A flash of noise sprung through the dark. Indali's mind sprang into life, seeking information. Where was she? Her eyelids fluttered open and she was crouched on her feet, instinctively ready for anything. Someone was shouting at her. She ran a hand over her face quickly, wiping away the pounding headache and the tear-smudged dirt.


She remembered where she was.

"--are you doing here?" The man was still shouting.

She stood with straight confidence, blinked through her hazy vision and looked her captors over. The shouting man, the man who had followed her in the market, was in charge. He exuded lazy confidence from his worn boots to his careless, crisply white, shirt. He stared her down with flashing green eyes.

She kept eye-contact. This was the man she would have to win over. He said a few words to the other people in the room, then turned back to her."You may want to hold onto something when you feel the engines start up. A little advice to a planetsider."

He was gone, swept from the room like a summer storm. Indali found herself breathing again. She had been unaware that she'd stopped.She looked over the other two people; a dark haired boy and a young girl with a red ponytail and messy apron.

"I'll take her," the boy said.

He glanced away from the girl's glare as she stepped toward Indali protectively. "Don't be stupid, Nuk," her voice snapped and bit. "You've done enough of that already. I'll take her, and you will bring lunch to the others."

"Bunga-" Nuk said. Bunga turned on her heel, ignoring him, and smiled at Indali, a smile that changed her face from harsh to lovely, with little crinkles at the corners of her eyes. Nuk's face hardened. He stared at Bunga for a moment, then turned and left the room.

"What's your name?" Bunga asked.


"I'll take care of you, Indali. I won't ask why you're here until you're ready."

Indali nodded, grateful for a friend, and allowed herself to be led away. Her mind was numb and her heart was heavy.

The End

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