Aggie was slotted for life as a Keeper, a woman who put herself between her charges and danger. A genuine crisis of conscience kicks in on her second assignment and ends with her charge in hiding and Aggie in cold sleep for a while.
Ikvaro was Aggie’s instructor on the moon base and his heart broke when she disappeared and was reported dead. Informed that she was alive and needed his help, he resigns his commission as instructor and heads out to the stars to find his woman now that duty no longer stands between them.
She thaws, he looks into her eyes and she is no longer alone in there. She has gone from Keeper to Avatar and there is no protocol for this manoeuvre.
Agatha poked at the fire pit, sending sparks tumbling upward. Her sister thudded into the seat next to her.
Aggie looked at Martha with narrowed eyes. “Don’t spill that wine on my furniture…again.”
Martha chuckled and extended the wine glass over the edge of her chair. “What did they say?”
“They are making the final checks as to my aptitude. I just got home.”
“And started a fire. You are worried.”
“Definitely. I want this.” She leaned back and looked up at the stars. “I want them.”
Martha sighed. “I am going to miss you.”
Aggie chuckled. “I don’t know if I am accepted yet.”
Marty handed her her phone. “Take a look. There is an email from the Volunteer Centre. Find out.”
Aggie took her phone with trembling hands. She opened the email and swallowed hard. She picked up a new log and threw it onto the fire.
“Well? What did it say?”
She sat back and picked up her lemon water. “This is going to be my last fire with these stars over my head.”
Marty sat up. “You did it? You are in?”
Aggie lifted her glass in a toast and Marty met her halfway. “I am in.”
Aggie spent the night with her sister, talking until they were hoarse and staring up at the stars. Marty’s husband called, but once the situation was explained, he wished Aggie good luck and told Marty to stay the night.
For a pair of identical twins, they were very different women, but in this moment, they were one. Martha had focussed her life inward, with home and family. Aggie had gone out and lived with minimalism as far from her own kind as she could.
Her volunteer job at the zoo was her half-assed attempt to connect with people, but she used her time there to learn all she could about detailed habits of the animals. There were indicators of mental state and mood that most of their keepers missed. Aggie had learned how to read them through focus and study, but it wasn’t exactly a marketable skill.
She worked when she had to and volunteered as often as she could. Now, it seemed she was going to make her career as a Volunteer. It was going to be a sudden shift, but it would be welcome.
Aggie would feel the parting from Marty most keenly, but their link went far beyond location. She would carry her sister with her to the stars.