When the opportunity arises, you must take it!
The only question remaining is how you would know the moment when it arrived. In response, there can be only one rejoinder, which had any prospect of success–rely on the very best on offer, from a place you can trust. When you happened to be in a world, which wasn’t your own, and couldn’t call home for numerous decades, the only trust you had was in the people who knew you - really knew you. When your kingdom is lost, there is only one thing on your mind - to find it again, no matter what it cost or how long it took. One day, if persistent enough, you would eventually find your way back home.
* * *
“Your Highness, when the opportunity arises, you must take it,” the sage voice of Princess Seera Diamond’s advisor extolled. He’d used that expression for more years than either party cared to remember. If only the resonance of his words didn’t have that truthful edge to them she might well have ignored him and moved right along.
A woman, with short shimmering chestnut hair tinged with red when sunlight bounced off it, shuddered slightly, acknowledging the reality of the comment. With a faint smile on her full lips softening her olive skinned expression slightly, her piercing almond shaped grey eyes caught her advisor’s eyes squarely. “After all this time Darc you still believe there’s a remote chance that these primitive beings will create the energy source in the compact form we need to recreate the wormhole?”
Darc Cimmerian peered at the Princess through black soulless eyes, made even more exaggerated by his sallow skin tones. The thin moustache covering his top lip quivered slightly as he gave one of his only two expressions-dour and exceedingly dour. He now attempted another, his best impression of upbeat dour, as his voice tried to reflect what his facial features didn’t–optimism. “Yes, your Highness. If we do not believe, then our kingdom is forever lost and with it, all those who sorely miss our presence. This world now offers us technology that perhaps can aid us if their scientists would only look beyond their purview. Patience, however, has been a necessity if not a long winded virtue. ” He shuffled his small wiry snake-like frame around the room, as he waited for the reply.
For a few seconds the woman, who was much taller than the advisor who had insinuated himself at her side, reflected on his words. “Patience you say Darc. You call decades of living in this archaic environment patience. I call it a penance for the foolishness of youth and the ignorance of our elders. Had I obeyed the rules, you and I would not be in this position now.”
Darc cleared his throat before quietly saying, “Not foolish your Highness no one alive can call you that. You say only you and I…have you forgotten the others your Highness.”
The woman’s voice sarcastically echoed his words. “Forget the others you say. How stupid of me. I’m hardly likely to forget them Darc, we need them…at least one of them anyway.” If Tavia hadn’t left as she did they would have had the problem of going home solved after the release of the atomic bomb. The scientists on earth were inferior. It wouldn’t have taken Tavia fifty years to design a suitable vessel for the power they required.
“No, no, never stupid your Highness. At this time they are not with us, therefore you have simply not included them in your thought process that is all I meant to say.”
His simpering words reverberated in her brain annoyed her immensely. If they were on their own planet, she would have her royal guards take him out of her sight and incarcerate him–he could repent for his attitude at leisure. With a forced laugh, the woman glanced at the old photo on the wall taken in the nineteen-thirties when Darc, Tavia, Orin and herself were trying to beat each other’s times flying cargo in Asia. The primitive craft from their new world appeared held together with the proverbial string and glue but they persevered and it had even been fun at first. As she stared at the photo, the memory of their initial arrival on the planet came flooding back…
They had been distinctly appreciative that their computer had guided them out of the spiraling wormhole that threatened them with destruction. However, departing their own spatial continuum they exited the vortex into a solar system not unlike their own. Even more remarkable, the planet that the sensor beacon found nearest to their point of exit had been one suitable to sustain them–Earth. Trepidation had been paramount as they landed their scorched, but otherwise unscathed spacecraft in a large area of a grainy, dusty landmass. Later, they learned it was the Nevada desert in the North American continent. The onboard bio-computer, Astoria, confirmed that nothing life threatening was in the atmosphere scanned into her databanks. However, Astoria indicated caution should be a pre-requisite. As the computer continued to work on the complex equations to assess their status, Princess Seera Diamond flexed her toned muscles stretching her arms in feline grace above her head as her fingertips touhed the ceiling of the vessel.
“I’m bored.” Her inflection matched the words perfectly, as she glanced around the small craft that had brought them to their present destination. Her eyes caught her best friend’s causing a twinkle of devilment to flash brightly in their depths.
Lady Tavia Emerald grinned at the words and the look she received. She could always rely on Seera to say what was on her mind regardless of the consequences. “Your Highness, Astoria will be finished soon,” she remarked scanning the whirling displays. “Say in another of Corinthian’s demi-cycle of the moon. Then we can power up and return home.”
A petulant expression replaced the bored one as Seera announced, “I’m going outside. This tin can makes me claustrophobic.” She marched to the exit of the vessel and turned impatient eyes on her bodyguard Captain Steele. The man took his eyes off the monitor he was watching and gazed in her direction trying to decipher if her words matched her intent. The Princess arrogantly barked, “Do I need to repeat myself Captain?”
Orin Steele threw the others a quick glance as he disengaged the invisibility cloak and was about to open the hatch. “I will accompany you Princess.”
“Princess please, you might be harmed. You cannot go out there alone. The Queen would not tolerate us allowing you such an impetuous action,” Councilor Cimmerian expressed in surprise, his own feelings exactly the opposite.
Seera shot her advisor a look. “Councilor, you of all people should understand that my mother would expect me to check out a possible colony. We Diamonds are not afraid of the unknown…are you?”
Tavia watched her friend and saw glittering anger simmering barely under control. Tut-tut touchy Seera touchy. Cimmerian was right–the Queen would be furious if they allowed Seera to go alone. “Your highness Captain Steele is needed to maintain the security checks of our perimeter while Astoria continues her analysis. It would be my pleasure to accompany you Princess–for protocol’s sake. I’ll need to chronicle this historic event for her Majesty.”
Seera flashed her friend a dazzling smile. “Yes, protocol must be adhered to. Please Lady Emerald, join me.” Her hand waved to a location at her side. When Tavia joined the Princess, it gave the appearance of a small pebble thrown into the depth of a large river…they became one. “Captain, the hatch.”
A whoosh of air echoed around the inside of the vessel as the hatch opened onto a barren landscape of a white-yellow hue. As they walked down the modest gangway into the great unknown, both women gasped at the beauty around them.
Tavia was the first to speak as they’d walked in silence around the spacecraft marveling at the sky above them. “This is incredible Seera. You can see their moon,” she said pointing to a round ball of pale yellow in the sky. “Look, look at that.” As she spoke, the sky darkened and colors of a rainbow appeared to light up every corner.
Seera stared at the overhead landscape changing before her eyes. Corinthian, with a heavier atmosphere prevented the spectacle of the heavens to show itself to the naked eye. Tavia’s excitement pushed away Seera’s earlier thoughts of boredom as she watched her friend for a few moments. Her appreciation is like that of a child. Ah, to be so free that she allows the simplicity of this spectacle give her such joy. I should not be jealous of this, it was my idea therefore I’m responsible for her happiness. She gave herself a congratulatory pat on the back. Yes I am. “Tavia, your scientific mind is running away with you. Though I concede, it is a remarkable show. Perhaps they knew I was coming.”
A chuckle escaped Tavia’s lips as she heard the arrogant words. “Yes Seera, I’m sure Astoria informed them of your arrival. Shall we sit and watch the display for a while?”
“If that is what my Lady Tavia wishes, then so it will be. Come here, there is a surface that will accommodate us.”
Moments later, they settled on a boulder and watched as the sky moved in spurious patterns and colors until a shade never seen on their planet invaded the skies. As the indigo blue manifested and the stars shone brighter, it reminded both women of a light show on their home planet.
“It’s very beautiful Seera. I hope we can explore this place before we leave.”
Seera shook her head and then pulled her friend closer until Tavia’s head was resting comfortably on her shoulder. “I have seen something equally as beautiful at home.”
Tavia moved to look up into the motionless features of her autocratic friend. “Where? I have never seen it.” Tavia looked closer at her friend’s face and asked, “Are you teasing me Seera?”
A bubble of laughter was her initial reply, until Seera captured the quizzical eyes of her friend. “I see it now.”
The quiet words floated in the stillness that surrounded them as Tavia drowned in the emotional message relayed by the Princess’s temperamental grey eyes. “If you see it now then so should I.”
“You’re not looking in a mirror.” An indulgent smile filled Seera’s features. “I’m glad that you came back Tavia, you and I should never be apart.”
Tavia saw the sincerity in Seera’s eyes and knew she meant every word. She also saw another expression that she couldn’t quite discern. What is she thinking I wonder? “I will never leave you again my Princess.”
Seera’s eyes filled tender emotion as she briefly recalled the years of loneliness when Tavia attended her studies. The Princess let out a satisfied sigh, as they settled on the stone closer than ever. “Excellent.”
Tavia struggled with the impulse of wanting to kiss the lips that were so near to hers. It would not be proper for her to make such a move. “Are you comparing my eyes to the sky above me dear Princess?”
A slim finger reached out and traced a delicate pattern over each eyelid before Seera whispered, “My Tavia, with the indigo eyes that fill with stars when she’s happy. I will not allow you to disagree with me on this point. I have dominion over you if you recall.” A teasing glint appeared in Seera’s eyes.
“I’m delighted to be part of your territorial claim if you allow me the same rights?” Tavia waited as she saw the intelligent eyes consider the proposal.
A serious expression crossed Seera’s features as she captured Tavia’s chin and gently cupped it in her hand. “You have had a claim on me from the moment I first saw you Tavia. The child now grown into a woman can now claim what is hers if she so chooses.”
Tavia felt her throat dry up at the words. Could it be that simple? Tavia didn’t try to stop the love she felt from filling her eyes. “Will you hold me Seera? I’m getting cold. We can watch this tapestry unfold as we used to watch the parades as children.”
Seera stared at Tavia as inwardly she shook her head. She was offering Tavia her heart. Why do you deny me? She was certain her friend cared about her…their bond indicated as much. As she tried to reconnect to that bond, she felt nothing. With a frown she thought, perhaps it is the atmosphere here. There may be other powers affected too. “Your wish my Lady Tavia, is my command.” She bent her head and kissed the top of the blonde head of hair that felt like silk to the touch.
Tavia felt complete as the strong arms enfolded her. It was something she hadn’t felt in all the years she’d been away studying. “Let’s make a wish on a star Seera. Close your eyes and don’t tell me or it won’t come true.”
As each made a wish that neither disclosed, Seera silently shouted to the heavens, I already have all I want - you. A short time later, they’d made their way back inside the vessel.
A restart of the shuttle was not to be – the critically depleted power cells would not respond. Once their food rations were exhausted, they had to make the hard, but necessary decision to leave the relative safety of their craft.
“I shall volunteer your Highness. It is my duty as your protector to scout the area and find a food source,” said Captain Orin Steele, whose squat body and craggy features reflected his determination to do just that.
“No! I shall accompany you. I will not allow you to go out into who knows what and face whatever is out there alone. It is my duty as the representative of my mother to ensure our royal house has dominion over this planet when we return home,” Seera replied with arrogance. “I’m not going to miss an opportunity to claim this planet for my Queen. I can’t do that stuck in this place.”
From the main console of the ship, a gentle bubble of laughter emitted from the small woman partially hidden by the open compartment where she’d settled in for diagnostic checks.
“Lady Emerald you cannot laugh at the Princess, it is a traitorous action!” Counselor Darc Cimmerian chastised.
Then the legs moved followed closely by the upper body as a petite woman appeared. Her indigo eyes glowed with ill-concealed pleasure at Cimmerian’s disapproval. Her smile taunted him to say more as she looked directly into the amused expression of the Princess. “Sorry your Highness,” she said with a partial nod of her head. “Call it a reaction to being marooned on an alien planet.”
As she started to get up, a well toned hand hauled her from her position. When she stumbled slightly, equally strong arms held her. A teasing expression, which turned smoldering, appeared in her helper’s eyes. “Thank you your Highness.”
Seera continued to lock gazes with her best friend and felt that kicked like a mule reaction to the feeling of holding Lady Tavia Emerald in her arms. “As always Lady Emerald you’re welcome. Now please, we are all interested in why you thought it funny.”
Tavia gave Seera a conspirator’s wink before her face turned serious. “We should all go. From what the diagnostic check tells me each time I’ve taken it since landing, we can’t get off this planet and return home until we can create another wormhole.”
Darc, annoyed at the closeness of the Princess and the lowly ranked woman, ground out, “When will that be?”
Tavia lifted her hands in the air and shrugged. “I’ve absolutely no idea. We no longer have the power cells required to test out my theory again. The remaining energy will maintain Astoria indefinitely however, if we try to take off it would only place us into the atmosphere around this planet and we couldn’t travel for any length of time.” Her eyes connected with her fellow travelers. “I hope you have all considered one thing.”
Seera, bowing to her friend’s scientific intelligence, cast a long serious look at her. “And that consideration is?”
“We might never be in a position to leave. If we don’t find a source of power that will replace what we exhausted getting here it is a distinct possibility.”
Darc’s sallow complexion turned a bright red in anger as he faced the scientist and jabbed an accusing finger in her direction. “You did this! The Queen always said you were…” He didn’t finish as he felt his hand swung away from the smaller woman and drawn into the orbit of the Princess.
With her face calm and controlled, Seera hissed, “If you ever, and I mean ever, accuse Lady Emerald of any wrong doing again, I’ll take that as personal attack. We both know what that means…don’t we Darc?”
Captain Steele moved slightly. His stance was ready to pounce with the flick of a finger or eyebrow from the Princess.
With a bowed head, Darc muttered, “Sorry.” Once I get the opportunity, I’m going to see that Emerald bitch dies on this planet.
Tavia watched the Princess with a curious expression. She always watched my back even when I was a kid. I think she’d even put her life before mine and that would be crazy. If only things back home we’re different and her mother. Seera’s strong voice pulled her from her wandering thoughts.
“Are you listening Tavia?”
“Yes.” With an impish grin she asked, “Exactly what did you say?”
Darc snorted and Orin Steele looked down at his perfectly polished boots with a smirk clearly etched on his weathered face.
Seera shook her head as a twinkle appeared in her eyes. Liberties she always takes liberties. What will I do with her? What a delectable thought. “I decided that we will all go. We have no food and the four of us together have a better chance of survival than if we split up.”
“Sounds like the right decision to me. I’ll power down the energy cells and leave Astoria working. She’ll contact us if she feels threatened.”
Orin Steele said, “I shall take care of that Lady Emerald.” When he got a perfunctory nod he set about shutting down the system and switching Astoria to a trickle charge from the subsidiary auxiliary power unit.”
As they exited the shuttle, all eyes stared at the barren area that filled their path of vision in every direction. Each surveyed the vast region as memories of the home they left behind flooded their thoughts.
“ Captain Steele, you may lead us.” Seera picked up her evacuation gear and allowed the two men to leave the craft first. Then she turned to Tavia with a serious expression. “Are you ready for this?”
Tavia gazed into the perfectly shaped eyes. “As long as I’m with you I’ll always be ready.” Her reward was an illuminating smile on Seera’s face.
“Then my dear Lady Emerald, take my hand, and we shall begin this adventure together.” Hand in hand they left the craft as their journey to explore the new world began.
Providence appeared to be on their side when they came across a primitive city, not unlike the ancient cities on their own home world. Their advanced technology helped them survey the city, and more importantly from a distance, the inhabitants.
It had been somewhat of a shock to find that they weren’t dissimilar in physical appearance. Tavia’s eyes lit up when she’d seen them. Her scientist brain kicking in with all kinds of reasons why they would be as they were. The Earth year was 1917, the country the United States of America. Still, too many, it was a country of opportunity and that allowed them to blend in as the languages and dress varied and their physical structure appeared outwardly identical.
Orin took care of the clothing issue by stealing articles from several clotheslines before they made their way into town. They managed to settle in a crowded poor area of the city where people took little notice of their comings and goings. It allowed them a chance to decipher the rudiments of the English language before setting their sights higher in quest of their goal – returning home.
From an internal standpoint, their bodies were a different situation altogether. Over time, they found that their aging process was markedly slower. Their biggest challenge was remaining undetected as aliens. It became their normal process to move every five years before others became suspicious and asked too many questions. The luxury of remaining in one place could never happen for their existence depended on them merging in with the masses. Or, they were certain that inevitably someone would realize that they didn’t age…
Seera glanced at the photo again and felt a sharp recollection of events that lead to the quartet splitting.
“Your Highness it is time.”
Seera drug herself back from her memories, straightened her back, shedding whatever load she felt she had been carrying then nodded. “I suppose it is. You’d better bring them in.”
“Of course Highness,” Darc retorted as he bowed and turned away.
“Oh, and please Darc, after all this time you don’t need to bow every time I ask you to do something for me.”
“Of course…of course Highness.” He bowed again as he slithered out the door.
Seera blew out an annoyed breath as seconds later the door opened again. Several men and women in perfectly cut business suits entered the room. Each took the seat allocated to them around the conference table.
By breathing in deeply, Seera mentally removed her mask of royal office and replaced it with her corporate one. How much longer could she tolerate the deception? She was the Princess of Corinthian and did not belong in that world. Then, her fake human outer persona, Seera Diamond, claimed their attention by dominating the room with her personality.
“Ladies and gentlemen, as always it’s a pleasure to see you. Now, who has the results of our newest development?”
* * *
Orin glanced at the woman who had joined her life with his against all the odds almost six earth decades earlier. A smile of pleasure, creasing his bulbous features was never far away, when she was in his thoughts. It brightened even more when she was within his vision. He felt the love pounding in his brain and beating in his heart a thousand times faster, particularly now that she was with child. He watched her sleep and saw her hand protectively covering her bulging abdomen.
The pregnancy had been an accident or at least that was what Tavia thought, but for Orin, it was a clever rouse in engineering the conception. It was his way of ensuring she would always be part of him. I might not own her heart, but I now control her body. He did not feel remorse when a shocked Tavia blamed herself for allowing it to happen. Her scientific nature hadn’t kicked in enough to suspect he was the wrong-doer.
As things do, his plan hadn’t gone as he wished. He reasoned that if their bodies didn’t age as the human then the pregnancy would grow exponentially. That was the flaw in his plan for the pregnancy was progressing much as a human child birthing cycle. As time passed, Tavia’s mind had discarded numerous scenarios on the whys of her pregnancy reasoning that her condition clouded her methodical brain. Despite her body adopting the human pregnancy cycle it still proved impossible to visit a doctor on a regular basis. They couldn’t take the chance of someone taking a blood test and revealing her identity.
Every decade on earth meant a month of their life cycle and the thought of a child was something never discussed or thought of…at least for Tavia. When they found out Tavia was pregnant he’d announced it as a gift for their devotion. For a long time, Tavia was silent on the subject but eventually, she appeared to accept the mishap and began to enjoy the prospect. For Orin, the pregnancy ensured they would be together forever.
His eyes tracked to the bedside cabinet and the photo album Tavia took out and perused every week. He, on the other hand, had long ago decided that it was useless to spend time dwelling on the past. Whenever he thought of going back to their home planet, he could feel sadness well up in his heart. It would mean sacrifices that he wasn’t sure he could make anymore.
“Penny for your thoughts Orin,” said Tavia who woke silently and watched the flickering expressions on a face that some would say was ugly. Whatever expression had adorned his face moments earlier cleared immediately. She saw only love and tenderness as he hopped on the bed beside her.
He gently cradled her into his broad chest and his hand slowly caressed the bump of Tavia’s eight month pregnancy. “Hey you know they’re worth more than that…how about a kiss instead.”
They shared a simple kiss and its simplicity was enough to satisfy them for the moment. “How was your day?” Tavia asked as she curled her smaller fingers around the much larger one.
“Hmm, you smell wonderful.”
With a chuckle, Tavia knew that was a way of ignoring her question. But, she wouldn’t relent and asked again, “How was your day?”
“Like a dog with a bone huh? Ok, ok I had a dreadful day. Sung’s flying is driving me crazy. He doesn’t fly half as well as you do. We lost several important documents yesterday because he chose to take a crate of chickens to the island for his grandfather and they escaped their cages inside the hold. God only knows how he managed to fly to safety with feathers flying in all directions.”
The laughter that followed his story made Orin smile and, for the first time since the frustrating event, he saw the funny side. Tavia had a way into his heart that soothed any problem. He wondered at times about his good fortune–Tavia chose to spend this portion of her life with him rather than… Don’t go there. It only brings pain and besides, it is old news…she’s having our child…she’s mine now. “Yes, I know funny ha, ha, but remember this is our livelihood.”
Tavia turned slightly to gaze into Orin’s face. He had craggy features more in line with a rock face than any other description she could think of. Underneath the hard expression he wore, his heart was surprisingly gentle. His compassionate nature gave hers a run for its money. The fact that he had been the Princess’s royal guard had astounded her when they had, over time, gotten to know each more intimately. It was so out of balance with his true nature. At least the one she saw every day.
He explained that on their planet, he would rather be caring for the Princess knowing that no harm came to her than any other choice of career he could have made…particularly now. His loyalty had been and still was as dependable as the day he had swore an oath to protect the heir to the Corinthian throne. Even though his power of protection was from afar, he assigned protectors to watch her every move and those of her enemies.
Tavia shook her head and smiled realizing that over the years, the Princess managed to accumulate many enemies...particularly pissed off husbands. As it has always been since they arrived there, the Princess couldn’t prevent her libido from ruling her actions when it came to beautiful women. A tinge of sadness invaded her senses as her thoughts drifted to the moment when jealousy and despair caused her to break down and confess her love for the Princess to Orin. Then her mind cleared back to the present. “My dear Orin, how did you chastise Sung for his misdemeanor?”
A sheepish expression crossed his face as a slow smile tugged at his lips. “What could I say? The old man, Sung’s grandfather, was so happy to see the chickens I figured it was worth it. I promised the other clients I’d fly their cargo free for a week.”
Tavia kissed him and as their lips disengaged she whispered, “That’s why I’m glad I have you in my life Orin.”
A deep expression mirrored in Orin’s eyes, as he whispered. “I love you.” Then as their lips met, again they lost themselves in the images of love that saved them from the despair they both carried for different reasons.
* * *
Letters moved haphazardly around the desk as Seera tapped her fingernails on the polished surface ignoring the fact that several fell onto the burgundy carpeted floor. The meeting hadn’t gone as well as she had hoped. The lead scientist working on the compact energy theory hadn’t moved forward in a month. The only word to describe her feelings was frustration. A knock on the door and her absent, “enter,” momentarily drove the feeling from her thoughts. She gave the young woman entering her office a thin smile. “Janice, is that the report I wanted?”
Janice Clark had worked as the personal secretary to Seera Diamond for the last five years. The work was interesting though less demanding than she had expected from someone who was so important in the industrial scheme of things. Her boss ran the largest global energy network in the western world. The sheer magnetism of the woman kept her from leaving and finding something substantive. The intellectual stagnation she felt was the biggest drawback to the job. She hoped that her boss would eventually see that and perhaps trust her with some of the more sensitive assignments that she always gave to Darc Cimmerian.
Even though he was her boss’s second in command, she felt the man was inept at a great many things especially business. Perhaps they share a secret. One area that she knew was not likely was romance. She knew about her boss’s personal likes in the romantic department–pretty blonde women without a brain. She wondered if she was being harsh. What did it matter to her anyway? All she wanted was to have Seera Diamond see her as executive material, not a bed warmer…or did she? She was a raging redhead with sparkling blue eyes with a temper to match. I’m hardly a likely candidate for her bed. Deep down, she wished for another dimension in her relationship with her boss. Falling in love with a boss that didn't know she was alive was the pits. God I watch too many damn movies and spend too much time online with my conspiracy buddies. I really must get a life. What’s the use of fantasizing over something that can never be?
“Yes, it arrived by courier a few minutes ago. Do you need anything else Ms. Diamond?”
Seera looked up at the attentive stance of her secretary and gave her the full force of her magnetic gaze. It never seemed to intimidate the woman or cause any kind of reaction and that, for Seera, was extremely rare. It was one of the prime reasons she’d employed Janice. She had to admit to watching the woman from time to time but she knew she must keep her rampant libido out of the office. “Not unless you can work out quantum physics and put on my desk a formula that can enclose energy in a compact form.”
Janice, surprised by the comment wondered if she was serious for it sounded like an episode out of one of her sci-fi series. She couldn't wait to discuss it with the people in her sci-fi group. I bet they come up with all kinds of crazy theories. She frowned and replied, “I’m afraid physics wasn’t one of my strong subjects. Sorry Ms. Diamond.” She watched as Seera opened the file from one of their field locations and read the crib sheet at the front before her boss let out, “Damn. It is possible after all!”
“Is there a problem Ms. Diamond?”
Confused for a moment, Seera had forgotten Janice was still in the room and shook her head. “Call Darc for me Janice and have my jet ready to take off in three hours.”
“Yes Ma’am, do you want me to go with you?” A part of Janice hoped she’d say yes, but she knew once Cimmerian was in tow that wouldn’t happen.
“You? No,” Seera said without looking up. “Oh, and send Candice a bouquet of flowers and apologize for me. I can’t make the opera tonight. Scribble a note and explain I’ll call her when I get back to town.”
Seera had dismissed her with the off hand comment of placating the current girlfriend. Not that it mattered, for Janice knew that she’d be doing the same thing at the end of the week anyway. This directive is two days early. Seera Diamond was a taker in the love stakes and apparently, no one seemed to care.
“How long will you be away Ms. Diamond?”
There wasn’t an answer immediately then absently she remarked, “Forever with luck.” Janice shrugged and left the room to undertake her task of sending flowers after she called Darc Cimmerian. The thought made her wince for he was the slimiest man in the building and he always hit on her. Why he thought he was god’s gift amused her greatly. Once she sat at her desk, she punched in Cimmerian’s number.
* * *
The aircraft noise as it reached altitude became a humming sound in background as the two occupants in the main cabin simultaneously stopped reading their documents and stared at each other.
“Is this for real?”
Darc Cimmerian moved his head from side to side like a bobbing toy dog in a car window and pulled off the irritating spectacles that he wore for reading. “The lab wasn’t clear on the full details. However, it looks promising your Highness.”
Seera pursed her full lips and glanced at the documents she clutched tightly in her hands. “Is it wise to power up Astoria for her to verify the reports? Damn if only we knew where Tavia is…she’d confirm or not in an instant.”
Darc considered the question and statement carefully before replying. They’d deactivated Astoria, to conserve the limited power cells that remained for the return journey home, decades earlier. Lady Tavia Emerald was another factor altogether. The mention of her name was enough for him to break out in hives–he hated the woman. “Do we have any choice your Highness? As I’ve elucidated before, one must take the opportunity when it arises and this may well be our time.”
Seera frowned for she knew he was right. “Are there any other avenues that we haven’t explored?”
The man opposite her had only one suggestion, but wondered if she would agree once she heard what he had to say. He’d rather take poison than suggest it under normal circumstances but it wasn’t normal and hadn’t been for decades. “Princess, there is only one other avenue…we locate Tavia and Orin. As you said, Tavia can translate the data in seconds and we would know for sure if they are correct.”
The alacrity of the negative reply had Darc reeling in his seat as he felt the backlash of the power of the single word. “I beg you to reconsider Princess. Remember my old saying…”
“I know, I know. When the opportunity arises, you must take it. Any more bright ideas that particular phrase is becoming stale?” Seera barked. There was no way she'd demean herself by begging Tavia and Orin for help. Then, a contrasting notion flashed into her mind. I ache to see you my friend it has been far too long. Whatever I said back then probably hasn’t hurt her as much as the pain it inflicted on me.
Darc sighed and quietly said, “Then we shall activate Astoria and hope the report is correct.”
Seera heard the deference in his voice and knew she was being selfish. At the end of the day, she was responsible for his being there–for them all. If she hadn’t been so arrogant and foolish when she made Tavia create the wormhole they would be home. She turned toward the window and looked out at the tiny markings of the civilization that made the planet its own
As the scenery below moved rapidly by she considered that in their own way, the people of the earth were remarkable with the limited resources available to them. One day they would probably rue the day they wasted so much time and energy in fighting each other. She knew that when they finally departed the earth, she would miss some of the interesting facets of the place and a few of the people…but not many. She learned early on that it was easier to be devoid of friends then to watch them, from a distance, die of old age or illness. Now, fleeting affairs to keep up with her seemingly unquenchable need for sex were the norm. The affairs, which were easy and without challenge, were becoming terribly boring and predictable. The face of her childhood friend flitted across her mind and she sighed–friendship were the hardest to eliminate.
“Your Highness is that what you want us to do?” Darc asked again as he watched the Princess’ profile.
Seera glanced at the waiting man and gave him a cynical smile. “We locate Tavia and Orin…you buy the services of the best in the business to locate them. I want us out of here at the earliest opportunity. With any luck, our nightmare existence on this planet will be over soon.”
Darc smiled warmly. “I concur, your Highness. We have been away from home too long. Shall we return or do you want to continue?”
Seera absently muttered, “Turn back, we won’t be going home today.”
Darc stood up and walked toward the cockpit to relay new instructions
to the captain.