101 [ a ]

April 11, 2012 in backstory by Ambassador

As the two women spoke, Ambassador stood in the corner nearest the entrance.  Nearby was a low couch draped with a large, beige bed sheet.  The elderly woman busied herself here and there in the small room that she called her “house”, which was no larger than an Assignation Hovercraft corridor.  There were two fair-sized woven rugs underneath everything and another old blanket folded into a make-shift seat cushion on the floor in front of a stout, white plastic round table.

The lady, who introduced herself earlier as “Hanari Yoshiko”, seemed like a woman born in the wrong era.  Her plain, deep-olive pants and long khaki hand-sewn shirt made her stand out quite easily from any other person Ambassador had seen during her wanderings around the city.  She was very gracious, serving a small metal tray of rations wrapped in silver plastic and two packaged bread rolls on the table, soon afterward boiling a small kettle of water inside a transportable heating  unit for her ‘finest tea’ made from what she said were home-grown herbs ‘sent by her brother’ on Earth.

Hanari had a visibly responsive demeanor toward Ambassador’s unfortunate circumstances as they were explained to her.  She showed intrigue and sometimes blinked a bit in confusion at Ambassador’s efforts to explain just what kind of being she was.  After a few hours of conversation, Hanari concluded it with words of encouragement and good wishes for her endeavor to find her home and people again.
<Arigatou gozaimashita, Hanari san.>  (“Thank you, Ms. Hanari”), Ambassador said softly with a bow of her head, smiling as she slowly lifted herself upright again.  Hanari lightly waved away the nicety and chuckled, impressed with the customary courtesy being displayed for her.  She lifted up her tea kettle and tilted it over Ambassador’s cup.    <Hai, dozo,> (“Here, you go ahead,”)  Ms. Hinara offered.

Hanari later invited her to sleep on the couch for the night – Hanari had a matress in the back-corner of the room, hidden by a long-hung drape of the same sort of bed sheet donned on the couch.  She humbly bowed and bid Ambassador Good Evening before retiring to her corner. Ambassador sat on the couch gently, taking into memory the sheer warmth of this poverty-stricken yet cozy environment, in spite of the dank and musty smell the cold air seemed to give.  She could only conclude that the relief that Ms. Hanari’s care provided to her was the reason for the relaxing drowsiness that began to slowly settle in as she lay her head against the couch arm.

The next morning, however, it was all gone.

Seeping, dim light from the morning sky scattered through the cracks of the tin roof cover and reached into the emptied space.  There were no sparse furnishings, not even the small lamplight to reclaim the presence of this once warm hovel as Ambassador opened her eyes.  She lifted herself from what apparently was the ground instead of the old couch.

The beams from her eyes shot forth and lit a quarter of the room.  She took only two steps forward before her boot kicked the two tea cups from the night before across the floor; the only proof that she indeed did not only dream up her encounter.
As she proceeded to survey the area around her, a gravelly, weathered voice gripped her attention.

“This is simply too — ‘pretty’.  In more ways than one.  -Years- have gone by me since finding a lamb like you.”

Though Ambassador’s movements were frozen, she was already attempting  voice analyzation in her data system.

“It’s me,” the voice said dryly, as the small “dit” sound of a button was immediately followed by the appearing of the glowing lamp light and old couch, amazing and stunting Ambassador’s efforts to figure out this trap.  The too-real images then disappeared again, and she squinted her eyes at the dark figure, feeling her pulse march harder as, without a word, she began to execute her Self-Defense Operation mode.

Her body was lifted jaggedly and rammed hard into the wall behind her split-seconds before the decision could complete, causing dust to cloud the tin roof lighting.  The noise reverberated briefly in a hollow roar.  Unblinking through her long tufts of loosened hair over her eyes, Ambassador viewed a tall and thin leather-armored man whose face was coated with a skin tight dark brown mask. His eyes were shielded individually with mounted, deep-dusk covers, taking on each eye’s almond shape.  He held an unidentifiable weapon to Ambassador’s head, his other hand gripping her neck like a vice.