Tammy described how to get to the sky deck since its route wasn’t on the map. She said it had a great view of the stars and that I should take a look at it, so I decided to. The entrance to it was hidden in a small corner towards the back of the ship. I’ve walked by it before but never noticed the ladder that led to a small circular hatch in the ceiling.
It was hard for me to go up considering my clothing brace constricted most of the movements needed to climb a ladder. Still, I made it to the top and placed my hand on the hatch door and it opened. I looked inside and was simply amazed. The ceiling and walls were made entirely of glass, which made it look like you were amoung the stars when you looked up. The only light came from the multitude of space’s brightly glowing stars. There were millions of them in many different sizes.
I wandered around inside. There were large beds, couches, and every soft and fluffy piece of furniture you could think of to just relax and gaze at the stars. I was already lost in my own world just standing there, looking up.
A voice startled me, “I see you found this place already.” I looked in the direction it came from to see Akiko lying on comfy looking bed next to the see through wall. Her arms behind her head as she watched the stars go by.
“Sorry, I didn’t know anyone was in here.” I apologized.
“It’s okay. This room is for anyone to use. You can stay.”
I didn’t know what to say or do. She sounded normal to me, so why was she avoiding me? I chose a bed in the middle of the room to lie down on. It was extremely comfortable as it conformed to my body. I never wanted to get up.
It was quiet for a long time as we both gazed into space.
I decided to be the first to break the silence, “I’ve never seen the sky so dark before, with such bright stars. On Sola, since we have two suns it never gets very dark and you have to search hard to find any stars, but up here it’s completely different.”
She replied, “It’s the opposite where I’m from. It was almost always dark.”
“Where are you from?” I asked.
She didn’t answer. I didn’t want to press the question or sound too nosey so I remained quiet.
“Do you miss it?” she asked.
I’ve never really thought about Sola since I arrived. I always try to look to the future and never the past, at least that’s what I was taught.
“No, not really” I answered honestly, “I’ll follow the wind wherever it takes me.”
“I see,” she said simply.
I thought about what Tammy had told me earlier.
“I never really got to thank you… you know… for saving my life back on Sola. I would rather die than be one of Vaughan’s slaves, but you saved me from that life… so thanks…”
Once again she didn’t reply and I thought I might have said something wrong. I just didn’t want her to feel guilty about what happened.
After a moment she got up and made her way toward the exit. “Well, I’m gonna go make dinner, tonight’s my night.” She sounded chipper and I relaxed a little more.
I watch her start down the ladder.
“See you there” she smiled at me.
I smiled back. That was the first time in a long time I felt so great. I couldn’t stand the distance she put between us for some reason and now I felt like I could die in peace.
I stayed in the sky deck until I was summoned for dinner. I made it there in record time, even from the back of the ship, and I sat to watch her cook in the kitchen.
So far Cashel’s, and even Tammy’s cooking was good enough to not use a taste nullifier so I was interested to see how Akiko’s would taste.
It smelled great so far, but when she placed the dishes on the table my heart sank a little. They looked almost exactly like Rei’s dishes.
I decided to wait for Cashel and Tammy before eating just to be sure.
It was surprising to see both Cashel and Tammy look so casual arriving at the dinner table, like it was their own cooking and they had no worries. I waited for Tammy to slip some nullifiers from her wrist but she never did and nor did Cashel ask. Instead they started eating right away.
I probably looked stupid being the first to sit at the table and the last to eat so I decided to put a few pieces on my plate and just eat as much as I could.
I nervously picked at the food on my plate until choosing one that looked the least intimidating. I swallowed nervously before taking a small bite. My mouth dropped from the shock of eating something so good after eating something that looked exactly the same and being traumatized by it. I couldn’t believe how good it was, it was one of the best tasting foods I’ve ever had, if not the best.
I guess everyone else liked it too because we had to battle who got the last of what. Rei and Akiko ended up winning most of those battles with Tammy sneaking out pieces when they weren’t looking. It was funny to watch and everyone ended up laughing together in the end.
It was strange that Akiko’s food looked identical to Rei’s, but with such different tastes.
That was the best dinner night by far, and for the first time ever, I felt like part of the crew.