Deathwalker 7.3

            “Call initiating.” The mechanical voice echoed in the space. “Ahulani located.”
            Ahulani. I winced and immediately tried to straighten my shirt and hair. I’d freshened up after meeting the Teg, but there was no way I was up to Aunt Apikalia’s standards. My hand brushed my travel kit, and I felt a surge of relief. I’d tell her I was on my way to clean up when I got called away. Then, I frowned, remembering that Kith and the Light One had seen me heading the other direction. I might be able to convince those two that I was lost. Maybe even one of the distant cousins.
            “Tag any crew member. Kaihmi matter.”
            My shoulders slumped. That was bound to get them curious enough to grab one of the officers. I surreptitiously eyed the room. My best hope was to find a dim corner to hide in.
            “Lightss to full.” The captain grabbed me roughly by the arm and pulled me over to the seating area as the lights slammed on full force. Blinking and blinded, I felt the sound pressure change before I saw the screen switch.
            “Mor, hello! And Captain Nat, you honor me.”
            The voice was friendly, confident, and all-too-familiar. As my vision cleared, it only confirmed what I already knew – I was never going to live this down. Although, happily, she wasn’t looking at me yet.
            “Captain Keh,” the Teg smiled warmly as he spoke, “it is we honored. It was not the captain I expected.”
            Keh was apparently more used to translating than I was. She didn’t even blink.
            “Your message made me curious. You said it was a Kaihmi matter?” She was still looking away from me – deliberately, I’m sure. That gave me a moment to adjust to the fact that she obviously knew more about my shipmates than I did.
            “Yesss,” the captain pulled me forward. The sharp edge of claws digging into my arm warned me not to resist. Ignoring the sickening give of my skin, I pulled my arm firmly free and formed the gesture of respect for a captain.
            “It is the first chance I have had to make it for you.” I said gravely in my native tongue. “I tried to tag you when I heard about your graduation.”  The change was subtle, but if you knew her, you could see the smile in her dark, almond eyes.
            “Mother ordered the ship to refuse your calls. She still hasn’t forgiven you for leaving. She definitely won’t if she sees you dressed like that.” She smirked, and I swallowed a frown. Seeing it, her smirk faded, and she slowly and solemnly formed the gesture for a trade master. “We heard you passed your tests, Deathwalker Sephtis.”


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