Kressa has become a widow. Will a mysterious relative help them or turn them away?
|She was tired. The ship was in night shift, but as tired as she was, she couldn't sleep. Now her back and legs needed to move. Carefully, Kressa shifted in her seat, trying hard not to wake her daughter, who slept with her head in her mother's lap in the bench seat they had claimed for the ride. Cassie didn't move. Kressa reached down and delicately moved the lock of dark hair from her daughter's face. Her father's hair.
Kressa held back tears. It had been almost two months since she had received the message that Jordan had been killed. She went over her mind again of her concern of her husband being an officer for the Authorities and Jordan had been adamant on his position.
Kressa slowly stroked Cassie's hair. She was only twenty-five and now a widow with a young child. She turned back to the small window, to watch the stars.
"Moon-base in thirty minutes!" The announcement went though out the ship.
"Baby, wake up." Kressa gave Cassie a small shake.
Cassie bolted upright as the announcement came through again.
"Momma, who's yelling." She looked around.
Kressa gathered up her daughter. "No one. It's just the speakers."
"Are we at there, yet?"
"No. This is just the Moon-base. We have to change ships here." Kressa noticed that Cassie seemed fully awake now. She marveled at how her daughter could do things so easily. "Grab your bag." Kressa reminded her.
Cassie clutched the back pack for a moment, as if feeling that everything was still inside that need to be. Then with an seeming easy move, she slipped it onto her shoulders. "Ready, Momma."
"Good. Remember. Stay put until they say we can get off." Kressa said as she made sure her own bag was situated. Absently she touched the pouch that lay under her shirt, near her skin.. The pouch with all the credits they had. She sighed as she remembered selling the few things that they own, but that was what they were; things. She glanced over at her daughter, who sat with back straight, eagerly awaiting the landing. 'She's so brave.' Kressa thought.
Cassie looked around the ship, at least whenever she could. The seats were tall in this section. Humans weren't the only ones that traveled to the moon-base from Earth. She met the eyes of different beings with her own violet colored eyes. She had been fasinated at first, at so many types that were as on this ship. Now she knew that there would be more at the Moon-base. She had heard her parents say that much.
"Momma? Will we get to see anything while we're here?" Cassie asked. "Didn't Daddy say that there was a garden with water and animals?"
Kressa looked at the wide eyed child. She smiled. "We'll see, baby."
"Please remain in you seats until the ship has come to a complete set down and docking ports are secure."
Cassie wiggled in her seat. She could hardly wait.
"Momma, I want to see the stars. I want to see if we can see all of the base. Can we?"
"Let me see when the other ship takes off first. Okay?"
Landing and docking went without any problems. Kressa held onto her small child's hand so as not to lose her in the large crowd that filled the base terminal. After a few questions, she headed toward the section where their next flight would be.
Cassie held on tight as they weaved their way in and out of the crowd. She couldn't see much of anything but feet and legs. She glanced up at her mother's face as Kressa scanned the crowds. Cassie was still a little tired, but she kept up as fast as her legs would go.
Soon they reached the counter and Kressa spoke to the attendants that stood behind the desk.
Cassie carefully slipped her hand out of her mother's and shifted the pack on her shoulders. There were not very many beings waiting here.
"Not for another four hours?" Cassie heard her mother say. That was a long time.
Cassie reached into a pocket of the bag, her mother held and pulled out a food bar. Her mother had made sure they had plenty. She smiled as Kressa glanced at her, nodded and returned to the attendants.
"Is there any place where we could stay in the mean time?" Kressa asked.
"There are a few itemized hotels in here at the base. Then there are the ones that you could get a transport to. They are the most expensive."
Kressa sighed. She shifted her bag and reached down to take Cassie's hand. "Well, baby, we might as well sit here and wait for..." The space next to her was empty. Kressa hurriedly looked around.
"Cassie?" She didn't see her. "Cassie!" She turned to the attendants. "Did you see which way my daughter went?"
"Yes, ma'am." One answered her. The young man pointed toward a walkway. "She went that way a few seconds ago.
"Why didn't you say anything?!" Kressa said, panicing. She didn't see the look the young man gave her.
"She's not my kid." He said, emotionless.
Kressa hurried in the direction that was indicated and nearly screamed. There were more beings in the corridor and they were heading in both directions. How would she find Cassie? Suddenly a cry sounded to her left.
"Some one! Get this child!" Kressa didn't hesitate. As best as she could, she elbowed her way through the crowd.
Cassie munched her food bar and sat next to the huge animal she had found. "Want some?" She ask, as she broke off a piece and held it out.
The animal looked like a cross between a large terran dog and cat. It had shaggy fur that covered it's muscular body except the face. Bright yellow eyes followed the young girl's hand and carefully plucked the tidbit. Large teeth slowly crunched. It looked up at it's owner in obvious disgust as the being approached and reached for Cassie.
"Some one, hurry!" The being was tall, pudgy, and he was dressed in fine silk robes. His sallow skin had beads of perspiration on it as he pulled his hand back. He stared at his animal with disdain. "What is wrong with him. He's never let anyone so close before." He asked a human that stood next to him. "You said he was trained for just me?"
"Sir, I'm sorry. I just don't understand how-." He never finished. His employer backhanded him.
"You are useless! I don't know why..." The being stopped as a rumble sounded. Fearfully, he turned toward the pair behind him.
"Why did you hit him when he was talking to you?" Cassie was on her feet, the animal right beside her. Another rumble sounded from the animal's throat. Cassie put a hand on him. "Don't be mean." The rumbling stopped. "Okay, now stay here."
"Baby?" Cassie turned to her mother.
"Momma, I found a new friend. Want to meet him?" Grinning from ear to ear, Cassie went to her mother's arms. "Can I have him? He has manners."
Kressa looked over at the being and after a moment, bowed. "Please, forgive my child, Honored Sir. She is very young. It won't happen again." Without another word, Kressa turned and headed back to terminal where she would wait for their ship. She had to get back before officials were called.
The being watched them leave, then jumped as the animal came close and sat next to it's owner. Hand shaking, he reached down and carefully patted the now docile animal's head.
"Momma, why can't I have him?"
"Cassie, that one doesn't belong to you. It has an owner." Kressa chided as she sat in a seat near to the desk. She set Cassie down and checked her over. "What have I said about staying with me or going to strange animals?"
Wide-eyed, Cassie looked up at her mother. Her lower lip quivered. "I miss my home." She said quietly. "I miss Daddy. I miss Boo. Why couldn't we at least have brought Boo."
Kressa gathered her child into her arms. She sat rocking back and forth slowly as she spoke. "Because Boo was not allowed off Earth. He is a pedigree Boxer-Dane." She looked into her daughter's tear-filled eyes. "And it would have taken to long to transport him." She didn't mention that it would also have been expensive. Kressa rocked Cassie as she looked around the terminal. Some patrons were giving them looks. She sighed. It wasn't the first time that Cassie had done this sort of thing, but she couldn't let that stop her from finding them a safe place.
She felt Cassie go slightly limp as the child fell asleep. Kressa put Cassie's pack down near the chair and carefully lay the child's head on it. She brought out a small cover and put it on Cassie. After making sure Cassie was really sound asleep, Kressa put her feet out so that Cassy was between them and the chair legs, her own legs forming a small barrier. With that, she resigned herself for the wait.
Opening her eyes, Kressa picked up her legs when Cassie shifted in her sleep again. She looked at the time; two hours yet to go. She closed her eyes again.
"Kressa De Luc?" A strong voice sounded near her. Kressa's eyes opened quickly. She stared at the tall stranger in front of her. She tensed as she spied his leather gloved hands and returned to look at his face. His light brown eyes seemed to smile at her, but out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the beings next to her moving away.
"I'm called 'Mathias'." His smile slowly disappeared. "I've been assigned to take you back." He held out his hand. "If you please, I would like not to..." His eyes flicked down and he stood still.
Kressa moved her head to follow his gaze. She saw Cassie was awake and staring up at the Hunter. Kressa became alarmed as Cassie got up and went closer to the stranger. She saw the Hunter fidget a little as Cassie kept staring up at him.
"You're tall." Cassie stated. She smiled. "I bet you could touch the stars." Her eyes went to his hands.
Mathias looked at Kressa. "She has no fear." He said, but jumped as Cassie pulled on his glove.
Kressa moved quickly and gathered up her daughter. She sat shaking as Cassie spoke up again.
"Momma, why are his hands covered? Is he like Daddy? Is he an officer?" As she glanced over at her mother's frightened eyes, Cassie began to shake. She turned to Mathias. "Why is my Momma scared?" Her small face showed anger.
Mathias stared in shock then looked around before leaning closer. "Did you husband give you anything? Leave anything of importance with you?" He whispered. "I need to know."
Kressa stared at him in shock before she slowly shook her head. She swallowed a hard lump before she spoke. "Are you a...?"
Mathias' hand camp up quickly as he shook his head. "Don't say anything?" He glanced around quickly again, then looked down at the two. He met Cassie's eyes again. Slowly a smile came to his face. "I think they were wrong on a few accounts." He whispered. He moved as if to survey the terminal. "I've found nothing here." He said aloud before walking out. He never looked back.
"Momma, who was that?"
Kressa barely heard her daughter's words. She watched the doorway to see if he would return, but no-one appeared. Kressa suddenly jumped as she felt a touch on her shoulder.
"The transport will arrive in about 20 minutes." The young female clerk said.
Kressa nodded and before she gathered her bags, she set Cassie down to face her.
"Baby, listen to me. If you ever see a person with gloves on, you avoid them. Okay?" She saw the confusion on Cassie's face. "Those men are not all officers. Some are Bounty hunters. Do you hear me. Don't go near them."
Cassie stood, her young face furrowed with concentration. After a moment, she nodded, before she asked. "What's a bounty hunter?"
Kressa gave her a hug. "I'll explain later. Let's get ready to get on board." With that the picked up their bags and waited until the transport was ready.