23 - The Ghost

Years of solitude. Did she trust her mind after nearly two years alone? She had become but a ghost in the vast research station. She tried to monitor things in the city far below, using ambient data the Alovians pulled in. They had seemed generally disinterested in anything but atmospheric and energy data. She blinked. Did she really see Alden fly by her on a downward trajectory? Eustace shook her head, perhaps she was just that starved for contact.

She had tried a yell but Alden, or her mental apparition, had probably dropped below earshot, and regardless, she didn’t want him to get distracted, and fall. She stuffed a few things in the pockets of her beautifully constructed research-wear, scavenged on her arrival through the tunnel system. Nothing she’d gathered over the years here was irreplaceable.

Acropolis chip bags scattered as she crept again toward the entrance of her hexagonal coring. She’d chosen one just under the top platform; it had served as an apartment the day she found the abandoned space, after escaping the wrath of the dean. She shook chip wrappers of her foot - she recognized she’d let herself go the last few months with nobody around, no company expected.

Eustace left her found apartment, starving for some news of Old Jardinian. She lit up for a second. Was it possible the Dean was out of the picture? Abdicated her throne atop the gateway of progress? The Dean had hid the existence of the Alovians from everyone. A fellow Jard being here - perhaps this was a sign that she could finally come home.

She chided herself for being too hopeful - waiting for lucky things to happen wasn’t her style. There could be another reason Alden was here. Perhaps - on a mission for the dean? If this was the case, she would have to be careful. She paused for a moment, dangerous scenarios flooding her isolation-addled mind,. Eustace resolved to stay out of sight - and see what Alden did. In her isolated years here, she at least had a pretty good idea of how things worked in this yawning abandoned research village/atrium. She could use the dangling cars to follow him without issue.

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