Short Stories - Lucky

“Push, Ayli!” Gavin Linai shouted to his wife. The ship pitched sharply to his left as he turned to look at her. She was on her back in the pilot’s bunk, heavily pregnant.
Her voice was calm, though obviously strained. “It’s alright, Gavin. Just stay calm and focus on flying. I’ll be alright.”
“You’re giving birth!” He shouted, swerving quickly as burst of red-orange energy streaked past the ship. “Oh, and we’re being shot at. How am I supposed to stay calm.”
“Clear your…” Her phrase was interrupted by her own sharp cry.
Gavin jumped up before she raised a shaking hand to stop him. “You need to fly the ship.” She said slowly, pain obvious in her voice.
“Don’t worry.” Ayli said, her voice forceful. Suddenly, calm washed over Gavin, and he sat down, focused on the imperial fighters in front of him.

He dodged and weaved, floating through the asteroid belt like it was a dance. Blaster bolts zoomed around the small craft, but he evaded each of them.

Meanwhile, Ayli took deep, calm breaths in. “There is no emotion,” She whispered to herself, “There is peace.” Focusing on the rhythm of her breathing she pushed. She could feel the small life in her womb emerging into the world.
“Thirty seconds until we’re out of the asteroid field.” Gavin said, “Then I’ll be able to make that hyperspace jump.”
“Excellent. You’re doing excellent.” Ayli said, continuing her careful breathing. This time she managed to contain the urge to cry out as another contraction shook through her.
“Twenty seconds.” Gavin counted down.
Ayli pushed.
“Ten seconds.”
Ayli pushed.
“Five Seconds!”
Ayli Pushed
“Now!” There was a small lurch, as the ship jumped into hyperspace, having evaded its pursuers.
From the back of the room, a cry in a young voice, higher and distinct from Ayli’s rang out.
All calm left Gavin, replaced with a mixture of fear and joy. He dashed to his wife’s side, lifting the crying infant towards her arms.
“She has strong lungs.” Gavin said.
Ayli smiled, looking down at her daughter, “Shh now, little one.” She rocked the little girl back and forth. Slowly, the girl’s cry softened, and her eyes widened, a look of wonder spreading across her face.
“What should we call her?” Gavin said.
“Irellia.” Ayli said, pure joy on her face.

~ ~ ~

Irellia was six years old and it was very late. Her mother and father had left her alone on their ship for the first time in her young life. It was dark in the space port the ship was docked in, and she felt a chill. But it wasn’t the dark that bothered her. It was the quiet. She was used to the sound, the feeling, of her family around her. He father’s strong voice, her mother’s warm laugh. They all felt so far away.

Irellia began to sing to herself, a song her mother would sing her. Whenever she sang it, it would calm her. But it wasn’t working and she couldn’t help but feel like something was terribly wrong.

As she sat there in the dark, she tried to remember what her mother always told her. Stay calm, clear your mind. But calm was so hard! She just wanted her mommy and daddy to come back.

Suddenly, Irellia felt sick to her stomach, and tears started to fall from her eyes. Something bad just happened. Something really bad. Mommy! Irellia shook, struggling to keep herself from crying too loudly.

“Keep safe and stay quiet.” Her father had told her, “We’ll be back soon.” But there had been something in his voice. Something wrong. She should have gone with them! They’d be safe if she was with them! Irellia bit her lip hard and clenched her tiny hands as tight as she could.

Suddenly, the doors to the ship slid open, and her father sprinted in at full speed.
“Daddy!” Irellia shouted, running towards him. She looked around, but she didn’t see her mother anywhere.
“Get in the copilot’s seat and buckle up.” Her father’s voice was severe.
“But what about Mommy!” Irellia shouted, her voice turning into a cry, “We can’t leave her behind!”
“NOW!” He shouted.
But Irellia couldn’t keep her composure any longer. Sobs wracked her body, “Where’s Mommy! I want mommy!” Hot, ugly tears fell down her face.

Barely stopping his forward movement, Gavin reached down to pick up his screaming daughter. Swiftly he sat her in the copilot’s seat, fastened her seat belt, and buckled himself in beside her in the pilot’s seat.

“WE CAN’T LEAVE MOMMY!!” Irellia screamed as he began launch procedures. She kicked at her seat and hit her legs, desperately flailing at her restraints. But the ship took off regardless of her pleas.

Finally, as the ship exited the atmosphere and began its jump into hyperspace, Irellia’s screaming tired into quiet sobs.
Gavin rubbed his hand over his face, brushing tears from his eyes. “Irellia, sweetheart, I’m sorry. Mommy…” His words caught in his throat, “She’s…”
“She’s…dead…isn’t she?” Irellia said softly, almost mumbled.
Gavin couldn’t speak. He leaned his face into his hands and began to sob softly.
And in that moment, Irellia knew.

~ ~ ~

“Hey Dad,” Thirteen-and-a-half-year-old Irellia said as her and her father walked down the grungy back streets of Nar Shardda , “I don’t think we should take this job.”
“Why not, kiddo?” Gavin said.
“I’ve got a bad feeling about it.” She said. “The guy who wants to hire us is skeevy.”
“Kiddo, most people who want to hire us are skeevy.”
“No, like, I mean more than usual. Most of them are just criminals, but this guy seems…like someone who could hurt us.”
“Tell you what, I’ll do a little more research on him before I decide to take it, okay.”
“Thanks Dad.”

~ ~ ~

“Well, kiddo, it looks like you were right.” Gavin said, looking up from the computer screen, “He covered his tracks pretty well, but if you go on some of the mercenary back channels, it looks like people he hires have a tendency to disappear before he has to pay them. It just looked like job related stuff, but I found an encoded message from one of the mercs that got away who said he sent some goons after him.”
“So, should we do something about this guy?”
“Not our job, kiddo. Let’s just skip town and find another job.”
“If his guys can take out mercs of that caliber, what chance do the two of us have? I know you’ve got a good heart, like your mom, but it’s my job to keep you safe.”
“Okay I guess.”
“And Kiddo, thanks for the heads up. We really dodged a bullet on that one. I guess you’re my lucky charm.” He said with a smile.

~ ~ ~

“So, Dad, I was thinking.” Irellia said.
“You know how you always say to keep your identity hidden.”
“Yeah, kiddo, why?” Gavin looked concerned.
“So, I was thinking about code names, right. And you know how you always call me your Lucky Charm?”
“What about ‘Lucky’ for my code name?”
“I like it.” Gavin said with a smile.
“Thanks dad.” Lucky smiled right back.

~ ~ ~

“DAD!” Irellia—Lucky—woke with a start. She looked around her hotel room. It was just her, no one else. She sighed. She had been here three weeks. Three weeks since her father had left and told her to wait for him here at this musty dockside hotel on this backwater planet.
“Knock-knock, kid.” Said a gruff voice at her door.
Lucky sighed again, “Coming.”
She walked to the door and opened it to see the hotel manager.
“Look kid, I get that you’re waiting on your ‘pa to come back, but your hotel deposit ran out a week ago, and I ain’t a boarding house, geddit.” The tall, rotund, Besalisk said.
“Aww, come on, just a few more days. I’m sure he’ll be back by then.”
“You said that a week ago, kid.”
“So you’re just going to throw me out on the street?”
“Ya’ got a ship. I know, ‘cause it’s taking up space in my dock.”
“I..I could clean your floors, wash your dishes, ‘cmon, anything.”
“I’ve got employees for that. So, pack yer stuff and get outta here.”
“Alright, alright.”
“Look, kid, if he comes by here looking for ya’ I’ll tell him I sent ya’ on yer way and give him yer course, alright.”
“Okay, fine. Just let me pack my things.”
“Ya got til noon.”

Short Stories - Lucky

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