Linda from last week’s flash decided she had more to tell me… Enjoy!
The meteor storm slashed by overhead filling the lounge with sharp shadows that flew across the floor. Karl screamed as he unsuccessfully tried to catch the dark shapes sliding around the room, reminding Linda of a dog chasing waves in the sea, unable to catch them and yet unable to stop himself from trying.
Not that she had seen a dog or the ocean in a long time. In fact the last one was about thirteen planets ago.
She turned back to watch more meteors and wished she could have shared this moment with Janelle. She had met the station girl on the last planet and what with repairs and a delay in shipping transfers Linda had been given four whole months to get to know Janelle. But now, six months later from Linda’s point of view it had been who knew how many years for Janelle. She was supposed to know all about relativity and the whole aging thing since she lived on a tradeship, but she never bothered. All she knew was that anyone she met planetside would be like a million years old before she ever made it back to see them again. Nothing else mattered.
A message notice buzzed in her ear and, blinking her com lenses into place, she opened it up, expecting one of her parents or maybe another crew member to want her to do something. Out here there would be no one else who could reach her.
Are you enjoying the meteor show?
She sat up and focused in on the sender: Space Boy. Who in the frozen skies was Space Boy? That was not a name anyone on the ship used. She called up the details of the message but there weren’t any. Which of course wasn’t possible. Someone must have been playing a joke on her, as unlikely as that was. She’d play along though and see what they were up to.
Not as pretty as some I’ve seen. The meteors of the Kilen system are way cooler.
She had never been to the Kilen system and didn’t even know if it had a meteor belt, but if someone was messing with her, she’d mess right back.
You’re lying, came the response. Kilen is crap. If you want to see a spectacular show you have got to go to the Popne system.
And now it was Space Boy’s turn to lie. The Popne system was on the other side of the galaxy. It was barely even explored.
As if you’d know, she answered.
I’m not spacing you. I can take you there if you want. Meet me in the fore elevator on deck three.
Linda was torn. She was supposed to watch Karl, but she had to find out who was tossing her a black hole. She glanced at her brother who was still occupied with his shadow chasing. A trip to the elevator and back would take no time at all and he wouldn’t even realize that she had left. After all, she would only be gone long enough to find out who the joker was and tell him what he could do with the Popne system.
“Um, Karl. I have to go to the head. Will you be all right for a minute on your own?”
Karl stopped his shadow hopping to glare at her.
“I’m not a baby, you know.”
I’ll be there in five. She would be there in three minutes but wanted to get there first.
“Don’t leave the room,” she told her brother, “no matter what. I’ll be right back.” She got up and after casually walking to the door she ran down the passageway. Which of the crew was it?
She skittered along hugging the wall, slowing up when she got to near her destination. Decomp it! The guy was already there, his back to her. She didn’t regonize him but that might have been just because he was wearing weird clothes, like some sort of fashion-victim pressure suit.Whoever was setting her up had done a lot of work to do so. Being crew on a trade ship could be boring mid-run, but Linda couldn’t believe anyone would get that bored. She stepped out into the open.
“Popne? From here? Yeah right.”
She would have gone on but the guy turned around and she didn’t recognize him at all. She didn’t know him and she knew everyone on the ship, had known them her whole life. And they were mid-flight, so no one new should be on board. She blinked her eyes to call up the intruder alarm, but hesitated. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to talk to him for a minute, maybe find out how he had gotten on board before turning him in. The hesitation had nothing to do with his cuteness. Not. At. All.
“Yeah, Popne. It’s way cool,” the guy said as if his being here wasn’t completely and utterly impossible. “Ready to go?”
“No, and know why? Because you can’t get to Popne in an instant. And besides, I don’t even know who you are. Why would I go with you?”
“We haven’t met yet?”
“Oops.” He checked some contraption on his wrist. “Nevermind then. We’ll um, yeah, we’ll see each other soon.”
“Whatever.” This guy was seriously weird and getting weirder by the moment.
“Could you do me a favor?”
“Could you not mention this when we meet for the first time. I hate confusing myself that way.”
“Could I what?” But he was gone. She wasn’t sure how or where. One moment he was standing there, the next second he wasn’t.
She started back to the lounge and her little brother. The lights of the meteors must have put her in some sort of hypnotic state or something because what had just happened could no way be real.
Or could it?