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Connection - 17 (everyone needs grief counselling)

by fortis

Everen groaned. She’d been in her room when she’d first felt the pain. The worst thing she’d ever felt. Kerra sometimes sent her pain accidentally across the connection, and when she’d gotten her skin replaced, both Everen and Shandi had been too flooded with it to stand. But this pain had been so much worse. And now that she knew Shandi was gone… it was too much.

Trying to think about anything else, Everen wondered how long she’d been there. She’d fallen to the hard, plastic floor, but she was fairly certain she’d been there quite a while. Her joints were stiff and her muscles ached and she was oddly really hungry. No one had come in to see her like this. Everen was pretty sure that if she had screamed someone would have come in to see what was the matter, especially with the whole ship on high alert from Wallen Tallow’s murder.

Everen could have sworn she had been screaming, but maybe that had actually been Kerra, screaming across the connection. Either way, she was sort of glad that no one had found her collapsed on the floor like that. But only sort of glad. If she’d been unconscious for that long, shouldn’t someone have come looking for her? Was she that unimportant to the ship that no one even noticed she was gone?

Her head and heart still throbbed with pain, but she knew the real damage was all emotional. She tried to look at the problem as objectively as she could. Shandi was gone. But everyone had to die sometime, right? Shandi just left earlier than maybe she should have. Although, but any other sense of time, all three of them and everyone on the ship should have died hundreds of years ago.

Now Everen would never see her again. But she knew that. She knew that she’d never see Earth ever again. She’d come to terms with that easily. So why was this so different? It was just another tie to Earth that had been severed. And at least she still had Kerra! Shandi had never really liked Everen anyway. It was always Kerra that Everen had talked to the most.

But it was that sense of incompleteness. That sense that there was something missing now. Something deeply wrong inside. Tears started to form in her eyes. No. She had to be logical. She would get over this. Shandi had gone on to something greater, as everyone eventually has to. Everen had to let go. There was no time to be emotionally incapacitated. There was work to do on this ship. Even if she was just a little better than useless.

Everen slipped out of the clothes that she’d been in and took a quick shower. The hot water soothed her painful head and aching heart. A few tears slid down her cheeks, disguised by the water, but by the time she was toweling off, her face was placid and expressionless. She changed into a fresh uniform and left her room.

The corridors were unusually empty, and soon Everen understood why. She discovered three things in quick succession. First, she stumbled into the largest common room and discovered that Wallen Tallow’s funeral was happening. Second, after remembering that the last time she’d been fully conscious, Tallow’s funeral was scheduled for two days later, she discovered that she’d been drifting in and out of consciousness for about 48 hours. Third, she discovered that two more people had died. Their caskets—which were just their old stasis pods—sat on either side of Tallow’s.

Death, death, and more death, thought Everen. But she was somehow numb to this new development. Everything since she had woken up had felt like a dream, and this was no different. She listened as the captain finished his speech about the three brave people in the pods. She walked with the procession to the docking station on the ship. She watched as the pods were placed in the airlock and then shot into the void of space, an astronaut’s burial.

Some of the funeral-goers left right away after this. Most of these were wiping tears from their eyes. Many more stayed until the pods were a long way away, then left, shaking their heads. Some cursed the stars under their breath. The rest watched until the pods could not be seen. These all wore blank stares like Everen, but eventually, they too turned and trudged away into the twisting corridors of the ship.

Everen was left alone, watching the blackness of space through the window and wondering how Shandi had died, if she got a funeral, and if Everen would ever know the answers to these questions. Then, she internally berated herself for thinking about it again instead of being rational. In her imagination, she loaded Shandi’s body into the airlock and shot her out as well. She imagined a black hole and Shandi’s body slowly flipping end-over-end, drifting toward it. She didn’t step away from the viewport until Shandi had crossed the event horizon, tripped over the threshold of obscurity, and fallen into the endless unknown.

- - - - (I’m going to make this a chapter break here.)

Everen realized she was in the infirmary. Janna was there, writing with one hand, and massaging her forehead with the other. Everen was just sitting on the hospital bed, just staring at Janna’s stylus scratch across her tablet.

Everen blinked. “How are you?” she asked in a halting voice.

Janna looked up. “Oh good. Your eyes are finally focused. I found you just staring out that viewport by the airlock and thought it would be best if you came away from there. I asked if you wanted to come with me, but when you didn’t answer, I just kind of guided you back here, easy as a lamb. I’m glad you’re back with us.” Janna gave a slightly nervous smile.

Everen blinked again. It was as if Janna’s words had to sink through thick honey to reach her consciousness. “Sorry,” was all she could think of to say.

“It’s alright. Death is hard on everyone.”

(This chapter will be continued in the next installment, next week!)

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804 Reviews

Points: 31662
Reviews: 804

Tue Jan 01, 2019 2:56 am
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ShadowVyper wrote a review...

Heyo fort,

Shady back for the last review before I get caught up! I'm actually really surprised at how quickly I've gotten through these reviews xD But that's just testament to how amazing your story is! Can't get enough of it! Let's jump right on in...

Kerra sometimes sent her pain accidentally across the connection, and when she’d gotten her skin replaced, both Everen and Shandi had been too flooded with it to stand.

Aww, that's so sad. I can't even imagine what it would be like if I had to feel my sister's pain in addition to my own... omg could you imagine if any of them got pregnant and then had to give birth? hahaha that'd suck for three people instead of just one.

If she’d been unconscious for that long, shouldn’t someone have come looking for her? Was she that unimportant to the ship that no one even noticed she was gone?


She didn’t step away from the viewport until Shandi had crossed the event horizon, tripped over the threshold of obscurity, and fallen into the endless unknown.

Awww, you gotta stop doing this, fort. I've got an image to uphold. And you're turning me into such a pile to mush with these lines.

“It’s alright. Death is hard on everyone.”


~ ~ ~

Okay! Wow! I am even more in love with this novel than I was when I first decided to go through and read/review all of it. I just skimmed through chapter 18 and I rescind almost everything I said in that review xD

I mean, in my defense, jumping in straight at chapter 18 would make my comments valid. But now I see why you had it start with dialogue, since it was a direct continuation, and her vague talking about being incapacitated makes total sense, since I actually know what she's talking about now.

This is an absolutely EXCELLENT novel and I just love it. Your characters are so charming and your plot is fantastic and eep, I just love everything about this! You're such a talented author and I'm so glad that I accidentally stumbled across this novel in my Review Day rampage xD

I'd still very much like to be tagged as you post new chapters. This is great.

Hope you found at least a few helpful things in all of these reviews that I've thrown at you recently. xD

Keep writing!

~Shady 8)

fortis says...

Thanks so much Shady <3 It's very heartwning to hear people like this haha

ShadowVyper says...

Haha, sure thing! <3 :D

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395 Reviews

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Reviews: 395

Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:48 pm
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EditorAndPerks wrote a review...

Hello there! Popping on by to finally get back into this story! My school was a certain pain that I am very grateful to be free of for at least a little while.

So, I like having the view on Everen to get her side of losing Shandi, as losing a sister, let alone a triplet, especially after showing how Kerra felt and reacted. I think that even if we didn't get that much of a look into the Everen-Shandi relationship, even with just the idea that all three of them had basically been separated and were kind of all each of them had, the reader can feel sorrow for Everen either way.

In addition, I'm just curious as to what's happening on this darn ship with now three people dead. That's kind of awful that no one seemed to check up on her though? Like, even in earlier chapters, there seems to be a disconnect (lol) between the members of this crew, and I wonder if that's just a more accidental turn of events or something definitely shady is going on here.

Finally, I'm kind of happy that Everen could at least come to peace with her own mini-funeral. Like, that's still blatantly horrible in losing her actual sister (regardless of how estranged they were) but she does deserve to be able to say goodbye and not just through sheer, immense pain. Again, at the end of this, I don't know how to feel about Janna. It seems like she's an okay person, but why aren't the crew members looking after each other better? Agh confusing.

Overall, this was a really good chapter!

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162 Reviews

Points: 4265
Reviews: 162

Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:06 pm
FireSpyGirl wrote a review...

This is good!
There is only one sentence that I noticed.

"Even if she was just a little better than useless." To me, this just feels a little awkward. Maybe try something like this: "She may have been a little better than useless.."

The words you use here make the sentence feel awkward, but that may just be me.
Looking forward to the next part!

A jury consists of twelve people who determine which client has the better lawyer.
— Robert Frost