Drea gazed out at the eternal vacuum of space before she figured out that she was staring at it through the eyes of a living being, sat inside Esther like a blood cell.
She looked at Olivia and Gloria who had managed the remarkable trick of falling into easy and beautiful sleep. She searched their faces and found them blank and envied them that. Cara got up from her chair and ran her hand through her hair.
‘Esther says we’re far enough now and drop out of liminal space.’
Drea understood as though she had any idea what liminal space was. For all the wonder she had seen, she still held a surprising amount of gritty pragmatism that put her odds with lots of people in her life. Her parents amongst them. The same irritation applied to handling her parent’s objection as it had to learning a terrible, apocalyptic martial art. Cara read her expression and grinned.
‘Just nod and smile. I’ve handled cosmic and lived.’
Drea grimaced and shrugged her shoulders.
Cara’s grin went down at the corners and she gave a sigh that took something out of her posture.
‘You’re scared?’ Cara said.
Drea lowered her head and closed her eyes.
‘Only if I admit that this is real.’
Cara chuckled and put her palms on her thighs.
‘Oh god, don’t ever do that. That way lies madness.’
Her voice aimed for lightness but fell a touch short. Her expression was rigid with tension that took from her bonhomie.
‘No the madness is in leaving the fate of everything to three women.’
Esther’s voice filtered through, experienced as a physical sensation rather than heard.
Drea blushed and looked around for a face to apologise to.
‘Quadruplets being ferried around in a spacefaring womb.’ Cara said.
Esther’s laughter was like the swell of a symphony. Cara put her hand on Drea’s shoulder and gave it a small, dry pat.
‘See you’re adapting to the situation already.’
Drea looked up at her.
‘How come you’re not scared?’
Cara winked at her.
‘I’m soaked in a cocktail of psychotropics and egotism, fear is a fucking mustard burp for me.’
Drea put her hand over Cara’s and squeezed her fingers hard so she knew what was real.
‘Got any more?’ Drea said.