Skyway Chapter 9
I think that every one was happy to be back into space. We took a direct route to the asteroid that Lar had landed. Everyone put on their ship suits and walk to the ship. Amair had a hard time closing the ship suit around her stomach. Lance held a ceremony for the man. I am glad that he volunteered. I would have had no clue what to say. Mav grabbed a few personal items from the ship, and then we sealed the ship and marked it as a grave. It was a sad day for all of us. None of us had known Lar but we had all come to know his wife and respect her so we shared her grief that day.
We took off the next morning. The goal was to take a spiral path around the asteroid belt. Amair hoped that we would find her husband within the month because that was when her baby was due. It was Faree tradition that the father of the baby would cut the umbilical cord. This was the father's way of welcoming the child into the world.
We had two false alarms in that month long period. Each time we can back empty handed, Amair got paler.
The Skyway could not contact the world but Lar and the Prometheus could. Mav called Ted and he kept us up to date on the search for us. With the permission of the Faree we told Ted the truth about the "rock" that the scientists were trying to recover. He promised to discreetly use his contacts to help us in our search. We still had no clue who was behind the search for us, but the interest in us was more then it should be for a run away captain with a potentially dangerous cargo.
Mav had the idea to dry the ship seeds. They ground the seeds into a powder. The powder was similar to flour, a staple we ran out of a long time ago. We had several interesting meals while the girl's experimented with the new flour. It was lighter the ground ration bars and denser then flour made from wheat. This flour was an interesting shade of green. The food was good but I had a hard time getting use to green pancakes and breads. I suggested that they bleach the flour but the girl's assured me that bleaching would eliminate the nutrients. I could have lived with that but the girl's refused.
Several weeks after we left the station Charis picked up another signal. Captain Ritzer and Amair were very excited. That night Amair went into labor. We landed on the asteroid. For the first time in month I had to cook a meal. Ann and Mav were too busy with Amair. Lance and I went to search for the source of the beacon, while Captain Ritzer took care of the ship.
We found it in a relatively short time but like Amair's pod it was buried. Lance and I began to dig. We hoped that the person in the pod would be alive. It struck me as I dug how lucky we had been to find two Faree alive after 100 years. Who would be in this pod?
While we were digging Ann called to ask how we were doing. I could hear the tension in her voice so I asked her if everything was OK. Ann confessed that Amair refused to relax so the birth was not going well.
Those three hours were the longest that I have ever lived through. We did find a pod under the dust. We placed it on a servo very carefully. I felt sorry for Captain Ritzer since I had not been as careful with has pod. I am glad that he was not harmed with my rough handling or the scientist.
We opened it in the lab. Amair was by the hydroponics unit with Mav and Ann. So Captain Ritzer opened the pod with Lance and me helping. Jobo was in the pod. While he was still waking up I carried him down to his wife.
Afterwards I went in search of Captain Ritzer. I found him crying in the control room. As soon as I entered he started babbling, “We will need to throw a party tomorrow night. It is Faree tradition to have a naming ceremony as soon as possible after the baby is born; the baby will not have a name until the ceremony. I will make stuffed ship plant. I wish we could have a birth cake, but I don't think I could eat a green cake. Amair and Jobo deserve to have the best naming ceremony..."
At this point he just trailed off. I did not mention his crying. I would hope that if someone found me crying they would not mention the fact. I just put an arm around him. "You know that I will not stop searching for Camilla. You have my word. Could you help me with some repairs outside? I think it is Lance's turn to cook tonight." With this we left the ship and started minor repairs to the outside of the ship.
Lance did make supper that night. I don't even remember if it was edible, Lance, Captain Ritzer and I were too worried about Amair to notice what we were eating. Mav came up while we were cleaning up to announce that a baby boy was born. It was then that I heard the screaming coming from the hydroponics unit. Mav smiled and told us "That child has a good set of lungs, cold sleep and his mother's worry has not hurt him one bit. By the way both parents are tired but fine. Anne and Charis were worried about Jobo since it took him longer to adjust to being awake then Captain Ritzer and Amair. The site of his son has put life into him. By the way we need more water."
For the third time that day I put on my ship suit. Lance joined me I guess it is good that Jobo's pod landed on one of the few asteroids that have ice. There are several theories on why some of the asteroids have ice. One theory states that the asteroid belt was originally a planet the asteroid with water use to be a lakes or rivers. Another theory states that the asteroids passed through a planet atmosphere and picked up moisture before settling in the asteroid belt. I will have to ask the Faree if they know the truth.
The next day every one prepared for the ceremony. Everyone seemed to have a gift for the baby. I am an idiot when it comes to gifts. I talked to Charis; she suggested that I give the parent a night alone. This made sense to me. They had a lot to talk about because they have not seen each other for 100 years. They could have my room for the night, Charis and I could watch the baby.
The party was great. The girl's out did themselves with the food. They finally bleached some off the flour so we did not have to eat green cake. Ann gave the family baby bottles she had found on Jupiter station. They were really bottles that come with a Betsy Wetsy Doll, I never understood why anyone would want a doll that wet its diaper but she has been around for hundreds of years. She and Charis also created soy milk from some of our soy beans. Mav had already made cloths for Ann and the Faree, for her gift she gave several diapers. Now I understood why we need more water. Lance had made the cradle for the baby. He also surprised all of us with a high chair for later. I was worried the baby would have problems sitting in the chair with wings. I soon learned that Faree wings don't really start growing until their first year. Lance had created the back of the chair to fold down as the child gets older. Captain Ritzer had made several toys to entertain and teach the baby.
At the same time the baby was born the previous day, Jobo and Amair finally announced the babies name, Bilance /bil ans/. Lance understood first. I guess I am dense because they had to explain to me that the baby was named after the two male humans that made his birth possible. If the baby had been a girl her name would have been Mavann.
We celebrated late into the night. Three of the four Faree had been found and were healthy. A new baby had been born and named after me. We had found a way to live a long time in space. Only two questions clouded our joy. Where was Cormillia and how would we obtain fuel the next time we needed it.