Filorya studied Paul. He’d returned to check on her condition to see if the exposure damage was healing properly. “You do not fear me?”
“Why would I?” Paul asked.
“You lost your eye to one of my kind, I hear,” Filorya stated.
“I did at that,” Paul said. “It was a difficult experience. But I’m not afraid, no.”
She scrutinised him. “In my experience, humans who can’t fight fall apart in combat situations. What drove you to stand up to a truly dishonourable warrior like Gn’iol?”
Paul thought for a moment. “I suppose I just did what I had to. Now, just rest properly and you’ll recover in no time. Okay?”
Filorya waited until he left. “He’s strange. I don’t know what to make of him.”
“I am surprised that you are attempting to figure him out at all,” Yuri stated.
“Someone who can stand proudly when outmatched is someone worth figuring out,” Filorya stated. “You also, Android. One who can have no place in the universe aside from the one they’ve carved out for themselves is compelling indeed. Yet here you are, created as one of a kind and you’ve found a clan.”
“I am not the only one,” Yuri stated. “The Cerberus crew is composed of individuals who lost their places in society. This ship has been transformed into a new place and given purpose to everyone aboard.”
“Really?” Filorya asked. “A place for those who had none, is it?”
Leon and Kat left the shuttle first. Ophelia trailed behind them with Farah bringing up the rear.
They watched the androids carefully, prepared to retreat at full speed the moment they showed any signs of hostility.
The androids didn’t seem interested in them. They were allowed to pass without incident.
“Okay, Kat, try prying up on of these embedded gems,” Ophelia said. “We’ll see if they react. Farah, Leon, cover her.”
“Of course,” Farah said.
Kat knelt beside the jewel encrusted wall. She picked a light blue stone and carefully pried it loose. Several androids glanced their way, but none made any moves to stop her.
“Okay, guess we’re getting some gems first,” Ophelia said. “Leon and Farah, keep watching. Kat and I will pry up as many as we can. If the androids make any hostile moves, we’ll get the hell out of here.”
“Sounds like they’re doing pretty well,” Lucy noted. “Grace, how are things going out there?”
“Let me put it this way,” Grace said. “If I keep going for a week, I might get enough good ore to reinforce the hull on one of the fighters.”
“That’s fine, just so long as you look busy,” Lucy stated.
“Yuri, how are things in there?” Lucy queried. “Any problems with our guest?”
“She has shown no signs of hostility,” Yuri reported. “She did extensively question the extent of my physical and mental capabilities. She has also asked multiple questions on the ship. Mostly regarding the crew.”
“Well, don’t give her too much,” Lucy said. “But I think it’s fine to talk to her if you don’t mention any secret weaknesses.”
“I would not be so careless as to reveal anything sensitive,” Yuri stated.
“I know,” Lucy said. She muted her own microphone again. Truthfully, she was surprised by the pacifican. She had expected some escape attempt at this point. Was the lack of one a result of her injury or had she noticed that fighting Yuri without a weapon or help was beyond her abilities?
If that was the case, it showed more restraint than most pacificans she’d met.
The Cerberus’ long range scanners detected multiple vessels. She went to check the readings.
“Grace, return immediately,” she ordered. “Ophelia, we have three Alliance warships heading our way,” Lucy said. “They don’t seem to have identified us yet, and I’m going to get out before they do. We’ll circle around and come get you four when they’re gone.”
“Got it,” Ophelia said. “We’ll keep radio silent just in case.”
“Okay, we’ll take what we’ve gotten so far back to the shuttle,” Ophelia said. “Then we’ll hold tight until the Cerberus returns. I don’t want to risk doing something to anger the androids while they aren’t around.”
“I mean, they don’t seem interested in us,” Leon pointed out. “We could probably load up the shuttle.”
“We don’t know what their programming is,” Kat stated. “They could have a limit to how much they’ll let us take. Ophelia is right. We shouldn’t risk it.”
“Fine,” Leon muttered. “Let’s just hope they get back soon.”
“More importantly, let’s hope that the Cerberus isn’t identified,” Farah said. “They’ll be in trouble if it is.”