Before I begin today’s story episode, I have a brief announcement. Since Voyages of the Cerberus is a more episodic type of narrative and I don’t know when the ending is going to be, I’ve decided to dedicate Fridays, from this week onward, to another story I really wanted to write. Tuesdays will still be this, since I really don’t want to just shelve it, but this Friday will give you something a bit different. I hope you like it, I’ve been working really hard on it. Now, on to the story.
Allison gently drifted toward the target point. “Attention all gingers,” she said. “We are now landing at a totally boring conference. Please prepare to exit and remember not to have fun.”
“Don’t tell me what to do,” Grace said. “I’m gonna have a blast and learn all kinds of ways to improve the fighters.” The Baron, picking up on her excitement, put his paws against her chest and licked her face.
“I really hope it’s better than the last medical conference I attended,” Paul said. “Our main speaker was this elderly fellow who seemed to think we were medical students attending a lecture. To make matters worse, he spoke in slow monotone the entire time.”
“Someone’s gone senile, put him in assisted living,” Allison chimed in.
“Isn’t that the conference that Leon interrupted?” Grace asked.
“I may have sent him a transmission about how bored I was,” Paul stated. “I never expected him to rush over.”
“I’m totally checking the net to see if there’s video of that somewhere,” Allison said. “I’ll bet he even bridal carried you away.”
Paul opened his mouth briefly, but quickly closed it again, his cheeks reddening.
“Wait, he actually did?” Allison asked. “I was joking. That’s awesome!”
“Please don’t remind me,” Paul muttered.
“Wait till you hear what Leon shouts when he picks him up,” Grace said. “If you can still find it.”
“I bet it’s something really cheesy,” Allison said. “Oh, hold on, I’m landing.” The shuttle came to rest. “All right, if all goes well we’ll be waiting for you guys when the conference ends.”
Grace picked up the Baron and disembarked first. The hatch was just coming open when she left.
“Paul,” Allison called, she waited for him to turn. “Remember, there’ll be no Leon to save you if this one’s boring.”
Paul adjusted his spectacles. “I think I’ll be fine, thanks. I brought an old book just in case.”
“Let me guess, something stuffy and literary,” Allison said. “Or could it be something technical?”
“Actually,” Paul said “It’s a romance about a struggling singer who coincidentally meets a famous romance novelist.”
“Sounds boring to me, but whatever,” Allison said. “Have fun reading your romance.”
Paul nodded and left the shuttle. Allison closed the door.
“You all strapped in back there?” she asked, glancing back.
“Great. I’ll take us to the ship,” Allison said.
Lucy and Farah were waiting when the shuttle returned.
“Welcome aboard Miss Uhrandra,” Lucy said. “I’m Luciverianna, but you can call me Lucy, and this is Farah. I understand you’re quite the accomplished mediator.”
“Yeah huh,” Uhrandra said, wagging her tail. “Is easy job. You just hafta get people to be friends and I’m the bestest at making friends. Watch!” She grabbed Farah’s hands. “Hi, let’s be friends!”
“Oh, sure,” Farah said, smiling back at her.
“Yay!” Uhrandra jumped up and down several time, still holding Farah’s hands.
“Will this really be all right?” Allison whispered.
“Of course,” Lucy said, speaking loudly. “She wouldn’t be so highly recommended if she wasn’t good. Follow me, Miss Uhrandra, I’ll show you where you can stay while we’re en route.”
“Okie dokie,” Uhrandra said, following her.
Lucy returned to the bridge after showing Uhrandra to her temporary quarters. Farah had graciously given up hers, leaving Hyper with Yuri in her shared quarters with Grace.
Leon, Farah and Allison were already manning their stations.
“Our VIP happy?” Ophelia asked.
“She seems to be,” Lucy answered. “I get the feeling she’s hiding something, though.”
“I may have something,” Farah reported.
Lucy rushed over to her. “Show me.”
“A small ship,” Farah said. “It’s got no life signs, but it’s been on our tail since we left Ca’urrg.”
“It could be hiding its life signs,” Lucy postulated. “Or it could be a probe of some kind.”
“We should defiantly destroy it!” Leon declared.
“You mean ‘definitely’,” Ophelia said. “And I’m not so sure. We didn’t leave that long ago. It could just be a coincidence or it could be a test from the war desiring elements.”
“In which case,” Lucy said “It’ll wait to see where we go.”
“Exactly,” Ophelia stated. “So, if we stop at the station they may decide we’re not worth following.”
“And we can get to our destination without any problems,” Lucy finished.
“It could also have explosives or enemies,” Leon muttered.
“Given its size, it would have to be two… maybe three people,” Farah said. “And that’s with them getting crammed in.”
“One thing’s for sure,” Ophelia said. “We destroy it, they’ll send something more substantial for certain. Keep an eye on it and let me know if it does anything but follow. For the moment, we’ll stick to the plan.”