RIGHT ASCENSION

Flyleaf

   The dim light radiated by the candles flickered imperceptibly, casting dancing shadows along the earth-toned walls of the room. Tapestries of both human and alien origin adorned the walls, and a collection of artwork assembled from throughout the known galaxy decorated the small chamber. The glowing sculpture given to Daniel by the Arcadian Chancellor rested in the center of a long, low table in front of the couch. Exotic statuettes, hanging ornaments, and musical instruments all contributed to the room’s decor. Though it usually gave him much pleasure, the room gave the Admiral little solace now.

   Even the seat his wife sat in was a work of art — created by an Arcadian sculptor thousands of years ago. His wife, too, seemed to be a part of that sculpture, her graceful lines blending with the subtle contours of the chair. His eyes followed her elegant form, tracing the flowing patterns of her robe up to the supple lines of her neck and into the recesses of her dark eyes as they burned back into his.

   “I think you should go,” he finally blurted out. “It’s too dangerous for you to stay here, Tara.”

   “What do you mean?” she asked him, stiffening up at the unexpected request. “Where do you think I should go? To stay with my parents on the mainland? Would I be safer-”

   “No, not on the mainland,” he replied, looking down into the dark fibers of the carpet. “I mean somewhere else … maybe just to Mars or the moons of Saturn for a little while … or maybe to the Cygnus System …”

   “The Cygnus System?” she repeated incredulously. “My God, Dan, why would you want me to go there? Earth has to be better protected than Cygnus Prime … this has to be the safest place in the sector.”

   “That’s what they said about Korgia Prime,” he snapped uncharacteristically.

   The soft lines of Tara’s face deepened noticeably. “What is it? What is it you know? The Confederation reports claim everything is under-”

   “Under control? No reason to panic? Of course that’s what they’re saying ….” He paused and took a deep breath. “But the truth is there is damned good reason to panic, Tara. Damned good reason indeed.”

   “Daniel,” she said seriously, leaning towards him. “I’ve never heard you talk like this before. Not when there were daily attacks on Earth in the old days … not even when the Korgians were massing for their assault …. What in the hell is going on out there, Daniel?”

   “I wish I knew,” he lamented helplessly. “I wish I knew.”

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© 2010 David Derrico