Lucy found herself in front of an office building. The ground floor had a bustling cafe. She walked through it and towards the lift. The trail went cold there. He’d been carried out of the lift with his injuries, but the lift itself had been cleaned thoroughly.
It was a sensible thing to do for basic sanitation purposes, but she couldn’t help but feel that the reason the lift had been cleaned so much better than anywhere else was to hide the trail. She hit the first button. Maybe if she checked the various floors she could determine which one it had happened on.
Grace ignored the soldiers taking Uhthli into custody. She’d used her good arm to check the suspicious circuit she’d noticed was some kind of device designed to drain the Queller’s power. She tried not to use her left arm too much in its removal, not wanting to exacerbate the damage.
“Miss Albrecht, we need to take you to hospital. That arm looks bad.”
She looked back. Uras was on a stretcher already. “Just give me a moment.” she finished the removal. “All right. Let’s go.” She glanced back at the large machine. There was undoubtedly more to do, but it would have to wait a little while. Wolfgang followed them closely.
“Did you find the accident site?” Ophelia asked.
Lucy shook her head. “I found the building. Couldn’t find where the actual incident happened.”
“That’s unusual,” Ophelia stated. “But the Ca’urrs do have stronger senses than humans. They’re probably really good at cleaning that stuff up.”
“I don’t like it,” Lucy muttered. “I’m sure that something odd is happening and Leon’s relative calmness is a part of it.”
“I did expect him to be angrier,” Ophelia admitted. “But maybe he’s more inclined to stay by Paul’s side since it was an accident.”
“That’s another thing,” Lucy said. “You usually don’t dismiss my concerns so readily but you’ve done nothing but during this trip.”
“Sorry,” Ophelia said. “I don’t mean to dismiss you, but you are being wary of Ca’urrs of all things. It just… seems so absurd.”
“Everyone says that,” Lucy muttered. “I just thought that you, at least, would stand by me.”
Ophelia hugged the smaller woman. “I am beside you. Even if it is just paranoia on your part, I’ll do anything that will support you and help your investigation. But, please understand, I’m going to have a real problem thinking that the Ca’urrs are up to something unless I see some compelling evidence.”
Lucy sighed, heavily. “I suppose that’ll do.”
“It’s not broken, but it’s pretty badly mangled.” The Doctor looked over at Grace. “It will heal, but you’re going to have to be careful not to strain it.” She handed Grace a bottle. “Take this once a day. It should prevent it from getting infected.”
“Don’t worry about me,” Grace said. “I’ll be sure to take my medicine.”
She made sure her shirt was covering the bandage and headed out. It would raise too many questions if anyone from the Cerberus saw her injury. There were two people that she wanted to visit. First, she stopped at her brother’s room. Leon had fallen asleep, his head and arms on Paul’s bed. The instruments monitoring Paul indicated that everything was fine. Still, the injuries looked pretty nasty.
“Should’ve hit the bastard harder,” Grace muttered. “Or at least more times.”
She quietly took her leave, not wanting to wake either of them. She hurried down to see Uras. The Ca’urr woman had bandages around her head. She looked worse than Paul with her fur matted and stained. But her injuries evidently weren’t as bad since she was conscious.
“How you feeling?” Grace asked.
Uras turned towards her. “My head is pained but I have heard of your deeds. Thank you, for exposing Uhthli’s treachery. I really must be more careful. But he’s been a model subservient for over a decade. I… I had thought that that meant something.”
“Well, there shouldn’t be any problems getting it fixed now,” Grace stated. “Still, I have to wonder why he’d do it.”
“I believe that he s probably part of a movement that wishes the Queller destroyed,” Uras said. “They believe that doing so will allow our people to truly join the cosmic community without any deceptions.” Uras groaned and rubbed her temple. “They think we are too apart as we are.”
“Bullshit!” Grace cried. “If anything, the Queller gives you a special place in the galaxy. Ca’urrg is renowned as a place for treaty negotiations and as a spot for the most serene of vacations. I believe that you have that wonderful device to thank for both. Although, I don’t really understand why you all have to act like you’re kind of stupid.”
Uras chuckled, faintly. “Paul asked the same thing. The reason is to protect the Queller. There would be severe problems if its existence became known and part of what keeps offworlders from looking at us too closely is the belief that we’re a silly, harmless species. So long as they believe that, they’ll continue to look only at the surface.”
They were silent for a time. “I think I see that,” Grace said. “It’s kind of sad, though. Being unable to show your true selves. Always maintaining a distance from anyone who isn’t one of yours.”
“Not always,” Uras said. “Offworlders like you and Paul are ever our precious friends.”
Grace smiled. “Well, thank you. I should be letting you rest.”
“I hope we meet again,” Uras stated. “In more pleasant circumstances.”
“I’d like that too,” Grace agreed. “It’ll probably have to wait, though. I’d bet that we’ll be taking off once Paul is cleared to go.”
Paul opened his eyes. They felt heavy, but the pain wouldn’t let him sleep. He looked around his hospital room and at Leon’s sleeping form.
He gently fixed Leon’s wavy hair and took his hand.