Crossing the line
(The next morning, Sauria's orbit)
Kursed refused to sleep in any of the Raven's many rooms,the ship reminded her too much of the others. Not just Fox but, all of her friends; the shy little guineas Slippy, that brash cocky bird Falco, or Katt, who seemed to try to hide her feelings even more than Falco did. As she made her rounds about the ship she began to doubt that it was in fact the Great Fox...too many things looked different...but that still didn't help the thoughts to go away. Most of the time she simply stayed aboard her small ship in the hanger, she went to the kitchen for some coffee and something to eat, only to find that her food supplies were dry. While she was in the hanger she'd obviously been robbed...there were a lot of hungry people out there. Because of her food shortage she was forced to exit her ship and walk to the Raven's kitchen...the halls of the old ship seemed to bring back relatively every memory she'd tried over the years to forget. The kitchen as she found had been stocked with food. Kursed figured she'd eventually have to get used to her new ship...after eating and having a hot cup of coffee she headed into the bridge, another familiar looking room...
"Good morning captain..." MEL's voice called out over the PA system.
"I am MEL...the previous captain filled in all of your signatures before disembarking, but a palm scan is still required. The scanning device should be located near the door to the bridge."
Kursed had been through this before, she approached the door which slid open at her presence and placed her tight palm on the green pad near the door. Her palm began to warm up a bit as a small wave of light washed over her palm again and again, finally stopping...
"Palm scan complete...now overriding all other signatures...Error...captains quarter's on strict lockdown protocol, password access required for override."
She didn't care, she just walked off to inspect the rooms of the ship...they were not what she'd expected; they were mostly packed full of boxes of 'god only knows what'...all the rooms where like this but one that she could get into, it was located down the hall of the captain's quarters. She slowly entered the room; it was perfectly taken care of, but relatively bare, only a bed and a night stand. On top of the night stand sat what was once a lovely silver picture frame, the glass was shattered and the frame was twisted and contorted, the picture it once held was gone. She didn't remember any of this, so she was sure that this wasn't the Great Fox, but a tear fell from her eye as she felt the ambiance of past tension in the room. She decided that it would do and headed to her ship in the docking bay to move her things to the room, she entered the docking bay and looked around, she wouldn't run out of spare parts there was another arwing. She walked up to her blue ship and punched in the access code which caused the bay door before her to slide upward...
When she looked away from her feet and into the ship her gaze was met by that of a stranger and before she could realize that it was Lament she kicked forward into the split of his legs. Lament let out a horrible scream and crumbled to his knees, "My god!! What the fuck!!" He managed to scream above the pain.
"Lament? What the fuck? I just watched you get arrested..."
Lament just rolled onto his side cradling the injury...
"Come on...I've been kicked there too." Kursed said, "Sure it hurts like hell but still...you're overdoing this a bit."
"Yeah...well...your junk isn't dangling on the outside for everyone to cram into your pelvis."
Kursed considered this for a moment, "Well I'm sorry...I wasn't expecting you. Where were you?"
"Hiding in my arwing's cargo bay..."
"Then why didn't you come out sooner?"
Lament managed to stand up but the pain in his crotch forced him to vomit, "...urk...to be honest...urk...I fell asleep."
It was nearly an hour before Lament found himself free of the agony that Kursed had caused him. They went to the kitchen for lunch, where their talk continued after Lament made something to eat...
"So if that wasn't you being arrested who was it?"
Lament laughed as he walked to the table she sat at and slid her a plate with two sandwiches, and sat down with one of his own, "A very happy, moderately wealthy bum...with a very convincing hologram over his body."
Kursed chuckled to herself quietly and ripped one of the sandwiches in half, steaming golden cheese connected the two halves, "Grilled cheese...I haven't eaten this in years."
"You kidding?...I eat this all the time...one of my favorites."
"So where do you suppose we'll start looking for that Slash character?"
"Beats me...you know anyone that's good at tracking?"
Lament bit his lip to keep from laughing at a rather long string of melted cheese dangling from her lip, the look on his face gave him away..
"What?" Kursed asked.
"No-nothing...but you may want to wipe that cheese off your face."
Kursed rolled her eyes and wiped the cheese from her face, "Well...Xander could pretty much find anyone, but I have no idea where he and Arlex are."
Lament paused as he was about to bite into one of his own sandwiches, "MEL...look up anything you can find on Xander Cramm...especially recent purchases of a ship."
"Limit the search to Katinan archives...that's where they bought their new ship."
MEL's voice responded about a minute later, "Scanning Katinan archives...process length...approximately 6 hours."
After about another three hours of simply waiting around and doing nothing Kursed began to wonder what Lament was up to...she hadn't seen her supposed crew member in some time. She called him once of twice over the PA system but, received no reply...
"Lament is in the hall of the second deck preforming routine maintenance."
"Well at least he can find something to keep himself busy with."
Kursed was board out of her mind, three hours of doing absolutely nothing...she hadn't gone so long without something to do, in over two years. Now that she thought about it...chasing Lament down was all she ever really had to do anymore, now that she was only several meters from him at all times...there was really nothing left to keep her life interesting. "Well...maybe he needs some help or something...I can't stand sitting here anymore." She said to herself standing and heading off the bridge.
It took little time to get to elevator that would take her to the second deck, the halls here were just as empty as all the others accept for the fact that it was unbearably dark here. She walked down the halls blindly, bumping into walls and nearly tripping over unseen objects. Heading toward a light far down the halls. After a time she found her way to the light that was coming from a missing panel in the floor...
"Lament? You down there?"
"Yeah..." Lament's voice echoed from beneath her.
"What happened down here why's it so dark?" Kursed asked kneeling down by the hole.
Lament's head popped out of the hole, he holding a small florescent lamp, "I had to shut off the power down here to replace some faulty wiring." He said pulling himself out of the hole and sitting on the edge.
Once again she saw the scar near his naval as he was not wearing a shirt, "Where did you get that?" Kursed asked pointing at the scar.
Lament ran a finger along it, "A memento from an old friend. I was supposed to bring him in, I'll just say he'd pissed off the wrong people...we got into it. It started as a fist fight, but when I started to win...he stabbed me...I woke up a week later in the hospital."
"It's still nothing compared to the one you gave me when we first met...you drove your spear right through my thigh..."
"Well to be honest you got lucky..." Kursed said with a smile, "...I wasn't aiming for your thigh when I threw it."
"You know you don't have to go through this act all the time?"
"Come on...every time I turn around I can feel it..." Lament said, "...you searching for a good knife spot. I understand why you feel the way you do...but all I can do is apologize. If I could bring him back I would, but I can't. If my death means that much to you, then when this is over you can have it...I'm done fighting you...and I'm tired of running."
"You don't get it do you..?" Kursed said, "...I don't have any right to kill you, I never did. Everything was my fault...I should have went with my gut and never told him how I felt, at least then I'd have been the only one hurt."
"Hey...listen...If you keep looking to the past, you'll never see what lies ahead. You can't keep dwelling on past mistakes." Lament said, "I mean look at me...by all rights I should have been killed hundreds of times by now...but for some reason; fate, or destiny, or god...whatever you want to call it, decided that I should live. Why is still pretty damn unclear to me...my purpose now it to find out why? If I still have a purpose in life...what is it?"
"I think we have the same problem..." Kursed said, "...we devoted our lives to someone else, when that person was taken out of our lives we just didn't know how to react. You sunk into depression and alcohol, me...I decided to take everything out on the one person that may or may not have done me any wrong."
"Kid..." Lament laughed, "...just about everyone in this star system has a right to kill me." He said standing and walking down the hall, "MEL...return power to this area." He said, "Look I'm heading to the surface to visit Bella, if you feel like it you can come along. An extra set of hands would probably be a help with those repairs I promised to do on her place."
Though she was a bit embarrassed by their recent show of emotion Kursed just realized that Lament had just offered her a solution to her previous problem. The lights in the empty hall kicked on, and Kursed rushed out of the hall and quickly made her way to the docking bay, where Lament was going over some checks on his arwing before departure, he stopped and removed the black tank top that hung over his shoulder and wiped down the nose of his ship...
"She really means a lot to you doesn't she?" Kursed asked walking over to her own arwing.
"Huh...yeah this ship's saved my ass a number of times." Lament said patting the arwing's hull before putting his shirt on.
"Not the ship you idiot..." Kursed half laughed, "...Bella."
Lament began to run his fingers along the wing of the black fighter, "She's sort of an adopted family...so yes, she means very much to me...I care for her the way I would my own mother."
"When did you meet her?"
Lament rubbed the back of his neck, " About three...four years back. I was doing some work on Korona...that's a planet in the Stygian system...Korona, it's not a good place for a lone woman of any age...especially a blind one. She seemed to get along pretty well and all but, I gave her an offer to take her to a much nicer place. So I brought her to Sauria."
"I don't know...I just felt like she should be here...Dravyn always told me how much Sauria reminded him of Cerinia."
Lament approached her and removed a photo from his wallet and handed it to Kursed, "He was a Cerinian that I met in the war...he somehow got mixed into everything...never could get him to tell me how...he died on a ground mission, he and I both fell in league with the Katinan military, he and I were the only two that lived through the ambush our squad was hit by...but he was...shot two or three times carrying me out of the area, I was pretty badly hurt too. When I woke up I was laying across his lap, Dravyn's back was against a wall and his rifle was laying on my chest...he was still trying to protect me when he died...best friend I ever had."
As Kursed listened she looked at the photo; Lament was dressed in battle fatigues and still had his one eye, his arm was draped over the shoulders of a blue furred fox that stood next to him with and arm slung over Lament's shoulder. The Cerinian was of even a more impressive build that Lament's, he was shorter but very broad in his musculature.
"You two looked close."
"Well...in those kind of situations you want all the friends you can get. He told me that a number of his people got off of Cerinia before she blew, and some parents sent their children away. Either way you aren't alone out there. If you count him, yourself, and Bella, I've known four Cerinians myself."
"Who was the fourth?" Kursed asked handing him back his photo.
"I'd rather not talk about it..." He said boarding his arwing, "...besides that we've chatted enough. Let's go see how Bella's doing."
Their trip took no time at all before they landed on the beach...Lament was the first to leave his arwing only to notice smoke raising from Bella's place and flames dancing about the building. Lament was in shock, he couldn't move until Kursed moved up beside him, "Hey what's..." She cut herself off as she noticed what he was staring at.
Before Kursed could even realize that anything had happened Lament was sprinting toward Bella's house, the place had been recently set ablaze. Kursed finally caught up to Lament but found it odd that he wasn't more upset..
"Hurry up!! Bella could be in there!!" Kursed said rushing toward the building only to be caught by Lament who held her in place.
"She's not here...Look..." Lament said pointing to the sand.
There were three sets of footprints scattered about, a nearby tree had been sliced through, and there were several marks where someone had slid or was dragged through the sand...
"She fought them off for a while...but they carried her off...I bet it was hell for them to realize that she was Telekinetic..." Lament continued examining the tracks in the sand, turning and following as if he were somehow able to tell what had happened, "Okay here's what I think happened. It all started at the front door, Bella obviously sensed that something was wrong and blew the first guy away from the hut..."
"How can you tell that?" Kursed asked.
"Well for one thing...the door it way in the fuck over there..." Lament said pointing to the door which was laying a good two hundred yards away, "...there were only two of them so I'm suspecting that this might have been Slash and his psychotic little love muffin. The most of the fight was just the two of them trying to get close enough to her to knock her out..." Lament moved to the spots where someone had slid across the sand, "...they landed here, here, here...here, against this rock, this tree...which was promptly cut down for some reason, here, and finally here." He continued stopping by where Kursed was standing. Bella exerted too much power tossing them away from herself and finally collapsed...that's what made this impression by the door...then they just drug her off."
It was as Lament followed the tracks left from the two dragging the old vixen that he noticed the glint of something shiny in the sand. Lament knelt down and removed a very small disc from the sand, Bella had obviously left it for Lament to find. Kursed joined Lament who was studying the ULD (universal laser disc). If he knew Bella half as well as he thought he did, she'd left vital information on it. Lament slid the small disk into his wrist communicator...it was an audio disc...
Bella's voice came from the communicator.
Lament...if you're listening to this then I'm either dead...or missing, either way please don't blame yourself. If the two you were searching for really are intent on using the sword then they are headed to a planet in the Dan'jas system called Uth'maria. It was the chosen home of the humans that left Cerinia, that is where the other alter is...You cannot allow them to open the gate, otherwise the entire galaxy could be in peril...
Lament sighed as he ejected the disc and tossed it to the ground, "You don't need to risk yourself with this...it's my fight." He said heading to his arwing.
"I don't think so...you aren't the only one who has a hand in all of this you know?" Kursed said climbing into her own arwing, "Besides...it'll be a lot easier fighting two of them with two of us...and besides that you are a part of MY crew now...as your captain you have no choice but to follow orders."
Lament laughed at the persistence she showed, "Fine...fine. Then what do you say we just get this over with...so I can finally kill this bastard...and that crazy bitch of his gets on my nerves."
"Is that because she's crazy..." Kursed started as the airlock above her head slid shut, "...or because she kicked your ass?" She finished after turning on her ships com system.
She expected some sort of reply but...Lament only faked a slight smile, he was not handling the situation so well. Yet there was nothing to be done for it...she'd spent the better part of four years trying to kill him, she wasn't sure why but she felt that she should do something to take his mind off of the situation. The flight back to the Raven seemed eerily quiet...as she thought to herself while sitting in the cockpit of her docked arwing she came tor realized that Lament had become her friend somehow...and like any other friend she didn't want to see him in pain. It wasn't too long before she thought of something.
While Kursed was thinking to herself Lament plopped himself into the captain's seat on the bridge...
"MEL...how far are we from a planet called Uth'maria in the Dan'jas system?"
"Approximately 230,000 astronomical units..."
"What kind of trip time?"
"Approximately 49 days..."
"I was afraid of that...set a course for Papetoon we'll need supplies."
"Affirmative...processing with CHSA..." MEL's voice replied.
"Yo Kursed..." Lament shouted to the PA system, "...this is gonna be a hell of a trip...three days to Papetoon...then 49 more to get to Uth'maria."
"Well...if we can survive that long together without trying to kill each other we should be fine."
Lament looked to one of the screens before him and noticed the time 11 pm...he just wanted to forget all about all of this...and he knew just how to do that; a bath, and sleep...