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.