Lelelu lost track of time; she struggled to stay awake but she kept dozing off. Finally she gave in and let her body, and mind, rest. She woke up sitting on the floor, right where she’d fallen asleep. Her body ached from the struggle, the stress, and the complete lack of comfort in this cell. Slowly inching her way up the disgusting, cold wall she stood, tilting her head from side to side she started her morning stretching routine.
Now that she was fully awake and had relieved some of her physical discomfort Lelelu was ready to work on a plan for escape. Out of habit she touched her ear, still no earcom link. If she made it out of this alive she was going to have Zri install some kind of subcutaneous link that could not easily be removed. She checked her pockets to see if she had anything that could help her. There was nothing. Her thoughts drifted to her father. He’d been dead since she was a child, what was causing her to hallucinate about him now.
“You’re not hallucinating Le. I’m here, stuck on the same ship.” Again she started hearing her father’s voice in her head.
“That’s not possible, my father is dead. And he wasn’t telepathic… so whatever!”
“Le, think about the stories you heard as a child. The stories of the ancient ones.”
“Some of them had wings and could fly. Yeah I heard those stories, what’s the point?”
“How did they communicate?”
She paused and searched her mind for stories she’d been told as a child. “Some of them were telepathic…” She said starting to think her father may actually be real. “But even if Baba was telepathic, I’m not.”
“Maybe you always have been, but the ability lay dormant because you didn’t need it. And now, you need to use everything you’ve got to escape and your mind knows it.”
“Baba? It’s really you?”
“Yes Le, it’s really me.”
“Why are you here? I want to see you.”
“I was captured, just like you. The VReoria are relentless in their efforts to capture one of every species they encounter.”
“How have you survived here all this time?”
“I’m in stasis Le. I can’t move, only my mind works.”
“Is that what they are going to do to me?”
“No, you’re bait. They intend to trade your for something called a Muse of Mischief.”
“It’s a someone, not a something. How do you know that?”
“The VReoria have dense minds, they are not capable of telepathy. They don’t realize that I can hear them; they often speak about their plans as they tour the gallery. There are others here in the gallery that are aware too.”
“I can’t send images via telepathy but I know someone who can. Stabilize yourself, sometimes telepathic images can be disruptive. Standby.”
“OK Baba.” Lelelu positioned herself in the corner of her cell. She was standing but supported on each side by a wall. She leaned back, closed her eyes and waited.
The image came, at first she couldn’t focus on it, it made her head hurt. With her eyes closed she took a deep breath and focused her mind. She was in a huge, well lit, round room. The floor and walls were white. There were rows of yellowish looking tubes. She tried to focus on the one right in front of her, but she couldn’t control the focus. This wasn’t a live image, it was someone’s memory. She could feel the viewer being pulled forward, she felt them resist. As they got closer to the tube in front of them, she could see that someone was in a tube, it looked like a Ploosnarian. The tube was full of liquid. Her body flooded with the Trelod version of adrenaline as her flight or fight response kicked in. She could feel the viewer begin to struggle hard now. As the struggle ensued, she caught a glimpse of the flailing arm of the viewer. She was seeing this memory through the eyes of a Suus. It ceased, and she was relieved. She leaned over, put her hands on her knees and worked on calming herself.
“Le, are you OK? Did you see the gallery?”
“Yes Baba, I’m going to get you out of there.”
“Oh Le, I’ve been here a very long time. Many of us have. I don’t think there’s any hope for us. But you could escape, when they exchange you for that Muse of Mischief.”
“Don’t worry Baba, you don’t know the Muse of Mischief like I do. She and Agent Brzko will find a way to get us all out here.”