My heart raced. Fleeing a Mahdfel terrified me nearly as much as stealing one of Daddy’s starships all those years ago. Vials of troxcillin clinked in my pocket. I’d been fortunate to swipe those few vials, but I knew I’d need more.
Maybe I’m losing my touch. I used to be a much better thief. Damn me for getting caught pilfering medications.
I sighed, deciding there was little use in cursing myself.
Besides, the hot Mahdfel couldn’t have picked worse timing for me…and WTF even happened?
Flashes of the memory of his intricate shoulder tattoos turning white sprinted through my mind as I ducked and dodged around aliens of every description. Bouhek Intergalactic Gaming Center drew in aliens from all over the galaxy to compete for fame, glory, and tons of galactic credits.
The space station dedicated to extreme sports also had all the same problems of any big city. With thousands of beings of every shape and description traveling through the Bouhek Center’s corridors, kids got lost every day.
I ducked low, hoping the Mahdfel lhad ost sight of me in the crowd. I slid to the right and around a booth selling some sort of wriggling, gelatinous, sickly green substance. The merchant manning the booth tipped his wide-brimmed hat at me and waved me away with a fin.
I disappeared behind his booth and stopped to catch my breath. I pulled a soft hat from the pocket of my shipsuit and pulled it over my hair, peeking around the booth’s corner.
The Mahdfel who’d chased me had been followed by a second Mahdfel, who now sat on the first. I decided to call them Handsome and Tank.
I suppose I should call them Vaznik warriors. I wonder why he’d chased me. A couple vials of troxcillin and a handful of syringes hardly seemed worth chasing down a thief.
I pulled out the vials and looked at them. They meant everything to me—life and death, really. I had enough to treat some of the sick kids, but how could I possibly choose which children to heal?
I’ll simply have to find more…
Handsome and Tank raced each other back to The Golden Meridian. I released a relieved breath. Had I been running from them in the open, they would’ve easily caught up to me. I knew only the crowds of the game center had allowed me to escape capture.
I slipped back around behind the booth and examined an access hatch hidden in a shadow. A few quick adjustments, and the application of the digital lockpick I shouldn’t legally have, and the hatch opened. I slipped through, leaving the chaos of that dock.
I snuck through the deserted maintenance tunnels until I reached a hatch to the docking bay reserved for tourists.
If only Daddy could see me now, sneaking through maintenance tunnels.
I chuckled. Then I wondered if Daddy even missed me. It’s not like he ever had time for me before I ran. I heard the memory of his voice in my head telling me he was busy or had work or…whatever his excuse was at the time instead of bothering to parent.
I shrugged the memories off and opened the hatch. I had better things to do than whine to myself about Daddy. I slipped out into the cacophony of Bouhek’s tourist dock and closed the maintenance hatch behind me.
I took a deep breath and stepped into the crowd. I mimicked the awed faces around me—well, the humanoid faces—and picked up the first unattended piece of generic-looking luggage I laid eyes on.
I wandered around the ships, staring at everything like a fresh tourist, stolen luggage in hand, until I found a likely ship. I looked around, paranoid someone would catch me again, like on The Golden Meridian, but didn’t see a soul looking toward me.
I stopped at the first terminal I could find, hoping to locate a map of the ship. The infirmary sat two lefts and a right from my location, and I wasted no time getting to it.
With speed and efficiency, I searched the cabinets and drawers for more troxcillin. For some reason I’m certain a medical person could explain had I bothered to ask, troxcillin was the only treatment for Smandradh, an infection like a really, really bad flu capable of killing.
The sound of the children’s hacking coughs haunted me day and night. Smandradh attacked the respiratory system of most species, effectively drowning the infected specimen in their own respiratory fluids, like super-killer pneumonia.
On top of that, Smandradh could cause random other horrible, gross, or hilarious effects dependent on the species infected, was extremely virulent, and was airborne. The Bouhek Center might not care what happened to the gangs of lost and abandoned children roaming its corridors, but I couldn’t live with myself if I hadn’t tried to help them.
My heart sank as I completed my search for this ship’s medical supplies. I found no troxcillin and had to settle for a few meds which would at least help some of the less sick kids breathe a little more easily.
I tucked the meds in my pocket and snuck back to the maintenance shafts. That Vaznik warrior having caught and chased me out of The Golden Meridian had really thrown off my timetable for this mission.
I better get back to the kids with what I’ve found. Kirz and Shannon are in bad shape. Who knows how long they have? I’ll never forgive myself if they don’t make it because I took too long.
The memory of Handsome chasing me refused to leave me at peace, even as I hurried through the maintenance tunnels. I felt the memories of him pull at me. The memory of the dock’s lights flashing off his horns…
I smacked my cheek with one hand.
Don’t you have more important things to do than mentally drool over an alien from a once-in-a-lifetime, chance encounter?
Logic might’ve been right, but my brain just wouldn’t listen. When Handsome’s tattoos flashed like that, I felt the strangest thing—an indefinable sensation—surge through me.And that feeling never fully left, did it? What’s he done to me?