The GardenHope is what remains to be seen
"You alright?" The med tech -- Lorelei -- touched Lirssa's shoulder. She lay belly to the floor. She must have fallen asleep during her stretches. That would delay her workout.
"Hmm?" Lirssa jerked her head up, drawing her legs together from the splits, arms wrapped about her knees. "Yeah, I guess I should just walk today."
"Sleep might be better. Go take a shower. You really pushed yourself today."
Lirssa blinked up at Lorelei. The woman crouched down, wrinkled brow and narrowed eyes. "Do you not remember?"
It was coming to her. How had she forgotten just a few moments ago? The weights, the stretches, the push ups and sit ups; she looked down at her coveralls where the cloth clung to her body from the sweat. Maybe it was not a few moments ago. "How long was I asleep?"
"Long enough for me to realize you were asleep and not just stretching any more. Come on," Lorelei grinned and helped Lirssa to her feet. "A shower and then sleep. Do I need to make sure you don't fall asleep in there, too?"
It was the embarrassing terror of the idea that fueled her laugh. "No, I promise, I will stay awake."
Resting her head against the side of the shower stall, Lirssa looked down at the floor. Long strands of strawberry blonde caught in the drain. Still, she was not losing it entirely. Must have enough to spare.
Unlike time. Finishing up, she dried off and found a fresh pair of coveralls waiting for her. Dressed and refreshed, she tried to sneak out of the gym. Without success. "Ah, there you are. Let's go."
"Really, I'm okay," Lirssa begged off the assistance, still stepping for the doorway. She gave her most encouraging smile.
"You think I haven't seen that kind of smile before?" Lorelei kept coming, ready to escort Lirssa back to her temporary --she hoped they were temporary-- quarters.
Lirssa went for a pout instead. "Come on, Lorelei. I got a good nap in. I didn't drown in the shower. I can make it to my room. I promise. No collapsing on your shift."
Those blue eyes narrowed again as she muttered something and slowly turned away back to her desk.
Free of her chaperone, Lirssa did not go directly back to her room. It was time to visit the landing bay. It was not so busy today. Leaning on the railing overlooking the bay, Lirssa surveyed the options. A squadron of fighter ships, signs of recent battle streaking grey and pocking divets along their hulls. Two ships of similar build to Moxie
, and she had to look away quickly so the pang in her chest would not grow.
Then there were the transport ships. The markings, labels, coding all showed they belonged to the same ship. Another major vessel, too big to land in the bay itself, was giving its crew time aboard a med ship? Disease? Check ups? Lirssa shook her head, but watched as ships came and went.
"Hey," a voice called up from the floor below. "Looking for someone?"
Evidently her watching had caught the attention of someone. Lirssa looked from the ships.
The person was dressed in a uniform of grey with dark blue stripes along the pant legs and insignia on his left shoulder that looked a great deal like a twisted four leaf clover. "Sorry, not someone. Some thing."
"What's that?" He called as he started to climb the stairs to meet her on the overlook landing. As he drew near, she realized his skin was comprised of fine scales. The pigmentation moved from pale to a dark blue along his neck and around his scalp. His eyes were oblong, the eyes themselves not just the lids and skin around them. The pupils a similar oblong set perpendicularly. He was not much taller than Lirssa, though obviously fully grown. His fingers had no nails or even nail beds, and he moved his hands carefully about, standing with them clasped in front of him.
"Oh, um," Lirssa shook her head, debating answering, but saw no harm in it, "just a ride back to where I belong."
She chuckled, hanging her head as the laugh petered out into a sigh. "A long way away."
"So is most everything," he did not smirk exactly, but Lirssa would have described the twitch of his thin lips just that way.
"RhyDin. Ever heard of it?"
"Heard?" He leaned his forearms on the railing in a similar fashion to her. "Yes, heard of it. You're a long way away."
"Truer words not spoken. And I have to get back."
"Oh, you're a trusting one."
Lirssa just looked at him. She was in control of very little right now. Giving up control of this conversation was not going to happen.
He talked. She talked. It was bits of fact wrapped around nothing with cores of something safely tucked away. He was a scientist, an explorer, and an ambassador. That explained how he easily got her talking, she thought, and was glad he offered that information from the start.
"So, Lirssa, it sounds like you've a need to get somewhere, and we go somewheres pretty often. Not as far as you need, true, but get you closer."
"What do you get in return?" Lirssa felt her heart skip a beat. The only way she was going to get back was hitchhike, but she also wasn't going to be stupid about it. At least not horribly stupid.
"Information. Always worth something."