Pirra had awoken awhile ago, but hadn’t opened her eyes yet. It was a habit of hers, to continue to sit and rest even after she’d awoken. If nothing demanded her attention, if she still had time, she would simply sit. And think.
Sometimes thinking too much could be unhealthy, she’d learned. Delving too deep into your own psyche was a good way to get lost.
Not that she’d ever say that to anyone else. Especially not Dr. Logus.
She still remembered how he’d maneuvered her so clearly to see her own exhaustion after the events with the Leviathan. It had been uncanny for a human to know her mind so well. Alien psychologies were just that. Or at least she’d always thought so.
He was awake, too. She wasn’t sure if he’d even slept, and she didn’t wish to open her eyes to get a look; there was no missing a Dessei peeking, not with how big their peepers were.
She didn’t know how far along into their journey they were; she couldn’t check without opening her eyes. But she wanted to know – and that, combined with her own annoyance with her inner thoughts, compelled her to finally ‘awaken’.
“Hello, Doctor,” she said.
“Ah, hello, Pirra.”
The man looked tired, though he might simply be waking up. She and Alexander had gone to sleep not long after first boarding, had most of a day, and then slept again. This time she’d slept eight hours. That was quite a lot for her, six was more common. Enope, her homeworld, only had a twenty-hour day.
Just slightly over an hour left of their trip.
“Did you rest?” she asked Logus. She recalled waking a few times and seeing him shifting. She wasn’t sure if he’d slept more than a few hours the whole trip.
“Aye,” the man replied. “But not well. I’m afraid I never sleep well in a dash.”
“There’s something odd about them,” Pirra agreed. “In my neo-physics class it was noted that about 30% of beings seem to feel that way.”
“I’ve heard the same,” Logus replied.
“Personal interest, sir?” she asked.
“Ah, just Arn, if you please,” Logus replied. “No need to be formal when we’re off-duty. But to answer your question, it’s actually a part of my training – I need to know what things might affect a person’s mental state after all.”
He grew thoughtful. “What is curious about it to me is how consistent that one-third number is among different species. It holds as true for Dessei as humans as Jellypods. Isn’t that odd?”
She nodded. “I seem to be in the majority, though. I’m not particularly bothered by dashes.”
“No? My apologies, but I thought you seemed antsy,” Logus said.
She forced a smile. “Something else. I dislike being confined in a small area for long times.”
“Oh, of course,” Logus replied. “And my apologies if I was prying – I’m sure you understand that it’s hard to turn off the professional side.”
“It’s fine, sir- I mean Arn.”
Alexander suddenly snorted and sat up. He was in an alarmed stupor, hair matted to one side of his head.
“Are we at Titan?” he asked blearily.
“Still an hour out,” Pirra told him.
“Oh,” he replied, and laid his head back down. She reached up and stroked his hair.
A moment later he let out a soft snore.
“If I may turn professional for a moment, Pirra – how have you been? Have the nightmares lessened with the new medication?”
Pirra felt suddenly on the spot. She wouldn’t normally have minded, but she’d not taken the medication he’d suggested.
“Oh, well the nightmares seem to be going away on their own, so I decided not to take those,” she replied.
“Oh?” Logus asked.
Of course he wouldn’t let it go . . .
“I didn’t like the list of side-effects,” she replied.
“It’s perfectly fine to choose not to take it,” Logus replied. “But may I ask which side-effects you were bothered by?”
“The fact that it inhibits dreams entirely,” she told him, before elaborating. “I’m not comfortable with a total lack of them. It feels wrong.”
Logus seemed to find that curious; at least, that was as best as she could read his expression.
“I understand,” he said. “I am glad the nightmares are fading.”
It wasn’t entirely true, of course. And she had a feeling he saw right through her; she was still anxious. Still relieved that she was waking somewhere other than Monitor-1.
Alexander snorted and sat up again, this time more slowly. He seemed actually awake this time.
“What time is it?” he asked.
She told him. “You woke up just a few minutes ago,” she said.
“Oh,” he replied, clearly not remembering it. Blinking, he nodded to Dr. Logus.
“I think I need some coffee. Do you want some, doctor?”
“No, thank you,” Logus replied.
“Honey, want to come with me?” he asked, getting up.
Pirra nodded. “Sure,” she said.
She had the feeling he’d been at least somewhat awake for a minute or two; that he was only getting up now in order to get her out of a conversation he knew she didn’t like.
He was a good husband, she thought, as they left the compartment.