A/N: aaaaw I'm sorry this is so short and took such a long time! I'm starting on the next chapter right now! And thanks a lot for all those who reviewed. You made my days! Let's do it again, y/y?
* * *
After his impromptu visit on board of the Black Unicorn, Captain Alfred F. Jones went straight to the base. It was already the night, the twin suns of Huxley slowly setting over the horizon. He wondered nervously if Liet's interrogation was going well, if they forced him to remember and what impact it would have on him.
Despite their friendship, Liet had never uttered a word to him of what had happened to him back on that dreadful ship, but his silent language had been enough to show that it had indeed marked him deeply. He had also heard his brothers talk about how he had been changed by the experience. He idly wondered how he had been before. Probably not as serious and grim.
He arrived in front of the large, imposing white building and strode inside, quickly flashing his insignia at the guards at the entrance. He rounded the corner and stopped at the main desk.
"I'd like to see Toris Lithuania." He asked in a strong voice to the lady sitting there. She looked up at him over the rim of her glasses.
"Name and rank." She spoke with a flat, dead, dry voice that was a bit screechy at the end. The kind of voice you'd expect of an old librarian with a stick in her ass, not a young lady in the twenties. Oh, well. Military had that effect of people.
He showed her his insignia. "Captain Alfred F. Jones, commander of the sixth division" he told her proudly with a wink.
She wasn't impressed. "No one is allowed to see Lithuania. He's in interrogation as we speak." She told him curtly and pushed the insignia back towards him.
"Ok, then I'll just wait here for when they'll be done."
"I said, no one is allowed to see him. Before, during, and after interrogation," she clarified briskly.
That's what he had feared. Now that they had him and his brother, they'd manage to make them say exactly what they wanted and then they'll lock them up. They needed a culprit and he had given then just that, on a silver platter at that! Alfred clenched his fist.
"All right then. But I'll stay here anyway."
She actually lost her professional look a split second, taken aback. "why?"
"So that when one of your bosses comes around, I can ask them entrance personally," he said, moving to sit in one of the chair in what was supposed to be a waiting room.
They would not let him see him, fine. But they could not throw him out as long as he was bothering no one. As a silent protest, and also a desperate hope that perhaps they wouldn't decide to be asses for one time and let him see his friend, he'd stay there as long as it took to get a reaction out of them. Besides, he had thinking to do.
- - - - - -
Eventually Edouart did finish the machines Yvan wanted. He even made him a robot, Katioucha, which he took extra time in making. He made it with all of his talent, and it was a very beautiful thing.
However, they all doubted she'd last very long. It was, after all, nearly impossible to make a robot without the three laws carved in their brains, for every single positronic brain to be manufactured had it pre-programmed in them. Even the brains that Yvan's trusted first-mate had provided them with, no doubt taken from a black market of some sort, had them.
So it was fated, in their mind at least, that the poor thing would fry and shut down after only a small amount of time on board of the pirate ship. Raivis himself was barely able to function, even with all of Edouart's expertise behind him to repair him and keep him going.
But they suspected that repairing her when the time came would not be reason enough for the pirate to keep them all on board. So that's why Edouart took as much time as he could building the machines, and he also prepared an escape plan meanwhile, for when the time came that the captain would get tired of feeding two additional mouths.
And one day that a military ship was in the area and that the Himawari was successfully using the stealth device he had created (It had been named the Comrad Matvey by the captain, for some reason) to go by unnoticed, Edouart told Toris about his plan.
- - - - - -
A few hours had passed and Alfred was now dozing off in his uncomfortable seat. Many officers had passed by, each becoming more and more exasperated as his presence. He knew they probably all considered him a brat. But that didn't really matter. He was being too efficient at his job for them to get rid of him. He had put more space pirates in jail than any other before him, after all. The only two ships that resisted him were… well, those two headaches.
Eventually one of his higher bosses walked by and stopped in front on him. By reflex, he stood and saluted.
"Captain Jones," he began, "may I know what you're doing here?"
He opened his mouth to answer but the other cut him. "I mean, I know the reason why you're here. What I want to know is: don't you have somewhere else to be? I don't recall your ship being on permission, Mister Jones. And of course, you'd never ignore your orders to do something so trivial as to visit a criminal, am I right?"
He grid his teeth at the 'criminal' part, but otherwise forced himself to remain calm and professional. "Of course not, sir. My crew and I received the order to stay here and make sure that everyone of the rescued civilian boarded their flight and left for their homes safely and properly."
He narrowed his eyes. "Shouldn't you be taking care of that, then?"
"That's what I'm doing, sir. Until further notification, mister Lithuania was part of these civilians. The official notice stated that he would be questioned, and then returned home. I am simply here to make sure everything is done accordingly." He said, trying to keep any smugness out of his voice. He had marked a point, but he didn't want the other man thinking he was making fun of him.
Apparently it failed. "Mister Lithuania's is a special case." he began, obviously trying to keep the anger out of his voice, "When the last of these people's flights leaves ?"
"In three days, sir."
"…I see." The officer turned around and left, apparently very frustrated. Alfred fell down into his seat with a sigh and ran his hand through his hair. Now what?
* * *
A little after one in the morning, regional time, the blonde captain was awaken at the sound of hurried whisper not far from him.
"Are you sure you want to give this particular mission to this particular man, sir? He's a bit nosy." A woman's voice was saying.
"A bit ? He's worse than my wife ! But we need someone on this, and I'd rather if he'd leave my sight. Besides, if he has to stick his nose somewhere, I would rather like that he does it over there than here." A man's voice answered.
Suddenly there were footsteps and someone was shaking him. He groggily opened his eyes, as if he hadn't heard everything that had been said just now. A tall woman was standing in front of him, her male companion a little bit further away. No doubt the owners of the voices. He stood up and did a sort of sleepy military salute.
"Ah, Mister Jones. Your ship just received an urgent order. This has priority over everything else your crew and yourself are currently engaged in. I recommend going back to your ship this instant to see these orders," the man told him. Alfred opened his mouth to answer, but the man cut him. "I said, this is first priority." The captain snapped his mouth shut.
As much as he was pissed, he actually expected they'd pull something like that. So he grid his teeth and left the base. What else was he to do? Orders came first. He'd just have to make sure to leave someone behind to keep an eye on Liet.
* * *
"Are you crazy Edouart? We'll never make it out of here alive!" was Toris' first reaction after his brother told him what he had planned to do.
"Everything is planned out Toris. It can't go wrong." The other assured him. "Now that I've hacked it, I have access to all of the electronic system from here. I can create a disturbance while we make our escape!"
He was speaking fast while putting his equipment in a bag, like he already knew that Toris would agree to his plan. The brunette was watching him, fidgeting uneasily.
"But they'll notice that we're gone eventually! We can't out-run them, especially in a shuttle!"
Edouart turned around, the light from the neon overhead reflecting on his glasses. "We won't need to run forever!" he exclaimed triumphantly, pointing to the window. Toris followed his gaze and gaped.
"You don't mean…"
"We'll board that military ship!"
* * *
Alfred Jones was now looking over Kiku's shoulder at their newest order displayed on the bridge's main screen. It was… strange, to say the least.
"Yes, sir. Apparently there was a problem of some sort in the weather controllers covering most of the small planet 200-A26. They started to spurt snow and now the entire place is covered by nearly two meter of it." The small Japanese man explained, knowing well that his captain never bothered to read the small lines of the orders.
"Can't they make the sun shine and melt it? Why do they even need our help?"
"The controllers are completely messed up now. It will take months to repair them. They have no other choice but to clear it off the traditional way, with shovels. The local militia now has too much on their hands and requested the help of the space guards to get rid of that snow." Kiku explained. "but why they'd ask a combat ship like ourselves…" the man muttered, stroking his chin.
Alfred suspected that the base had picked the first mission that they could get their hands on to get rid of them, but to pass that as first priority was perhaps a bit exaggerated. Besides, why on earth would be worried about him being 'nosey' on a snow shovelling mission?
He stared at the screen again. There was something fishy with that. Controllers did not suddenly break and pour down meters of snow! Besides, why were there even weather controllers on a planet? These things were usually used on space stations, overly-polluted or unfriendly lands, and on… huge tourism attractions.
He frowned. "Kiku, what did you say was the name of that planet again?"
"200-A26, captain. It's the third planet revolving the Assariz star, named 'Rosette' in earth languages."
'Rosette, huh? Well that ought to be interesting.' He thought.