FILL PART 1 Re: Heat cycles

Date: 2016-12-09 03:45 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
i'm fucking doing this


It was five months and twenty three days after I found Seivarden on Nilt and four weeks into our second inter-station voyage that she began acting more oddly than usual. She was irritable and fidgety as she hadn't been in a while, and disappeared halfway through the ship's communal lunch. I found her back in our quarters asleep, or at least trying to be. I sat down on the floor by the door and prayed to She Who Sprang From the Lily, and I heard Seivarden's breath even out into genuine sleep. Probably during her time out of the Radch she had picked up the ability to sleep whenever she got the chance, even as she lost control of her body and mind in other ways.

Seven hours later she woke up, had dinner (still fidgety) and stayed long enough in the sanitary facilities that another passenger began to bang on the door and I had to tell her to come out. My clothes were unwashed and the tea set dirty but I did not chide her for ignoring her duties which were after all self imposed. I looked at her closely and saw that she was flushed, and when I put a hand on her forehead it was hot.

Sickness is more serious for Radchaai than it is for some other people, simply because it so rarely happens. If Seivarden had picked up something her implants couldn't deal with, she might need more advanced medical care than was available on this small ship. That wouldn't be available for another two weeks. At least a fever meant her immune system had noticed the bug and was fighting it.

"Lie down," I said. "I'll make the tea."

She frowned at me, and seven seconds later said, "Breq, I'm not sick."

That unusually long pause contradicted her statement. I considered telling her not to be stupid, but instead said, "Indulge me."

She went to her pallet, but instead of lying down she sat with her knees pulled up against her chest, arms tightly squeezing her legs. She didn't look at me. Seemed to be focusing on breathing slowly.

I made the tea, the process still almost automatic, body memory that didn't come from this body. We were both silent as the water boiled. I let the tea brew, then poured a bowl and handed it to Seivarden. She flinched violently when our bare fingers touched, and then yelped as hot tea splashed on her legs. "Fuck!"

I brought her a towel. "You should change into dry clothes," I said. She stared at me as though I'd told her to walk out the nearest airlock. I sighed. "Drink your tea." There was still an ounce or two of tea in the bowl.

She drank the tea, looking away from me again. It occurred to me that she might not be sick, but rather having a withdrawal relapse. That would be unpleasant, but probably manageable. Still- the possibility of illness couldn't be safely ignored.

"I'm going to ask the captain for an internal to measure your temperature," I said, standing up.

"Breq," she protested.

"If you have a virus, it might threaten the safety of everyone on this ship."


I stopped, surprised. Turned back to her.

"I'm not sick, Breq!"

"How can you be sure of that?" I asked, reasonably.

She closed her eyes. "Aatr's tits, are you really going to make me say it?"

I couldn't think of a sensible answer to that, so I simply waited, silently.

She groaned, put down her tea bowl, and bent over to rest her head on her knees, face hidden. "There is a more common explanation for a higher temperature, you know. Or do they not have cycles in the Gerentate?" This last with extreme sarcasm, which I could not appreciate because I was still trying to process her words.

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