Chapter 20

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Bor didn't come back last night.

Izara opened her eyes just as the pod automatically dimmed the shading on the windows allowing the bright tropical sunlight to fill up the room. For a few minutes she just sat there listening to the silence of the empty space.

So that meant he hadn't come back that morning either.

Flopping onto her side with a heavy sigh, Izara lifted her wrist unit up and tapped the screen. At her command the map zoomed out from where she was and swung out until it was looking at the big island. Zooming in on its own it found the red dot in question. Izara stared at the steady red dot for Bor and tried to imagine the mountainous terrain he was currently in right now. The hunt must be going pretty good for him to be still out there, she reasoned as she stood up from her bed.

Izara stretched once and set off on her list of morning duties. First she checked on Kang, reading the reports of his condition generated through the night before heading to the terminal and checking for any possible messages from the base station. Just like every day she checked there was none.

Brushing her teeth and washing her face she emerged from the bathroom and stopped to stand in the middle of the room. What would she do now? Just imagining the day ahead of her seemed long and daunting and not to mention dreadfully boring. Resisting the urge to check on Bor's location again she turned in a circle with her arms out.

An idea came to her.

"Computer, convert the beds into a couch," she ordered.

A ding sounded just before both beds retracted back into the wall and came back out as one large couch. The sterile grey mats that served as the mattress were now repurposed as a simple couch.

Izara plopped onto the couch. "Ok, computer, bring up the S-Class level one course work."

For a year she had this damn course pulled up on her computer in her dorm room and every damn day she found a reason to put it off. If she ever wanted to promote beyond the H1 class personnel she needed to take the S1 test. A test that not only would get her promoted within the Black Mountain but if she did ever end up leaving her service contract, very unlikely, she could easily find work elsewhere with the credentials.

A large, holographic screen materialized in the middle of the room. A pit of dread sprouted deep in her stomach as she read the familiar page one of the eight hundred page coursework.

Izara clapped her hands and rubbed them together. "Ok, lesson one. Here we go. I can do this!" she said pumping herself up.

She began to read the first page.

Izara groaned. By all the Gods, she was already bored.

No, she sat up straighter and pulled her legs underneath her, she wasn't going to quit this time. She always quit and she wasn't going to do that now. She finally had the time and she had the resources. She was going to learn this, dammit. When the base station finally did come to pick her, Izara was going to be fully proficient in this subject. Maybe they would even promote her. Maybe her superiors would look at her with a little bit more respect instead of that odd fearful look they always gave her.

Forcing herself to concentrate she went back to reading.

###

She only made it through six chapters before she gave up. It was either that or claw her eyes out.

Stepping outside Izara stretched her arms over her head. It was already night time.

Around her the trees and underbrush seemed to sing with life. Continuous whistling chirps of insects and other endemic life overlapping each other in rhythmic song swelled into the night. Izara sucked in a deep breath enjoying the slightly cooler air. While the sun was great, she had to admit that it could get a bit unbearable. It wasn't like the pleasure deck on Black Mountain with its simulated ocean and sun. There was no aircon unit stealthily hidden behind the holographs to keep people perfectly comfortable. Out here only the night with its twin moons offered reprieve from the cooking sun.

Tonight was a bright night. Both the purple and blue moon were out casting its hazy glow over the beach. Instead of the dark foreboding waves churning in the unknown darkness, the lapping sea still held some of its blue hue.

With her long hair loose from its braid and her feet still bare from her time in the pod, she walked into the wet sand. Izara grinned at the gritty feeling smushing between her toes. It was an odd yet wonderful feeling. Stepping forward, she let her feet drag kicking up the sand as she went, the waves lapping at her ankles.

Sparks of blue light beneath her made her pause.

Frowning Izara stood still replaying the image in her head. Below her the sand was clumped at her feet and the water reached for her before lazily pulling back once again. Hesitantly, she picked up her foot and dragged it once again through the drenched sand.

Like little charges of bright blue lightening the sand around her began to react and light up.

"Holy shit," she laughed. Regretfully, she looked back at the escape pod and pictured the scanner device laying on the counter. She should grab it and scan this...but she didn't want to stop this weird magic.

Continuing forward, she made a trail of sparking blue lightening as she walked along the cove's beach. Izara let out another laugh and looked ahead and stopped.

All the sounds of the night completley fell away from her ears as she took in the large black shape standing near the curving wall. Izara blinked, willing the rush of blood echoing in her ears to stop. The big figure moved, stepping closer. Her body twitched with the need to run.

Again the shadowed figure took another slow step forward, away from the trees that lined the huge rock wall and that's when she saw it.

Bright phosphorescent green blood spilling down its chest. 

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