Yuri made her landing in the garden, created and maintained by Lunais. Yuri wasn’t sure if this would go her way, but she had to make the attempt.
“We welcome you back to our abode, Cerberus android.” Lunais appeared in front of her, or at least a projection of her did. Her dark blue hair remained still, even in the wind. “Why have you returned to our home? To view the results of the mission we gave you? To learn more about us, perhaps?”
“I would request an audience in person,” Yuri stated. “Please, it is important.”
“Very well,” Lunais said. “We will bring you to us.”
Yuri found herself inside the floating castle. In the same entrance that she and Kat had been taken to such a long time ago.
She proceeded directly up into Lunais’ personal chamber on the fourth floor, assuming she’d be there like she was the last time. It turned out to be a correct assumption. Lunais was sitting in one of her cushions. She closed the book she had been reading and set it in front of her. Yuri recognised it. Allison had had the same book. It was a highly erotic lesbian romance.
“We welcome you back to our home,” Lunais greeted her. “We were most pleased by the task you performed for us last time. Thanks to your assistance, our garden’s population has more than quadrupled. Now, tell us, what do you wish?”
“I have not forgotten the power you demonstrated,” Yuri stated. “you have the ability to create and alter life. I wish to know, can you also repair someone who has been broken beyond repair?”
Lunais seemed taken aback for a moment. “We can not bring back the dead, no. Nor can we create highly advanced life. At best we could construct a being in the likeness of the dead person but the being would be without the personality or intelligence of the original. Tell me, Android, who did the Cerberus lose?”
“It does not matter now,” Yuri answered. “I am sorry to have wasted your time. Please, return me to the shuttle.”
“Hold!” Lunais commanded. “You would not have come to us were it not important to you. We know not who was lost or how. But we do know that dealing with grief is a long, painful process. One that can be aided by a sympathetic ear to air one’s grievances to. We will provide you with that ear. Should you wish.”
Yuri paused and considered Lunais’ offer. “It will be a long story.”
“We will listen intently.”
Ophelia looked through various missions being advertised.
“Love of mine, that’s enough,” Lucy said.
“What, have you found something?” Ophelia asked.
“I haven’t been looking,” Lucy answered. “But I know you’re trying too hard.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” Ophelia lied.
“You’re a terrible liar,” Lucy said. “Or maybe I’m just too good at seeing through falsehoods. Whatever the case may be, it’s obvious what you’re doing.”
“And just what is that?” Ophelia demanded.
“Keeping busy,” Lucy said. “You don’t want to take too much time to think about Allison and mourn. So you’re hurrying to find the next mission. Just like you did with the Turing station thing.”
“They needed us,” Ophelia protested. “Paul helped save a lot of people. You and the others solved the mystery of just what happened. It was a great success.”
“That’s a separate issue,” Lucy said. “The issue at hand is that we need a break. Not just you, but everyone on the ship. Leon, Kat, Paul, Grace, Farah, You and Me. We need time to process our grief.”
“And what do you suggest we do?” Ophelia asked. “Head to some resort planet and take a week off?”
“No,” Lucy stated. “We need time off, but not at a resort. I propose that we go to Dolonis.”
“Dolonis?” Yuri asked. “That might suit you and other akumillians at a time like this but our crew is made up of humans.”
“It works for humans as well,” Lucy said. “It’s received many over the years and I know it helped Kat, Leon and Paul when they went there the last time we lost a member of our crew.”
“That was different,” Ophelia said. “We had to find replacements. Damian and Stephen left us. Jane…”
“It’s not different at all,” Lucy said. “Except that this time you and I will join the others.”
“I couldn’t possibly,” Ophelia said. “I have to…”
“Stop right there!” Lucy declared, her voice commanding. We are not going through another rough patch where you let your guilt and sense of loss affect everything you do for months. Where you spend so much time working yourself half to death that everyone worries about you and Paul has to step in and coerce you into taking time off. This time, you’re facing your grief directly. Understand, My Heart?”
“I….” Ophelia began. She quickly noted the look on Lucy’s face. “Yes, Dear. I’ll set course for Dolonis.”
“And I’ll inform the crew,” Lucy said.