Lelelu had fully recovered from shock before they left for the specimen ship shere she had been  held captive; but she still wasn’t herself. First she’s never experienced anything as dangerous as a kidnapping. She thinks, or thought, of herself as an independent and capable being. But now, she has to accept that she is more vulnerable than she thought. And then there was her father. She wondered if she had invented his voice in her head. Maybe it was her own survival instincts that had created that voice, knowing it would mobilize her. This was all racing through her mind as Ferocity’s ship took them back to the VReoria ship near Cazoova, the ship where she had been imprisoned.

Zri could feel her stress and discomfort, he reached for her hand. “Lelelu I’m here. We’re in this together.”

The ship lurched, as the jump drive disengaged. They were above Cazoova, surrounded by the ships of the combined fleet. In front of them was one of the largest Suus ships. Just as Zri was trying to figure out how he would determine which ship held the evacuees, Ferocity’s ship spoke to them.

“You are clear to initiate transport to the Suus ship.” The ship said in a voice that was neither male nor female sounding.

Zri has never interacted with a sentient ship before, “Uh OK. Is it the ship directly in front of us?” He asked aloud, assuming the ship was listening.

“Yes. I have contacted them, you are expected.”

“OK then.” He and Lelelu stood up, he activated the transport and transported them to the cargo bay. The scene was almost identical to the other Suus ship, but there were even more evacuees here.

Lelelu immediately took off to search for her father. “Lelelu wait.” Zri called. It was no use. He couldn’t stop her.

Zri! I was informed of your arrival. We have cleared the VReoria ship and are ready to destroy it.

Zri turned and saw Waaw approaching him. “Waaw! I’m relieved to see you. Before we deal with the VReoria ship we need to deal with something else. Did you find a Trelod in gallery?”

Yes, her father is here. He is waiting for her in this room.” Waaw gestured toward one of the private rooms near them. Through the clear glass in the center of the door, Zri could see a Trelod lying on the bed. He looked around for Lelelu, she was walking toward him with a Suus. It was evident from the look on her face that she had been told her father was rescued. She hadn’t imagined the whole thing.

When she got to Zri he didn’t say a word, he just opened the door for her. Before he closed the door, he heard her father’s relief when he saw her. “Le!” They needed some time together, some time alone.

Zri turned to Waaw, “Let’s go take a final look at that VReoria ship and then destroy it.” Waaw nodded, they both transported to the ship.

The gallery of the VReoria specimen ship looked like it had been the site of a riot. The floor was wet with stasis fluid, and there was well over 100 destroyed stasis tubes. “This is disgusting… what those beings must have endured being held here for so long.”

Indeed. Some were held for well over their expected lifetime. We have also recovered species that we’ve never seen before, species from other universes we suspect.

Zri turned toward Waaw quickly, he was shocked. “What? Species from other universes? So the VReoria ARE able to travel back and forth in the Multiverse?”

That seems like the logical conclusion.

Zri heard a new voice in his head. “Commander Waaw, the ship has been cleared. We are the only beings aboard.” He turned to see a Suus subcommander enter the gallery.

Very good. Zri, unless you have more to do here I propose that we return to the evacuee ship and commence with the destruction of this one. The other specimen ship has already been destroyed.

“Waaw, what do you think the odds are that there are more specimen ships?” Zri asked.

Odds? When one is certain, there is no need to consider the odds.

Once he was back on the evacuee ship, Zri went to check on Lelelu. She was still with her father, of course, he quietly knocked once. She looked up and her face lit up when she saw him. She rushed to the door and opened it.

She jumped into his arms, “Zri! I’m so glad you’re here. I want you to meet my father.” She took him by the arm and led him across the room, “Baba, this is my partner Zri. Zri, this is my father, Iysuno.”

Iysuno attempted to stand, but he was weak from decades in a stasis tube.

“You don’t have to stand sir, it is my honor to meet you.” Zri extended his hand.

“Le, help me up.” Iysuno said, ignoring Zri’s outstretched hand and lifting his left arm toward her. Zri immediately knew where Lelelu got her stubborn streak. He turned back to Zri, “I insist.” He said as he managed to stand, leaning on Lelelu. He extended his hand, “The honor is all mine Zri. Without you neither my daughter nor I would be here now. Thank you.”

Zri paused, the past few days were catching up with him. He didn’t know what to say, there was just too much going on in his head at the moment. He was afraid he’d break down again.

Lelelu rescued him, “As our friend the Muse of Mischief said, eh, it’s what we do!”

“When will I meet this creature?” Iysuno asked. “Please sit.” He motioned Zri toward a chair next to the bed.

“Thank you.” he said taking a seat. “She and Agent Brzko will meet us on Gaznzul.”

“How long until we arrive at Gaznzul, Zri?” Lelelu asked.

“We will be there before morning.”

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