Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
Captain Pueson stepped away from the prisoner towards the corner of the room, forcing the other two to follow, and then asked in a hushed voice, “Is this true, Commander? Is it possible that our prisoner ensured that the explosive device in that crate did not come aboard the Forseti?”
Boro’s throat was still tight, and now it was dry to boot. “It’s within the realm of possibilities based on what we’ve seen,” he said acidly, “But there’s no reason why we should believe it.”
“What about the unexploded device?” Captain Pueson asked. “Could that be linked somehow?”
“Something to consider,” Boro answered in a strained voice.
“Doctor, has he always talked like this?” the Captain asked.
“He’s been going on like that since he regained consciousness yesterday,” Dr. Ory Sufai answered, her voice entering a higher register that did not reflect her age, “I’ve tried to ignore it, but that hasn’t stopped him.”
“Oh it’s so nice to hear the murmur of your voices.” The prisoner’s head lay flat and facing up, though his eyes were now closed. “It’s such a lovely song. Full of emotion and sorrow and love, an undeniable soul at the core of it all. A tender, real soul.”
His eyes remained closed as the three Forseti crewmembers returned to his bedside, the faintest smile on his face, something about it vaguely uncanny, as if the primitive stem at the core of Boro’s brain could sense that something was wrong with the creature on an unseen level.
“If you’re telling the truth, that you tried to save the ship,” Captain Pueson said, though if it were up to Boro, this ludicrous possibility would not even be entertained, “Then who was the one who tried to destroy it?”
“The other one, of course. She’s got no connection to us. That is, it’s her progenitor that doesn’t. Her progenitor and ours well, they don’t see eye to eye,” he smiled gently then, a completely unnerving gesture, “That’s between us though, it’s nothing you need to concern yourselves about.”
Captain Pueson’s large round face loomed over their nameless prisoner, his mouth opened slightly as it always did when the Captain’s mind was churning particularly thorny thoughts, but the expression in those mismatched green eyes remained placid, perceiving no danger and seeming to not even scratch the surface of the serious situation he found himself in. If it weren’t for the Captain and the Doctor, Boro would surely have been able to find a way to snap his attention back from whatever clouds it had found itself in. All Boro had at his disposal though were words.
“I think when our ship is almost destroyed that gives us plenty of reason to be concerned,” Boro said.
“Of course, I’m sorry. When all you hear is the whole of you, that beautiful mass that is you, it’s sometimes hard to remember the little pinpricks that come together.” The doctor silently pushed between Boro and Captain Pueson, and leaned in to raise the black arc of the medical scanner over the prisoner.
“What are you –” Boro began to ask but Dr. Sufai interrupted. “Just keep him talking.”
The prisoner didn’t seem to mind this, his green eyes briefly flitting to the scanner in curiosity and then turning back to Boro.
“I’m sorry about that young man,” the prisoner said, “I really am. I realize that life can be so fragile when you’re all alone. But, you should be safe now. We’re the only ones they sent. They thought it would be different this time. But as you can see, it wasn’t. I thought I could do it, but when I saw you there, when your voices emerged from the crowd and I finally lain my own two eyes upon your magnificence, I couldn’t do it. Not sure if my progenitor would be displeased or happy with that. But you get to continue and I think that counts for something, so that I may hear your beautiful song.”
Honeyed words, to be sure, but ones that gave Boro no comfort. He felt instead that continued sensation that they had somehow touched him, in ways that were not appropriate, and made him want to throw up. He stepped away and through the door to the main part of the medbay, with Captain Pueson and Dr. Sufai following.
“I don’t know about you, Captain,” Boro said lowering his head, in an attempt to signal to the Doctor that she was excluded from this part of the conversation, “But I’m not entirely reassured by those ravings.”
“I hear you Commander, but we’re well on our way and I don’t see how it would make a difference now one way or another.” Captain Pueson looked towards their prisoner, who was now contentedly staring up into the blackness of the scanner hanging over his head. “If there’s others like him out there, they’ll be hard-pressed to find us.”
“Unless the technology that lets them create that can also see right through our ghost.”
“Best not to worry yourself with that, I think, Boro.” The Captain, in one of his rare instances of first-name address, put his hand on Boro’s shoulder and gave it a slight shake. “Besides, a few months by himself in the brig, maybe he’ll change his mind about how much he’s willing to share. Doctor, I want him out of here and transferred into the brig as soon as you believe it appropriate.” They both then turned to the Doctor, who was regarding them with a cool even expression, her hands in front of her, the fingers of one wrapped around the thumb of the other. “Once he’s well enough, please contact Indario and they will provide the appropriate escort.”
Boro did not entirely believe that the Doctor would be willing to give their prisoner the proper bill of health when the time came, but still she answered with a “Yes, Captain,” and a nod that involved mostly her eyes.
“In the meantime,” the Captain continued, “See if you can uncover anything else about …” he paused, took a few steps towards the door of the prisoner’s room and asked, “Do you have a name, by any chance?
“A name? No, I don’t, or …,” the prisoner lifted his chin so he could look in Captain Pueson’s direction, “Not in the sense that you understand them, but if it helps, you may call me Isht.”
Michael is a husband, father of two, lawyer, writer, and is currently working on his first novel, at a snail's pace. A very leisurely snail. All opinions are author's own.