In a striking resemblance to a similar excursion, so many years ago, a woman sat on a ship.
There was no hot tub, admittedly – but at least there was a cigarra, and the plumes of blue smoke that coiled from its tip. A lazy veil that recalled the stink of burning meat, of durasteel skeletons setting fire to the sky. Worlds were born and struck down in those rolling clouds, armies marched through death, to victory, beyond.
Aver flicked off the ash and took another drag.
A cigarra here, a sten there – an extravagance had, perhaps, grown into a habit. Ice blue turned downwards from the ceiling lost in the haze, to fixate on the burning tip. There was a violent, roaring urge running just beneath the skin, always. She considered, quietly and rationally, how it would feel to press that flame into her flesh. How it would sizzle and burn, and indeed fill the room with memory made real.
Instead, she merely placed it upon the lip of the tray, wrapping fingers around the delicate glasswork on the table. She lifted the tumbler to the low red light, drawing simple joy from the play of amber against crimson hues.
“You came,” she murmured, reverent – a whiskey-stained smile.
Her doubts would once seem grounded in impossibility, but recent years had seen them pursue individuality with greater zeal. Torn between Nadir, Maena, and their duty to entropy, the Equalizers faced their own challenges. For all its pain and violence, theirs was still a relationship that required time and nourishment.
Though, perhaps, they viewed nurture quite unlike the rest of the galaxy.
Ygdris rose from her seat, and stained his lips with whiskey and blood.