(A-Z Challenge, read sequentially from A-Z! [Hint: Click HERE and scroll to the bottom.] Or don’t, that’s fine, too.)

“Hate seems to be the real unifier, Ann,” Sag said, responding to a question she didn’t ask as he entered the dining area. “Being for, or against it, hate is motivation for the extreme.”

Ann raised her brow looking to Sag over her coffee, “Morning, Sachi. A dream? How’re your eyes doing?”

Sag ignored her, “If the palaces of Venus and the floating islands of Earth forget who they are and where came from, the system, solar and economical, will collapse. Sociopolitical coexistence will become nonexistent.”

‘Seems he is feeling better,’ Ann thought as she took another drink of her coffee, a dark roast with hints of vanilla. She closed her eyes a moment and enjoyed the temporary peace before setting the cup on the table. Sag still stood near the doorway, having stopped after entering the room. “Coffee?” Ann asked.

A combination of mechanical and bioengineering stared back at her, dark green in the iris’ flecked with spots of light inside a face as still as stone. “No matter how deep this goes, you continue to brush this all aside.” Sag’s face became drawn, more sullen than angry.

“Look, Sag, I know you don’t remember, but you, I, and Jabari have had a hell of a couple days. We’ve had to detour and might not end up where we first discussed, I’m sorry,” Ann replied.

Sag’s face turned angry, and he took a step forward pointing a finger towards her, “You will not rescind your promise, Annie Avesta Marishiten. You will help me to bring the islands to heel.”

Her mood soured, and she stood making her way around the table. Without any pretense, Ann pushed Sag hard back into the wall near the doorway. She was nearly a head shorter than him, but she was no stranger to dealing with him at this point. It had been years getting to this point.  When he hit the wall, Ann stood in front of him, pinning him against the wall without touching him with how close she was. Her voice was a whisper, but her threatening tone was inescapably noticeable, “You will never tell me how and what to do on my ship, Sachi Apollo Ghandara, or I will put you out in the cold for the night. You will behave and return to your rooms until I come and get you.” She turned and returned to her coffee and seated herself. “You’re still here.”

Sag’s face turned to stone again as he straightened, lifting himself off the wall and brushing off his torso. “You know as well as I, Ann, that Mar will die. The sooner we act, the better.” He turned on his heel and left the room.



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