Ilya hugged herself against the cold, sterile air of what she assumed was Lukas’ sleeping quarters. He had locked her in as soon as he had cut off communication, and assumed it would be her cell for the duration of her trip. The room seemed empty; nothing but four smooth, blank walls with a low, oversized bench that felt solid when she first sat down, but quickly gave and shaped its cushioning to hug the contours of her body. She had watched him rummage through a few compartments that slid seamlessly back into the wall, just as the door sealed seamlessly before her when he left. The room was an opaque gray. Something about the light that emanated from the walls gave her the impression the color could be changed if he wished.
Staring blankly before her, she passed the hours alternating between needling fear, sudden rages at Cael, then Alberich, then herself, pangs of homesickness and then, often, boredom.
The first time she saw a silver pack squeeze its way into existence through the wall and drop to the floor, Ilya was too scared to touch it. Hours later, as she began to doze, a second pack dropped down. Stomach growling, she forced herself to investigate. The sealed metallic, pack was about the size of her hand. She was able to tear away one edge and squishing it between her fingers, pushed out a very unappetizing, brown ribbon of paste. She sniffed it; nothing.
Well, she thought, it’s either this or starve. If Lukas was going to poison her, there wasn’t much she could do about it.
The paste had a richness to it, but she couldn’t identify a particular flavor. She sucked down the first pack and hid the second in the pocket of the blue, traveling jacket she had wrapped around her. With her stomach satisfied, other needs started to demand her attention. Her thirst she could ignore for a while longer, but her bladder was painfully full already. She waited as long as she could and was dancing in the middle of the room when she finally had to try to speak up.
“Um…” her voice was small and childlike to her own ears, “I, ah… hate to bother you… Lukas? But I need to… relieve myself?” She really hoped he could hear her. Ilya looked around the small room, helplessly. “I don’t know if I’m supposed to….”
The wall to her right silently became concave in one spot about a third of the way up from the floor. The bottom ridge smoothly rounding out a little; not enough to provide a seat, but maybe enough to… Oh. Ilya tried to suppress a feeling of embarrassment as she wriggled out of her payjama pants. With the possibility of relief so close, her bladder was about to pop; so embarrassment would have to be dealt with later. She squat back against the wall and tried to fit herself over the hole as completely as possible. It took an agonizing moment before she could relax enough, and then let out a loud satisfied sigh.
“Ahh… Bhaga, for the love of all that is good and holy, thank you.” She felt ridiculous, and hid her face in her hands. She tried to pull away after finishing but found herself stuck. “What… Ah!” She felt a breeze and then a cold flush.
Another breeze and the wall let her go. She fell forward and pulled her pants back on as quickly as possible. The wall was flat and seamless when she looked back up again.
Ilya officially hated space travel.