There was nothing that differentiated morning from night on a spaceship. It was a fact that Fiearius had taken a long time to get used to. Really, even having spent six months on the Dionysian, he still wasn’t used to it. Though his body still believed, after about six or seven hours of sleep, that it was time to awaken, his eyes opened each morning to find his quarters just as dark as they had been when he’d fallen asleep and his brain refused to comply.
This particular morning was even more difficult. On a typical day, he actually had to get up and do something. He had to land the ship or plan a run or research a lift. Today, however, he was taking some time off. No landings, no runs, no lifts. It was Concordia after all and even if they were far from home and low on funds and on the run and living on a spaceship that was falling apart before their very eyes, gods be damned, they were going to have a feast.
But of course, he didn’t have to start that for a while. So for a longer time than usual, Fiearius just lay in his bed, sprawled comfortably across the pillows and stared up out of the massive window situated above his head at the stars moving slowly by.
Even six months in, it was hard to believe he was really here. He could remember last year’s Concordia as if it were yesterday. The brightly colored banners strewn across every window. The candles lining the table. The good company joining in on the festivities and celebrating long into the night. Stepping out of his Paradexian apartment and breathing in that cold, crisp, desert winter air and watching the ships lifting off from the docks just beyond the skyline. Ships that he’d never imagined he’d be on just a year later. Leaving Satieri, forever. If only he’d known…
Suddenly growing tired of laying about, Fiearius pushed himself up by his elbows and rolled off the bed, his feet touching the cool metal of the grated floor reluctantly. Absent-mindedly, he pulled on a shirt, slipped on some pants and wrenched open the hatch the the hallway below. As he slid down the ladder, landing with a dull thump, he could hear the faint sound of voices in the bridge at the end of the hall.
Curiously, he headed towards them, but as soon as he crossed the threshold, the voices stopped. In the co-pilot’s chair sat Cyrus, apparently busy on his console with ship diagnostics. Unconvinced, Fiearius continued into the room and sat down heavily in his own seat.
“Y’etah Concordia, oria’ti,” he greeted cheerfully, propping his feet up on top of his console.
Cyrus glanced over at him hesitantly. “Y’etah Concordia,” he muttered distractedly and went back to pretending he was working.
Fiearius waited momentarily and watched as Cyrus continued to scan thoughtfully through his list. He’d seen Cyrus actually play with the diagnostics enough times now to know what it looked like. It didn’t look like this. It was times like these that caused Fiearius minor amounts of trouble. Ordinarily, he would call someone out on that sort of lie. But this was Cyrus and although they were brothers, he truly hardly knew the kid. If the past half year had been anything between them, it had been awkward. He still didn’t quite know how to act around him. Fiearius was not accustomed to holding himself back for anyone, but his little brother was different for some reason. Most of their days had been spent in strangeness and mild discomfort. But he couldn’t keep this up forever. “So what were you watching?” he asked then, unapologetically.
His brother visibly twitched. “Nothing,” he replied shortly, not looking up.
“Oh really?” Fiearius asked, feigning belief. “Cuz it sounded like that annoying chick and her lil buddy that comment on the Concordiarana.” Cyrus froze and looked over at him like a deer caught in headlights. “And you know how I know this? Because growing up, you watched it every damn year and I got so used to hearing it, I could recognize it from five hundred feet away.” He lifted his brows in challenge. “How’d you get the feed without COMM though?”
“I didn’t,” Cyrus replied quietly, his face turning a mild shade of pink as he gave up the facade and switched his console back to the video of the great festival of colors and lights that filled the streets of the Paradexian Entertainment District. “It’s last year’s. Stored it last time we were aground…”
Fiearius nodded slowly. Cyrus was embarrassed, but he didn’t really understand why. What was wrong with holding onto traditions? Just because they were in space didn’t mean they couldn’t still maintain some normal function of their lives. Of course, he knew why Cyrus didn’t feel the same. He didn’t actually believe that this was going to be his life for much longer. He thought this was temporary. He probably believed that next Concordia, he’d be back on Satieri, watching the festival live and feasting with the Soliverés hours later.
Fiearius knew better. They could never go back. Subsequently, he had been determined to spend the last six months creating some vague sense of normalcy for the two brothers and their ship. Unfortunately, his little brother had been fighting him every step of the way. Accepting Dionysian life, he’d said, was giving up. It was admitting that they were actually going to be on this ship for a while. It was abandoning the idea of ever returning home. And frankly, Fiearius couldn’t really blame him for still clutching onto that idea desperately, no matter how stupid it was. But it was nice to see him making some adaptations, even if they were small. Even if they included Bi Barton and Torreno Alladina running their mouths about which sponsors paid for this broadcast.
“Well I won’t keep you from it,” he said with a long sigh as he stood up again and stretched. “Seen the princess this morning?”
Cyrus shook his head. “Probably still asleep. Or…hiding,” he offered. “Really could go either way with her.” A frown creased his forehead. “Why? You need her for something?”
Fiearius shrugged a response. “No. Not really. Just was hoping there might be some progress,” he admitted dryly, tapping the top of his chair. “Concordia miracle or something.”
“No such thing. And even if there was, I don’t think even a miracle could make that poor girl not terrified of us,” Cyrus pointed out as he hit play on the video and resumed watching just as the bubbly blonde Bi Barton rushed towards a flag bearer and nearly tripped over her own feet.
Fiearius let out yet another sigh, but didn’t argue. He was beginning to think Cyrus was right. The girl had been aboard all of three weeks and she’d done little more than cry and cower for the lot of it. They could barely even get a name out of her. Fiearius was fairly certain it was Orra. Or Corra. Gorra? She might have just been saying Goddora for all he knew. At some point, though, in her more coherent moments, she had claimed furiously that, for all they knew, she was royalty of a distant land so he’d taken to just referring to her as such. Cyrus had said it was mean. But it was a lot better than calling her ‘that slave girl’.
Buying an ally was also not something Fiearius would have imagined happening a year ago. He wouldn’t have even fathomed it a month ago, honestly. Yet there she was, a skinny little ally on his ship and bearing his last name. Perhaps. He’d burned the deed to her the very first night she’d been aboard, curled up in a corner and sobbing incessantly. The intention was to free her, though truthfully, he had no idea how these things worked. It was possible that burning it did nothing. It certainly hadn’t stopped her from crying.