Title:: The Four Inescapable Rules of Life

Author:: Lokaia

Summary:: See Rule 1

Disclaimer:: See Rule 1

Rating:: See Rule 1

(A/N) Last chapter! Hope you all like it!

--

"Hi, guys!" Our reaction to Rosie's sunny smile was even more annoyed as we realized she was holding the creye.

No, not just holding. *Petting*.

The damn Mercurian was *PETTING* the creye!

"Rosie, put that down!" Goddard was trying to keep the rest of us a safe distance away. I didn't think it was the appropriate time to tell him creye's have a spitting distance of fifteen feet.

"You could get hurt!"

Nope. Definitely not the time.

Rosie only giggled. "Oh, Commander, it's not going to hurt me. It's been sitting in my lap this whole time!"

"It's hasn't even moved," Suzee added. "It's just been sitting there."

"Bova?" I turned to face Radu, who was staring at Rosie and the thing in her arms. "Er.. how many hearts do creyes have?"

"Just one."

"Oh. Uh. Does it have a really slow heartbeat?"

"No, not really. It's pretty aver--" I stopped mid-sentence and realized what he was saying. "You can't hear a heartbeat?"

Radu shook his head, looking concerned. Whether it was because we'd wasted all our energy on catching something was no longer breathing, or remorse for the creye, I wasn't sure.

"So it's dead?" Harlan asked hopefully.

Rosie gasped, looking down at the thing in her arms in worry. "Oh, no, it's dead?"

I have to point out right now, that this was the closest I had ever come to smiling in my life. "No! It's better than dead!"

"What do you mean?" Ms. Davenport asked. She and the rest of the crew were watching me, all with matching confused expressions. Yay, coordination.

I had suddenly remembered that day when a teacher had brought a creye to class. After poking it with a pole, the creature had taken off like a shot, dashing around the room in circles. Our teacher kept yelling about going for help while we caught it, but considering the fact that my five year old classmates were, in fact, five years old, we weren't about to try and catch it.

And suddenly, as it went zooming around the room, the creye stopped, shuddered, and *leapt out of its skin*.

A brighter blue creye then jumped out the window.

I walked towards Rosie and pulled the thing out of her lap.

"Bova!"

I turned to face the crew's horrified expressions, holding an admittedly heavy skin in my arms. Very, *very* close to smiling. "Commander, what you need to do now is ask Thelma if she can put some Uranusian vegetation into the creye's ship. A lot of it. Really stock it up. Because when it realizes there's food in there, and jumps into the ship of its own free will, I want to seal that ship for the next thousand years."

"Wait." Rosie stood beside me, and was now poking the skin I was holding. "It.. it's just a skin?"

"A *three inch* skin," I corrected. "It's a defense mechanism to fool predators."

I could hear everyone sigh in relief at the same time. "Thelma?" Goddard called.

"Yes, Commander?" she replied, about an inch away from his ear.

Goddard sighed. "Thelma, I need you to go to the ship we found the creye in and fill it with enough food for the creye to live out its natural life span."

Thelma smiled. "Of course, Commander. Do you think the creye would prefer hamburgers or cheeseburgers?"

"Uranusian vegetation, Thelma," I told her, handing the skin back to Rosie.

"Right," Goddard agreed. "After you're finished with that, I want you to monitor when the creye re-enters its ship. Then seal the ship and eject it. All right?"

"Yes, Commander."

"Suzee," Goddard continued as the android left. "I want you and Bova to come with me and figure out how to use that skin on the engines."

As I reluctantly took the skin back into my arms, Rosie smiled at me. "Well.. at least we never get bored here!"

"I could think of better things to do," I replied. Still.. I held some hope that maybe the Fourth Rule wouldn't come into play.

--

The next day, with our engines thirty-five percent stronger and the Christa salt-acid-free, I was almost in a good mood as we filed into Ms. Davenport's class.

"All right, class," she begins with a smile that speaks of torment and torture. "Please turn in your essays."

You know.. it's really stupid to think that if Rule One, Two, and Three happen, Rule Four won't be right behind them. At least, that's what I was thinking as I sat in my seat, remembering that I had left my compupad (and thus, my unfinished essay) in the team room yesterday. Right before the discovery of the creye.

Really, *really* stupid.

#4 Inescapable Rule of Life:: See #1.