The Cerberus’ shuttle descended towards Gauriel Prime. Lucy and Farah sat, waiting.
“Is something bothering you?” Lucy asked.
“Not really,” Farah answered.
“Is that so?” Lucy wondered. “You’ve been uneasy since I picked you up from the bridge. Could it be that you dislike me?”
“It’s not that at all!” Farah declared. “I like you and everyone else on the ship. Truly.”
“But…” Lucy pressed.
“Well,” Farah began. “It’s just… I don’t know if I’m the best choice to help you. I mean, Kat is smarter than me. Leon is a more skilled fighter. Yuri can process things much more quickly. But you decided to bring me along.”
“They have their talents and you have yours,” Lucy said. “Right now, I need yours.”
“Oh, I see,” Farah said.
“You will,” Lucy said. “At least when you have some time to think about it.”
“We’re at the drop off point for you two,” Leon reported. “I’m taking her down.”
“I’ll contact you when you need to pick us back up,” Lucy said. “I’m not anticipating too much trouble, but be ready to come as quickly as you can, should things go badly.”
“You can count on me,” Leon said. “Just be careful out there.”
He landed the shuttle. Lucy and Farah hastily disembarked. Farah glanced back as the shuttle took off, heading for the hospital.
“If Mestofilius is correct, then you may have to do the bulk of the talking,” Lucy said. “Be ready.”
“Because they’ll think you suspect them?” Farah asked.
Lucy shook her head. “No. Because if someone’s trying to fuel a conflict between us and the zoiluns, then they’ll have done something to them and made us look responsible. Or we can expect them to do so shortly.”
“Oh, I get it,” Farah said. “If they’ve acted against the zoiluns already, then they may be hesitant to listen to you. But what should I say?”
“Just use your peace keeping training,” Lucy said. “The crime is the government office explosion. The people you’re questioning are potential witnesses. It’s as simple as that.”
The pair travelled underground. The path to the zoilun city was dimly lit. Farah could barely see. She glanced at Lucy, who didn’t seem bothered. Then again, Lucy also rarely opened her eyes.
The zoilun city was full of buildings that were built attached to the walls and hanging from the ceiling, connected together through an intricate system of pathways supported and elevated onto pillars. The zoiluns themselves were humanoid, but also insect-like. They had pincers, compound eyes, four legs, hardened shells and antennae.
Lucy and Farah passed several. The zoiluns regarded them with looks of curiosity, possibly even suspicion, as they scurried around.
“What do you think?” Lucy asked.
“They’re giving us space,” Farah answered. “I can’t tell whether they’re concerned about us or not, though. They don’t really have a facial structure I’m used to.”
Lucy nodded. “We’ll head to the city hub. I’ll stand back and you can go talk to a few merchants and whatnot. After you’ve done that, you can tell me if you think they’re wary of me.”
“It looks like that’s the last of the bombing victims,” the nurse stated. “Thanks for your help.”
“It’s no trouble,” Paul said. “I am a doctor, after all. Is there anything else you need help with?”
“Well, we do have a bunch of patients who had their appointments delayed by all of our doctors getting pulled for emergencies,” he answered. “They aren’t emergency cases, but it is going to take a lot of time to get caught up.”
“Then I’ll help out,” Paul said. “I’m sure your doctors are exhausted.”
“Are you sure?” the nurse asked. “Your friends might need your help unloading supplies. I believe they’re here with the fourth load.”
“They’ll be fine,” Paul said. “I’m not exactly the most helpful with physical labour anyway.”
“If you’re sure,” he said.
“Well?” Lucy asked.
“It seems like they had an incident six days ago,” Farah answered. “Evidence suggests akumillian terrorists, but it’s pretty circumstantial and there’s a lot of argument over whether they should give your people the benefit of the doubt or not. None of them knew that there was a bombing topside, until I mentioned it.”
“Hmmmm,” Lucy muttered. “Did you find out where their incident happened?”
“The High Counsel building,” Farah answered. “About twelve kilometres north of here.”
“I knew you wouldn’t disappoint me,” Lucy said. “You are terribly charismatic, you know.”
“Am I?” Farah wondered.
“Surely you’ve noticed,” Lucy said. “Even Leon and Grace took to you quickly and they don’t like most people.”
“I don’t think that’s true,” Farah said. “I mean, they took to Yuri quickly too.”
“Yuri had advantages,” Lucy said. “She’s a mechanical marvel and she saved your lives. Come on. We’re going to the Counsel building.”
“Think we’ll find something they missed?” Farah asked. “I’m sure they’ve gone over the evidence pretty thoroughly.”
“I’m sure they have,” Lucy said. “But there’s a big difference between anyone else being on the case and me being on it.”