Lexi Spur took one last look at herself in the small mirror attached to the inside of the locker jutting from the bulkhead in her quarters. Just new to the rank of Captain, Lexi marveled at the size of the space she now had to herself, with the promotion, the 8 ft. by 10 ft space was all hers! Having shared a similar sized space with first 6 midshipwomen and then four 2nd Lts, and later two 1st Lts., to now have it all to her own was beyond real. She perched the white Captainís beret on the top of her newly cropped hair. Her squad had given her a sheering party, as was tradition when any pilot made rank of Captain. Lexiís hair now hung to her just past her shoulders where before it had trailed just past her behind. She felt curiously light and free with her hair so short. Her mother, while not scandalized, would definitely raise an eyebrow. Finally satisfied that she looked the part, Lexi began stepping into her shoes when a claxon sounded alerting her to a personal message from her mother, the Queen.
Walking to the com-U, located next to the single bunk, Lexi pressed the respond button and entered her personal code. "Yes, Serene Mother, what may I do for you this day/" Lexi queried.
Looking up, Lexi was shocked to see the pain and despair on her motherís face.
"Moth.. what is it? Whatís wrong?" Lexi couldnít help putting a hand to her throat in worry, thinking of all the family who might have come to harm, but never would she have imagined what her mother was about to say.
"Lexaballa, (in her pain her mother had reverted to using Lexiís childhood nick-name) you must come home immediately."
"What has happened Mother?"
The Queen, given into a momentís weakness, put her face into her hands and let out a low cry.
"Itís all just so unbelievable."
Lexi had never ever seen her mother break at anything in her life, not when Grandmama was assassinated, not when Lexiís only brother died at childbirth, never. To see her do so now horrified her and filled her with an unspoken dread.
Unable to speak, Lexi lifted a useless hand to comfort a shoulder that was millions of miles away.
Finally after what seemed ages, her mother lifted her head and in a voice filled with despair began to speak.
"Approximately three hours ago we received word that your sister Larxinaís convoy was under attack by an unknown force. She was on her way to a universal peace conference in Betelgeuse. Just ten minutes ago we received final confirmation that Lariís ship and in fact all shipís in the convoy were destroyed."
Lexi could only stare at her motherís image, not believing what she was hearing.
Queen Nerxina Vi, Twenty-third woman in the house of Vi to rule Delina Prime, squaring her shoulders, lifted an unwavering gaze to Lexi. "Alexina Serinata Vi, you must come home immediately."
Lexi gave her head a slight shake. Her mother had called her Alexina Serinata Vi. Only direct heirs to the throne were called SerinataÖ but she was the third daughterÖ
Seeing the slight negation of her words, the Queen smiled firmly. "Yes Serinata, you are now heir." Your older sister, Xinxina, has not existed to this world since she was dedicated to goddess xina. The prioress would never even admit she was a prelate there." No, my dear it is you. This Lexi Spur you have been for the last twelve years must no longer exist."
Lexiís controlled the quake that wanted to shutter through her entire body. Not be a pilot? Not be a captain? These were dreams that had been hers for as long she had known anything. Again she wanted to shake her head no, but she couldnít go against the grief in her motherís eyes. Could she?[/]