Distress Signal - 12/13/20


Blue paced back and forth within the captain's quarters as Lami directed her crew from up on high to shove off from the port of Kugane. She hadn't wanted to bother her friend- not while she was busy steering them through deep waters, but the Xaela had to talk to somebody, else she'd get devoured in her own thoughts. She stopped and stared at her cot before rushing and jumping on it, wriggling under the blankets as she pulled the linkpearl from under the pillow there.

Still unaccustomed to the little device, the Xaela nevertheless poked and prodded at it. “Tret…Tret! Are you there?” Blue made a makeshift nest from the blankets and sheets, her eyes wide as she waited for a response.


“Good morning, Lovely! Was just thinking about you! Derrick is being an ass this morning, so he gets fed last.”

Midmorning rose over the shroud and shined down on Moogle's Gift Mounts. Tret walked away from a thoroughly annoyed large chocobo with his basket of greens to visit more well behaved birds, chatting idly as he went

“How are things over there? Lami teaching you anything new yet, or are you still just jumping all over building's out there?”


Blue couldn't help but smile listening to Tret talk. It was always comforting, and she momentarily forgot what all had occurred a few bells before.

“Derrick will survive. He making the noise at you?” Blue fiddled with the linkpearl until it perched precariously near her ear, dropping down onto her belly and resting her head on her hands.

She didn't even know how to begin or where to start. She'd been found so easily before too- what if they were able to listen to what she said? The Xaela stifles a frustrated sigh before answering the hyur.

“Lami showed me how to teleport yesterday. Um..turns out I should have poked at the crystals back home some more. Think I'm still stranded out here for the time being till I can get someone to help me get back and attune with the ones near us.”

“I can imagine why you never liked the idea of it though.”


“Not yet. Imagine he'll start complaining in just a little while though. Naughty little shit.” Tret winced a little bit at the static as she toyed with the device until it fit in just right. He'd resume his work while he listened and replied “Oh yeah? Outstanding! Yeah, I know every time I've seen someone teleport places, they need either one of those big crystals, or they have one somewhere around their house. We'll have to make sure we pick one of those up when we move to the Beds, neh? Maybe go on a trip together and find all of them in the area. Mind you, I love the idea. But it just doesn't treat me so well. Between Ortheri and Eligor taking me for a ride, I think I'm pretty happy with taking my time going places.”


The was a long drawn out bit of silence after Tret spoke his piece.

“We're leaving Kugane today. I guess it's not safe here with the company I keep.”


“…You're keeping company with Lami, Dear. Right? The hell did she do to make it not safe?”


“She hasn't done anything. I'm just- I think it probably has more to do with my- our employer.” Blue fidgets. This was not her forte, and she definitely did not have a way with words as her mate did. She shuffles a bit in place and continues.

“Someone's been leaking information about racing strategies our birds use, and giving it to the competition.”

Blue peeked her head up from the blankets, earfins flicking at the the sounds of the crew shouting above her. She continued.

“…It's a pity too. It's really pretty out here Tret. I would have liked the chance to climb some of these big cherry trees. I bet they're just as fun as scaling buildings.”

“…In the morning, if you look close enough, it's almost as if the trees are burning.”


Tret allowed Blue to ramble on and on, not breaking stride for his morning feeding routine as news of chocobo espionage broke “Really now? I'm surprised to hear that… Want me to… talk to Boss Katering about that, or think it's being handled?”

He sighed as he reached the pen of his own bird, reaching up and patting the side of the Ala Mihgan purple beast's beak. Tret smiled happily at the idea of Blue bounding around in trees, but paused for a while at the last thing said. Looking around the mostly empty stables, he hesitantly replied

“…Burning, you say? That's…. How does the saying go? Red sky at night, sailor's delight, red sky in the morning, sailor's warning? Should ask Lami if I got that right. She may know a bit more about that type of thing, or I'm sure she'll want to hear about the possible omen! Better to be prepared for the worst than caught in a storm all alone, lovely.”


Blue found herself shaking her head even though she knew it wouldn't be seen. “I don't know much about it- only what I've heard. I think the boss is handling it right now, but I wonder if it might come back to bite us later on even though we just take care of the birds.”

“I'll ask Lami about it soon, I promise. She'll know better than I.” Blue was struggling. She couldn't figure out the words to say to explain everything that had happened and everything she had learned. She couldn't describe the worries festering in her heart or her desire to reach out to her sister more than ever. And then the further worry of endangering her as a result of her actions.

It was too much, and Blue stifled a sob, wiping at her eyes hurriedly.


“I almost got bit this morning. Or maybe I did. It's hard to tell. It's not bleeding just yet.”


“Shhhhh… Lovely… You know as well as I do when a bird bites you, you don't have to guess if it did or not. We've both been bit plenty. Just… Watch your fingers. Trust your gut. If the bird looks anxious or angry, don't run up and pet it anyway. And if you still don't know… ask yourself if I would do it.”

As Tret tried to console his wife, he ran both hands up through his hair, leaned back against the stall he was at, and slid down slowly to sit in the dirt. This was certainly not what he was expecting for her vacation. Tret might have to talk to the boss anyway. Or the boss's father. Maybe. Ellie seems a little cagey, might not like people poking into his business.


Blue closed her eyes and took a slow breath. He was right, though she would counter in a gentle somber jest,

“This bird didn't seem angry, but I had a feeling it was going to bite. I couldn't help it. I wanted to see for myself.”

“I know what you would have done. I thought about it the entire time. I just can't be you though.”

The Xaela sighed and wriggled in place a bit, settling into a sitting position with her arms clasped around her knees. With a frustrated cry, she suddenly dropped the act entirely.

“I need to protect my friends. It's foolish but I can't bring myself to walk away from this. That's the whole reason I came over here.” “It's drawn attention to me but what doesn't? And it doesn't matter anyway, not nearly as much as they do.”


“Blue. Deep breath. Take a nice deep breath. Knowing when to walk away from danger is just as important as knowing when to face it, maybe more.”

There might be a soft 'Thump' heard over the link. A few more of them followed, as Tret lightly banged his head against the stable door, running over the situation a few times and trying to make sense of it. Finally, he speaks again “… Hard to protect the herd if you've been wounded. Or worse. You're there to get stronger, lovely. Physically and mentally. If you throw yourself into a bad situation without planning, you'll likely just get hurt, not stronger.”


Blue dropped her head, mulling over her husband's words and gingerly tapping at the side of her cheek. “I thought maybe I could understand from the source. Everyone keeps trying to shelter me from this person and that person. I want to know what's going on and nobody will ever tell me- or nobody can. Makes it hard to protect anybody if I'm in the dark all the time.”


“Breaking down doors tends to put people on guard, Blue. You have a tendency to jump face first into the unknown, so of course people will want to hold you back from doing so. You know, I've found out many many things by pretending I'm not interested. Some people want you to play a game or do a dance, but if you refuse, you take their fun. Then you have the upper hand!”

Grunting softly, Tret got back to his feet and brushed himself off, turning to pat Ricard again. He spoke as if talking to the bird now, nodding slowly as he looked into the big dark eyes “Patience, lovely. You will not get stronger in a day. You will not learn the world in a week. Being reckless is for when you have no other options. Trust your gut. or at least trust mine. We've both seen enough burning mornings to know how to deal with storms.”


Blue snorted softly and rolled onto her side, stretching her arms out to swipe at the air.

“That's easy for you to say and much harder for me to do…but I'll…ease up.” Her latter words were spoken with very clear reluctance.

“Can't help anybody if I get myself into trouble beforehand…”

She managed a little smirk at his latter words and chuckled gently. “I almost feel like it was easier then. Just fight after fight, one after the other, till the bad guys are all gone.” The Xaela paused for a moment in thought, before continuing on. “But I could do things then I shouldn't do now. Maybe that's what made it easiest of all. No need for secrets or spies or any of the extra bits involved. Just stop the threat and be at peace till the next thing comes along.”


“Maybe. You forget how many nights I spent not sleeping, trying to make plans. Trying to make sure the bad guys stayed gone. Think of this as part of your growth, Love. Learn to slow down, make your actions count. Let other people run ahead to pet the angry chocobo. Learn from them, and look for better ways to approach.”


Blue pursed her lips.

“I'll try…but I cannot promise. If I think my involvement might help in any way, I've got to go with the risk. Even if I got bit today, maybe..maybe I've got something to show for it.” Her latter words were spiked with hopefulness.

“There were some things we couldn't make plans for. We just had to act. We just had to do and hope the right choice was made.”

Blue's voice lowered. “And I wouldn't be here if that rash decision hadn't been made. There's a time and a place for both.”


“Make good choices, dear. That's all I can really ask of you, being so far away. I know you have a flock to tend, but you've got one here at home that needs you too. Don't forget about us when taking those risks…”


Blue wouldn't say anything for a time, a look of guilt on her face.

I'd been so reckless with myself I didn't think of how he'd feel about it…I thought about what he'd have done in my situation but not why..he wouldn't have endangered himself like that, especially if I were waiting for him to return safely. .

Finally the Xaela nodded to herself and answered, clenching her hands together.

“I'll do better. I'm sorry..I won't forget.”


There was a warmth in his reply, the smile in his voice reaching leagues across the seas right into Blue's ear “No reason to be sorry, Blue. You're out there learning, and you'll come back a stronger woman for it. It sounds like you've got hard choices and difficult training ahead, but I believe in you. I love you, dearest.”

There was a loud WARK on the line, cutting the tender moment short and causing Tret to laugh and speak, but not to Blue now “Yes, yes, I love you too, Ricard. Now stop it, I'm trying to talk here!”


Blue couldn't help but smile herself. Through the linkpearl, faint little thumps could be heard on her end, but these were in the form of the Xaela's happy tail wags.

“Thank you for always believing, even when I stumble. I-”

The loud WARK came through on the other line, followed by Tret's retort, which left the Xaela giggling, her mood lifting.

“It seems like the birds are demanding your attention again. I'd better let you get back to it. I love you too! And more than Ricard does!”


“My darling Athool, of course I believe in you. You've certainly faced tougher challenges before and after we met. Just a difference in tools available. I'll always be your tool though.” Tret gave a short laugh and set his basket of food down, turning away from the chocobo for a moment “Give me another call tonight before you go to bed and we can talk about our day.”


“I'd rather not call you a tool, Love. I'd have to use you for much more than I ask of you now. You give me freedom and comfort and never stop supporting me. The cuddles are nice too, but maybe I wouldn't mind a larger house later on…” She teased playfully before plucking the linkpearl from her ear and staring at it fondly.

“Sounds like a good plan. I'll talk to you tonight. Don't work too hard! Goodbye..”

Reluctantly Blue tapped at the little device once more, checking and making sure it was off. He was good for lifting her spirits but the Xaela wasn't sure how long that would last for. She slipped the linkpearl back under her pillow and after a moments hesitation, walked out of her quarters in order to find Lami.


“Until later, Lovely!” Tret continued to smile, turning around as Blue's end went quiet. He reached up to playfully slap at the sides of Ricard's beak, cooing to the bird “Who's a good boy! Yes you are!” There was motion heard behind him, and the stablehand leaned in to lightly headbutt the bird's beak. As he did, he subtly slipped the pearl out of his ear and turned to greet his visitor. “Welcome to Moogle's Gift Mounts! Ah, hello there!”

The scene fades out on Tret spreading his hands towards a firey headed and masked lalafel that had come calling.

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