N 41° 2’ 34.2427, E 21° 38’ 35.6191
8 Bamx 2228 - 2258 Hours
Sky Sister awoke inside the Ornith.
“Primada identity recognized.”
Sofita jumped from the floor. “Orny, move us south.”
“Sofitakul, PRY1001,” said Sky Sister. “Please enter your Inheritor Code and verbally verify Command Request.”
“Engage Horizon Annihilation,” Sofita said, typing her gen-code.
Outside the windows of orbital station Zyskarion, Sky Sister’s long tharspin frame turned from Tharso and began drifting toward Ramaxicon. Slowing to a stop above the planet’s exosphere, the canon’s glass petals bloomed to reveal a pulsing center carpel. The luminescent flower trembled several moments before stopping and folding its petals inward.
Down on the planet below, light flooded the mesosphere.
A massive boom shook the sky as a white column of particle energy cut through the clouds and flooded the horizon with a yellow-tinted haze. Bedrock crumbled in its wake, swallowing the Slavs mighty wall, and burning everything to dust.
Thousands of miles from the blast zone, the Ornith bobbed as if on water.
Choked with blood, the gauze above the Donmat’s eyes began to slip. Sofita opened the cabinet under the triage bed, fished around for a field dressing kit, and grabbed another bottle of rixpurn. She pulled the gorged gauze free before pouring another bottle of the sanitizer onto the unconscious Fuzo’s torn flesh.
Velto detached from Ilo as Sofita ripped open the kit bag.
“You can’t operate on her,” she said.
Ignoring her, Sofita emptied the kit of its tharspin blades.
“You can’t go digging around in her skull.” Velto slapped the instruments from her hands. “You don’t have the skills, and we need her alive!”
Sofita threw the emptied pack across the cabin.
“What do you want me to do, then?”
“Ornithocheirus,” said Velto. “Give me the location of Doctor Fyla Uym.”
“Doctor Fyla Uym is on the TCS Orcinus,” said Orny, now free to speak. “Current location, sixty degrees south by one-hundred-twenty degrees east.”
“The Raxito.” Sofita stepped to the forward array. “Orny, inform the Orcinus we need her to surface.”
“Komad Kul, such a request will require an explanation.”
“You’re a divisional Ornith in need of assistance,” Sofita handed Velto a blanket from her chair. “You have a murdered civilian on board,”
Velto interrupted. “You inform the Promad that she will surface her vessel at its current position, as ordered by Ambassador Velto Wram, Office of Helovx Advocacy.”
“Affirmative, Ambassador Wram.”
The bizak took the blanket given to her and covered Fuzo.
“That was for Ilo,” Sofita whispered.
Velto sniffed. “Ilo’s not the sort to cover up.”
“What is it, Orny?”
“What is the status of Donmat Dox?”
When Sofita hesitated, Velto spoke up.
“The Donmat’s been shot in the head by a metallic projectile,” she said. “We need to get her to the Orcinus—” They lost their footing when Orny took off over the horizon.
Velto rolled to her knees. “Your Ornith is dedicated.”
“He cares for Dox,” she mumbled. “Someone should,”
After several moments, Velto sat beside her on the floor.
“I walked in on Ilo and ‘Foos talking about some hizak having a donat in the birthing center,” she spoke softly, lost in thought. “They clammed up when I came in the room, but I never imagined you were the one giving birth.”
“I had to find Fuzo,” said Sofita.
“You could’ve gone to Crixal,” Velto said.
Sofita closed her eyes. “Crixal doesn’t know she’s alive.”
“That’s so like you,” Velto complained, then rose and pointed down at her. “You put Fuzo’s life at risk by scouting her for this Division.”
“You cannot tell anyone about Dox,” said Sofita. “Not even Eppis.”
“It’s hilarious you think Eppis hasn’t figured it out.”
Velto walked to the marix’s bedside.
“She’s got Wram blood in her, ‘Fita, and I’ll die before anyone finds out too soon that she’s her generation’s Primary.”
After a beat, Velto turned back to her.
“Where’s the donat you gave birth to?”
“She doesn’t matter, Velto,” said Sofita.
The bizak recoiled. “You can’t just ignore her existence!”
“She’s with her kerma.” Sofita stood and stared down at her. “She doesn’t know about me or any of this, and I want to keep it that way.”
“You see,” Velto exclaimed. “That donat matters, doesn’t she?”
Sofita fell into her chair, resigned to silence.
“She matters,” whispered Velto.