Thawed

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PROLOGUE
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USCSS Montero > A Deck > MedLab
December 27, 2183
5 Days from Orbit around Sutter's World

Tsuki was surrounded by a field of gray nothing. No emotion, no feeling. Peace? She didn’t know. She listened as her mind and body argued whether to continue or give up. Were they going somewhere? Why couldn’t she come with them?
https://media.discordapp.net/attachments/779535015322583060/922725710664171560/IMG_5375.jpg

“Wake up.” came a strong man’s voice from far away.

In a flash, but only for a moment, she was whole again. Her skin felt hot, but weird… and tingly, like the way your hands and feet feel when the fireplace warms you up after playing in the freezing snow for too long with your little brother. Then she felt weightless, her stomach in her throat like driving over a hill really fast.

Before she realized it, Tsuki was the third person again. Her body whined about being so tired, but her mind complained that they had rested for so long. Why was she being the ignored friend on the sidelines? Why didn’t they bother asking what she wanted?

There was a distant popping like firecrackers and the fields of gray shook like an earthquake, then there was a sharp pinch on her arm and she pulled into the air, floating and happy. Eventually the stupor subsided.

“Please… Tsuki, wake up.” cried the voice.

Once again she was whole and the field turned from that dull gray to a crisp bright white. It was… mabushii. Radiant. Mama was always proud of her skill with words and spelling.

She could feel the lids of her eyes now. They were heavy, like trying to stay up late with dad watching an old film on the vid screen.

When she finally opened her eyes, the white gave way to a mirror shrouded in light, Wait... It wasn’t her reflection she was looking at. It was her twin sister, Hikari… but she looked much older… and she had been crying.

“Hikkiちゃん 大丈夫か? どうしたの?
Hikki, are you ok? What happened? Tsuki’s voice was thin and feeble as she tried to console her sister. She was so thirsty and she couldn’t clear her throat.

“Tsuki!” cried Hikari as she leaned over the medpod. “Oh my god. Thank you, god.”
“Eh? You so OLD, Hikki.” Tsuki said in broken English. She was confused. This was a weird dream. “But you… 美しいだね。 Beautiful.”

Hikari laughed through the tears and nodded. She hated this. She hated this so much. She hated that she had to relive the exact scenario that she endured when she woke from cryo-sleep all those years ago. And she hated that she had to be the one to crush a child, not to mention her own sister, with the devastating revelation of what happened over the last 73 years.

It was cruel but she had to be the one to do it, right? Who else was left? Mom was dead. Their father was surely dead, though she was never able to confirm it. And Mamoru, their younger brother, was parsecs away at Anchorpoint Station. With her sister in front of her and the crew in hibernation, Hikari felt so alone.

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