The Visund – Episode 18

I slept like I had a fever, and had all kinds of hallucinations I can’t completely understand.  I know that the noises I heard around me blended into these wild and vague flashes as if the stories within them were narrated by them.  At times I felt like I was buzzing all over, and other times I felt like I was moving down a long hallway to somewhere.  I didn’t know where.  I tried to wake up, but for some reason I couldn’t.  It was like that feeling you have when you are in a dream trying to wake yourself, but for some reason you are paralyzed to controlling that action.  Sleep paralysis I think they call it.  Anyhow, I just heard murmuring which made my mind conjure images that made no sense.   Suddenly there was a sharp jolt and I felt my body was suspended from the ceiling.  Still unable to move, or wake up, I felt someone or something cut free my restraints and I fell into someones arms.  They wrapped something around me.  Then through an opened door I could feel cold seeping in, which began to make me shiver and wake me up.  I could hear a deep voice murmur “23 minutes”.  As I awake I could feel snowflakes flying through the opening, and as I open my eyes I am looking into a snowy area of the woods upside down, as the snow appears to be falling upwards.  “Oh, she’s awake”, Emilia says to someone then looks at me, “Just hold on a few more minutes and we’ll have someone come take a look at you.  Okay, chica?”  I nod my head as she reorients me in her arms.

Now fully awake I realize the vehicle we are in is releasing smoke and steam outside, and is turned upside down.  The group of us is huddled inside the van, except Bueller who is standing outside the back compartment scanning the sky for something.  “They should have found us by now.  I placed the flares where they said…  Wait… I think I see something coming.  Yep… Gather your shit, we’re abandoning the craft.  The Zion brigades will catch up with us soon if we don’t get across the border, and with flares out we aren’t hard to find.  I just hope they honor our asylum request”, he says.

Everyone except me and Emilia who is carrying me exit the van.  “Put on your ‘thank you for saving us o’humble savior’ faces”, Emilia says.  The snow isn’t falling hard, but it’s clear it’s been snowing enough to cover everything.  I can see a spotlight zone in on Fuel as he guides a craft in to land.  Suddenly, I can see flashes of light flying by, and can see through the open door the trails of AA tracers flying through the air.  They’ve detected the craft and are firing blindly into the snowy landscape.  I can see the landing strut of a rather large craft landing and it’s underbelly caked in ice from the storm.  I hear a loud series of pops and showers of spark near what appears to be the front of the craft, accompanied by the lasting purple glow of the vehicles shielding.  This isn’t any ordinary craft, this is an advanced military craft, and the purple glow could only mean it belongs to a nation other than the Republic of Zion.  A loading ramp descends from it’s underbelly and troops in white snow uniforms pour out and secure the area.  Their leader comes down the ramp at first walking, then jogging up to Fuel.  Like an abominable snowman in that outfit this man, nearly the size of Fuel gives him a vigorous embrace.  “Bueller gamlan vin minn. Hvar hefur þú verið að fela sig!”, says the man in a friendly voice, “You leave the Vatican and you not call me?  Shame on you my friend. You look good … And big. My God, what you have been eating. Ha ha!”

“Anything and everything I can get my hands on, Bjorn.  You know me.  Got to feed the beast”, says Bueller with a rather pleasant smirk on his face.

“Indeed, my friend.  Indeed.  Who are your friends?  Vinur vinur minn er líka vinur minn”, Bjorn says, “Oh, sorry.  Didn’t see you there Emilia.  Following in your brother’s footsteps it would seem.”  Bueller pipes in, “The one she’s carrying is the one we talked about.  Her name is Alira.  Believe it or not she’s probably stronger than me.”  This man walks up to me and as the landing lights are no longer obscuring his face, I can see that he looks how I’d imagine Santa Claus would have looked in his late 30s or early 40s.  His hair was black but peppered with grey, and his beard had grey streaks in it.  His flowing, curly locks made his face and demeanor seem more kind than he would ordinarily look. Only thing that was missing was the spectacles.  “Well now, she’s a sight to behold.  An exile, and a world class tempest.  The mark. How do you carry it so well?”, he asks me with this very fatherly look on his face.  I just shrug through my blankets, and look him in a way to resound that sentiment.  “Well it’s nice to meet you”, he says grabbing my arm through the blanket around me to awkwardly shake my hand.  “Bjorn, I enjoy the reunion, but can we discuss this and all the other introductions on the Visund”, Bueller calls from behind Björn.

“Right, right.  Menn, um borð í Visund og fylgdar slasaður til læknis! Við skulum fara, eða guð ótta heiðingjar verður að anda niður háls okkar.  Færa það!”,  Bjorn’s shout to his men.  They all reenter the ship with the same organized fashion they left it.  They are assisting Rush, who appears to be bleeding from his forehead and is groggy up the ramp, and one of the other men offers to help Dawson who appears to be cradling a broken arm.  Fallon appears to be limping from a twisted ankle but she’s refusing aid to stay by my side.  Bjorn refuses to let her limp into the ship, and throws Fallon’s arm over his shoulder and hoists her up off the ground and carries her into the ship with Emilia carrying me, side by side.  All this while me and Fallon’s eyes have hardly left each others gaze.

As we pass under the ship, I look up for a moment at the Icelandic flag emboldened in red, white and blue, and for a moment it reminds me if the world of old before breach ever so slightly.  There is a star in the upper right hand corner of the flag that I don’t recall being there in the early 21st century.  But in some strange way I find the red cross, bordered in white, and inside the blue somehow reassuring.  Now inside it’s quite clear that Iceland’s technology is light-years ahead of anything that the church possesses.  I hadn’t seen a science fiction show in my life that could describe the awe I felt staring at such advanced technology.  Holographic displays, precision crafted bulkheads, and doors so well built that you could only hear the air pressure differential when they opened.  This vessel looked like a space craft, not like any Earth-bound vessel.  The corridors were numbered and very orderly, and everything was pristine and neatly organized.  The interior of the vessel had a very welcoming and pleasant feel, and everyone I saw had very nicely designed military uniforms also like something from a science fiction movie of the highest budget.  They all had a pleasant kindness about their faces.  As we moved down the hall I began to see medical emblems and the scenery transitioned to something like that of a high-tech hospital.  Emilia walked me up to a door that opened automatically as we approached and set me down on an exam table.  Bjorn who’d entered the doorway before us started calling commands, “Hafa tilhneigingu til þessa fólks, og þá færa þau til búsvæða þilfari.” One short, older woman who is dressed sort of like I’d expect a doctor of the future to responds before returning to her office on the side, “Eins og þú vilt, skipstjóra.” The table was more like a bed and was incredibly comfortable, and there was quite literally, every kind of medical equipment you could imagine mounted to the ceiling, some on moveable cranes, and others which dropped down from the ceiling.  They’d opted for a standard white heavily accented in wood appearance, and had the kind of warm welcoming lighting you’d expect in someone’s home or in an art galleria.  To my right Rush was being attended on by two nurses in blue uniforms similar to the black versions of other officers.  On the other side of him I could hear Dawson yelp as the nurse set the bone and began healing him.  The nurses were done, almost as soon as they started.  In a hospital in Neo Zion, that would never happen.  No one, aside from me that is, could heal that fast. Two of the nurses’ flames were blue, like mine, though one had yellow-green flames; the rest standard green.

Fallon was sitting in a chair next to my bed with a nurse sitting across from her tending to her ankle.  She was also done very quickly.  Bjorn turns to me and motions the nurse who nods and gives me a strange painless shot of medication in the shoulder.  As it takes affect I feel better suddenly.  It’s affect is rapid, but it doesn’t have the side effects of a stimulant.  I feel quite normal.   The head nurse comes out of her office with a rolling rack of sophisticated equipment, and sets it beside my bed.  She busily pokes buttons until all panels on the display turn green.  On one screen a rolling raster which isn’t registering anything starts to move, and a plot trace like an oscilloscope starts as well.  She turns to Bjorn, “Kerfið er tilbúið til að taka inntak, kapteinn.”  He gives the nod, and she slides this glove over my left then my right hand, then sticks what looks like an electronic BTTG to my forehead.  The gloves have what looks like circuitry and sensors printed on them.  “Show me your stormur, Alira.  We are going to do a short analysis of your capacity, if that is okay”, Bjorn says to me while pulling off his white jacket and jumper pants revealing the black uniform beneath.  I ignite my tempest without a second thought, and on the screen the gauges all go white and peg out, though none of my energy is actually visible.  The nurse and Bjorn are throttled, and he give her another nod, and she begins to attenuate the signal from the gloves until all the displays are green again.  “Ég hef aldrei séð neitt eins og það.  She’s just… Vá!”, Bjorn says in shock before looking directly at me again, “Show me more.”

So I begin to really push my energy to it’s limit and as I do the white aura returns, and white flames begin to escape from my gloves and starts to spread to my entire body.  The gauges are pegged again, and the nurse turns the attenuator all the way up, but only succeeds in stabilizing the oscilloscope display. On it now, there appears to be two heartbeat rhythms beating in slightly different time to each other.  She walks up and puts a wireless stethoscope to my chest, “Það er hjartsláttur hennar.  Það er hjartsláttur hennar. Hitt … Ég veit ekki.”  She looks at my companion, Fallon, then at the captain.  He nods again.  She places another wireless stethoscope against Fallon’s chest and her eyes go really wide, “Brot par, eru þeir saman. Þeir eru bundnir hver öðrum. Hin púls er hennar.  Þeir eru félagi.”  She rolls Fallon’s chair over to mine and pulls out her arm, and places her hand in mine.  Fallon is resistant at first, but shortly there after willingly holds my hand.  Then, on the two pulses on the screen merge into one pulse and peg out the oscilloscope.  Fallon’s golden aura emerges, and my aura calms into an even, but flame-less white, resembling hers.  “Hvað er þetta? Hvað er að gerast, læknir”, the captain says while Rush and Dawson, now standing to the opposite side of me stare in awe.

The nurse stands up after stowing the earpiece and wireless stethoscopes.  Turning to the captain, she says, “Para skuldabréf. Þessir tveir voru á sama brotið, þó kom út á mismunandi tímum. Þeir eru félagar, tilheyra þeir saman, og þeir deila sama rými á brot. Þeir eru samstillt við hvert annað, og gefið líffræðilegum viðbrögðum þeirra að þeir eru líka í ást við hvert annað.”  She waves her hand at me to make me drop my field and I do as she gestures.

Bjorn shakes his head in surprise and raises one eyebrow curiously.  He looks at me and then at Fallon with that face, then relaxes his brow and calms his face allowing a smile to overtake it.  Walking up to me he puts his hand on my shoulder, “Til hamingju.  Congratulations, Alira and Fallon.  It may not be much, and we know you have no family, but for this occasion we shall act as family, if that is okay with you.” I turn my body more towards Bjorn and ask, “What do you mean?  What are you talking about?”  He chuckles at me, “Sorry, I forget you don’t understand what we are saying.”  He nods to the nurse and then she escorts out the door and instructs Dawson and Rush to where the others are waiting, before coming back inside.  The captain leans over the a wall-mounted holoscreen and pushes a button then speaks into it, “Yeoman Arison, vinsamlegast koma til læknis skefjum.”

He rolls a chair up from behind him and sits in it backwards facing me beside my bed.

“You two are pair bonded.  You’ll never fall in love with someone else.  Pair bonds are those of people who were bonded both within blár rúm and outside of blár rúm.  Stormur who bonded in blár rúm are bound for life.  It’s like being married.  Furthermore, most of the time people are bonded like this, it means they were together before blár rúm.  Only married couples exchange enough bodily fluid to become pair bonds, and oftentimes their genetic codes are blurred together within that suspension”, Bjorn says to me with a friendly, cordial smile.  Nurse points a large cone like object on the ceiling at me, positioning it about 1′ away.  It has a small holoscreen on it’s side and she appears to be taking readings with it.  There is a tiny blue indicator like on the center of the cone that flashes a few times when she scans me, which she then does to Fallon in the same way.  She then with her fingers drags a paperclip icon from the holoscreen onto a tablet and it starts to display the data.  The nurse hands the captain the readout.  He nods, and shows us the readout.  There is a graph with highlighted portions that shows in GATC format where our genetic sequences are chimeric fused half and half in some cells but not in others.  “Alira, what is the last thing you remember before blár rúm.  Before you entered the space you know of as breach?”, he asks me.  I think to myself for a moment and then recall, “I was in a hospital suffering with Blue Tempest Syndrome.”  He nods, “Right.  And who was there with you.”

For some reason recalling this at the moment is difficult, “Um, friends, family… Yeah, I think that is it… Maybe a nurse or two was there later.”

“No, no… I mean in your immediate proximity, in contact with you”, he asks again.

I can’t remember, “I don’t know.  It’s really hard to remember that moment anymore.  It was so long ago.”

“Think harder.  You knew this person and you were intimate with this person.  Otherwise they wouldn’t be here”, he says.

Cold chills roll up my spine as I think about this.

“… Oh my god…”, I say aloud.  There is only one person I can think of.

“Yuzuho!” I shout, “Yuzuho was there, she was holding me in her arms.”

Fallon starts to breathe with an emotionally laden tension and gripping my hand really tightly, eyes wide with realization.  Tears are starting to stream down her face as she stares at the floor.  “I know that name… I don’t know how, but I know that name.   Why do I know that name?  It feels… It feels like deja vu…  Like abstract nostalgia… It’s confusing… I feel kind of dizzy.  In my dreams… I dream about this woman.  She…  She looks a bit like Alira, but she is much older.  The woman in my dreams is someone I love.  But the only thing I can remember in my dream is holding her in my arms while she is screaming, and struggling to breath calmly, and I whisper to her… ‘I love you, I’m here, it’s okay.’  I remember being bathed in blue and the smell of o-zone.  She calls my name… She called me Yuzuho.”, she says.  Upon hearing this I begin to cry, “Yuzuho?”, while looking at Fallon.  She responds immediately and turns her head to me in recognition of that name with tears streaming down her face.  She lays herself over the edge of the bed and wraps her arms around me and pulls me into her chest.  I am unable to do more than whimper against her neck.  Sniffling a little now, Fallon lays me back down and starts to wipe the tears from her eyes.

From behind the captain comes a man in a grey version of the uniform.  He has black hair, and very pale skin.  He leans in and says something I can’t quite make out, to which the Captain responds, “Við höfum hjónaband leiddi leiðir til að fagna. Ég held þessir tveir hennar gæti virkilega nota kvöldi gaman og mat. Sjá til þess fyrir mig?” The yeoman looks an us with a raised brow and a smile, “Já, skipstjóri!”, and walks out of the room.  Crying less now I say to her, “Yuzuho, I can’t believe it’s you.”  She sighs and takes a deep breath, looking down at me again now.  “Call me Fallon.  I always liked that name.  Reminds me of an old friend of mine”, she says to me with a gentle smile on her face, “I found you.  I can’t believe I found you.  And to think you were under my nose this whole time.  When you started to phase out, I remembered just now that I’d refused to let you go.  The nurse tried to pull me off of you, as well as Amma.  But I just clutched you tightly, and soon I was pulled in with you.  I could see Amma calling to me but everything just faded away.  I’d all but forgotten about all of this… I came out of breach about a year before you did, in that burnt out old hospital.  I was taken in, but I couldn’t remember my name, or life before that moment at all.  I was physically 4 or 5 when I came out.  I didn’t know anything about what had happened, or what year, or anything really.  It was just… Gone!  Bits and fragments came to me in dreams, but even now I don’t remember much beyond the last month before breach, which is still rather vague.  I couldn’t remember your name, just your scent.  You always smelled like shampoo and facial soap with a dash of kitchen aromas from oregano to parsley, and something special I couldn’t put my finger on.  I remembered you cooking things for me, I think, even when you were tired.  The first time I was close to you, I recognized that scent somehow, but couldn’t put my finger on how until now”

From my side Bjorn rolls up with a wheel chair, and then he hoists me into it.  “Shall we”, he gestures to Fallon, or Yuzuho… I am unsure of how to think of her in my mind right now.  I’d been separated from her for so long, to be reunited as if in a different life than before.  I felt happy, and simultaneously confused.  Somehow, without knowing it, I’d traveled into the future and fell in love with the same person for a second time now… It was both poetic, and strange.  Fallon walks up behind my wheel chair and follows the captain out and into the hallway we entered from.  But instead of going straight once we were out of the medical wing, he turns right and heads for an elevator.  “Beautiful isn’t she?”, Bjorn says.  “Who”, I ask him as we enter the elevator.  “Why the ship, what else would I be talking about”, he replies.  Once we are completely inside the door closes and he pushes a code on the door-side panel and I can see that the lift is moving sideways a bit, and then it ascends a few floors, but never once did I feel any inertia.  “Yes, I guess she is”, me and Fallon say in unison.  She pushes me out as the door opens, and many of the crew, and the whole gang is in what looks to be an interior arboretum.  There is a garden patio like area nearest to us from the elevator which is surrounded by this beautiful garden with everything from banana trees, to flowers and perennials.  There is even other food growing inside it, and the ceiling has lots of windows in it.  As she rolls me even more forward I can see the Earth outside the ship, and some of space above me.  It is breathtaking, as I stare in surprise and awe looking out into space for the very first time in my life that wasn’t through a telescope, or from the roof of my old house.  Fallon puts her hands on my shoulders and looks up into the space with me.  Strange thing is that I never once felt as though we had moved.

“The Visund is one of Iceland’s finest space exploration vessels, as well as one of her most prominent military platforms.  Top of the line, so they say”, Bjorn says to me with pride at the amazement on me and Fallon’s faces.  We look like children at Christmas time, or how I’d imaged every astronaut ever looked when they stared into space.  “It also has the worlds first fully integrated inertial control system, as well as having the worlds most powerful inertial confinement system at it’s core.  This vessel has the ability to provide power for the entirety of the island of Iceland, if only on minimal power usage.  This vessel, on it’s own could hold off the entire Navy of Zion’s fleet while we all throw a party in the arboretum and engage in merrymaking.  I’ve done this before as an act of defiance during the Second Greenwich conflict.  I got in trouble, but it demoralized their fleets and eventually they turned tail and ran.  Ha ha! Those were the days…  One day, I had them extend the barriers and I got very intoxicated and hurled empty bottles of wine at them from the external bow of the ship.”

“Way, in my heyday we’d take our old patrol crafts which were little bigger than a motorcycle inside and as big as a fighter jet outside and sit on the Canadian Demilitarized Zone and taunt the Zionist into popping a few shots off at us.  HAHA!  I even almost got shot down when they got so angry they rolled out the bigger artillery”, Bjorn chuckles loudly at his exploits, “However, I am getting too old for the days of sticking my neck out so brazenly.  The world is a different place than it was then.  He had a few leaks about 12 years ago, and the Zionist got some tech they shouldn’t have.  Made things a little more risky, but our technology grew in leaps and bounds since then.  Our ships are pretty much immune to their weaponry outside of a few strategic weapons, and our fighters are still fairly vulnerable.  But it’s rare we ever take damage, much less get shot down.  The claim we’re all heathens, and that we need to face Iustitia Deus, but it’s not like they can make us.  It’s like tribal cultures of Central and South America verses the Spaniards.”  Bueller walks up behind him putting his hand over Bjorn’s shoulder, “What kind of nonsense are you jabbering on about, Bjorn?”, he says.  “Fuel, you don’t have room to talk.  By Valhalla, you used to get into so much trouble.  Always fighting, always in trouble with the law.  If you hadn’t had the Verachi’s watching your rassinn you’d be in a very different place now”, Bjorn chuckles, “Hell, I pulled your rassinn out of the fire more than a few times.”  Bueller shakes his head, “You got me into more trouble than you got me out of.  Like that time we got liquored up and went to the top of the theater and pissed down onto the Vatican Police patrol.  That was your idea… I told you we shouldn’t do it… But did you listen… Nope.  We ran for 3 hours trying to get away from those stronzi, all the while with you stopping to moon them to let them catch up.  If it hadn’t been for me being a power user you and I’d be dead.  Crazy old bastard.  But… You know… You did help me out with Emelia”

“Ha! Emelia was every bit as fiery was you were back then, accept she was a girl so people tolerated her less”, Bjorn says.

“Yeah, you to where the reason I always looked out the window when you came home piss-ass drunk.  I’d lie awake at night wondering who you pissed off.  Nonno used to make you go to bed without eating, and you’d sit in the corner of our room crying.  You were always hungry, and I always had to cover for you ass when you’d sneak out and raid the pantry at night.  You may have helped me, but I made up for it”, Emilia pipes in with a playful but frustrated tone in her voice.

“I just didn’t like people hurting those weaker than themselves”, she adds.

“Me either, Em, but we both did plenty of that, and saw more than our fair share of people who had it so much worse than we did.  I’m just lucky I got us out of there before the old man passed away”, Bueller says now with a much more sombre tone.  “Hey, hey nú börn, lets not worry over spilled eggs.  What has happened has happened.  You both were rebellious children, we know this… It’s why they called you Fuel to begin with, because with you around it was like putting jarðolíu on the fire”, Bjorn says with the stern face of the father figure trying to quell two bickering children.  “And what’s this about leaving the Vatican without calling?  It was you that left, and us that had to leave shortly after before things really hit the fan”, Bueller harasses with his arms crossed.  “Barn, I’d have told you if I could have.  I’d gotten shot up a few too many times, and I was in a hospital ship heading back to Iceland”, Bjorn says in a sombre tone himself now.

“See, I was on a humanitarian mission in The Vatican back then before I became an officer.  I had special permits, and I spent a lot of time helping out the destitute and downtrodden of the Former Republic of Italy in Vatican City.  I also spent time harassing their persecutors.  I met Rodney (Fuel clears his throat in the background)… Sorry.  I met Bret during a raid where they were trying to take his sister away to brand her.  I got them in touch with Arturo Verachi, and old benefactor of the city, and he agreed to take them in.  Emilia was a harder case though, but it’s all history now”, Bjorn says now taking a large drink of an apparently large mug of booze, handed to him by a crewman moments earlier.  “But this is no time for that, we should be celebrating” he shouts.

“Celebrating what?”, Bueller asks.  “Why the reunion of a partnership in love, what else!”, Bjorn says and burst into jovial laughter.  The whole gang comes to a grinding halt.  All around us the ships crew is beginning to set up stands for beer and bringing out all kinds of food, one looking like fish fillets in… Pancakes?  Dawson chimes in, “Wait… Who here is married, or getting married?”  Bjorn responds.  Partridge looks around at the crowd, and Emilia, Rush, Bueller, and Bjorn look directly at me.  With his mug he points at me and Fallon, “Why these two, who else here appears to be a couple”, he chuckles.  Fallon, now standing beside my chair blushes and takes a step back, and my face becomes red as well with the crowd of crew standing around looking at us.  A few of them say, “Til hamingju”, as they pass us bringing things into the room.  Partridges face is red now, and I see her cover her face and turn and run out of the room.  I think I could see her crying.  While standing still facing me, Emilia looks over her shoulder towards Bjorn with a simultaneously concerned and frustrated look.  He presses his lips together, tilts his head and nods backwards in the direction Partridge ran.  Emilia turns and parts the group as she runs after Partridge.  There is some confusion on the faces of those of Bjorn, and the gang.  Those faces quickly change as crew-members begin to hand out mugs of what appears to be some kind of Viking beer.  Everyone relaxed again and Bjorn puts his arm around Bueller’s shoulders, “Come now, lets eat… This is a celebration after-all”, he chuckles.  He leads him down to the food, and Rush follows.  Dawson walks up to me and Fallon, “Well, that was something of a shock.  I mean, I’m not surprised by you two considering what has transpired, but Partridge…  Either way, I wish you two the best, you make a cute couple and I’d be honored to attend, should you decide to have a ceremony of sort.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to need a stiffer drink and time to commence in merrymaking.  Perhaps their will be a few available maidens about this vessel.  Adieu”, he says taking a bow and walking away into the crowd.

“What was that all about”, Fallon says to me, to which I respond, “I don’t know… I don’t know what’s up with Partridge, but I think Dawson is… I don’t know… I can’t say for certain.”   Crewmen who’d left after setting up the table in the center of the patio, are now returning to the room in casual attire.  Bjorn emerges out of the crowd  of people which is progressively turning from a sea of black to a colorful spectacle as more people change and return in less formal clothing.  He waves his hand to a man in an enclosed glass booth behind the center table, and some strange music chimes in over the speakers.  It sounds like Gaelic folk music with electric guitars in the background and someone singing something that sounds almost like Norse.  The captain comes over to us, “Come, come young ladies… The seat of honor is yours tonight.”  He leads us up to the center table and the crew has already placed food out for easy access for us, the captain, his second in command and the yeoman.  The first officer looks like a lumberjack the way he is dressed, and he has brown hair, blue eyes, and a full beard that is neatly trimmed and maintained.  I start thinking of fictional characters from sci-fi again.  He reminds me of a first officer from a spaceship on a sci-fi show I grew up watching.  He looks at the captain and says, “Gæfa mín, þeir sóa ekki hvenær.  Well, we might as well get to it.”  Fallon rolls my wheel chair into the only seat without a chair already in it and seats herself next to me.  Many people are getting food and drink, and a few are already doing some kind of folk dance on a carefully crafted wooden dance-floor just past the upper platform of the patio area.  There was many other tables, and it was kind of a jarring blend of science fiction and something modern, with a touch of something you’d see in a feature length movie about Norse Mythology.  The mugs looked like pint sized barrel with wooden handles.  The arboretum itself had a similarly unique feel to it, old and new melded together.

I also swore I saw a sheep deeper into the garden.  The main dish was something akin to lamb stew, and the fish pancakes kind of made drinking the viking beer necessary.  I’m not a seafood fan.  Yuzu… I mean, Fallon had only drank half her mug when I noticed her cheek were already getting rosy.  Could she already be getting drunk.   Yep… Her table manners devolved into something progressively more “viking like” as she progress through that 1 pint mug.  Hell, even I succumbed to it about a quarter of the way through my second.  The roast meats were amazing, though some had a strange taste to them I couldn’t figure.  Fallon turned to me, “Look, Alira… Dawson keeps getting shut down… HAHAHAH!” she said laughing hysterically and utterly red cheeked.  I looked down at the dance floor and saw him trying to put his French suaveness to the test.  This short Asian girl was standing in front of him seeming to tolerate him, then he finishes a statement with a sly grin, and she decks him leaving him standing there stunned.  He walks over to a side table and grabs another full mug of beer, and walks up to our table.  Setting himself against it he says, “Baisez cette merde!”, then chugs half his beer.

“Alira… Fallon, somethings wrong”, he says with a little slur to his speech.  “What’s that?”, Fallon giggles.  “I’m just off tonight.  I haven’t gotten a single bite, not even saying sweet nothings in my native tongue.  What’s wrong with me”, he adds with a more drunkenly emotional sound in his voice.  Bjorn laughs jubilantly beside me, “Well, perhaps they don’t understand French, and feel offended that they don’t have a clue what you’re saying.”

“It’s always worked in the past, so what then?”, Dawson adds sounding desperate.  “Maybe because you act kind of like a douchébag, you know?”, Fallon says shaking a mostly eaten drumstick at Dawson.  I am so shocked that I spit beer all over my plate.

“Women don’t like nice men my dear lesbian maiden… Hmm, I suppose I can’t call you a maiden anymore”, he says with his French accent now slurring into his speech more than before, “I tried that… I fail.  The woman of my dreams… Oh… (emotional sounding)… She left me for a prick of a man who got her pregnant then mysteriously disappeared.  She tried to call me out one day, hoping I’d harbor some kind of love for her.  I came to her, and I really did want to take her back.  But everytime I tried to tell her how it felt when she left me the baby would cry.  So I left.  (crying now)  A few days later I found out that the authorities came to get her, and a few days later she was executed.  The man she’d ran off with was an exile wanted for so many crimes that it would be easier to name the ones he hadn’t committed.  He disappeared, and she paid.  (drying his eyes and composing himself)  I have regretted that day, not because I didn’t tell her how I felt but because I left her to her fate because of my own unrequited feelings.”

He chugs the rest of his beer.   “So, do you ladies feel like making your duo into a trio?”, he says and I then give him a drunken evil eye.  “Didn’t think so.  I’m going to go take a nap before I lose any more of my wit”, he continues and rolls off the table and lands face first on the floor.  Hopping up quickly, but staggering a bit, “I’m fine… Don’t worry… I’ll just be leaving now”, he says but kicks his mug across the floor almost tripping on it.  “Ha Ah.  Ha…”, he says then points at the door.  He walks backwards towards the door and almost trips over the mug again.  Bueller appears out of nowhere from the periphery of my vision and slams down two more mugs with a “shit-eating” grin on his face.  “Wassup, ladies”, he says with a uncommonly mellow sound to his voice.  “Um, eating… This shit is so fucking tasty, you would not believe”, I say to him waving a drumstick in his face.  Fallon mumbles something to Bueller with a mouth still full of food.  Yep, she’s drunk.  “Live it up girls, you don’t know when you’ll be able to relax like this again.  Oh, and the captain accepted your asylum request.  Icela… Icekla… Clandandia… Iscland…. Excuse me… Iceland… Yeah, Iscland has a lot of refugees, which means that sometimes they have to turn away refugees who seem like they may be a threat, or send them to exterplinitary colonies instead… But we’ll be going to good ol’ Icekland.”  Yep, he’s drunk too…  I mean, how hard is it to say Iceland.  “Okay, Toto… We’ll be off to neverland!”, I giggle to him.  I can’t think clearly through all the beer I’ve drank, and I am buzzed like serious.  He grabs a mug he brought for himself, and says, “Crazy girl”, while holding up his mug for a toast.

“Here’s to going to wonderland, er some’in”, he says.  Me and Fallon raise the fresh glasses together and he slams his mug so hard against ours that it showers both of us with beer making her squeal a little over getting the very cold substance on her.  “HAHA!”, he says then sets his mug down.  Patting me on my left cheek, and Fallon on her right from across the table, “Now you two take good care of each other, alright?”  We nod to him in unison, and he pats us on the head and ruffles our hair a little, “Good.  Not lets go and be merry”, he says then then hammers his glass against the captain’s.  Bjorn says, “Bret, my friend.  My brother.  (Bueller grins) It’s so good to see you with a smile on your face again”, to which Bueller responds with another mug slam and a “Hua.”  He then turns and skips away from the table.  It’s so humorous watching such a burly man skip we both look at each other and start giggling hysterically.  Me and Fallon lift our mugs to our lips and take very deep drinks.  I’ve had so much to drink that I can no longer taste the beers sort of bitter aftertaste, but only it’s sort of hoppy, grainy sweetness.  It tastes 5 times better than it did the first sip.

“That barn will do anything for you two.  Anything to see you two happy.  I hope you know that”, Bjorn says as he turns his chair to me.  “Why is that”, I ask him while Fallon leans in and sets her head drunkenly on my shoulder to listen.  “Well, that is because he himself is much like you”, the Captain says.  “What do you mean?” Fallon says while reeling back and shoveling some stew into her face.  “I mean to say that your friend… Our friend… Bret…  Hmm.  How do you put it…  He likes men”, Bjorn claims with and very honest face about him.  Fallon shouts, “NO FUCKING WAY!”, then slaps her hand over her mouth.  “Yes way”, Bjorn reiterates, “He is.  He doesn’t tell people about it, and he has been so devoted to his little sister because she is the only thing he has that is keeping him together some days.  He’s been in the closet about this so he could protect her.  He tries to be tough, but even with Emilia looking over him he is still very lonely.  He keeps it all wrapped up inside.  Between his sister, and who he is he needed to leave that place as much as he needed to get you out of there.  See, in Iceland we have no restrictions on freedom.  We understand and except all people because we don’t have dogma guiding our eyes, but science there instead.  People are still free to practice religion, but religious fundamentalism, or religious attempts to institute theocratic principles in law are illegal.  What’s ironic is that when you do such a good job of promoting peace, and helping everyone be happy and actualize most fundamentalists just calm down and become more like everyone else.  Preventing theocratic mentalities from infiltrating law doesn’t weaken but strengthens our nation.  We are a democracy, but more perfected than the model we borrowed from a bit.  The ancient US of A.”

Fallon looks at the captain with a really serious face, “That is so fucking awesome!”

The navigator comes into the room with a tablet with data on it in her hand.  She hands it to Bjorn.  She is blonde haired, blue eyed, and reminds me of a really good friend I once made in Australia a long time ago.  “Hversu lengi höfum við verið út af tengilið?”, he says with a concerned tone in his voice.  “13 klukkustundir”, she replies.  “Setja námskeið fyrir áætluðu staðsetningu þeirra, og kalla mig þegar við komum”, he continues with added seriousness in his voice.  “Jákvætt, skipstjóri!”, she says then rushes out of the room.  He turns back and returns his attention to his beer.  Setting he down he says, “Excuse me ladies, I have something I must get to.”  He walks away without waiting for my reply.  I see him go down the the first officer who is dancing.  He pulls him aside and both men leave the party together.  Emelia hasn’t come back yet, and neither has Partridge.  I hope she is okay.  As I stare out in space I feel like this moment has become soberingly unreal, and surreal at the same time.  I sense something is “amiss”, but I can’t figure out what this feeling is.  But somehow, in some way, I feel as though whatever it is we are heading for is the source of this feeling.  Fallon is scarfing down food like there is no tomorrow, meanwhile I am having a strange moment of revelation in my odd moment of sobriety while still being thoroughly intoxicated.  What is this pang in my chest.  What’s going on…  I look to the doorway the Captain and XO left though, and wonder.  What’s coming next…

To be continued…