Lelelu could not get used to the death smell. It hung in the air like a thick fog. At first she thought it must be actual dead beings that created the smell, but she began to realize that it was the smell of a barbaric species. The VReoria sustain themselves on flesh. Is that why she’d been taken, was she to be eaten? It didn’t take her long to get past that idea, she assumed she’d been kidnapped in an attempt to gain access to the Muse of Mischief and Agent Brzko, after their failed kidnap attempt on Trella.

She couldn’t figure out why she kept having visions of her father. After disappearing on a mission to the Glion Galaxy he was presumed dead. Debris from his ship had been found far from where he was supposed to be, but she couldn’t remember where. She’d been just a child and that part of his death wasn’t important to her. All that mattered was that her Baba was not coming home.

After standing for hours she grew weary and slid down the wall until she was sitting. She dozed off and immediately saw him. “Hello Le.”

“Hi Baba.” Lelelu said to an empty room.

Le, you’ve got to stay awake, stay ready to fight.

“OK Baba, why do I keep seeing you? You’re dead.”

I’m not dead Le, I’m here.”

Before she could process what he’d said, she heard something outside the door. Instantly, she was fully awake, standing, and ready to attack.

The door slid open and two cloaked VReoria entered. Even when they attempted to look like Trelods they were hideous and slimy looking. Their appearances shimmered and the falsified appearance disappeared, revealing creatures that are slimy and bulky, with elongated heads and large eyes, long appendages, covered in tentacles hanging down from the front of their faces.

She stepped toward them, ready to attack. But they were surrounded by some sort of energy field, it pushed her back. She went at them again, and again it pushed her back.

“Oh, more tenacious than the other after so many years. Perhaps we should keep her.” The VReoria nearest the door said.

“No, we already have one of them. This one is bait.” The other said, they made a hideous high pitched sound and seemed to jiggle. They were laughing.

The one closest to the door slid a tray along the floor, kicking it really. “Sustenance.”

They both turned and left. She rushed the door, but she wasn’t strong enough to hold it back. If she hadn’t removed her fingers they’d have been snapped off.

She looked at the tray they had left, it contained a bowl with some foul smelling liquid in it. She kicked it and it flipped over, letting it spill through the holes in the floor. That at least reduced the smell.

You have to eat Le.”

She just about jumped out of her blue skin. She turned a complete circle almost expecting to see someone else in her cell. But she was alone. It was one thing to have dreams about her father, but to hear him in her head when fully awake. Lelelu thought she’d lost her mind.

Le, listen to me. They’re going to trade you, trade you for someone you know.

Oh get out of my head! Is this some desperate attempt to get information.” She thought, assuming she was under mental attack by the VReoria.

Le, it’s Baba. I’m here. I’ve been here for a very long time.

Baba’s dead. If you paid better attention to the details you’re stealing from my mind, you’d know that.

I’m not dead Le. I’ve been imprisoned here all this time. This is specimen ship. The VReoria are attempting to collect one of every species. I don’t know what they’re planning but I’m sure it’s not good.

“Shut up! Get out of my head already.” She yelled aloud.

Le, do you remember the name of your best friend in early school? Wasn’t it Zestrilia?

Nice try, anyone could know that. My father’s dead.”

OK Le, ask me a question. Ask me something only I would know.”

She leaned her head against the wall and closed her eyes, thinking back to her childhood. “Why did I refuse to go sailing with Zestrilia when I was a child.”

Because you said that her feet stunk, and if she couldn’t keep her feet clean then she couldn’t be trusted to keep you safe on the water.”

Lelelu had never told anyone but her father the truth about why she didn’t go sailing with her friend, not even her mother. The realization that she was really communicating with her father hit her hard. It defied logic. Even if he was here, she wasn’t telepathic.

“I’ve lost my mind.” She said out loud to an empty cell.      

No Le, you haven’t. I’m really here.”

“Baba?” She broke down and wept, wept for all the time she’d missed her father; wept for fear of her current situation; wept for fear she was losing her mind.

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