Dreams & Other Things
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That last comment of hers about the dreams stuck with Shea, through the days and weeks ahead. When he did go to sleep, he wondered if she'd come again and this time he'd remember - but it didn't happen. At least, he didn't remember. There were always things to do, petty squabbles to manage, courses to lay, orders to fill, and equipment to fix.
Brody was becoming more and more of a problem. Shea had given Alba the go-ahead to fix or improve anything she thought needed it. She was a far better mechanic than his mechanic, and the differences in how much more smoothly things ran was noticeable to everyone. Alba appreciated having things to do. It wasn't in her nature to sit around staring at the walls. Brody kept bothering Bellana too, Shea's communications officer, making overtly licentious remarks to her. Bellana wrote him up and as a result, he spent four days in what served as the ship's 'brig'.
As far as Shea was concerned at this point, Brody was gone as soon as they got back to home port. He told Brody as much, while he was locked up. "I don't need this kind of aggravation. Brody McMahon. You've made yourself more of a liability than an asset to this crew and ship." When Brody was let out, he refused to do any work at all. Shea told him "Fine, then you're only getting paid for the trip 'til you got put in the brig...and if you cause any further problems, you'll spend the remainder of the trip in there."
A few days later Chuck, Shea's navigator, was looking for Alba to fix his chair which had inexplicably become stuck in a higher position than he had set it and refused to turn so he could get to his side console. He and Shea were coming back from the galley after grabbing a bit of lunch when the comm resounded through ship with a blood-curdling scream and a stream of curses, cut short by another scream. Just then, Shea's communicator beeped. "Come to your quarters, captain." It was Alba.
Shea and Chuck walked into the open door to find Brody pinned up against the wall, about three feet off the ground. In his left hand was the bracelet Lord Bethereon had given Shea as payment for extracting Alba from Turan. Alba was just standing there, hands on her hips staring at him. As Shea came around her, he saw the blues of her eyes were now red. "What's going on?"
"He was trying to steal the bracelet...if that isn't obvious. I've been keeping an 'eye' on him since you let him out and after what you said you told him. He's the reason Chuck's chair is jacked up and a few other things around here. I've been following him around for two days now, fixing things he's purposely messed up. Take it. Take it out of his hand and I'll finish it."
"Wait...wait...wait...!"Shea said. "Whadya mean 'finish it'?"
"What do you think I mean?" Alba asked, not taking her eyes off Brody.
"NO, No, and NO Alba! This isn't Turan. He'll be locked up and turned over to the PA's when we get back. Okay? Let him down now," Shea sighed, exasperated. "Please, for me."
"Take the bracelet first. Then I'll let him down," she answered with a scowl. On her world theives caught red-handed were summarily disposed of, on the spot. "He let himself into your quarters. and started rummaging through your stuff. I followed him in and watched him do it. Watched him find the bracelet. This has made me very angry!"
"You weren't in here you freeking witch! You lie!!" Brody shouted.
They all watched Alba disappear from sight, but heard her voice. "Oh yes, I was in here." She reappeared in a swirl of light.
Shea shook his head. A long exhalation coursed out his lips - relief that she'd mind his word. Chuck was immobile, his mouth agape. Only his eyes moved back and forth between Brody and Alba. Shea took the bracelet from Brody's hand. "I'd come peaceably, if I were you. I can't guarantee what she might do if you don't. You really don't want to cross her man, and if you haven't figured that out by now, you're dumber than a box of rocks."
Needless to say, Brody spent the remainder of the trip in the brig.
Shea took Alba into the meeting room, after she'd fixed Chuck's chair and he'd gotten Brody squared away. He made sure the door was locked and all the comms were off before sitting in the seat beside her and beginning what he had to say. "Why didn't you tell me, what Brody was doing, instead of following him around?"
"Because, I 'looked' into him and saw he was planning more than just making me look bad. He hates me because I make him look like the hack he is. That's why. I wanted to let him hang himself before I did, Shea. I...I didn't know if you'd believe me or not if I did tell you." Alba bowed her head with a short laugh. "Besides, I was thinking like a Turanian...well, at least a Rindarian - as you pointed out. I'm sorry. I know I can't bring our ways out here, or I give myself away...but it did make me furious that he took my father's bracelet that he gave you."
"I...I can understand that, Alba." Shea ran his hand through his hair, then smiled. "Thank you. It's not like I don't appreciate what you did, you know. It was careless of me to leave the bracelet in my pack. It's in my safe now."
"I know. I know. I just need to try to be more like you - you know, more reasonable in a Terran sort of way. I hope I didn't scare Chuck or anyone else. I like everyone, just not Brody." She extended her hand to him in the Rindarian gesture of friendship - a hand to hand grip.
Shea took her hand, leaning forward. "I don't want you to change Alba. I like you as you are. Just try not to do things the Rindarian way, and we're good. No incinerating or vaporizing people unless I order it. Alright?" He squeezed her hand and laughed.
Alba bit her lip and smiled. "Alright." Shea stood up then, as if they were done, but Alba kept hold of his hand. "Isn't there something you've been wanting to ask me?"
He wondered idly if she knew everything that went through his head. Probably. He guessed there was no use in saying otherwise. "Uhm, yeah...about the dreams. Why can't I remember them?"
"Because you haven't asked to remember them," she replied standing as well. Alba shrugged then. "Why do we need dreams, when we are in the presence of one another? I no longer need the dreams to know you. I can see you with my own eyes now. Don't you think reality is better than dreams?"
"Heh. Not always," Shea allowed. "I'd dream something else for us, if I could."
"For us?" Alba's brow rose.
"Well, that I was someone more worthy of someone like you. That's what I meant." There, he said it. "I have a great respect and admiration for you Alba. You're the most unique...the most beautiful woman I ever met. I'm not scared of you, but I do respect what you're capable of. Never doubt that!" Everything suddenly became surreal in the small room. He felt as if he were floating in a vacuum, but as far as he could tell his feet were still firmly planted on the decking.
"What makes you think you're not worthy? In spite of your 'profession', you have your own code of morals. Just because they may not agree with everyone elses' you know does not mean they are wrong. Simply different. You are intelligent about how you do things. You are most reasonable and fair - perhaps too much so. You keep your word and you remain true to those who are your friends. You have all the hallmarks of a noble man. It is only your circumstance that makes you what you are. My father would not have sent me with you, were you not all these things. As for myself, I would not be averse to something more between us...if that is what you mean. I am free to do as I please. If I never return to my home, then I do not. My father has a son, who has two sons. I am not required for succession, nor will my father force me to marry with someone I do not like for the expedience of politics, as you have seen. It is a promise he made to my mother before she died. My father also keeps his word. You are much like him, in many ways." Her soft smile flatlined. "And now I have said it too. The rest is up to you."
Shea took her challenge seriously.
So, that's more or less the story of Shea and Alba, but it may have some bearing on future events.
Thanks for stopping by my gallery and for your comments dear friends!
- April 23, 2013
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