Chapter 2: Grief

Karone was trying to get her daughter, Paisley, down for her nap, but the baby kept screaming and crying. The new mother was exhausted, she went from a mother to a newborn to now a guardian to her niece and nephew who were still grieving the loss of their parents.

Zhane was working tirelessly trying to find the person who had done this to Andros and Ashley. Every lead turned into a dead end. Karone paced the floor as she walked over to Sabik, who was trying to do his homework. "Do you need help?" she asked.

"No," Sabik replied, pushing his data pad away, resting his chin on his arms.

She bit her lower lip, reaching out to stroke his hair when Sabik jerked his head away. Karone left the boy alone, taking Paisley upstairs to the nursery.

That night, Karone was sitting in the chair in the parlor staring at the holographic television that was off. She heard the door open and she knew her husband was home. "Karone?" Zhane called out.

"Your dinner is sitting on the table…cold…again," she replied, standing up.

"Don't…I'm too tired to deal with this," he told her as he removed his jacket.

"And I'm not?" Karone demanded, looking at him, "I'm here all day taking care of a four-week-old baby and two grieving children!"

Zhane looked at her. "I'm trying to find answers for those two grieving children," he told her.

"No, this has nothing to do with Sabik and Talitha, don't fool yourself into thinking that it is!" she answered as he walked into the dining room.

Zhane grabbed his plate off the table. "You didn't bother to at least cover it?" he asked.

"Why bother when you're just going to eat half of it and the rest is going into the waste chute?" she answered.

"Karone, stop," he told her.

Karone crossed her arms over her chest as Zhane put his plate into the heating station to warm it up. "He was my brother, she was my sister-in-law, I want to know the answers just as much as you do," she insisted.

"Then you should understand," he answered.

"I understand that we have two children who are trying to cope with the fact that we just buried their parents a week ago," she told Zhane with tears in her eyes.

Zhane let out a deep breath and looked at her. "What do you want from me?" he asked. Karone let out a quiet sob.

"I want my husband to hold me as I cry over the fact that I lost my brother forever. Ashley was my sister in every meaning of the word except for blood," she told him, her voice shaking, "They're gone and they're never coming back. I loved them and you loved them too so why can't you just hold me so I don't feel like I'm missing them alone?"

Zhane rested his hands on the counter. "Sabik and Talitha need you, Paisley needs her daddy. I need you, but you won't even look at us," she stated tearfully, "You drink in your study, you haven't even tried to smile to give those kids hope."

"You already said they're gone, Karone, what hope is there?" he asked.

"Those kids need to know that there's something worth living for. Andros and Ashley died…" she started to say.

"Ashley's death makes sense, Karone. Her injuries were too extensive nothing could've saved her. Andros…all he needed…" he trailed off for a second, "All he needed was a few weeks in the cryogenic chambers and he would've lived."

Zhane looked at her. "Why did he die?" he asked, "Andros didn't have to die, but he did. His death doesn't make sense!"

"You know the reason why," she replied, "His dying words said it all."

Zhane lowered his head and pressed his hand to his temple. "His children…their children…they needed him…they still need him," he insisted. Karone walked over and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. "He was my best friend..." he trailed off and the tears fell. Karone hugged him tighter as the tears fell onto his jacket. "They were both my best friends," he added.

"I know," she answered, "And I'm sorry."

Zhane let out a shaky breath. "I have to know who did this and why. I have to know," he insisted.

"No answer will never be good enough," she answered.

Zhane stepped out of her arms. "They have to pay for what they had done," he told her as he walked by her.

"Revenge won't bring them back!" she called to him, "My life has been based off death and revenge it does nothing but cause more pain!"

The study door slammed closed and Karone leaned against the counter as she wrapped her arms around herself, crying softly. She slid to the floor, wrapping her arms around her legs she pressed her forehead to her knees as she cried.

A month later, Karone was tucking Sabik and Talitha into bed. "Sweet dreams, starshines," she said smiling. She went to leave the room.

"Auntie Karone," Talitha called out.

Karone stopped and looked back at her. "Yes, sweetheart?" she asked.

"Why did mommy and daddy die?" Talitha asked.

"Someone killed them," Sabik said coldly.

"Sabik," Karone said to the boy gently, yet firmly.

Sabik closed his mouth, crossing his arms over his chest. Karone walked over, laying down beside her niece on the bed. "A very, very mean person captured your mommy and daddy and they…did mean things to them," Karone explained gently, "Your mommy was so tired from all the mean things so she closed her eyes and she went up to the stars."

"Then why did dad die? He had no reason to die," Sabik said bitterly.

Karone sat up and she held Talitha in her arms. She reached for Sabik, but he just moved further away on his bed. "Your dad, he loved your mommy very, very much. When us Karovans fall in love, truly fall in love, it is a bond that is inseparable," Karone explained.

"What does that mean?" Talitha asked.

"It means…you know how strong a chain is? You can pull and pull and it doesn't break?" Karone asked.

Talitha nodded her head slowly. "That's what it means. Your daddy loved your mommy so much that when she passed away, your daddy couldn't live without her. So he followed her to the stars," Karone explained.

"Dad loved mom more than us," Sabik said coldly.

"Sabik," Karone scolded him.

Sabik rolled onto his side and pulled the blankets over his head. "Your dad loved you very much too," Karone told Talitha, "He was just too sad to stay without mommy." Talitha nodded his head slowly. "But your mommy and daddy are always going to be right here," she added, pointing to her heart. Talitha smiled sadly and Karone kissed her forehead gently.

Talitha turned to the picture of Andros and Ashley when they were engaged. Andros was standing behind her with his arms around her waist. She was leaning into him with her forehead resting against his jaw. Their eyes were closed but they were smiling gentle smiles. "Night, mommy, night daddy," Talitha said softly. Karone got up and she turned the lights off, leaving the room.

One year later, Karone was folding baby clothes when she heard a familiar laugh making her look up. She saw Talitha sitting in front of the holographic television watching a holographic home movie.

"This is daddy with baby Tally," she could hear Ashley say.

Andros was sitting in a rocking chair, feeding a baby Tally. "How does it feel to hold a baby girl?" Ashley asked.

"She's perfect," Andros answered, "Both of them are perfect."

The view moved to a two-year-old Sabik playing with his toy spaceships. "And here's Sabik playing Power Rangers," Ashley said to the camera. Sabik looked up at the camera and smiled then holding his arms up to her.

Karone wiped her eyes and Talitha just watched with a small smile. Suddenly, the screen turned off. "Hey!" Talitha exclaimed.

"Let's watch something worth watching," Sabik answered, turning on a show.

"I was watching mom and dad!" Talitha told him reaching for the remote.

Sabik held it above his head when Talitha jumped up and grabbed it from him. "HEY!" he shouted, shoving her to the floor. Her head barely missing the glass coffee table.

"SABIK!" Karone shouted.

"She started it," Sabik answered.

"No, you started it, go to your room," she scolded him.

Sabik ran up to his room, slamming the door closed as Karone checked Talitha. "Why is he so mean about daddy?" Talitha asked tearfully.

"Sabik is just sad, sweetheart, that's all," Karone replied, "But he knows better than to push."

A few minutes later, Karone knocked on the door. "Sabik?" she called out.

"Go away! I don't want to talk," Sabik answered.

Karone stared into the dark room. "You know, you can come to me if you want to talk," she told him.

"I don't want to talk, I want to be alone," he replied.

Karone nodded her head slowly before closing the door again, leaving him alone in his room.