She took a deep breath. “If the opportunity is available, I would like to take it. I can go any time.”
“You don’t need any more details?”
“No. If I can repair my body and learn to feel, I will take it.” Gala’s hands trembled, and she carefully pulled her gloves back on. “The world is a dangerous place, and if you can’t sense it, can’t feel it, you are vulnerable. I hate that feeling. It is my life each and every day. I want a new life. I want a new start, and I am willing to pay for it with my body.”
He blinked and leaned back. “You have been abused.”
“A few times. When you can’t feel what is happening, the doctors only need to repair your body. I wasn’t even called to testify, because the police determined that if I couldn’t feel things, it wasn’t really a sexual assault. They depicted me as someone with a medical condition that precluded me from speaking for the prosecution. I don’t want to be helpless; I want to feel what is coming at me, a touch on my arm or a flicker of pain. I have never even felt pain.”
Norz smiled, showing shark-like teeth. “It is not all it is cracked up to be.”
“I would like to try it.”
“And so you shall. Rekfa is waiting to hear from us. I will send him the data today, and we will see how long it will take him to respond.”
She got to her feet. “Thank you. Pardon me for not finishing the tea.”
He chuckled and got to his feet. “We will be in touch. Where can we contact you?”
“At the shop or at home. I can’t manage a cell phone.” She shrugged and held up her hand.
“Of course. How much warning do you need?”
“I will pack today and be waiting. When you say go, I go.” She nodded and didn’t shake his hand. He didn’t try to touch hers, so it was a fair exchange.
She curled her hands into fists and walked down the hall and out through the Volunteer Centre front door. She returned to the coin shop and smiled at Miriam.
“How did it go, Gala?”
“Pretty good. I should know one way or another in the next week.” She smiled and went to the back room, hanging her coat up and carefully removing her jacket. She checked her hands and returned to work. There was glass to polish and lights to replace. Nothing brought out the sparkle in a coin like a spotlight.
* * * *
“So, I get in there, and the ship takes me to Rekfa?” She stared at the column filled with glowing, translucent liquid.
The physician nodded. “Yes, it is the best way to reduce the scarring and keep you in a secure position during transport. If you let us, we will wire you up and put you into the tank.”
“In for a penny, in for a pound. Where do you need me?”
“We usually apply an anesthetic.”
“Right. Well then, into the decontamination beams and we will get the implants ready. Welcome to the Alliance Warship Triganna.”
Gala smiled and went behind the screen to remove her sundress, sandals and underwear. She wrapped the medical gown around her and stepped out from behind the screens.
She stood for decontamination and then walked up the steps to the top of the tank. The ports went in, the jacks were plugged to nutrients and she was lowered into the liquid for her trip to Rekfa.
It certainly beat every time she had caught her thumb in a seatbelt. Joints that had been dislocated as many times as hers did not hold. This was a longshot, but it was a chance at a future that might hurt, but she could feel it.
She was tired of being numb all day, every day.