Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day Eight-Hundred-Ten: What Are You?

“Change,” Libby demanded. 

“What?” Dragomir said, standing on the opposite side of the cabin from everyone else. “Libby, we don’t have time for this. The ship just went down, Morris is dead, a lot of people are probably - “

“Change right now, or we’re through,” Libby insisted, hands on her hips. “Fucking change right now or I’ll come at you with a knife and do my best to fuckin’ gut you. I’m not kidding around, Dragomir.”

Logan tensed. He was already pretty tense, but this small exchange somehow made him feel even worse. He’d long regarded Dragomir as something of a father figure, and Libby was, at the very least, a good friend by this point. Her affection for Logan’s mother assured her that much. A battle between these two…

“Are you sure you want this?” Dragomir whispered, staring down at his hands.

Do it,” Libby hissed.

“Yeah, dad,” Fynn piped in, voice mournful and low. “Show us.”

Dragomir shuddered. Then, raising his hands, he began to change. The tips of his zombie-given general’s uniform began to warp and twist, curling into his arms and disappearing entirely. The folds of his pants shuddered and merged with his legs, leaving behind lean, well-muscles calves and thighs. His jacket sank into his chest, his neck, even the underside of his chin. Dragomir’s eyes sank into a black quagmire, then peered out at everyone again as a pair of plain, dazzling green pinpricks of light.

A Non stood before them after less than a minute of transformation. It shrugged a very Dragomir shrug and sank against the cabin’s far wall, as though fearing the lash of a whip.

“So I wasn’t just seein’ things,” Libby said, hand over her mouth. “I… oh, fuck, I wasn’t just…”

“That explains us, then, I guess,” Fynn said, crouched so low that he had his arms crossed over his knees. He looked at his sister, who glared right back. “We’re, I dunno, half… things…”

“The world is full of blood and despair,” Eve pointed out. “And I am the executor.”

“I hear ya, sis,” Fynn said, sighing.

“You’re a spy,” Logan said, repeating his half-formed argument from before. “You’re a fuckin’ spy. You’ve, you’ve, you must’ve been passing on info all this time. You - “

“I’m not a spy!” Dragomir insisted, clawed hands up. “I swear! No! I’m, I’m… I’m… I’m still the same guy I was… yesterday…”

Libby took several steps towards her husband, less cautious than Logan might have imagined. “No. You’re not. You’ve been different since you went into that fuckin’ desert. Too willin’ to do shit you’d have hated before. This is why, innit? Did this happen to you there?”

Dragomir shook his head… but hesitantly. “No. But… yes, kinda, at the same time. I… learned stuff, while I was there. A lot of stuff. A lot of really bad stuff. And, uh, I don’t… I don’t know how much of it is true, but… this… I think…”

“You’re not making any sense. Make sense,” Logan demanded, one hand on the hilt of his sword. “Or we’re gonna be upset, and we’re probably gonna do things. You won’t like ‘em.”

The room fell into silence as Dragomir, or what currently passed for Dragomir, thought his predicament over. The tense quiet was partially broken by the soft pad of footsteps as Eve walked away from her brother, gently elbowed past her mother, and approached her father. Dragomir cringed, but he didn’t flee as Eve stepped up beside him.

“Hi, honey,” Dragomir said meekly. 

“Tell a story of blood and fire,” Eve said, offering her father no consolation. “Speak of the darkest tidings. Spare no detail of sweat or gore. I demand it be so.”

Dragomir peered at his daughter for a moment, the shine in his eyes dulling enough that Logan could see the pupils beneath the green. They looked contemplative and sad, and for a moment Logan forgot his rage. But only for a moment. He refused to let it go entirely, because as much as he liked Dragomir, he couldn’t forgive something like this without a really good reason.

“Okay, Eve,” Dragomir said, breathing. “Let’s talk. I’ll make it quick.”

Speaking through the sounds of door knocks, terrible groans, and work underway from the command deck, Dragomir told a quick version of his story. He spoke of Iko’s revelations, of his supposed origins, of Traveller’s true identity, and of his deal with the rats. He also spoke of the Catastrophe, describing the pain of using the blade, and of his hope to have it removed - along with whatever Non influence lingered in his body. The story took several long minutes, but no one interrupted him.

When Dragomir finished he was smaller than ever, almost hiding behind Libby’s desk in the cabin, his listeners leering at him from all sides. For once it was Eve who offered no hint of antagonism, as she was seated a short distance from her father, simply staring at the ceiling. Logan assumed she knew a lot of what was going on already anyway.

“Well,” Libby said when Dragomir concluded his tale. “That’s… something. That’s really something.”

“Yeah,” Fynn agreed.

“Something,” Logan muttered.

Dragomir covered his face, which, by now, was looking much more human again. “So… yeah… that's that… what’re you gonna do…? I guess… I guess you’ll wanna kill - “

“Nothing,” Libby said flatly. “We’re not gonna do a damned thing.”

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