Voyages of the Cerberus episode 46: The Absurd Adventure of the Baron and Hyper

“On a small planet in the deepest depths of space, was a thriving civilisation. In this civilisation, the great aristocrat, Baron Wolfgang Andres von Erstein, saw to the daily needs of  the populace.”

“The Baron was a wise and just leader, even standing up to the monarchy when needed. All the people loved him. One day, he was going through the streets for his daily walkies when a small patched kitten caught his attention.”

“‘Excuse me, Sir,’ the kitten said. ‘Could you possibly spare some food for a poor cat who staved off curiosity at the cost of his home?'”

“The Baron’s entourage didn’t like this. ‘Damned Free-loader!’ They cried. ‘How dare you beg for favours from the Baron!'”

“‘Stop right there!’ The Baron ordered, with a resounding bark. He looked kindly at the kitten. ‘What’s your name, Lad?'”

“‘My name is Hyper, Sir,’ The Kitten stated.”

“‘Well, Hyper,’ the Baron said. ‘I could give you a bit of food or I can bring you to my mansion to serve as my Page. I can promise, you’ll never go hungry then.'”

“Hyper looked up to the baron with a mischievous wink in his eyes. ‘Beg pardon, Sir,’ he said. ‘But I don’t think writing would show up very well on me.’ He mewled out a soft laugh. ‘Very well, I’ll go with you.'”

“So it came to pass that young Hyper joined the Baron as his Page. For a while, all was well until, one day, a battered young sentry, a large adorable Husky, burst into the Baron’s conference room.”

“‘Baron,’ she bowed. ‘It’s terrible. Our borders are under attack! You must see the Queen and find us more troops.'”

“‘Please, calm down,’ the Baron said, keeping his voice kind. ‘How many do the enemy number?'”

“‘Just one, Sir,’ she reported. ‘But it’s a truly terrible enemy. A giant, squeaky clown!'”

“‘Those clowns are always up to funny business,’ Hyper stated.”

“‘A formidable foe indeed,’ Wolfie said. ‘Take her to the infirmary and lick her wounds. I’ll go to the borders and deal with this threat personally.'”

“‘Your eminence!’ His guards howled. ‘Let us deal with it. You stay here where it’s safe.'”

“The Baron shook himself. ‘No, I will go. You must stay here and prepare a defence, in case I fail.'”

“He began walking to the door when a voice rang out. ‘Wait! I’ll come too!’ Hyper ran to the Baron’s side. ‘I won’t be much good here. So, let me repay your kindness by helping with this.'”

“Wolfie thought about it for a moment and, finally, gave his assent. The two travelled to the border, seeing the devastation left in the wake of their great enemy. Wolfie put his nose to the ground and found his scent.”

“‘He’s close!’ Wolfie barked. ‘This way!’ The two hurried. The clown was just starting to delve into their kingdom, causing the peasants to flee in terror.”

“The two faced him courageously, though he was a very large clown and they were so very small. The Baron struck first, sinking his adorable little fangs into the clown’s leg. The clown flailed, mightily, but the Baron refused to give in. He held firm. Hyper scrambled up a tree, leaping onto the clown’s back and digging into it with his claws.”

“The clown went still for a moment and threw them off with a sudden burst. Hyper got to his feet first and slashed at the clown, determined to protect his friend and master. The clown squeaked, but kept coming.”

“‘Hyper!’ the Baron called. ‘Give me a boost!’ He ran towards Hyper. The small kitten spread out, letting the baron leap off of him. Wolfie brought his teeth around the clown’s throat, tearing his fluff right out and ending the threat.”

“‘We sure knocked the stuffing out of him!’ Hyper declared.”

“‘Indubitably,’ Wolfie agreed, letting out an adorable yawn. ‘Come, let us return home. It’s time we rested.’ So, the two went back to the Baron’s home and rested in a cute little pile of fluff.”

“Do you always make up stories like that about Wolfie?” Farah asked.

“Just when it strikes my fancy,” Grace said. “Sorry, did it bother you?”

“No, I liked it,” Farah said. “They do look cute sleeping like that.” She nodded toward Wolfie and Hyper, sleeping cuddled up together. “I almost hate to take Hyper back to my quarters.”

“You don’t have to,” Grace said.

“You don’t mind watching him?” Farah asked.

“Well,” Grace began. She rose from her seat and moved over to Farah and gently kissed her lips. “I was more thinking that you don’t have duty right now. You could stay.”

Farah’s face flushed. “I… I…”

“Do you not want to?” Grace inquired.

“It… Well… I…” Farah struggled for the words.

Everyone to the conference room. Ophelia’s voice announced.

“Damn,” Grace muttered. “Just when it was about to get good.” She held out her hand. “Shall we?”

Farah reached out and held her hand. The two hurried to the conference room.


“Yujin,” Ophelia said, indicating the image of a projected planet. “It’s been embroiled in nearly a century of a world war.”

“Don’t tell me we’re going there as mercenaries,” Kat stated.

“No,” Ophelia said. “We won’t be fighting unless we have to.”

“Our mission,” Lucy added. “Is to find a particular soldier, Thol Olison. His family holds a lot of influence.” She moved over to the projection and touched it, causing it to zoom in to a close-up of the area she touched. “He went missing in this area during a sortie.”

“He’s probably dead as shit,” Allison said.

“Probably,” Ophelia agreed. “But no one saw him die and they didn’t find a body. Our job is to find the proof of his death or to find him if he’s alive. Right now, the area is pretty definitively under the control of the Guyoin faction. If it stays that way, we should be able to finish the job without much trouble.” She looked around at them. “Time will be of the essence.”

“We’ll have four teams,” Lucy said. “Grace, Paul and Ophelia will stay here, monitoring communications and running support. The rest of us will be on search teams. Farah and Yuri, Allison and I, Leon and Kat.”

“If we see any signs that the area’s going to become a battleground again, I’ll order you all to abandon the mission and return as fast as possible,” Ophelia said. “Be careful down there.”

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Voyages of the Cerberus episode 45: Allison and Paul tell their Tales

Farah held her new kitten.

“Be sure to have the Doctor give him his vaccinations when we get back,” Kat said.

“Oh, I will, definitely,” Farah said.

“What is your feline called?” Yuri asked.

“Hmmm, let me think,” Farah mused, holding the kitten in front of her. “Hyper. I’m going to call him Hyper.”

“I wonder if he’ll get along with the Baron,” Allison wondered. “You might have some trouble with Grace over this.”

“They’ll get along,” Farah said. “Hyper and Wolfie are both very sweet.” They rode in silence for a few minutes.

“Hey, Allison, I’ve been wondering,” Farah said. “How did you lose your peace-keeper job?”

“Curious about me?” Allison asked. “I don’t blame you, but be careful that you don’t make your girlfriend jealous.”

“Grace isn’t even here,” Farah said. “And if she was I don’t think she’d mind my asking.”

“Wasn’t talking about Grace,” Allison said, gesturing towards Kat. “You naughty girl, you.” She shrugged. “My story isn’t as interesting as some of the others. Basically, I pulled a prank on my boss that made him look like a jackass in front of the superintendent.”

“What kind of prank was it?” Farah asked.

Allison giggled. “All right, get this. I rigged the executive bidet to spray chocolate syrup instead of water. So, he goes to use it and comes out with his trousers around his ankles and his junk coated with the stuff.” Allison burst out laughing, regaining her ability to speak after a few moments. “Right when the superintendent came in for a surprise inspection.” She burst out laughing, tapping her chair with her hand. Yuri and Farah both laughed as well.

After the trio calmed down, Farah spoke again. “Your file said you caused a bunch of damage with your pranks.”

“The file is a damned liar,” Allison snorted. “Leave it to the Alliance to start mislabelling quirky and delightful as ‘immature and reckless’ just because you embarrass one bigwig.”

“I do not believe that was appropriate workplace behaviour,” Yuri stated. “Regardless of how humorous it was.”

“Maybe not,” Allison conceded. “But still totally not even close to what they said I did.”

“We’re docking,” Kat called back.


Allison and Yuri said goodbye to the other two and headed towards the crew quarters.

“You want to have a little nightcap in my quarters?” Allison asked, winking.

“That is not the proper protocol,” Yuri stated. “I am sorry.”

“Protocol?” Allison asked. “What protocol?”

“Courtship protocol,” Yuri stated. “Grace informed me. A lady must attend at least ten dates with her partner before engaging in private meetings with them in one of their quarters.”

“T… ten dates?” Allison asked. She thought for a moment. “Then how about we go to your quarters? You’re sharing with Grace, right? So, the Baron can watch us.”

“I was explicitly told that canines are not proper chaperones,” Yuri said. She bowed. “Thank you for a pleasant time.” She moved over to Allison and gently kissed her lips before going into her quarters, alone.


Farah waited in the medical bay for Paul to return. She’d called for him and he’d promised to be there shortly. He was true to his word. She waited less than five minutes.

He glanced at Hyper. “Shots, correct?”

“That’s right,” Farah said.

“Just be careful about picking up strays,” Paul chided.  He checked Hyper with his instrument. “It looks like he’s just fine, but strays can be considerably more dangerous than they look. Keep that in mind, young lady.”

“I will,” Farah said. She held Hyper while Paul gave him his shots.


“You need something further?” Paul asked.

“Well, it’s just that I still don’t know the truth about how you lost your license,” Farah said. “I was really curious about it but I was afraid to ask you for a while. Sorry.”

“There’s no need to apologise,” Paul said. “It’s really my fault. I was short with you and Kat when we first met.” He sighed. “You’re curious because I was sent to Ca’urrg to help with the outbreak and the Alliance stripped me of my license in spite of them getting their cure, correct?”

Farah nodded. “It just seemed like a total success. So it’s weird that they’d do that.”

“The truth is that I’m a traitor to the Alliance,” Paul said. “My public objective was to help cure the outbreak. However, I also had a confidential mission. I was to find the cure and use it as leverage to secure mining rights for the Alliance. You can imagine their bewilderment when the Ca’urrs were cured and they didn’t have those rights.”

“Oh, so that was it,” Farah said. “How come you didn’t get the rights?”

“Because I’m a doctor,” Paul said. “The Ca’urrs guard their rights very strongly. They would have resisted the deal and a lot of them would have died. I couldn’t let my patients die, not when I had the cure for their ailment.”

“Of course not,” Farah said. “But I don’t get why they didn’t arrest you.”

“Because it would have revealed their true motives,” Paul said. “Which would have made them look really bad. To avoid that, they offered me a deal. They’d drop the treason charge if I accepted the revocation and didn’t say anything about my true mission.”

“I see!” Farah declared. She rose from her seat, still carrying Hyper. “Thanks for telling me, Doctor.”

“You’re very welcome,” Paul said. “Take good care of your new friend.”

“I will!” Farah nodded. “Thanks.”

She headed out of the medical bay and towards her quarters. Grace was in the hall when she arrived. Grace looked up at her and then down to the floor.

“Farah,” she muttered.

“Is something wrong?” Farah asked. “You sound upset.”

“Is it true that Kat… nibbled your ear?” Grace asked.

“It was just to throw some guys off of our trail!” Farah protested. “I’m sorry. Please don’t be mad.”

“I’m not mad,” Grace said. “I’m just jealous. Don’t mind it.”

“You shouldn’t be jealous over me,” Farah said. She gently put Hyper down. “You’re so pretty and, well, graceful. I’m not even sure what you see in a plain girl like me.”

“Plain?” Grace asked. She moved over to Farah. “Those sparkling eyes that are so full of energy.” She gently stroked Farah’s cheek. “This soft skin.” She moved her hand under Farah’s chin. “These full lips.” She stared directly into Farah’s eyes. “You, my dear, are a real beauty.” She looked down at Farah’s lips. “May I?”

“I… If it’ll make you happy. I… I think I’d like it,” Farah said. Grace knelt down and kissed her.

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Voyages of the Cerberus episode 44: Farah’s pleasant surprise

Farah waited. After a while had passed, she started wondering if, just maybe, she should call Kat again. She was just about to do so when Kat arrived, out of breath.

“Sorry,” Kat gasped. “Had to ditch the tail.”

“Weren’t you the one who said it wasn’t a big deal if they followed us?” Farah asked.

“Maybe it wouldn’t be,” Kat admitted. “But I don’t want to risk the mission. That building?” She nodded towards it.

“That’s the one,” Farah said.

“Then let’s get this over with before they find their way back to us,” Kat said. The two walked up to the house and Kat knocked on the door.

The two listened to the scampering noises from within and tensed up as the door opened.

“Your designations must be given,” the figure said. “Recognise you, I don’t.”

“The name I am known by is Farah,” Farah greeted. “Kat is my companion. Seek, one Pacifican designated Gori Lyil and a comrade, one like you, designated Tirjan.”

“Why seek you this Pacifican?” the Bilyi asked.

“Work most simple,” Farah answered. “A package for him, have we. Delivered, it must be.”

She glanced at the package Kat was carrying and reached towards it. “To me, it may be given,” she said. “Tirjan I am called.”

“Gladdened are we for sight of you,” Farah said. “But condolences. Delivered to Gori, it must be.”

Tirjan looked away from them. “Impossible request, given by you. An accident most unfortunate Lyil befell. The employer of yourselves, check with you must. Allowed I am, the package to accept.”

“Patience is requested,” Farah said. “Verify this we must.”

“Agree I do,” Tirjan said. “Understand such circumstances, I do.”

Kat moved away from them and grabbed her communicator.

“Back shortly assurances you have,” Farah said.

Kat returned after a couple minutes. “I checked with the Captain,” she said. “We can give her the package. She just has to sign for it.”

“The wait, I apologise for,” Farah said. “Signature from you we require. Delivered then the package can be.”

“Heard her I did,” Tirjan said. She signed the document. “The package I will take.”

Kat handed it to her.

“Our gratitude you…” Farah began, but the door got slammed in her face.

Kat put a hand on her shoulder. “Come on. The mission’s over. Let’s meet up with Yuri and Allison and get back to the Cerberus.”

The two walked back towards their transport.

“What do you suppose happened to Lyil?” Farah wondered.

“She killed him,” Kat said. “Almost certainly.”

“What, why?” Farah asked. “How do you even know?”

“We just delivered the last component they needed for a deadly nerve gas,” Kat answered. “She and Lyil may have had an argument or he may have been an undercover operative. Whatever the reason, he became a threat to the operation.”

“Then we have to go back and stop her!” Farah exclaimed. “Before someone gets hurt.”

Kat grabbed her arm before she could run back. “Don’t worry about it,” she stated. “Lucy has the other components. When Tirjan goes to the station for them, she’ll be picked up by authorities.”

“Oh, okay,” Farah said. “But what would have happened if Lucy hadn’t found them?”

Kat shrugged. “Wouldn’t be the first time we delivered something not knowing it was going to be used for something nasty.”

“But…” Farah began.

“Stop right there,” Kat interrupted. “First off, we aren’t peace-keepers any more. This stuff isn’t our business. Secondly, everything we deliver for assignments like this is legal. We aren’t responsible for what people do with it.”

“I suppose not,” Farah conceded.

The two finally walked back to their transport in silence. “Allison and Yuri aren’t back yet,” Farah observed.

“Do me a favour and wait for them,” Kat said. “I have something I’d like to take care of.” She ran off without any other word of explanation.

Farah was waiting around twenty minutes when Allison and Yuri returned.

“Hey, Newbie,” Allison said. “Lose your date?”

“She said she had business to take care of and she’d be right back,” Farah said.

“Probably retouching her make-up,” Allison said. “After you so savagely smudged her lipstick.”

“Miss Horne was not wearing lipstick,” Yuri stated. “Nor any other variety of make-up.”

“That was a joke,” Allison said. “Honestly, Girl I have got to get your sense of humour developed. I know that Kat and Farah weren’t doing anything like that.” She noticed the slight reddening of Farah’s cheeks. “Wait, did you actually? What did Kat do to you?”

“Nothing at all,” Farah protested.

“Sure,” Allison said. “That’s why you’re starting to get nervous. Because you two weren’t doing anything. What was it, a love hotel?”

“No!” Farah yelled. “She just nibbled my ear a little. But she had a good reason. It’s not like she did it as a sexual thing.”

“You’re way too naïve,” Allison said. “If a girl lovingly nibbles your ear and tells you that it was just to test the air, she’s lying.”

“It wasn’t like that,” Farah said. “We were being followed so we were trying to throw off our pursuer. That’s all.”

“Oh I can’t wait to tell Grace that one,” Allison said. “Do you think she’ll believe it?”

“I do not believe that Grace would doubt Miss Jilani’s word,” Yuri stated.

“Good, the gang’s all here,” Kat said. She approached with one arm behind her back.

“Speak of the devil,” Allison said. “We were just listening to Farah talk about your shameless exploits.”

“I’m really not in the mood to hear your jokes today,” Kat said. “Get inside and get ready for take-off. Farah, come here for a moment.”

Allison winked at Farah and boarded along with Yuri. Farah walked over.

“I’m sorry,” Farah said. “I didn’t mean to mention the ear thing to her it just slipped.”

“Here,” Kat said. She brought her arm out from behind her back and held it out for Farah. She was carrying the tiny kitten that Farah had picked up earlier. “This is yours, right?”

Farah reached out and took him. The kitten mewed and licked her arm. “Is it really okay?” Farah asked.

“Yeah,” Kat said. “Why wouldn’t it be?”

Farah smiled and hugged Kat, tightly. “Thank you so much! I love you!”

“You’re very welcome, just get off of me,” Kat said. Farah broke off the hug, looking sheepish. “That’s better. Come on, let’s return home.”

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Voyages of the Cerberus episode 43: Tirjan Found?

Lucy returned to the Cerberus, carefully putting the Wyvern back in the precise spot it had been, right down to the exact millimetre.

She went to the Medical lab, noting that Paul wasn’t within. No matter, the vials were unlikely to be medicinal in nature. She’d let him and Leon be alone, she just needed the equipment. She got to work conducting her tests on the vials.


Kat pulled Farah close. “Sorry about the ear thing,” she whispered. “I was just trying to keep up appearances.”

“No, it’s fine,” Farah whispered back. “I’m just a teeny bit sensitive.”

Kat was about to say more when her communicator went off.

“Katie here,” she said.

“Kat,” Ophelia’s voice came through. “I’ve got a lead on Tirjan. It seems that a small group of Bilyi moved into the western district. I’ll send you the coordinates to check.”

“Sure we can pick that up for you,” Kat said. “It’s on the way to our next date spot anyway.”

“I can’t wait to hear the explanation for this one,” Ophelia said. “I’ll contact you two later. Enjoy your ‘date.'”

Farah looked at Kat, the question in her eyes obvious.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Kat said. “I agreed without asking.” She pressed her hands together. “It’s okay if we run a quick errand for my mum, right?”

“Oh, of course,” Farah said.

“That’s what I love about you,” Kat said. “You’re so agreeable.” She leaned close to Farah. “Ophelia’s given us a lead on Tirjan. We have to get out of here without arousing our tail’s suspicions.”


Lucy double checked her findings and walked briskly to the bridge.

“Ophelia,” she said. “Did you get a manifest for that package?”

“Oh, yeah,” Ophelia said. “It wasn’t anything that odd. Just some lithium. Unless our client lied to us.”

“I don’t think he did,” Lucy stated. “If you were to combine lithium with the vials I found on the station, you’d have a hell of a deadly nerve gas. There are a few species it wouldn’t affect, including Bilyi, but there are many more it would.”

“An attack on the station,” Ophelia muttered. “But why?”

Lucy shrugged. “Possibly as some kind of political statement or as a prelude to some larger scheme.”

“We have to stop Kat and Farah from delivering the goods,” Ophelia said.

“Why?” Lucy asked. “I have the vials they hid. Even if they take the lithium up to the station, there won’t be much they can do with it.”

“Good point,” Ophelia said. “Still, they’re going to wonder what happened and try to find a way to smuggle replacements.”

“Oh, certainly,” Lucy agreed. “And that’s why some honest citizen should probably give the peace-keepers an anonymous tip.”


“This is the area,” Kat said. she checked her mirror and rested her head on Farah’s shoulder. “They’re still following us,” she whispered.

“I have an idea,” Farah whispered back. “There’s only one tail. If we can think of an excuse to separate…”

“They’ll have to pick one of us,” Kat finished. “Good thinking. I’ll take the package. Call me when you find Tirjan. For now, follow my lead.”

The two brought their heads apart and Kat spoke loudly. “I’ll go find the vendor my mum mentioned. Why don’t you wait here?”

“I couldn’t do that,” Farah protested. “Do you even know where she is?”

“I can find her,” Kat said, sounding defensive.

“but Honey,” Farah said “you’re terrible with directions. Let me find her.”

“Are you suggesting that I can’t manage?” Kat asked. “Fine! I’ll look for her that way and you can look for her wherever. Whoever doesn’t find her has to pay for the hotel room.”

“You’re on!” Farah declared. The two walked in opposite directions, acting like they were in a huff. The agent following them hesitated for a moment before following Kat, as they’d expected.

“Guess it’s up to me,” Farah muttered. She double checked to make sure no one was following her and headed for the nearest public building. She walked over to the worker at the cash. “A fine mood day,” she greeted, remembering what she’d learned about Bilyi customs. “A question is what I have.”

“For me, it is a grand mood day,” he greeted. “Engaged, I have become. Work hardly even seems a chore. This question, your question, will I answer. If, that is , I am able.”

“Elevated, my spirits have been,” Farah said. “Both for the helpfulness of yours and for the news, joyful. Simple enough is my question. A friend old I seek, one like you and unlike myself. Tirjan, is the name by which they are known. Do you know, boy oh dear, where this one stays?”

He clapped his hands together. “Fortuitous are you this day. This Tirjan well, I know. The north and east from here is her abode. 512, reads the plate of location value.”

“Gratitude for you,” Farah said. “Pleased am I, for this answer.”

She finished the pleasantries and headed directly towards the building where she’d been directed. She waited until she’d found the building before calling Kat.


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Voyages of the Cerberus episode 42: In the Station’s Wall

Ophelia went through the security footage, watching for any sign of their quarry. She reached out and froze the video.

“I think I may have found our boy,” Ophelia said.

Lucy moved over to her. “Either him or a very similar looking Pacifican,” she stated. “Play a little more, please.”

Ophelia let the footage play. They watched as he was greeted by a person with dull coloured feathers and a fleshy beak.

“A Bilyi?” Ophelia asked.

“I’d say we have our Tirjan,” Lucy said. The two figures on screen moved out of range of the cameras, only to return several minutes later and immediately board a departing ship.

“Odd,” Ophelia muttered. “Why go to the trouble of meeting on the station only to leave?”

“I don’t know,” Lucy muttered. “But I can find out. Let’s see, which ship should I borrow?”

“Leaving me all by my lonesome?” Ophelia asked. “Whatever will I do in this big ship?”

“You could do some yoga,” Lucy suggested. “Just don’t throw any parties. I won’t be gone that long.”

“I think it might be more helpful if I apprise Farah and Kat of the situation,” Ophelia said. “I’ll also take over gathering information on Tirjan since someone has better things to do.”

“If you insist,” Lucy said. “I would have dearly loved to return to see you sweaty in a leotard, though.” She kissed Ophelia’s cheek and hurried out.


“A Bilyi?” Kat asked. “I’ll keep my eyes out for her.”

“Kat, get off your communicator and pay more attention to me!” Farah cried, hugging Kat tightly. “there’s someone following us.” She whispered. “Has been since we left the peace-keeper’s station.” She broke off the hug and smiled, brightly.

“Sorry about that,” Kat said, returning the smile as best she could. “I’ll take you to a good spot to make up for it.”

“Really?” Farah asked. “Lucky!”

Kat reached into her pocket and grabbed a small mirror, using it to check behind them. There was, indeed, a hover-car following behind them. She returned the mirror and wondered why she hadn’t noticed before. Her first instinct was to try and lose them, but she fought the urge. Currently, they weren’t doing anything illegal. The likely explanation was that Gori Lyil was under suspicion for something and their inquiries had drawn attention. All they had to do was keep calm and they’d be fine.

She led Farah to the closest nice restaurant. Farah looked at her quizzically.

“Come here, Beauty,” Kat pulled Farah close and whispered in her ear. “We’ll get a bite to eat, keep up appearances for our shadow and make some discreet inquiries. Maybe they’ll find out where Tirjan lives in the meantime.” She lightly nibbled Farah’s ear, making sure the gesture was visible to the car following them and eliciting a very soft, involuntary moan from the other woman. Kat pulled away, feeling her cheeks start to flush.

Farah nodded, looking away from Kat and the two walked inside.


Lucy arrived at the station in the Cosmic Wyvern, making sure she used the same dock as Lyil had. She opened her golden eyes and checked the area. The surveillance blind spot wasn’t very large. Lucy walked it over, searching for any sign of what they may have been doing.

There! It was very slight, but there was a discolouration near the top of the wall. Lucy frowned. The station walls weren’t that high, barely over three metres tall. Still, she couldn’t reach that far. She moved back, and looked around for something, anything that she could stand on.

“Excuse me, Miss?” a station guard approached her. “What are you doing?”

Lucy looked him over. “You’ll do,” she said. “There’s something suspicious about your wall over here. Be a dear and give me a boost so that I can reach it.”

“I can’t just…” he began.

“It’ll only take a moment,” Lucy interrupted. “I assure you, I’m not too heavy.”

“That wasn’t…” the guard shrugged. “All right, fine. I’ll give you a boost.”

“Good boy,” Lucy said. The guard knelt down so that she could climb on his back. “Hold steady while I check it,” she instructed. She examined the spot. “Someone cut this open and resealed it.”

“That’s not possible,” the guard said. “Someone would have noticed.”

“Oh, this station does have multiple walls between the inside and space, does it not?” Lucy asked.

“Well, yes,” he said. “It needs those to…”

“Then it’s possible,” Lucy said. “Ladder, be a dear and give me a cutting tool. I’m afraid I didn’t bring one.”

“I can’t just…” he started to protest.

“Of course you can,” Lucy said. “You lot do carry something for emergency use, do you not?”

“We do,” he said. “But…”

“Then it’s no problem,” Lucy said. “Just hand it to me.” She reached a hand down.

He hesitated for a moment before putting the tool in her hand.

“There you go,” she said. “I’ll give it right back to you. Don’t you worry.” She made a quick incision into the wall while he looked around. A few curious travellers were watching them. Lucy reached back down with the cutting tool and he took it back, hanging his head.

Lucy reached into the hole and felt around, her fingers brushing against cold glass. She kept feeling, finding that several glass tubes had been stuck inside using an adhesive. With some effort, she managed to pull them free. They were sealed vials filled with oddly coloured liquid, some a putrid green and some a deep purple.

“Found what I was looking for,” she called. “You may let me down now.”

The guard did as she bade him, relieved to have her off his back. “Ma’am, those are…” he began.

“I’m not sure yet,” Lucy said. “But I’ll find out, don’t you worry.” She waved back at him and headed for her ship.

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Voyages of the Cerberus episode 41: Infested Flat

Katie and Farah headed for Gori Lyil’s last known address. It was a three floor tower block. The paint on the outside was peeling and it looked to be in general disrepair.

“Does it say which flat was his?” Farah asked.

“No,” Katie said. “Shouldn’t be too hard to find out, though. You stay out here for a moment and ask anyone you see coming in about it. I’ll see if I can find anyone inside.”

Katie entered the building, scanning for residents. There was no sign of anyone. Finally, she picked a door and knocked. She heard a light shuffling inside and the door opened a crack. A wrinkled face peered out at her. She gave him her best smile. “Excuse me, Sir,” she said. “I was wondering if you might help me? I have a delivery for a Pacifican, but I don’t know where he lives.”

“Oh yes,” the old man said. “I know the one. Top floor, last door on the right from the stairs. Haven’t seen him in a while, though.”

“Thank you so much,” Katie said. “You have a pleasant day.” She hurried outside. Farah wasn’t by the door, she found the other woman kneeling down in the alley nearby. “Farah?” The other woman jumped, startled. “What are you doing?”

“Me?” Farah asked, sweetly. “Nothing at all.” Katie noticed that Farah was keeping her back to her.

“What did you find?” Katie demanded. “Show me!”

Farah sheepishly turned around. She had a mostly white kitten with black and orange spots in her arms. “Found a cat!” Farah declared.

Katie sighed. “That thing could have all kinds of problems. Just put it down and let’s move on.”

“But Kat,” Farah pleaded “He looked so lonely and sad.” She nuzzled him. “Don’t you feel bad for him?”

“Not at all,” Katie said. “You can get yourself a pet later. For now, we have a mission. I’m not trying to be mean, but things could get rough and I can’t guarantee his safety.”

Farah reluctantly put the kitten down and the two went inside, Farah taking one last glance at the little guy.

They went up the stairs and headed down the single corridor to the last flat on the right.

“This is it,” Katie said. She knocked loudly. There was no response nor any sounds from inside.”As expected. We’ll have to break in.”

“Leave it to me!” Farah cried. “I can bring that door down.”

“I’m sure you can,” Katie said. “But let’s use more finesse. Wouldn’t do to draw unwanted attention to ourselves.”

She pulled a small tool from her pocket and quickly hacked the lock, causing the door to swing open.

“Isn’t it illegal for a civilian to have a SR-76 series hacking mechanism?” Farah asked.

“In most systems, yes,” Katie answered. “But that’s just because they make burglary so easy. We just won’t take anything.”

“Oh, okay,” Farah said. “I suppose that makes sense.”

The two shuffled inside. The flat was a mess with half-eaten, mouldy food left out. Clothes strewn about and insects crawling over everything. There was no sign that anyone had been there in at least a week.

Farah put on gloves and grabbed a data pad. Katie checked further in the flat. The bedroom had a pile of sticks arranged in a corner, a heavily worn training dummy and several bladed weapons.  couple of small rodents darted under the pile of sticks as she approached.

“Kat!” Farah called.

“What is it?” Katie asked, returning to the living area.

“I found something,” Farah answered. She held the pad out to her. “According to this, he was going down to the station to meet with someone called ‘Tirjan’. It’s dated for eight days ago.”

“The timing fits,” Katie mused. “But what kind of station? A peace-keeper’s station, subway station, space station, what?”

“There’s no real indication,” Farah stated. “We’ll have to check the transit and peace-keeper’s stations ourselves.”

Katie nodded. “Right. We’ll start with the Peace-keeper’s station, it’s closer. I’ll contact Ophelia and ask her to get the records from the nearest space station. See if our guy went there. I’ll also have her try and identify this Tirjan.”


“What is this place?” Yuri inquired.

“Doesn’t your amazing android brain let you deduce these things by the pavement or something?” Allison asked.

“The building is nondescript,” Yuri stated. “The sign marks this place as the ‘Lily Cove’ but that moniker provides no details as to its purpose.”

“best hidden spot on the planet,” Allison said. “Trust me on this, it’s going to be great.”

Yuri reluctantly followed Allison inside. Soft music played. There were tables elegantly set and adorned with fresh bouquets along the wall. The walls themselves were decorated with a floral pattern and a group of people were slow dancing on the main floor. Several more were chatting at their tables.

“A table for two, please,” Allison said. Their waitress bowed and led them to a table.

“It is a combination of an eatery and a dance hall,” Yuri stated. “I fail to see how I could have ascertained that from the outside.”

“Don’t put it so crudely,” Allison chided. “Look around you for a moment. Notice anything about the clientèle?”

Yuri scanned the area. “The majority are human,” she answered. “All are female.”

“Exactly!” Allison declared. “This place is a garden for pure, innocent maidens. Girls like us.”

“I do not believe that you are innocent under many usages of the term,” Yuri stated.

“Honey, let me give you some advice,” Allison said. “That’s not a thing you say to your date.” She rose from the table. “We can order something later. For now, join me for a dance?” She held out her hand to Yuri. Yuri hesitantly accepted it and allowed herself to be led to the dance floor.


“Have you found Tirjan yet” Ophelia asked.

“It’s not an uncommon name,” Lucy said. “At least not on this world. I’ve got a list of about two dozen probable candidates. Right now I’m borrowing some background information on them to see if I can’t narrow it further. What about you, any luck finding him?”

“I’m checking the arrival records from eight days ago but so far, bupkis,” Ophelia said.

“He may have used a fake name,” Lucy said. “Check the security footage.”

“That isn’t exactly pen to the public,” Ophelia said. “I’d have to…” Lucy rose and commandeered the console for thirty seconds before moving back to her own station.

“Or you could do that,” Lucy said.

“Thank you,” Ophelia said. “I’ll look them over right away.”

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Voyages of the Cerberus episode 40: Farah partners with Kat

Leon approached the Cerberus’ bridge. Ophelia, Lucy, Farah and Kat were all present, more than a full complement for bridge duty, at least on a ship as small as the Cerberus. That meant a mission, he knew. Good. It would take his mind off of recent events.

“Leon,” Ophelia said. “Thank you for coming.”

Leon nodded. “What’s up?”

“Don’t be so hasty,” Lucy chided. “We should start with some pleasantries. How’s Paul doing? Is he still feeling depressed?”

“Yeah,” Leon sighed. “I warned him not to get attached but he’s too damn kind-hearted for his own good.”

“I get the sense that he’s not the only one,” Lucy said.

“The hell’s that supposed to mean?” Leon asked.

“It means that you should go be with Paul right now,” Ophelia said. “The two of you are going to need each other.”

“But…” Leon began to protest but stopped himself. “I guess he does need me. I’d be a pretty lousy boyfriend if I left him alone right now.” Leon turned and walked away.

“And Allison requested shore leave to take Yuri on a date,” Ophelia muttered. “Kat, it’s going to be just you and Farah on this one.”

“Fortunately,” Lucy added. “It shouldn’t be a dangerous mission.”

“What exactly is it?” Kat asked.

“You two have to deliver a package,” Ophelia answered.

“What’s the catch?” Kat asked.

“Our recipient is a Pacifican known as Gori Lyil,” Ophelia stated. “Our client lost contact with him last week. All we know is that he’s somewhere down there on Tuv’ilac. I can give you his last known address, but you’re going to have to track him down.”

“What happens if something happened to him?” Farah asked.

“If he’s dead, we have to find out why,” Lucy said. “Maybe then we can still get something out of this.”

“I don’t like this,” Kat muttered. “Even if we find him alive and well, he’s still a Pacifican. I don’t know how likely we are to be able to get by without a fight.”

“Now now, don’t be so quick to judge, Katie,” Lucy said, dismissively waving her hand. “I’m sure that Mister Lyil won’t pick a fight with someone who came to deliver something to him.”

“And if he does you will have your blasters,”Ophelia said. “If you two need help, contact the ship immediately. Lucy will be on standby. You can also contact Allison and Yuri. They’ll be travelling with you on the shuttle and they’ve been asked to keep their emergency communicators on. I don’t know if Allison will, but I think we can trust Yuri to be responsible.”

“Do try to not contact them,” Lucy said. “Allison’s really been looking forward to this, you know.”

“All right,” Kat said. “Looks like you’re with me, Rookie.”

Farah nodded. “I’ll do my very best, Sunshine.”

“Oh, what a lovely nickname,” Lucy said, clapping her hands together. “But I get the feeling that only Farah would get by with using it. Am I wrong, Kat?”

“Call me whatever you want,” Kat said. “I really don’t care.”


Leon reached the medical bay where Paul was writing some research notes. Leon couldn’t help but notice that his movements were sluggish and he looked haggard.

He walked over and hugged Paul close to him. For a time they stood there in one another’s arms, saying nothing. “It’s all going to be okay,” Leon said, finally breaking the silence.

“I know,” Paul whispered. “I know that, rationally. I just need time. Time to get my feelings sorted out. I… I think that I wanted to keep her. In spite of everything, in spite of what a bad idea it would’ve been, I think I really wanted to keep her.”

“I know,” Leon said, his voice uncharacteristically soft. “So did I.”


The pair made their way to the docking bay. Allison and Yuri were already in the shuttle. Allison was wearing a frilly red blouse with a matching skirt. Yuri was in a pink sun dress with a sun hat accented with a pink ribbon band and a parasol.

“Is it raining on Tuv’ilac?” Farah asked.

“Not at this time,” Yuri answered. “However, my research indicated that a parasol is an appropriate accessory for this attire.”

“Is that right?” Farah wondered.

“At least we came dressed up,” Allison said. “The two of you don’t look prepared for this double date at all.”

“That’s because we have a mission to do,” Kat said. “Strap yourselves in, I’m taking off.”

“You say that, Kitty, but you’ve been wanting to be alone with our naive miss Farah, haven’t you?” Allison teased. “Maybe I should warn Grace that she has a powerful rival.”

“Don’t be silly,” Farah said, cheerfully. “We aren’t in that kind of relationship.”

“You say that now,” Allison said. “But you should watch yourself. You wouldn’t believe how grabby Kitty can get when she’s alone with a cute girl. Why, just try and guess how many things I’ve experienced on missions alone with her.”

“Only things that were directly related to the objective,” Kat interjected. “I’ve never once gotten ‘grabby’ with you.”

“No need to get so defensive,” Allison said. “I was just joking.”

“I fail to see the humour,” Yuri stated.

“You sound upset,” Farah noted, she snapped her fingers. “Could Allison’s joke have made you jealous?”

Yuri glanced at her. “I do not know. I am experiencing some sensations of possessiveness in regards to Allison, however. I do not fully understand why.”

“Awesome!” Allison declared. “I mean… now that I know that I’ll limit what kinds of jokes I tell, for your sake.”

“That would be appreciated,” Yuri stated.

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Voyages of the Cerberus episode 39: Farewell

The crew of the Cerberus sat around the conference table.

“It’s confirmed,” Grace reported. “Thanks to my brother’s cure, we’ve wiped out the virus. We’re clear to visit other worlds and earn a tidy profit.”

“Great,” Ophelia said. “It feels like we’ve been cooped up forever.”

“Don’t be such a drama queen,” Lucy chided. “It’s only been a couple months.”

“So, it’s back to missions for us,” Allison said.

“Not right away,” Kat stated, glancing in Paul’s direction. “There’s one other order of business that needs to be taken care of before we do anything dangerous.”

Ophelia nodded. “Agreed. Lucy and I will find something. In the meantime, prepare yourselves to sortie again.”


Yuri made her way to the Canteen. The crew was celebrating their return to duty. Grace had her arm around Farah and the two were talking, the Baron spread across both their laps. Kat was near the two of them, sipping quietly from her glass. Paul was explaining something to Maia as the child nodded her head enthusiastically. Leon stood near them, quietly taking in the scene. Ophelia, Lucy and Allison were still absent.

Maia ran over to Yuri, twirling in her purple skirt. “Hey, didya know that they can grow body parts in a lab so that they can give you a new one if you lose yours?”

“I was aware of that factoid,” Yuri stated. “Were you aware that some individuals prefer cybernetic replacements or even no replacements?”

“No new parts?” Maia asked. “How come?”

“I do not know,” Yuri stated. “Perhaps they prefer to remember the injury?”

“That’s dumb!” Maia declared. She waved back to Paul. “Hey, do ya think my dad could make you normal? He’s really smart.”

“Maia,” Yuri stated. “Paul is not your father. It would be imprudent of you to treat him as such.”

“How come?” Maia asked.

“Because you will only be travelling with us temporarily,” Yuri stated.

“Nu-uh!” Maia said. “I’ll be here forever and ever. So there!” She stomped back towards Paul.

“Hey, Party Peeps!” Allison declared. Yuri turned. Allison was dressed in a nice suit complete with a tie.

“Allison, this is not a fancy dress occasion,” Yuri stated. “Your attire does not conform to the standard.”

Allison shrugged. “Who cares? I wore this for you, you know?”

“For me?” Yuri asked. “I do not understand.

Allison walked over to Yuri and knelt, taking her hand and lightly kissing it. “Milady, now that we’re out of quarantine, perhaps you’ll accompany me for a romantic rendezvous when we arrive at our destination?”

“Now I understand,” Yuri stated. “You are attempting to court me.”

“Is it working?” Allison asked.

“I do not know if I have developed a romantic attraction to you,” Yuri mused. “However, I find your offer intriguing. I will consent to you being my escort for an evening of socialising.”

“Sweet,” Allison said. “I’m going to romance you so hard!”

“I will anticipate that,” Yuri said.

“Paul, come to the Bridge,” Ophelia’s voice said.

Paul went right to the door, Maia attempting to follow. Paul turned and knelt beside her. “Stay here with Leon, okay? I won’t be long.”

“Promise?” Maia asked.

“I promise,” Paul said, ruffling her hair. “Be good while I’m gone, okay?”

“Kay,” Maia said, skipping to Leon’s side.


The next morning, the Cerberus set course for Rijol, a planet that had just finished the terraforming process a decade ago but that already had a thriving Earth colony.

“We’re in orbit,” Allison said. “So, am I going to have time for my date or…”

“Save it,” Ophelia interrupted. “We’ll only be here briefly.” She switched on the intercom. “Paul, it’s time.”

“Do you want me to go?” Lucy asked.

“No,” Ophelia sighed. “I’ll do it. You have the bridge.” She walked over to the hangar where Paul and Maia were waiting.

“Is we all going on a trip?” Maia asked, holding her little bag.

“Are we all,” Paul corrected. “We’re all going to the surface, yes.”

“Oh,” Maia said. “How come Leon’s not coming?”

“I’ll fly the shuttle,” Ophelia said, diverting the question. “Strap yourselves in.”

Paul spent the flight staring into space and absent-mindedly answering Maia’s questions. It took less than fifteen minutes or them to land. A pair greeted them.

Ophelia shook their hands. “Martin and Caius Finch, I presume.”

“Guilty,” Caius said. He knelt down. “And this must be little Maia.”

Maia clung to Paul’s leg, peeking at them shyly.

“She’s a little shy,” Ophelia said. “It might take some time for her to get used to you.” She handed Martin Maia’s bag. “Those are her things. She doesn’t have much.”

“That’s all right,” Martin said. “It’s perfectly understandable. The poor dear went through a lot.”

Paul pulled away from Maia’s grip and knelt down. “Maia, these two Gentlemen are going to take care of you. Isn’t that great?”

“No!” Maia screamed, throwing herself at him. “I’m staying with you! I’ll be good. I promise I’ll always be good.”

“Maia,” Paul spoke as gently as he could. “I can’t take care of you. We go into too many dangerous situations. These two can give you a stable home, a good education and safety.”

Maia released him, fiercely sobbing and repeating the word no.

“It’ll be all right,” Caius added, picking her up. “Come along. We’ll show you your new home.”

She glanced back at Paul, her tiny hand outstretched towards him. Paul smiled and waved as they vanished in the distance.

“We checked their background thoroughly,” Ophelia reassured him. “She’ll be well off and…”

“I’m sorry,” Paul interrupted, his voice cracking. “Could you please leave me alone for a while?”

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Voyages of the Cerberus episode 38: Recovery Period

“Here’s some water and some soup with crackers,” Lucy said. “Take your time eating. I’ll be on the bridge if you need me.”

“Want some company?” Ophelia asked.

“You can’t,” Lucy stated, wagging her finger. “You still have to take it easy and rest. Yuri and I will handle the Cerberus, for now.”

“I feel fine,” Ophelia protested. “Just rotten for leaving all the work to you.”

“You’re entitled,” Lucy said. “Regulation 35. If you almost die of an illness, you can take a week or two off until you’ve fully recovered.”

“That regulation doesn’t exist,” Ophelia muttered.

“Sure it does,” Lucy said. “It’s in the system.”


Leon stumbled out of his room to the smell of muffins baking. He wanted to sit down and eat like usual, but his plan was foiled by the presence of a small child in his chair.

Paul looked back at him. “Go back to bed, Fuzzy. I’ll bring your brekkie to you.”

Maia looked back at him and smiled.

“Whatever,” Leon muttered. He went back to his room.

“Here we are,” Paul said. “Fresh blueberry muffins. I’ll take one to Leon. When I get back, they should be cool enough for you to have one, okay?”

Maia nodded and sipped her juice, staring at the tray of muffins.

After what felt like forever, Paul returned. “Here you are,” he said, handing her one. She hurriedly began eating it. Stopping occasionally to drink more of her juice. They ate in silence for a while.

“We have to do something about your wardrobe,” Paul mused. “But we can’t leave the ship until we’ve confirmed that the virus is destroyed. Still, won’t do to have you here with just the one outfit.”

Maia stared intently at him.

“I suppose I’ve got no choice,” Paul said. “Maia, what colours do you like?”

“I like green!” she declared.

“Green, huh?” Paul said. “All right. I’ll see what I can do.”


Farah was laying in bed, doing some quick sketches, when her door buzzed.

“This is the doctor,” Pauls voice said. “Here to do a quick check-up.”

“Heck-up!” a tiny voice echoed.

“Come in,” Farah said, putting her sketchbook down.

Paul walked in followed closely by Maia. The young girl was carrying a basket. A fruity smell was coming from it.

“How are you feeling?” Paul asked.

“Better,” Farah answered. “Maybe a little feverish still and my head hurts a bit.”

“That’s a normal reaction,” Paul reassured her. “Your body is still fighting off the virus, after all.” He ran his scan. “It looks like there’s nothing to worry about. I’ll give you some medication to help with the pain.”

“When can I go back on duty?” Farah asked.

“Give it another five, maybe six days and you’ll be good as new,” Paul answered. “Just take it easy for a little while.”

“Okay,” Farah agreed. She glanced at Maia. “Doc, what are you going to do about, you know…”

“For the time being, I’ll look after her,” Paul said. “Once we can officially unquarantine the ship, we’ll figure something more permanent out.”

“Muffin,” Maia said, holding a muffin out for Farah.

“Thank you,” Farah said, taking it.

“Make sure you take this with water,” Paul said. “If you start to feel sicker at all, call me right away.”

“I will,” Farah said. “Thank you, Doctor.”

Paul nodded. “Come along, Maia, we’re visiting Allison next.”

“Lison next,” Maia stated.


Ophelia sank into her chair. “Feels so good to be back in action,” she said. She looked round the bridge. Speaking of, Leon.”

“What?” Leon asked.

“Why are you watching Maia?” Ophelia asked. The young girl was clinging to Leon’s back. She was wearing what looked like a handmade forest green dress.

“Paul asked me to,” Leon answered. “Said he had a surprise he needed to finish. It’s not like I could turn him down when he’s one of the only people who’s been working this past week.”

“Bounce!” Maia said.

Leon began hopping lightly in place while Maia laughed.

“It’s not like she’ll be in the way,” Leon added. “We can’t really land anywhere right now, anyway.”

“True,” Ophelia conceded. “I’ve got Grace working on a more sensitive detector. Once she’s finished, we should be able to verify whether or not we’re at risk of infecting anyone.”

“Seems like an easy solution would be to just infect people and charge em for the cure,” Allison said. “Hello credits.”

“Defiantly can’t do that,” Leon stated.

“Fiantly not,” Maia added.

“You mean ‘definitely,'” Ophelia corrected. “But you’re right. We’re stuck here for the time being. So, let’s not joke about getting other people sick.”

“Yes ma’am,” Allison said. “Whatever you say. I’ll take this pointless bridge duty completely seriously.”


Paul put down his book when he heard the door to his quarters open and tiny footsteps running towards him. Maia rushed over to his chair and jumped on him.

“Hello, Maia,” Paul said. “How was working with Leon?”

“It was fun!” Maia declared.

“That’s good,” Paul said. “I have a little surprise for you.” He picked up a small parcel from beside the chair. Maia eagerly opened it. Inside was a small plush version of the Baron.

Maia squealed, hugged Paul and ran to show Leon.

“Very nice,” Leon said. “How long did it take you to make that?”

“Not as long as the dress,” Paul said.”But I figured that she should have at least one toy.”

Leon moved over to Paul and hugged him. “Don’t get too attached,” he whispered.

“Don’t worry about me,” Paul said.

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Voyages of the Cerberus episode 37: Against the Clock

Yuri scanned the scene in the medical bay, committing it to memory. These were her new friends, the Cerberus crew. It seemed like she had only recently grown comfortable with Grace, Allison, Ophelia, Katie, Leon and Farah and now, she feared that none of them would survive much longer than an hour.

They had set up makeshift beds for the six of them. Grace was cuddling up to The Baron, who gently licked her face periodically and, occasionally, let out a slight whine. The canine, like Lucy, seemed unaffected by the virus. Allison dropped her pillow and Yuri moved to retrieve it.

“You must not fidget,” Yuri stated, returning the pillow. “It is imperative that you rest.”

“Can rest when I’m dead,” Allison muttered. “Only got an hour left, right?” She weakly moved her hand up to brush Yuri’s cheek. “Pity, I wanted us to be more than friends.”

“You must not give up hope,” Yuri said, grasping her hand. “Doctor Albrecht will repair you. You will have ample opportunity to attempt courtship rituals with me.”

“Courwhatsit now?” Allison asked.

“Courtship,” Paul stated, approaching them from behind. “It’s an archaic term that basically means dating.” He leaned next to Allison. “I’ll need a sample of your blood, okay?”

“Who’m I to say no to the guy who’s gonna repair me?” Allison asked. She managed a weak smile. “I’ll take you up on that, Yuri. When I get better, I’m gonna date you right out of your metal knickers.”

“My undergarments are not metallic,” Yuri stated. “They are composed primarily of cotton.”

“Yuri, I’ll need your assistance,” Paul said. Yuri followed him to his laboratory. Paul placed the blood sample in a Petri dish.

“Doctor, you will be able to repair them, correct?” Yuri asked.

“I don’t know,” Paul answered, studying his samples as he spoke. “With time, I can come up with an antidote. Fortunately, I have Maia’s sample to assist me. Unfortunately, time isn’t something I have a lot of and this virus has to be studied by eye. At best, it’s still going to be uncomfortably close.”

“Yet you are calm,” Yuri observed.

“A Doctor has to remain calm,” Paul explained. “If I panic, it’s all over. If I rush then it increases the odds of making a fatal error. Hand me Maia’s sample, please.”


Grace felt the warmth of her dog and gently pat him. It had been a long time since she’d been sick last. She didn’t want to die, she was cautiously optimistic about her chances, but she was also a realist and she knew that her chances were, at best, around fifty-fifty. She glanced at Farah. The other woman’s breathing was still strong and she appeared to be sleeping peacefully. That was good, at least if the worst happened she’d go peacefully.


“Is something wrong, Doctor?” Yuri inquired.

“There’s something odd about these anti-bodies,” Paul mused. “It’s almost like they were formed to work in conjunction with something else.”

“So, they will not function by themselves?” Yuri asked.

Paul sighed. “I’ll try to synthesise an antidote with them. I need you to check those records. See if they actually have full records for Maia and if she underwent any procedures that could account for this.”

“Understood,” Yuri stated. “I will scan them.”


Lucy approached Ophelia’s bed. She reached down and gently kissed her forehead.

“L… Lucy?” Ophelia asked.

“Who else?” Lucy stated. “How are you feeling? Will you be able to hold up okay?”

“Vision’s blurry,” Ophelia muttered. “Feel like hell. Don’t think I’ve ever felt this sick.” She squinted towards Lucy. “How long do we have?”

“According to Yuri, the first casualty on the refugee ship happened an hour and thirty seven minutes after the symptoms started,” Lucy said. “But who knows when you started feeling sick? I doubt you checked a clock.”

“No, but you noticed,” Ophelia said. “Please, don’t hide this from me. How long?”

Lucy hesitated, she turned away from her stricken lover. “You started feeling feverish an hour and three minutes ago.”

“A little over a half hour,” Ophelia mused. “Never thought I’d die like this.”

“You won’t die!” Lucy declared, grasping Ophelia’s hands. “Remember, some of those people lasted nearly two hour and I know you’ve got more strength than any of them. You just have to hold on long enough for Paul and Yuri to get a cure.”


“This isn’t going to work,” Paul muttered. “It’s attacking the virus, but it’s not slowing it much.” He turned to Yuri. “Have you found anything?”

“Affirmative,” Yuri answered. “Young Miss Maia had an operation shortly before the refugees boarded the Esperanza. They found that her appendix was problematic. The doctor utilised medical nano-machines to assist in her convalescence.”

“Which kind of nano-machine?” Paul asked.

“Variety A28537J,” Yuri answered.

“I have a few of those on hand,” Paul muttered. “Let’s hope they’ll be enough. Yuri, can you manufacture some more?”

“Affirmative,” Yuri answered.


Katie found herself unable to move. She wanted to, but her body wouldn’t listen. She reflected on her life. The things she’d done, the things she’d held herself back on. She couldn’t claim to have no regrets. However, she was overall satisfied with how she’d lived. These past few years aboard the Cerberus had been a wonder, maybe even made up for some of her past mistakes. If she had to die, then she was glad it was in this company. She was just sorry that they had to go with her.


“We are rapidly approaching the estimated fatality frame,” Yuri stated. “There are less than five minutes remaining.”

“I just have to test our cure,” Paul said.

“How long will that take?” Lucy asked.

“At least ten minutes,” Paul answered.

“Give me two doses of the antidote,” Lucy said.

“If it doesn’t work…” Paul began.

“Farah and Leon don’t have ten minutes,” Lucy said. “If it doesn’t work, they’ll die. If it does, they’ll die in the amount of time it takes to test it. Give me two doses.”

Paul prepared the injections. “Go, I’ll test it before we use it on anyone else.”

Lucy hurried over to Farah, injecting the solution into her arm. Then she moved to Leon.

“Knew he’d make it,” Leon muttered. “Knew he would.”

Lucy returned to Paul’s laboratory. She and Yuri watched while he checked the efficacy of the antidote. Exactly ten minutes passed when Yuri asked “Will the solution repair them?”

Paul let out a sigh of relief. “Yes, it will. I’ll prepare injections for Grace, Ophelia, Kat and Allison. Help me administer them, please. Lucy, I’ll want to examine you fully when we’re done, just to be sure.”

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