“We’re going to land on Ca’urrg soon,” Ophelia said. “The Doctor will treat Miss Uras’ pup and we’ll be on our way.”
“It may take a few days,” Paul stated. “I won’t know how sick the kid is or what he has until I examine him.”
Ophelia nodded. “In the meantime, the rest of us will be free for some leisure time.”
“Security isn’t going to be much of an issue,” Lucy said. “Violent crimes are virtually non-existent on Ca’urrg. Even those more militant species that have gone to obtain resource mining rights have always left peaceably after being rejected. But, right now, an envoy from Pacifia is in the midst of negotiations with them.”
“I don’t know much about Pacifia,” Farah said.
“they have a culture that heavily emphasises strength and the right to rule based on power,” Kat explained. “They’re known for picking fights just for the thrill of it.”
“I’m surprised they didn’t just attack the Ca’urrs immediately,” Leon said.
“Maybe the Ca’urrs aren’t considered a challenge,” Allison said. “After all, beating up on a bunch of them would be like blasting a pre-space travel planet from orbit.”
“It is possible,” Lucy conceded. “But if that is true then they may very well find our crew more worthwhile. So all of you should be on your guard.”
“We should pair up,” Kat said. “Just in case.”
“I’ll guard Paul,” Leon volunteered.
“No need,” Paul said. “I’ll be escorted directly to Uras’ residence. I won’t be anywhere near the Pacifica envoy.”
“You don’t think it would be wise to take him with you just in case?” Grace asked, staring at her brother with an upraised eyebrow.
“I know Fuzzy,” Paul said. “He’d be bored out of his mind while I did the examination and, since there is no real danger, it’s better to just let him go about his business.”
“You seem awfully confident of that,” Lucy observed.
Paul shrugged. “I’ve been to Ca’urgg before. I don’t anticipate any problems.”
The Cerberus spent a couple days en route to Ca’urrg. During that time, Leon continued to train Farah in piloting her ship, Allison barged into the Engine room twice without knocking and Lucy kept watch over Paul, suspicious over his behaviour.
Finally, they arrived on the planet. The docking facilities were able to accommodate them right away and Uras was waiting when they disembarked. The entire crew came down, Grace was even holding Baron.
She ran up to them, her tail wagging. First, she greeted Ophelia with a lick on the cheek. Then Lucy, Kat, Leon, Grace, Allison, Farah and finally Paul.
“I got you all rooms over there,” she gestured at a large building near the dock. “It’s really nice. They have a pool with lots of games and they have a giant ball pit. It’s super fun to jump around and play in.”
“That’s… great,” Ophelia managed.
“Just give the clerk this and he’ll take care of you right away.” Uras handed Ophelia a laminated card. “Come on, Doc! I’ll take you right to my pup.”
Paul nodded, holding his medical bag close. “I’ll try to come back to the resort tonight,” he said. “Make sure to go to sleep on your own if I’m not there by midnight, though.”
“What if I’m not tired by then?” Leon asked.
“I packed your sleeping medicine. Take some,” Paul said. “You know how you get when you go without sleep.”
He hugged Leon and followed Uras away.
“You guys go ahead,” Lucy said. “There’s something I’m going to check.” She headed in the direction that Paul and Uras were going.
“Is she really suspicious of the Ca’urrs?” Farah asked.
Ophelia nodded. “There’s an ongoing disagreement on Akumil over whether the Ca’urrs are exactly what they seem or they’re feigning being a goofy, harmless species for some diabolical purpose.”
“Like stealing all our snacks,” Allison said. “Given who we’re talking about.”
“I would question what the purpose is,” Grace stated. “The Ca’urrs stay out of disputes, don’t do much trading and are just generally friendly towards all visitors. There’s really nothing they gain by acting like they’re a bit thick.”
“Maybe it’s about peace,” Farah suggested. “They act a bit clueless so that people leave them alone.”
“Yeah, but they could stay out of conflict without that,” Grace said. “There are plenty of planets that adopt a neutral stance.”
The group headed for their accommodations, discussing the possibility that the Ca’urrs were more than they seemed. They opened the door when Ophelia bumped into a Pacifican on his way out. Leon and Kat visibly tensed.
“Sorry,” Ophelia offered. “I didn’t see you.”
“Oh, it’s quite all right,” he said. “No harm done.” He nodded and headed away.
“Odd,” Kat muttered. “I rather expected trouble there.”
“So did I,” Ophelia said. “But I’m glad that I was wrong.”
“Yeah,” Leon agreed. “I’m not really in the mood for a fight right now.”
“That’s a first,” Allison stated.
“Thank you for coming, Doctor, truly,” Uras said. “Your help should be invaluable.”
“It’s okay,” Paul said. “I’m glad to do it.”
“Your pack doesn’t suspect?” Uras asked.
“Lucy may be suspicious,” Paul said. “But the others don’t.”
“Oh yes, the Akumillian,” Uras said. “She tried to follow us, you know.”
“Doesn’t surprise me,” Paul said. “How is young Urun actually doing?”
“He’s well,” Uras answered. “He’s gotten very good at sport and is excelling in his studies. Except for art. He’s quite bad at creative things.” She stopped. “We’ll go through the tube under this cafe.”
Paul nodded. “I’ll admit that I’m a little nervous about this. I’m not accustomed to being bait.”
“Be at ease,” Uras said. “Even though they will come for you I won’t let them get too close. Our world owes you too much.”