Caelum Lex Chapter 35: Another
"Aiden would have hated this place," Leta noted aloud wryly, lifting her glass to her lips as she surveyed the bar with interest. A thick layer of grime covered the floor, broken neon lights flickered in the windows, and it smelled damp and smoky - a dive if there ever was one.
Still, she hadn't protested when Nikkolai had told her to join the rest of the crew for one reason: to celebrate Aiden. It was an odd affair - some, like Rhys, were laughing and telling stories; others, like Amora, were sniffling and wiping away tears. Leta didn't have the energy for either, so she simply sat quietly beside Corra and drank.
"I don't think 'hate' is a strong enough word," Corra mused thoughtfully. "Loathed, rather. Absolutely loathed." She sighed, and Leta thought she sounded as exhausted as Leta felt. Grief was draining, and it came in waves: sometimes a tidal wave, powerful enough to drown in. Other times, like now, the waves lapped slowly, a constant tug in her chest.
She took another long dri
Caelum Lex Chapter 34: Aftermath
This wasn't much of a cemetery, Leta thought tiredly to herself. Aiden deserved something more beautiful than this - a lush, sunny garden, maybe - but this was just a small yard, littered with marble gravestones beneath a gray sky.
With a heavy weight in her chest, Leta pushed open the wrought iron gate, listening to it creak noisily. Then she led the silent caravan of the crew toward the already-dug plot of fresh earth, flowers hanging limply in her hand.
It'd been two days since it happened. The hours blurred together, one long nightmare. At one point, a hot plate of food had been pressed into her hands. Later, she overheard someone say the engine was fixed, fixed at last. Then, sure enough, that familiar warm rumbling beneath her feet started up again.
Some hours later, the rumbling grew louder, and ship finally descended onto a cold, grey planet called Sera. Leta had little idea what the crew was doing at this time: she'd stuck near Corra and Cyrus, and hadn't seen Fiearius at all;
Caelum Lex Chapter 33: Mutiny
“ … And the oxygen masks still haven’t turned up anywhere. No one’s admitted to taking them, either,” Leta was saying, sounding as exhausted as Fiearius felt, as she walked slowly beside him down the hallway toward the bridge. Normally her presence would have been something of a nuisance, but Fiearius felt simply too tired to protest. Now that the ship had been stuck for ten days, he was starting to go off sleep.
And he wasn’t the only one. Below deck, Cyrus was a mess -- covered in ship oil, shaking from all the coffee he’d consumed, tearing apart the engine piece by piece. Meanwhile, Fiearius took over managing the back-up generator. The process demanded near-constant monitoring and rerouting or power to extend its life for as long as possible. Dull, dreary work, but if it was one less thing Cy had to handle, he’d do it.
Leta had been right: this was getting worse before it was getting better. In just about eve
Caelum Lex Chapter 32: Day Five
"So, what do you know that we don't?"
The question cracked through the air like a whip, breaking Leta out of her brow-furrowed concentration as she sat in the corner of the mess hall, her legs stretched over a chair as she read a thin, disheveled looking paperback-Aiden's. Breakfast had just ended, most people had cleared from the room, and Leta was trying to occupy her restless, distracted mind.
It had been five days since the engine had broken. Five days of the ship sitting in the black of space, unable to land safely, aimless and useless and without direction. Now, the crew was starting to feel it: tension and restlessness lingered in the air, just out of reach, like a bad itch that couldn't be scratched. The empty hours stretched and stretched like old rubber bands.
Now, Leta's only plans for the day were to to visit Cyrus (frantic and obsessive over the engine, he hadn't been seen above deck in days), and finish this novel. And apparently field questions from Maya, a young woman w
Caelum Lex Chapter 31: Out of Options
Heavy silence blanketed the Dionysian's bridge, punctuated only by the dull thud of glass bottles meeting the dashboard. Swigging back dark bitter beer, Fiearius slumped in the captain's chair, Aiden in the co-pilot's seat at his side. The thrill of successfully stealing that necklace had all but died, the victory party decidedly cut short, when Sanilac had offered Aiden his teaching job back.
Now, hours later, the ship was off Elora and back in the air. A landscape of stars drifted past the window and a tired sort of quiet sat between them.
"Just for the record," said Aiden at last, his voice exhausted and bemused, "I didn't say I accepted the offer."
Fiearius took another drink, tilting the bottle back against his mouth for two ... three ... four seconds, at least. Simply put, he was having a hard time imagining the ship without its wise professor. Who was going to keep the deckhands quiet and the nagging paying passengers off his back? Who was going to calm Corra down and l
Caelum Lex Chapter 30: The Fabulously WealthyIt was surreal, Fiearius found, that it actually was Aiden, the Dionysian's wise professor, helping him steal jewelry from this man's mansion. He never thought he'd see the day when Aiden dipped his hand into theft... and yet, as Fiearius stood behind the tall hedge and watched, it was indeed Aiden who greeted Sanilac in the doorway, shook the man's hand in a forlorn sort of way, and then stepped into the mansion. And it was Aiden who made sure the door was unlocked behind him for he and Corra to enter.
And Aid insisted he'd never become a real pirate. Ha. No one was immune.
After waiting a solid minute, Fiearius crept up the icy porch and held his breath in his lungs as he slid his frame through the front door. Inside, the parlor was warm, gleaming, and richly decorated with paintings and vases. Fiearius felt comically out of place, like a broken piece of furniture dragged in from the alley.
But Fiearius wouldn't be seen at all if Aiden executed the plan properly, and Fiearius had the