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Another Kind of War
| Category: || Fantasy Fiction |
Posted:|| May 29, 2011 Views: 502|
Warning: The author has noted that this contains strong language.|
Andi finally recognized the off feeling he had been trying to put a finger on. This time he faced why he missed it before. His dreams had been haunted by hell since he returned to the conscience world. He'd been lumping the day time creeps into that kettle and trying to ignore it along with the rest.
Now that he was looking at the thing head on, he began to look at the dreams as well. He freely admitted there was a cruel kind of beauty in them as well as violence. Melita in his arms, teasing him and loving him and making him laugh with his heart---that was one of the sweet ones. Watching her walk away from him was a hell he carried with him through the entire waking time afterward.
Running from something was a common theme. The more vicious dreams, though, tangled him into running toward something. This was a `something' he could not quite reach, although he desperately needed to. That one hit him brutally and constantly. It, too, lingered over his soul.
Sometimes he felt like there were messages in the nightmares. He chalked those up to forebodings or anxieties and tried to put the running dreams in that perspective. He only succeeded in realizing he was lying to himself. The dreams were underlining what he already knew. He was impotent in too many ways to count. He wasn't going to reach his goal of `back to normal'. He loved Melita too much to tie her to that kind of carcass.
He gave Jimmy credit for knowing, without being told, every time one of the really bad ones hit. Therapy, then, was gentle and more centered on pain removal than rehabilitation.
As the nightmares continued, Andi realized more and more of his therapy time was being spent on holding ground rather than on moving forward. This aggravated his frustration as well as the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. It also brought more a frequent and virulent dream life. Somewhere between the sleeping hell and the waking torment, he began to give up.
Jimmy walked away from the unproductive physical therapy session tired, discouraged, and extremely frustrated. He caught Isik in the hall just before the man went into the room to do some mental strengthening with Andi.
"He had another bad night. He's not talking about it, but I felt it in his muscles. I don't know what the hell to do about that any more."
Isik's expression drooped and he shook his head. Jimmy knew the feeling. He threw out the only suggestion he had for the moment.
"One more conference? We always seem to come up with something new to try when we put our heads together. Where this time?"
"My place is closest and probably the most comfortable. Why don't you come over after you're done work?"
"I guess. If we don't come up with anything else, maybe we can at least commiserate. I'll pick up something to eat---"
Isik cut into that offer before Jimmy could finish it.
"I like cooking. You like eating it. Right now, we can both use something better in our bellies than the slop and slide the eateries put out. Besides, good eating always mellows both of us out."
"Yeah. It does. And you cook like a god, Mr. Inquist."
Isik laughed at the compliment, but he did not try to push it aside or negate what was said. He liked to cook, he liked to eat, and putting together a good job on both just made sense to him.
"Ok. But no burnt sacrifices, hey? We've got enough on our hands with the one in that room over there. Speaking of. You'd better figure on a stay over while you're at it. I've got plenty of room; and with your size, the sofa will fit just fine."
Jimmy refused that part of the offer, although the practical comfort in it was tempting.
"I can teleport home."
Isik grinned at that.
"Not after a good rub down puts you to sleep," he said. Then, before Jimmy could make a further objection, he added, "Which you need, Dr. Johnson, and damn well know it. Besides, doing a knock out rub down on a puny little body like yours isn't gonna overtax the kind of strength I've got."
Jimmy managed a smile for that. Isik's Gentian build was a lot bigger and stronger than his. As such, it was probably more suited for working on a grunter as big as Andi, too; but the man wasn't a certified doctor and wasn't allowed to be that kind of therapist in the Ceriph Healing Dome.
"Ok. Your place. Say--nine o'clock Standard time? He's usually asleep by eight, eight thirty."
A troubled look came over Isik's face. Then he expressed his own aggravation one more time.
"I wish these Ceriph assholes would just give it up. That last routine at night--damn. You come out of that looking like you went a bout with a rocket and lost. I can do what you do on the nighttime routines, and it doesn't wear me out. Where's the logic in not using that?"
Jimmy whole-heartedly agreed. The man was right, but that wasn't going to change anything.
"Yeah, I know; and it doesn't matter to me. One of us taking care of him, one of us as back up. Swapping around would help both of us on that, I think."
Isik corrected that expression immediately.
"You don't think it would, you know it would. All right. One more round of trying to figure out a loophole in all this mess. I'll see you about nine."
The Terran gave a nod of agreement, then teleported to his quarters outside of the Healing Domes.
The place wasn't much, especially for someone used to the lavish surroundings of an embassy. It was comfortable though, and enough. The sizing fit his Terran stature, a norm for most of the Galactic species. There was adequate space to move around in, and sufficient rooms for what he needed: a place to sleep, a place to prepare food, a place to entertain, and a place to clean up.
Beyond those things, Jimmy made it a home by adding his own touches to it. The muted colors of the walls were earthen in tone. The shades and textures of the floor coverings complimented them and brought both into a flow of natural beauty. The curtains continued the theme, while the furniture and accessories stood out more boldly in some places, and more subdued in others.
Jimmy had a smattering of gifts in a lot of fields. The ability to combine colors, textures, and accents was one he enjoyed the most. The richness of the beauty he created in this area contrasted dramatically with the stark impact of his abilities in science. He supposed that was just part of what made him Jimmy.
That part of him reached out to fold him into its comfort as he settled into the entertainment section of the home. He plopped down onto one of overstuffed chairs, propped his elbows on his knees, and dropped his head into his hands. He had two more hours before he could use the data central facilities. There was time for a meal and a nap within the parameter. There was also time to brood over the situation in general and the Ceriph prejudices in particular.
The brooding started first, with a heavy sigh and heavier thoughts. The crap going on in the Healing Dome was only one foul smell out of many he and Isik faced on this world. He realized when the thought began its loop that he didn't have enough time in two hours to count up all of the barriers they came up against.
He made himself turn off those negatives. They would only drag him down and exhaust him for the rest of the day ahead of him. He turned his thoughts instead to his Brat days, the time that was without question the happiest in his life.
Things were a lot different during those days. Then he, and his two best friends were not only allowed to explore their gifts, but heartily encouraged to do so.
That entailed a lot of hopping around and short-term interests for him. Everything was provocative to him then, like a feast laid out with the finest foods from every ethnic in the Galaxy. Every Knowing around him fell into just that kind of temptation. He knew his intellectual stomach could not hold even a sampling of each of the offerings. He still indulged in as many as he could.
Isik, on the other hand, had to be nudged into trying anything new. A few disastrous attempts to push or pull him forward taught his roommates to back off and let him choose for himself. When the man did sample the talents, though, his choices for developing one over another were always solid.
That was one of the things Jimmy admired about him. The Gentian was as solid as his build. It took him awhile to make up his mind on something, but once he got his facts lined up and made a decision, he couldn't be moved. Their friendship was something the man made his mind up on a long time ago, and he never budged an inch from it since.
Jimmy appreciated the loyalty there. He also grieved it. Jimmy knew he held a specific category in the man's thinking, one that had rigid expectations, and equally firm boundaries. He and Isik were friends. They were good friends, even best friends, but the way Isik's mind worked, that was all it was ever going to be.
Joel was the man Isik loved, the one who would always have his heart, alive or dead.
"I'd settle for second best on that," Jimmy thought. "But you don't give second best, guy; and you don't change your mind. Working with you, this is what I've got. At that, I guess it's more than what most others have to offer."
The thought was a heavy one. Jimmy let himself dwell on it anyway. It put him in firm touch with his own feelings, and with Andi's, as well. The man's inner being was experiencing the same futility. Much of that was along similar lines as well.
"So how do I handle these rough patches? What gets me through them and lets me function in spite of them?"
The data man sat back in his chair, pulled a communicator out of his pocket, and began dictating a free flow of ideas. He would categorize, organize, and extrapolate later. For right now, he just let his heart drift to see where it would take him.
|The book continues with Getting Somewhere. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.|
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