The Fringes of the Universe Prequel Chapter Two

“So we’ve been approved to use the Athena, but only to get to the current capital of the UUAC.” Mal read off the details from the tablet he was holding.

“Really? That seems—good I guess, right? I mean the Athena is currently the best Nian ship available, so surely the Council believes in our mission. Of course, if it’s only for transportation I don’t know. Do you?”

Jutel waited for Mal’s response but she wasn’t sure why she bothered, Mal was completely lost in his reading. The way he acted about the whole thing you’d think he was so much younger than her, but they were the same age. He could get so easily distracted and she had to fight to keep him to focus. After he’d done that a few times she’d asked him if he even wanted to do this and he’d quickly assured her that he did. Then she’d started to wonder if he was attracted to her and he was just doing it to get into her pants, but the one time she offered a romp in the sack he’d blushed so hard his ears had turned red and turned her down.

Apparently, Mal was easy to lead off onto a trail, he’d get interested in something and then just get lost in it. It meant that he was a spring of all kinds of knowledge, but it also meant that getting him to focus didn’t always work and it was looking more and more likely that she was going to have to be the leader of this little expedition. Not what she wanted, but she was pretty sure she’d rise to the challenge. Anytime she didn’t know what to do she decided to just ask herself what Ambassador Talina would do.

Talina was an amazing Nian woman that had never let anyone tell her what to do and she’d done more for solving their people’s population crisis than anyone else. She was Jutel’s hero. Her goals may not be as lofty as her heroes, but she still wanted to help her people. What better way than to clear their reputation with the rest of the universe?

“So I guess get ready and we’ll leave as soon as the Athena is cleared. They can drop us off and we’ll start the process with the UUAC.” She couldn’t stop herself from saying, “How does that sound?”

“Sure, yeah, I’m ready to go now.”

Uneasy but excited to finally be taking the next step Jutel left Mal to prepare. Her home in the city would continue to be maintained by the city droids and she was able to put her personal droid on a less often cycle so her home wouldn’t get stale. With that taken care of, she packed a couple changes of clothes and then hesitated while looking at her hand cannon. Being a warrior on Nian meant that she had a personal weapon, it couldn’t kill but it was highly effective. Should she take it with her? Did it send the wrong message?

Looking at her reflection in the mirror on the wall Jutel frowned. She was wearing her warriors uniform, it wasn’t overtly military so she hadn’t thought it would send the wrong message. Mal had backed her up on that, but what about a weapon? She felt bare without it, though. She’d had it since she’d become a warrior, it may only be five years now, but it still felt a part of her.

“Fine, I’ll take it, but I won’t wear it.” Nodding her head and feeling better that she’d been able to make yet another decision she put it in her travel bag, zipped it up, looked around the house, and then left. She’d been there only a couple years and had yet to form much of an attachment to the place. She had done very little to decorate it, which wasn’t normal for a Nian. She took that as further proof that she’d gone down the right career path, she never would have made it as an artist.

“Mal, I’m on my way to the ship. Where are you?”

Standing in line at the porter outside her building she decided to check in on Mal. The line was moving quickly, and it shouldn’t take long but she didn’t want to end up waiting. If he needed a kick in the butt to speed up she could go to his place first.

“I’m already here. The Captain has shown me to my room. We’re just waiting for you.”

Shit. She hadn’t taken any time, now she looked like a fool. She was holding up her entire mission. She refused to take it as a bad sign, though.