It was all fine and good to be zipping around inner space of the solar system, but Colli thought it was a waste of time.
“When are we going back?” she sighed. “I thought we had an assignment.”
“Now,” Sung called from the back. “Show her.”
Keleon nodded. He stomped against the floor board. A lever in the dash, dark before, lit with a bright orange glow. Around it , other dimmer lights twinkled with a hypnotic rhythm. With methodical slowness, Keleon reached for the knob.
“Show me what?” Colli wished she could get out and walk back home. Sure she’d accepted working in The Discipline, but this seemed like a real waste of time. Before she could complain more, Keleon pressed his fist into the radiant glow.
Everything went black. Not even a twinkle on the dash disturbed the velvety softness.
“Oh yeah.” Mary laughed gleefully.
“No.” Colli screamed. A vortex of emptiness enveloped her. She felt nothing, not the skin that covered her body, nor the movement of her lungs inhaling and exhaling. Nothing. Stop, stop, stop. Her mind shrieked, but she could not force the words out.
An eternity passed, before, in the far distance, a tiny green spark glimmered. It grew brighter, joined by others that at first twinkled individually. When they too grew in brightness, they stretched, forming countless ribbons that evolved to long dizzily twisting streamers.
“What’s happening?” Colli found her voice.
“Take it easy. We’re almost there.”
Somehow the confidence in Keleon’s tone penetrated the thick blanket that forced itself over Colli, suffocating her.
“Concentrate on taking slow even breaths,” he instructed. “Close your eyes. It’ll help.”
Even though Colli fought the impulse, she finally obeyed. It did help against the dizziness, to have her eyes closed. After that breathing got easier too.
A loud whoosh, softened by a strong drone of engines, brought feeling back into her arms and legs. Colli started to open her eyes.
“Not yet.” Keleon warned. Again the irritating control in his voice captivated her. “One, two, three and… four.” The slight hesitation did not diminish the spell his voice wove around her.
Another whoosh, this time a cold burst of air surrounded her. “Now?” she asked timidly. Before she could resent her own lack of control, Keleon answered.
She opened her eyes. “Where’s…” Colli gasped before she finished her question. The outer hull of the small craft was completely transparent. She looked over to see Keleon pull on the lever that had carried them through dark oblivion into the rainbow of light.
Colli tried to release the restraint, but found none. Not even the door that had secured so sturdily, was there to prevent her from standing. Still, her legs would not lift her from the soft cushions.
“Colli,” Mary called. “Let Keleon help you.”
“Yes.” The once irritating voice soothed her. “Give me your hand.”
Colli reached out. Keleon’s strength pulled her easily to her feet. She leaned against him.
“Take it easy,” he instructed.
Colli turned away from him to the vision that stunned her. Woven together, with all the brilliance of the ribbons and streamers that had made her dizzy before, the lights formed a shield against the coldness of outer space. Beyond them, Colli could see an infinite number of stars that twinkled, but nowhere could she locate her own solar system.
“Wow,” Mary said from behind. “Where are we.”
“My home base.” Keleon replied with a tenderness Colli would never have expected from him. “Come on there are others you need to meet.”