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Chapter 03

      Gralgiranselhelrarvnir watched the human work from the walkway. He wanted to go there and be closer, but he knew he made him uncomfortable, even if he couldn't understand why. The human, Jeremy, he forced himself to use his name. It sounded as odd in his head as when he pronounced it out loud.

      The way Jeremy had looked at him on that first meeting had shown curiosity, before something pained him. He'd worked hard at hiding it, but the tension in his body had given him away. And yesterday, Gral could have sworn there had been interest in the way Jeremy looked at him, before he was in pain again. Then he avoided looking at him.

      He sighed and wondered which of the Gods was responsible for this. Jeremy stirred something deep in him, something that told him Jeremy was his Heart, but if that was the case, Jeremy should feel it too. Gral hadn't been one of those people who hunted for his Heart. He'd been content to live his life has happily as he could. He had friends, family, and a career he loved. He also trusted the Gods would guide him to his Heart when the time was right.

      Had they? Was Gralgriran responsible? Or was this a one of Gezbiliam's trick? He would have to be cautious, until he could tell. In the mean time he had work to do.

      * * * * *

      His first stop was the infirmary.

      "How is Alix?" he asked the lead medic.

      "His body is healing well," she answered. "But the electrical shock also affected his brain. Lieha won't scan him until he's awake, so I can't comment on his mind at the moment."

      "How long until he wakes?"

      "I can't say. Physically, he will be sufficiently healed in a few weeks. I'm hoping his mind will also be healed by then. If he hasn't woken at that point, I'll convince Lieha to scan him anyway."

      * * * * *

      He walked through engineering on his way to the bridge, not quite a direct route, but he wanted to see how the work was coming along. He stopped by the generator, just as Jeremy was coming out. The human jumped on seeing him, said some words under his breath.

      Thuruk came around. "We have nothing to report, captain."

      Gral nodded and left them, looking over his shoulder to see Jeremy take one of the pills.

      * * * * *

      "How are the scans coming along?" he asked Jurani.

      "Slowly. We haven't found it yet. We've had to dial down the scanner, to make sure they don't detect it. Are we certain they have one?"

      "No. That's why we're here. The council wants a confirmation, one way or another."

      "This will take a while. It's a large station, and without doing something they could detect, we have to scan all of it."

      "I'm not worried about the time. Having a human engineer to repair our generator means it's going to take longer, and we can arrange something else if needed."

      After that he went to his office to deal with reports.

      * * * * *

      On his way to his mid day meal, he detoured by engineering, but stayed on the walkway. He stayed there ten minutes without seeing Jeremy. After his meal it was back to the reports. After hours of that he headed to engineering to find out how the repairs were proceeding.

      He stood by the generator, waiting for Thuruk to come out, but it was Jeremy that exited it. He turned, and jumped on seeing Gral. Jeremy said things Gral didn't understand, but the tone was harsh.

      Thuruk joined them and the two of them exchanged words, Jeremy's tone still harsh, an then the human stormed off.

      "He . . . Doesn't want you hanging around and 'looking over his shoulder'," Thuruk said.

      "I wasn't," Gral replied with a frown.

      "I tried to explain that to him, but he is angry for some reason and didn't want to listen."

      "Maybe I need to go see Lieha, so she can teach me his language."

      * * * * *

      Jeremy was fuming. Why couldn't he let him work alone. He didn't need constant supervision, he wasn't a kid. And it wasn't like he'd understand what was going on, he was the ship's captain, not an engineer.

      His stomach twisted.

      First in the morning, and he'd seen him watching from one of the higher walkways, then now, just looking over his work like that.

      "Is something wrong?" someone he stormed by asked. Jeremy ignored him, but the person grabbed his arm forcing him to turn around.

      "Damn it! What is your problem?" he yelled, at the kelsirian ambassador. He cursed inwardly. Great, had he started an inter-species conflict?

      "Are you well?" the ambassador asked. "Your seem perturbed by something."

      "It's that captain of yours," Jeremy started, he'd asked, so he was going to tell him. "He's constantly checking up on me. Doesn't he have anything better to do than bother me?" He grabbed his stomach.

      "You are in pain."

      "Yeah. It's the stress, or the anxiety, or the pressure. I don't know anymore." He pulled out the pill bottle, but the ambassador placed a hand on his before it could open it.

      "Would you be open to an alternative?" he asked. "My people have mental techniques which can help with those things."

      "I don't know. This things work pretty well."

      "Do they? Your pain does seem to return."

      "And your thing will take it away for always?"


      Jeremy frowned.

      "What do you have to lose?" the ambassador asked, "as your expression goes. If it does not work, you will always have the pills."

      Jeremy looked at the bottle. "Yeah, I guess."

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