The memorial for Colonel Duke Schirra, Gem’s father, was a tribute to his years in uniform and to his love of family. Ambassador Marous Nelvin of the Consolidated Systems Alliance did the eulogy his words were not only kind, but solidified the hearts and minds of the people in attendance, both on Alera Seven and by holovid, to the need for increased vigilance with security in the border systems. At the conclusion of the service the powdered remains were shot into the great ring around Alera Seven and Marine Colonel Duke Schirra rested with his ancestors.
Liz’s father, Jace always looked so imposing in his full dress Admiral uniform, but today he seemed more like an anchor. His very presence made Liz feel safe.
“Emma, there aren’t words to say. I am so sorry, but I can guarantee you this…I will not stop until I find the ship and crew who started this heinous act of cowardice.” Jace put both hands on Emma’s quaking shoulders. When their eyes met she melted into a bear hug. “Just cry it out Em.”
Liz’s mom found some tissue and she and Jace led Emma over to sit. “Lizzy, get Mrs. Schirra a glass of water, Sweetheart.”
Dawn Shepard stopped Liz halfway to the kitchen, “Here dear.” She said handing over a tall glass of liquid.
“Thank you, Mrs. Shepard.”
Liz gave her mom the glass of water and headed back through the kitchen to find Gem. Out beyond the high tech room was a wondrous garden. It was based off a Tarren Prime site called the Gardens of Versailles. Peep was seated on a balcony over looking the central circular water feature. Peep motioned for Liz to take a seat beside her.
“Gem wants to be alone for bit.” She tilted her head toward the garden. Gem sat on the edge of the fountain looking out over the manicured kitchen garden.
“I can understand that. I would want to be alone too, if it were me.” Liz flopped down on one of the lounges.
The girls sat in silent vigil watching over Gem for hours.
The scent of rosemary and basil scented the air, and Liz felt the hair on her arm prickle.
A storm was coming.