Hey everyone- sorry, but this update is a little shorter than the others.  I’ve been busy getting my other stories in order so I can focus on The Bridge and make it the best it can be.

Part 16

“At eleven, you’re to appear at my apartment,”  Segni had said with a smile, “With your gift of vegetables ready, which you will present after carrying it to the other half of the ship.  As a past porter, you should be used to that.  What a treat tomorrow will be, a moment in history, set by a previous historian.  Set by myself.  And I cannot think of a better time for it to happen, can you?”

“No,”  I answered, the muscles in my arms tight.

“Of course not, because as you know, tomorrow is my birthday.  And what an *excellent* gift this shall be before the feast you shall prepare next week.”

I grit my teeth as he spoke, as I watched Nean dig his knife into Elliot’s back and push him from the room while Tom lead Hanna out with a hand on her elbow.

“My daughter,”  She said, “I know you have to do this, but see that she is cared for.”

Tom nodded before they disappeared down the hallway, with Segni following, and leaving me alone in the room.  Sitting in the darkness as my fists clenched.  As I saw the council crumble with a few simple commands.

Pliny’s voice spoke in the darkness then, reminding me of his final words.  Reminding me of my duty.

There are other measures, actions that I was too much of a coward to do. And other things, darker things that I could have done.

My palm started to bleed as my fingernails pushed into the skin and I closed my eyes, forcing my heartbeat to slow.  Thinking about what needed to happen next.  And with Segni, what needed to happen afterwards.  Darker things.

I never spoke out when the council was taken because I knew that I could not let Segni go alone.  I knew that whatever the danger, I had to accompany him.  Not because of what might happen to him.

But because what might happen to the ship.

***

I did not retire to my apartment that night as the meeting broke apart.  Instead, I waited for them to disperse, and walked down the length of the ship, following corridors that had long grown familiar since Pliny’s death.  Listening to the chatter of my teeth grow louder and louder as frost accumulated on the walls, and as I entered the control room.

There, on the table, I flipped through the books left on the table from ages past, reading Archim’s handwriting.  Reviewing both the capabilities that I could and that I could not understand.  Running scenarios in my mind for the next day, bookmarking pages for each, and ranking them in terms of priority.

Then, at just after six in the morning, I found what I was looking for, deep within one of the thickest journals.  Journal number six, three hundred and seventy one pages in.  I read it twice before placing two different sized paper weights on top, applying a constant to keep the page number from changing.

And carefully, I walked to the knobs at the far end of the room that controlled what I had found.  My fingers brushed them, sending adrenaline through me as I hesitated, biting my lip.

All I needed was a test, a test to find out if it would work.  Just for a few moments, no more, unless required by events the next day.

Holding my breath, I then turned a specific one just slightly to the right, watching my theory become reality just as I had done with the lights in the garden.  And I smiled.

Segni might not be willing to defend the ship.

But I would be.

Part 17