deepest Space - Chapter 11: This Unexpected Truth
Chapter 11 - This Unexpected Truth


Mirrrah-ha - mirror image

nixxxxtah - witch

Unam – mother

Marmsss – teachers/tutors

Story Note:  The youngest astronaut to actually launch to date was 32 years old at the time.  Bella is somewhat of a genius and was able to have her first launch just a little younger than this.

Bella’s POV ~

I finish my business and begin the arduous task of buttoning my gown back up.  It was done quickly earlier in the evening when I’d first put it on, but then I’d had three other women to help me.  I grind my teeth together, fidgeting behind my back and finally just give up.  I’ll just ask Ah-lisss for help.

I like Ah-lisss; she seems to know me already, and though Roe-salie was a bit of a cold fish for a while, even seems like she is beginning to warm up to me.  Besides, I’m pretty sure she thought that I was going to try to steal Emmeet away from her.  Ha!  Not likely.  This whole male pregnancy thing is kind of squicking me out.

I move my hand to open the door when I hear a clicking sound above me.  I turn to look up, surprised at the sight.  All of a sudden, hands reach down through the air vent above my head, plucking me off of the floor.  I open my mouth to let out a belated scream, but a hand clamps it shut, quickly stifling any sounds I might make.  They pull me into an air shaft that is large enough for a small family to live comfortably in.

“Efff emmmm guh!” I scream through the fingers pressed over my mouth.  I was trying to say ‘let me go,’ but it doesn’t come out sounding anything like that.

This only causes the hand to tighten over my mouth, so instead of speaking, I begin to wriggle around as much as possible in an attempt to break free and run.

The other hand of the man behind me (I assume it is a man) wraps around my neck, and I freeze. The three very large men that have taken me speak quickly.  I make out “Queen” and “Kas”-something, but nothing else.  The large guard twists me around to face him, and I instantly recognize him.  He is the guard that took me to meet the Queen.

He looks over me, and I have the sudden urge to spit in his face.  Too bad I can’t with his hand over my mouth.  I watch his eyes change from slight confusion to something like recognition.  This frightens me more than anything, and I begin to squirm again.  His hand around my neck tightens, and he grins at me.  He looks at another guard and says, “Pexxssscht!”

One of the guards behind me takes over holding me, holding me in place and recovering my mouth.  I watch the brute of a guard in front of me reach to his back, pulling out a long, odd looking blade.  Panic surges through me, and I clench my eyes shut, not wanting to see.  This is it.  The Queen h as decided I’m too much of a liability to have around.  She acted quickly, that’s for sure.

With my eyes still tightly shut, I fear the sharp pain of the blade cutting into my skin.  What I don’t expect is where I feel the pain -- first behind one ear then the other.

I open my eyes and look at the guard, but the second I smell the rusty smell of my own blood in the air, everything goes black.


I don’t know how long I am unconscious before I wake up, but when I do, I’ve been blind-folded.  I feel the once sticky blood behind my ears now beginning to dry a bit as I turn my neck from side to side.  It pulls at my skin as I move.  My arms are tied behind my back, and my feet bound at the ankles.

I have nothing to rely on except my senses of smell and hearing.  I try to concentrate on all of the sounds around me and sniff the air to see if we are still in that dingy smelling air shaft.  We aren’t.  The air here smells clean, much more clinical,  like it had when I was on the ship on my way to Sisla the first time.  They are taking me somewhere.

I take in deep breaths of the air, then notice, I can taste it.  In fact, my hearing seems to have increased, and even with the blindfold over my eyes, I can see swirling, shadowy colors.  My heart begins to thump heavily in my chest as I feel panic wash over me.  Maybe they have killed me, or at least seriously injured me.  Am I in a dream state, or even worse, in a coma?

I hear voices then, the deep voices of the men that took me.  Their faces flash through my mind as I hear each of their voices, connecting the voice to the face.  This has to be a dream because this is not something I have ever been able to do before.  Maybe just being blindfolded has opened up a bit of a sixth sense or something.  I have no clue.

I pretend to be unconscious and simply listen to what they say.  They speak quickly, and I realize that the rest of my new family has been speaking quite slowly for me.  I can pick words out, but not entire sentences.  They are talking about me and the Queen.  They keep saying the word “prophecy” and “destined” which only serves to further confuse me.

I attempt to slightly move around on the floor where they’ve put me as I can feel pins in needles in my ass and right leg, but I lose my balance and fall over and hitting something on my way which causes a bunch of noise that I know they hear.  

One of them stalks over, his heavy feet, clopping against the floor.  This seems uncharacteristic compared to the quiet agility of my family.  This blindfold business is beginning to get really annoying.

The man leans down in front of me -- I can tell, because his putrid breath assaults my face -- but says nothing.  He takes ragged breathes, blowing his tangy air across my face and I could practically puke from that alone.  

“Mirrrah-ha,” he finally says, but it sounds like he is turned away from me as he speaks, talking more to the other guards than to me.

“It issssss you.  The forbidden child, explained to have met the final death.”  His words make no sense to me, and I would tell him this, if I weren’t still gagged.  

I shake my head at him, trying to convey my confusion, but I feel his cold, clammy fingers at my throat.  They lift the pendant of my necklace from my skin, and I wonder what he thinks of it.  The rest of my family had seemed utterly astonished in my choice, and although I was never able to get a reason for this, I suspect it means something either significant or horrible.

My necklace is dropped, and it thumps against my chest, making a sound like a heavy stone hitting wet sand when it lands.  It leaves a sting against my flesh, but I quickly forget about it because it is replaced by a much worse pain, the pain of being backhanded across the face.

My cry is muffled by the gag, but the force of his hit sends me sliding across the floor of wherever the fuck I am.  I wince in pain and simply have to endure what is being done to me.  I cannot fend for myself; my hands and feet have been tied, my mouth gagged, and my eyes blindfolded.  

So this is the type of “men” they are.

Yes, I was scared before, but now I understand what they intend for me.  Now I know that this will be my end.  I will never see Edwaird or the rest of my new family again, and with that realization, the panic begins to set in.  A horrible twist of terror rips through my chest, and the pain of it hurts so much worse then the actual slap did.

I hear the men laughing at my expense.  Laughing at beating a woman, but suddenly, the blindfold is ripped from my head, the gag, removed.  My hands and legs remain bound.

“The resssssemblancccce to Her Greatnesssss in youth, issss mossst assstonisshing!” one of the men exclaims.

“It issss mossst miraculousss that ssshe wasss not noticcced to be of The Purity much sssooner,” the third replies.

The first, my main captor and the man that hit me, simply sits in a chair across the room from me, saying nothing, but staring a lot.  I look back and forth between the three of them, attempting to make sense of what they are talking about.  I want to ask, but I fear that speaking will only bring more beating.  Still, I think they intend to kill me no matter what, and if I’m going to die, I at least want to know what the fuck I’m dying for.

“What are you talking about?  Resemblance to who and what purity?”  I’m pretty sure my purity disappeared a long long time ago.

The asshole brute across from me simply smiles and says nothing.  I understand the other two to be subordinate because they look over at him, see the menacing expression on his face and directed at me, and all of a sudden, mum is the word.

The three men go back to taking us wherever it is we are going, giving me time to think, to look around and see what kind of fucking situation I’m in.  I mean, I know that it’s a bad one, but at least now, I have time to find an exit route in case I get the chance to escape.  Then again, that can’t really be possible, since I’m once again in outer space and have no idea where they are taking me, or whether I’ll even be able to breathe the air at our destination.

Fuck, how do I get into these situations?

Looking around, I see that the ship I’m on closely resembles to my family’s ship, except theirs is much homier.  I twist my head as far as possible to look around, still laying on the floor after falling over and feel a stab of pain behind my ears.  I forgot that they’d cut me for a little bit there.  The dried blood pulls at my skin, and I feel an oozing warmth there again.  I think I have re-opened the wound on the left side.

A green haze falls over my vision as I look around, leaving a bit of a cloud to see through.  I’m not sure which has changed and why there is now this weird film, but it makes me tired.  I attempt to keep my eyes open, not wanting to fall asleep in this situation, but it can’t be helped, and I fall under.


“Uh!” I wake from a rough kick to the gut.  I cough, and sputter, trying to regain the breath that has been knocked out of me.

“Awaaaken, nixxxxtah!” Alien Asshole Number One yells.

My eyes, feeling as though they have heavy stones holding them down, struggle open.  The green haze I remember from earlier is gone, and all I can see over top of me are the asshole three giants glaring down at me.  AAN-1 bends over and grips me around the waist, lifting me up and flinging me over his shoulder.  AAN-2 and -3 follow behind with their odd looking weapons pointed at my head.

Sure.  Like I look like I could cause much damage.  Fuckers!

We weave through many corridors until finally coming to the ship’s hatch.  The door lifts up, and we emerge from the ship.  None of the assholes wear any kind of mask over their faces to help them breathe, so I think I’ll be okay as well.

I struggle to keep my head as they start to trek over a rugged terrain, keeping my eyes open and looking around.  I attempt to comprehend what I’m seeing.

Desolation, sadness.  Everything is completely destroyed.  The debris of long past lives litter the ground, and a lump of sadness forms in my throat.  This was once a planet, once a home.  It reminds me of the story Ah-lisss told me about Jassspeer.

AAN-3 gets close behind me, flicking me behind the ear.  I scream out in pain, and they all laugh.  Warmth once again trickles down my neck, except this time, on the right side.  I can’t help but notice that every time the wounds are re-opened, everything around me seems so much clearer, like I’m able to envision things that I shouldn’t be able to see.

Without any warning, I’m dropped with force down to the ground.  I land hard on my ass and cry out as a sharp pain moves through my left leg up into my lower back.  I move around a little to ensure that I haven’t been seriously hurt.  I can still wiggle my toes and fingers, so I don’t think I’ve been paralyzed.  Still, my back and ass ache horribly.

“Ssstupid nixxxxtah!  You were not to ever return.  Your life would have remained assss it wasss supposed to, if you had ssstayed there...on Earrrth, with your ssssurogate clan.  The Queen issss thoroughly disssappointed.  Ssshe trusssted you would never return.” AAN-1 explains, confusing me beyond all belief.

“What are you talking about?  I’ve never been here before!  How could I?” I exclaim, losing my temper, which is stupid, since they will probably beat me for it.  I’m just fed up.  I have no fucking idea what is going on, and I’m probably going to die.  

Oh my God.  I’m going to die.

AAN-1 laughs a dark, terrifying laugh, then says, “Your computer failsss you ssso, nixxxxtah.  It isss a ssshame.  You would have been a beautiful Queen, but I am loyal to your Unam.  Her will isss mine, which isss why you mussst meet your final death.”

Then he slaps me hard.  I fall backward, hitting my head on something hard as I land.  My vision swims in front of me, but I struggle to stay focused, awake.  I may have a concussion, and the most important thing right now is staying awake, because awake means alive.

“You are on what isss left of Kassswhahk.  Thisss land isss nothing but a remnant of what oncccce wasss.  The Queen did thisss, much to the confusssion of your clan; it wasss her doing, not re-belsss.  Ssshe hasss ordered it to be completely dessstroyed; an eyesssore to the sssky.  It ssseems perfect that it will be you to go out with it’sss last glorioussss blassst.”

I feel several strong blows then.  My legs, arms, back and stomach, they are all attacked.  I clench my eyes, feeling the pain move through my entire body, and scream out in pain over and over again.  A large shoe slams against my shoulder, and I hear the sickening crunch of my clavicle being broken.  

Fists punch my stomach over and over again, and I am so close to passing out.  I want to pass out, but I can’t.  I have to hold on.  I picture Edwaird in my mind, hold onto him to keep me there, keep myself from letting go.  I feel a large boot slam down on my chest followed by another sickening crunch.

Something in my chest squeezes tight then, and breathing becomes so incredibly painful.  I want to scream, but I can’t find the air to even speak, much less scream.  I feel my body pull the air, but it struggles to retract it from my lungs, or at least one of them.

“Shahn!” AAN-1 yells at the other two, and the beating stops for the moment.

“It isss your time to meet your final death, Bell-a.  Doesss your computer recognizzze why thisss mussst be?”

I can’t find the air, so I shake my head no, minimally, because moving is so so very bad.

“Let me recount the ssstory for you.  It will be the lassst thing you ever hear, daughter of Sssulpicccia.”

I make myself open my eyes to look at him.  There is a soft light on the horizon, so it seems that it took us nearly a full day to get here.  When we left Sisla, it was dark out, and it is now getting onto sunset.  I focus on the sun for a few moments, memorizing it and gathering as much strength from it as I can.  I do my best to regulate my breath, but it’s hard and the pain is indescribable.

Finally, I resign myself to listening.  None of what he has said makes any sense, but I will myself to focus and look at him once again.

“Isss it within your underssstanding what I have been sssaying to you, nixxxxtah?” he asks.  

I shake my head minimally.  It hurts too much to move.

“Thisss truth beginsss clossse to -- in your human time -- thirty yearsss ago.  Yesss, the Queen hasss required me to learn of your time, ssso that I wassss alwaysss aware of your age and what your life ssstagesss were in ssso that I could report it back to Her Highnesss.”  

The Queen wassss never keen on children.  Conssidered her sssiblings to be of a nuisssancce.  Ssshe wasss the gem holding the mossst ssshine to her father.  Sssshe would be the nexxxt to reign, though thisss greatly vexxed her brother, who held more age over her.”  

The Queen held great knowledge.  She wasss able to sssee things her brother could not, enabling her to quickly grow even further unto the graccce of their father.  The Queen trained under the bessst of marmsss.  Her practiccce in rigidity impressed her father ssso, that when he became illl, without sssecond decisssion, he passsed the crown.  Her brother wasss furiousss, and shortly after the King met hisss final death, Sssulpicccia’sss brother attempted to end her life.  He wasss unsssuccessssful, which resssulted in his own death by Sssulpicccia’ss hand.”

“The Queen vowed ssshe would never have to deal with that kind of ssscenario again.  No one would take away what ssshe had worked ssso hard for, and being of the puressst blood and reigning over Ssssisla would give her an even longer life ssspan than the rest of our kind hasss.”

“That wasss of courssse, until ssshe wassss not quite assss careful assss she ssshould have been.  Ssshe would not allow herssself to ever mate, knew that there would not ever be one ssshe could truly ever trussst or give herssself over to for the ressst of her life sspan.  That did not mean that ssshe did not require intimacccy.  Quite the contrary, ssshe was quite fond of intimacccy, until during a intimacccy meeting, her partner mentioned children.  That wasss all it took for her to passs the ovum.  You sssee, with our kind, you can sssimply think it, and it isss done.”

“Ssshe wanted to kill him, but decccided better of it.  Ssshe allowed him to endure the carrying of her ovum, and when the child wassss born, ssshe had him murdered, then took the child.”

He looks at me pointedly then, and says, “Ssshe and I traveled to the planet Earrrth, where we watched people for ssseveral of their daysss until we found the perfect clan.  They wanted a bairn of their own ssso badly, but had been unsuccesssful.  Sssulpicccia sssaw the perfect opportunity in them.  Assss much assss she did not want a child, ssshe would not murder one.”

“She asssked them not to asssk her any quessstions, it would only make complicationsss.  She only required one thing of them, and then, ssshe promisssed them they would never ssset eyesss on usss again.  They were grateful.  They promisssed to do what Ssshe demanded, and they did, I sssee.”

I raise my eyebrows in question at him.

He sighs loudly, like I’m the stupidest person alive.  “Sssshe required them to cover your flain.  You are the first and only bairn of Her Highness, Queen Sssulpicccia.”

I shake my head at him hard, momentarily forgetting the pain all over my body.  “No.  That can’t be!  I’m human!  There are pictures of my mom holding me in the hospital!  I was born on Earth!”

Speaking leaves me breathless and wheezing.

“Thessse photosss you ssspeak of, they were taken after the procccedure to cover your flain, not your birthing.  Make no missstake, Bell-a.  You are the Highessst daughter of Queen Sssulpicccia.  Think about the markingsss upon your ssshell.  Your dessstiny marking, the roughnesss behind your hearing ssshell.  They tell you who you truly are.”

I do exactly what he suggests.  I think about the perfect rectangle of a scar on my inner thigh.  I think about how it always drove me crazy that the skin behind my ear was kind of bumpy and itched sometimes, like I needed to scratch at it and scrape it away.  Then I think about my birthmark, the one that Edwaird also has.  Destined duo.  What does that mean?

“Destined duo.  What does that mean?” I ask him.

His eyes darken with my question, and when he answers, his anger is back with the force of evil behind it.  “It will never be, for you are sssoon to meet your final death.  Your other will not find you in time, Bairn of Sssulpicccia.  It isss her will to end you, for you are no longer of new birth.”

“But why?” I ask, although, I think I already know.

“Ssshe will not allow you to take her place.  Ssshe isss the Queen, and if you sssurfaccce, you will take her placcce, for ssshe hasss reigned for a long time, longer than any before her.”

“But I don’t want it.  I don’t, I just want to spend the rest of my life with Edwaird and nothing more.  I don’t want it!  I swear to you!”  I exclaim, beginning to sob which hurts my chest further.

“It isss no matter.  Her health deterioratesss with you near.  Her ssshell detectsss your nearnesss, making her computer tell the rest of her working organisssms to go to resssting mode.  Ssshe will travel to her final death with you near.  You mussst be gotten rid of.”

“Wait.  You can just take me back to Earth!  Yes!  That’s the answer!  I’ll never come back, I swear.  I’d never remember how to get back here anyway!  Please!” I beg.

He scoffs.  “Your mated one would come for you.  He will alwaysss bring you back.  No.  Thisss is the end for you.”

I can’t stop the sobs that slip from me.  They hurt badly, but I can’t stop them.  “Please.  I just want to be with Edwaird.  Nothing more.”

Tears cloud my eyes, and I close them, choosing to think about Edwaird and picture him in my head for whatever time I have left.  I see his beautiful face in my mind.  I tell him things to my pictured Edwaird.   I love you.  I will wait for you.  Come to me, but not too soon, and be well without me.  I will always be with you, Edwaird.  I love you.  I love you.

The three assholes are moving things around.  I can hear them drop things and mutter, but I’m beginning to fade away.  I can’t find the energy to open my eyes, so I simply listen to what they do.  I demand myself to stay for as long as I can, refusing to give up my life easily.

Finally, their noise stops, and suddenly, I can hear the footsteps of only one of them.  They come near to me, then stop.

“I am not remorssseful to do thisss.  I have loved her assss long assss I have lived.  Assss long assss ssshe is Queen, I will be at her ssside.  Thisss isss how it mussst be.”  That’s all AAN-1 says.  He leans over, cutting free my feet from their binding but leaving my hands bound, then I hear his footsteps retreat.  

I hear the ship start up and the roar of sound it makes as it leaves the atmosphere of this planet, then, I am alone.

What do you do when you know you are about to die?  Not only die, but die in the most painful way.  I’d prefer to die quickly, prefer that they would’ve just shot me or something so I don’t have to sit here, hurting every time I take a fucking breath.

Now that my legs are free, I try to move myself into a more comfortable position, but every part of my body objects to moving.  I cry out as sharp stabs of pain occur all over.  I relax into the ground and close my eyes as the last remnant of the evening sun disappears behind the horizon.

I think about everything I can possibly conjure up.  Even Jake.  I think about the epic fucking Bacon-Cheddar Burgers at Gonzo’s Pub just down the street from my place, Raspberry Torte from Adele’s.  

I think about Jake and what he did for me.  He helped me to become a strong-willed woman.  Sure, I did the work myself, but when it came to actually applying to NASA, he prodded me the whole way.  He was my best friend, and although I was never able to make it past that and really do the intimacy thing with him, I will always love him.

I think of my mom and my dad.  Everything.  Every birthday I can remember, every time I sat on my dad’s lap, the diner and going out once a week for cobbler.  My dad was the one to get me started on pies.  Even cranky old Mr. Molena, my high school science teacher that got me so interested in space and stars.  Even though he could throw temper tantrums better than a four-year-old, he was able to help me see the beauty of the stars, constellations, everything.  He helped mold me into the person I became.

My mind wanders to my new family.  I think of Essssme and how she was so sweet to me, truly, like the mother I needed at a time when everything was so scary to me.  Ah-lisss and even Roe-salie, like sisters.  Doing things for me and just being a shoulder to lean on.  I suppress a laugh thinking about Emmeet and his little baby fanny pack.  I’m going to miss him a lot.  Jassspeer and Carlisss too, they were so very kind to me.

Breathing is becoming harder, and for the very first time, I admit that I am utterly terrified to die.  The first time, I really wasn’t aware of it, therefore, had no time to actually dwell on it.  This time, it’s entirely different.  I have all the time in the universe to simply think of dying -- of my life ending -- and how could that not be scary as fucking hell?

I do my best to ignore the severe pain.  The sticky wetness in several areas of my body alerts me that I’m bleeding in a few different areas, but there is nothing I can do about it.  I simply think about Edwaird.  My beautiful mate, my reason for living, I’m sure.  Although we’ve had such a short time together, I find that I cannot regret any part of it.  I know that without a doubt, I was meant to find him.  I may not understand why our time was cut so short together, but I’m so very thankful for the time I had with him.

I can see his green eyes now in my head, practically feel the silkiness of his crazy reddish-brown hair.  I pretend to run my fingers through it and down to his ears.  Run my fingers over his flain.  Touch my forehead to his, and in my mind, tell him, I love you, one last time.

I cough and feel thick wetness slide out of my mouth and down my cheek, then to my neck.  Tears slowly begin to slide out of the corners of my eyes, and I resign myself to sleep; there is nothing more I can do.
In The Deepest Space - Chapter 10: The Bond - A Twissst of Pain
Chapter 10 – The Bond – A Twissst of Pain


wavessss of Uressssa - auric colors seen in the meditative state that connect mates to one another

ubilicus(sss) port - belly button

like a kit drawssss nectarr from a ssspitch - like a bee draws nectar from a flower

weakened nurishment pocket through this carrying phassse - weak stomach through pregnancy

Edwaird’s POV ~

We wait for Ah-lissss and my Bell-a ssset back from the ressst of the crowd.  Many linger, sssspeaking to acquaintancccessss they have not had the pleasssure of sssseeing in quite a time.  I watch the door, waiting to ssset my orbsss on my Bell-a again.  I never imagined sssshe could look much more exxxquisssite than ssshe already doessss, but on thisss eve, sssshe isss breath-ssstealing.

I ssssee Ah-lissss bolt from the door, her appearancccce issss frantic, and my Bell-a doessss not accompany her.

Sssshe flingssss her ssshell into my arms and I grip onto her, assssking, “Ah-lisss, where isss my Bell-a?”  I hear the heat and anger ssseep into my voiccce along with worry, but I can not erassse it.

Ah-lisss ssssobs loudly, flinging the ressst of her ssshell up against mine, then with a minissscule amount of air, saysss, “Vanissshed!”

I grab Ah-lisss by the armssss, pulling her ssshell away from me ssso that I can look into her orbssss, and see the pure terror there.

“Relay every detail to me with mossst hassste!” I demand.

The ressssst of my clan formsss a sssmall oval around Ah-lisss and myssself.  I hold onto her, sssenssing her worry and the possssibility that thisss may be too much for her.

“Sssspeak with sssoft tonessss, Ah-lissss.  The Queen hassss earsss everywhere,” Esssme warnssss.

Ah-lissss nods, and sssays, “Bell-a and I were usssing the facccilitiesss.  I ssspoke to her prior to going in, wasss telling her sssomething, but ssshe requesssted that I wait to tell her the resssst until we had both finissshed.  I ssssteamed at the counter, awaiting her emergenccce.  I waited longer, then finally assssked of her.  Sssshe gave me no resssponcce, ssso I waited longer.  I tapped on her door after a few momentssss, worried that sssshe had fallen ill from the stresssss.  Sssshe gave no reply, ssso I took a pin from my hair and opened her door.  When I opened it, sssshe wassss gone, and the air plate wassss ssswinging open.  Ssshe isss gone.  I am sssso ssssorry, Edwaird.”

Ah-lissss again beginsss to sssob into my chessst.  Essssme looks to me, ready to ssspeak, but I ssspeak first.  “We mussst sssearch assss much assss possible.  Ssshe could ssstill be here.”

Jassspeer ssshakes hisss head at me.  “No.  The guard mussst have her.”  He glancccesss up at the Queen who isss focusssed on our clan.  “Ssshe will have her gone from here immediately.  Edwaird, do you feel anything?  What isss your bond telling you?” he assssks.

I closssse my orbsss, focusssing on the tension in my body that issss oriented to only my Bell-a.  I feel the rope within me warp, twissst, then pull sssslightly tighter.  I gasssp, opening my orbssss.

“Sssshe isss not here, but ssshe isss alive.  Although, I sussspect ssshe may be in ssslight pain,” I relay.

That isss all we need to know.  We quickly retrieve our belongingsss before essscaping the Queen’s domain, making our way to the pod.

Once in the pod, we argue for a few momentssss, deccciding on where we mussst go.  

“Edwaird isss the key.  He isss the only way we will find Bell-a,” Essssme announcesss.

“Get usss to the ssssatelitesss, Emmeet!” I demand.

Emmeet quickly liftsss the pod upward and we ssset out for our country domicccile and hidden sssatelite room.  The trip takes a very ssshort time, and we are sssoon parked over bare land and running toward the bunker.  Inssside, we monitor ssships that come and go through our atmossssphere.  None belong to the Queen, and I begin to grow agitated.  Ssssomething isss happening.  I feel it within me, but I am unable to identify what it isss.  I feel sssharp ssstings inssside of my body onccce in a while, and I have no doubt that they are hurting my Bell-a.  

While everyone elssse isss studying sssatelitesss and watching the atmosssphere, I walk around, unable to sssstop.  I move round and round, looking for sssomething, anything, when I feel a sssudden, sssharp twissst in my gut.  It takes the breath from me, and I fall to my kneesss.  I feel my Bell-a moving away from me then, and asss sssoon asss I’m able to ssstand again, I run over to the wall of ssscreensss.

A Queen’sss sssship leavessss our atmossphere, and asss ssssoon asss it hasss cleared the Beacon, it goesss into Blackout Mode.

“Mexxsssh!”  I exclaim.

When a sssship goesss into Blackout Mode, it cannot be ssseen.  Only ssships that are equipped for the Queen can do thisss.  Our ssship issss alsssso able to do thisss, and we have the capability to hide from the Queen, but not find other sssshipsss that have gone into Blackout Mode.  

“Edwaird, you know what thissss meansss.  We mussst rely only on your Bond with Bell-a to find her.  You mussst think of Bell-a and only Bell-a,” Esssme informssss me, while at the sssame time, moving usss from the bunker back to the pod.

The trip from the bunker to our larger ssship isss quick, and ssssoon we are sssettled in and making our way toward the Beacon.  Onccce we are off of Sssisla, I do assss Esssme sssaysss.  I think of nothing but my Bell-a.


Ah-lissss issss able to sssee thingsss.  The majority of thessse thingsss ssshe seesss, revolve around mattersss of the mating ritual.  For ssso long, malesss of my kind have been ssseeking out the intuition of my birth companion, enabling themssselvesss an insssight of their future mates.  I wasss not ever one of the malesss to do sssso.  I knew that if sssshe sensssed a matter of importanccce, ssshe would immediately notify me.

Thisss issss why, when I sssuddenly felt the sssshadow of a mate’sss presssence on the ssship prior to finding my Bell-a, I became confusssed and disssoriented very quickly.  There wassss no warning, no time to make preparationssss, but only fall into dormancccy.

While normally, I’m never one to have ssscenes play out before me with resssting orbsss, they plagued me through my hibernation period.  Repeatedly, my visual orbsss were only able to focusss on a sssingle perssson, who died each time I attempted contact.  Each and every time sssshe exxxpired in thessse ssscenes, I fell further away from the waking period.  It felt asss though ssshe was being drawn away from me, caussssing pain to flow through every cccell of my form.

Then I felt her presssense.  Ssshe wasss closse to me.  Clossser than I thought possssible.  I began to awaken for ssshort periodsss of time, tassssting her sssscent on the air.  


I feel another twissst in my gut.  I am sssettled into the ssseat next to Emmeet assss he manueversss the ssship.  He waitssss for my cuesss before he makesss changesss in our direction.  We go by nothing other than the feeling within my ssssshell -- the feeling that bindssss me to my Bell-a, telling me where sssshe iss and how I bessst can get to her.  I point off toward the Mixarrr Conssstellation, feeling the pull from that direction.

The remainder of my clan issss in the compartment assss well, but like me, they feel no need to sssspeak unlesss it isss to find my Bell-a.  There issss nothing of importanccce other than her.  We will find her, and we mussst find her before it isss to late.  Her final death issss sssomething I cannot even begin to comprehend.

I arrange my ssshell in the chair so that I may take myssself into a meditative sstate.  In thisss way, I will enable myssself to maintain a true connection with my Bell-a.  It isss of the mossst importanccce to remain intuitive to her in thesssse momentssss.

My cranium resssts againssst the back of the lounger, and my orb coversss clossse.  I take deep breathes, coaxing my ssshell and my computer to find that plane, the plane where it isss only Bell-a and me.  The wavessss of Uressssa find me, sssswirl around my sssshell, sssoothing me and pulling me deeper, closssser to my Bell-a.

I reprimand my thoughtsss, demanding they ssstay away from anything other than her, than our bond, and on finding her.  I focusss my attentionsss on the familiar pull in my abdomen that has grown sssso taut it ssseemsss assss though that part of Bell-a within me, may be pulled out from my ubilicussss port.


Uresssa pullssss me deeper, and I remember the firssst phassse of the mating ritual.  I had been in the hibernative ssstate for sssome time.  The sssceness recurring in my computer were becoming more and more intenssse.  The female met her final death every time, and with thissss, I became weaker, lesss able to pull mysssself out of the hibernation ssstate.  I could feel my own fear but wassss unable to change it.  That changed sssuddenly when I felt her presssence out of nowhere.  

Our mating ritual wasss vivid.  The firssst phasssse connected ussss together in an imposssible way.  Ah-lisss and Essssme have dissscussed the mating ritual many timessss over, but the type of thing that happened between Bell-a and mysssself wassss never dissscussed.  I do not believe it issss becaussse it issss a private matter.  I trussst they would endow me with all of the knowledge they obtain.  I believe that thissss issss a firssst for our kind, and what the meaning of that issss, I do not apperceive.

It wasss Bell-a herssself that wasss able to bring me back from the brink of my final death, while embedded in the hibernation ssstate.  Her love, her complete commitment drew me out like a kit drawssss nectarr from a ssspitch.

At the time of the mating danccce, our first sssshell connection, the execution of the ending phassse wasss more powerful than I could have thought.  It wasssn’t ssso much the matter of physical releassse and pleasssure; it wassss that I became within Bell-a, and ssshe within me.  There isss no way to desssscribe the intensssity of what wasss experienccced.

Then at a later time when we were able to focusss on one another, I began to noticcce different markingsss on her ssshell.  Markingsss that did not make sssense to me, although they did.  The marking on the inner ssside of her lowessst extremity, the rough patch behind her hearing ssshell.  Nothing added up, and everything did.


A touch to my cranial column drawsss me from my tranccce.  I look up, behind me, to ssse Esssme ssstanding behind me.

“Hasss a change taken placcce, Edwaird?  Do you ssssense Bell-a’sss nearnesss?” ssshe quessstions, her voiccce low and filled with worried emotion.

I placcce my hand over hersss where it ressssts at my column.  “I ssstill feel her, Esssme, although, her ssshell isss growing weaker, and I fear ssshe isss being beaten.  The bond pulssses within me at timesss.  Her pain isss mine.”

Esssme grasssps my hand tightly and draws a large intake of air.  I hear her let it out ssslowly behind me.

“You musssst remain focusssed, Edwaird.  We mussst find her,” ssshe sssays, then retreatsss.

I ssset my jaw asss another twisst of pain sssurgess through me, thissss time, much ssstronger.  I sssupresss a painful groan, but sssee Emmeet glanccce over at me, worry written plainly upon hissss cranial sssurface.  I ssshake my head at him and focusss on my Bell-a onccce more.  I feel a change in direction and point in itsss direction.  Emmeet immediately changessss our courssse and I feel usss get clossser yet to her.

Asss we get clossser and clossser to her, I begin to feel pain all over my ssshell.  The stabsss come at a fassster pacce, leaving me almosssst no time to recover from the lassst.  If thisss isss how bad it feelssss to me, I can only imagine how it hurtsss my Bell-a.

A sssob ripsss through me, and I cannot contain it.  “They are beating her.  Her life forccce isss thin now,” I tell my clan through a grimaccce.  I hear Jassspeer growl with fiercccenesss behind me.  He underssstandsss thisss.  Her pain, my pain, although Ah-lisss never had to endure her mate’sss pain asss it wasss before they came together.  I would never wisssh thisss on Ah-lisss, not in a million querasss.

The nexxxt ssstab of pain forrccesss my body forward, and I expel on the floor in front of me ssseveral timesss.  Emmeet groansss bessside me, but he maintainsss his focusss.  He hasss taken a weakened nurishment pocket through this carrying phassse.  I sssit back up and sssuddenly, noticce that our bond is weakening again.  Ssshe isss losssing her will.

“We mussst move fassster, Emmeet!  We are losssing her!”  I pull at my hair, beginning to panic then collapssse into the chair, feeling my head leave me momentarily.

That issss when I feel the direction change again.  I look to the monitor and sssee where ssshe isss now leading usss.  I point in itsss direction, and Emmeet looksss over at me, making sssure that he isss underssstanding me.  I nod.

“Jasspeer.  I requessst your utmossst forgivenesss, my dear clan member.”  I ssstand up, holding my arm around my middle, fearing that I may fall apart, but meet Jassspeer’s gaze.  He peersss at the ssscreen, then at me.  

“Thisss is valid?” he quesstions.

I nod.  “Sssshe isss there.  On the largessst particle that isss left of Kaswhahk.”  I know with all that isss in me that ssshe isss there, and it makesss it that much harder, becaussse thissss will now caussse Jassspeer pain.

Jassspeer nodsss at me, then facccesss Ah-lisss.  I turn back to the screen and fall back to my chair assss an onssslaught of beatingsss wrack Bell-a’sss ssshell.  I cry out in pain, and when it isss over, I gasssp for air.  Her air sacsss are damaged.

Assss we move toward Kaswhahk, I feel the pull between usss grown ssstronger, yet weaken.  We are clossser to her, yet ssshe isss fading at a quickening paccce.  The pain that flowsss through my ssshell pulsses all over, to move any part of my ssshell induccesss excruccciating ssstabs through my core.

I ceassse my movementsss, for they only caussse more pain, and inssstead, turn my attention back to Bell-a.  There isss sssomething, sssomething that I have not ssseen.  I am unable to mark what it issss, but I know it hasss sssomething to do with the Queen.

There wassss not much interaction between my Bell-a and the Queen.  Thisss I wasss taken back by, and Esssme too, I believe.  There ssshould have been more, yet the Queen disssmissed her nearly asss sssoon asss ssshe sssummoned her.  The Queen asssked no quessstions, none important in the leassst, which ssshe alwaysss doesss.

I own no doubt, thissss isss the Queen’ssss doing.  The Queen isss ridding of her, but sssso quickly, I am not sssure why.  Ssshe did it at her own party, which disssrupted the flow of the event.  The Queen dessspissses that kind of thing.

After traveling a great dissstanccce, we are upon the firssst trailsss of Kaswhahk debris.  It will not be much further.  We are clossser to the largessst remnant of what isss left of Kaswhahk.  Esssme movesss to ssstand in front of me.  

“You are of ccccertainty that Bell-a isss here, Edwaird, yesss?”

“I am cccertain of it, Esssme.  I feel her near.”

“Why here, Edwaird?  Why hasss thisss happened.  Ssshe isss a human female.  Ssshe possses no threat to our Queen, or our kind.  Why would the Queen get rid of her?”

Esssme changesss her tone in the lassst two quessstions.  Ssshe sssenses sssomething.  Ssshe givess me nuturing look, the look that saysss ‘you are bourn of me, hold not a thing from me’ and I cannot help it.  I mussst confide my thoughtsss, feelingsss to her.

“You mussst tell me.  When you found my Bell-a, did you do an examination of her ssshell?”

“Yesss, but not a full examination.  It wasss necessssary to change her garmant asss well.  You inquire of thisss why?”

“You examined her marking?  On her lower extremity?”  I asssk.

Esssme tapss her finger to her chin, than ssaysss, “Yesss.  It isss a peculiar marking.  I have thought on it many timesss.”

With the forccce of a ssssoopla of Sssooom, it hitsss me, and I know.  I know why the Queen hasss tried to rid of my Bell-a.

Esssme sssees the expression upon my cranial sssurface and asks impatiently, “What isss it, Edwaird?  What have you concluded?”

I look up at Esssme, directly into her orbsss, willing her to think about the marking.  “The marking, the Queen, my Bell-a.  Envision, Esssme!” I exclaim at her, ssssuddenly ssso very sscared for my Bell-a, even more than before.

Esssme’s orbsss glaze over with concccentration, then refocusss on me.  Sssshe movesss her cranium from ssside to ssside, minimally, then whissperss, “Ssshe couldn’t be?”

But ssshe isss.