Ophelia trusted Lucy but she was still relieved when the Cerberus returned safely.
“I’m returning with Kat and the gems we’ve gotten so far,” Ophelia said. “We’re going to talk with our ‘guest.’ Make sure Yuri is ready for us.”
“Is there any reason you want to talk to her?” Lucy asked.
“We have some old pacifican we’d like to see if she can translate,” Ophelia answered. “If she can’t, we don’t lose anything by trying. If she can, we may stand to gain quite a bit.”
“Just be careful,” Lucy said. “I’m still a little worried that she hasn’t tried to escape yet.”
“What does this boss of yours want from me?” Filorya asked.
“It is not my place to answer that query,” Yuri stated. “You will learn the answer very soon.”
“At least I know it’s important,” Filorya muttered. “I take it you’ll shoot me if I make any aggressive moves?”
“Correct,” Yuri stated.
“As would I in your position,” Filorya said.
The doors slid open. Ophelia moved inside followed closely by Kat.
“I am Captain Ophelia Wester,” Ophelia said. “I understand you’ve been quite well behaved.”
“Only a fool fights an impossible battle,” Filorya stated. “I know that Yuri’s abilities are beyond mine, unless I had time and freedom to prepare. So, what do you want?”
“I’m going to project some holographic images,” Ophelia said. “Tell me if you can read them.”
The images Kat had taken of the plaques came up in very clear detail.
“The old language,” Filorya said. “So, you did find the tomb.”
“So, you can read it,” Ophelia observed. “We’re prepared to make you a deal. If you translate these for us, I’m prepared to share a small cut of our profits from this expedition with you. Say, 5%.”
“It’s a lot better than the nothing you are looking at,” Kat said. “Keep in mind, we don’t absolutely need the translations to take care of the scavenging mission.”
“I have no need of your profits,” Filorya said. “Nor of your haggling. I’ll make it simple, take me with you. I wish to see for myself.”
“Out of the question,” Ophelia said. “We take you over there, you’ll disappear the moment we get distracted. You may even try to kill us.”
“You know my people well,” Filorya said. “But not as well as you think. Like I said, I will not fight an impossible battle. Even if I managed to get away, you’d only have to escape in your shuttle and leave me stranded to die or bombard the Mausoleum itself.”
“Regardless, you could cause some serious damage trying,” Ophelia said. “And the small chance of success might be enough. In fact, it being small might be considered a worthy challenge.”
“Why are you so interested in going any way?” Kat asked. “If you just want to see it, we can take some images for you.”
“I’ll give you 6% and we’ll map out as much as we can to sate your curiosity,” Ophelia offered.
“I already said I don’t care about your profits,” Filorya said. “I wish to view our greatest warriors and breathe the same air they did in their final moments. It will give me some of their strength.”
“Then, I’m sorry we wasted our time,” Ophelia said. “Kat, let’s return.”
“Wait!” Filorya called out. “Allow me to counter-offer. I will take 1%. You will bring me with you. And I will take a blood oath pledging loyalty to you.”
“A blood oath?” Ophelia asked. “Hold on, let me consult my wife.”
Ophelia went over the whole exchange with Lucy, leaving nothing out.
“So, what do you think?”
“A pacifican would rather die than break a blood oath,” Lucy said. “At least in general. The problem is that there is a counter-culture that doesn’t respect the traditional ways. But I doubt she’s one of them. They don’t tend to be warriors and I doubt a member of the counter-culture would want to see the Mausoleum that badly, speak the ancient tongue or think of the blood oath.”
“So, you think I should take the deal,” Ophelia noted.
“I think we’ll make more credits for the ship and the oath will guarantee her behaviour,” Lucy stated. “The risk is virtually nothing.”
“I’ll take her up on it,” Ophelia said. “I’ll leave Kat with you and take Yuri with me. We’ll have to take two trips to come back, but it’ll be worth it.”