Reil woke up in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar apartment, with a pounding headache.
Well at least that part’s familiar he thought wryly to himself as he rolled out of the bed rubbing his temples. He was pleasantly surprised to find that he was still wearing yesterday’s clothes, and would not have to spend a good fifteen minutes looking for his pants. Things are looking up already.
He strode into the apartments common area, to find Cali unconscious on a couch, in front of a holoplayer, after consuming what could generously be called only an eighth of her weight in surgary treats.
It was muted, but the light’s from the monitor still played over her while she slept. Zealos turned the player off, and surveyed the apartment. He was confronted by its sparseness, as it contained, aside from the couch Cali was passed out on, a small table with one chair to it, and very little else. Papers and clothes littered odd bits of the floor, and the beige-ish walls were surprisingly bare. The kitchen was relatively clean, but that was more from neglect, than any sort of active maintenance on the part of the owner.
Reil went into the kitchen with a serious intent to forge some form of breakfast. As he looked into the refrigeration unit, he mused that this was probably Steve’s apartment. There was a certain lack of furniture in the house, and a small shrine to the deities of take out in the fridge, that screamed bachelor. What real food Stephen had in his fridge sported several different types of mold. Zealos gave up on breakfast and lowered his sights to just making caf.
As Reil washed the caf pot, he splashed some of the water on his own face and tried to remember last night. There had been drinking, and arguing, which was par for the course in the Reil family. He and Stephen had been in the bar waiting for Cali. Cali had been late; Reil couldn’t even remember her coming in at all.
As the caf brewed, Zealos looked out the apartment’s window, and saw the whole town bathed in orange, as the sun finally set. He checked his chrono, it was almost noon, local time. They were running behind. He made his way back into the living room, and tried to wake Cali.
Reil gently tried rousing her but she mumbled something and rolled to face away from the intrusion on her sleep.
“Cali, wake up.” Zealos intoned, more strongly this time. Cali groaned as she struggled towards consciousness.
“Reil?” she asked groggily.
“ ‘S me. Come on, get up. We gotta find Stephen and be on our way ‘afore too long today. Where is he anyhow?”
Cali sat up, rubbing her eyes.
“He left with a waitress. Or, you know, more like she left with him. You were both pretty far out of it, and she seemed to know him. She gave me showed me where his place was, and told me about the key card under the mat.”
Reil tried to process this new information.
“You let a strange woman carry my brother off against his will?”
“It wasn’t against his will!” Cali protested, “It just wasn’t with his explicit consent either. . . I wasn’t gonna let her take him, but he was heavy, and I barely got you up those stairs and-”
Reil smiled and sat down beside her on the couch.
“It’s fine. You didn’t happen to get this waitresses name did you?”
Cali shook her head mutely and Zealos sighed.
“Well, I’m sure he’s fine, and happier for her taking him, but we’ve gotta get a move on.”
Cali got up and stretched.
“What’s your rush anyhow? I didn’t think you’d be eager to go back to your folks’ place.”
“I’m not. Time’s come that with leave Cold Water in the dust, but we’ve gotta do it today.”
“What’s so special about today?”
Zealos fought the urge to lay on the couch, and drift into comatose his own self.
“Last ferry before the rivers’ freeze leaves tonight, and we’ve gotta be on it.”
Cali looked at Reil skeptically.
“Freezing water? It was like fifty degrees out there yesterday, that water’s not going to freeze.”
“Cali, I grew up here alright? Just trust me when I say that the river is going to freeze, and we need to catch this ferry.”
“Fine, it’s fifty degrees out, and the water is going to freeze over. Where’s this ferry taking us anyway?”
“River settlement, called Twillingate. And then we’ll be off this rock, and on to better things.”
“Like what?” Cali challenged.
“I don’t know, but anything’s better than this.”
Cali grinned slyly.
“I dunno about that. You and Steve seemed to have a real good time last night. When I picked you guys up you could hardly stand.”
Reil cocked an eyebrow at Cali.
“We were having a good time, what about you?”
“What about me?”
“I recall that we were in that bar waiting for you. You were gonna watch the holo one more time while we had a few drinks. You could have watched it three more times, we were waiting so long.”
“I. . .lost track of time.” Cali admitted bashfully, “It was still light out though!”
Zealos rubbed his temples.
“Cali, it’s been light out for the three days we’ve been here, why would you be using that as your point of reference?”
“It got dark after dinner with your folks.” Cali insisted.
Zealos shook his head in bemusement.
“No it didn’t.”
“Yes it did. There were windows all over the house, and it got dark after we finished dinner.”
Realization dawned of Zealos.
“Oh, that. No the windows auto-tint.”
“They get dark at certain points of the day. Most homes have them, ‘cause of Taanab’s weird rotation.”
Cali eyed Zealos suspiciously.
“What do you mean by weird rotation?”
“ It’s about forty days long. . .”
“You can’t grow crops on a planet that has a day night cycle of forty days! That’s lunacy, there is now way agriculture could survive such extreme temperatures!” Cali declared.
“And yet. . . they farm.” Zealos gestured out towards the window, where barely past the town’s limits were rows upon rows of large wheat fields. “I dunno Cali, which is more likely, that you’re right, and all of these people have struggled fruitlessly for generations to get a crop out of this environmental nightmare of a planet, or that you’re wrong, and it just works.”
“It works out to be about 28 days of sun, and twelve days of total darkness, there’s no way a harvest can survive that!”
“Well boy, they sure had me fooled. It’s a good thing the girl from the desert planet where they farm moisture out of the air because it’s so inhospitable set me straight on the necessities of an agricultural planet. Why don’t you run downstairs, and share your theory with the rest of the town. It’s fine, I’ve got to wait for Stephen anyway, so we’ve got some time.”
Cali scowled, and stuck out her tongue.
“Well this is just great. I’m on a boring planet with a weird rotation. This detour of yours just gets better and better.”
“You’ll like Twillingate.”
“Why will I like Twillingate?”
“ ‘Cause I like Twillingate, and if you keep whining, I’m gonna pitch you off the ferry.”
“Provided we can get to the ferry at all.”
“Exactly. Now where the frell is Stephen?”
Cali sat on the arm of the couch.
“Do I have time to make breakfast, or do we need to start knocking on doors to find this waitress?”
“We’ve got time, just no food. There’s a pot of caf on, and it should be done by now.”
Cali wordlessly went into the kitchen. A few minutes later, she returned with two big mugs of black caf. Zealos took one from her, and nooded silently in thanks. They sat there in silence for a few minutes, and just as Reil was about to get up and get ready to look for his missing sibling, Stephen managed to drag himself through the front door.
Last edited by Ice Hawk; 03-06-2011 at 03:11 PM.
Zealos Reil thought he was hot
so he left the sim-pod cold
on his eighth mission he got shot
and that's all there is to be told.
Draw your own conclusions rookies.