Morskoi to Kotir, more than two weeks had passed, and the crew of the Lila had grown accustomed to their prowling cargo. If Helia had any indication of why the captain was acting strangely the last day, she would not tell - but after their bout of lovemaking, the doctor left Autumn snoring, and wandered the ship, sensing. Perchance she was not a rival of a secret operative in terms of stealth, but in the calm void of space, she knew
when a mind was headed her way.
Faced with the assembled Kotiri, Irina was at a loss for words. The multitude of shapes surrounded her, waiting for their envoy to make sense of their predicament - yet her two halves were still alien to each other, a bridge not built and none in sight.
Merely Simargyll rejoiced as she spoke, adding a very content comment of "words good" to the discussion. The others were puzzled as she explained how they would be ferried to the home - they were frightened, growing hungry and somehow, she could sense a certain lack of faith
. Their envoy had not proven herself in any way. What if they decided to remake
her, or to take their chances with one of the crew?
Instead of instructions or tutoring, there were the waiting stares, unfathomable emotions and stirrings, and feral dreams; lethal shapes were prowling in and out of her room, the unasked question clear.
She could imagine herself sharing this with the crew, not yet - but sooner than later, they had to be headed to the weapon lockers, so much she knew.
Or perchance now?
The captain felt something approaching, the faint fragrance of jungle blossoms filling her nostrils. With a snarl she spun around, the barrel of her drawn sidearm gleaming.
Apologetically, the doctor raised her hands, then approached, laying one on Irina's shoulder, the other on her face, brow furrowed, but smiling, then very briefly smirking and her eyes ablaze with mischief, then turning serious again.
"You are disappointed, nervous, afraid. If Jerome didn't spend all his loving glances on the new gun of his, I'd wager it's matters of the heart - but so I have to conclude it's your pack."
The captain could but nod, eyeing Helia with one eyebrow raised.
"I guess you have attempted to communicate, but you find it already hard to reconcile the halves within, and to explain the concept of space flight, the waiting and perceptions of hyperspace to your feral side is difficult; to bring the point across to the other
Irina rather did not attempt to elaborate upon what the doctor had said, prefering to nod instead of explaining the dichotomy, her struggle to maintain a coherent self, how her human half wrestled to rein in the Kotiri mind, who resented being denied. Even now, her feral side attempted to do things to her body by mechanisms she hardly understood - luckily, sufficiently enough to respond with a steady opposition. Stray thoughts flitted through her mind as they talked, the alien side clueless about why she did not assert her dominance over the smaller female, highlighting her eligibility, fertility and subordination, and glossing over issues of gender.
Helia smiled and gave her a wink, adding: "Thank you, flatterer."
Then, she returned back to the more pressing topic: "There is one Kotiri you haven't
talked to yet - the single one not freed from stasis yet. Both judging from his body that's more resemblant of a tool-using creature than predator, and from the fragments of information we know, he may be of the thinking breed."
Hesitantly, the duo made its way to the storage room.
Autumn awoke, noticing an emptiness where she usually would find a warm, smooth creature. More on instinct than anything else, she asked the computer: "Artemisia, localise Sunny Greene?"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgOrKuAy9S4