“Thanks,” Daniel said, too frazzled to come up with a witty retort.
“No, thank you. Thank you, thank you!” Jeska said, with a genuine smile.
“Jeska, are you hurt? Are you in danger?”
“Injured but not too bad. Cloud’s not working.”
That scared Daniel. Without a cloud, Jeska wouldn't have access to advanced medical treatment if her condition worsened.
But, now that he knew she wasn’t in immediate danger, he could try to play it cool.
“So … how have you been?” Daniel said nonchalantly, holding back a hundred questions.
He wanted to scream "Where are we? Why are we here? Why am I wearing a blue, fuzzy robe? Why did you leave me? Why did you leave me?!"
Instead, he ran a hand through his hair and hoped he looked presentable. He did not.
“Wait,” Daniel said. “Are my friends alive?”
“Trak and Rachel? They came with you?!” Jeska said and looked sad.
“Of course,” he said.
“Then they’re going through orientation too.”
“But they are alive?"
"How did we get here? … and how does an Aye take orientation?” Daniel asked.
“The ship’s admin mind flitted you all over here the second you got too close," she said.
Then she let out a small laugh as she remembered something. "And they'll give Rachel a new—"
A metal clang emanating from the left side of the eyescreen drew Jeska's attention, causing her to jerk her head toward the sound.
After she turned back to face him, Daniel saw that the desperation had returned to her eyes.
“It’s coming,” she whispered.