Paul and Leon were awoken by a loud knock on their quarters’ door. The two of them hastily dressed and answered. Kat was standing outside.
“Lucy wants to see you two,” she reported. “I don’t know what you did, but tread lightly, okay?”
Paul nodded. “Don’t worry. We’ll be fine.”
The two made their way towards the conference room.
“Think she found out we were checking for missions?” Leon asked.
“I’d say it’s certain,” Paul said.
“I don’t suppose you can tell her why we did it,” Leon said, staring at Paul. Paul shook his head. “Then I’ll think of something.”
The two arrived to find Lucy and Ophelia waiting.
“I think you know why you’re here,” Lucy said. “So let’s skip the pleasantries and you can explain yourselves.”
“It was my idea,” Leon declared. “I thought that it would be romantic if we worked together on something for the ship. Since we usually work separately.”
“Is that why Paul started over an hour before you joined him?” Lucy asked, examining the data.
“I had him start without me,” Leon said. “What’s the big deal any way? We did find something good. Pays well, low risk. We just have to escort some lady to her wedding in another quadrant.”
That was when Ophelia spoke up. “Lucy’s concern,” she said. “Is that you two are acting oddly. You’ve been a part of my crew since I first started. I trust both of you, but I can’t just ignore it when my crew acts oddly.” She tapped her fingers against the table. “Paul, explain.”
“I can’t fully,” Paul stated. “But I can assure you that it’s for the safety of this ship and crew.”
“Safety, huh?” Ophelia said. “The source of the danger?”
Paul shook his head. “I can’t say.”
“But we need to be away from the Alliance for it,” Lucy said. “Don’t look so surprised. Every job you viewed in detail takes us away from Alliance territory.”
“You can’t tell us any more?” Ophelia asked.
“I can’t,” Paul said. “I wish I could.”
Ophelia picked up her hand held. “It is a good job,” she said. “I have no problem doing it. But let me ask you one thing, will we find out why the Alliance is dangerous any time soon?”
“Almost certainly,” Paul answered.
“Then I look forward to finding out,” Ophelia said. “In the meantime, I’ll approve of the job. You two are dismissed.”
Paul bowed, Leon nodded his head and the pair shuffled out of the room.
“Are you sure about this?” Lucy asked.
“There are two things I am certain of in this situation,” Ophelia said. “First, I’m certain that Paul believes us to be in danger. Second, the job does look good. Relatively safe and easy. And we could use a job like that after everything.”
“Could Paul’s certainty be related to the strange behaviour of that Alliance General who offered us a position in the Alliance not long ago?” Lucy wondered.
“The thought had occurred to me,” Ophelia said. “I just wish he’d share what he knows.”
“I’ll send the job details to the others,” Lucy said. “Let them know what’s going on.”
“I’ll have Leon convert the conference room into a temporary quarters for our passenger,” Ophelia said.
Kat was really getting into her story. Michael getting himself captured to save his people… Odd, she mused, that he wasn’t having someone more expendable take the risk. He was in charge, wasn’t he? Perhaps it was part of his character with him being someone who considered it a leader’s job to take those kinds of risks.
Her hand held buzzed, indicating a message. She sighed and finished the chapter before checking it. The job seemed basic enough. She skimmed over it and her blood ran cold upon reading the bride’s name. Angela Theris. It was a name she knew all too well.