Kapact watched the embers from his estate flying up into the sky and thought briefly about how long the property had been in his family. Centuries by human reckoning. So far back that exact records didn't exist. Then he turned to his son. "You have to understand, I was on a mission. It wasn't going well. None of them go well these days. But we still needed to function, and in order to function we needed to sleep. And in order to sleep, sometimes I needed the drink. Some of the younger crew, the unmarried crew found other ways to release the tension. But I didn't have any of that of course. And your mother couldn't have known and I wouldn't have told her." He avoided Kat'lya's eyes while discussing such things. He knew what he needed to know about biology, and his relations with the boy's mother weren't up for discussion. "Anyway, we were losing a battle and I called for a retreat. That's why I was declared a coward and beaten in the Aisa ceremony."
"Dad it doesn't matter."
Kapact felt the young eyes on him and he continued to look away. "It does matter. It matters to me, for where I'm going next and what I have to do. And it matters to you because you have to live here with my name attached to you. And it matters to her, because it cost her her life." Kapact felt his son's eyes boring into the back of his head, and finally he turned because he had no choice. "The Yeshai meteor shower begins in two days. That's when we'll say goodbye to her."
Two days later, Kapact was in the last place he wanted to be, seeing something he thought he'd never see again. Her. "Why am I here?" He demanded. "Why is she here?" He looked down at her, nearly wrapped in the ceremonial fur that would accompany her to the Yeshai asteroid field. And yet, he'd thought of her as a thing. No longer his wife. No longer the mother of his child. Just a thing that used to be a woman that he'd loved. The wife of a disgraced officer.
"I'm sorry, Captain. There's a complication." The doctor stood next to the pastor , who somehow seemed to silently look down on Kapact from his diminutive height. The woman doctor cleared her throat with a sound like a growl. "Were you aware that your wife was pregnant?"