This post is part of the A to Z Challenge and Camp NaNoWriMo.
I struggled to get this story to the end point I initially planned. It feels rushed, but I did get here. The whole book is getting a serious revision. I wrote it so quickly, changed the spellings for certain things, changed a bit of the plot as I went. But, on the whole, I'm proud of what I produced in less than a month (I finished it earlier and started book 2).
Part 26: Z is for Zig aka Zero Inertia Gravity Drive
“Zero Inertia Gravity Drive, countdown. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, ZIG.” Galer stated calmly.
This time, Amaya tapped the photo-medicine button twice, and she was mostly prepared for the gut-wrenching jump through space. She even kept her eyes mostly open to see a blinding blur of stars in the black.
When they slowed, the blue Earth hung like a jewel in the dark sky. The sun was behind them. The moon, in her orbit, looked calm. Amaya breathed a long sigh of relief. Home. She was home again. Or at least in orbit.
“How do you plan to land our ship?” Prya asked.
Amaya pulled her lips between her teeth, trying to think. She glanced at Sol, then the Sergeant Jayal, to Tanwen, Galer, then back to Prya, sitting straight in her Captain’s chair console. “My mom settled us outside of town on some farmland. I know that won’t help with getting past any of the military, but there aren’t any neighbors for several miles.”
Prya nodded curtly. “We’ll take care of the detection issues.” She tilted her head to Sol. “Cloaking online.”
“I don’t suppose you know coordinates, like longitude and latitude?” She asked Amaya.
“Um,” Amaya knew them. She’d always thought her mom was oddly obsessed with knowing latitude and longitude for wherever they lived, but now … things from her odd childhood were weirdly falling into place. “45.6745° N, 111.0421° W.”
“And, how do you know them so well?” Sol gazed at her.
“My mom.” Amaya shrugged. “She was always weirdly obsessed with my knowledge of our coordinates, as well as our street address. I didn’t understand it … until now.”
“She sounds like a wise woman.” Tanwen stated.
The Rattieri Sergeant laughed. “A wise Rattieri spy knows how to get found and how to be hidden.”
“That is the case with Terr spies, as well.” Galer said, quietly. He glanced at Amaya. “Do you know if … your mother is Terr or Rattieri?”
Amaya shook her head. “No.” She put her hand to her necklace, but didn’t show it to them.
“It does not matter now.” Prya stated calmly. “Lock in the coordinates, Galer. Take us down.”
“What of my Captain?” Sergeant Jayal demanded.
His words were lost as the ship dipped nose first and flew swiftly towards the surface of the Earth. The atmospheric entry created a cacophony of noise. Once they reached a visual distance from Bozeman, Montana, Galer corned the ship and backed it down onto the land near Amaya’s home, just on the other side of a copse of trees.
“The Rattieri ships were detected on our entry.” Sol tapped the buttons on his console. “And that detection has led the defense forces to recognize our entry as well. We have only a few minutes until they arrive.”
“I need to get my mom.” Amaya unstrapped herself and raced out of the command console, not waiting for anyone to follow her.
As she exited the ship, she saw her mother coming out of the house, wearing an outfit she’d never seen before, carrying a huge military duffel bag.
“Amaya!” Her mom threw her arms around Amaya and hugged her close. “We have to leave, now. I don’t have time to explain everything, but your dad will do what he can to scramble the military defense of our planet. He’ll buy us time to leave.”
“Mom? Dad knew? What?” Amaya felt the tears she’d been holding back under all of her bravado start to well up in her eyes.
“I’m coming with you. You’re too important to lose to any Earth squabbling.”
Amaya followed her mother back into the ship.
When her mother saw Prya, she put her fist to her heart. “Captain. I am the daughter of Nerya and the daughter of Cayal, Terr and Rattieri nobility. I ask for asylum for myself and my daughter.”
“You’re daughter is the Ratayana. Asylum has already been granted.” Prya put her hand out.
“Welcome, mother of Amaya, daughter of Nerya and Cayal."
Sol came out of the command console, attempting to straighten the mechanic’s coveralls he still wore. “Ma’am, I am Sol Terr, and I have accepted the vow of your daughter.” He held out his hand.
Amaya’s mother just stared at his hand, then she looked at Amaya. “You have some explaining to do. You may need to rescind that vow.”
“Mom.” Amaya felt a stubbornness rise up in her. “You have explaining to do. Sol is a friend. He’s protected me. Helped me. And, I do not rescind my vow.” She took the hand that Sol held out and held it in her own. “We stand together.”
Sol squeezed her hand.
She looked up into his gold-flecked green eyes, felt his strangely thin fingers between her own, and knew she’d made the right choice.
Her mother sighed. “You have a lot to learn.”
“Respectfully, we need to leave, Ratayana.” Prya reminded them.
Sergeant Jayal walked over to them. “I’ll take your mother to med-bay, Ratayana.” He put his fist to his heart.
“Thank you, Sergeant.” Amaya saluted him in return. She glanced at her mother. “Sergeant Jayal will help you get settled for flight, mom.”
“Good. I need you on the command center, for any ship to ship communications with Captain Rayal.” Captain Prya said. “Thank you for understanding, Sergeant Jayal.”
He nodded curtly at her and took the duffel bag from Amaya’s mom.
“It’s all right, mom.” Amaya hugged her mom again, then turned to walk back to the command center.
Once she was strapped in, she gazed out of the viewport at her home. It hadn’t really been her home all that long, but it represented everything she’d known on Earth, everything she realized she had to leave behind. Home had to become where her heart resided, where she could be free and safe, where she had a purpose.
“Let’s go.” She nodded to Prya.
Galer started the ship’s engines. Prya gave the command.
They lifted off the surface and flew to the stars.