Ana felt out of place as the only human in that hall.
The pallor in Ana’s face gave away her sickness as she limped weakly down the hall in the Lieutenant Governor's manor.
“I wonder what kind of material is in these walls?”
“It's blue marble. It is actually plentiful in these mountains.”
“And how long ago was it built? I recognize some of the architecture in some beautiful buildings back on Earth.”
“You must really miss your home.” Kori said.
“How beautiful the Earth was! So blue and clear and cloudless was the sky! And the trees in central park were so green! I wonder how much of it has now been reduced to rubble and dust, becoming ancient history now and forgotten.”
“Would you like some tea while you wait for him?” Kori said as she finished setting the table.
The tabel had a beautiful dark wood slab with blue plates, on round braided placemats. Silver utensils lay on either side of each of the two plates.
Four candles stood along the middle of the tabletop, with a flower in a bowl between them.
As Ana stared into the flame of a torch, a Iolian, Melphor, had been standing off to the side and he glanced towards her.
“About your spacecraft, Ana… I am so sorry! All the lights turned on, and we couldn't regain control of it. We can’t quite figure out what happened!”
A servant came and took the message from Melphor, and he did so, he looked toward Ana.
“The Lieutenant Governor will be here any minute. He is a little delayed but he will be here.”
Ana followed the dark marble of the walls that were studded with three-pronged quartz stars arranged in human-like constellations, and thought in a flash of Jonah, as his face iced over, at the faces of a mother with her hands resting anxiously across her chest, and the faces of three restful children in a deep frozen coma. She remembered how their pods were grouped together as they were sent out of the spacecraft. She sighed heavily as she dropped her head against the polished stone of the wall.
“Where are your ideas now, Francine?”
She rested a pale hand against the cool surface.
“I don't know how I can get back to them.”
But she was disturbed as servants rustled about suddenly as the Lieutenant Governor entered the dining room from the other side.
He stood there, gazing at her with his sharp eyes, and standing tall by his chair on the opposite side of the table.
“Well…Welcome! You must be her. Come sit down.”
The Lieutenant Governor sharpens his knife near the table and rinses it, even as he begins to speak to her.
““Was your planet like this one? Did it have food like this?”
“Yes. Not quite like this of course, not the same plants. But the salad was tossed with leaves and fruits of ground plants.”
The Lieutenant Governor was dressed in some fine clothes. He wore a vest that resembled something from the renaissance. There were visible knives in his boots that were intimidating, although he claimed they were only symbolic.
His position in the government of the Iolians was to lead them executively as a right hand man to the governor.
“Well, the fruits in this salad came from an orchard I was given as a gift when I saved one of the families from a brood of isciklops that was terrorizing their property.”
“I have seen one of those! They are really fast! How did you catch them?”
“Well…I have my methods when I am motivated. You know, some things just really don’t have a place in this world. Besides, I like to give people surprises. Like the flower in your hair.” He snapped his fingers once and pointed towards her head.
She reflexively, but hesitantly lightly touched her hair and was startled when she felt the flower.
“Wow!” She said, rearranging it in her hair, after looking at it. She grinned sweetly. “This flower will always have a place in this world.”
The Lieutenant Governor grinned, but only briefly.
“ Was your planet like this one? Are there isciklops there?”
“There are similarities. But the climate seems more temperate and balanced here. And there are no ugly isciklops. But we do have rats, which are somewhat like a hairy, long-tailed version of them, I suppose.”
“How did you manage to travel such a long distance or even survive it?”
“Well, I am not quite sure how the propulsors worked on the ship, but we stole it from the Bothrans who were far more advanced than we were. And I only barely survived it. And I don't even know if survival is the right word. I…”
She coughed finally; her eyes had been becoming watery and red.
“...So many of them are out there. We had to leave so many behind!”
Ana coughed again.
“Maybe your people could help me. Could your people help me build another spacecraft? I left my people waiting for me out there in space, waiting for me to come back and bring them here to the safety of a habitable planet.”
The Lieutenant Governor held her gaze for several moments, then looked down at his plate.
“I…well…we can see - what…can… be done. I believe the only propulsor left on your craft was lost the other day, and I am no scientist myself, but the fastest of our ships can carry us to the edge of our star system in a couple months. But no one dares to explore much further than its edge.
“The kind of journey you claim to have been on would have taken at least ten years, so I find it… let's say… remarkable, that you still seem quite young and remember the entire journey. I don't know how it is physically possible that a spacecraft as fast as yours could even exist.”
“Well, I am here. So I guess it must be possible in some way. Many of your men and women were looking at some of the schematics with me that they had recovered from the craft.”
“Many of them told me it shouldn't be possible. Like I said, I am not a scientist myself.”
Ana sighed silently.
“Maybe Ana you would like some dessert or more wine?”
“No, but thank you. I am actually quite full.”
“Well, that's understandable. Will you come see my balcony before you leave, however?”
“Alright! It is beautiful!”
Ana closed her eyes as she walked into the steady breeze.
“I know! I know!” The Lieutenant Governor mumbled suddenly.
Ana glanced toward him. His gaze was empty for several moments, before he noticed hers.
He straightened his stance.
“Ahem…I - I know how beautiful it is. It gets me every time.”
The evening light glanced off of the glint of the blades sheathed in his vest, and Ana turned to look over the ledge of the balcony at the cliffs and ocean below. The Lieutenant Governor stood close behind her.
“The tide is coming in.”
The sun was setting behind them, so that the crashing waves below and before them were becoming covered by lengthening shadows.
“The water is crashing on those rocks and washing away those poor trapped isciklops right off of them.”
The Lieutenant Governor gazed at them.
“Some things just don’t have a place in this world. Some things just shouldn't be.”
Ana coughed several times. She succumbed to a coughing fit.
The Lieutenant Governor gazed towards her. So harmless she looked and so helpless as she reached out to steady herself.
“Ana!” Clyrah’s voice gently approached from behind. “I’m so sorry I am late. I’m sorry to interrupt you two, but I told Ana that I would come get her later. She needs more treatment at the infirmary.”
About the Creator
Isadorian writes both opinion pieces and science fiction stories. If you like his work, please follow on social media.
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