Chapter 1.1

The room was blindingly light as Jessie opened her eyes. It was not her bedroom; it was not her bed. She sat up quickly and buried her head in her knees. Her eyes squeezed shut as nausea overwhelmed her senses.

“You shouldn’t get up just yet, you were out for quite a while.” Jessie tilted her head towards the voice, opening one eye slightly. The lights seemed more reasonable this time, but her stomach churned with the movement.

“Where-” She clapped a hand over her mouth a moment too late and retched violently onto the floor. The taste of emergency rations struggled through her cloudy head and she lay back down. The source of the voice pressed a bottle of water into her hand and she managed a sip. She had been in the escape pod, but couldn’t quite think of why.

“You’re on the Lenoras, we picked up your escape pod floating in space.” The voice was female. Jessie didn’t dare to open her eyes again just yet to look at her.

“ Misa should… he promised he’d…” Jessie felt her stomach churn with fear this time. Misa wasn’t here; he wouldn’t let her wake up alone if he was here. He always woke up first, and held her hand as she woke up.

“Just rest for now, I can scan your chip and contact your relatives to get you back home.”

Footsteps told her the voice had left, but it was several minutes before she could open her eyes fully. The room was a soft blue, now that her eyes had adjusted. Misa would hate this one, he didn’t like lights that tried to calm him. She managed to sit up and drink some more water. Everything still tasted like rations. The door opened and a uniformed man walked in. Misa had taught her how to tell the difference between law enforcement groups; this one was private security.

“Hello, Officer.” The man didn’t seem phased at the title as he pulled a chair up next to her.

“Hello, miss Mitchell. I’m Officer Levins. I run security on this ship.” He had a screen in his hand with her name spelled out in bold letters, “How are you feeling, kiddo? The doctor said you had a bit of pod sickness.”

“I don’t sleep good. Usually Misa makes sure I don’t have to.”

“Misa?” The man glanced at his screen briefly, “You mentioned them to the doctor.”

“My… he takes care of me.” Jessie pulled her knees under her chin and sighed a little. “My dad, Sam.”

“Ah, Sam Mitchell, okay. So he should have been following your pod?”

“He promised, he made me go first but he promised.” She dug her fingers into her legs to fight off tears. Tears showed a weakness.

“Your pod ran out of fuel, I’m sure he just ended up wherever you were supposed to be and is waiting for you. We only sent out messages a couple hours ago. Do you remember what happened with your ship?”

Jessie cringed and wrapped her arms over her head, “There were alarms and I woke up, and everything shook and Misa made me go first and-” She cut off and looked around frantically, “Where’s my box?”

“The little metal one? It’s right over here.” The man picked it up from the counter and handed it to her. She clutched it tightly in both hands and relaxed at the familiar weight, “You were saying something about alarms?”

“I… woke up again and there was alarms. Misa told me I had to go first and sent me off.” She frowned at the box, “Everything was shaking so bad… he might not have…” She couldn’t bring herself to finish the thought.

“I’m sure he’s fine, some junkers found the ship and both the pods had launched. There was a notice about it before we found you even.” Officer Levins paused as if weighing something in his mind, “Is there any reason someone might have attacked your ship?”

Jessie clutched the box tighter and shook her head. The man’s shoulders drooped a little, but he stood up with a smile.

“Why don’t you get some more rest, and I’ll check on you around dinner time, okay?” He grinned warmly at her even as she shrugged silently. When he left the door hushed shut behind him and she curled up in a ball on the bed. She toyed with the box listlessly as a few stray tears managed to escape down her nose and cheek. Misa would turn up again, he always did eventually.  

The soft telltale click of the door locking startled her and she glanced around the room. There was a one of those automatic vents in the ceiling, the kind too small for anything bigger than a small animal to get through. It was too high to reach without piling furniture up; too risky to attempt. A second click told her the door had unlocked again and she relaxed as Officer Levins reappeared.

“It appears we are going to be getting a noisy new guest in a bit. Would you feel up to a tour while we get him settled? I don’t know about you but after getting cooped up in a pod I prefer to stretch my legs a bit.” He didn’t seem too concerned, but Jessie could sense a bit of nervous energy in his statements. He wanted her out of the area for a bit, for whatever reason. Her stomach had settled though and Misa always liked tours.

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