(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Seona was written by Olivia H. Leitner.)
Seona tossed yet another book into the growing pile by her medical bed as she sighed in disgust. She hadn’t even gotten halfway through it. “Yes, we’re fightin’ an invasion of zombie cyborgs, but sure, we have time for the sixteen-year-old to decide which of the equally stupid boys she’s goin’ to spend her life with right now.”
A mix of a choke and splutter came from the man seated across the room in a chair that was far too comfortable to be in any normal hospital. “Zombie cyborgs?”
“I wish I was kiddin’. Where did you even find that? Don’t tell me these all were Kway’s?” When Vi’el had offered to get her some books, she’d assumed they’d be some highly regarded epics from some planet their employer had visited in the past – he definitely seemed like the type.
Vi’el shrugged. “They were in the station’s library. Not sure who brought them aboard. Kway keeps his books in his office, though, so I doubt they’re his.”
“Well, whoever it is has merskot taste in books…” She flopped her head back against pillows of the inclined bed. “I need Countdown Eclipse.”
Vi’el chuckled as he stood from his chair. “Haven’t you read that book like literally over a hundred times?”
“Oh, way more than that.”
Vi’el’s lips twitched into an amused smile.
Seona jabbed a finger at him. “Don’t give me that look, it’s been out for several hundred years. If I re-read my favorite book once a year, that’s not unreasonable, and I don’t even read it that often.”
“Fair enough.” He tapped the wrist of his left arm with the index and middle finger of his right, activating the holographic display of his implanted wrist computer. “Well, Kway’s got me on a mission soon near Andar. We’ll see if I can’t find a copy somewhere.”
She smiled widely. “Thanks, love.”
“You are quite welcome.” He closed the holographic display and leaned over to plant a kiss on her forehead before brushing some of her hair back. “Anything else I can get you before I go to keep away the boredom?”
“Actually, I’ve got a guest comin’ onboard the station, so I should be fine. Just move that chair closer to the bed on your way out, maybe?”
“Certainly.” Vi’el dragged the chair closer. “This guest anyone I know?”
“Nope. I’ve never met her before either.”
Vi’el backed towards the door with his right eyebrow highly raised. “All right then. Have fun?”
She grinned. “When do I not?”
His chuckle echoed down the hallway as he left, but then it was cut with an, “Oh, pardon me.”
Seona knew her husband’s tones quite well, so she could tell he wasn’t familiar with whoever he’d run into.
That must have been her guest, then. There were only about twelve to twenty people aboard at any given time, and they knew everyone else quite well.
Seona sat up straight – pressing a hand to her side to make sure she didn’t jostle her wound – and waited.
Kelly walked into the room, noticed Seona’s tense position and how she held her hand to what appeared to be a wound, and Kelly tilted her head to a side. “What happened?” Then she remembered her manners. “Oh sorry, I’m Kelly. I believe you’re expecting me.” She drew near to the bed and shook Seona’s hand. “But please, relax. Lay down. No need for formality with me, but what did happen to you?” As Kelly asked this, she lowered herself into the chair near the bed and waited for the answer.
Seona waved off the apology and shook Kelly’s hand in return. “It’s fine. Pleasure to meet you in person, Kelly.” She stayed seated up. “Gunshot. Mostly healed now. My friend’s eyesight isn’t quite as good as mine, and we were in a snowstorm in hostile territory.”
Kelly nodded when she heard this. “I’m hoping it wasn’t your friend who shot you—by accident, of course, but being shot in a snowstorm…that certainly says something about somebody’s aim.” She chuckled as she relaxed in the chair. “So, was that your husband, Vi’el, I passed in the hall?” She jutted her chin toward the door. “How did you two meet?”
Seona snorted. “Yeah, he couldn’t tell it was me and he is a very good shot. Glad he didn’t aim for my head. Not sure my helmet would have stopped and energy weapon’s bullet.” She clasped her hands in front of her. “And yep. That lovely gentleman is mine. We met back in 1736 on Andar. Ran into each other when I was actin’ as a bodyguard for a diplomat. He was just a traveler, but he ended up dodgin’ flying bottles with us when there was a disagreement in the tavern.”
“Very interesting.” Then Kelly brought her hands together and leaned forward, meeting Seona’s gaze. “I understand you were previously engaged before Vi’el though. What happened?”
Seona was silent for a moment. How? Just how had this woman gotten that information? Kway had mentioned that she was well informed, but she hadn’t expected this. “Glasson. He was killed in the line of duty. We were both in a war that took place before my people settled on Andar.” He was killed. Such a simplified version of those events.
Kelly tilted her head, observing Seona. She could see there was much more to the story than she was telling, but she decided not to focus on that actual event. “What was Glasson like?”
So, she wasn’t going to press on the actual events. Smart woman. “He was… realistic. Had a very direct way of lookin’ at things. He didn’t see the point in sugar coatin’ things, but he he always hoped for the best. The war definitely dampened his spirits, but I could always tell he had much more fun side that he didn’t let get out much after he’d been fightin’ for so long.”
Kelly nodded when she heard this. “And what would be one thing that his presence in your life taught you? His hope?” She raised her brows. “Or something else?”
Seona considered the question for a moment. She’d spent so many years trying to forget that part of her life that it was strange thinking back to it like this. “His courage. And selflessness. When we first met, we were very young, but he was already fightin’. Scared to death, but still fightin’. As he got older, I could she him push past that. He’d have done anything to save a comrade.”
“And what of your own family? I mean, your parents. Any siblings?” Kelly shifted the topic. She was aware that Seona was part of the immortal races in this world, so after much time, family could become irrelevant over time, but still, Kelly was curious.
“Hmm…” Seona nodded. Yet another fun topic. “My mother was an engineer. She was killed in an accidental explosion. My father… I’m still not sure. We were separated a long time ago and I haven’t been able to find him. I do have an older brother – Varian – and I know he’s alive, but I haven’t seen him in a long time either. Kway is helpin’ me track him down currently.”
“Why is he so difficult to find? Why are you two so far apart in the first place?” Kelly raised her brows as she sat back in her chair. She knew she was asking hard questions, but then again, that was her job.
Seona laughed. She never realized just how complicated her history was until she had to put it into words. “That is… a very long story. I was separated from him at the same time as my father. It back durin’ the same war Glasson and I fought in. Space battle just went… very wrong very quickly. I thought Varian was dead, so I didn’t look for him, and he ended up with amnesia, so he didn’t even know I existed. I only recently found out he was alive, and… it’s a big universe. Trackin’ one person down can be difficult.”
“How did you find out he was alive though? And what of your father? You don’t sound convinced that he died. Are you looking for him as well?”
These were not the questions she had been expecting. Seona shifted in her bed again, trying to find a more comfortable position. “An enemy of his, actually. Turns out my brother got into a bit of trouble while he was wanderin’ around memoryless. As for my father… I’m fairly certain he gone. I usually don’t entirely trust that someone I know is dead unless there’s a body, but I do trust Kway and he says he’s sure.”
“Who’s Kway?” At the look Seona gave her, Kelly chuckled. “Listen, I know a lot, but I don’t know everything. It’s part of the fun of these interviews.”
“Fair enough.” Kway may have been well-know among their group, but he certainly kept his secrets. “Kway is an information dealer who is extremely good at his job. He sought out everyone on this station and gave them personal invites to join his cause of restorin’ peace to the galaxy* – his words, not mine. I can’t say I truly know his motives, but he’s proven himself enough times. I am… a tad suspicious of his involvement in wanting to find my brother, though. He’s treatin’ it rather personally. ”
Kelly furrowed her brows when she heard this, and she brought her hands to tap against her chin thoughtfully. “What do you think his motives are regarding your brother?”
Seona shrugged. “Similarity to something that happened with his own family? That’s my best guess. Being an information dealer makes it so he’s pretty good at keepin’ his own past from anyone else.”
Kelly had to grin. “Sounds like someone I should talk to. Wonder what info I’d get out of him.” She then shook her head, still smiling, but focusing back on the topic at hand. “All right, so what were your parents like? What was life like before the war? Or has the war been ongoing that long?”
“Ohhh, you two would have a blast.” If anyone could get information out of Kway, it’d be this woman. Something about her just made Seona not mind telling her things. “Though I feel I should warn you – his level of charm should be illegal. Well, with others, anyway. He doesn’t tend to use it on me. Probably because he knows it won’t work. Or maybe because I’m married.”
Ah, back to this topic, were they? “Well, my mother died when I was very young, so I don’t remember much. My father was…” She bit her lip. “If I had to chose one word, I’d say fun. Don’t ask me how, but he somehow managed to be the sassy class clown and still get the respect as any other head of security on a ship. And I wasn’t a before the war for me. I was born durin’ it.”
Kelly nodded when she heard this about the war. She had expected it. “And what of your brother? What was he like?”
“Sweet.” Seona’s response was automatic. “He was the brother that was sweetly protective instead on annoyingly.” She shook her head, dropping her gaze. “He shouldn’t have been a soldier. Too kind of a heart to be in the middle of the bloodbath we got thrown into.”
Kelly was silent for a moment as she observed Seona. “I’m sure you have good memories of him though, and hopefully, when you find him again, he is just as sweet as you recall.” She smiled. However though, she shifted the topic once more. “So, tell me about your daughter.”
Seona forced a smile that she knew was not at all convincing because she didn’t even try to make it so. Where she got Varian back or not, she knew he would be the same. He’d done horrible things after his memory loss and the was no way he’d ever be the same.
Oh, now there was a much more welcome topic. “Adeline. She’s currently helping rebuild a part of a city on a nearby planet along with her fiancé.”
“What is she like? What’s her personality?” Kelly smiled when she saw how Seona seemed to relax at this new topic.
Seona rolled her shoulders, trying to relieve the stiffness there. “She’s is a complete mix between of me and Vi’el. She looks just like me – same hair and eyes – and she’s got the same optimistic, energetic spunk as her dad. And somehow she picked up Varian’s pilotin’ skills – no idea where that one came from considerin’ they’ve never met.”
Kelly chuckled. “Genetics. He’s related to you after all, so I’m not surprised.” She leaned forward, clasping her hands together, locking eyes with Seona. “What is your hope for Adeline? For her future?”
Seona arched an eyebrow. “Her future? Well, she’s a couple hundred years old herself and she’s got a good life, I guess I just hope it stays that way. Hope she doesn’t have to face a lot of the tough situations me and her father have.”
Kelly smiled. “You all may be immortal, but…that doesn’t change how life affects you. If anything it affects you harder–especially if you lose someone close to you because, for you, eternity has an entirely different concept.” She paused for a moment then asked, “Mind if I stand? Sometimes I like to walk around a bit. It helps me think.” When Seona nodded, Kelly smiled her thanks and rose to her feet, meandering around the small room. “And Aronsam—I understand you’re good friends with him. Who is he exactly?”
“Oh, you certainly don’t have to tell me that. I’ve lost enough people to know.” Thanks for the reminder…
That unpleasant thought was completely pushed aside with the next question, though. Seona burst out laughing. And kept laughing. “You have… no idea how many years Vi’el and I have been askin’ that exact question. He just… popped into our lives and didn’t leave. Kept showin’ up to help us out with certain problems we were havin’. He and Adeline have been best friends since she was a teen, but he didn’t tell her who he was either. Kway couldn’t even find a hint about his history.” She wiped a small tear of laughter from her eye. “Finally, though, we found out he’s–“
“Not a word!” Aronsam popped up in the doorway, jabbing a finger at her. “That secret does not leave our trusted circle, Mrs. Westheart!”
Seona rolled her eyes. “Oh, stop bein’ such a drama queen. And I’m in the middle of an interview – go get me a cup of coffee or somethin’.”
Aronsam’s hands settled on his hips as his eyebrows shot up. “Um, I’m sorry, I believe you’ve mistaken me for a slave of some kind?”
Seona gave him a deadpan glare. “You. Shot. Me. I’m stuck in this bed because of it. Go get me coffee.”
Kelly laughed. “You shot her? She’s right, you do owe a cup of coffee…or several.” She grinned but then turned back to Seona and sighed. “Unfortunately though, our time is up. Thank you so much for meeting with me though and answering my questions. I enjoyed learning about you.”
Aronsam’s sigh lasted for several seconds. “There are only so many times I can apologize… Fine. I’ll get you coffee. Lovely meeting you, person I don’t know the name of!” He waved over his shoulder as he left. He only took two steps before he had to dodge around someone else in the hallway. “Oh, hello Kway.”
Seona smiled. “Not a problem – I had an interesting time doing it.” She gesture to Kway, who was standing in the doorway, leaning on the polished cane of his as his solid black eyes observed them. “Since I can’t walk you out, Kway will fill in for me.”
“Thank you.” Kelly bowed her head to Seona then turned to greet Kway with a smile. Oh, this would be an interesting chat if she could talk with him.
Olivia H. Leitner’s novel, Accusations (Book 1 in the Siren’s Call series) is not yet released and has no set publication date yet. However, you can follow her on Facebook to get inside look into the universe she is creating as well as any publication information.
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