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She was day dreaming about her daughter, Krista, who had mysteriously died four years ago from a very rare disease at eight months old. Krista's father, Marshall, died in a re-entry accident five months before she was born.
Heart broken, she clung to the memories of Krista's last days that were so hauntingly vivid that the tears still came.
Sheena and Tish are Remote-Tele-Operators on the space station Delta-Free, named after the first space station in Earth's orbit "Freedom One" and an old delta transport shuttle. Delta-Free is the third largest orbiting station, primarily a Remote-Tele-Operations and Transport Center, with one gee of artificial gravity protecting sixteen thousand RTO's and mission specialists from the harsh realities of space. Burning her fingers, Sheena glanced at the long ash that had replaced her cigarette and carefully dumped them into the little vacuum tray before taking another drag.
The dull white-walled recreation center was the only place personnel could smoke.
Several tables, video booths and upright machines were here and there, but Sheena noticed that in the three years she'd been here, crew-members normally found their own recreation centers in more private places aboard Delta, where many smoked regardless of the rules.
Though it was rare, Sheena was entirely alone in the room.
She believed that this huge window kept a lot of the crew out of here, and not from missing Earth as much as fearing to go back there. If she lost her job, she would have to go back to Earth and with that thought, her gaze fell from the window. The horrors on Earth were terrifying, especially for the poor, and she did not have any place down there to call her own, nor did she have any family to go to. Her mother had slowly sold her own organs to Donor Corporations for 'a piece of the good life', but then could not afford the prices for herself and prematurely succumbed to heart failure.
Sheena never knew who her father was and her mother was never sure either, or so she claimed.
The electronic doors opened bringing her back to the present, and Sheena glanced up to the beautiful smiling face of her best friend.
"I thought I'd find you in here," Tish pitched girlishly gliding over to the table and sitting down across from her. She was the most radiant woman on Delta, with long blonde bouncy hair and gorgeous emerald-green eyes that were captivating, and she always did the most amazing things with her incredible makeup skills, but now Sheena could feel Tish eyeing her carefully.
"Oh Shee," Tish groaned with concern, "are you thinking about Krista again?"
Sheena nodded slightly wiping a single teardrop away, never liking for anyone to see her cry.
Sliding her slender hand over Sheena's encouragingly Tish sighed, "I know it hurts, but you need to move on. It was four years ago and you still have your whole life ahead of you."
Sheena smiled with a flushed red face and replied, "There was just something so special about her," she insisted really believing it, "I just ... I just don't know," she sighed at last.
Tish grinned wanting Shee to lighten up a little, "I know, but I believe any baby of yours would be special," she laughed lifting her hand to Sheena's cheek and running her ivory fingers back through Shee's hair. "Just look at you with that gorgeous dark-chestnut hair and those deep blue eyes, except when you're mad," she quipped lightly then became serious again, "but when they look so sad and distant it really worries me."
"I'll be all right," Sheena mumbled comforted by Tish's mere presence.
Tish withdrew her hand and sat back down changing the subject, "Can I have one of those?" she asked looking at the cigarettes. She knew that the best way to get Shee's mind off Krista was to talk about something else.
Sheena pushed the pack across the table hardly noticing the request. They had been close ever since Tish's first day on board Delta two years ago, and now the majority of the crew believe that they are lovers.
Tish peered out the window at the Earth and pointed, "Look at that typhoon," she mused looking at a storm in the Pacific Ocean, "Did you know the only difference between a typhoon and a hurricane is depending on what coast it's on?"
Sheena nodded as Tish lit her cigarette then sat back with her knees pulled up toward her breasts, but still looking at the swirling mass of clouds, "I hope it doesn't collide with a thermal storm," she added grimly.
Sheena glanced at the storm, "That's just a tropical depression, but it does look like it could get serious."
Tish gazed at it wondering if that meant it's a little typhoon, while Sheena stared at her alluring vivacious friend. She knew Tish was twenty-nine, but she acted about nineteen. She just appeared so much younger, and Sheena thought of her more as a daughter, feeling that she would look so much better without all the makeup.
Tishia Bach was a real enigma to Sheena because she had not always been a female, yet Tish acted more like a girl than any female Sheena had ever known, given of course that there is no true definition of how an American woman should be anymore. She just seemed so graciously feminine, with no indications that she did it for attention, though Tish had all the attention one woman could handle. Men and women alike were constantly making passes at her until they got the point that she was not interested, but many persisted hoping she'd change her mind, with some people developing a serious hatred for her from the rejection.
Excerpted from Eve's Trial by Albert James Copyright © 2011 by Albert James. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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