“How are you settling in?” Ophelia inquired.
“If I may be so bold as to speak openly,” Filorya said “Your ship is run unlike any other I’ve been on. I am having some difficulties adjusting.”
Ophelia nodded. “Space… Space means different things to different people. For some, it’s a great adventure waiting to happen. For some, it’s an opportunity for riches. For some, it’s a repository of new discoveries waiting to happen. For this crew, it’s the only place we can call home.” She smiled at the large pacifican. “To understand my ship and this crew, that’s something you’re going to need to know.”
“I will keep it in mind,” Filorya promised. “What is our next mission?”
“Lucy’s looking through potential missions now,” Ophelia said. “She’ll bring me the four best offers and we’ll decide which one to take. After that, we’ll let the rest of you know and we’ll take care of the mission. Until then, just keep following your schedule.”
“I understand,” Filorya said. She left the bridge and went on her way.
The Cerberus seemed an overly lax place. Farah and Grace were playing with Hyper in the corridor.
In the mess hall, Leon and Kat were playing some type of card game.
“Care to join us?” Kat asked, noticing her.
“Perhaps next time,” Filorya stated. She excused herself.
“Find anything good?” Ophelia asked.
“Swieth’s top families are offering a job I think you’ll find interesting,” Lucy stated.
“Swieth?” Ophelia was confused. Swieth was, in many ways, a backwards world. The members of her crew wouldn’t even be allowed to express affection for their significant others on Swieth. That was, by any reasonable metric, an excellent reason to avoid the planet entirely.
“I’m not saying we should take their job,” Lucy said. “But it does concern our old friend, Captain Elijah Taiwag. Adventurer, ne’er do well, noted horticulturist, occasional solver of mysteries, Saviour of Prinaria, Yvelt tamer and abductor of princesses.”
“No bloody way did that man abduct anyone,” Ophelia said. “He may not have much of an attention span and he may get himself into trouble trying to help others, but he’s also the most virtuous person I know.”
“Agreed,” Lucy said. “That’s why this case is interesting. It alleges that our old friend and the crew of the Blazer have abducted princess Azilla of the Retunia clan and princess Vivuna of the Bloir clan.”
“And how much are they offering to get them back?” Ophelia asked.
“Ten billion credits, each,” Lucy answered.
Ophelia whistled. “That’s going to be a lot of mercenaries.”
“Including us?” Lucy asked.
“Yes, and no,” Ophelia answered. “We’re going to find the Blazer and hear from Elijah himself just what the hell is going on. After that, we’ll decide whether or not we’re going to aid and abet him. For now, let’s call everyone together.”
Lucy and Ophelia explained the situation.
“I’m confused,” Filorya said. “Should we not be claiming the reward?”
“Elijah is a friend,” Ophelia said. “It may be difficult to understand right now, but an ally like him is more worth while than twenty billion credits.”
“Besides, fighting with him should give us a lot more combat opportunity than going against him,” Lucy added, giving Filorya a knowing smile.
“There is also something we are not being told,” Yuri stated. “Captain Taiwag would not abduct anyone. If these princesses are aboard his ship, it is of their own volition.”
“I’m inclined to agree,” Ophelia said. “Which is why we’re going to hear the truth from him.”
“We should send him a message over a subspace channel,” Kat suggested. “That seems the most painless way to get his attention.”
“Yuri, I want you to handle that,” Ophelia said. “You served as a temporary member of his crew. He might be more inclined to answer you than me or Lucy.”
“I will send a message immediately,” Yuri agreed.
“Kat, Farah and Leon, I want you all ready to sortie if you have to,” Ophelia said. “Filorya, I want you to work the weapons on the Bridge. Me and Lucy will explore some other methods of finding his location. Just in case he doesn’t answer Yuri’s call.”