Salvage Run ~ Interlude III

Day 7, 01 hours since entering hyperspace:

Seven days living aboard the Nick-Nakk and Noxx still found herself waking up to every single noise and vibration. With a tired sigh she opens her eyes to again glare at the ceiling. 'Definitely have not gotten used to sharing a cabin yet' Noxx's internal critic points out with just a shade more humour than bitterness. Her frustrated sigh ends as a rueful chuckle.
Noxx had quickly discovered that Nika is a distractedly noisy sleeper, a strange oddity that she is finding increasingly irritating. If all Nika did was snore she could have tuned it out and slept fine. However Nika didn't actually snore. Instead she Makes truly random noises from smacking her lips, grunting and groaning, to full on speaking in a sing-song gibberish of random words. Currently she is a just repeating a “Lah” sound over and over in a softtly high pitched tone. It has a strangely cringe-worthy arrhythmic tune that is actively raising Noxx's hackles.
'Well, I'm awake now....' Another frustrated sigh escapes Noxx's lips before she rolls over to the edge of her bunk to look down at Nika's below, relieved to see the privacy curtain is at least partially closed. Still she actively keeps her eyes focused only on Nika's face. The sing-song tune is even more unsettling to listen to while looking at Nika's blankly resting features. Silently she slides the curtain completely closed before dropping off the bunk with hardly any noise. Still, it elicits a rustling from Nicka that pushes briefly at the curtain. The singing unfortunately continues unabated.
Noxx continues watching the curtain for an uncomfortably long time, her imagination perversely stuck on what's the other side. Finally she shakes her head and reels in her imagination. 'Not a perfect solution but it keeps the peace, sort of.... Definitely gym time.' The mental dialogue prompts her back into action and she collects her gym gear more by feel and memory than sight then slips out of their cabin and into the empty lounge.

The slowest part of the ships schedule was from 01:00 to 0:400, during that time the only ones normally awake where the flight crew in the cockpit and Noxx. She had learned this in no small part thanks to Nika's nightly mystery sounds, among other things.
She has even begun to savor these hours of solitude. More often than not she spends them in the gym with the sparring droid. From the beginning Noxx found the sparring droid to be both a challenging and fun distraction. While healing she had discovered the droid had a truly amazing database of not just martial arts, but also dances and even a selection of theater. She had spent hours snooping through that library, finding many of interest. Several of them immediately intrigued her for being classified as both a dance and a martial art.
Tonight she was going to check out one called 'Hu'che' in no small part hoping it would distract her from her conflicting thoughts and feelings regarding Nika. Which of course leads her back to them and with some mental effort Noxx get's her thoughts back to the goal.

As expected the gym is empty, the lights activating as she enters. Immediately inside the door Noxx drops her bag and makes for her favorite droid to activate it. The moment that it's optical sensors light up she starts speaking. “Instruction Mode. Hu'che Martial Art. Fundamentals.... Skip history”
The droid takes a second to process the directions before responding in it's politely bland voice. “Please clarify 'Fundamentals'. As this style is based on a form of dance it is recommended to learn the dance first. Do you wish to learn the dance or the martial art at this time.”
“Dance.” Noxx answers with some surprise considering she had opened her mouth intending to choose the opposite. However, speaking the words immediately relieves an unrealized tension in her mind and she promptly forgets the odd moment. Instead she eagerly steps onto the mat with the droid.

Noxx drains her water bottle and tosses it onto her bag before flopping down in a boneless heap beside it while the droid locks into it's station and powers down. Blindly she gropes around the bag for her already damp towel to wipe the sweat from her face and neck that formed while drinking. Just two hours of practice and she is both exhausted and truly hooked on this Hu'che dance. Having learned the most basic of stances and movements Noxx found herself hungry for more, feeling a sense of completeness in the movements. With a languorous stretch she settles herself comfortably on the mat, her folded hands resting on her ribs and legs stretched out, folded at the ankle.
Once comfortable she begins to regulate her breathing. Counting each inhale and exhale, making sure they are slow and even while focusing on the physical feelings of her lungs and diaphragm working. This slows and stabilizes her heart-rate at the same time increasing oxygen intake.
With all the agitation and excess energy flushed from her, Noxx's thoughts start to drift free above all the stresses and worries of life. Achieving a sense of profound calm within herself that is somehow connected to....... well, everything. She loves these rare moments. All of her true realizations and her best ideas have happened during these moments. Trying not to force anything Noxx keeps her conscious attention on her breathing and letting her thoughts drift lightly. It doesn't take her long to settle her heart and breathing to a comfortable but slow pace more conductive to meditation.

In her mind's eye these thoughts and memories appear as delicate sea creatures made of fine gossamer filaments that dance in the undetectable currents. Each one has it's own uniquely colorful patterns of multiple hues pulsing along their lengths. Gently she touches a thought as it drifts across her inner vision, letting herself feel the thoughts and memories without emotional attachment or inner judgment.
The first she touches is her love for Soom. The filaments glow as they stretch away to pull on all of her connected thoughts and memories. She moves on from the familiar thoughts, spotting a darker one floating on the edges of her mind. What at first looked like one turns out to be a tangle of many intertwined together. Some of them are painfully familiar to Noxx, thoughts and memories she has battled long and hard to lock away. The sheer amount of pain and fear tangled into them is still too much for her to control and she instinctively casts her inner focus elsewhere.
A flash catches her attention and she looks at a single filament pulsing in shades of red, like a neon thread stretching out to infinity in both directions. This is something completely new for Noxx. Nothing in her mental imaginings looked or acted like this, it is vibrant and pulses with an energy that isn't hers. Curiously Noxx mentally reaches out to the filament.
The moment of contact is like touching a live high energy conduit, her muscles seize up in uncontrollable spasms, throwing her body around on the mat. The whole while her mind is filled with a raging storm of fear and rage reaching across space searching for something or someone. For a brief second the sentience behind the storm notices her. She can feel it pressing into her mind like spikes through her temples but before she can react, it's gone. Leaving her shivering and gasping, desperately holding onto the floor for dear life and sanity.

The Nick-Nakk lurches roughly out of hyperspace. The lights flash on at full power for less than a second before being replaced with emergency lighting as alarms throughout the ship give three loud blasts. This is followed by a depth of silence nobody in space wants to hear. The silence of a dead ship.....

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