Chapter Three: Old dogs and old tricks.

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The Forgotten Moon

Emma and Felix ran up onto the ship. Felix threw Rye’s body on the ground. As both he and Emma slid beneath the ship and began flinging their arms every which way. Metal shards and broken pieces flew out from underneath the ship at fatal speeds. They both worked with the goal of getting the hell out of there as fast as they could.

They battled vines that grasped for any part of them they could get a hold of. Kicking at vines slowed progress. The vines crept closer, grasping ahold of bigger pieces of their victim each time. One vine’s grip drew tight around Emma’s thigh dragging her from beneath the ship and into the wood’s feet first. Locked in deep concentration, Felix didn’t notice Emma making a swift exit.

“God Damn it, Felix!” Felix jerked his head up. His steel head clashed with that of the ship drawing even more unneeded attention. Stumbling around, lost in the ringing that bounded around in his head. Felix pulled himself together.  Grabbed his gun and took off after Emma into the woods, leaving Rye’s limb body to fend for itself. When Felix turned his back to run after Emma, the flora and fauna of the woods seized the opportunity. Reaching with their long spindly arms they snatched what they saw as an easy snack. Rye became mummified in leaves and twigs. Looking like nothing more than another addition to the forest.

 The air rushed from his chest. In a burst of adrenaline Rye’s eyes burst open. Full of fear and fight. He sucked in as deep of a breath as he could manage against the tremendous pressure exerted upon his chest. As he drew his breath the vines tightened, but it was too late. Rye had created space between him and the plant. His tall lean muscular build could slip from the grasps of the plants as he exhaled. Rye grabbed his gun from his pack. Took

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aim and began to shoot at anything that moved. The injured vines released him all together and retreat deep into the forest. The frame of lean muscle collapsed to the ground, panting, and completely disoriented. 

“Where am I? How did I get here? “

 Rye thought as his eyes darted around. He looked for landmarks to help orient himself, but everywhere he looked, trees. One right after another the last one exactly like the one before it. The sounds of panic died down as all the Sef ’ell were slain or retreated to their underground allies. 

A scream Rye would know anywhere came from deep in the forest. Fear paralyzed him. The rock that had formed in his throat made it impossible for him to swallow. He gulped but nothing happened, that painful lump stayed stuck in his throat. Keeping him from calling out, to confirm his fears. Rye managed to peel his feet from the ground and turn around towards the forest as Felix and Emma rushed up to him. Emma’s dark hair wild, matching her dirt smeared face. 

“Rye?!?” Emma said her tone put an already confused Rye into a tailspin. Was she happy to see him?  Rye thought. He shook the thought from his head. Glad they didn’t catch him frozen in fear. What would Emma think of the strong man she used to know, if she knew the truth. 

“Emma! Are you okay? I thought I heard you scream, but the plants, and it was too late.” He sounded like a blathering idiot. Hearing his own voice reverberate in his head, bouncing off his skull gave him a headache. 

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He winced. “I’m fine, but you don’t seem to be. Please, sit down.” She said helping him to a stump of an old, long forgotten tree. The moss was soft underneath his throbbing palms. When everything settled down Rye could feel every ache and pain. Ever since the accident that killed Angeline. Rye was marked with the invisible scar of chronic pain. 

“I’m fine, really” Rye gave a nervous chuckle, pushing her fussing hands away as he stood up. “We don’t have time for this, he said pushing past Emma who was still running her healthy scan on him. His obvious disregard did not stop her from completing what she set out to do. She followed close behind as he made a beeline for the ship. As he reached the driver seat, Emma stepped out from behind him and blocked his path. 

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” No longer was her tone saccharine sweet and full of concern. She had shifted gears from the caregiver to the commander. “No one drives, but me.” Emma stared Rye in his eye with such intensity it stirred passion he had long forgotten. His will weakened as his desire for her became that apparent with every passing moment. Rye looked away and mumbled something about helping Felix in the supply room and left. Emma turned and sat down in the captain’s chair. It’s good to be back, she thought as she flipped the engines on. 

The rumble of the jets shook the floorboards and rattled the loose parts. “Enter coordinates.” The computer nagged. Emma shuffled through the piles of papers stacked all around the cockpit. Star charts, maps, and other documents always seemed to collect wherever Emma went. No one used them anymore with all the new technology produced by the Alliance. Leaving most were more than happy to off load the wasted space onto Emma. 

“AHHA!” Emma shouted with triumph holding the crinkled paper aloft, as if it were the most cherished prize. On the rough surface, scratch in with a pen that was running dry, a map. The margins of the maps are filled with notes and coordinates. A top of the map “Carina Astraeus (The Forgotten Moon)” Written in black ink and underlined. Emma stared in disbelief. Memories of Po-Po’s stories flooded her memory. 

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Late nights as he tucked her into bed.  Husky words melodically flow. They wove intricate tales of faraway places and magical adventures. The stars played their part in re-enacting the tales in the night sky with the moon as their spotlight. Searing the stories into the memory of Emma until the end of her days. 

One story always stuck with Emma. The memory had faded a bit and grown covered in dust, but all the same it came back clear as the night she first heard it. It rushed back when the merchant at the market greeted her welcoming her to “The forgotten Moon.” She always thought it was a Faery tale, never in a million years did she think she would be standing on it she thought. 

“Whatcha got there” Felix said as he snuck up on the daydreaming Emma. The surprise of an unannounced visit sent a jolt of adrenaline through Emma’s body. The jolt catapulted her from her seat and landed her on the floor. 

“Damn it, Felix, I hate it when you do that” Emma said, coming to a stand, brushing herself off and coming to rest back on her seat. Emma smoothed the paper back out the best she could. Looking down at the map she ran her hand over the course paper. It felt like the maps that used to lie around Po-po’s study. He may have been a simple farmer but in his spare time he was a great adventurer, at least he was in Emma’s eyes. 

Felix cleared his throat. “I hate to break up this memory fest or whatever moment you are having here. It’s most pertinent that we get a move on.” “Of course, we are setting course to the Capital city, Eureka, now.” “Fantastic, Rye is in the engine room mumbling pretending to fix things. My fear is that if we do not get to where we are going soon his madness may cause permanent damage.” Emma rolled her eyes and shook her head.  Felix took the roll of entertainer and storyteller serious. To the point his exaggerations wander into daily life, and it was exhausting at times.

“Computer estimated arrival time.” Emma said to which the computer beeped and replied. 

“Estimated arrival time twenty archen-seconds.”

 “Is that soon enough for you?” 

“I suppose that is the best we can do.” 

“It is .” Emma frowned at his impatience. Felix brushed it off. He was anxious to get to the city and be rid of Rye. How Felix saw it, nothing good could come from his spontaneous reappearance. Furthermore, he wouldn’t be missed when he spontaneously disappeared again. After all that’s what he’s good at, Felix thought to himself with a self-righteous “Hmph” beneath his breath.

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 “Fine, I will go ensure the rat stays out of trouble,” Emma rolled her eyes as Felix marched off. Turning back to the controls, she took the ship off auto pilot as they neared their approach. She clears her throat and picks up the mic. 

“Incoming cargo ship ID#9043 requesting entry to Eureka.” She released the talk button. Her calls answered with the irritating sound of static crackling through the air. 

“Command Post do you copy?” again nothing but static. Emma’s heart sank to her toes as a lump rose in her throat. This scene felt familiar. It left her feeling like she could upchuck all over the control panel. The static continued in the background, ominous background music. A foretelling of upcoming horror they were about to witness. Time froze like ice fractals in the air in wintertime. Hanging by the threads of fate one wrong move and all could shatter. Emma sucked the air in, but it burned her throat. She tried to force it from her lungs but the lump in her throat prevented her from exhaling.  You must breathe, stupid was the last thought to run through Emma’s mind before the world went black. Emma hated the color black. 

Smoke filled Emma’s nose. She did not remember opening her eyes, but they were open nonetheless now. The smoke filled her nose and began to burn her eyes. She tried to close her eyes but no matter how many times she closed them they were open again, burning. The static filled the air; it was all she could hear. It overwhelmed her to the point all she could do was lay in the smoke covering her ears. She squeezed her eyes closed as tight as she could. 

A bursting light came through the cloud of smoke and the cloud cleared. Emma blinked and she was laying in her bed in the captain’s quarter and Felix was shining a flashlight in her eyes. His cold metallic finger poked at her periodically. Rye alternated between pacing the floor and hovering over the droid. His forehead wrinkled. Emma couldn’t decipher whether his contorted features were irritation or concern. “Emma? Are you okay?” Felix increased the vigor of his poking and prodding. Rye paused mid stride and rushed over to stand tall above the droid leaning over Emma’s bedside. The world felt like it was closing in on her. 

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Emma cleared her throat in the most exaggerated fashion possible before speaking. “ I need you both to back the hell up and tell me what happened, before I throw you both off my ship.” “You passed out in the control room while waiting for clearance from the guard post.” Emma’s head was pounding. She rubbed the back of her head as she sat up on the edge of the bed. Felix took a seat next to her as Rye stood stern by the door of the cabin. After he was sure she was okay he resumed his safe post. 

“What happened?” Felix looked at her as he ran a full body scan. “I don’t know the Guard post wasn’t responding to my request for clearance and next thing I know everything went dark.” Emma wasn’t ready to divulge her fever dream. She feared that it would only add to everyone’s suspicions that she was unwell. 

“I am sure I am a bit dehydrated or something of the sorts. Let’s not make a deal of it, alright.” Felix eyed her suspiciously.  looking down at the health report generated from the biometric scan he performed. He stood up and looked at Emma.

“Promise you’ll be careful okay.” Felix said as he patted her shoulder and left the cabin, Rye turned on his heels to follow behind Felix. Emma called out to him as he was about to walk away. 

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“Rye?” Her voice was shaky and strained. Her eyes dewy, cheeks tear stained. Now crumpled up in a heap on the bed. The memory replayed in her head. “What happened?” Rye stepped inside the room. His expression softened as he eased on to the side of the bed.

 “I don’t know, you passed out. Felix brought you in here while I got us through the guard post.” Emma sniffled and wiped her face on her sleeve. Trying to pull herself together. This wasn’t her, but when these strange memories hit, she lost control. It all started after the storm that killed Angeline. Even thinking her name still hurt, enough for Emma to wince. 

“Talk to me, Emma? I know you have your reason for not wanting to talk about it, but I was there too. You don’t have to do this alone.”  Emma sat straight up in bed and wiped her face. Her make-up smeared, looking more like war paint then make-up.

 “You don’t get to talk about her or that night!” Pillows began to fly at high velocity at Rye. He silently thanked the gods that they were in the bedroom and not the kitchen. He began to make for the door. Dodging flying objects that had grown increasingly harder the longer he was in the room. Rye ducked out of the room and began making his way down to the control room. Maybe Felix has something for me to do, he thought. Bottling what feelings that managed to bubble up back down. He could not afford to push her any further away. Not when he got this close to her.

“God Damn it, Felix!” Felix jerked his head up. His steel head clashed with that of the ship drawing even more unneeded attention. Stumbling around, lost in the ringing that bounded around in his head. Felix pulled himself together.  Grabbed his gun and took off after Emma into the woods, leaving Rye’s limb body to fend for itself. When Felix turned his back to run after Emma, the flora and fauna of the woods seized the opportunity. Reaching with their long spindly arms they snatched what they saw as an easy snack. Rye mummified in leaves and twigs. Looked like nothing more than another addition to the forest.

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 The air began to rush from his chest. In a burst of adrenaline Rye’s eyes burst open, full of fear and fight. He sucked in as deep of a breath as he could manage against the tremendous pressure exerted upon his chest. As he drew his breath the vines tightened, but it was too late. Rye had created space that his tall lean muscular build could slip from the grasps of the plants and reach his gun. Rye took aim and began to shoot at anything that moved. The injured vines released him all together and began to retreat deep into the forest. The frame of lean muscle collapsed to the ground, panting, and completely disoriented. 

“Where am I? How did I get here? “

 Rye thought as his eyes darted around. He looked for landmarks to help orient himself, but everywhere he looked, trees. One right after another the last one exactly like the one before it. The sounds of panic died down as all the Sef ’ell were slain or retreated to their underground allies. 

A scream Rye would know anywhere came from deep in the forest. Fear paralyzed him. The rock that had formed in his throat made it impossible for him to swallow. He gulped but nothing happened, that painful lump stayed stuck in his throat. Keeping him from calling out, to confirm his fears. Rye managed to peel his feet from the ground and turn around towards the forest as Felix and Emma rushed up to him. Emma’s dark hair wild, matching her dirt smeared face. 

“Rye?!?” Emma said her tone put an already confused Rye into a tailspin. Was she happy to see him?  Rye thought. He shook the thought from his head. Glad they didn’t catch him frozen in fear. What would Emma think of the strong man she used to know, if she knew the truth. 

“Emma! Are you okay? I thought I heard you scream, but the plants, and it was too late.” He sounded like a blathering idiot. Hearing his own voice reverberate in his head, bouncing off his skull gave him a headache. 

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He winced. “I’m fine, but you don’t seem to be. Please, sit down.” She helped him to a stump of an old, long forgotten tree. The moss was soft underneath his throbbing palms. When everything settled down Rye could feel every ache and pain. Ever since the accident that killed Angeline. Rye was marked with the invisible scar of chronic pain. 

“I’m fine, really” Rye gave a nervous chuckle, pushing her fussing hands away as he stood up. “We don’t have time for this, he said pushing past Emma who was still running her healthy scan on him. His obvious disregard did not stop her from completing what she set out to do. She followed close behind as he made a beeline for the ship. As he reached the driver seat, Emma stepped out from behind him and blocked his path. 

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” No longer was her tone saccharine sweet and full of concern. She had shifted gears from the caregiver to the commander. “No one drives, but me.” Emma stared Rye in his eye with such intensity it stirred passion he had long forgotten. His will weakened as his desire for her became that apparent with every passing moment. Rye looked away and mumbled something about helping Felix in the supply room and left. Emma turned and sat down in the captain’s chair. It’s good to be back, she thought as she flipped the engines on. 

The rumble of the jets shook the floorboards and rattled the loose parts. “Enter coordinates.” The computer nagged. Emma shuffled through the piles of papers stacked all around the cockpit. Star charts, maps, and other documents always seemed to collect wherever Emma went. No one used them anymore with all the new technology produced by the Alliance. Leaving most were more than happy to off load the wasted space onto Emma. 

“AHHA!” Emma shouted with triumph holding the crinkled paper aloft, as if it were the most cherished prize. On the rough surface, scratch in with a pen that was running dry, a map. The margins of the maps are filled with notes and coordinates. A top of the map “Carina Astraeus (The Forgotten Moon)” Written in black ink and underlined. Emma stared in disbelief. Memories of Po-Po’s stories flooded her memory. 

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Late nights as he tucked her into bed.  Husky words would melodically flow. They wove intricate tales of faraway places and magical adventures. The stars played their part in re-enacting the tales in the night sky with the moon as their spotlight. Searing the stories into the memory of Emma until the end of her days. 

One story always stuck with Emma. The memory had faded a bit and grown covered in dust, but all the same it came back clear as the night she first heard it. It rushed back when the merchant at the market greeted her welcoming her to “The forgotten Moon.” She always thought it was a Faery tale, never in a million years did she think she would be standing on it she thought. 

“Whatcha got there” Felix said as he snuck up on the daydreaming Emma. The surprise of an unannounced visit sent a jolt of adrenaline through Emma’s body. The jolt catapulted her from her seat and landed her on the floor. 

“Damn it, Felix, I hate it when you do that” Emma said, coming to a stand, brushing herself off and coming to rest back on her seat. Emma smoothed the paper back out the best she could. Looking down at the map she ran her hand over the course paper. It felt like the maps that used to lie around Po-po’s study. He may have been a simple farmer but in his spare time he was a great adventurer, at least he was in Emma’s eyes. 

Felix cleared his throat. “I hate to break up this memory fest or whatever moment you are having here. It’s most pertinent that we get a move on.” “Of course, we are setting course to the Capital city, Eureka, now.” “Fantastic, Rye is in the engine room mumbling pretending to fix things. My fear is that if we do not get to where we are going soon his madness may cause permanent damage.” Emma rolled her eyes and shook her head.  Felix the excellent entertainer and storyteller. His exaggerations tended to wander into daily life, and it was exhausting at times.

“Computer estimated arrival time.” Emma said to which the computer beeped and replied. 

“Estimated arrival time twenty archen-seconds.”

 “Is that soon enough for you?” 

“I suppose that is the best we can do.” 

“It is .” Emma frowned at his impatience. Felix brushed it off. He was anxious to get to the city and be rid of Rye. How Felix saw it, nothing good could come from his spontaneous reappearance. Furthermore, he wouldn’t be missed when he spontaneously disappeared again. After all that’s what he’s good at, Felix thought to himself with a self-righteous “Hmph” beneath his breath.

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 “Fine, I will go ensure the rat stays out of trouble,” Emma rolled her eyes as Felix marched off. Turning back to the controls, she took the ship off auto pilot as they neared their approach. She clears her throat and picks up the mic. 

“Incoming cargo ship ID#9043 requesting entry to Eureka.” She released the talk button. Her calls answered with the irritating sound of static crackling through the air. 

“Command Post do you copy?” again nothing but static. Emma’s heart sank to her toes as a lump rose in her throat. This scene felt familiar. It left her feeling like she could upchuck all over the control panel. The static continued in the background. Ominous background music foretelling the upcoming horror they were about to witness. Time froze like ice fractals in the air in wintertime. Hanging by the threads of fate one wrong move and all could shatter. Emma sucked the air in, but it burned her throat. She tried to force it from her lungs but the lump in her throat prevented her from exhaling.  You must breathe stupid  was the last thing she remembered before the world went black. Emma hated the color black. 

Smoke filled Emma’s nose. She did not remember opening her eyes, but they were open nonetheless now. The smoke filled her nose and began to burn her eyes. She tried to close her eyes but no matter how many times she closed them they were open again, burning. The static filled the air; it was all she could hear. It overwhelmed her to the point all she could do was lay in the smoke covering her ears. She squeezed her eyes closed as tight as she could. 

A bursting light came through the cloud of smoke and the cloud cleared. Emma blinked and she was laying in her bed in the captain’s quarter and Felix was shining a flashlight in her eyes. His cold metallic finger poked at her periodically. Rye alternated between pacing the floor and hovering over the droid. His forehead wrinkled. Emma couldn’t decipher whether his contorted features were irritation or concern. “Emma? Are you okay?” Felix increased the vigor of his poking and prodding. Rye paused mid stride and rushed over to stand tall above the droid leaning over Emma’s bedside. The world felt like it was closing in on her. 

Emma cleared her throat in the most exaggerated fashion possible before speaking. “ I need you both to back the hell up and tell me what happened, before I throw you both off this ship.” “You passed out in the control room while waiting for clearance from the guard post.” Emma’s head was pounding. She rubbed the back of her head as she sat up on the edge of the bed. Felix took a seat next to her as Rye stood stern by the door of the cabin. After he was sure she was okay he resumed his safe distance between them. 

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“What happened?” Felix looked at her as he ran a full body scan. “I don’t know the Guard post they weren’t responding to my request for clearance and next thing I know all I saw was dark.” Emma wasn’t ready to divulge her fever dream. She feared that it would only add to everyone’s suspicions that she was unwell. 

“I am sure I am a bit dehydrated or something of the sorts. Let’s not make a deal of it, alright.” Felix eyed her suspiciously.  looking down at the health report generated from the biometric scan he performed. He stood up and looked at Emma, promise you’ll be careful okay.” Felix said as he patted her shoulder and left the cabin, Rye turned on his heels to follow behind Felix. Emma called out to him as he was about to walk away. 

“Rye?” Her voice was shaky, and strained. Her eyes dewy, cheeks tear stained. Now crumpled up in a heap on the bed. The memory replayed in her head. “What happened?” Rye stepped inside the room. His expression softened as he eased on to the side of the bed.

 “I don’t know, you passed out. Felix brought you in here while I got us through the guard post.” Emma sniffled and wiped her face on her sleeve. Trying to pull herself together. This wasn’t her, but when these strange memories hit, she lost control. It all started after the storm that killed Angeline. Even thinking her name still hurt, enough for Emma to wince. 

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“Talk to me, Emma? I know you have your reason for not wanting to talk about it, but I was there too. You don’t have to do this alone.”  Emma sat straight up in bed and wiped her face. Her make up smeared, looking more like war paint then make up. “You don’t get to talk about her or that night!” Pillows began to fly at high velocity at Rye. He silently thanked the gods that they were in the bedroom and not the kitchen. He began to make for the door. Dodging flying objects that had grown increasingly harder the longer he was in the room. Rye ducked out of the room and began making his way down to the control room. Maybe Felix has something for me to do, he thought. Bottling what feelings that managed to bubble up back down. He could not afford to push her any further away. Not when he got this close to her.

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Forgotten Moon: Old Dogs, Old Tricks.

Emma and Felix ran up onto the ship. Felix threw Rye’s body on the ground. As both he and Emma slid beneath the ship and began flinging their arms every which way. Metal shards and broken pieces flew out from underneath the ship at fatal speeds. They both worked with the goal of getting the hell out of there as fast as they could.

They battled vines that grasped for any part of them they could get a hold of. Kicking at vines slowed progress. The vines crept closer, grasping ahold of bigger pieces of their victim each time. One vine’s grip drew tight around Emma’s thigh dragging her from beneath the ship and into the wood’s feet first. Locked in deep concentration, Felix didn’t notice Emma making a swift exit.

“God Damn it, Felix!” Felix jerked his head up. His steel head clashed with that of the ship drawing even more unneeded attention. Stumbling around, lost in the ringing that bounded around in his head. Felix pulled himself together.  Grabbed his gun and took off after Emma into the woods, leaving Rye’s limb body to fend for itself. When Felix turned his back to run after Emma, the flora and fauna of the woods seized the opportunity. Reaching with their long spindly arms they snatched what they saw as an easy snack. Rye became mummified in leaves and twigs. Looking like nothing more than another addition to the forest.

 The air rushed from his chest. In a burst of adrenaline Rye’s eyes burst open. Full of fear and fight. He sucked in as deep of a breath as he could manage against the tremendous pressure exerted upon his chest. As he drew his breath the vines tightened, but it was too late. Rye had created space between him and the plant. His tall lean muscular build could slip from the grasps of the plants as he exhaled. Rye grabbed his gun from his pack. Took

aim and began to shoot at anything that moved. The injured vines released him all together and retreat deep into the forest. The frame of lean muscle collapsed to the ground, panting, and completely disoriented. 

“Where am I? How did I get here? “

 Rye thought as his eyes darted around. He looked for landmarks to help orient himself, but everywhere he looked, trees. One right after another the last one exactly like the one before it. The sounds of panic died down as all the Sef ’ell were slain or retreated to their underground allies. 

A scream Rye would know anywhere came from deep in the forest. Fear paralyzed him. The rock that had formed in his throat made it impossible for him to swallow. He gulped but nothing happened, that painful lump stayed stuck in his throat. Keeping him from calling out, to confirm his fears. Rye managed to peel his feet from the ground and turn around towards the forest as Felix and Emma rushed up to him. Emma’s dark hair wild, matching her dirt smeared face. 

“Rye?!?” Emma said her tone put an already confused Rye into a tailspin. Was she happy to see him?  Rye thought. He shook the thought from his head. Glad they didn’t catch him frozen in fear. What would Emma think of the strong man she used to know, if she knew the truth. 

“Emma! Are you okay? I thought I heard you scream, but the plants, and it was too late.” He sounded like a blathering idiot. Hearing his own voice reverberate in his head, bouncing off his skull gave him a headache. 

He winced. “I’m fine, but you don’t seem to be. Please, sit down.” She said helping him to a stump of an old, long forgotten tree. The moss was soft underneath his throbbing palms. When everything settled down Rye could feel every ache and pain. Ever since the accident that killed Angeline. Rye was marked with the invisible scar of chronic pain. 

“I’m fine, really” Rye gave a nervous chuckle, pushing her fussing hands away as he stood up. “We don’t have time for this, he said pushing past Emma who was still running her healthy scan on him. His obvious disregard did not stop her from completing what she set out to do. She followed close behind as he made a beeline for the ship. As he reached the driver seat, Emma stepped out from behind him and blocked his path. 

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” No longer was her tone saccharine sweet and full of concern. She had shifted gears from the caregiver to the commander. “No one drives, but me.” Emma stared Rye in his eye with such intensity it stirred passion he had long forgotten. His will weakened as his desire for her became that apparent with every passing moment. Rye looked away and mumbled something about helping Felix in the supply room and left. Emma turned and sat down in the captain’s chair. It’s good to be back, she thought as she flipped the engines on. 

The rumble of the jets shook the floorboards and rattled the loose parts. “Enter coordinates.” The computer nagged. Emma shuffled through the piles of papers stacked all around the cockpit. Star charts, maps, and other documents always seemed to collect wherever Emma went. No one used them anymore with all the new technology produced by the Alliance. Leaving most were more than happy to off load the wasted space onto Emma. 

“AHHA!” Emma shouted with triumph holding the crinkled paper aloft, as if it were the most cherished prize. On the rough surface, scratch in with a pen that was running dry, a map. The margins of the maps are filled with notes and coordinates. A top of the map “Carina Astraeus (The Forgotten Moon)” Written in black ink and underlined. Emma stared in disbelief. Memories of Po-Po’s stories flooded her memory. 

Late nights as he tucked her into bed.  Husky words melodically flow. They wove intricate tales of faraway places and magical adventures. The stars played their part in re-enacting the tales in the night sky with the moon as their spotlight. Searing the stories into the memory of Emma until the end of her days. 

One story always stuck with Emma. The memory had faded a bit and grown covered in dust, but all the same it came back clear as the night she first heard it. It rushed back when the merchant at the market greeted her welcoming her to “The forgotten Moon.” She always thought it was a Faery tale, never in a million years did she think she would be standing on it she thought. 

“Whatcha got there” Felix said as he snuck up on the daydreaming Emma. The surprise of an unannounced visit sent a jolt of adrenaline through Emma’s body. The jolt catapulted her from her seat and landed her on the floor. 

“Damn it, Felix, I hate it when you do that” Emma said, coming to a stand, brushing herself off and coming to rest back on her seat. Emma smoothed the paper back out the best she could. Looking down at the map she ran her hand over the course paper. It felt like the maps that used to lie around Po-po’s study. He may have been a simple farmer but in his spare time he was a great adventurer, at least he was in Emma’s eyes. 

Felix cleared his throat. “I hate to break up this memory fest or whatever moment you are having here. It’s most pertinent that we get a move on.” “Of course, we are setting course to the Capital city, Eureka, now.” “Fantastic, Rye is in the engine room mumbling pretending to fix things. My fear is that if we do not get to where we are going soon his madness may cause permanent damage.” Emma rolled her eyes and shook her head.  Felix took the roll of entertainer and storyteller serious. To the point his exaggerations wander into daily life, and it was exhausting at times.

“Computer estimated arrival time.” Emma said to which the computer beeped and replied. 

“Estimated arrival time twenty archen-seconds.”

 “Is that soon enough for you?” 

“I suppose that is the best we can do.” 

“It is .” Emma frowned at his impatience. Felix brushed it off. He was anxious to get to the city and be rid of Rye. How Felix saw it, nothing good could come from his spontaneous reappearance. Furthermore, he wouldn’t be missed when he spontaneously disappeared again. After all that’s what he’s good at, Felix thought to himself with a self-righteous “Hmph” beneath his breath.

 “Fine, I will go ensure the rat stays out of trouble,” Emma rolled her eyes as Felix marched off. Turning back to the controls, she took the ship off auto pilot as they neared their approach. She clears her throat and picks up the mic. 

“Incoming cargo ship ID#9043 requesting entry to Eureka.” She released the talk button. Her calls answered with the irritating sound of static crackling through the air. 

“Command Post do you copy?” again nothing but static. Emma’s heart sank to her toes as a lump rose in her throat. This scene felt familiar. It left her feeling like she could upchuck all over the control panel. The static continued in the background, ominous background music. A foretelling of upcoming horror they were about to witness. Time froze like ice fractals in the air in wintertime. Hanging by the threads of fate one wrong move and all could shatter. Emma sucked the air in, but it burned her throat. She tried to force it from her lungs but the lump in her throat prevented her from exhaling.  You must breathe, stupid was the last thought to run through Emma’s mind before the world went black. Emma hated the color black. 

Smoke filled Emma’s nose. She did not remember opening her eyes, but they were open nonetheless now. The smoke filled her nose and began to burn her eyes. She tried to close her eyes but no matter how many times she closed them they were open again, burning. The static filled the air; it was all she could hear. It overwhelmed her to the point all she could do was lay in the smoke covering her ears. She squeezed her eyes closed as tight as she could. 

A bursting light came through the cloud of smoke and the cloud cleared. Emma blinked and she was laying in her bed in the captain’s quarter and Felix was shining a flashlight in her eyes. His cold metallic finger poked at her periodically. Rye alternated between pacing the floor and hovering over the droid. His forehead wrinkled. Emma couldn’t decipher whether his contorted features were irritation or concern. “Emma? Are you okay?” Felix increased the vigor of his poking and prodding. Rye paused mid stride and rushed over to stand tall above the droid leaning over Emma’s bedside. The world felt like it was closing in on her. 

Emma cleared her throat in the most exaggerated fashion possible before speaking. “ I need you both to back the hell up and tell me what happened, before I throw you both off my ship.” “You passed out in the control room while waiting for clearance from the guard post.” Emma’s head was pounding. She rubbed the back of her head as she sat up on the edge of the bed. Felix took a seat next to her as Rye stood stern by the door of the cabin. After he was sure she was okay he resumed his safe post. 

“What happened?” Felix looked at her as he ran a full body scan. “I don’t know the Guard post wasn’t responding to my request for clearance and next thing I know everything went dark.” Emma wasn’t ready to divulge her fever dream. She feared that it would only add to everyone’s suspicions that she was unwell. 

“I am sure I am a bit dehydrated or something of the sorts. Let’s not make a deal of it, alright.” Felix eyed her suspiciously.  looking down at the health report generated from the biometric scan he performed. He stood up and looked at Emma.

“Promise you’ll be careful okay.” Felix said as he patted her shoulder and left the cabin, Rye turned on his heels to follow behind Felix. Emma called out to him as he was about to walk away. 

“Rye?” Her voice was shaky and strained. Her eyes dewy, cheeks tear stained. Now crumpled up in a heap on the bed. The memory replayed in her head. “What happened?” Rye stepped inside the room. His expression softened as he eased on to the side of the bed.

 “I don’t know, you passed out. Felix brought you in here while I got us through the guard post.” Emma sniffled and wiped her face on her sleeve. Trying to pull herself together. This wasn’t her, but when these strange memories hit, she lost control. It all started after the storm that killed Angeline. Even thinking her name still hurt, enough for Emma to wince. 

“Talk to me, Emma? I know you have your reason for not wanting to talk about it, but I was there too. You don’t have to do this alone.”  Emma sat straight up in bed and wiped her face. Her make-up smeared, looking more like war paint then make-up.

 “You don’t get to talk about her or that night!” Pillows began to fly at high velocity at Rye. He silently thanked the gods that they were in the bedroom and not the kitchen. He began to make for the door. Dodging flying objects that had grown increasingly harder the longer he was in the room. Rye ducked out of the room and began making his way down to the control room. Maybe Felix has something for me to do, he thought. Bottling what feelings that managed to bubble up back down. He could not afford to push her any further away. Not when he got this close to her.

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