There is an ache within the Captain. A silence where a voice of wonder and curiosity should speak. The absence left when the Machaenum stole their soul of air with a blade of liquid light. Veled, the fourth quarter of their being, who had longed for the vastness of the world. Now they are only three.
Kayta withdrew her arm from the thick liquid, the leather straps that bound the amputation now jet black. Salt peppered my carapace; near-misses kicked up sand sprays. Kayta, shielded for the moment, crouched, drew deep breaths. I picked up her detached hand, held it against my thorax.