Passenger Level 7
Laren closed his eyes and indulged in a sigh, grateful for the dark and quiet even as he sank deeper into a widening abyss. Convincing his bondmate, Sharra that Creena was reasonably safe had taken more sidestepping than he'd expected and now the fact he hadn't been entirely honest weighed upon him like Miran cement. He'd never lied to her before, technically hadn't this time, yet he hadn't been clear about how bad it really was, either.
As expected it worked for eventually her questions had stilled, trust renewed sufficiently that she'd agreed to cyll out and get some rest. It was well into sleepzone, every cyll's status a steady blue.
And Creena's, of course, dark and still.
Not so his older son, he noted, watching the persistent movement betrayed by the unsteady amber on the control panel. The boy was probably confused and scared beyond comprehension. He understood only too well. Until recently, life on Mira III had liberated him from the icy grip of fear so commonplace on Esheron, its absence so long he'd sometimes wondered if the sensibility had been lost.
Flames of outrage and reprisal had likewise made a comeback, his nearly forgotten, silent heritage no longer hidden by thirty years of compliance. Instead the fire grew, unmitigated by training, logic, or reason. The intensity of the feelings was so strong, so uncharacteristic, that he wondered if perhaps he would have reacted differently if he and Jen hadn't made that trip to Esheron.
Previously any memory of his naterra had been limited to seismic alarms and his mother's reaction when their Guardian had delivered the news of his father's death when he was around Deven’s age. He must have had some culture shock upon their move, some problems adjusting, but all he'd remembered until now was a dull progression of zones.
As a boy, he'd nearly forgotten about both Esheron and The Order with the advent of Miran security. Nearly, but not quite. Those sentimental excursions years later when faced with insurmountable challenges surprised no one more than himself.
Sharra never did believe that anything beyond bureaucratic influence had gotten them permission to bond. Crediting his favor with the authorities instead, she remained unbelieving that some ethereal cosmic influence could make a difference. Nonetheless, she remained fascinated, even more so when they bonded and he'd insisted on giving her the traditional vows of faithfulness, honesty and love. On a world where state arranged marriages were the usual, meaningless norm she couldn’t help but embrace the quaint promise of eternal faithfulness. Eventually, she acknowledged that their sense of family was strong and meaningful, much more than the average Miran.
But that was all.
Any link or influence related to something as foreign as deific intervention or favor was simply never discussed and the subject faded from conversation.
In spite of his own conviction that such vows were not simply nice but necessary he'd been unable to explain why. Being Miran she didn't pursue it other than admitting that it did give her some vague sense of comfort when he was gone on lengthy and often hazardous assignments throughout the galaxy. Later she'd not only encouraged but participated in each formal ritualistic Promise given at the birth of each of their children. Children that were supposed to be raised on Mira III. Noble as his intent may have been those vows had mattered little on a world where to protect and shield from harm of any kind was as undefined as division by zero.
Now, suddenly it did matter. A lot.
Once again protection and The Order had meaning. He was surprised at how easily it had come back, as visible as the stars also became once beyond Mira's ever-present fog. It had been everything on Esheron: emotional survival, temporal assistance, a secure repository for vital records, which would have otherwise been lost. Records without which he wouldn't have the responsibilities or the problems he had now.
He reflected some more on his Promises, how they'd suddenly become a matter of life or death. There was no question he had to keep them. It was just a matter of how.
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