“Can I come in?” Pearce asked with a wary glance over his shoulder.
“Yeah, sure,” Taryn said, moving aside.
Once they were inside, Pearce forgot all about Beckham and his mission and the fact that he was about to do something really stupid that would possibly result in his death. On the far side of the room, there were gigantic windows and through those windows, he could see the universe. Galaxies spiraled and stars shone bright as diamonds. He’d never seen anything half as beautiful in all his life.
“Pearce? What do you want?” Taryn asked, cutting through his reverie.
“Oh. Um. So…Beckham is having you followed. By me,” Pearce replied.
There was a long, horrible pause. Pearce wondered if there was a way to erase what he had said. This wasn’t one of his better ideas. Beckham would find out and have him dealt with or Taryn and the Captain would decide he was a spy and probably throw him out an airlock or put him into a deep sleep just like the one those who had nearly lost their minds to the monotony of the journey.
“I knew he would,” Taryn finally said.
“I can’t say I’m surprised either,” Captain Aaron said. It was the first time Pearce had ever heard him speak. He had a pleasant voice and so far wasn’t at all what he’d have imagined a captain to be like.
“So…um, why is he having me follow you?” Pearce asked timidly.
Taryn and the Captain exchanged a dark look.
“If I tell you, you can’t tell anyone else,” Taryn said.
“Tar, I don’t-“
“I swear I won’t tell,” Pearce said quickly.
“We both…hear music. No one else does. Just us. And it, the music, told him I was important. Or something along those lines. I’m not really sure. But it mentioned me by name, so now he thinks we’re linked,” Taryn said.
Pearce didn’t say anything. He wasn’t sure what’d he’d been expecting. That she was involved in some group trying to take Beckham down or something along those lines. Phantom music and unexplainable voices had never entered into it at all.
“That’s…not what I was expecting,” he said.
“But I won’t go to Beckham. He’s…I wouldn’t want to get you mixed up in whatever he’s doing,” Pearce continued.
“So what are you going to tell him?” Captain Aaron asked.
“Beckham? I don’t know. What do you want me to tell him?” Pearce said.
“That I was in the control room and that I seemed normal. Say you couldn’t get in. He’ll believe it. He’s not allowed in, after all,” Taryn said.
“Sounds believable. But he’s going to want you followed until he gets the answers he wants,” Pearce said.
“We’ll come up with something else tomorrow then.”
Pearce nodded. A tense silence filled the room. Pearce got the extreme feeling he was unwanted.
“I should go,” he said.
“Okay, but…thanks. For telling me. And not telling Beckham.” Taryn said.
“No problem. I’d want to know if the lunatic was having me followed too.”
As Pearce left the control room, he realized that he hadn’t had any free time since he’d fallen in with Beckham. He thought briefly about going back to Beckham, saying that Taryn didn’t know anything and spending the rest of the day trying to get Ellis to talk to him, but that thought was too depressing. Instead, he went to his small, cramped room, lay on his bed and thought of the glimpse of the universe he’d seen as it unfolded outside the window of the control room.
Taryn let out a breath she wasn’t aware she’d been holding in as she watched Pearce go. She’d always known Beckham was power hungry and a little crazy, but she had hoped he wouldn’t go as far as to have her followed. With a sigh, she sat in one of the chairs in the control room and wondered if it was possible to go back to that morning and start the day all over again.
“You trust him?” Captain Aaron asked.
“Pearce wouldn’t…I don’t think he’d follow Beckham so blindly. He told me what Beckham was up to, after all.”
“Still. Be careful around that kid.”
“I will,” Taryn said softly.
Captain Aaron gave her a brief smile. She returned it. They sat in a comfortable silence for a while, watching the stars. The music was very faint in Taryn’s head now and, strangely, she was almost enjoying it. She closed her eyes lazily and listened to its delicate, silvery sound as it rose and fell.
Taryn, go find Beckham. Taryn, tell him all. Taryn, together you will save us all, a soft, slithery voice chanted.
Taryn’s eyes shot open and she sat up, her heart pounding in her chest.
“Did you just say something?” she asked Captain Aaron desperately.
Captain Aaron shook his head.
“Oh. Okay. I need to…I need to go,” Taryn said getting to her feet. The voice was gone but the music was much louder now.
“You okay?” Captain Aaron asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just a headache. I want to lie down. Stressful day.” Taryn said quickly.
She barely heard Captain Aaron’s goodbye as she raced out of the control room. The music was so loud, she was starting to feel nauseous. When she reached her room, she pulled open the door, fell, hard, onto the floor and suppressed a scream. The music was all around her now, pounding in her head, vibrating her very bones. It overwhelmed her and felt as if it would strangle her. She put her hands over her ears and curled up on the floor. Tears streamed down her face and the music took over her whole world. The song grew louder and louder and she screamed to shut it out. And then it was gone, though the soft chant of “find Beckham” remained.
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