Chapter 122: Kailani
We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway
And I wonder if I'm really with you now
Or just chasin' after some finer day

“‘The escarpment’s scenic canyons were home for Indians of several cultures, including the Folsom culture of more than 10,000 years ago,’” Kai read excitedly. “The Folsom! I wonder if there were Ellehemaei around then,” she mused.

“Dunno, didn’t they come around during the Greeks?” Taro offered. They were camped out in the suite living room with piles of brochures and books from the library, researching – Kai was researching, Taro was watching, mostly – their upcoming field trip.

“Oh.” She deflated a little bit. “Well, ‘the Greeks’ is a very long period of time. Maybe we can find some Ellehemaei artifacts somewhere.”

“You really think there are still artifacts to be found?,” Conrad asked dubiously.

“Why not? People are still finding Paleolithic tools.”

“Well, okay, yes, but I’d think Ellehemaei would have wanted to get all their stuff. Maybe not, I dunno,” he shrugged.

“It doesn’t seem likely that even an Ellehemaei archeologist would be perfect,” she shrugged, and went back to their itinerary. “What’s next, Taro?”

“Uh...” He glanced down, consulting a list. “Fort Leaton Historic Site. I’m guessing it’s a fort.”

“That would be likely, yes.” She dug through the papers. “It’s a ‘1848 adobe fortress and trading post.’” She wrinkled her nose. “With audiovisual displays. Why do people think learning has to be loud?”

“Hey, it makes people pay attention. So, fort with a/v, yeah, that could be interesting. What’s up next? Seminole Canyon Historic Site? What’s historic about it?”

“Probably the Seminole.” She flipped through the papers some more. “You like forts? Somehow, I’m not surprised.”

“Yeah? Why’s that?”

“You just…” she gestured vaguely. “Seem like the forty type? It looks like there’s some hiking, that’s neat, and American Indian rock paintings.” She grinned at him. “Rocks.”

“Rocks, yeah, yeah, I know. Hey, that stuff came in handy though. I got a few of those questions.”

“You did,” she smiled. “I’m pretty sure we startled most of the school with that.”

“We did pretty good I guess, huh?” Taro draped an arm over her shoulder companionably, reading the brochures.

She smiled at the arm. If he’d been like this when he was trying to date her… “I think we did pretty well,” she agreed. “And Renata gets her vacation.”

“Yeah. She might need it; I dunno what all goes on over there.”

“Hrm, we never did finish that. I should talk to Jaya before we leave on the trip, but she’s been a bit distracted lately.”

“Well, her cy’ree is rather distracting, y’know. Ivette, Magnolia... Mea...”

She grinned. “You’ve been finding Mea very distracting, haven’t you? Are you taking her to the dance?”

“Yeah, I am,” he nodded. “She’s a nice girl.”

“Good for you. You need a nice girl.”

“So, yeah, about this trip?” Taro said, changing the subject as he took his arm off of her. “What’s next?”

“National Museum of the Pacific War.” She glanced at the piles of papers, wondering if she’d overstepped. “Ooh, Admiral Nimitz. That should be fun. Renata will probably be bored, though.”

“You think? It’s a museum. Girls like museums.”

She laughed outright. “Some girls, some museums. I’m not typical in that regard. I wonder if any of Team Misfit is typical?”

“I’m not that far off. You girls... no, probably not.”

“Probably not,” she agreed. “Renata, maybe, but not the rest of us.”

“Do you even know how many people Renata’s dating, or which ones? I don’t.”

“I’d say being Kept down here is rather typical,” she pointed out. “I think…” she glanced over at Conrad. “Isn’t her Keeper, Mark, in your cy’ree?”

“Huh?” Conrad looked up from his book, having apparently stopped paying attention to them. “Oh. Mark’s not her Keeper. I think that crew has kind of passed her around? Eris was Keeping her at first, but she’s not anymore, I think it’s Rafe.”

“Hrmm.” She glanced at Taro. “We should mention to her that she might want to clarify matters for her friends.”

“Why?” Taro shrugged. “If she’s getting passed around, she’s getting passed around. Not every crew has the grace to change the Ownership when they do that.”

“Because her friends are worried about her.”

“Maybe they have a reason to? How would you feel, in that position?”

Kai bit her lip. “Passed around a crew? I think I’d hate it.” She shuddered. “No wonder she wants a vacation!”

“Anyone else in that crew going?”

“Eris, from cy’Pelletier.”

“Mm. One of her Keepers.” Taro shrugged again. “Oh well.”

Kai blinked at him. Oh, well?. She wasn’t sure what to say to that, so she looked back at their itinerary instead. “The Texas State Capitol? Hunh, architecture, Caity ought to like that.”

“Yeah, and then the... Mission San Antonio de Valero? What the heck is that?”

“A mission?” Kai suggested snidely.

“Okay, wiseass, but why do we care?”

She wasn’t feeling very charitable towards him right now. “It was made out of rocks?”

“Whatever,” he grumbled. “Next.”

“It’s the Alamo,” she explained, feeling more than a bit smug.

“The... well why didn’t they say so, instead of listing it as ‘Mission blah-blah’,” Taro said, throwing up his hands. “Sheesh.”

“It’s supposed to be educational, isn’t it?” She glanced up at Conrad, wanting to share her glee with someone else.

“Mm-hmm,” he nodded, without raising his eyes.

He wasn’t even paying attention! She sighed, loudly, and turned back to the list. “Yes. The Alamo. That ought to be full of souvenirs and trinkets.”

“It’ll be cool anyway, though,” Taro replied. “Better than... is this next thing actually a house?”

“Sebastopol House Historic Site?” She looked at the brochure. “It looks like it. Historic living, ‘Permanent exhibits include family furnishings, archeological artifacts from the site, as well as the building process and restoration of limecrete.’ Limecrete?”

“Oh, well.” Taro brightened up a little. “That could be cool then.”

“And you wonder why we tease you about rocks,” she laughed. “Limecrete, really?”

“Yeah, it’s... y’know, I bet they’ll explain it there. I don’t want to ruin it. After that, it’s a couple more battlefields in the far south?”

“Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Park, Port Isabel Lighthouse, Palmito Ranch Battlefield,” she read. “Sounds like it. I have to wonder at this list a little bit – it seems awfully martial.”

“Texas has a lot of martial history?”

“That makes sense, yes, but Dr. Regine picked this place on purpose. Do you think there’s some sort of Ellehemaei history there, or some sort of hidden message?”

“I guess we’ll find out. It’d be pretty cool, though, if it turned out Ellehemaei were kicking butt there back in the day.” He threw a couple of jabs in the air, in what he apparently imagined was imitation of heroes of old.

She giggled at him. “Like that? I mean, wouldn’t it be more like…” she mimicked the wooden-sword thrusts Sima had been practicing last Thursday. “Unless they had claws… rarr?”

“Oh, you’re fearsome,” Taro grinned, grappling with her playfully.

“Not yet,” she laughed, dodging his grapple. Compared to the Thorne Girls, she could see him coming a mile off. “But just you wait!”

“Yeah? Your friends are teaching you to kick butt, huh?” He feinted quickly, but far slower than Acacia, with a broad smile on his face.

“Not my friends,” she laughed, tapping his shoulder in a mock-hit. “But that’s the deal, yes.” At least that part, they’d been holding up.

“Still don’t trust ‘em farther than you can throw ‘em, then?”

“I may be naïve, but I’m not stupid. Besides, it’s clear what they want from me.”

“Really? It’s not that clear.”

“Well, Massima hasn’t exactly been coy…”

“Oh, man. She’s still barking up that tree? What’s it take to make a chick leave you alone, right, dude?” Taro turned towards the armchair where Conrad had been seated. “Conrad? Huh. Guess he must’ve wandered off somewhere.” Indeed, there was no sign of him in the room. His book was gone, indicating that he hadn’t merely gotten up for a moment. She hadn’t even noticed him leave.

She frowned, looking around as if that would somehow make him appear. He hadn’t been exactly friendly all afternoon, lost in his book. And it wasn’t all that long until they left, either, and then it would be two weeks where she didn’t see him at all.

Two weeks where he doesn’t see you at all. She blinked as it hit her, and stood, suddenly unsteady on her feet. “I think I ought to go find him.”

“I hardly think Sima got in here and spirited him away,” Taro said dryly. “Although there are worse fates anyway, really.”

She glared at him. “It would still be… still not be okay. And besides…” She kicked despondently at the pile of literature on the floor. “This is going to be fun, but I’m going to miss him.”

“Ohh. Well, yeah, I mean, we’ll miss everybody, but it’s only a couple weeks. It’s not like you’re never going to see him again.” Why did that offhand remark fill her with such a sense of foreboding?

Their field trip sites include:

Caprock Canyons
Fort Leaton State Historic Site
Seminole Canyon
Pacific War Museum
Texas State Capitol
The Mission San Antonio de Valero
Sebastopol House State Historic Site
Port Isabel Lighthouse


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