4.6

Vortran left Yik sitting in the hallway and entered Mark’s room alone. He was sitting on his bed, staring at the wall with a blank expression.

“You’re still breathing right?” She was a little relieved when he turned to look at her, but only a little.

“Pretty sure.” He said, squeezing his eyes shut for a moment as if to fend off sleep.

“No offense, but you look even worse than Sam right now.” Vortran turned the light up a bit and could see darkening circles under the man’s eyes.

“I’m just having a bit of trouble sleeping.”

“If by a bit of trouble you mean you haven’t been.”

“What does it even matter? I’m deadweight here.”

“I’m pretty sure the lawman is supposed to be involved in the ‘apprehending bad guys’ portion, not the ‘seedy underbelly’ part of the story.”

“I’m not a lawman, security officer doesn’t extend beyond where I’m stationed. And right now that’s this ship.”

“That’s not the point of this conversation. Sam wouldn’t have brought you along if you weren’t useful.”

“I’m useful because I know Calvin… or thought I knew… hell if I know anymore.” He stared up at the ceiling, eyelids dropping noticeably, then shook his head.

“Okay… so it’s one of those conversations…” Vortran climbed up onto the one chair in the room and sat facing the man, who gradually focused on her.

“What?”

“I know why Sam is slowly spiralling into madness, he’s messed up about his kid. Why’s this Calvin guy got you doing the same spiral?”

“I’m not spiralling.”

“Have you left this room today?”

“…” Mark stared down at the floor for a moment, “What…”

“If you’re about to ask what day it is then you’re spiralling.”

Mark’s expression twisted up into annoyance for a moment, then settled back into exhausted as his shoulders slumped.

“Calvin’s like a brother to me… A weird, talks to computers and never quite gets social expectations brother. I can’t imagine him doing something like this… it’s like finding out your mother is a serial killer.”

“My mother ate a third of my siblings before I was three…” Vortran paused, “But I guess I see what you mean.”

“So yeah… not sleeping well.”

“Well then we just need to find them all. You need to find out what happened exactly, maybe it’s not as bad as it seems. Or maybe it is… but closure helps.”

“Or it doesn’t.”

“Or it doesn’t.” Vortran admitted, sliding out of the chair and heading for the door, “But seriously, you look like shit, man. Take a nap.”

“Yeah, same to you.” Their eyes met and Vortran felt a nervous twinge, but the man simply shrugged and lay down on his bed to stare at the ceiling some more. She ducked out of the room and nearly tripped over Yik, who had sprawled across the entire hallway.

“What the hell, Yik?”

“I am bored. They are still talking.”

“Get your butt off the floor and go find somewhere to lurk… I’m going to take a quick nap so wake me when they’re done.”

***

Yik waited until Vortran had disappeared into her room to spread out again. The floor was cool and comforting. Seeing his sister again had been a pleasant surprise, but having her know his revenge plan had gone so far awry was humiliating. He could just hear them talking behind the door but couldn’t make out the words. Saha would sort this part out though, she had always been good at talking stuff. She’d helped him during the dessert incident as well, negotiating for his side when he couldn’t communicate effectively. He rolled around a little and scratched at the carpet. It had been a long time since he’d had so little to do for such a long time. He debated trying to find a video to watch, but the accursed one would doubtless dislike him using the computer. He growled to himself and rolled onto his back. Surely he would go mad soon.

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