Vida ran down the corridor, fighting her way past the masses of people that hindered her passage. She didn't know where she was going, all she knew was that she had to get away from all the cacophony surrounding her. She needed to be alone in silence and compose herself. After walking mindlessly through the numerous hallways, she came to an empty room with a skylight which encased it like a bubble. Outside, the Milky Way galaxy could be seen clearly in all its splendor. The "Milky Way" was the perfect name for it, since its stars gushed like cream in swirls across the landscape. The view was so spectacular that it took Vida's breath away. She walked slowly over to the glass and pressed her fingers against it as if to touch the flowing gyration of stars. How she longed to be there, she longed to be anywhere but here.
She heard the sound of footsteps quietly moving closer to her. There was someone else in the room. She flung herself around to find it was Seth, the man who she'd seen at the bar with Jade. He looked very friendly and smiled sweetly at her. She smiled back. It was hard not to, his smile was so infectious. His gentle brown eyes looked softly at her.
"I see you found the observatory," he said, "beautiful view, isn't it?"
"I wanted to apologize about my sister. She can be a little rude sometimes, well actually very rude."
"So she's your sister," Vida said, still staring through the glass at the panorama before her.
"Yes. She's really very nice, she just doesn't know when to keep her mouth shut," he explained. "By the way, my name's-"
"Seth," she finished for him, "I know."
"Oh," he said, puzzled at how she knew his name.
Everything was quiet for awhile, both of them afraid to break the fragile stillness. They stared out the window, enthralled in the beauty of the celestial bodies twinkling brilliantly. Vida closed her eyes and relished the peace and tranquility for the first time since she had arrived at the spaceport. Suddenly the hush was shattered by a loud growl from Vida's stomach, like a ravenous wolf desperate for food.
"I guess we'd better find you some food," Seth laughed.
Vida smiled and blushed a little with embarassment. "Maybe that's a good idea."
"Come with me, I know a great little cafe not far from here."
"Well-" she hesitated, but she was so hungry, "okay, that sounds great."
"Great!" he said happily. "Let's go."
As they headed for the cafe, the dense crowds of people slowly dissipated and became more comfortably spread out. This area of the spaceport was much more to Vida's liking. She was relieved and began to relax around Seth. They chatted and laughed until they reached the cafe. The tantilizing aroma of cooking food came flooding past them, making Vida's mouth water with anticipation. There was a fair bit of people, but there were still some empty tables. As they went to sit down, Vida noticed a pair of Andromedan soldiers sitting at a table across the room. A pretty young blonde waitress was serving them.
"Well?" Seth's voice pulled her wary eyes away from the soldiers.
"I'm sorry, what were you saying?" she asked politely.
"I asked what you thought of this place," he answered patiently.
"Oh, I love it," she replied truthfully, "it's so quiet here. It's nice to be away from all the people"
Seth nodded his head in agreement. "I know what you mean. These spaceports are so overpopulated. That's why I like coming here; it's the only quiet spot in the whole place. I think it's because not very many people actually know about it."
"Well, I think it's wonderful."
"Wait until you taste the food," Seth laughed, "have you ever had a hamburger before?"
"No, but I've heard of them," she said with a tone that was less than enthusiastic. From what she'd heard, they didn't sound very appetizing. Only a slab of animal flesh between a bun.
"Don't worry," he said, picking up on her distaste, "these ones are delicious. You'll love them, trust me."
"Uh huh..." she said with uncertainty.
"Hey Seth!" called a woman's voice. It was the waitress that Vida had seen earlier serving the Andromedans.
"Nova, how are you?" Seth asked her.
"Fine," the waitress looked over at the mysterious girl with Seth, immediately seeing her golden eyes.
"Oh," Seth said when he noticed Nova's puzzled look, "this is..." He paused and furrowed his brow. "I'm sorry, I don't even know you're name.
Vida's cheeks reddened in embarrassment. She couldn't believe she'd forgotten to introduce herself. "My name's Vida," she said, shaking hands with the young waitress.
"Um, nice to meet you," Nova replied, perplexed at why Seth was with a woman whose name he didn't know. It wasn't like him.
"Here's your menus," said Nova, then turned to look at the two Andromedans who were trying to get her attention. She let out a nervous sigh. "I'd better go see what they want now."
"Good luck," Seth told her as she left. Then he turned to Vida who was glaring apprehensively at the table where Nova was headed. He was baffled. If she truly was an Andromedan, she shouldn't have been acting with such uneasiness.
"So, should we try the burgers?" He tried to distract her from the soldiers.
Vida tapped the button beside the words old-fashioned style hamburger to place her order. Seth did the same. Then he placed his menu on the table and sat back.
"Tell me, what do you do for a living?" Vida asked him.
Seth was a little surprised. Up until now, she had remained very quiet and spoke only when spoken to.
"I'm a security officer."
"Really? That must be fascinating," she said with sincere interest.
"Do you think so?"
"Oh yes. You must meet a lot of interesting people. I'm sure you have hundreds of stories to tell."
Seth smiled modestly. "Well, I don't know about hundreds, but I do have a few good ones." Seth stopped and looked up at Vida who was listening tentatively at what he had to say. Her large golden eyes carefully watching him was a bit unnerving.
Just then, Nova came along with two trays of hamburgers.
"There you go," she placed the trays in front of them, "enjoy."
She took the menus out of the way and hastily left, leaving Seth alone with Vida once more. Vida bit in to her burger and slowly savored the taste. Then she nodded at Seth with satisfaction.
"These are excellent," she said, rather surprised.
"I told you."
"So," he said while chewing on a piece of burger contently. After swallowing the large mouthful, he continued, "what is it you do?"
"I\'m a wanderer," she replied and ate some more of her tasty burger.
Seth's eyes widened with intrigue. A wanderer. Suddenly his job seemed dull and listless. Wanderers travelled the universe aimlessly, hitching rides with whoever would take them. They made their living trading precious gems and rare artifacts which they found along their journey. Many thought of them to be hooligans and thieves, but for Seth, this was not so. He had always ben fascinated with wanderers. Their lives were one giant quest, full of excitement and adventure. He felt priveleged to be with someone with such an enthralling background.
"Are you going to eat that?" Vida pointed to his half eaten burger.
His train of thought was broken. "What? Oh," he said, "yes, sorry. I was just...wow, you're a wanderer?"
Vida nodded her head, dissmissing the comment as though it were no big deal. Then she directed her gaze to the table on the other side of the room where the two andromedans sat. They were having an argument with who looked to be the manager.
Seth turned to see what she was looking at. He drew an uneasy breath. "Don't worry about it," he tried reassured her, though he was not completely sure himself.
She looked at him and gave a fidgety smile. "You're right. We should just try to relax and enjoy ourselves."
There was a sudden clammer. They both looked over and saw that the one of the Andromedans had pushed the manager onto the table, knocking over several dishes. People gasped as the soldier pulled out a large gun and aimed it at the manager who was now stumbling off of the table. The man wheezed a raspy breath and backed up slowly. His wide eyes were fixed on the gun pointing at him relentlessely. Sweat dripped from his face. The gun fired and flung the man across the room where Vida was sitting. She looked in horror at the dead body laying lifeless at her feet. Visionless eyes stared at her, the terror from his last seconds of life frozen in their depths. Blood splattered everywhere. People screamed and desperately ran out of the cafe, but Vida didn't hear them. She could vaguely feel Seth beside her, comforting her and muttering soothing words in her ear.
Vida sat on her couch, not knowing how she got there. Everything was in bits and pieces. Seth was next to her. He was holding her in attempts to stop her from shaking. A soft, warm blanket was wrapped around her, yet she was still cold.
"Are you going to be okay?" he asked. "We can take you to the infirmary, its just down the hall-"
"No," she interrupted, "I'll be fine. I'm not hurt."
"But you're in shock."
"I said I'll be fine!" she snapped.
Then she placed her head in her hands and began to weep. The tears she shed were clear and pure, unlike the bloody teardrops of an Andromedan. Seth cradled her in his arms, gently rocking her back and forth until her sobs faded into deep, erratic breaths.
"I'm sorry," she whimpered.
"Don't apologize. That was a horrible thing to see."
She shook her head and looked up at him, her eyes red and puffy. "Its not just that. Its-its everything. You wouldn't understand."
He didn't push her to say anything more; he just sat with her awhile in silence.
"Thank you," she finally said, "you've been so kind to me and you hardly even know me."
"It feels like I know you."
He looked into her misty golden eyes. They were large and slanted on her high cheekbones, giving her a catlike appearance. She was captivating. She had an exotic beauty unlike that of any other woman he had ever seen.
Impulsively, he touched her exquisite face and pulled her close to him. He slowly leaned towards her and kissed her trembling lips. He felt her hand delicately push him away.
"I'm sorry, I--"
"I think you'd better go," she said quietly.
He nodded and got up to leave. When he got to the doorway he stopped and turned to her.
"If you need me my room's right across the hall."
She said nothing and he left, shutting the door as quietly as possible.
End of chapter 2. For chapter 3, click here!