He woke up in a room he didn’t recognize; too well furnished and plush to be in a hospital ward or military accommodation. Why would he think this might be a hospital? He felt woozy and disoriented, maybe that was why, and oh, on second thought, the pain in his right elbow was annoyingly intense. Not unbearable, just … annoying.
So where was he? He needed to get his bearings so that he could report back to … report back to whom? A name swam through his mind. Garran? Was he supposed to report back to Garran? Who and where was Garran? And what was he supposed to report back on? The pain in his elbow was making it hard to think. Maybe he should find some painkillers.
He brought his left hand up to hold onto his elbow before sitting up. The movement felt clumsy, uncoordinated, but eventually he managed to reach the spot where the pain was located and grabbed—nothing. Confused he drew the blanket away.
His brain tried to assimilate the picture, but couldn’t make sense of it. After some time a chilling realization set in. That thing wrapped in bandages that reached about as far as his nipples, was his right arm—or what was left of it anyway. He kept staring at the nub, slowly lifting it off the mattress towards his face for closer inspection. But the different angle brought no new insight, except the realization that the burning pain had faded to a throbbing. Panic began to coil like a snake in his gut. He brought his hand up and carefully touched the end of his arm. What the hell had happened? He remembered dreaming of walking through fire. Had he been in a fire, an explosion?
He closed his eyes trying to calm himself. Breathe, some inner voice told him. Slow down and stick to the facts. What facts? He didn’t know any facts. Then find the facts, the internal voice directed. Okay, so—he didn’t know where he was or how he got here. Fact—most of his right arm was gone. Judging by the bandages this was a recent event. He had the vague notion that he was supposed to report something to someone. He also felt that someone called Garran was important somehow, but he didn’t know who that person was or where to find him and finally and maybe worst of all, he didn’t even know his own name. As good a place to start as any.
He took a deep breath and tried to empty his mind which really wasn’t too hard at the moment—nothing much seemed to be going on up there anyway and tried to coax his brain to conjure up anything that might remind him of his name—family, trying to remember a name tag, a message addressed to him, but nothing would come except the image of a bird circling high in the sky. He tried to remember all the kinds of birds he had ever heard of. Not many came to mind, but the ones he knew didn’t bring any kind of revelation. Relax, he told himself once more. A bird is better than nothing. He just had to remain positive and confident that his memory would eventually return.
A word popped into his head. Retrograde amnesia. That was a medical condition. Did he have some sort of medical knowledge or background? That was the term describing his current condition, wasn’t it? Traumatic events could cause retrograde amnesia. Well, at least that would fit with the arm.
The noise of a door startled him. He opened his eyes only to find two tall, hulking guys staring down at him.
“He’s awake.” The bigger one of the two said.
“Oh, good. Time to get up, Tyr. Flavia wants to meet you.” The slightly leaner one added.
Hmm. Tyr. That was another name that he vaguely remembered from the earlier dream. “Who is Tyr and who is Flavia?” He growled.
“Hey, Rag. It sounds like we got ourselves a comedian as a roommate.” Lean said. Okay so bigger hulk’s name was Rag.
“You are Tyr and Flavia is the Mistress.” Rag answered unperturbed.
Right, he felt pretty certain that his name wasn’t Tyr, but for lack of a better alternative he could go with that for the time being. “And where is this Flavia?”
“Upstairs. Where else would she be?”
Lean nudged Rag in the ribs, apparently to shut him up. “Let’s get a move on. She doesn’t like to be kept waiting.” Turning to Rag he said. “Is he dressed?”
Rag leaned down and pulled his duvet off with one swift movement. “No, butt naked.”
Lean turned and strode to a shelf along the wall. Tyr watched curiously as Lean’s hands felt over the various items of clothes stacked there, picked some out and brought them back to the bed. He dropped them unceremoniously on top of Tyr. “Get dressed and hurry up.”
“And if I don’t?” Tyr asked, trying to sound out the bounds of his need to cooperate.
“I wouldn’t push my luck if I was you. If you want to keep at least one working arm that is.” Lean answered matter-of-factly.
Oh-kay. Cooperation might be the wiser course of action at this point. Tyr sat up feeling dizzy and picked up a pair of boxers. The whole left side of his body felt sluggish while the right felt almost normal, well, except for the disembodied pain and the urge to reach for things with a right hand that wasn’t there. Tyr struggled into the clothes, the last piece of which was a strange, ornately embroidered, black, long-sleeved tunic, the same as Rag and Lean were wearing. Was this some weird kind of uniform? To his surprise the garment had been modified. The right sleeve was just slightly longer than his arm and a circular piece of the same embroidered fabric had been sewn into the end, closing it off. Why would someone go to all this effort? It made him feel oddly self-conscious, as if his ... his …, what was the word for the part of a limb that was left behind after an amputation? Trunk? Twig? That didn’t sound right. Funny how apart from his identity seemingly random things were missing from his memory. As if the remaining piece of his arm was on display, he finished the earlier thought.
Tyr tried to stand up, but found he was both weak as well as off balance. He sagged back onto the bed, his head spinning. “Uh, I need a bit of help here.” He looked up expectantly and reached his hand towards Lean who was standing closer. His expression turned to a frown when Lean ignored him.
Rag stepped in and took Tyr’s hand, pulled him to his feet and steadied him with an arm around the waist. He leaned closer and whispered in his ear. “Baldr can’t really see, but he doesn’t want you to know.”
That solved the mystery of Lean’s name and his somewhat weird behavior. As Rag led him towards an elevator at the far side of the room, Tyr wondered briefly if he was actually still dreaming. Maybe he was really in a coma and was having a strange, lucid dream. Fire that didn’t burn, his missing arm and missing memory, this weird fashion show, one gentle giant and a blind one—the elevator rose and when the doors opened again the scene before him convinced him without a doubt that nothing he had experienced in the last hour had been real.
Aurra kept fidgeting. She had already been to the lounge to find some food, but then decided that she wasn’t hungry. DF had tried to strike up a conversation with her, but she had been so lost in thought, he had quickly given up and returned to the galley where it seemed he was busy trying to teach Jason something to do with cooking. She had smiled at that and headed back to the cockpit where she had found it impossible to sit still, the image of the stricken look on Doc’s face playing in her mind like a broken record. It even overshadowed what had gone before. The scorching kisses, Garran’s blatant arousal as well as her own. If Doc hadn’t interrupted just then …
There was no doubt in Aurra’s mind that they had been mere fractions away from tearing the clothes off their heated bodies and then she would have taken him into her and brought them both to completion. First she had had an almost visceral feeling of disappointment, of having come so close and yet having been left unfulfilled.
And now? Would there ever be another opportunity? Would it be awkward between them? And what in Horlus name had Doc in such a state? If there had been even the slimmest relevance to the safety of the ship or the crew at large, Aurra knew he would have spoken to her first, but he had explicitly asked for Garran alone.
She had made a hasty exit from Garran’s cabin and by the time she had gotten to the cockpit and brought up the correct corridor camera, she had just caught a glimpse of him wheeling himself through the doors of the medical bay followed by Doc. There were cameras in the medical bay, too, but that she would never do. She would never spy on them. Whatever was going on there behind closed doors, she trusted they would let her know in due time. So what to do now? She was just too restless. Another inspection round, she decided. That would take up two hours—if she was extra thorough.
She had done one earlier already and had been on her way back to the cockpit when she had passed Garran’s cabin and had decided on a whim to look in on him. And what a whim it had turned out to be. Aurra got up from her seat with a sigh. She really, really hoped that this was not the end of the story. It had felt so indescribably perfect, like their bodies had been made to fit each other. She had already been turned on by the mere sight of him just sitting on his bed wearing nothing but a pair of sweatpants. He had tucked the empty leg under his knee, making it flex slightly and thus giving her another perfect view of the short, gently rounded stump.
She found herself in front of the airlock and mechanically went through the check routine, not really aware of what she was doing. She switched the light insight the airlock off again and stared at her own reflection in the dark viewport for a moment, but what she really saw was in her mind.
She hadn’t planned on going all the way, but the sight of his motionless legs, his naked upper body, the way the muscles had rippled when he had leaned back, teasing her even more by flexing his impressive biceps, had shorted out her brain. When he had turned her hand over and kissed her palm and wrist, she had nearly come. She had had to pull her trembling hand from his just to give herself a moment of respite—and she had almost ruined it. She had been able to read his face like a book then, the look that told her that he thought he’d made a mistake. But it hadn’t been a mistake—far from it. So after only a moment’s hesitation she had shown him the truth—that she wanted him in a way she had never wanted anyone in her life before. Not even her husband. The realization stunned her, but it also told her that she had finally and irrevocably moved beyond Bryn. She was free again. No—she corrected herself she wasn’t free at all. She was falling fast and hard for Commander Garran Raulsten, who was now sequestered in the medical bay because of something that had upset Doc like she had never seen him upset before. All she could hope for at this point was a second chance. She shook her head at her reflection and turned away, making her way to the next checkpoint. What a day.
Aurora - Part 16
Aurora - Part 16