"Valdara, what are you doing hiding in the admiral's closet? Get out of there this instant!" she ordered, and the girl stepped out into the light so that Robert could see who his intruder was. A miniature version of Davadra stood near the closet door while Davrina held her by the arm. No words uttered from her mouth nor had they for eight years.
"Davrina, bring her here to the side of the bed." he gestured with his right hand.
"The only place that Valdara's going is---
"To the side of my bed, and that's an order, Counselor!" he ordered.
"Yes sir, Admiral." Davrina said reluctantly as she lead the child across the floor and to the side of Robert Jackson's bed.
"This girl is your niece, isn't she, Davrina?" Jackson asked.
"Yes sir, she is." Davrina answered as her eyes wandered about the room.
"This girl can belong to no one else aboard this ship than to Davadra Adriakar. Am i right in assuming that much?" he asked as he looked from Valdara to Davrina.
"Yes sir, your right again." Davrina answered nervously this time.
"Davadra would have died if she hadn't been allowed to produce a child. I haven't forgotten this Davrina." he said as he placed his left hand on Valdara's right arm.
"Sit here on the side of the bed Valdara," he told her and she obeyed.
"You know who I am, don't you?" he asked as he looked into her blind eyes.
"She can't speak Admiral, nor can she see. She hasn't uttered a single word in the eight of her fifteen years. And she's been blind ---
"Valdara, you know who i am, don't you?" he asked once again, cutting Davrina short about the fact that his daughter had been blind since birth.
Valdara knew that this day would come, and she had prayed and hoped that it would, but she had to know beyond the shadow of a doubt. Oh yes, she knew who her father was but he had to acknowledge her.
"Valdara, i know who you are." he finally told her as he continued looking into her sightless eyes.
Yes, she thought to her inner self, perhaps the time was now.
"You, Valdara, are my daughter." he told her and she jumped slightly at his acknowledgment of the fact.
Yes, it was true and he had acknowledged it, she said to herself as she worked up the saliva to wet the inside of her dry mouth.
"Yes, you're right for the third time, father." she said as Davrina Adriakar passed out on the floor in front of them.
"I thought she said that you couldn't talk." he said with a smile on his face.
"I am only blind, not dumb. I chose not to speak until after we met and you acknowledged me as your daughter." she said.
"Won't your mother be surprised." Jackson stated as he tossed her hair while thinking on just how dumb it was of her not to have spoken until now.
"Not if aunt Davrina awakens to tell her first." Valdara told him having known that her aunt had passed out.
"For now we'll leave her be," her father told her.
"She can wake up later, so how about going to the living unit for a bit so i can get dressed. After that, you and i will take a walk to the round forest science section together." Jackson told his newfound daughter.
"I'll be waiting, but are you going to just leave her laying on the floor?" she asked as she arose up from the bed.
"Looks like she's found her bed for the night," he answered as she slowly walked unaided, to the living unit.
A short time later, the both of them passed through an air lock that led into and out of the enormous, and round, forest sciences section. Jackson slowly lead his daughter along a glow glob lit stone inlaid pathway, lined with a countless variety of shrubbery, flowers and trees.They soon came upon a vine covered ornate bridge that spanned this particular section of Round River. This was known as the midway point of Round Forest. Crossing over the bridge, Jackson found that Valdara's mother, and Captain Celane, were sitting out on a flower covered wrought iron wrap around veranda, connected to the galley that sat dead center of the river bridge itself. What a terrible thought that Valdara had never seen the beauty of the round forest sciences section of the three-mile long starship, he had thought. The lighting that circumferenced the outer hull of the central core, a half of a mile above their heads, had dimmed, and like a moon, it reflected off the waters surface below. Robert Jackson's head tipped back and he let his eyes gaze upwards, way beyond the central core, to where he could, but barely see, hundreds of treetops that pointed towards the core from his viewpoint on the bridge.
"Now to become as a beast in this forest." he said silently to himself before training his eyes upon Davadra Adriakar.
"Davadra!" Jackson bellowed out her name, making Valdara jump again.
"I found this intruder in my quarters and i thought to bring her before Captain Celane and you, yourself. I should have had her tossed in the brig!" he said as he put on an act of being mad.
"Seeing as how i'm the admiral of the fleet, i could have just taken her there myself. Though however, i thought that perhaps the two of you might know who she belongs to and why she was in my quarters." he added as he helped Valdara up the steps to stand in front of her mother, who lowered her head slowly into her hands.
"Perhaps i should call Security to handle this matter---
"Valdara!" her mother stormed heatedly.
"Go on back to bed, Admiral, we can handle this situation." Sathrana said as she arose from her seat to take the now nervously shaken Valdara, by the hand.
"And just how will this situation be handled? Doesn't her parents know her whereabouts at this time of night? Shouldn't they keep a better watch over her? Don't they care about her welfare?" Robert Jackson roared his questions, ferociously so.
"One of them will, Admiral Jackson!" Davadra yelled as she took Valdara by the arm and led her to a seat in one of the nearby chairs.
"Both of them will, Davadra." Jackson voiced himself barely above a whisper while he stood there on the veranda steps.
"Wha ... what ... did you say?" she asked nerviously, being thrown off her guard.
"Both of her parents will know where she's at all times. Both of her parents will keep a better watch over her, and both of her parents will care about her welfare." he answered her, having calmed the beast within himself.
"She only has one parent, Robert." Davadra informed him.
"Davadra."Robert Jackson said and waited a few moments before he continued.
"Valdara just so happens to be our daughter." he informed her as he trekked up three stair steps to cross the veranda and take Valdara by the hand, helping her up from her chair.
"It seems to me that Captain Celane and you, yourself, are in a discussion, so i'll take Valdara, and myself, elsewheres. That is, if the two of you don't have any objections?" he asked.
"I'll be with you a while later mother." Valdara said as she was led by her father, over to, and down the steps, hand in hand.
"Yes, she'll be with you later, Davadra." Jackson said as both he and Valdara disappeared on the other side of the bridge while the dim light of the flowery vine covered glow glob posts and the moonlight of the core lit their way.
"He knows, Davadra." Sathrana said as she glanced over at her.
"She can talk." was all that Davadra uttered.
"She told him then." Sathrana said.
"Oh no," Davadra uttered.
"He knew. The moment that he lay his eyes on her, he knew. This was his way of letting me know that he knew. Calling Security and taking Valdara to the ... she can talk Sathrana." Davadra said as her eyes teared up.
"I know. I heard her speak too, Davadra." Sathrana replied.