The First Her

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Part 30

“No. You must flick your wrist to the left.”

Kira groaned. Vrox was currently trying to teach her how to throw knives. Needless to say, her accuracy was terrible.

“We can stop if you are tired.”

"Nope. Let’s keep going.”

She was sure that she was quite a sight. She was practically a ball of soft flesh trying to be deadly. The men that were working around the territory were probably chuckling.

While men rarely approached her, Vrox often chatted with them. He was trying to get a sense of everyone, hoping to identify anyone that was problematic. So far, they only presented astonishment, shyness, and awe.

Kira practiced her throwing until a loud thud pulled her attention behind them.

“Are you alright?” Vrox called out to the 40-something year old that was picking up a log.

“Yes, Commander. It is nothing.”

Vrox helped the man pick up the log.

“Thank you for working hard!” Kira waved. If Ezronians could blush, she was sure that this one would light up.

“Do you think they’re okay?” she asked Vrox when the man walked away.

“They are,” Vrox said. “My brothers and I helped them build their camps. They are thankful to the Fates for giving you to us, so they are working hard to show their gratitude.”

“Do they have enough food and furs? Since we just started rebuilding, I know that they’re not living like kings. They deserve comfort.”

Vrox bent to kiss her forehead. “I will ask around to make sure they do not need anything.”

“Thank you, baby.”

They finished up training and headed to the second level. There, Nebula was helping Rokan pack his bags. He was scheduled to head out the next morning with Tylor, Wo’ton’s grandson.

“I will leave you here,” Vrox said. “I must go hunting with Akdronis.”

She watched him go, noticing that he rubbed his head for the umpteenth time. His headaches were getting worse, but he kept brushing off her concern.

Lately, she had been a mess of worry. She stressed over Kyros, over Vrox, and now Rokan.

"Hey, everyone. What’s cooking?”

Rokan frowned. “No one is making food here.”

She laughed and walked to his side. When she threw her arms out, his face morphed with horror. She hugged the tall alien and rested her cheek over his thundering heart. “Be safe out there, alright?”

“Kira,” Rokan wheezed, his body stiff. “Please release me.”

The baby shifted between them, and Rokan practically chocked with nerves.

“Will you be safe?” she asked him, squeezing him tighter.

“Yes, mothers, yes. I swear it.”

She let him go, and he flew across the room.

“They’re like cats in water,” Nebula observed.

“Yeah,” Kira laughed. “You can’t help but love them. They’re so endearing.”

The two of them began helping a fidgeting Rokan to pack two sacks of supplies. There was medicine, jerky-like meat, needle and thread, cotton, and small cooking knives.

Wo’ton entered the room soon later with a makeshift book in his hands. “Has anyone see Vrox?”

“He went out with Akdronis. Do you need anything?”

Wo’ton gestured to his book. “I need to discuss law with him.”

“Oh! Can I see it?” Nebula piped. “I want to test if I can understand some words.”

“Of course.” Wo’ton walked to her and extended the book.

“How is it?” Kira asked. “Can you understand anything?”

“There must be... some mistake,” Nebula drew out.

“What? Why?”

“Capital punishment is written all over this.” Nebula flipped from page to page, frowning deeper each time she found the word. “Wo’ton, is this a list of crimes and their punishments?”

The elder nodded. “Yes. Vrox and I have been piecing together the old policies.”

“Really? What crimes are worthy of it?”

Wo’ton quickly recited, “murder, rape, abandonment of a battlefield, coercion, child molestation or abuse. There is also sexual assault or beating of a mentally disabled person, an elder, a pregnant woman, and persons with certain disabilities, injuring a member of the royal family, and certain arsons.”

“Oh? But there’s like a trial, right?”

Wo’ton crooked his head as if her words were strange. “No. That is not what the Council is for. Now, if you excuse me, I must find my grandson. You may hold onto the book if you wish.”

“No trial?” Nebula repeated in English. “I don’t like this.”

Kira rubbed her face. “I know. Our values are very different, but they've been reasonable enough to let us bring some of Earth here with our inventions. They've welcomed us, so we have to be respectful of their culture and approach this conversation gently.”

“Yeah. Ask Vrox some questions and let me know what he says." Nebula flippled through the book. The daylight burned quickly. It probably had to do with how distracted Kira was. She kept thinking on Ezron's lack of trials and their sex requirement for Commanders. If the baby was a girl, then she would be considered unfit to lead. Kira had avoided having that conversation with Vrox for months

“You were distracted at dinner,” Vrox said later in bed.

“I was,” Kira agreed.

She wanted to learn more about the whole capital punishment thing, but she had to take things slow.

“Is it okay if I ask you something?”

“Of course.”

“I know women can't be commanders on Ezron. Can you explain why? And is there some voting system that would let people change this? I'm not very comfortable with this rule, and I was hoping that I could talk to everyone in the future about-”

“We will stop this conversation at once.”

"Huh? Why?”

“Kira, all of those men out there,” he stopped to point to the exit. “They have lost their mothers, sisters, daughters. They have lost their royal family, too. They are trying to overcome all of this misfortune by building with us and accepting us as their new leaders. Who am I to change their laws? Who am I to take more from them when they have already lost everything?”

She was quick to shake her head. “I didn’t mean to upset you. I'm sorry. I just wanted you to explain."

“No.”

“But-”

“I'm sorry, my Terran. There is nothing to discuss because the law will not change. Please do not stress.”

She inhaled deeply. “I’m not stressed. I’m just... disappointed. When did you stop seeing me not worthy of a conversation?”

He sighed and tried to wrap an arm around her.

Palming his chest, she stopped him. “Maybe we should keep some distance tonight."

For the first time in months, they slept on opposite sides of the bed.

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