Technique: Point of View and Stream of Consciousness
Intention: To develop the character, Kineu, through the techniques of introspection, dialogue, action and interaction with other characters.
Genre: Science Fiction
His breath pooled in his chest, then puffed passed his lips. A meditation stone cooled the palm of his hand. In and out – forget about crystillium thrusters, spatial anomalies, crew squabbles, duty assignments, and Nexus attacks.
Kineu sighed. When he was a boy, his grandfather had told him that meditation was the path to the peace of his ancestors. Too bad his butt hadn’t paid attention to the lesson. He shifted to relieve the cramp and tried to focus. How do you think about nothing and still stay alert? Why couldn’t it be like his dream last night? Kineu tried to dismiss his errant thoughts but it was too late. The images flow, as clear now as they had been upon awaking that morning.
A gleaming white wolf nudges his hand in greeting. Kineu honors its welcome with one of his own, stepping lightly through desert air to sit by a pool of water. Ripples of memory disturb its surface only briefly. He brushes the thoughts away … brushes the pool
turns his palms skyward
on crossed knees cupping gently the meditation stone
of his father’s father
given to him in ceremony
he opens his heart
to greet his soul …
Into his vision stalks a jaguar. Black muscles ripple past the moon silver wolf. Soft pads whisper near the sinew of the seeker’s shoulder. The jaguar’s tongue laps at the clear water, while yellow eyes
narrow and suspicious
furtively study -in quick fearful glances –
the leather clad Anishnabeg.
Deliberately he remains silent.
Muscles struggle to remain still.
His breath, so regular at first, catches in his throat. The big cat is unexpected…
The cat growls, soft and menacing, in Kineu’s ear. Its breath, hot and sweet, brushes his cheek. Already he can feel his hair stirring in response. He readies himself for the attack, and reaches for a gun he knows isn’t there.
Kineu’s cellcom chirped. Automatically his hand reached for the device clipped to his belt.
“Sorry for interrupting, Commander.” Mitchell Ogawa’s voice was a cheerful interruption in the silent room. The young officer had been on duty for several hours already, but nothing could put a dent in his enthusiasm.
“Is there a problem, Ensign?” Kineu’s voice rasped uncomfortably in his ears. Their ship, Destiny, hadn’t encountered Nexus since leaving Commonwealth space three years ago but circumstances could change in a hurry. To date, their explorations had resulted in few friendships and more than a few squirmishes. Folks in this quadrant of space weren’t particularly friendly with strangers
Ogawa understood the first officer’s concern. Even though Destiny had found no sign of the Nexus homeworld, there was always the hope (and the fear) that today would be the day. “No sign of Nexus sir, but sensors have detected a new star system. Captain Sinkiewicz wants you on the bridge.” Mitchell’s voice reassured the first officer.
“I’m on my way.” The words were barely out of Kineu’s mouth before the whoosh of the door signaled his exit. He padded quietly down the grey corridor, his body a compact study in muscle. Crewmen stepped from his path, aware of the strength held beneath passive facial muscles. Black heels clipped the carpeted corridor. Spine straight and eyes direct, only his hair proclaimed he wasn’t totally military. It hung straight down his back, held in place by a simple leather knot.
Even after three years, Danu La Fey thought, Kineu still had the air of a Midewewin… of a freedom fighter. If anyone had asked her four years ago about serving aboard a Commonwealth ship she would have laughed. Now? Well, even Midewewin principles had to give way to practicality. The Nexus was too great an enemy for the Midewewin to fight alone, and the Commonwealth had finally decided that diplomacy wouldn’t end the war. Kineu had agreed to merge the best of his crew from Raven with the best that the Commonwealth had to offer. The result was Destiny and their mission to hunt down the Nexus. “Hey, have you tried that new virtual reality program I wrote for you?” Her crisp voice cut through Kineu’s preoccupation, while her strides matched his purposeful gait.
Kineu glanced down. Danu, as always, looked frailer than she was. A human might have mistaken her for a blue pixie, but her species was far more ferocious. “Not yet, but I’m hoping that your program will help me with my meditation exercises.” None of his disappointment peeked through the mask he wore for the crew. It was no secret that he was searching for a way to harness the telepathic powers of his people but not even Danu knew how much it meant to him.
He forced a smile and changed the subject. “So, how are you feeling? Is Liam looking after you?” The first officer made an effort to keep his voice even. Even though Liam Tennyson had proven himself a loyal member of Destiny’s crew, Kineu couldn’t forget that years’ earlier the younger man had almost destroyed the Midewewin council. Maybe Danu’s husband wasn’t the fool he had been, but Kineu still wondered.
“Liam is driving me crazy,” Danu sighed. “Every day he reviews the food groups’ chart and quizzes me on my eating habits. If he isn’t trying to feed me, then he’s questioning my hours in Engineering. If he had his way, I would be lying down in our quarters right now!” Danu’s voice quivered with disgust. Pregnancy had softened her Gael physique but hadn’t touched her temper.
Kineu halted abruptly. Catching her shoulder, he steadied her against a stumble. “Can you blame him? Not only is the Nexus killing and enslaving most of free space, but they’ve also figured out a way to arrest fetal development. You and Liam are an anomaly. Your baby is actually going to make it to term.” He softened his voice. “Sure he’s being over zealous but with good reason. Just be patient.”
Lips quirking over her testiness, Danu nodded and resumed walking. “You’re right. I’ve got to remember the big picture. He’s just so annoying at times that I forget.”
Kineu paused at the lift, and raised an eyebrow. “Bridge?”
“No,” she chuckled at the irony, “I’m meeting Liam for breakfast.”
Kineu stepped onto the waiting platform. The lift silently propelled him towards his destination. For a moment, as the floor moved beneath his feet, Kineu swayed. Vertigo, swift and hushed as death, swirled past his eyes. His black and grey clad shoulder protested his sudden stumble. Fingers splayed against cool metal –
gold eyes wink at him out of the mists
menacing and alien,
he stuggles to stand
to assess the threat, but low growls rumble in his ears
push him further from his objective …
his uniform and the colours of blood and fur
and gold watches him
– feral –
fear tastes bitter in his mouth and bile
presses against his teeth …