I’ve shared Siandyha’s bed for over two years. Naturally, I was the first to see the early signs of change.
At first it was an occasional grey hair lying on the pillow in the morning. I joked with her that age was catching up, but her reproachful scowl silenced my humour.
Her grey hairs soon became white hairs. These were not the thick inflexible hairs of age, but gossamer soft with an inner glow.
When we make love, I can feel the changes in her body. Her skin is softer, her arms stronger, and she seems to have a luminescence of her own. When those changes became more pronounced, I saw the bruises on her arms; the bleeding under the finger nails and felt the heat under her skin.
During one night of passion, she hurt me with her new strength. I cried then because I didn’t understand, she had always been so gentle with me. She cried too, frightened of what was happening to her.
Travelling across the abyss, jumping from one ruined star system to another, it grew worse for her. The strain of avoiding the debris of shattered planets and exploded stars was a great burden.
Everyday, she went down to the cargo deck to examine the stone artefact. She asked Cyana endless questions about the markings. So far we have been lucky and it is Siandyha’s skill and intuition that has kept us alive.
It seems clear now that the Tiesian Gap is not a random redistribution of stars designed to thwart commerce and law enforcement. It is the result of a destructive agency that has systematically annihilated one star system after another. Planets and asteroids wander aimlessly in all directions, their anchor point now dark wisps of gas and dust.
This lack of refuelling points is why no previous expeditions into the Gap have succeeded. It is only the retrofitted Lazloi power plant that energises our human jump drive, which has sustained the Thunderbolt through these barren and broken lands.
Lying against Siandyha’s damp skin, listening to her sleeping, I wonder about the world we have landed on.
Is the Tiesian Gap the result of some terrible war, or is it a barrier, a firebreak perhaps, designed to isolate this area of space and keep its dangers forever out of reach?
-- The Journal of Tara Alessia, Security Officer of the Thunderbolt
V3 figures with Shadow Dancer by Lourdes Mercado and Winter Wear from DAZ. Sassy Hair by DAZ
Thunderbolt vehicle is an original model created in Truespace and Hexagon.
Scene assembly and final rendering in Vue 5 Pro Studio. Post processed in Photoshop CS2