The ebullition condition Savea has been born with, does not stop her from realizing her deepest wish. To graduate with honors from the science academy and become a science officer on a space explorer.
Savea eagerly begins her career as the science officer onboard the Garatuca. She hides her magic and ebullition well because if it became known that she was a sorceress and shifter, it could ruin her career.
When she meets First Officer Echo, she’s shocked to see the aura around him. To make everything even more difficult, the captain is against the crew forming relationships, and he doesn’t believe in shapeshifting and sorcery.
Savea surfaced, and as the effervescence surrounding her solidified, she waded out of the river. She was herself again. Glaring angrily at her friends, she told them, “One of these days, you’re going to go too far with calling me Bubbles and having fun at my expense.”
Torvi, her best girlfriend, laughed. “Give it a break, Savea. We’re just playing with you. You know we love you, bubbles and all.”
Tarinta, her second-best friend, walked up to her and gave her a quick hug.
“I can’t help that I was born with the ebullition condition. It’s nothing but a nuisance, even if you guys think it’s fun to play with my bubbles. Don’t forget, when you’re tossing them around, you’re handling my body parts.”
“Hey, for me it’s a turn-on. I could be playing with one of your breasts,” Teccan, one of the young men, shouted. “Good thing they don’t pop!”
Everyone laughed and continued to dry themselves. Savea dried her feet, then waved her hand to dry her clothes and her hair. She tossed the towel on a rock and sat on it. She should have known better than to agree to a swim in the river, knowing what would happen if she submerged. But she loved the water, probably more than her friends. And they knew, too, that she’d turn into a pillar of bubbles, but they had goaded her into joining them, promising they wouldn’t tease her.
Of course, they broke that promise…like they always did. She should have been wiser.
Teccan and Plevo lit the pile of wood they’d built, and stoked it into a roaring fire, while Guala threaded the fish they’d caught on sticks. He handed them out.
Savea took her stick and twirled it while trying to get back her enthusiasm for this final shindig before going on their various assignments.
She and her six best friends had just graduated from the science academy, and this would be their last get-together for quite a while. A spark of excitement ignited in her heart at the thought of what was to come. In two days, she would be the science officer on the spaceship Garatuca and heading into space. In the morning, she was to report to Space Dock in the capital to go on a tour of the ship. She would also be meeting the captain and the rest of the crew.
“Savea, you’re not in space yet, get back on the ground. Hey, girl, roast your fish,” Torvi called out, snapping her out of her thoughts. “You’re not still moping about us funning with you, are you? Think about it, you’ll be gone for months, and on the ship, there’ll be no place for you to turn into bubble girl.”
It was true. Even a heavy rain shower soaking her head caused her to begin to liquify if she had no protection. She had yet to conquer how to stop the transformation, even though she’d tried since she was small. Onboard the Garatuca, there would be nowhere to swim, it wouldn’t rain, and the showers in the bathrooms were sonic.
She moved closer to the fire and held her fish above it while Teccan began to play the lulani. He was very talented and had a lovely singing voice to go with his musical talent. Before long, they all sang along.
Much later, close to midnight, the group doused the fire, said their goodbyes, and began heading home. They all stuck close together because, at night, dangerous predators roamed the inky forest. It was one of the reasons they seldom stayed at the river beyond sundown. But this time had been different. It was their last time as a group before they all went their separate ways to begin their new careers on the various ships they’d been assigned to.
Savea and Torvi held hands as the seven friends moved through the trees, Teccan and Plevo lighting the way for them with torches.
Suddenly a large dark shadow jumped from the trees in front of them. “Gulagattas!” Teccan and Plevo shouted and waved their torches at the creature. It growled so loud that it was almost deafening, and it was tall, nearly as tall as the trees. It was a lone gulagatta, a monster with four arms and claws as long as her forearm. Its flat head had two rows of glowing yellow eyes. Its maw was wide open, displaying sharp forked teeth the size of her fingers.
A shiver ran down her spine, and she felt nauseated at the thought of the claws and teeth mangling her friends and becoming the creature’s meal of the night.
Savea sprang into action. Calling on her magic, she hurled fireballs at it with both hands. The monster let out a loud screech and jumped back.
She continued hurling the balls, shouting at her friends, “Run, hard as you can. I’ll hold it off!”
The creature caught fire and ran into the forest, leaving a blazing trail behind it. Its screams echoed for a while, but no one stopped to listen. Everyone ran as fast as they could.
When they reached the edge of the woods and saw the villages and city lights in the distance, they slowed down.
“Thank the gods for your magic, Bubbles,” Plevo said, “or none of us would be going anywhere tomorrow.”
She couldn’t even get upset at the annoying nickname. “Let’s hurry home.” She pulled Torvi along and made for their village. “Safe traveling!” she yelled as they all parted ways to their various homes.
After giving Torvi a final hug before she went to her home next door, Savea softly opened the front door of her house and crept up the stairs to her room. She was thankful her mother hadn’t waited up for her, as she so often did.
Of course, she was wrong. She’d no sooner slid under the covers when her mother came into the room and sat on the side of the bed.