“High Speaker Bahati,” Imani says, smiling. “It has a nice ring to it.”
Imani and Bahati are the only people in this interstellar vehicle hangar, the space where Commander Ugi died. The two girls stroll down the aisle of vehicles mostly silent. Imani touches everything they pass, but Bahati makes a beeline for the spaceship they are looking for.
“I don’t know about the high speaker thing. It feels weird. I never wanted this,” Bahati says, ducking underneath a low interstellar spacecraft. “This is the one.”
Imani looks at the giant ship they stop before. This is the one that will take her home. It reminds her of airplanes on Earth, but sleeker with pointed wings. Her hand cools when she touches its side.
She should be happy, but she isn’t. All she has known these last ten years is Yabisi. This planet is her home, but her family is somewhere else. She is sure her family has changed as much as she has. It is going to be strange seeing them after all these years. She does not even know what she will say to them. It is all too much.
“I’m scared,” Imani says, looking down.
Bahati lifts her chin. “There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
“Ekon is out there somewhere plotting against Earth. I can feel it. What will the UJC do about him?”
“There’s nothing the Consortium can really do, since Earth is not a protected planet. I don’t think Ekon will attack Earth, though.”
“What if he does? How will we protect ourselves? The Consortium has already voted against getting involved if something like that happens.”
Bahati shrugs, not unemotionally. “I wish I could come with you. You are your planet’s last defense. Warn them. Find a way to make them believe you.”
“So, this is it? It’s over?” Imani says, touching Bahati’s face.
Bahati’s irises are a deeper, fiery gold. Her pupils are like black slices. She has not done her hair recently, but she is beautiful. Her face cups her green face like hands holding a delicate animal. Imani’s heart melts, but she tucks away her gloom, trying to end things on a bright note.
“It’s not over. This is just beginning for you,” Bahati says, kissing her.
When Fleet Commander Velga shows up, the ship hums to life, and its steps let down. Imani hugs Bahati for too long, neither pulling away until Commander Velga says it is time to go. Marching up the steps, Imani looks back once more but Bahati is already gone. Silently, Imani’s heart shatters into a million pieces.
As usual, I must first thank God for everything and giving me the ability and strength to carry on in the face of adversity. I’d like to thank the nonbelievers because you give me the fire to fight. Thanks, Mom, for being who you are.
If you enjoyed this book and would like to find similar stories by Jermaine Reed, visit him on Facebook at All Things Beautiful by J Reed, on his website www.whoisjreed.com or at his blog The Devil’s Hornet. If you’re interested in reading about a hot woman who’s a professor by day and a sexual healer by night who uses sex to fix problems and turn gay men straight, read part one and part two of The Naughty Professor by Jermaine.