Tales of the Universe: Father & Daughter

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Chapter 3

Sam woke up slowly, gradually returning to the land of the living. She slowly opened her eyes and tried to blink through the fog of sleepiness. Looking around, she at first did not recognize her surroundings, but it swiftly returned to her. This small house (Most would call it a hut) was her first home. Although there was a door on every one of the four sides of the room (One leading outside, two to bedrooms and one opening directly into a restroom) this was what made up most of the humble abod: A comparatively large circular room that doubled as kitchen, lounge, study and whatever else Seth happened to need at the moment.

Its dirt floor and faded wooden walls lent a underground feeling to the surroundings, and objects of every size shape and purpose lay scattered across it. Her Father was a great man, but a lousy housekeeper. Sam slowly sat up, rubbing her eyes and shifting slightly, allowing the blanket she did not even realize had been covering her to fall away. It took only a second glance to find Seth: Her Father, having shed his heavy coat, was preparing dinner. Which, she realized, she should have realized immediately, as he was doing it over an open fire. True, most of the smoke was escaping through ventilation in the roof, but why on Earth he refused to get an actual Thermo-pad or even stove was beyond her.

She slowly climbed out of the makeshift cot leaned up in the corner of the room, and walked over to the Fire, sitting down across from Seth. He glanced up at her will tending the fire. “Hello there sleepy head” he silently told her. She smiled and settled down, taking to watching the burning fire. When she remembered the events of the day, she glanced at her arm and was unsurprised to see a silvery metal band wrapped around it near her shoulder. Seth may have prefered old school solutions to most things, but thankfully fixing broken bones wasn’t one of them. Sam carefully removed the band and stretched. Her shoulder, ribs and ankle were all sore, but healed.

Sam yawned widely and then settled down for the quiet evening ahead. However, she was surprised when she heard (Or rather, felt) Seth speak. “You did well today”. She looked up at him, confused. “You’re not mad? At the...cliff...thing?” He shook his head, looking up from his tending of the fire. “You did exactly what I trained you to do: Survive. A few broken bones are better than being taken captive by an enemy”.

“Besides” He added as he leaned back, taking his own seat on the simple dirt floor. “I am more focused on your technique and strategy than anything, and both of those are improving rapidly” They fell silent again, as Sam contemplated his words. She couldn’t help herself as she broke into a wide grin. Sam, a voiceless street orphan until the age of ten, cared more for her Father's approval than almost anything else, and they both knew it.

She stifled her grin quickly however when Seth continued. “That being said, I think we’ve been spending too much time learning how to fight recently, rather than focusing on more practical skills”. “But…” she began to object and then faltered half way through. He raised his eyebrows at her and she finished quietly “But I enjoy it”. “I know you do” he sighed, as he sat up again and stirred the fire once more. “But there are other, more important things in life”. Now, he stared directly into her eyes. “Samantha, how much do you know of my career prior to retiring?” she was almost too stunned to speak. Seth had answered or avoided questions about his past as he saw fit, but had never brought it up before. “I...I know you traveled a lot” she finally responded. “I know you helped people. I know you fought in a war”.

At this, she paused, expecting some kind of a response. Her Father had always avoided the question of where he had learned to fight. However, he simply nodded. “Several, actually. Go on”. Slightly confused, Sam nonetheless continued to list what she knew of her Father's long career as...something, until she finally came to “And I know you were gifted this entire planet, Arketa, although by who and what for I don’t know”. The two looked at each other for a few seconds, before Seth broke out in laughter. “Have you been keeping track of everything I’ve told you for the last six years?” She blushed, embarrassed.

Seth stopped laughing and returned to the business at hand, although his eyes retained a glimmer of amusement. “In addition to all that, I dabbled in evangelical efforts now and then” Now this truly surprised Sam. She had always been a believer herself, her faith being the only thing sustaining her when living on the streets, but Seth only rarely acknowledged a spiritual belief. Then again, Seth Rarely spoke at all, aloud or otherwise.

Sam’s attention was quickly drawn back to her Father, as he continued on. “Admittedly, I was often too...busy, to really focus on such efforts, but I did play a hand in the foundation of a few missions. one in particular sits on the border between the Confederacy and the Skia-Andres Kingdom”.

“Isn’t that No-man's land?” Sam asked, surprised. “Seth nodded, his attention again drawn to the dinner. Geography and History were not Sam’s strong suits, but she knew enough to know that that was a very dangerous area, sitting in an unclaimed area immediately between two superpowers that had always had a strained relationship.

Seth, almost as if he could read her thoughts (Which she reminded herself he actually could) then said “Which is precisely why their Shepherd has requested my presence, and why I have accepted.” It took a while for these words to register, before she burst out “Were going off world?”.

He frowned. “Well, I am. I never said I was taking you with me” However, upon seeing the look on her face he quickly backpedaled and reassured her. “Yes, we're going off-world. It will give me a chance to see a few old friends, and it will be a great experience for you. For now, however” he suddenly switched topics, standing up and pulling the pot out of the fire. “Dinner is ready. Let’s eat”.

An hour later, after a hearty meal of stew and an in-depth discussion of Interstellar politics, Sam stepped out of the simple house and saw that night had already fallen. She shivered slightly in the brisk air, but quickly ignored it as her mind raced with her Father's announcement. She had never left her Home-world (Indeed, she never had the opportunity) and was extremely excited and completely terrified at the same time. Wrapping her borrowed jacket (Even Seth believed in not letting his Daughter go out in the cold without a coat) tightly around her, Sam began the comparatively short walk to her own home. Since first reaching the age of thirteen, Seth had decided she needed a house of her own. So to him, the obvious answer was to have a veritable mansion constructed for her to live in. She shook her head and couldn’t help but chuckle, even three years later, when her house came into view: Three stories tall, just as wide and with a grand respectfulness and manor about it, it was better suited for a ambasador than a single teenager. To be fair, she did have several friends visit on a regular basis (Namely the young married couple who ran planet security) and she was the Daughter of the planets owner she supposed. Still, it was a bit ridiculous to have a different bedroom to sleep in every day of the week. If she counted the Living rooms. After the streets and her father's home, she still wasn’t entirely used to sleeping in comfortable king sized beds. The memories of the streets of capital city briefly caused her to shiver (But not out of cold) before she shook them from her head and continued her walk. There was much to do before She and her Father left in a few weeks, but she still had a feeling she would sleep well tonight. With both the long walk to the top of the Northwest falls and the sparring match, not to mention the side effects of the Bone mender, she was still entirely exhausted. However, one question did make it through the fog filling Sam’s mind as she got closer to her bed:As far as she knew, Her Father did not own a ship of any kind. So who's transport were they taking?
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