With a final tinkling of moving lumina crystal, the corpse of Solomon Arctus Shinoda was sealed away from the ravages of time.
Once the crystal had stopped expanding, Kingsley moved to place a foreign-looking coin over the forehead of the dead man. “Here lies Master Shinoda of the Orion,” he said solemnly as he stepped back. "A shellbreaker…and a good man.”
Standing a few feet away on Solomon’s right, Jed murmured under his breath; “Too good for his own frakking good.”
Rick Ahlstern heard those words, but chose not to say anything about it. Instead, he tapped his glasses back into place on the ridge of his nose.
Padre Jothan took Kingsley’s place, pushing the dark skinned shellbreaker to fall into place amongst the line of individuals that stood at the crystal coffin’s head. Kirin saw him pat Vex on the shoulder as he went past her. “Let us pray,” Jothan began. “For the departed soul of our former captain…”
The cleric went on and on for a good ten minutes, and somehow Kirin found himself tuning out the words after only a minute. As he stared down at the face of his late father, which was starting to become less visible as the lumina slowly grew from a glassy clarity to milky-white opaqueness, he began to wonder if perhaps old Jeremiah had been right about his father all along. A good many people had shown up at his funeral, three quarters of whom Kirin had never known to be friends of his father, and most of whom were not the sort of people to hang around a shellbreaker and his crew. Like Marshal Adam Johnson of the neighbouring town of Sithu, or Lady Melody Nakai of the Versanten Seers or even Padre Jothan (a man of the church, by the One! He thought). Yet they were all gathered here, around father’s corpse under a darkened sky that threatened rain. Not one of them was looking glad at his passing.
All those years you were away shellbreaking, Kirin projected mentally at the dead man. What were you up to, Solomon?
Thunder and lightning broke the silence of the heavens. An instant later, fat blobs of water fell from the skies.
Padre Jothan broke off his impromptu sermon as everyone rushed to get out of the rain. The hirudo that Kingsley had introduced as Ranglor Razortalon and the veline Astrid Lietniss were the first to leave, sprinting towards the safe shelter of their flitter parked downhill as if a pack of garzahounds were on their tails. The rest of the gathering followed their example; heading towards their vehicles that were parked nearby with slightly less speed. Only ten people stayed behind; Kirin himself, six of his father’s old crew members, Padre Jothan, Lady Nakai and Captain Ezekiel Worschen. Lady Nakai produced an umbrella from somewhere, and opened it over her head while Kirin brought up the hood of his jacket. Worschen turned up the collar of his greatcoat, with an upward, annoyed glance at the sky.
The rain soaked the rest of them in minutes.
Jothan bowed to the empty air, then nodded at Kirin. “May his soul rest in peace!” he shouted over the dull roar of the downpour. He turned away without another word, and began heading back into town.
“May his soul rest in peace,” Captain Worschen repeated, but his words were lost in the storm.
Lightning ripped the sky in half, but no booming thunder followed it. The rain lessened in intensity.
Lady Nakai made a gesture over Solomon’s crystal coffin, which now resembled a large white chrysalis. Then she left the line at the coffin’s head, making sure her exit path took her as close as possible to Kirin standing on the coffin’s right with the rest of the crew. “We’ll be seeing each other soon, Kirin.” She said as she stopped before him. Kirin nodded, finding himself without a suitable answer to the statement. The seer’s lovely green-grey eyes glowed faintly as she walked away from him; a sure sign that she had just used the Focus. Her statement then, had been a prophecy of things to come.
Worschen made a noise at the back of his throat. “If we stay out here any longer, we’ll catch a cold…or worse.” He rumbled.
“Right on,” Jed said.
Vex looked up, her purple eyes snapping back into focus as her mind returned from wherever it had been. “Yes. Yes, you’re right.”
“Are you ok?” Dahlia asked.
Vex nodded. She glanced at the coffin on the pile of scrap metal that had once been the Orion as she said, “I believe we’re going to need a new ship.”
“There’s only one place you’re going to get that.” Worschen said.
Kingsley frowned. “The Goreans?”
“The Goreans.” Vex confirmed.