The Blazer launched, moving away from the Cerberus as quickly as it could.
“Is this really a good idea?” Antoine asked.
Elijah shrugged. “Won’t be the first time we’ve been a distraction. Besides, everyone is looking for us. If the princesses are elsewhere, they’ll probably be safer.”
“And Yuri did give her persssonal assssurance that they would be sssafe,” Ussie stated.
“Have you forgotten that they’re mercenaries?” Antoine asked. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re on the way to return them to Swieth right now.”
“I would be,” Elijah said. “Because not every mercenary is equal and that group still has their souls. Besides, there’s not one among them that would be welcomed on Swieth.”
“So, we just have to find a place where these two can be safe?” Filorya asked.
“Seems unlikely,” Leon stated. “Even if we took them to Turing or somewhere else where we can always find safe haven, there would be a lot of effort put into bringing them back.”
“As much as I hate to agree with Leon on this one, he has a point,” Kat stated. “Wherever we leave them, their diplomats are going to do everything in their power to put the pressure on.”
Paul smiled. “Don’t worry. We know some places that won’t cave to that pressure.” He looked at Ophelia. “I’d suggest Turing. Their dealings with Swieth are minimal. They also have strong security.”
“Maybe,” Lucy said. “But they’d never be able to leave the station.”
“Are you two prepared for that?” Ophelia asked.
Azilla & Vivuna were cuddling up to one another, listening to the exchange.
“If that’s what it takes to stay with Vivuna, I will do it,” Azilla stated.
“I reciprocate,” Vivuna agreed.
“All right, I’ll put in a transmission to Turing,” Ophelia said. “Let’s just hope it doesn’t cause too much trouble for them. I really don’t want to strain our relationship.”
“Ophelia, I would offer an alternative,” Yuri stated. “One which would cause no significant problems for the person we leave them with.”
“Now isn’t that a bold claim?” Lucy asked.
“What do you have in mind?” Ophelia asked.
“Lunais of the planet Yujin,” Yuri answered.
“Lunais?” Ophelia asked. “She was…”
“The legendary Himestrix,” Lucy reminded her.
“I remember her,” Kat said. “She had a garden maintained through her seemingly infinite powers where various people from the two warring sides lived in harmony.”
“It’s not a bad idea,” Lucy said. “She has no need for diplomatic ties with other worlds and no one on her own can enter her garden without her permission or knowledge. A hostile force trying to take the princesses certainly couldn’t.”
“The trouble is that we have no way of contacting her in advance,” Ophelia noted. “And if we just show up, there’s no guarantee she’ll take them in.”
“I visited Lunais after I took my hiatus from my duties,” Yuri stated. “I believe that I am well acquainted with her values and how she thinks. I am certain that she would be willing to take them into her garden and grant them a home.”
Ophelia turned to the princesses. “Okay, we’ll give you a choice. We can take you to Turing Station or we can take you to Yujin to live with the Himestrix’s people.”
Azilla and Vivuna whispered amongst themselves for a moment.
“If I am understanding correctly, Yujin is safer?” Vivuna asked.
“Probably the safest place in the universe,” Ophelia answered.
“And there is nature there to be enjoyed?” Azilla asked.
“Oh it’s lovely,” Farah chimed in. “I still dream about it sometimes.”
“Then we select Yujin,” Vivuna said. Azilla nodded.
“All right, I’ll set course,” Ophelia said. “Let’s just hope Elijah and his crew can keep the mercenaries occupied.”
The bridge was sterile, plain and highly functional. Those aboard were in simple, grey uniforms. There were small, circular pieces of metal embedded into their foreheads.
“Our records name it the Cerberus. It is a mercenary vessel.”
“A mercenary vessel? Then, why did they not capture the Blazer?”
“Apparently, they have had multiple rendezvous with the Blazer. It is probable that their captains are on friendly terms.”
“So, they are allies in this matter then?”
“Unknown at this time. There is no record of them meeting any time recently before the incident. However, they could have heard of the situation and come to offer aid.”
“The question then becomes whether that aid was accepted.”
“The withdrawal of the Blazer could be an indication to the contrary.”
“Or, it could be a feint. The princesses could very well be aboard the Cerberus now while the Blazer draws attention.”
“I will interface with the mind.”
The captain flipped a switch. Her metal ports opened and small cables jutted from the ceiling. She plugged them in, her eyes turning a dark green.
There were no sounds but the whirring of electronic components.
“It is decided. The left lobe will follow the Blazer. We of the right, will pursue the Cerberus. All hail the Overmind.”
“All Hail the Overmind.” The shout was surprisingly monotone.