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Episode 13 Part 11

“I don’t appreciate just getting snapped shut like that.” Toren’s voice pierced through the clamor, loud and piercing.

 

“Shoot.” Tilly’s hands flew over the communicator, looking for a way to mute the sound, or at least muffle it. “Calm down, will you?” She said, trying to speak over Toren’s continuing tirade. She glanced over her shoulder, breathing in sharply and grabbing her head when the dull ache she had started feeling at the base of her skull erupted into full-blown pain. At least Sanrook and the Nathian were out of sight. Not that Sanrook walking off with him made her feel a lot better. “Just,” she started as she weaved between people, walking to the least populated curb, “Just calm down a minute.”

 

“Well, it was rude.” Toren said, a little less sharply.

 

Tilly looked around her, turning her head a little slower this time, taking in the surroundings. The area was in ruins, save for the buildings she was standing in front of.   “I’m sure it was, considering Sanrook. But circumstances kind of…” Tilly trailed off as her vision swum a little, having made the mistake of looking up at the sky. She glanced down at the ground and blinked a few times, waiting until the spinning sensation calmed somewhat before speaking again. “Things are a little complicated. That guy showed up.”

 

“The flock of seagulls one? Or the lavender one?”

 

Tilly shook her head slightly. “Neither. The one with the sword. What’s his name...” A sudden gust of wind came, blowing the now icy drops of rain into her bare arms. “Doesn’t matter.”

 

What did matter, she thought, her left arm tightening around herself, was getting inside. The temperature was still dropping and she was already wet. She looked over at the tallest building. It seemed most chaotic at its entrance, with people of various states of injury being led or carried in, people in green and white uniforms occasionally coming to the door to meet them. Tilly shivered. She reached up to feel the back of her head. There was a nice sized goose-egg, but she wasn’t bleeding. At least she didn’t think she was. She brought her hand back around, noting the lacking of blood, then looked down at herself. A few scratches here and there, but nothing too major. Tilly turned around and walked towards a slightly less busy area instead, a small stone office building of some sort. People, wet and cold, but in a much better physical state were walking in, a few carrying bags but most arriving empty handed.

 

Sanrook would probably be pissed if she knew Tilly wasn’t planning on getting herself checked out, but she was sure they’d have a triage system of some sort set up and she’d probably rank pretty low on the scale. Sanrook could take her hypocritical-

 

“y…Tilly,” She heard Toren say, kind of loud, and just as annoying as ever. “Tilly are you-"

 

 “I’m fine.” Tilly said, rubbing at her arms. “I’m going in though, so you might need to be quiet for a bit. At least ‘til I can figure out where I’m going.”

 

Tilly looked down at the communicator, waiting for a reply. After a minute of silence she shrugged, wincing a little again, and approached the building while stuffing the communicator in her purse, walking in behind a small group of Desivites. They were approached by two more wearing bright blue vests as she walked in the door, both carrying clip boards.

 

“Names please,” one of them said, addressing the small group in front of her. Tilly peered into the building, at what appeared to be a lobby, which was full of cots and stacks of boxes.

 

“Name?”

 

Tilly glanced to her right, at the second Desivite official. “Ah,” she started, trying to remember the name Sanrook had given her. “Arika… Kaphtman.”

 

The Desivite looked at her for a moment, then looked down at the clipboard, cheeks twitching in what Tilly guessed to be something like confusion, or frustration. “Say that again?” The Desivite asked, looking up from her clipboard.

 

“Arika Kaphtman,” Tilly said again, slower, trying her best to enunciate.

 

The Desivite paused, then made a face and scribbled something down on her board before looking back up and motioning her forward. Thankfully, only a few people had come in behind her and the first worker had been able to handle those on her own. “Find yourself a spot,” the official said, “We’re a little low on supplies right now but there should be someone around in a bit with some bottled water.” She paused for a moment, making the same cheek twitch as before then asked, in a rush. “You do drink water right, I mean, you not one of those-"

 

“Rerkarshniht,” the first official snapped at the second. Tilly assumed it to be either her name, or a curse word so bad the translator refused to repeat it. Either way the Desivite standing before her looked chagrined.

 

“Water’s fine thank you,” Tilly said, smiling as she stepped forward into the room. It wasn’t extremely large, and the cots were set fairly close together, but it was so much quieter than it had been outside, and warmer. The space, which would typically have felt cluttered, instead felt somewhat cozy.  She breathed in deeply, finding herself a bit more relaxed, and pulled the wet towel off her head. She walked around the perimeter of the space, beside the wall, eventually making her way over to a corner on the far side of the room and sat down on one of the gray blue cots.

 

“Kay,” she said to the communicator after pulling it back out. “I’m good. Ramble away if you want.”

 

She was met with silence.

 

“Toren?” Tilly asked. The screens on the remained dark.

 

“Toren?” she asked again, the already formed knot in her stomach growing and tightening. “Are you seriously giving me the silent treatment? Is that what this is?”

 

“Well, you said if I want. What if I didn’t want?” Toren said, and the screen suddenly lit up.

 

Tilly breathed in, trying to find that bit of calm again. “Yeah, well, being stuck in the center of a twister kind of takes the humor out of things a bit. So if you could, would you not do that again?” Tilly grumbled.

 

“Actually, you were really on the edge of it. If you had been in the center you’d probably have a few more holes than normal.”

 

“Gee, thanks for the reminder.”

 

“Your welcome.” Toren replied cheerfully.

 

“Why do you have to be so darn-"

 

“A- A little hel-" Tilly heard off to her right along with a loud clatter. She stood quickly, stumbling a little as the room spun, and made her way over to where an official, the one she had talked to just a few minutes previously, was struggling to hold up a leaning tower of boxes. The pile, with the two of them pushing together, righted itself after a minute, but not before raining down a load of blankets on their heads.

 

“If I ever find out who decided to just stack these boxes like this…” The Desivite trailed off, looking up at boxes still sitting precariously at the top before turning to Tilly and nodding. “Thanks.”

 

“No problem.” Tilly answered, while folding a blanket. “Need any help with anything?”

 

The Desivite looked her up and down for a second, before grinning and replying. “All depends. How many crespins can you flostignat?”

 

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