Part Four - 38 - Kala

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   "Ito Min-Hee's journal, entry 706. Jessie is sensitive. It might surprise the others but she is the one struggling the most with this life. Oh, she is one of the best pilots I have ever seen, no doubt about that. But she also feels everything. The empathy... she's like a sponge, taking upon herself every emotion felt by the other crew members. Overthinking everything. I'm sure her piloting skills would be extraordinary if she was alone on a ship, with no one but herself to think about. But with us, she knows the life of the crew is in her hands and sometimes it's too much to bear. The captain is the opposite. He prefers to act and deal with the consequences later, no matter the outcome. Those two balance each other. I can't wait to see what their relationship will bring for all of us."

Kala opened her eyes and looked up at the alien windshield on top of her. All that she could see was space. A lot of space.

Oh no, no, no...

One moment she had been on Lasa, trying to maneuver the new ship slowly, thinking about how annoying it had been to still be in the atmosphere - space would offer more room to experiment - and then the ship had granted her wish. She had felt a strange lurch in her stomach and she knew something major had happened.

Kala let go of the alien bulkhead for a second, cutting the connection with the ship. She regretted it immediately. It was so cold. Her feet slowly rose from the ground; she was weightless with the loss of gravity. Everything was dark and quiet as death. Then she tried to take a breath but couldn't. The air was painfully ripped out of her lungs. Blood vessels in her eyes started to pop and her skin to freeze. The alien ship didn't have a human-friendly environment. It didn't have any environment. Just the void of space. Kala dropped her hand back on the black material and opened the connection again. She could breathe again. Or at least imitate breathing. She realized that her body didn't actually need to breathe anymore. The energy connection with the ship was keeping her alive. It was keeping her cells nourished with energy and life.

This technology was marvelous and terrifying but it didn't change her problem. She was in space, and she had no idea how and why. Kala closed her eyes again, opening the navigation system of the alien ship. She could feel that it had been there all along but avoided it by fear of being overwhelmed. It was frighteningly big. So much information...Planets and galaxies appeared in her mind, like a three-dimensional map. A pool of stars in which her mind could swim.

It took her longer than she would have liked to find out where she was. Somewhere still in the Unknown. If she could still call it the Unknown...On this map, there was no uncharted territory. She tried to find the corners of the map but couldn't. She gave up at the borders of the Laniakea Supercluster of galaxies, a headache already taking hold inside her skull. This would require some getting used to.

Then Kala panicked when she couldn't find the planet where her crew was. She remembered that Edwin had called it Lasagna, the captain preferred to call it Lasa, but that wasn't helpful at all. He had also called it a chaotic planet. On this map, the planets and stars didn't have any names, just energy imprints. Kala frowned and tried to remember being on the planet. How it felt to be standing on its ground, how the electricity in the air tasted... The alien technology did the rest. The planet suddenly appeared in her mind, in the center of the map.

She sighed in relief, "Found you."

Now when she thought about where she wanted to be, she made sure to keep her eyes open. Through the alien windshield, she saw a strange ray of colorful light briefly exploding from the ship. Then a small anomaly in the void, an absence of light. All the stars in the background disappeared and were replaced by a sphere of darkness. A small wormhole. The ship crossed it immediately and Kala felt the strange lurch in her stomach once again. She blinked and she was back in the stormy atmosphere of Lasa.

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