Julia Kee’s Thanksgiving

Author’s Note: I decided to take the topic in a new direction by showing something one of my characters is thankful for. I can’t show what Thanksgiving is like for Paul Harrison in Twinned Universes for fear of spoilers. Hopefully you’ll find this scene with Julia Kee, a minor character in the book, interesting. The next story in the Catalyst Chronicles will feature her. This scene was written especially for this blog.

Although Julia wanted to hurry her father into the Sagan’s mess hall, he stopped in the entryway to gawk at the mural. Yesterday it had shown a stretch of colorful fall foliage, but today it featured pilgrims gathered around a table groaning with roast turkeys and vegetables. There were a couple of Native Americans–not her tribe, since the Diné were far away from Plymouth–pictured off to the side, carrying in their bounty . Julia wondered how many of them would be invited to sit at the table. Certainly the women would be expected to serve the men. What a contrast to the crew of the spaceship; men and women mingled in the food preparation area, and all races and ethnic groups sat at the tables.

“How did they change the picture so quickly?” her father whispered to her in Diné.

“It’s called a holo.” Julia had to switch to English for the last word. “It’s not painted but made with light. Almost like a sand painting.”

“Strange.”

“Let’s get our meal.” She ushered him into line and grabbed trays for both of them. “I hear today they have fresh food and no rations!”

He cocked an eyebrow. “For that, I could have stayed on our own Earth.”

Her throat tightened. Dad hadn’t wanted to come with her at first, on this possibly one-way journey to Mom’s universe. Maybe it was selfish to want him with her, but Julia trusted him more than she did Mom. And she needed her parents to wake her up when she used her quantum quirk.

“Happy Thanksgiving, Julia and Mr. Kee!” Cass grinned as she collected double portions of turkey with gravy, roasted squash, mashed potatoes, and some other dishes that smelled like nothing Julia had ever eaten. She must be bringing everything back to her family suite. Too bad. Julia would have liked a chance to talk to Paul again. They had the quantum quirk in common, and she wouldn’t have minded studying his sharp jaw and intense blue eyes for a few hours….

“Have you heard the news?” Cass asked.

“About Paul?” Julia said before she could stop herself.

Cass rolled her eyes. “No news there: he’s still a pain. No, about Professor Sanchez.” She drew closer to Julia, bumping her and making her slosh gravy over her squash. “The officers found out about his other program, the one you were in,” she whispered. “They want to shut it down.”

Julia’s heart beat faster. “Do they know about me?”

“They know you were enrolled in SPUGS, like us, and that’s why you’re on the Sagan. But they don’t know you have the quantum quirk. Scott erased that from the records.”

Julia sighed with relief. Now maybe no one else would try to exploit her for her talent.

Cass grimaced as she shifted her two trays toward the display of pie slices. “Could you help me bring these back to the suite? They’re too heavy for me to manage both.”

“Sure.” Maybe if she was lucky she could get a glimpse of Paul. “Just let me and Dad find a table first.”

Freedom, a new world to explore, new friends…Julia had a lot to be thankful for this year. Now if only she got to talk to Paul and have dinner with both of her parents talking to each other, her Thanksgiving Day would be just as happy as anyone else’s.

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