Amelia’s ‘fresh’ start quickly fell to routine. She forced herself to get up after she woke, even when she wanted nothing more than to sleep the day away. The alternative, she knew, was worse.

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Then, after a quick breakfast she tended the garden. Gone were the days when the plants died from neglect. She watered and weeded them anytime they looked dry or needed attention. And in return they grew and flowered. She spoke to them as often as she worked.

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The sound of her voice helped keep the ship’s noises at bay and the plants seemed to sparkle when she spoke to them. They helped balance her. It was good to know she wasn’t the only creature alive. The plants responded to her care, by evolving into better versions of themselves, growing plumper berries and bigger blossoms.

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Amelia painted often, letting her brush do the majority of the work. Following lines where they ended. Picking colors on a whim. If she tried to control the picture, the results were uninspiring. It was therapeutic to empty her psyche onto the blank page.

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She missed her father. He had always been there for her. When she’d gotten scared the first time they’d docked at Endion Station, he’d been there. She’d been what, five at the time, eight? He’d held her close and made her feel safe again.

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Then he’d made her favorite, grilled cheese sandwiches with gouda and homemade bread. Everything her father made tasted delicious. The next day when she’d returned to the station, the people hadn’t scared her because she knew he would take care of her.

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But Amelia needed to take care of herself now. That meant she needed to stop getting by on yogurt and cereal. Even when she made an occasional salad, there was something missing. All the nutrients were guaranteed, but the warmth, the soul, love, was missing. It was time to reclaim her heritage.

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According to the recipe’s instructions grilled cheese wasn’t that hard to make. She watched the stove carefully, trying to avoid the red-hot burner. If she injured herself, she’d have to take care of it herself.

She face her fears.

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Her first attempt at cooking turned out more than okay. Not excellent, but it showed promise. And Amelia was glad she tried. The warm cheese warmed her soul in a way no yogurt could. Filling her mind with new ideas and dreams.

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She knew who she had to thank.

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“Daddy,” Amelia said. “Thank you. I know the stove is dangerous and I promise to be careful. But I’m older now. And…and I want to be as good a chef as you someday! I’ll keep trying.”

She was true to her word and the very next day instead of cereal she decided to try another Echo Family favorite: scrambled eggs and toast.

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While not a success, it wasn’t a failure either.

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“You know, I think my dad would be proud of me. After all this time, I’m learning a new skill. I’m evolving too!”


Chapter 4: In Charge >


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