After lifting off and flying away from the house, she broke into a wide smile. She was free. He'd never hurt her again!
She decided she'd fly to the other side of the planet, rent a motel room for a couple weeks, and decide where to go next. Her lawyer had served her husband with divorce papers via small-screen while he was at work mere moments before she'd left. All he had to do was sign.
C'tarhah wanted no alimony. All she wanted was her maiden name and freedom from her abusive husband.
Six hours after leaving the house, she arrived at a motel. She signed in under an assumed name.
After settling into her room, she contacted her lawyer. Her husband had signed the divorce papers and the judge had already signed the decree.
She was now legally divorced, free from her abuser!
C'tarhah heaved a huge sigh of relief, then went into the bathroom and heaved into the toilet. What she hadn't told her now ex-husband, or even her lawyer, was that she was three and a half months pregnant.
She'd been determined her ex-husband wouldn't find out she was carrying his child. It was the only way to guarantee he'd be out of her life forever. She'd told herself she'd find a way to support her child and herself.
C'tarhah ordered dinner, deciding to order beef pasta soup, a dipped beef sandwich, fried potato wedges, cold cabbage salad, and caramel iced coffee. For dessert she treated herself to a slice of cherry Apkha.
Turning on the room's large-screen, she took her shoes off and relaxed on the bed. She watched the news then her favorite game show.
By the time her game show was almost over, her food arrived. She relaxed and enjoyed her dinner, then watched a few more shows.
Eventually, C'tarhah took a nice hot, relaxing bath. Afterwards she put her pajamas on and got into bed. Within ten minutes she was sound asleep, snoring softly.
The next morning she slept in until 10. After putting on a blue tank top, matching athletic shorts, and what had been called flipflops centuries earlier, she walked to a local Venutian restaurant for brunch and thoroughly enjoyed her pancakes, bacon, toast, and iced coffee.
Next she went to the nail salon down the street from the restaurant. She had decided to treat herself and enjoy some pampering.
She relaxed in the salon's pedicure chair, especially enjoying the chair's massaging feature. She chose bright purple polish for both her fingernails and toenails, plus a design with rhinestones.
Afterwards she stopped at a coffee shop for a large caramel iced coffee then walked back to the motel. She relaxed for abit, finished her coffee, then got in her pod and flew to a megamart.
While there she bought clothes for both herself and her baby, makeup, baby items, and snacks, then flew to a nearby restaurant for dinner after paying her bill.
After dinner, she flew back to the motel and relaxed the rest of the night.
The next morning C'tarhah decided to get down to business and decide where she was going to live. Yesterday had been her day to relax and decompress, but today was for deciding her and her baby's future.
She wasn't sure if she should stay on Skikahr, her home planet, move to another planet in their territory, or move somewhere else altogether. She'd always been afraid of flying in space but, at the same time, was extremely curious about other alien races. Aliens intrigued her, and always had. She didn't know why; they just did.
Humans, especially, intrigued her. They intrigued her every bit as much as Cardistanians, Dehmos, Bimrettans, Katchiks, Nebulans, and Marutans did, if not more. She didn't know anyone from any of those empires and federations however, which would make her search and, ultimately, her final decision tougher.
Her federation was allies with all those empires and federations, but she wasn't sure which would be the best fit for her and her unborn child.
She spent her day researching and sending messages to various embassies on her planet regarding housing, jobs, medical care, pregnancy and post-partum care, and requirements for citizenship.
C'tarhah took breaks only for meals. She wanted to make a decision as soon as possible in case she needed to arrange transportation if she decided to move somewhere other than her home planet.
By process of elimination, she decided she wouldn't stay on Skikahr. She was still undecided about staying in her federation's territory. Unused to other species, she decided to keep that option as her Plan B, especially if she couldn't afford transportation to other territories.
Early the next morning, C'tarhah started receiving responses. They were all polite and very welcoming. She read them all with an open mind. She didn't have a real preference where she wanted to end up. She just wanted to live where it would be best for her and her child.
The Nebulans were very interested in her. They were somewhat newer allies. They were a small but ancient spacefaring race. They had a deep space station two hours from one of their planets, C'olumbh, and the Ambassador's attaché thought she'd be perfect for the station.
They needed a medical esthetician there. She'd be the Federation's first medical esthetician assigned to a space station or vessel. She'd also be given a rank with a very good salary. She and her child would both be given Nebulan citizenship, as well as planetary citizenship on C'olumbh. They'd have dual Skikahren and Nebulan citizenship.
The station was literally a city in space, and was family-friendly. C'tarhah could raise her unborn child there, and they'd be fully accepted despite not being Nebulan.
She was very interested. Not only would she not have to look for an apartment and a job, but she was basically being given an apartment for free and a job without having to go job hunting on an alien world she knew very little if anything about!
C'tarhah decided she needed to pursue this more. She messaged the attaché. She asked for more info and if they could possibly speak via live stream. An hour later she received a live stream request from the attaché. She pressed Accept and, one minute later, the attaché appeared onscreen.
The attaché was slender with ridges on the bridge of her nose and temples, pointed ears and black eyebrows that angled up. She had chestnut hair that hung down to her shoulders.
"Hello, Ma'am. I'm C'tarhah B'etkha. Thank you for the request. I'm very interested in your proposal. I do have a few questions though. My main question is how would I get there? Also, are there any cultural things I should know about Nebulans that can't be found on GalaxySearch?", asked C'tarhah.
"Well since you'd be part of the station crew, we'd either send a freighter to pick you up and bring you there, or we'd request a Skikahren freighter to take you there. Either way it'd take a few days before you'd leave.
"There are a few things we do differently in our culture. Mostly they have to do with diet and manners. I can send you a file that explains it if you'd like. If you choose to join us, you can stay here at the embassy and I can explain everything while getting your citizenship and banking documentation ready.", she replied.
After a little more conversation, the stream ended.
She thought long and hard about her choices. After looking over all the messages and thinking about what the attaché had told her, she decided to take the Nebulans up on their offer.
The next day she packed her belongings, checked out of the motel, and flew two hours to the Nebulan embassy. After stopping at the front desk, she was escorted to the attaché's office.
"It's so nice to finally meet you in person, C'tarhah! Welcome!", the attaché exclaimed, extending her right hand.
C'tarhah hesitated slightly, since shaking hands as a greeting wasn't done in Skikahren culture, and was actually considered rude, but then extended her right hand as well.
The two ladies shook hands, then the attaché motioned for her to sit down on her couch so they could chat.
The attaché's secretary brought in a tray of assorted Apkhons and herbal tea for them, then politely left the room.
"Oh you're expecting a baby! Congrats! How far along are you?", asked the attaché, noticing her baby bump.
"Three and a half, almost four months. My doctor says it looks like the baby will be big since I'm showing this much at this point.", C'tarhah replied, patting her bump.
"How wonderful! I'm so happy you've decided to join us. I've spoken with our Ambassador, and he's arranged for a Skikahren freighter to take you part of the way there.
"The Skikahren freighter will meet up with a Cardistanian freighter at the border. That freighter will take you on through Cardistanian and Dehmo territories.
"It will then meet up with one of our freighters, and our freighter will take you the rest of the way to the station.
"The Skikahren freighter will be here the day after tomorrow. We'll put you up in a small apartment on our embassy grounds until then.
"I need you to fill out these forms for both your account and citizenship application.
"Once they're filled out we'll get your money card activated, and the Ambassador will be in to administer the oath of citizenship.", she said, handing her a small-screen.
C'tarhah filled the forms out and handed the small-screen back to her, then took a bite out of another Apkhon and had a sip of her hot tea.
Afterwards the Ambassador arrived and administered the citizenship oath to her. C'tarhah was now both a Skikahren and Nebulan citizen. Her baby would receive Nebulan citizenship upon birth.
She was given her account information and money card at that point. As a surprise, she was given a small bonus for joining the station. Every new crewmember received the bonus when they joined. It had already been loaded onto her card.
She was then escorted to her apartment by the attaché. The attaché said they'd arrange for the sale of her pod after she left for the station, and the proceeds would then be deposited into her account immediately. She'd have use of the pod until then.
The next day C'tarhah relaxed in anxious anticipation of the long journey she would be embarking on in the morning. She went out for a steak dinner, stopped at a local grocery store for snacks, then flew to her apartment.
She slept well that night, dreaming of her baby and what their new life was going to be like.
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