Grinning, Mato waved a hand. "A sixth... wait. Is it sixth?" Frowning, he tapped his chin with a finger. "Ah, no. Stupid me. It's fifth generation." Grinning again, he waved his hand once more, in the exact same way as the first time. "I'm a fifth generation son of Chaos."

Serenity didn't visibly react, though it was obviously enough for Mato to feel, from the way he smiled at her. "Chaos has not fathered children in over-" Serenity broke off, narrowing her eyes as she stared at him. "You are marked."

"Oh? Yeah, didn't I mention? The Givin shaped me." Mato's smile widened, revealing a pair of slightly rounded fangs. "So, wanna tell me why you haven't revealed yourself to Gideon yet? Or mentioned to him how he's related to you by blood?"

Serenity was silent, as the wind whipped around them both.

"Oh, so typical. Yeah, don't bother telling me what's going on at all." Flinging his hands into the air, Mato turned away, sighing in disgust. "I really do get sick of people jerking others around like that. Fine, keep your stupid little secrets, I'll just follow you around to make sure-"

Serenity simply stared at him.

"Oh up yours. That's what you wanted anyway, wasn't it?"

Again, Serenity made no reply.

"I hate you so much."

"Marin! Are you-" Gideon skidded to a stop, staring blankly. "Who are you?"

A dark haired fellow in a crisply pressed uniform turned to look at Gideon, the reddish tint to his eyes making his stare seem menacing. "... We're done for now, Miss Steel." Turning, the man walked away. "We'll talk after you return."

"Uh, who was that?" Gideon stared after the man, a little thrown off his mental stride.

"That was Captain Kaosu, he was kind enough to lend us a ship for the trip." Marin brushed a lock of blonde hair behind her ear, staring after the man.

"Right... That was nice of- trip? How did you know abou- how did he know about the-"

"What, you didn't know?" Marin smiled smugly at Gideon. "I thought everyone knew."

"I'm confused."

"I'm confused."

"That makes two of us." Gideon tilted the co-pilot's chair back to look over his shoulder at Mato.

"No, I mean, how does the ship travel so fast?" Mato stared out the window at the stars streaking past.

"Uh, it uses the FTL drive, hello?" Marin rested one hand on the yoke, tapping a course correction into the display before her.

"'Eff Tee Ell'?"

"Faster Than Light. Don't they have space ships where you come from?"

"Not really, no." Mato pressed his nose against the window, still staring at the stars.

Sigh. "Really, for someone almost as evolved as Gideon, you're pretty slow."

"Uh, Marin-"

"I'm a Neo-Luddite." Mato turned away from the view, standing up and stretching his arms over his head. "Bleah, think I'll go and take a break." Walking out of the cockpit, he waved a hand over his shoulder. "If anyone needs me, I'll be out."

"A 'Neo-Luddite'? That's a weird thing to claim to be." Finished with the course correction, Marin leaned back against her seat, closing her eyes. "Almost as weird as insisting that you and me take the only two quarters on the ship. I don't care about him, but to make that girl sleep on the floor without any privacy? Jerk."

"Yeah... You have no idea what's going on." Gideon shook his head, staring out the forward viewscreen.

"I know plenty, demi-god-boy." Marin's lips curved into a wicked smile. "We're on a mission to beat those Seekers. And I'm plenty strong enough to take them on too, now."

"It's not that simple. And those two have something to do with the complicated parts."

"You think too much Gideon."

"...You've really changed since you figured out how to blast stuff with a wave of your hands, you know."

"I'll take that as a compliment."

"Where is he?" Serenity stepped into the bridge, her sundress not-swaying as she walked with that curious mincing step of hers.

"Who, the jerk?" Marin tilted her chair back, languidly stretching her arms above her head. "He said he was going out." She waved one hand at Gideon lazily. "Gideon, be a dear and check where the jerk is, will you?"

Sighing, Gideon tilted up his seat and tapped a command into the control board. "He's... Hm." Tap tap tap. "He's... Uh..." Tap tap tap. "He's-"

"He's what? Spit it out already."

"He's not on the ship."

"What?"

"What?"

"He's not on the ship. The internal sensors can't find him anywhere."

Marin tilted up her seat, reaching for the control board. "You must just be using the wrong commands."

"No, that's not it." Gideon tapped a command into the board. "Here, look for yourself."

An overlay of the small ship's deckplan appeared on Marin's half of the display. "He's not in any of the sections. What about the conduit access tubes?"

"I checked that too, nothing." Gideon frowned at the display. "You can't just up and vanish like that. And all there is outsi-" He broke off, a glazed look in his eyes.

"Gideon? Gideon?" Marin leaned over, waving a hand infront of his face. "Gideon! Snap out of it. What are you thinking?"

A bemused smile crept across Gideon's face. "I think I know where he is."

"Oh? And where's that then, hotshot?"

"He's not in the ship."

"Wh- you can't mean... Don't be stupid Gideon, you can't possibly mean what I think you're talking about."

Here you are.

Here I am.

What are you doing out here?

I'm watching the stars go by.

Serenity turned to look at the numerous stars sweeping past the hull of the tiny ship, her bare feet made no sound as they rubbed against the armored plating. Why?

If you have to ask, then you'll never understand the question.

...Why are you following me?

That's a good question.

I don't need you.

It's not you I'm interested in. I've already met you before, a more interesting version at that.

...I could destroy you.

No, you could try to destroy me. I very much doubt you'd succeed. Uncrossing his legs, Mato stood up and stretched his arms over his head, still watching the pinpoints of silvery light as they endlessly rushed past.

You have no idea what you're dealing with.

No, I know exactly what I'm dealing with. His lips twisted into a smirk. You're Serenity. I'd have more trouble with some of the other DN, but not you. Not by a long shot.

You wish to gift your life to this belief?

Interesting way of putting it, but sure. If I don't die, you have to sleep with me.

...What?

Hah, that's what I thought. Nobody ever wants to take a cha-

I accept.

Ah crap.

The entire ship shook, rattling around Marin like a leaf in a hurricane. "We're hit!" Leaning forward in her chair, she gripped the steering yoke with both hands, fighting against the wild bucking to keep the craft from tumbling over. The stress the engines would put on the frame if the ship turned over would be immense, considering how fast they were traveling. "Turn off the FTL!"

Gideon hammered a command into his control board. "It's gone!"

"Well then cut power to the drive."

"I didn't mean the controls are gone, the FTL is gone."

"What?"

"The entire back half of the ship is-"

The small vessel suddenly stopped rattling.

"Is what?"

"Uh, it's there now." Gideon frowned, checking the ship's status. "It wasn't there a second ago."

"You're kidding me. Half a starship doesn't just-"

"Hey, it wasn't me, ok? I didn't just blow off the ass-end of the ship, don't blame me!"

Both Gideon and Marin glanced over their respective shoulders to stare at Mato, who was half-dragging Serenity into the cockpit.

"Let go of me." Serenity yanked on her arm, trying to pull it free of Mato's grasp.

"Not until you tell them it wasn't my fault." Frowning, he glanced away from Serenity to look at the two humans. "Seriously, not my fault."

"I believe you." Marin turned back to re-adjust their course heading. "Because there's no way you could have actually done that. We probably hit a comet or something."

"I believe you too." Gideon glanced at Marin out of the corner of his eye. "But only because I doubt you'd want to float all the way there on your own."

"Oh...Well, good then? I guess..." One corner of his mouth twitching, Mato shrugged and released Serenity's arm. "Uh, anyway... I'm gonna... Go... Do, something?" Glancing uncomfortably at Serenity, he bolted out of the cockpit, barely avoiding slamming into the door as it opened nearly too slowly to allow him past.

"Weirdo." Shaking her head, Marin locked the steering yoke into place, and slumped back in her seat.

Serenity silently padded up to stand between the two humans, a sour expression on her usually expressionless face.

"Um, something wrong?" Gideon looked up at Serenity, feeling uncomfortable considering that she was shorter than even Marin was, but probably ten times stronger than himself.

Serenity stared blankly at the forward viewscreen. "I have to sleep with him."

It was a first for Marin. She had never almost-vomited from shock before.

"What're you doing?" Gideon lounged in the pilot's chair, not paying attention to the ship's current course. It had remained the same for the past sixteen hours, it wasn't likely to change anytime soon.

Mato stood in the doorway between the cockpit and the next section, a spoon handle dangling from his mouth. "Eatin' Barvari Chill." Cradling the little rectangular container of thermal-proof plastic in one hand, Mato scooped out an overly generous portion, and stuffed it into his mouth.

Gideon winced. "That stuff has over four hundred calories per cubic centimeter. You just swallowed a lethal dose."

"So?"

"So? SO? If you don't go and cough that stuff up, we'll be pumping your stomach in less than an hour."

"Doubt it." Mato gulped down another mouthful of highly unhealthy frozen confection. "You didn't have to do anything about the last box."

Gideon stared silently at him for a few moments, before turning back to look out of the viewscreen. "I'm going to ask something that I probably should already know the answer to."

"Shoot." Mato ambled over and sat on the headrest of the co-pilot's seat, spooning more Barvari Chill into his mouth.

"Why all the cal-" Gideon blinked. "Energy."

Nodding, Mato shoveled another mouthful, waiting to hear the rest of Gideon's revelation. He was fairly smart to work things out on his own so quickly, and wasn't afraid to admit he didn't know something. Points for Gideon, five. Points for that annoying blonde chick, one half. Points for Serenity, zero, because she's annoying, hahahaha.

"So, where are we going, and why?" Gideon tapped a command into the control board, bringing up their current course. "It's so far away from the main populated worlds on this star chart."

"Beats me kid." Mato polished off the last of the Bavari Chill, setting down the container and licking his fingers. "Serenity was the one who pointed the way, I'm just following along like a good little boy."

"Yeah right." Gideon shook his head. "Hey, how do you do that thing with your voice?"

"What thing?"

Chapter end!

For all those readers who care enough to keep up with this story, I'm really sorry I've left it alone for so long. If it helps any, I've written three novels since the last chapter.

Not good enough, eh?

Ah well. Hopefully, I'll be able to continue this at a more regulated pace, as well as finish off the other stories I've left hanging for so long.

Until next time.