Mistress Hevanti and Lirca both jumped at the knock on the door. With a slightly sheepish grin Hevanti got up to answer the knock. After feeling like a hunted gring1 for the past several days and always expecting the next knock to be the ISS, she was still very jumpy.
“Yes. Can I help you” she said to the strangely familiar man at the door. She defensively stood in the door blocking the view of the room as she waited for an answer.
“Mistress Hevanti, you probably don’t remember me I was with Colonel ta’Kall the other day when you boarded the Proxima” Mason hesitantly said to the woman.
Slightly more relaxed Mistress Hevanti nodded “Yes, I remember you” Then with a smile “I believe you were the one so adept with a shovel”
Mason turned red in the face as he lost the initiative in the conversation “Yes Mam, uh.. that was me”
“What brings you here Sergeant” Hevanti asked, now much more relaxed.
Still rattled Mason answered “Uh… Oh. I was transferred over here for the trip to Banners world and since I knew you were onboard I wanted to make sure you were all right. You and your daughter that is.”
It felt strange to her to even feel like smiling but the tide of red creeping up the sergeants neck into his face gave her the urge to giggle. Totally relaxed now she opened the door all the way and invited him in. “Please have a seat sergeant” she said as she sat on the edge of the bunk next to Lirca. Putting an arm around Lirca she continued “We are both fine thanks to you and the Colonel”
With a sincere expression Mason replied “Believe me it was our pleasure”
Hevanti nodded her head in acknowledgment of this before she turned to Lirca. “Lirca this is sergeant Mason. Do you remember him helping us”
With a shy smile Lirca nodded her head and said “hello sergeant”
Then Hevanti turned to Mason “This is my daughter. Lirca‘’she said putting her arm around Lirca’s shoulders.
Mason squatted and held out his hand ” I’m glad to meet you Lirca”
With a smile Lirca reached out and grasped Mason’s hand. After a quick shake she then turned loose and leaned back to Mistress Hevanti.
A look of puzzlement flickered in Mason’s eyes for a fraction of a second. So quick that neither the girl of woman saw it. With a mental shrug Mason dismissed as unimportant that the girl had a very strong grip for her age as he flexed his hand. Mason looked back at mistress Hevanti as he stood up. “I don’t know anybody else on ship. So I thought I would ask the two of you to join me for dinner. Would you?”
Hevanti thought for a min. Her first urge was to say no. Not only because of Lirca but also because she had avoided relationships since her husband had died on Edestan while fighting for the Altairian Guard. It was easy to see that Mason wanted to see more of her. Up till now she had discouraged anyone that showed the slightest interest in her. Suddenly the urge to live again flooded over her. They were going to a new planet to start over. Maybe it was time for her to start over also. With a carefree smile she looked at Mason “Yes I would like that” She firmly said.
Mason released the breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding. “Great. I’ll come by just before dinner to escort you to the cafeteria.” with a suddenly sheepish smile he rephrased
himself “Or rather have you escort me to dinner. I don’t know where the cafeteria is.”
After Mason had been gone for a minute. Lirca turned to Mistress Hevanti “I like him” she said
With a distant look in her eyes Hevanti answered Lirca “You know. I believe I like him to.”
1.(small six legged mammal native to Altair V. It’s ecological niche equivalent to a rabbit. Also like a rabbit it was hunted for food.)