drip… drip… drip…
Vyen’a’s eyes flicked along the outline of the ceiling, trailing her gaze across the durasteel plates welded together above her bed. She stretched, fingers reaching out to grasp empty air, and her ears strained to hear anything beyond the quiet drip of the faucet in the ‘fresher room.
High in orbit above Dantooine, she had slept. For the first time in a long time, she was truly alone. Even the droids had powered down for the night.
She hated it.
She had moved Red into a flat on Carrick last week. Before the 7th had officially moved to Corellia; to fight the war there. No use in Bald surviving the fight wherever he was, only to come back to a dead girlfriend. So the two women had searched out a safe spot for Ty’nea on Carrick. A small studio. Near a security hub. Extra security measures installed. When Vyen’a had left, handing a secure comm and stack of sketchpads over with a smile, the younger woman had looked so scared, but downright determined.
Vyen’a’s face flickered into a smile at the memory. ”Tha’ girl’s got a fightin’ spirit,” she muttered quietly.
But that left her alone. Utterly, completely alone with her thoughts. Again, her ears strained, longing for the beep of a comm or the rumble of a droid powering up. And again, nothing but the harsh echo of silence came from beyond the steady drip.
drip… drip… drip…
She rolled over, pulling a spiced cigarette and small lighter from a bedside drawer, lighting up and staring at the ceiling again, letting the events from the previous weeks flip through her mind.
The rave. Tal. The ambush. Jer’ax. The battle against the Nemesis. The encounter with Ihlrath. Dhen leaving. Moving to Corellia. Being stranded on Coruscant with a broken ship. The Marran being declared enemies of the Republic. Her dreams, growing increasingly more dangerous.
She takes a long drag off the cigarette, holding her breath before slowly exhaling a thin stream of smoke. And last night, she thought. Findin’ Ihlrath. Jer’ax threatenin’ to arrest him. Followin’ him and findin’ Nia and all th’ Marran. Volunteerin’ to slice int’ Imp feeds like it was nothin’.
On her empty ship, Vyen’a shivered, the gravity of the situation slowly settling around her consciousness like a shroud. She wished for what seemed the hundredth time since she’d left Nar Shaddaa that Jer’ax was there, strong arms around her. They’d decided to try again; he’d apologized for leaving her like he did, they’d had strained conversations and a few evenings of curling up and watching holodramas. No sex yet; it seemed… forbidden, somehow, until things were more stable. But his arms always made her feel safer.
And here, in the middle of empty space, Vyen’a felt unsafe for the first time: a wholly unfamiliar sensation for her, here in her element, on her ship.
Her ears strained for sound again.
drip… drip… drip…
She let out a shaky sigh, fingers brushing the pendant at her throat. Just a simple gift from a friend, she thought, eyes closing. But the perceived implications are astounding.
She sighed again, unfastening the clasp behind her neck and staring at the curled chain and stone in her palm. The most dangerous things always start out that way, don’t they? She set the necklace on the table, next to the stubbed out cigarette, and looked back up to the ceiling. Already, her throat felt naked and exposed without the pendant resting between her collarbones. It’s amazing how quickly familiarity comes, even with something so unusual. Her eyes flick toward the box on her desk: Jer’ax’s things, brought back in from the cargo bay. And how fragile that familiarity really is.
She sits up, letting her breath out with a whoosh of air as her hair falls around her bare shoulders, voice seemingly booming out against the silence of the room.
“No more hidin’. It’s time t’ tell him th’ truth. All th’ truth.”
She takes a deep breath, listening for some sound of approval from somewhere in the room, in the ship, in that quadrant of the galaxy; something telling her she was going to be okay, they were all going to be okay.
All that was returned was the steady drip of the faucet, and beyond that, the sound of silence.