Below is part of Chapter One of Alien Hybrid, the science fiction that has just been finished. Come back for more info.
At Wellington, New Zealand's Victoria University graduation ceremony, the tall blonde woman was one of the last graduates to receive her doctorate degree at the for two reasons; her surname came near the end of the alphabet and she was being conferred one of the highest degrees of the evening, that of Doctor of Philosophy. At twenty-two she was also one of the youngest scholars to reach this level, not she really shared her mother's pride at this achievement. To her it was just a stepping-stone in life and the sapphire gown and somewhat oversized bonnet with a golden tassel having to be placed on the left after receiving it was almost a childish tradition.
"Doctor Kali Valerie Whitmore," the professor that she knew through her studies announced over the public address system.
Kali grinned at the graduate behind her, a man thirty years older than herself, and stepped out onto the stage. It was exactly nineteen steps across to where the university chancellor stood with the scroll and bonnet in his hand. She glanced out at the sea of faces but didn't really expect to see her mother or partner where they were seated a quarter of the way back in the theatre.
"Congratulations, Doctor Whitmore," the chancellor said as he handed her the scroll case and placed the bonnet on her head. "You should be proud to be our youngest graduate ever to receive this esteemed degree."
"Proud, Chancellor Osborne?" she replied as she looked into the elderly man's eyes. "I am. However, it is not for myself but of my mother who did so much to support me. Without her love and guidance, I doubt if I'd be here today."
"Quite so," the chancellor replied and gave a slight bow of his head.
Kali did everything according to the protocol and continued her journey across the stage with the applause turning into whistling and cheers from the audience. Her face burned in embarrassment for she did not expect more than the usual polite clapping that the other doctorates had received. Perhaps it was because her friends were her own age, not older adults who associated with her graduating companions. She reached the curtain on the left and was about to step down the side steps when a man in dark suit stepped towards her.
"Doctor Kali Whitmore?" he asked in a cultural voice.
Kali smiled at the unfamiliar title and replied. "Yes."
"There is nothing personal but you cannot be allowed to continue..."
The tone was frigid and everything happened so quickly that Kali had no chance to defend herself. She saw the long stiletto knife flash and felt a blade pierce the inside of her left beast. She glanced down in horror as dark red blood oozed out over her graduation gown. Only the still shaking silver handle showed so the blade must be imbedded deep inside her. The pain arrived, she gasped, staggered, grabbed a nearby curtain and dropped... her last memory was that the curtain came with her as she dropped and the world became a fog of spinning purple.
"Kali, my darling. Did your eyes twitter?"
She knew the voice but it was so far away it seemed as if it was echoing through a cave, a cave of swirling white mist. It was so cold... no it was hot and steamy. She gasped and tried to force her eyes open. They felt like lead... now that was a ridiculous comparison. Everyone knew that lead was a poisonous metal and anyway, nobody should use lead as a symbol of something heavy. Tungsten would be far better. After all it had a density of 19.25 grams per cubic centimetre whereas lead was only 11.35.
"Are you trying to say something, Sweetheart?"
Kali forced her eyes open as if she was plying up an over-tight spring. Everything focused. She saw pale pink walls, stainless steel machinery, a glowing monitor flickering three horizontal bar graphs and a round tanned face, blue eyes and blonde hair. The lips looked distraught and tears rolled down the woman's face. It was her mother!
"Don't cry, Jade," she whispered. She had always called her mother by her forename since she was about ten. It was just logical to do so.
Her sentence had the opposite effect. Jade reached forward, hugged her, burst into sobbing uncontrolled tears and for a moment could not speak.
"I'm fine Jade. The graduation... Is there still time to go to the dinner reception?" She grinned. "I guess it doesn't matter. Wesley hates those formal dinners. He..." She wriggled up her pillow as her sobbing mother let her go. Jade blew her nose. "Something happened, didn't it?"
Her mother nodded. "You're in the Acute Care Unit at Wellington Hospital."
"But why, Jade?"
"Your graduation... can't you remember?"
Kali coughed, swallowed and shook her head. She remembered receiving her scroll and that silly bonnet, walking across to the opposite side of the stage, walking down the steps and… wait a minute... she never reached the steps. It came back! "A man attacked me, didn't he?"
"Yes," Her mother began to sob again. "The knife pierced your heart. I thought you had died."
"Pierced my heart?"
"Normally it would be fatal. Nobody understands why you aren't dead. You went in a coma but didn't die. It was just a coma, from which the doctors told me you would never awaken." Jade blew her nose again. "But I knew you would. It's your genes…" She stood up. "But you're awake and will soon be home. I know that."
Kali glanced around. "Where's Westley?" she asked.
"At work. We take it in turns to come and sit with you. I'll text him. He'll be thrilled."
"Has he been called back from the holiday? With Christmas only two weeks away you'd think the company would leave him alone?"
"Oh Kali, it is April. You've been in a coma for almost five months." Jade reached over, kissed her on the cheek and stepped back. "I'll text Westley."
Kali's mind was in a whirl as she watched her mother reach for her mobile. Five months! How could this be so?