Elsibeth exited the bathroom and was drying her hair with a towel. She wore a loosely tied cotton robe that ended just above her knees, and continued to rub at her hair as she walked over to her friend. “No”, she thought. “Not her friend, her savior.” Years ago he found her rummaging through garbage cans and living in back alleys. Because of her appearance, strangers enticed her with food and shelter, only to force her to do horrible things in return for their kindness. She did them, as she had nowhere else to go.
Like many Awoken, she was acutely aware of the emotions and feelings of others. So when the men approached her home with news of her fathers’ death, she immediately knew what had happened. When they told her, and offered her a place within the Titans she ran. She ran hard and fast. She didn’t stop running until her legs gave out and she was too tired to breathe. Being the daughter of the greatest Titan of the age afforded her certain things, and being the only child she was given just about anything she could ask for.
What she wanted most was to be just like her daddy. Her daddy was strong and fast. In her eyes he could do anything. When her mother died, her daddy was despondent, he wouldn’t go out for days at a time, and when he did he would be gone for even longer. Elsibeth watched as her daddy threw himself into his work. When he was told that he would be going on a mission to Enceladus he told her that he would be all right, that he was going to be with his partner, and that his partner was better than he ever was, so he would be okay. Elsibeth remembered her daddy’s partner. He was kind and would play with her often. She also thought that he was very handsome.
Elsibeth had a bad feeling about the mission, she didn’t want her father to go, but all she could do was stand and watch as he left again. She was thirteen at the time and had grown accustomed to her father leaving. A Titan detail would always stay with her, and they would teach her how to defend herself and where to hit an opponent. She liked the lessons with her fathers’ partner better. He would hold her in tough holds and even though she knew how to break out of them easily, she never did. He was a lot like her daddy.
A year after her fathers’ death, Elsibeth was living in an abandoned building with others who had become down on their luck. She was sent out to go look for food to bring back, when she saw a figure in the darkness. “Hey mister.” She said. “You got any food or money?” When the figure said nothing, she said. “If you have any money I can show you a good time. I can use my mouth really well.” Still the figure said nothing, as he moved towards her. Elsibeth was confused but she held her ground, she knew how to defend herself. As the figure got closer, she turned to act as if she was running and then acted as if she tripped. She fell to the ground and the figure loomed over her. She attempted to scream but that was only an act.
Her face turned cold as she reached her feet towards the figures neck. She twisted her hips, locking her feet behind the figures head and pulled down sharply. The figure lost his balance and he tumbled. Elsibeth rounded on top of the figure and held a knife to his throat. “All right buster, hand over all of your creds and don’t try anything funny.” A look of shock crossed her face as the figure spoke.
“I thought I taught you that you should always sit on your opponents waist so that they couldn’t move their hips or legs.” The figure then swung his legs up, locked his feet around her head and pulled down. Her head hit the ground hard. Elsibeth was dazed and struggled to her feet. She turned to run, but the figure grabbed her arm and threw her against a wall. The figure grabbed her wrist and pulled upward in a wrist-lock. He placed his head next to her ear as she struggled. “Elsie it’s me, calm down it’s me it’s…” But the figure was cut off as Elsibeth screamed and head-butted him in the head.
“NO!!!!” Elsibeth screamed. “It can’t be, you’re dead!?” You died a year ago! They said that everyone on the mission with my father died!” Elsibeth moved backwards as the figure struggled to regain his composure.
“I assure you Elsibeth.” The figure said, rubbing his nose. “I am very much alive. Your father asked me to look after you if anything ever happened to him.” The figure held out a hand. “Come with me, let’s get you cleaned up and get off world. I’m sorry it took me so long to find you but…” The figure was cut off again.
“WHY!?!” Elsibeth howled, all of the rage that she had kept buried inside of her rose to the surface as she finally recognized that the person she was speaking to was her father’s friend, not her father. “Why!” She screamed again as she ran towards the figure, howling. A mix of rage, pain, and concentrated suffering issued from the depths of her soul as she tacked her father’s friend and they fell to the ground. She sat on the man and began to punch at his face.
“Why!” Elsibeth exclaimed as each punch found its mark on the side of the man’s face and head. “Why are you here and my daddy isn’t?! Why are you alive?! I don’t want you to be alive! It should have been you and not my daddy!” Her punches slowed as the rage subsided, to be replaced by an overwhelming sense of sorrow. She began to pound on the man’s chest with her fists; tears streaming down her face. She continued to scream “why” as she pounded, the man remaining silent as she hit him. With a final slam of her fists she screamed out, her face towards the sky. “I WANT MY DADDY!” With that she fell upon him and sobbed.
The man continued to remain silent and just wrapped his arms around her and held her until the sobbing subsided. A slight rise and fall of the girls’ body had told him that she had calmed down. The man slid the child off of his body and picked her up. He held her at arms length and looked her in the eyes. “Do you feel a little bit better?” The man asked, looking her over. “Elsie I’m sorry that I’m not your dad, he died saving the life of me and a friend. But he told me to find and take care of you if anything ever happened to him, okay?”
Elsibeth nodded, raising a hand to wipe away the tears, smearing the dirt on her face as she did so. “Okay.” The man said as he rubbed her head. “Now, do you have anything you need to take with you? We have to get out of here. People will be looking for me so we have to get off-world.”
Elsibeth shook her head. “I ran away when they told me about daddy so I don’t have anything.” She took the man’s hand and he led her out of the alleyway. They took a transport to an old Warlock Monastery and entered. They stayed there for a couple of days and then went to the spaceport.
The spaceport was the primary way for people to get off world when they didn’t have a personal spacecraft. It was always a busy place, with several people that were there during all hours of the day. The two individuals got off of their transport and walked briskly towards the entryway. The spaceport was a large complex that spanned over one hundred kilometers and was the furthest out from the center of the city. There was always the smell of exhaust surrounding the port due to the many fossil fuel burning vehicles that traveled in and out. Even though clean energy such as hydrogen was widely used, many planets had materials which could be burned that created smog and stink.
Like much of the City, the spaceport was also built with low buildings and not much opulence. There was no one to impress with the spaceports grandeur, so construction was kept to a minimum. There was a tower and several levels for passengers to both depart and arrive. With modern technology there was rarely a need for a tower, but it was still a comfort to passengers that there was a watchful eye which maintained a constant vigil over the skies above the City spaceport.
Elsibeth and her guardian walked towards the departure terminal and towards the gate. There was no need to check in, because once you entered the spaceport, your travel plans were already filed with spaceport security. Elsibeth’s guardian had filed a travel plan under a false name and was sure that the two of them could get off planet easily. Elsibeth didn’t understand just why they had to leave Earth, but she knew her guardian well and trusted him implicitly.
When the two approached their gate, a Titan in blue security armor stopped them. “Excuse me sir but I need you and your child to come with me for a moment.”
“What seems to be the problem officer?” Elsibeth’s guardian asked the guard as they were led towards the security office within the terminal.
“Oh nothing.” The guard responded. “Just a small discrepancy on your travel documents is all. This way please.”
“I don’t see what the problem is. We filed all of the proper forms.” Elsibeth’s guardian said as he squeezed her hand, a silent signal to tell her to get ready to run.
The guard stopped for a moment and placed a hand up to the side of his helmet. “Yes sir.” The guard said. “I have them in custody now and I’ll be escorting them to the security office for holding until someone from the TCSF main office arrives. Sir?” The guard asked the voice in his helmet. “But sir there’s…” The guards voice was cut off and his body stiffened. “Yes sir, right away sir.”
The guard turned and looked at the two individuals who stood before him. “I’m sorry for the confusion sir but you have been cleared for departure on the freighter Gaia’s Hope for transport to the outer colonies.” The guard snapped a salute in Elsibeth’s guardian’s direction. “I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you sir and just let me say that it is an honor. Do you need transport to the freighter? I can arrange that you have primary boarding.”
“There’s no need officer.” The man said to the Titan. “And there’s no need to salute either, I’m just a simple Hunter on holiday with my daughter.”
The Titan dropped the salute and simply held out his hand, which Elsibeth’s guardian shook. “I’m sorry sir but her being your daughter is implausible.” The guard mentioned as he tapped on his data-pad. “I will adjust the information to show that she is your sister. Have a pleasant trip Mr. Ver’verd, we look forward to your return.”
“Thank you.” Ver’verd said as they turned to leave. When the two of them reached the freighter and boarded it, they relaxed a little bit. When the freighter took off they relaxed even further. When the freighter had left Earth’s atmosphere they knew that they were in the clear.
“Where will we go now?” Elsibeth asked Ver’verd as she looked up at him. “And why did you change your name?”
Ver’verd looked at her. “Well, I changed it because we’re going to start a new life.” He told her. “Where we’re going we’ll need new names and new lives so that no one will recognize us. We talked about this the other night. We’ll move around for a bit and then we’ll go and stay with a friend of mine and work with him.”
“Okay.” Elsibeth said as she straightened in her chair. “One other thing, why are you talking to me in the tone that you use with little kids? I am fourteen now you know.”
Ver’verd laughed and Elsibeths’ heart skipped a beat. He was even more handsome when he smiled, even with the still fresh looking scar. “You’re right kid.” Ver’verd said between laughs. “You’re right.”