Yuri walked down the corridor to the engine room. She knocked and entered. “May I assist you, Miss Albrecht?”
“No thanks,” Grace said. “It’s just standard maintenance. I’ve got it under control.”
“Understood,” Yuri said. She walked away and moved to the medical bay. She knocked and entered.
“May I assist you, Doctor?”
“I shouldn’t think so,” Paul stated. “I’m just reading up on some recent studies.”
“Understood,” Yuri said. She walked out of medical and made her way to the hangar.
Farah was kneeling beside the Elegant Simurgh, paint brush in hand. She glanced at the rough sketch she’d made for its emblem and carefully copied the design onto the ship.
“May I help you paint?” Yuri asked.
“No,” Farah said. “I’m happy to do it myself.”
“I see,” Yuri sat back and observed Farah’s movements.
Farah continued her work for a while before setting her brush down. “Is something bothering you?”
“I am currently unneeded,” Yuri stated. “Captain Wester had me removed from the Bridge so that Miss Horne could replace me and no one seems to require my aid at this time. I do not know how to occupy myself.”
“Sounds like you need a hobby,” Farah said.
“Hobby?” Yuri asked.
“Sure,” Farah said. “Everyone has ways to spend their time when they aren’t directly on duty. I paint. Katie reads. Grace takes care of Baron and builds models. Allison plays old games. Leon writes. There are lots of things to do for fun.”
“Fun,” Yuri muttered. “I see. I must find something fun.” She walked from the hangar, leaving Farah to her painting.
In the corridor, she ran into Allison.
“Yo, Robot girl, what’s the good word?” Allison asked.
“I am trying to discover what is fun,” Yuri stated. “I am told that you play games. Why are they fun?”
“Why?” Allison shrugged. “They just are. That’s pretty much what they’re designed for. You can’t really define ‘fun’ in logical terms. Things that are fun just are.”
“I take pleasure in my work,” Yuri stated. “I have, however, not yet found an activity that can hold appeal for me.”
“What did you do back when you were in Crozier’s base?” Allison asked.
“I engaged in discussions with my father and brother,” Yuri answered. “I also learned about history and modern human society.”
“You know,” Allison said, putting an arm around Yuri. “Sex can be fun. Maybe you and I can go explore just how sensitive your functions are in that regard.”
“I do not believe that it would be desirable nor prudent to make physical intimacy into a hobby,” Yuri stated. “Perhaps you could loan me one of the old games that you are fond of and I could try that.”
“Sure,” Allison said. “But if you change your mind about wanting to experience intimacy, you know where my room is.”
“I’m picking up a distress signal,” Kat reported.
“Please tell me it’s not from another alliance ship that we can’t read the life signs of,” Leon said.
“It’s not,” Kat said. “It appears to be some kind of refugee ship. I’m reading about three hundred life signs.”
“What does the distress signal say?” Ophelia asked.
“It seems to be a medical emergency,” Kat answered. “They’re urgently requesting a doctor. It sounds like some kind of viral outbreak.”
“All right,” Ophelia said. “We’ll head over there.” She flipped the comm switch. “Paul, come to the Bridge right away. Kat, where’s this ship?”
“Heading north-east, about twenty minutes away at top speed,” Kat answered.
Paul walked into the bridge, carrying a medical kit. “What’s the problem?”
“We’re heading to a ship that needs a doctor for some kind of illness,” Leon answered. He turned to Ophelia, “We can’t have him go alone.”
“Agreed,” Ophelia said. “We’ll send you and Yuri with him. Full hazard gear for you and Paul, just in case. Yuri shouldn’t need it.”
Paul nodded. “You’ll have to have a full decontamination sweep prepared for the hangar when we get back. In the event that it is something virulent.”
Ophelia nodded. “I’ll have Grace set it up.”
“Captain!” Kat cried out, her voice troubled. “I just lost thirty life signs. No, thirty seven. Whatever is over there, it’s bad.”
“Then every second counts,” Paul stated. “Leon, we’ll get Yuri and be ready on the transport when we get there.”