|Yes, that's a fractal.|
This has been a tough one for me. First the cover design gave me fits. Then I realized another edit needed done before the final read-through and proofing. All this was on top of writing papers and creating projects for class and dealing with work drama. But, classes are fun and most of the papers are finished. Work drama has been resolved, mostly. And the edits are almost finished.
Here's a teaser for you:
I slouched at the table, the same one I'd been at for most of the last three weeks. The Golden Pig, an upscale bar on Proxima, was quiet with few customers. The bartender didn't seem to mind me spending hours sitting at a table near the back as long as I bought drinks and paid my tab.
Tayvis was twenty three days overdue. We'd agreed to meet here, when his enlistment was finally up. It looked like he didn't want to keep his promise.
I didn't blame him. The last time we'd seen each other he'd arrested me. And the time before that I'd shot him. I shouldn't have been surprised that he hadn't come. I didn't want to believe it was really over between us, but three weeks of waiting were beginning to convince me.
Jasyn, co-owner of my ship and my best friend, had lost patience. Her hints that we should move on had become blunt and hard to ignore. She was right, I had to let go. Tayvis wasn't coming.
I'd never expected it to hurt so much.
I looked across the bar to the front windows. The sun of Proxima blazed out of a clear summer sky. The door opened, sending a flash of bright light across the polished wood of the tables. I squinted and groaned when I saw who had just entered.
Lowell stood near the door, surveying the room. Darus Venn, my father, hovered over his shoulder. I considered sliding under the table. Lowell saw me and strode across the room. He wore a captain's bars on his uniform this time. He rarely wore his true insignia. He preferred to slum with the lower ranks. Darus wore an engineer's gears.
"Go away," I said as Lowell pulled out a chair.
He sat anyway. "Is that any way to greet me, Dace?"
"Or me," Darus said, taking a second chair.
"I'm not in the mood, Lowell. Hi, dad. How have you been?"
"Try saying it like you mean it," Darus said.
"Whatever you want," I said, standing up, "the answer is no, Lowell. So don't even try."
"I need your help."
"I don't want yours."
"I think you want to hear this," Lowell said quietly. I deliberately stepped away.
Something dropped onto the table with a soft chime, like crystals muffled in cloth. A tiny prick of emotion stabbed into my heart. I stopped, my feet glued to the floor despite my best intentions to leave. Jasyn was going to rip me into shreds when she found out I'd even listened to Lowell. I turned back, I had to find out what ace Lowell held.
He poked a small bag on the table in front of him, a nondescript thing of worn cotton. I dropped into a chair, feeling the pull from the bag.
"I thought that would get your attention." Lowell pushed the bag towards me.
"I'm through, Lowell. You promised to leave me alone. Remember?"
My hand closed over the bag. A wave of pain, anger, and need washed through me. I knew what was in the bag. I closed my eyes as my fingers fumbled to untie it.
"Two weeks ago," Lowell began, "a ship limped into Viya Station, the only Sessimoniss ship to be sighted in almost a year, with a single survivor on board. He died not long after reaching the station, despite everything they tried to do for him. The only thing he said that anyone could interpret was your name." The Sessimoniss were a reptilian sentient race that lived beyond the fringes of the Empire. Only four non-Sessimoniss had ever landed on their world and returned alive: me, Jasyn, her brother Jerimon, and Tayvis.
The top of the bag opened. Tiny glittering shards of crystal in every hue of the rainbow spilled out. Tumbled emotions and jumbled images poured into my mind. This was the Eggstone, the god of the Sessimoniss. A few pieces of it, at least.