Characters: Dr. Mira Trassano
In the storeroom, Mira felt the little twitch beneath her feet that signaled a jump. When shall the trouble start? she wondered, calmly. That was her last coherent thought before the universe fell on her. Though, the universe took the form of a few unsecured boxes from the higher shelves. They were knocked loose by the explosion that rocked the first five decks of the ship. The vibrations ran all the way down through the superstructure to deck 8 where MedLab One was situated. There were no exterior windows in MedLab to show the good doctor the debris of Observation or the ominously shimmering ripple bearing down on them all. Mira didn’t really have much time to wonder what had happened, though.
Flat on her stomach with the weight pressing down on her, Mira’s first thought was, I can’t breathe! She could feel the cool grooves of a tiled floor beneath her cheek. Tiles?Then, she heard the voice from her nightmares that froze her hearts.
“Now, just be still, Mira dear. You’ll like this, I promise! You might even dream of me!” Cartagia sing-songed to her as he sat on the back of her legs. One hand was holding the back of her neck, pressing her face into the tiles and the other….
NO!! Mira struggled harder. I will not live this again! Very quickly she remembered the lessons in hand-to-hand that Morgan had been beating into her plump out-of-shape body. She could feel the chill air on her tenderest skin when she jerked her body into a kneeling position. Cartagia was still clinging to her back when Mira threw herself backwards. She heard his head crack onto the tiles. Sweet Leedl, I hope he’s dead! Rolling out of his slack grasp, Mira turned to look at her own personal nightmare, Cartagia.
He lay on the intricately tiled floor. Court clothes disarrayed and mucles slack, he was not Emperor yet, but the Heir-Appearant. He was still breathing. Unconscious…like last time. But, Danril…he hit him last time…on the head. Not me…I hadn’t been able to do anything. This is so real! More real than a dream…even a Death-Dream. A trembling hand reached backwards to close the gaping fabric of the dress. The door suddenly burst open and there was Danril, Mira’s older brother, breathing hard from the run. Close behind him came her panting father.
Tears stung Mira’s eyes as she looked down at her dirty, torn Court dress. It covered the leaner, trimmer body of a naive woman-child, later stolen from her by depression and guilt. Her voice shook as badly her hands. “Father?”
“Ah, Daughter. Forgive me! I didn’t know, until just now. I never thought to warn you about him. About his summons. Forgive me.” Mira father knelt before her and hugged her gently to the heavily embroidered fabric of his Court jacket. Mira could smell the scent of his hair cologne. “We will go home. Cartagia cannot say anything of this to the Guards, for even he is not exempt to criminal punishment, yet. You will see, Daughter. All will come right in the end. He will forget about you and you will be home, secure.”
Mira couldn’t help it. She burst into tears. Mira’s thoughts ran in frantic circles as her father and brother led her out of Cartagia’s quarters. Ah, my Father. It won’t happen! How can I tell you that I KNOW he will remember me! He will ask for me and you will be forced to agree! Can I let you be sold again? Can I agree now and know you will die in slavery? Can I sell my family for my freedom, again?
There wasn’t a Guard in sight and Mira wondered again where they had all gone. She could hear the rustle of the rich fabrics in the newly bought Court clothes and the soft whisper of a fountain outside the windows. A breeze gently brushed her bare scalp, like the hand of her mother was she was young. Is this a dream? Is it real? Can I stop the future? Can I change the past? Gulping back hot tears, she tugged her father to a stop.
“Father, I must tell you! Cartagia won’t –”
Mira jerked under the boxes of gauze. You said I would dream of you, Cartagia. You were right. I have nightmares of your near-rape every time I do anything new and unfamiliar. I feel you crush all my girlish dreams under your weight every time. The boxes fell to either side of her as she climbed to her feet in the storeroom. She could hear the chaos in the main room. I will not let you crush me any longer.
Dr Trassano was already moving in response to the need of the others.
Copyright (c) 1998 Mona Hinds. All rights reserved.