* Indent paragraph issues compensated through "****" symbols *

(a long foregoing moment in the future)
A huge terran planet covered by a crescent-shaped shadow is seen high above the voluminous transparent dome with hundreds of thousands of vessels levitating throughout the vicinity. Frequent fireworks disperse their beauty - but for this serious moment, all attention is led away from the view and the major prominence throughout this area.

All attendants of the gigantic hall petrify after the cracking sound occurs… The smoking barrel of the handgun quivers. The stretched arm trembles further while the other arm chokes the frightened young girl with its tight custody. It was that moment… The point of no return….

= Somewhere deep inside the Colony Vessel "Providence" =

The lids tremble many times before revealing the deep blue iris of the eye. The eye's pupil alters its size many times before slowly adapting its focus to the given lighting. A ceiling, an unfamiliar ceiling…

Minor aches occur as the left arm was lifted and scanned the left side of her face. A pad… a sort of badge covered her left eye. Unable to recall what actually happened, she only could remember faint nightmares. The halved view slowly made her anxious, just before a familiar voice sounded across the room,

"Stay calm. Stay calm…"
She lifted her torso and leaned upon both of her elbows, observing the unfamiliar surroundings full of equipment; even she had small objects connected upon her chest and arm. A large room, calm air, a closed window with structures and buildings beyond…

"You are in safety, Hailynn. We are at the military hospital of Inner District Blue, recovery section", the familiar man whose name she could not recall at first, "It is natural that you have a slight loss of memory, but don't worry, it will recover."

Her hand frequently scanned her face and body, but other than that, she slowly began to calm down. Handing her a glass of water, he already knew that she would need some fluid to clear her throat.

"It's me, Doctor Jonas, your chief medical doctor of the ship", he introduced himself, knowing that she had slight memory problems as he approached her, "I am happy to see you in overall good health, Hailynn. It has been a long while."
While examining her eye and vitality signals, he explained, "I was called to this hospital when it was said that you were most likely to wake up today."
Hailynn still leaned upon her elbows.

"Th-This…", she muttered, having trouble to say words, "Vjel- Ph-ase jump, success-ss?"
"No no. We're at the hospital of this district - Providence. We're no longer onboard the Vjel-Amaj. Can't you remember about the surgery done?"

Pointing upon her, Hailynn noticed the faint scar upon the skin of her ribcage once checking below the patient gown. Her right hand also revealed differences; she felt faint prickling below the bandages. As seconds went by, her mind slowly began to recover most of the memories. Quietly remembering, she laid her torso back down upon the bed, "I-I feel as if I had been sleeping for... ages."

"You were indeed gone for a long while."
"- H-how long?"
"Let's see…", Jonas checked the primitive pages of the clipboard and skimmed through the medical reports, "Full recovery and rest after surgery was the primary goal of the surgeons. Although it was planned to keep you at rest for three days, you've woken up… exactly on Day 21 following the end of the surgery that took approximately… 17 hours… according to this record", the doctor explained as he went through her records, "It was a long time. The medical team insisted to let you recover naturally. And it looks like it has done you very well. The surgeons have successfully repaired your fractured shoulder and rib, treated all sustained injuries, cosmetically of course and operated your augments."

Her silence revealed slight astonishment with a widening eye.

"One thing I am pleased to say: All vital body functions are healthy. I must apologize but I am simply amazed how much your body was forced to withstand. Such punishment on a woman frightens me any day. You Hiigaran women are tough, I can say. Hailynn, listen, I wish you to know about this: Your body still maintains 'Grade: A' reproduction. I feel pleasant to say this - certain people did not have that much luck."

Hailynn wove her hand, pleasing him not to repeat another preachment about founding a family.

"Anyways... According to this here, the last week brought complications due to the troublesome addiction. Although the medical staff insisted to calm your body with a lesser drug", the man explained further, "Your body and system have become rebellious. Practically any given medication was decomposed by the Bentusi nanobots.
Usually, injected nanobots such as those to our disposal would deplete within a day and must be removed. However, these Bentusi nanobots are still active - removing them in this state is practically impossible according to the comments. A side effect I did not reckon with, but at least these long-life nanobots are more efficient than ours; I am pretty sure they serve you well for a very long time, but note that we must maintain watch about your addiction."

The doctor paused his speech as he noticed Hailynn's attention wandering off.

Twenty-one days?, she thought before fixing her halved view upon the table at her far right side. Many objects rested upon it. A batch of flowers, variations of 'Get-Well-Soon!' cards, a strange rock and several other smaller things.

"Ah, yes. You've had many people of the crew worrying about you - and a lot of visitors, too, who spoke to you during your comatose phase. Operatives and officers such as Commander Orelis, the woman who rescued you back then… Fal… Fell - ah yes, Velle, a small group of logistics operatives and the girl, Aira."

Hailynn's eye widened once more as she looked upon the table once more, discovering the strange small rock quietly laying upon the table.

"Indeed. The girl brought you this strange rock. I ordered the staff not to touch any these things. Aira also gave you the necklace that is around your neck."

Scanning her neck, Hailynn's fingers discovered the chain of the object that was on her left shoulder - strange that she had not discovered it before, probably due to the collar around her neck. Pulling it towards her face, her eye widened once more as she discovered its mysterious symbol, the Eye of Kadesha. The small talisman twirled back and forth many times as she stared upon the center… each full twirl revealing the mere three dimensional focus of the majestic Eye… mysteriously… hypnotizing.

"Among all visitors, Aira was the one who visited you very often. Obviously, I can say that she worried the most about your wellbeing, praying each day for your recovery", Jonas suddenly nodded in admiration for the Kadeshi girl after taking a seat next to Hailynn, "It still amazes me. The usually shy girl never dared to leave the ship - I even doubted that was ever possible -, but ever since the incident at the taiidan mothership, she proved me wrong. Just for you, she must have braved her innermost fears. You should have seen her."
Hailynn returned the view upon the ceiling silently, imagining how much the people and Aira worried - predominately how Aira braving all her way through Providence just for her.

"Aira left the rock and her necklace upon your chest each time she came over - later on, she left it behind, maybe a sort of talisman. Can you imagine? She always left the ship, hooded, with all her kadeshi robes and clothing", he suddenly smirked, "The poor girl probably wanted to hide herself from the people throughout Providence but surely attracted all eyes with those Kadeshi schemes."

Jonas chuckled as he spoke, "You know, with all those eyes and those attractive-, excuse me -", he still chuckled further, "attractive schemes, I doubt anybody could resist looking upon the mysteriously young figure wandering through the inner city."
Hailynn suddenly smiled; she could not resist. It was good to see her smiling. Jonas' attempt in cheering her up worked, but his sudden pause made the following become serious.

"Hailynn, you are pretty much one of the few who have actually got off lightly. I am amazed that the Captain saw it coming. We have several cases of delayed post-traumatic stress disorders of the crew, foremost the operative crew, who are now under psychological care. I also would like to see you participate on this as well, just in case."
The Hiigaran woman did not answer at first but nodded. Raising her left hand once more, she moved it until it was in the right field of view.

"Ah yes. Your augmented eye."
"Is something wrong with my left eye? Was it remo-"

"Don't worry, the optical surgeons have replaced the basic augments with more sophisticated ocular units I have obtained from the Bentusi's Medical Consortium. It will require further days until it has healed. Furthermore, the biological portion of your left eye must adjust to the new environment as well. I deeply advise you to keep the eye patched-covered and closed at all times. Due to the Bentusi nanobots in your system, I am afraid that prescribing painkillers will not come in affect.
I must apologize for deciding on giving you a new ocular implant, but it was required to rescue the eye itself. I am sure the Bentusi components will be more useful and comfortable once it has healed and adjusted completely. During the preparations and scans back then on the Bentusi Harborship, I also discovered several minor augments and implants in your body. I've also informed the surgeons to replace these with better hybrid units. One of the main changes is the one residing adjacent to your ear-drum; a remarkably powerful micro implant capable to relay signals - You might be able to percept basic communication waves passively once it is activated again."

"Y-yes, it belongs to one of those basic implants I received when I served as a marine. It was deactivated when I decided to pursue a different career."
"Nonetheless, I must say that you have changed somehow, your appearance, you've changed greatly… but alas..."

Hailynn's hand noticed something that confirmed his words..

It has really been three weeks…

"Doctor. What about the Vjel-Amaj? The Kadeshi Seekers, the Navy - we must -!", she suddenly spoke with a hasted voice.
"No no, calm down. Hailynn, I do not know much. All I know is that the Vjel-Amaj is still undergoing heavy maintenance at the shipyard. I do not know about the Navy, but I assure you that they will not do anything about the Kadeshi incident in the M'randara Star System. Orelis has told me about this. Recreation and shore leave is the order until further notice, and that order will surely maintain for a long time - regretfully. I admire your righteousness, Hailynn, but you are also a kushan being. Stay home and rest, alright?"

Her short anxiety vanished.

"Actually. You are cleared of any problematic medical status", he noticed, "I have a suggestion to make - as your assigned doctor. Let us bring to a more trusted place where you can recover. We can converse further while you get ready."

= District "Green". One of the many habitat sectors throughout Providence =

Almost two hours later... of boredom. Commercials and programs of channels are frequently switched until the image stops upon a male weather reporter speaking:

- more or less, Mr. Gallin. On to the last segment of this weather report, shall we?, the weather reporter replied happily while his background focused upon the northern hemisphere of Amaji Prime along with disappearance of the channel's number, revealing several regional names and large colonial settlements, As for everybody around the Northern Hemisphere, it looks like it is going to stay cloudy and humid throughout the entire season. With Amaji Prime entering solstice, the climate has shifted into the wet and windy season. I'm afraid the people will have to count on rainy days and delays for shuttle flights.

Ouf, what are you doing to the poor colonists?, the voice of the other news reporter joked. Another voice remarked, You know they won't like it, ha-ha.
I'm sorry, it's not my fault people! The grey skies were inevitable!

The three voices gave short chuckles and nonsense comments to each other.

"Stupid people…", the young annoyed Amaji woman said with her arm still stretched ahead with a remote control, "The hemisphere area around Region Maratropa is always grey", knowing this since she grew up somewhere around one of the many remote suburbs, "As if it were never rainy on Amaj."
Velle frowned as she listened more to the silly comments and remarks about the planet's weather system.

Dangling her leg down from the couch, the half-naked young Amaji lazily sat upon it with a slightly over-large shirt. Lowering the arm with the remote, the long sleeve inevitably swallowed the hand. Refraining from switching the channel before the last string of patience snapped as the large flat television screen revealed the other two news reporters again, they finally stopped joking and went back on-topic:

After smiling, the male reporter obviously called Mr. Gallin, continued with the news, At least it is looking well today for PRIME-STAR. According to the correspondents of the Amaji Navy, only minor cases in need for security forces have occurred. Unfortunately, the planetary region of FOURTH-STAR has revealed a series of unexplainable events throughout the last three weeks - Events of destructed civilian industrial vessels and assets that are all currently classified as accidents. However, investigations by both governmental and military forces have revealed no explainable results but nonetheless assured to raise the level of security through dispatched patrols of naval frigates for precautions. Miss Clara Tulo has more about these events.

Indeed, the female reporter on the other side of the screen continued as further images and footages were revealed, Though several naval frigates of the military were dispatched, protests have surfaced throughout the civil population, questioning the military's response. It is obvious by all eyes that the investigation requires the need of higher services, but neither allied kiithid nor the flagship Vjel-Amaj were dispatched. ANN-Services will continue to follow the development of this story. Back to you, Mr. Gallin.

Thank you, Ms. Tulo. On to a more pleasant topic: Hiigara is only days away from the Kharakian Anniversary Ceremony that will celebrate and honor the kushan heritage of all nations and kiithid throughout the League of Core Systems. Despite the independent Kiith Amaj no longer considered part of the Hiigaran Empire, the Amaji government has decided to participate on celebrations of its own. Furthermore, the Amaji government has commented on anticipating presence at Hiigara, but has not confirmed it fully yet.
This is most likely caused by the ongoing inactive status of flagship Vjel-Amaj. We will continue our coverage of further news developments throughout the constellation after a short commercial break. We will talk about the return of a military Kiith Somtaaw carrier that is currently docked at Providence Anchorage. Don't go away. *smile*

Jingles of the Amaji-7 News Network occurred, revealing short footages of unknown people talking before phasing to commercial broadcasts. Velle's attention wandered off as the voices from the widescreen spoke further. If there was one thing her thoughts noticed about this place she moved into: Hailynn's apartment is huge.

Granted, such highly ranked military officer do have the major salary to accommodate a huge living place; but what made the whole thing amazing was the fact that Hailynn actually chose to live within the civilian habitat areas - unlike other major prominences living in higher quality habitat stakes, especially those darn religious kiithid ones.

Nonetheless, this place was still spacious, featuring ultra-high definition screens as windows that could display the outside of the city or the orbital space of Amaji Prime as if it were at the edge of Providence.

Looking over to Aira, Velle spotted the adolescent girl quietly staring at the window with her face closely to the surface that felt like glass. Velle had to smile as the Kadeshi girl quietly stared towards the image that was outright astonishingly realistic in depth and quality. The moving ships and larger vessels throughout the field of view did not disturb her at all. The Amaji planet shimmered with its emerald atmosphere that changed its colors appropriately to the current time - but the borderline of nightfall was closing in as well the so-called "Sundown" phase when Providence falls behind the shadow of the planet.

Velle muted to television as it began to show annoying commercials as she began to think about Aira. Velle recalled Aira's habits and rituals; Right now, she would continuously stare like a statue towards the holographic window, but once the clock hits that specific mark, Aira would immediately brake away, tell Velle about her intention - if she wishes to visit Hailynn or return to the Vjel-Amaj - or find a quiet place to pray. Aira's daily schedule always included minor changes but the key moments were always precise.

After wondering about Aira, Velle's view examined her state. It was not really easy the first days during Hailynn's absence, predominantly because of her actually being Hailynn's substitute for things considering the Vjel-Amaj, general personnel means and information. In order to take care of Aira better, Velle insisted to leave her much smaller apartment - she did not like it anyways. Velle also did not have many possessions. Actually still being a fresh operative who joined the crew of the Vjel-Amaj lately, building her private life on Providence was not easy at all - At least she would have much better standards when deciding to return to Amaji Prime, but nonetheless, she would still need to consolidate months or years of service to actually achieve a very high status - that is, IF she should ever think about it.

Velle lifted her arms, followed by the sleeves slipping downwards to the elbows again. Most of her clothing assets were still onboard the Vjel-Amaj, but she did not have the time or real chance to pick them up due to the heavy works done at the scaffolds. Despite bringing the few packs of clothes she possessed from the apartment to Hailynn's place, the three weeks of being here proved great 'feeding grounds' for Velle's bad habit of laziness, forcing her to start using Hailynn's wear. Velle's tasks as Hailynn's substitute only made matters worse. Noticeably, Hailynn's clothes were much larger…

Thoughts led to even more problems. The undergarments were the 'last of her kind', both bra and panty were the last clean ones before becoming extinct to the pile of clothes that needed to be washed. Unlike available individual washing machines down on Planet Amaj, the public of Providence used public centers that had the appropriate fluid processing units to avoid the waste of valuable water; pretty much the same like on the Vjel-Amaj - but at least she always had a large set of operative clothing available!

Further thoughts led to the point that she started to compare her body with that of the Hiigaran woman. Hailynn was practically larger in about any field and size. The smaller Amaji frowned slightly, falling into a world of misery. At the same time, she then thought about her love interest; since she was already using her large shirts, maybe -

"Miss Velle?", the accented voice of Aira suddenly sounded from the side.

"I intend to pray now… but once I have ended my deed, I sense my soul needing return to the Vjel-Amaj", Aira said with a faint instability in her voice.

For some reason, despite feeling eager to leave the her quiet quarters within the rather desolated Amaji cruiser to the very distant apartment of Hailynn, there were times where Aira would feel unease; somewhat the feel of acute homesickness wanting to go back to that lonely ship.

"Oh, o-okay. Just let me know when you feel ready and I'll bring you back. Go ahead to the small room, I won't disturb you."
Aira respectfully bowed her head before quietly moving along the way.

That girl really was something special, she thought as her eyes followed her pace. Aira stopped at the edge to the small room, as if she sensed something, but remained totally silent. Velle looked at down upon herself once more. Actually, she was going to need some more clothes.

Sighing at first, the young Amaji became anxious as she thought about it; She was going to have to dig out different undergarments too. But now she wondered what Hailynn actually wears.

The appearance and wear tells the Amaji much about the person… knowing this, Velle became even curious about what Hailynn normally wore under that tough uniform look of hers. Lifting herself, her naked legs made way for the bedroom - but just making it halfway, series of chimes occurred that caught her attention, followed by the access door doing mechanical sounds before opening. Air rushed.

Seconds went by before Velle actually reacted. Surprisingly, the firstly unnoticed Kadeshi girl was already anxiously rushing towards the door - as if she sensed the approach once whoever touched that keypad.

"NAJI!", Aira shouted joyfully as she made her way to the door.

The metallic door swung further open, revealing a tall female figure making two steps into the huge apartment.
Aira suddenly stopped just a single step away from the woman for whom she prayed for so many days. The Kadeshi girl hesitated; her little heart raced as her velvet eyes widened. This was the reality… not a dream. Aira made the last approaching step, touching the fabrics and skin of the figure... The female figure revealed unfamiliar differences, but as she lowered herself, both embraced each other.

"H-Hailynn…", Aira sobbed with her accented voice, looking straight at the blue eye that was faintly cloaked by the wild fringe of black hair.

Hailynn was indeed happy to hear that specific accent of Aira again - If not, it was the best 'good news' she heard ever since she left the hospital. Ever since Hailynn told Aira about the heavy surgical operation she had to undergo, the adolescent girl became very worried that somewhat caused her to refrain from speaking.

Greater relief...
Suddenly spotting another person rushing at them, Hailynn raised herself from Aira embrace, soon to be merely tackled by Velle's tighter hug, happily repeating the phrase 'Naji!' as well.

"Aaaahhhh!", Hailynn painfully cried.
Velle instantly jump back, frightened of the fact that she hurt Hailynn… but at the same moment, Hailynn smiled shortly and said, "Fooled you."

"H-Hai…", Velle growled with formed fists aimed towards the floor, instantly disappearing beneath the slightly longer sleeves, "Ooow, you're just as wicked as Deena."
"Nah, she's the worst."

"H-how do you feel?! How'd you get here?!", Velle anxiously asked, lost of what to think about.
"Long story. But just for the start, the doctor actually", Hailynn explained with a calm voice as she presented Doctor Jonas who stood further behind while bringing her baggage, "insisted to bring me back and recover at home. He transported me with his car."

"No problem, Commander. I wish you to get well."
"D-Doctor? Why don't you come in and -?"
"It's okay, Hailynn. I think you will have -"

Velle shrieked as the Doctor noticed her standing openly, half-naked. The embarrassed Amaji immediately wrapped her torso with the shirt before trying to hide her rather naked legs behind Hailynn and the door.

"Nothing I haven't seen already, Velle", he smirked, "Anyways, I think you will have a better time without me around. Nothing beats recovery at a more trusted place. I will head back to the hospital and see if I can assist them."

"A-As you wish, Doctor. Thank you for everything", the Hiigaran thanked, subtly thanking him for all the happenings he shared with her.
"No need for thanking me, it's my duty. This is just a favor I am willing to take responsibility for. Remember, if you have any difficulties or questions, call me - Any time, any place. Just promise me to refrain from all sorts of stress and keep your eye patched at all times as said in our previous conversation. Understood?"

Hailynn quietly nodded, also confirming him that she would not stress her psyche with the Kadeshi plight.
"Good bye, ladies. Have a good time - and Velle, Aira?"
"…Y-Yes?"
"Keep an eye on Hailynn. Take care of her", Jonas lastly remarked before making his way down the open hall to the exit zone. The three wove their hands for several seconds before shutting the door.

Both Aira and Velle approached Hailynn once more time. After calming their euphoria, both began to distinguish many differences upon the Hiigaran woman. Aira quietly scanned Hailynn's bandaged right hand as Velle firstly observed her from bottom to top, and then felt her hair.

"You two are acting like you've spotted a ghost."
"I still have to calm down myself", Velle replied, "My… Hailynn… You've changed. Y-you're hair… It… It's so…"
Velle's hand frequently fiddled with the messed up hair; it was not the wildness riddled all over, it was her amazement with examination of its length that roughly reached slightly beyond Hailynn's shoulder.

"It's been three weeks", Hailynn explained.
"Y-Yeah, 21 days - been counting… b-but your hair?!"
"Hey, Velle. You're not the only one with hair-gene mutations", the Hiigaran woman revealed in an arrogant but jokingly manner, "You happen to have black and faint purple color in your hair - Well, mine…"

Velle's head moved back slightly, wondering what she was about to say.

"Mine grow faster. Much faster. You have no idea how many times I have to cut it. It is the main reason why I", the Amaji's snorting giggle occurred as Hailynn explained, "- usually have short hair. We people from the Core…", more giggling from Velle, "Systems have a slightly higher cosmic radiation level."
"N-no really?", Velle giggled further.
"Hey. I was teased often enough for this mutation - and I'm glad it's the only one I've figured out so far."

Velle hugged Hailynn one more time; this time with a longer, passionate hug, "Something tells me that you are hiding something in there", she replied as she embraced her with her head upon her.

The taller Hiigaran bit her teeth together; she really was hiding another genetic 'trait'.

The squeeze tightened marginally, "I - I mean, we, we're glad you're back, Hailynn", then loosened remember that she did not want to disturb her with her notion, "S-sorry."

"Hey, it's all right. I'm glad I've come home. It's been quite a while - oh no, how will I explain this to the companion cube?"
Aira still quietly hugged Hailynn's hip, still welcoming her caretaker home.
"We just missed you. How was the surgery? Y-Your eye, augment-thing - Your injuries?"

"Oh, this?", the hiigaran woman threw some of her wild long black hair behind her shoulder and touched the patch several times, "Surgery went fine. I no longer have any serious pains and actually, it feels great to be able to breathe deeply again. Aside to a few scars, I think I'll survive. My augmented eye is still intact. Well, inactive at the moment, it's going to stay like that for a very long time."

Velle's hand approached the side of her face, removing some hair from the cheek, "The look scared me at first. You look like a pirate - but I'll get used to it", she giggled once more, "I'd take any half of that face."

Before Velle approached Hailynn, the Hiigaran looked down at the Kadeshi who quietly returned the stare with her mysterious eyes, "How was Aira while I was gone? I heard she was a brave one."

"You bet", the Amaji replied and put her hand upon the girl's head, "and a lost one. Can you believe it, Aira got lost on the ship about - I don't know - Three times?! Can you believe it?!"
Hailynn's eye widened with a confused glare, "Huh?"

"It looks like she is only able to orientate herself while ship is fully active along with the crewmen. As it is now, it's a mere ghost ship with people conducting maintenance at the Assembly Scaffold. The little girl also tended to wandered off with her mind - probably the main reason why I later find her lost in some tween deck. Oh, actually…"

"Hmm?"
"Haven't you noticed the slight change on her? If you ask me, she's slowly becoming a fine young lady *smiles*"
Hailynn returned the smile, "I understand. Speaking of… fine young lady… is that my shirt?!"
"Uuh- uhm uh… uhmm."

"Thought so - Keep it. I never had the chance to wear all those clothes I have in the closet anyhow. My gods, the inner city was pretty quiet" , Hailynn commented, remembering the ride with Jonas to this apartment.

Needless to say, Velle did not have to repeat the story Hailynn already heard from Jonas considering the crew; a large portion really enjoyed their stay on Providence. Life went on despite the Kadeshi Crisis light years away… The world simply kept turning during the last three weeks.

"Hey, no worries, there. Hey, aren't you hungry? I could make something", the half-naked Amaji anxiously suggested as she took several steps away, heading towards the kitchen area.
"Negatory - Eh, I mean, not needed. I still have those nutrition fluids in blood - and I'm still fed up with it. I really need to have a seat."
"Is that so… Oh well - come on in, and drop your stuff! Or are do wish to stay all day at the doorsill?"

Hailynn smiled as the quiet Kadeshi young lady guided her towards the living room. Unfamiliar feelings overcame her due to the fact that she had not been here for more than three months. Leaving the small transport bag behind, she wandered further along as Velle spoke further about things that happened during her long slumbering absence.

= Somewhere within the inner city of Providence =

Many hours later - Around the "Sunrise" timeframe of Providence. Several police security vehicles drive along the streets with sirens sounding loudly. The dense numbers of people at the sidewalks wonder what is going on as one of the vehicles stop to dispatch several police men and women along with individual armed Somtaaw authorities.

Hidden at an alley, a swarthy bald man looked beyond the edge. A visible oriental tattoo is riddled along the backside of his neck. Moving his head behind the edge again, he cursed, knowing he was going to have to make another run for it. Able to damage the transponder unit, he managed to make his followers loose track just on time, but his luck was running dangerously low. The dark-skinned man was furthermore hindered of arm movement; his wrists were cuffed with the damaged shackles.

Getting through this place was not going to be easy either. Although there were a lot of people of various ethnical heritages, he surely was going to be recognized if he would act like a fugitive; he was going to have to mimic these people… with his arms tied behind his back and dirty. He was going to need hide is appearance - especially is recognizable tattoo that would surely comprise him. Chimes of Mac-Gryving music appropriate for creative thinking sounded from above as he scanned his surroundings, instantly finding the sleeve of a leathered coat.

Shortly looking upwards, wondering where the music was coming from, it was sounding from a window high above him about some commercial of a new series called - The man ignored the rest and approached coat. After taking some time, he managed to strap the collar closed and throw the dirty black leather trench coat over his head after a few attempts and some thinking; almost a perfect leather robe to hide his shackled hands - At least it would raise his chances of melting with the surroundings.

Another announcement sounded, but this time coming from the police forces, warning the individual onlookers and pedestrians about a fugitive... hostile… armed… more lies were mentioned.
What the frell?!, the man thought. Armed-by-handcuffed was more fitting. Even more, he was neither hostile, nor intending to hurt anyone. Though wanting freedom, he had greater worries for his people. Worries filled his mind as he looked around. Where was he? What is this place? The people of this weird place were hiigaran-like, but they still differed from them.

The hasted escape and elusion through dirty maintenance tubes made him thing he was making his way to a different ship - as long as he could get away from those freaking Somtaaws - but a city like this was nothing he expected. There was artificial gravity, he felt it - so it surely was not a planet. Anyways, with the Somtaaw bastards daunting the locals, it was not going to be an easy task to elude these guys.

Brains and subtlety were only the only things going to keep him from imprisonment, leading to his second brilliant plan: RUN! The man rushed along the ally.

= Elsewhere, in a darkened bedroom=

*Quiet squeals, silent choking*

"H-…Ha…lynn…"
It took several seconds until the desperate grip loosened from Velle's throat. The scared figure swallowed many times. The smooth hand nervously palmed the cheek and forehead of the other figure who just attacked her, wiping some of the sweat away while using the other to rub the once choked spot of her neck. Looking over to the Kadeshi girl resting besides Hailynn's other shoulder amazed Velle; for she was still in a very deep sleep, luckily not noticing what just happened.

Hailynn rubbed her right eye, followed by nervous stroke through her wild hair. Both women revealed frights. Velle timidly approached the Hiigaran who remained startled of her deed.
"H-Hailynn?", Velle's trembling voice whispered to her, hardly able to see her face through the darkness.

A long pause occurred while the Hiigaran woman still breathed loud and wildly. For a brief moment, she was totally lost of mind… led by her innermost fear. Immediately hugging Velle with a tight embrace, Hailynn quietly apologized with a single tear running from her face.

"N-nightmare… Turanic… Gunman…I", was all what Hailynn stuttered, lost of mind.

Common sense told Velle that Hailynn lived a nightmare involving the first turanic she desperate fought against for her life. The nightmare itself must have been so dreadfully realistic that her left hand did the same what she did to that turanic… unfortunately choking Velle's throat in reality. The sudden grip released fears that even startled Velle, paralyzing her from making harsh movements. Sensing the inner poundings from Hailynn, Velle noticed that she was equally frightened.
It was bizarre to see the Hiigaran sobbing as she frequently apologized to her.

"Shh…shh… it's… okay", Velle whispered back to her.
It was amazing for Hailynn that the Amaji did not even reveal the slightest grudge - fear certainly - but no grudge. Things could have gone even worse; what would have happened if Aira and Velle were on opposite sides… Velle immediately tried to calmed Hailynn down, hoping she would not think of that frightening thought.

Removing the blanket slightly away and upon the snoozing Kadeshi, Hailynn suddenly raised herself forward and off the wide bed, making her staggered way towards the bathroom. Reaching the sink, the scared woman used cold water from the faucet; another cruel awakening to reality. Opening a hatchet, she nervously stared at pills but did not pull them out as the Amaji woman now stood at the entrance. The worried look of Hailynn questioned her.

"I-I'm okay… It's all right", the Amaji's hoarse voice whispered - herself hidden halfway by the edge of the entrance. Despite Hailynn's misery, Velle stood against her fears and approached the Hiigaran, embracing her, showing that it was all right.

*****

Rushing and bumping his way through, the dark-skinned man passed most of the people along the crowd, hoping he could make it to the other side without catching all too much attention - which was just ironic due to the fact that his looks surely attracted glares from others.

Up to now, the man figured that this was gigantic place was neither an asteroid colony nor one of those dreaded Somtaaw-owned space stations. High-tech and alien-looking structures hung from the high ceiling like huge stalactites made by kushan hands rather than rock and yet people lived in practically every weird looking structure.

Amazingly, he even discovered a building based on larger vessel that actually crashed into this gigantic place - something that must have happened several years ago; now being some sort of housing segment with an awkward angle like one of those bizarre arts he had seen on his home planet long time ago. The whole place differed totally from the appearance of any station he ever saw in his life. People of many heritages walked alongside each other without the slightest grudge.

Nonetheless, his heritage was still a thorn in the eye of many and hiding the noticeable tattoo from the rest was the best idea to follow. The man had been moving on for more than twelve hours by now, aimlessly rushing throughout a huge place whilst being chased by the Kiith that oppressed his kind.

Exactly that fact threatened his mind… They were still after him, still tailgating his trail somehow. The damaged transponder unit of his shackles was probably still giving his position away every now and then.

Despite his tiredness from running around lost for hours, the urge not to fall under the hands of those slavers made him keep going.

Chapter 21 - Werewolf (part 1 of x)

- The Violator -

= Somewhere within one of the inner city districts of Providence =

Aira walked between both women as they made way alongside the lively streets. Though the oddly bizarre world around the Kadeshi girl struck her with awe, the wild colors throughout her surroundings did evoke curiosity that caused her to reveal her face from her hooded appearance. Pedestrians and electrically-powered vehicles moved upon the street, distracting her as the other two women carrying bags of groceries spoke with each other.

"So they're willing to stay?", Hailynn asked further after listening to long stories.
"Exactly. I've had a long talk with the Hiigaran leader of the refugees on our ship", Velle nervously replied, "Oh, and I also recorded it so you can see and hear all the news. They still see Ray as their true leader but even if he should leave, he said that they are willing to stay and support you as a payback for their rescue - This includes their family Vaygr."

"I see. But I doubt they can stay forever. The Vjel-Amaj is still a ship that will someday sail again. We can't have those families onboard and straggle them through future missions. I need to figure out if we can get them on Planet before we move out again."

"I'm sure you'll figure something out, Hailynn. I just know that they don't really have a place to go now that they have formed families. Maybe Amaji Prime really is right place for them to go?"
The Hiigaran women still felt strange wearing this casual wear. The unreal feeling was much of a disturbance. For some reason, she missed wearing her uniform.

"Maybe. But it would have to be done in a way that those political guys don't get into it. *sigh* Let's not worry about that for now, okay? I still have to thank you for being my substitute, Velle. You've done so much. Thank you for getting me updated - and… about last night -"

Velle instantly stopped the Hiigaran woman at the middle of crossing the street as the girl curiously walked further across.
"No - no. Please. Aira did not notice anything. It's alright, Hailynn. Please, don't plague yourself with what happened. Let's just forget about all that happened, all right?"
The Hiigaran quietly stood upon the street but was soon urged by Velle to continue.

After crossing, Velle shook the bag of food groceries upwards for a better grip, "Glad we bought all this food, too. I could no longer eat those frozen oven-things you had in freezer."

"…As if you were the one who is going to cook this stuff?"
"Hey! I will! Anyways… You think Amaj will celebrate the Kharakian Anniversary?"

"No idea, I respect the kushan heritage like all Amaji, but I certainly don't care about the Hiigaran side of that story. Let's just say it sickens me when I think about my life on Hiigara."

Unnoticed by Aira, the girl's curiosity unwarily forced her two caretakers to make a long detour on their way back to Hailynn's apartment at the civilian habitat complex. Led by her interests, Aira frequently discovered things upon the large green park with Amajis and others doing things that she once heard of as 'recreation'.

The objects that populated the park were much the same as those she had seen long ago onboard the taiidan mothership… and her distant memories - Trees, trees and plants resembling those she had seen generations ago within 'Kadesha's Ark'. It did not take long until her mind fell into a daydream as she wandered off. Surprisingly, the inner urge to return to the 'Vjel-Amaj' silenced ever since Hailynn's return. Yet, the girl still needed to thank her sacred divinities for heeding her prayers.

"I wasn't able to get much information out of the military", Velle explained further as she slowly walked along the path with Hailynn, "They did not accept my status as your substitute - probably because I do not possess any kiithidial voice, but other than that, I did not hear anything worthwhile to mention. I had the chance to speak with an official of High Command who only told me enjoy our shore leave as long as we can. I've also figured out that new crew of operatives have been indoctrinated to the 'Vjel-Amaj. The ship itself is still at Assembly, being… eh, fixed and stuff like that. And um… yeah, that pretty much sums up what I know."

Hailynn did not answer. As her thoughts wandered off, distant sounds of city led her mind. The medical pills she took kept her head from aching, at least to a certain point. Combining the stories from Velle and the one told from Doctor Jonas last day, the Hiigaran slowly understood that life went on during her long slumber. Amaji and others enjoyed their lives far from terrors as the city lived on. The domed 'sky' of the colony city revealed the edge of the Amaji planet along with hundreds and thousands of vessels moving along the view, all enlightened by the distant star of the system.

So many things happened beyond the light of day, yet the cars, pedestrians, distant sirens… all went their way, not even knowing what happened just a month ago.

Several minutes went by as the two spoke further. Though they lost shortly sight of her, they were assured that Aira was in safety and around the park exploring the area, but strangely, the surroundings got louder - a faint series of sounds occurred, stopping cars, the familiar sound of colliding objects, shouting - and sirens getting louder.
Something was going on… or not?

"You heard that, Velle?"
"Yes. Sirens. A faraway car crash - Maybe something happening nearby? Not always a safe place, these streets, y'know."

"Yes, but -"

Hailynn did not know exactly, but her wandering halved view scanned the area, sensing that something else was happening. Those sirens were police ones, not the emergency ones. Not only did they sound from their frontal viewpoint, she also heard them emitting from different directions.

More concerns emerged as she remembered frequently spotting Amaji law enforcement vehicle activity during their long way to the general store of the district. Despite probably overreacting, she did insist to find Aira. It did not take long until they found the Kadeshi girl whose attention was also attracted by the adjacent noises.

Curiously walking their way contrary to the direction of where the noises were coming from, the group of three made their way across the park since it was also around the same direction to Hailynn's apartment. Other vehicles were heard as they stopped abruptly along with sirens getting louder - shouts and other noises sounded from that specific direction.

"Something's not right here", Hailynn mumbled.
"H-Hailynn, stay calm, you shouldn't -"

Hailynn jogged steps ahead of the three; that dreaded instinct of hers was tingling, bugging her that something was indeed not going right. Once the three reached the edge of the park, all eyes discovered the source of the occurrence along with other pedestrians looking towards the incident.

Pedestrians and other people who were coincidently nearby backed off the moment they spotted someone at the middle of the plated crossroad. A swarthy figure carrying a black trench coat over his shoulders suddenly jumped upon one of the cars blocking the street and anxiously stumbled over the obstacle due to the lost of balance.

Once his back met the hard street again, he immediately rolled over, jumped upon his feet and made several awkward steps ahead. Hailynn's sharp eye noticed the man's arms captivated behind his back while the coat was now awkwardly hanging on one of his sides; having no time or real chance to fiddle with it, he simply ran off - heading towards the three.

Recognizable, he was not a turanic but his figure did not fit the looks of the common Amaji either. Beyond him, the three spotted several Amaji policemen and a few menacing looking men making their way past the blocking cars.

"Back off, careful! He's dangerous!", several of the policemen shouted at those whom he was heading for.

It only took a split second for Hailynn and Velle to assume that this man was chased by the police - surely an intruder on the run! Unfortunately scared by the sudden incident, Velle paralyzed as the figure dashed straight towards their direction. Several bystanders immediately were scared off, leaving the three rather lonely, merely standing in the way of his proposed getaway through the park. Aira did not react at all but stood there as he was closing in on them.

Before Hailynn's mind snapped into full alert, her mind sharpened, noticing that something was not right at all as she shortly discovered a strange but familiar tattoo upon the root of his neck. The Hiigaran immediately shoved her groceries bag over to Velle.

Despite being misled by the first thoughts of this sudden event, it took her mind a single moment to understand that this man was not hostile but simply making a run for his life - noticeable by the small number of menacing-looking Somtaaw men racing ahead along with a group Amaji policemen… Those dreaded Somtaaw were always up to something.

The presumed fugitive's awkward movement was the cause of his ultimate exhaustion and it only took another pair of staggering steps until he finally collapsed upon the street just a few meters away from the three.

The rather dirty man instantly cursed while catching his breath; knowing that they won.

Suddenly, the slender Kadeshi girl placed her before the exhausted man and raised both arms to her sides, covering the most of the view of exhausted man with her beautifully patterned cloak, blindly assured that he meant no harm. Though she was a naive being, she followed her sense; sensing that this person was pursued by wrongful intentions.

The opposing Amaji policemen and Somtaaw operatives however were assured of the opposite and halted their approach. Disregarding the shouts of the armed men, Aira silently held her protest. Many of the Amaji policemen hesitated to aim their weapons upon the innocent girl - Her protest however did not confuse the few Somtaaw who daringly kept their gunpoint.

Blind trust… Aira had done this before - back then when she welcomed Ray with an embrace.

I must trust her, Hailynn thought as she made several steps ahead, This man is the victim.

Pedestrians greatly distanced themselves as one of the few unknown Somtaaw operatives shouted, "You there - I don't care who you are but I demand you to remove yourself at once!"
"D-Do as he said, little girl!", a nervous police woman added who kept her aim lowered, "That man you stand before is an escaped criminal - a Violator! He will hurt you!"

Violators… Commonly termed for those prisoners who have escaped and penetrated the inner city districts. It is also an ugly term used for intruders such as pirates who have managed to board Providence - yet another common thing that can happen when crippled ships crash upon the anchored colony vessel due to the various possibilities of airlock-entries all around.

"Lies!", the so-called violator cursed huskily and gasped as he rolled himself upwards and leaned to the side, "I never - hurt anybody!"
"Don't you dare try to take that girl hostage!", the policewoman replied… naively.
"Shut up, you stupid Amaji fool!", another Somtaaw operative barked at her, "Why don't you give him more stupid ideas, idiot! Back off!"

"Hostage?!", the violator said to himself, "You damned fools, I'm the chased hostage here!"

As the Kadeshi continuously offered herself as a small blocking figure, Hailynn approached the exhausted man who noticed her ongoing stare.

"A Hiigaran… here - is this place Hiigara?! It can't be -", the man noticed as he gazed upon Hailynn,"- Whatever, I don't know who you are or why this girl is doing this - but I won't let you turn me in!", he yelled at Hailynn despite having no real chance with his exhaustion and shackled wrists behind his back.

The dark-skinned man fought trying to get around but his thick leather trench coat and shackled wrists made it merely impossible to move it around correctly - at least it would take some time and thinking to untangle himself. He hurled another useless threat that the Hiigaran woman ignored.

Shortly observing the few Somtaaw operatives, those few men surely belonged to a military agency that commonly served throughout Somtaaw corporations and space. Following the stories told by Velle, Hailynn recalled the mentioning of a rarity: A Somtaaw capitol ship that docked upon Providence some three days ago. Whatever their intentions were, Hailynn's instincts knew that they were up to no good - certainly.

They probably docked up just to fill their stocks with Amaji supplies and move on; just exploiting Providence as a station without even caring for any current political or frontier issues.

"Get lost, you people - For the sake of your lives…", the man on the ground told to the people around him once more, "Whatever you two are up to - those Somtaaw will mess up your lives if you don't run! Don't even think you'll get a reward for turning me in, either!"

"Violator - I don't know why my friend stands before you really, but I know that something is not right here", Hailynn notified - though still unsure, "And I am willing to comply with her intentions. I suggest you trust us."
"Huh?"

The mysterious looking girl turned around to him and quietly wiped the oily smears and sweat from his face. Many of the observers startled. The man suddenly rejected by moving his head away and looked at the long-haired Hiigaran woman who had the eye patch, "What-is-this-place?!", he wondered, "Now this girl is trying to clean my face?! What on Hiigara is with this girl?!"

Another rarity… Not many people actually used such phrases - only real Hiigarans who grew up with that sort of slang. Maybe he picked it up from somewhere. She greatly doubted him being of Hiigaran descent - rather a space born or of a totally different kiithid.

"This place is not orbiting Hiigara, violator. This is Amaj - we're thousands of light years away from Hiigara."

Taking a closer look, Hailynn leaned down to him and then slightly removed the collar of the dirty leather jacket from his neck, immediately recognizing the tattoo textured upon it and further below; an exotic tattoo… a specific tattoo. The violator cursed inwardly, knowing that she figured his kiithidial ethic. Recognizing this man's heritage, Hailynn immediately noticed why everybody hustled to catch him: He was of Kiith Gaalsien ancestry!

"Damn it, get your long claws off me - you freakin' werewolf!", he barked at her, referring to Hailynn's rather long nails and untamed hair. The shackled man was assured that she was going to switch her thought on helping him now that she knew he was a Gaalsi.

"Oh - Shut-up, Bone-Head!", her sharp tongue replied… instinctively.
Velle suddenly threw an awkward gaze, Why were they saying these weird insults at each other?
Both Hailynn and the captivated man shortly said further things, instantly and instinctively replying things that sounded … bizarre - if not, one of the most bizarre arguments she had ever witnessed.

The observers from all sides hesitated.

His looks, his insults, his articulations, Hailynn's thoughts notified, His tattoo….

The Hiigaran woman held her breath for a brief second before stuttering, "W-What…? What did you just… say?"

Hailynn's eye stared upon the tattoo that recalled distant memories; memories dug well deeply within her subconscious mind. The very exotic tattoo was actually tattered upon the common birthmark that every being of the Gaalsien bloodline had - while it revealed tribal heritage tattooed by the most skillful hand, it also was a branded signature to fear such being, even as a… slave; never to be trusted or turning one's back upon.

Ironically, the exhausted man paused as well - as if he just noticed the same about her.

It… can't… be…, both thought at the same time.
The arms of the purple-black haired Amaji frantically crushed the bags of groceries. The guns of the few Somtaaw were still aiming towards their direction. None desired to approach them just yet as the mysterious girl once again blocked their view. Aira's act and her mysteriously looking robes must have held all of them in deep astonishment. Velle trembled as she did not know what to do other than standing there.

Hailynn stared at him, lost-minded... as if she were staring upon a ghost.

Her single eye widened, revealing the deepest blue of its iris,

"Th-There is only one person in my entire life who ever called me by the name… Werewolf. Over tw-twenty years later… W-We are thousands of… light years away from Hiigara… It can't possibly be you…"

"Shall my soul be damned by the Siidim - Half a galaxy away… and I stumble upon the W-Werewolf-Girl… H-Hailey… Is that you?!", he suddenly recognized, believing neither eyes or ears.
"V-Vayn…", the name stuttered from the woman's trembling lips.

Both were held by the mass of distant memories of their flawed childhood for a brief moment. After the pause of astonishment, Hailynn instantly stood up and turned her view over to the surrounding policemen… focusing her eye on the mischievous Somtaaw operatives. Now it all made sense.

Swiftly looking down upon her recognized friend before moving forward again, she instantly remarked, "I am here for you, Vayn - Trust me!"

This old friend and so-called violator, whose name she recalled as Vayn, was definitely framed by the unknown Somtaaw group as an escaped criminal - but Hailynn knew even better… They wanted their escaped slave back! But even he would be a true intruder, a murderer, a violator or whatever else; Hailynn's soul blindly stood its ground for the sake of the being she trusted so much long before.

(Narrative voice)

Centuries ago… During the generations of Kharak, various Kiithid followed their religious beliefs and ruled with power and integrity. Despite all their might, they all feared two of the oldest Kiithid: The Kiith Gaalsien and the Kiith Siidim. By history, the Kiith Gaalsien and Siidim were well known as fanatical Kiithid that brought war and terror upon the Kharakian Planet and its populating kiithid, following zealous beliefs of uniting all beneath The Gaalsien Rule or the Rule of Siidim.

Both Order and Rule stood against each another, raging conflicts from the equatorial hells to the coldest point of Kharakian poles. This war is known in history as the Heresy Wars; later ended by the innovative industrial Kiith Nabaal.
The Order and Rule crumbled throughout time, both Gaalsien and Siidim were condemned for their acts - their heritage to be branded with eternal hatred, scorn and perdition.

Entering the modern age, it is neither known how the remaining heritage of Gaalsien and Siidim survived nor how separate factions of believers still were able to uphold the basic fanatical beliefs against the cleansing of time.

Amidst the Modern Space Age of Kharak, the discovery of Moonstone inscribing the Galactic Path to Hiigara found by accident within the burial site of an ancient Mothership in the desert and the Kharakian Unification of various Kiithid, these remaining Gaalsien are believed to have plotted several sabotaging acts during the construction of the new space-faring vessel, Pride of Kharak - but lastly, the saboteurs failed.

There have been further acts of sabotage throughout time, even upon the later Kiith Somtaaw Mining Vessel, Kuun-Lan, but alas, the Kiith Gaalsien was no longer a real Kiith. Henceforth, the Gaalsien heritage consisting of mixed ethnic were kept in thrall throughout the ages beyond the Heresy Wars and the Landfall upon Hiigara generations later.

Furthermore, the mass of Gaalsien descendants are disgusted of their ancestry and the cause they have done throughout Kharakian History but are to be left with the everlasting scorn of today's kiithid.

Physically, the Gaalsien of today are easily noticed due to the noticeable branding birthmarks upon their skins; explainable by the exile of their ancestors to the Great Deserts of Kharak generations ago, most likely by the cause of sustained solar radiation of the violent sun. By custom, it is a traditional matter to tattoo a tribal figure upon a Gaalsi birthmark; should it be ancient symbols, figures of animals or other beautifully cosmetic signs.

Unfortunately, wise mind, the descendants of the former Kiith Gaalsien are also branded by the cause and eternal verdict of their ancestors, as they are now seen as a broad shattered tribe of people of a dead Kiith. This has brought great suppression and slavery upon these people throughout the galactic sovereignty of the Hiigaran Empire, unable to rebel but to serve their eternal sentence of solitude, scorn and secession. Never were the Gaalsi to rise, not even socially. While the Hiigaran Empire does not approve slavery, it is still clear that this suppressed bloodline serves the superior without respects or equality.

Astonishingly, young mind, the Gaalsi psyche has changed throughout the centuries, having distinct individualists daring to follow fanaticism, vainly. Despite true hideous slavery caused by the Hiigaran supremacy and eternal discrimination by the various Kiithid, the descendants have valiantly decided to accept the eternal shames of their ancestors, serving the supremacy with fragile hopes to ever be accepted and cleansed of shame.

Never did such Gaalsi tribes really possess the chance to escape their oppressors as a single Gaalsi has greater emotional bonds to its tribal family and bloodline… however, whenever fate approves a chance, such tribe as a whole do attempt to… follow this chance for freedom.

(End of narrative speech)

"ON BEHALF OF THE KIITH SOMTAAW SUPREMACY - I DEMAND YOU TO RELEASE THE GAALSI VIOLATOR AT ONCE!", the superior Somtaaw operative threatened with a voice that blared across the area, "OR WE WILL ENGAGE LETHAL FORCE!"

His voice was a violent cast that scared the surrounding Amaji citizens and policemen, aware that this matter was becoming an ugly one. Several bystanders cowered away, some of the policemen and women even protested but were ignored and forced to seize their word. By now, the first media team managed to reach the hotspot and began a live transmission.

The Hiigaran woman suddenly stopped at point somewhere between the large amount of people and the small group consisting of Aira, Velle and the pursued violator named Vayn. Making a short instinctive movement with her right hand, the hand unfortunately landed upon an empty hip where a sidearm would normally be, totally forgetting that she was unarmed… of course. A faint crystal of cold sweat appeared upon her forehead, for she was going to have to use brains and smart thinking against the brute force of the Somtaaw.

And there she stood again, between the fronts of the people she wished to protect and a force attempting to crush the way of freedom - amazed that it only took a matter of seconds to end up like this, but it did not take long until anger suddenly boiled within her mind…

"SOMTAAW!", Hailynn instantly barked, interrupting the aggressive demands, "SHUT UP! I will NOT tolerate your doings!"

"HIIGARAN. WE WILL ENGAGE LETHAL FORCE IF YOU DO NOT COOPERATE! LAST WARNING! RELEASE THE VIOLATOR AT ONCE OR -"

The Somtaaw operatives sharpened the aims of their weapons upon the unarmed protestant. The Hiigaran woman's hand suddenly pulled out several dog tags along with small but outright significant symbols, ranking and specific emblems, struck them ahead and then rotated herself, appealing her words not only to the Somtaaw, but also to all observers:

"Citizens of Amaj, Somtaaw aggressors! I am Hailynn Delixa, Commander, and Anamehej-Krin'sa of Kiith Amaji Navy!", as Hailynn spun herself slowly, the items she held revealed the authentic symbols and her heritage as both Hiigaran and war veteran,
"Behold, Amaji! You are witnessing great oppression upon those who strive for the same freedom and pride we all stand for! This man -!",
she immediately struck her hand upon the pursued man,
"- is Gaalsi! Yes, you have heard of these people; their past - everything! But today, these people are enslaved by the same greater Kiithid that glare upon both the Gaalsi and the Kiith Amaji pride of freedom and independence with great prejudice, day by day - with each breath we breathe! We have proven that the Amaji wills freedom, to embrace those who are in great need… and I will follow that pride! As of this moment, I hereby stand in place of the Gaalsi tribe that seeks asylum - starting with this pursued man."

The Somtaaw, though at first tempting to ignore her nonsense statements, were held back by the superior. This was not going as planned…

"Hiigaran! What are you doing?! This man is a Somtaaw matter!"
"That's what happen when you bring slaves or prisoners on Amaji grounds! The Amaji care a lot about justice!"

Obviously, many recognized the Hiigaran woman - Indeed, she was a prominence and by now well-known by the broadcasted ceremony for the lost lives a month ago over the media.

The eye-patched woman spoke further, "This man is an enslaved Gaalsi - enslaved by these Somtaaw henchmen! I do not know how this slavery was brought upon our soil but I know slavery is abolished in Amaji Sovereignty! This man, you see, is not the criminal… or a violator these Somtaaw depict him with. How can a man in shackles, hunted by such slavers be a threat for the Amaji when he is just running for the sake of his life and dignity?! Henceforth, Amaji… Somtaaw...", Hailynn lastly focused her view upon the Somtaaw aggressors, "Providence and the Amaji Sovereignty stands for freedom, so says the pride, and I will stand the sake and freedom of this man."

For this brief moment, Hailynn had to thank Captain Quenton Soban and the Kiith Amaj for promoting herself with the kiithidial voice. However, the silence left the Somtaaw still aiming for them - but now foremost upon the Hiigaran woman who lowered her stretched arm.

Making several steps ahead, the superior-looking Somtaaw man approached Hailynn up to a point that did not require him to shout. The Somtaaw's appearance revealed a man who indeed was part of the military, but more on the base of a special agency… somewhat for 'specific affairs'.

Nonetheless, the emblems revealed high ranking and of course the recognizable emblem of the Somtaaw Beastslayer. The brute had a recognizable low and militaristic hair cut and the common tough looking facial expression. Granted, not even the Somtaaw could beat Orelis' attitude but this guy was not going to be an easy one.

Surprisingly, the unknown superior operative slowly holstered his handgun, adjusted the communication plug upon his ear and silently gazed upon her with a hostile look. The angered man stared upon the woman, shortly revealing amazement but also disgust for the female veteran in casual wear along with the eye-patch… She was a factor nobody expected to reckon with.

"Don't stand in the way, Hiigaran cyclops. You know best that we Somtaaw will -"

"Shoot him, me and the rest that now is eager to stand in the way? You are willing to shoot an unarmed high military officer with kiithidial voice, Somtaaw agent? You want to cause a serious bloodbath that will be broadcasted across the face of the galaxy?", Hailynn's cold doubts caused her to reveal an ironical but victorious smile, "Of course, you could try but you and the remaining fools here would not survive this day alive either."

He suddenly bit his teeth together as he discovered the small media team at the holding perimeter of onlookers. The Hiigaran smiled once more before throwing the row of necklaces and symbols upon her neck again, "I still don't get how you Somtaaw manage to be bossing around here on Amaji turf… Whatever, you may be able to intimidate the Amaji Law Enforcement - but not me, fool. I would say you lost this one, Somtaaw. The Gaalsi 'Vy-oh-lay-tor' is now under the protection of the Kiith Amaj and my authority.
What can you do now? Simple as I can say 'Amajication' - Let me tell you this shortly: I am capable of naturalization - so your need here is no longer needed from now on. Remove yourself and those clowns of yours at once - and get off this colony vessel before I make sure kiith advocates hunt you down for serious crimes against the kushanity - and trust me, you don't want to know what I mean by the word 'sharks'."

Her appalling demand was serious that led the man into short thought. Noticing an incoming signal, the man's hand instantly met with the side of his ear. He then raised his head, turned away and spoke in a Somtaaw dialect that was not really easy to understand… but logics told Hailynn that some 'higher' superiority of his was likely to be watching this fiasco right now on the media waves, bringing disgrace and bad reputation upon them - He protested shortly, listened, spoke again but was immediately interrupted again.

Shortly turning away from him, Hailynn looked towards Aira, Velle and Vayn who managed to catch his breath. The Hiigaran woman then gestured a soft knock of a formed fist upon the left side of her chest and then showed the fist at the level of her right shoulder; a Manaani gesture of success.

Looking back at her opponent, she crossed her arms as the superior Somtaaw operative made an angry sigh after the signal disconnected. Lastly arranging his uniform, he slowly explained, "Hmpf… So, you are that Commander of the Vjel-Amaj."

"Fine. So be it. The man is all yours to worry about. We will leave - soon enough. But let me tell you this, Hii-born", he mentioned while turning away and focused on his communication unit, "He is just one of many. To all units. Full disengagement. End of operation. Regroup to mobile units and return to the Regausa-Maru. With no delays. Over and out."

The man just walked off as he recalled his 'henchmen', instantly not caring about the former man of interest or the Hiigaran woman any longer.

"Hey, sucker", Hailynn insulted suddenly, "You're forgetting to -".

He stopped at once.

Before she spoke further, Hailynn instantly noticed his perceptiveness as he shortly spoke into his communication unit. In a matter of short seconds, Somtaaw operatives swiftly tossed an object from one to another, which landed into the man's hand and lastly was thrown over his shoulder, landing perfectly in her catching palm. Opening her hand, she found the small electronic 'general key' for Vayn's wrist shackles.

It did not take long until the Somtaaw operatives disappeared into their vehicles and drove off elsewhere past the sight and beyond the city's nearest structures. Soon, the majority of policemen did the same as they knew they could not do much as the matters were now in Krin'sa hands. Some of them already cursed, wondering how they were supposed to put this on their reports.

Hailynn still nodded at them, thanking them for their silent support and somewhat assured that she knew what she was doing. Onlookers and the media team still remained at the site, told by the remaining policemen to move on finally.

Especially the media team attempted to break through the line of policemen for an interview but they were held back.

Once at her group again, Hailynn threw her wild hair behind her shoulders.

"You three all right? Well, that was something..."
"S-Something?! That was just… CRAZY", Velle stuttered, still squashing the lives out of the grocery bags,
"Gods, Hailynn, we all nearly got SHOT! For gods' sake, I promised Doctor Jonas to keep us - you - out of stress and trouble! He's going to kill me as soon as he sees that wave on the media!"

"*sigh* Bad karma."

The Kadeshi girl only returned that quiet specific glare upon her caretaker before replying with a soft embrace upon her hip. She signaled her that she was okay. Astonishing for Hailynn, it was amazing for her to witness how sudden the girl acted when she sensed the man's demise. After two strokes upon her hair, Aira took a step back as Vayn got up to his feet and turned around.

It took Hailynn several attempts until she managed to disassemble the damaged shackle units; knowing the Somtaaw for their 'tools', Vayn must have smashed the transmitter bug - Clever, clever. Vayn instantly sighed with great relief as the shackles were removed, following several faint snaps from his shoulders and joints as returned the arms to where they should be whilst massaging the sore areas of his wrists.

Vayn shook his head several times as he stared upon opened shackles - still not believing his eyes. This mysterious place was full of wonders.

Feeling a soft hand meeting with neck, Vayn noticed Hailynn's rather clawed hand smoothly rubbing upon the region of his tattoo.

"Tw-Twenty years… You've grown...", suddenly, the hand slipped over his bald head and gently slapped the side of his forehead, "But aside to your hugeness, pal - It really is you… Bone-head… "

Hailynn relaxed slightly as she recalled the adventurous memories with the dark-skinned boy of her childhood; the real closest friend she ever had back then.

Grabbing her clawed hand and shrouds of her wild black hair, showing both into her face, he replied, "No comment… Werewolf-Girl. "
"We better get out of here, people", Hailynn suddenly suggested as she looked around with a very nervous look, "Come with us, Vayn."
Without further explanations, Vayn hesitated to move on.
"Don't worry. Trust me."

He had not heard that phrase of trust for ages. Before moving on, he picked up the shackles.

"…What you doing with that thing?"
"Let's just say… I've still got something to do - I need this as some sort of reminder."

Hailynn and Aira guided the man ahead, having Velle taking several moments to actually start following them, "B-Bonehead?! Werewolf-Girl?! What the frell are you guys talking about?!"

*****

Reaching a huge complex only fifteen minutes later, the group of four merely rushed ahead with huge steps, dragging the Gaalsi man as his eyes frequently scanned the surroundings. Following his assumptions, this area was indeed some sort of habitat complex.

Many people stared upon him as they made their way, obviously recognizing his conspicuousness. The three circling him have been quiet ever since they made their way; having Hailynn at the lead, the younger woman with the colorful hair nervously observing him and that mysterious girl holding his hand. Especially this young girl was the weirdest of the bunch.

Looking ahead, Vayn spotted Hailynn waving her hand towards the small group of men and mostly women at a guard post right at the entry point into the complex. Wordlessly waving back at her, the guards made some space for them. Several stared at him with large eyes whilst spotting his rather tall, rough and unusual figure.

"…Hello there…", Vayn greeted friendly as he slowed down, "I'm -".

The guards wove back with startled looks before Hailynn pulled the Gaalsi further, "Keep movin'."

Even more habitants of the complex noticed the group moving along with hasted steps. The lobby segment of the complex was one huge set of architecture; steps and chatter echoed throughout the long halls - most of the conversations either seized or lowered to the level of whispers as the groups stared upon their movement. Curious eyes were everywhere…
"Man, this place some kind of dorm, Hailey?!"

- Timeline -

*Slam - Click*

The metallic door locked its mechanical seal after being shut behind Hailynn's back. Finally, they managed to escape the eyes of everybody. The Hiigaran woman immediately took a deep breath and sighed along with her hand wiping upon her face. What a weird day
Noticeable, Velle still had not stopped staring upon the Gaalsi man - even the unusually looking girl just kept her eyes upon him.

"…Hmm… Ha - Ha ha…", Vayn chuckled.
"W-What's so funny", the startled Amaji woman asked him.

The Gaalsi man scoffed twice before asking, "This place - It's Hailynn's, right?"
"Huh? Well, of course, it is", Velle replied to him but then immediately noticed what he was referring to. The entire spacious apartment was amazingly messy and chaotic, "Oh… well… that is sort of…"

"Actually", Vayn suddenly made another step ahead into the huge apartment whilst staring upon the projected windows revealing the orbit of Amaj, "WHERE ARE WE?! What is this place? I didn't even manage to understand what's with this place. I can't believe I bumped into you, Hailey, but… where are we?! Who's this lady here?!", he suddenly referred to the velvet-haired Amaji and then looked down to the girl who returned a mysterious glare,""A-and who are you?"

"Hey, Mister, I live here!", Velle returned.

"No way, this is totally Hailynn's place. I recognize this mess."
"Uhm. Uh, well, it's complicated and things -"

"You bet", he sighed and shook his bald head.
"Mister, why do you have your arms behind your back?"

Surprisingly, the man did have his arms behind his back. While his stance did reveal politeness and respect, he knew that it was a habit he attained due to wearing the shackles for many times in his life. He did not answer but eased his arms away from his back. The room was lowly lit by the dimmed lighting; another thing about recognizing Hailynn's place.

"Vayn."

Catching their attention, Hailynn rearranged herself and bypassed them, directing them to sit down on the large couch in front of the inactive flat television screen. It was definitely a weird experience to be in a room with the three showing interests about him. A long pause went by as they stared at each other - but at least he finally had the chance to rest. Hailynn took a seat on his right side; the other two holding a staring contest against him on his other side.

"I don't know where to start, man."
"No shit… werewolf-girl", the Gaalsi replied to his old friend of the past, "but actually…"

Vayn shortly scanned Hailynn. Indeed, it was that Hailey alright; but certain aspects of her from the past have disappeared. Other than the fact that she had grown to a woman that surely was beautiful but flawed by foregoing happenings, she revealed differences in the psyche he knew before. He always knew her as a strong-willed being, but ever since their reunion, she revealed that relief of benediction when she recognized him.

It was also that reflective feeling he had not felt for ages. Then again, it was that one look revealing her soul. He had seen it before on her, thanking the gods and whatever brought that moment of salvation; a desperate glare from a girl who always held despair in her heart. Hailynn had must have undergone years of fright and terror - recently surviving yet another one. Vayn's hand suddenly moved the messy bunch of hair away from her hidden eye-patch. Hailynn's bandaged right hand met with his.

"Y-Your eye, when did -?"
"It's okay. It's just… healing."

"Whoa-Whoa WAIT A MINUTE, guys!", the young Amaji from his left side suddenly interrupted, "If I hear 'werewolf-girl' or any other crazy metaphors again, I'll explode!"

Obviously, Velle was about exploding just for wanting to know where all this was coming from.

"Velle, Velle", Hailynn said, "Stop squeezing those bags, girl."
"Huh?!"

Noticing it just now, Velle was indeed still squashing the bags of groceries she still held ever since. As she released them, pressured valleys of both arms and breasts revealed themselves - and it seemed as if the bags thanked the moment of relief.

"So, you're 'Velle', huh?"
She nodded… nervously.
"And that girl is?"

The mysterious girl did not say a single word but stared at him with curious dark purple eyes, only tilting her head slightly to the side as she continuously returned the view. He could have sworn the eye color was different before.

"Her name is Aira, she is of Kadeshi descent."
"'Kadishi' - heard that from somewhere once - Well, Velle, I'll tell you something. Actually I'll tell you what Hailey told me back on Hiigara!"

"Hey!", Hailynn suddenly intervened, "You said you were going to promise not to tell that story further to anybody!"
"You said not to anybody on Hiigara with a Manaani swear, wolf!"
"But -!"

Just now and again, they were acting like kids. Vayn smirked and chuckled, he really enjoyed the remembrance, actually forgetting about what he went through whiles ago.

"I don't know, but you look like somebody who's living here with Hailey. You've noticed her hair growth, huh? Well, same goes for the nails… haha, and toenails! Back then when we were kids, I noticed that…"
"~grumble grumble~"

"And well, when I noticed that, she tried to come up with some whacky excuse, obviously", he scoffed and chuckled once more, "- obviously trying to scare me with some old story about these mythical kharakian beasts and that she had that in her blood. When the Angel Moon is at its full, she would turn into one of those furry things, humanoid wolf-like ferocious beings - along with a split personality between good and evil. The funny thing about that moment when she told me about it, was that she said she was changing just now… but the moon was not even a full one that time and she even confused the moon during dusk with that old Kharakian Mothership Scaffold - that's when I told her that that 'moon' was not the real moon at all - didn't even have the form - and a lot more funny things happened like that before I started calling her werewolf-girl. I tell you, she was one really confused girl back then."

Velle looked over to Hailynn. It was amazing to suddenly see the childish nature reviving between the two that were outwardly so different. Hailynn even grumbled and looked away; she blushed! Nonetheless, they shared childhood, but there was a lot more to it - and to the developments of the present day. Surprisingly, Velle noticed also that Hailynn was distracted, totally forgetting about the physical and emotional pains for the moment, which was a good thing.

The Gaalsi chuckled further until he calmed down, "Aww man… There are so many memories to talk about, Hailey."

"Yeah. Speaking of it. I call him bonehead because he got baldy… well, very early in age. But with that usual cosmic radiation, I guess stuff like that were just natural for us kids on Hiigara. Well, not all kids really."
"Hailynn - what happened to you back then on Hiigara?", Vayn suddenly asked, "He sounds like something happened back then."

Hailynn leaned back and looked upon the ceiling, "Ugly things. I really don't want to talk about it."

"So, you've become some sort of starship captain? You actually managed to fulfill one of your dreams?", the dark-skinned man asked.

"Mhh?", Hailynn's head turned over to him, "Sort of…Hey, I thought that was our dream, not just mine."

Velle and Aira noticed Hailynn and the Gaalsi shortly daydreaming of a nostalgic moment.
"Heh - I managed to get my ship, too… sort of…"
"Vayn. Please. I know we have many things to talk about, just for sake of good times - but I need to know… what happened", Hailynn suddenly got serious as she raised herself and rearranged her seating, "How did you get involved with those… Somtaaw?"

"Long story there, Hailey. An ugly one, about as ugly as what we both went through. It all sort of started just days after your disappearance from the Kiith Delixa. Heh, all you told me was 'take care of my Polsvoice mice', a kiss on the cheek, a thanks and that we would meet some day again - and then you simply… disappeared."

"Gods… The mice, what happened to them?", the Hiigaran woman worried.
"Trust me - as you would say - they're in good hands. I made sure that little mouse family of yours was handed to careful hands before that crisis happened - and later that Vaygr war. I gave them to people who going to evacuate to a colony somewhere in the western area of the Core Systems. But aside to that, you know how my kind was involved with the… Delixa Hierarchy."

Hailynn suddenly frowned and leaned her back upon the soft couch. The Amaji woman instantly noticed her mind wandering into that note of hatred when she heard her Kiithid heritage, "Damn them…"
"That was life, Hailey. I know you hated how things were… and how much you hated them, but -"
"No, it's not just that, Vayn…"

"W-Wait. I don't get it", Velle notified, "Delixa? But that's Hailynn's last name equaling a Kiith of Hiigara. I mean, they are your family, the good guys", she smiled but it vanished as Hailynn revealed a threatening glare.
"No, Velle. The Kiith Delixa is a ruling family led by hideous means of greed and power. Filthy rich… powerful… dangerous… dangerous", inner fear and hatred revealed themselves at the same time, "Velle, the Kiith Delixa have taken the history too seriously. Listen, like Vayn's relatives, many tribes of the Gaalsien on Hiigara were forced to serve all greater kiithid all around the continent. The greater kiithid like Kiith Delixa would never say it, but it was pure slavery and the discrimination of kushan rights that would practically violate all what Amaji stand for. While segregation did not persist, the Gaalsi social status and kushan rights were suppressed by nearly everybody and even those from my kiithid bloodline…
E-Everybody. My sisters, my cousins… my… Father. Though my brothers did have greater dismay about how we treated the Gaalsi, they were forced to follow the word of my father, just as my other relatives. Unfortunately, separate tribes of Gaalsi still had some fanatical sects going along with terrorist attacks - which just made things worse for the innocent ones. Especially the innocent Gaalsi never had the chance to emigrate away to different countries or even enclaves in space without falling into the vicious circle of enslaving labor. Seldom have I heard of tribes who actually made it to other favorable kiithid like the Manaan or Nabaal. One thing for sure, adult Gaalsi are very resistant to radiation and have a high level of endurance - exactly what those freaking slavers need for all of their laboring deeds."
Hailynn's eyes wandered around, somewhat noticeable that her memories were disgusting her.

"Indeed - eh, Velle, was your name, right? Life was pretty hard for all of us Gaalsi. Same for the time heading to the schools. I did manage to stand my grounds against those caste bullies, but Hailynn was the one who stood besides me. I still don't know why she suddenly… 'switched sides' for my sake, but hey, I'm glad she joined my side, I tell you. Never want to have Hailynn on the wrong side - She always had something going on in that hard knucklehead."

After a short chuckle from the two, Hailynn moved closer to him and gave him a short hug. Velle never had seen Hailynn so relaxed despite the short return of pain after that unusual movement.

"We can talk about the 'better' ol' times later", the Gaalsi suddenly took a deep, worrisome breath," Well, as I said before, crisis broke out before the upcoming war and the Kiith Delixa started to plan ahead as it became clear that the 'small' Delixa dynasty of the continent would someday fall under serious threat. Delixa'Sa, your father, proposed the Kiith to board the Mothership - that same little white star and not moon you confused years ago you clumsy girl. If I remember things right, that 'Pride of Kharak' or whatever it was called was advanced enough to carry a large portion of the population.
Ah, I don't know really, but it was able to carry and evacuate a lot of people. It also had some sort of technology to jump several other colony transports from Hiigara to some other safe zone. Well, about the Gaalsi? We were split up and got mixed with other tribes when things got chaotic. Many tribes were forced to support the Hiigaran Navy throughout those manufacturing assets, like shipyards and all that stuff, or stay on Hiigara. Hmpf - can you believe it? First my people get slaved and insulted for ages and then we are 'asked' to deal 'heroic labor' for the sake of Hiigara.
Ironically, you can bet that all of those space warfare ships that were built were made of Gaalsi hand and endurance. We were even the miners who did serious excavations for minerals and raw volatile ores. But alas, several tribes began to understand that there would never be some sort of forgiving for… for whatever happened centuries - or millennia ago. Heck, not even a simple thanks.
I was split from Kiith Delixa and mixed with several other tribes and as time went by, I started to gain the trust and leadership of that specific faction. During the outbreak of war, we've succeeded in a minor revolt by overwhelming the guards during a ship transport change when they least expected it. I guess that's when I got my 'ship', you could say an when we finally managed to escape our captivity."

The three stared at him as he paused and fiddled with his former shackles.

"It was ugly times during our escape. We have stumbled upon separate groups of Gaalsi and other similarly enslaved brothers and sisters with our captured industrial ship. Apparently, the Hiigaran Industrialists gave the Gaalsi sub-light vessel to move around solar systems to the assets of industrial sectors - but those clumsy Hiigarans never expected a hyperjump-capable vessel to pick the Gaalsi up - oh, and even Siidim people, never thought I'd meet those, too. We owe the Siidim our lives in many occasions, just as many as they owe us. We succeeded in fooling many of those Hiigarans.
The Hiigaran Navy was luckily to busy taking on those Vaygr, giving us various ways of eluding the contested zones. Yet, we still had many troubles, starting we frequent times of famine, being lost for not having full knowledge of navigation and much more, but we survived somehow. The transport ship was also cable of mining raw ores. Using the expertise we gained from laboring, we eventually managed to trade ores with other independent factions… even pirates… just for food supplies and the other usual needs. We were on a trip to nowhere, but we surely did not want to head back.
Eluding Hiigaran patrols and the more hostile pirates out there was our greatest was our greatest worry… I still can't believe we survived to this day."

"I never thought you have survived ever since the Siege of Hiigara, Vayn", Hailynn mentioned from the side, "I've only heard that several continents of Hiigara suffered ugly nuclear blasts as a sign of power and persuasion from the Vaygr ultimatum."
"Yes, indeed. By the way, what were you doing that time?"

"Well, just to keep it short, I joined the Hiigaran Military at young age, barely 19 - remember when I left you, I enlisted as a Marine, Private of the Frontiersmen - just a couple of years before the Hiigaran-Vaygr war. I needed to get away from Kiith Delixa, Vayn. I just had to. Their bizarre plans of espousal means due to my superior breeding grade above all of my sisters had much in account of destructing the lives of many others, along with combining the Kiith Delixa with another major one - No, I won't list all what I was nearly forced to do - I simply could not take it anymore.
I formed a plan of my own later about joining the naval ranks that would ultimately smash my father's will. I had to join the military first - and I even nearly got killed on one heavy mission, but anyways. Later on, I achieved access to a military space academy service as a strikecraft space pilot. I barely managed to get the basic rank but I did it… I did it. I was alone all this time through, but as I began my real career as an Ensign and Helmswoman of a ship onboard the small frigate known as TALON-VO, I slowly learned that this was the only way to escape Hiigara. Things got way out of hand during the war… a lot of things."

"Gods - those sisters of yours - They're crazy… but yeah, looks like we ended up doing the same thing, regarding the escape from Hiigara. One day during that time in space, my people and I received word of a fare distant tribe - a Kiith somebody beyond the reach of the Hiigaran Empire and the war - or at least out of the way of war and our false friends.
Unbelievably but it was true. We did find evidence of some sort of tribe, a Kiith Vanmatar, or something like that. Unfortunately, we did not manage to live the dream as we unknowingly entered Kiith Somtaaw territory without knowing it. That day was also the day I learned that we never really had a chance to leave the Core Systems behind us."
Velle quietly dropped her shoulders.

"You all were caught?"
"Yes, obviously. Our small jump-capable mining-transport ship was confiscated. I'll tell you this, we were back to our old days, Hailey. Working for the big guys at the cost of our freedom. Went on like that for a few more years. Hold on, confiscated was actually the wrong word. Our ship was limited in its jumping range anyhow. The Somtaaw also had the technology to backtrack our jumps too. No idea really how. They saw our ship useful as a mining and transport unit to the assets of their small group of roaming ships.
My people and I had to understand that we had no choice but to cooperate with them despite being treated as dren-worth of dirt. The only ironic thing is that we were transported to a far remote region beyond the Core Systems - We made it out of the Hiigaran Empire after all, but we were still slaves. We tried to make a planned run for it with our crippled ship but we were caught easily again... and…"

After a long pause, Hailynn understood where his words led to, "I get it now. That was how you ended up here. And you managed to escape by yourself once more - all own your own. Man, you always knew how to get out of sticky situations."
The Gaalsi smiled shortly but then immediately frowned as he looked upon the damaged shackles,
"Unfortunately, it was just me who managed to escape - and luckily get rescued by you. I was surprised to see this Kiith for the rights of every individual. There are at least another four or five hundred of people in captivity now somewhere on this…", he looked up shortly upon the projected windows revealing the lively orbit of Amaj and a distant batch of stars that probably resembled the Core Systems,
"mothership-city-place-whatever, people who have become my family, Hailey, my tribe. The same feeling I had when I was with you back then. I may be free but I am still… in despair - Like you, Hailey."

Troublesome worries… Vayn's hands fiddled with shackles many times.
"Regausa..."

"What, Hailey?"
"Regausa", she repeated in a calm manner after a pause," - The name of the Somtaaw ship that is holding the transport mining corvette. What was Regausa-?"

"Regausa-Maru. That was the name of that Somtaaw Deep Space Vessel. Yeah - deep space excavation unit, just like my small 'ship'; only difference that theirs had guns. I can't believe we actually stumbled upon them right at the edge. One bunch of hideous liars, I tell you. It is all my fault of leading my people to -"

Suddenly and without warning, a jolt of fear and the flash of awareness jagged itself through every nerve stream of the Hiigaran woman; the sudden shriek scared both Velle and the Kadeshi girl.

- The dire Intentions -

"FRAKK!", her voice blared throughout the spacious apartment.
Hailynn immediately shot upwards. Staggering slightly due to the sudden reaction of her blood pressure, the Hiigaran stumbled upon the couch again but rolled herself off. Agitated by the sudden consciousness of reality, Hailynn revealed major panicking as she rushed to a closet.
"H-Hailynn!", Velle fretfully called, "What's wrong with y-you?!"

The Hiigaran woman did not reply but revealed further panic.
"V-Vayn, she must be suffering a panic attack!"
"WHAT?!", he barked as he made his way around the couch,

"Hailey, calm down!"
"It must be another traumatic flashbacks! P-Please calm her down!"

"Re-Regausa-Maru… Regausa-Maru!", Hailynn repeated nervously whilst tossing her hair out of the sight of her single eye.
Before reaching her, Vayn instantly stopped as he spotted Hailynn removing her clothes, "W-Whoa Hailey, what are you doing?!"

The Hiigaran slid the door of the specific closet and jagged combinations of symbols on a hidden keypad. While soliloquizing desperately, another group of racks and frames revealed themselves after the several attempts of putting in the right code.

Vayn suddenly grabbed both her shoulders, turning her over as she was in undergarments, "Girl, what's going on with you?! Have you lost your mind?!"
"I'll get her pills, ! Hold her still!". Velle yelled from behind.

"No, wait! Wait…"
"Huh?!"
"She's not… insane… I think."

Hailynn's eye was outright focused into a small dot of despair… but Vayn recognized her psyche: It was that desperate determination he confronted back then when she bid farewell.

"Girl…"
"V-Vayn… The Somtaaw! Your people! Your people are going to be deported away from Providence!"

"Providence?"

"Th-That's where we are, this colony mothership place, Vayn! The Somtaaw… Those frakking Somtaaw!"

"Calm down!", the Gaalsi yelled at her and tightened his grip upon the naked shoulders of Hailynn, "We don't get it!"
Hailynn released herself and made hasted movements as she grabbed several things out of the closet; one of them being a set of clothes that resembled the looks of a uniform. Wildly pulling up dark blue skirt, Vayn noticed that the set was indeed a military uniform.

"Wh-Where are you going, girl?"
She tossed her head upwards, "That frakking Somtaaw agent I negotiated with back on the streets - That frakker gave up on capturing you because his superior called him back! They called back because they were willing to leave you here before anybody can take actions!"

"- but -"

Hailynn anxiously arranged her upper garments before putting on the set consisting of a vest, its collar with several symbols, rank and a smooth uniform jacket.

"That Somtaaw vessel and probably others in Amaji territory are only fuelling up on supplies these last days to return back to Somtaaw Enclave space at the Core Systems, but they initially delayed their departure since you managed to get off! However, that agent called all of his goons back as they were initially told to leave you behind… and ultimately take your people away from the Kiith Amaj before any Amaji advocates declare investigation proposals and lock down the ship from departure!", the nervous woman lifted her head, "Vayn… You are also the leader of those people - just like another man I know who took initiative to guide those into freedom. I may be exaggerating…
but without you around, they won't attempt another move like and probably follow the pack of lies from those Somtaaw! If they leave Amaji Sovereignty, we'll never have the chance to catch up with them!", lastly, Hailynn turned away, thinking about such result, "Gods know where the frell they will bring them… The Bentusi could back-track them but we would never be able to get them out of that place where they would be deported to."

Both Vayn and Velle remained hesitant - the Gaalsi for sure, since he did not really know about the Bentusi. Aira also revealed fret but remained silently.

The desperate Hiigaran instantly pulled out several identification means, snapping one smaller chip upon her dog-tag and shoving another access card unit into the hidden pocket of her vest, "Damn frell, I will not allow them to get away with this! I know I can halt their departure and have Amaji security forces and Kiith advocates investigate their assets! Don't worry, Vayn, I'll save your people! I-I… I promise…"

Velle immediately noticed that she was putting desperate promises into her head again… but Hailynn already failed on fulfilling the Kadeshi one; If she failed this one, this would surely cause seriously devastating damage to her instable psyche - Much of a reason for the helpless Amaji to fret.

"W-Where are you going, werewolf-girl?!", her old friend called out to her after releasing herself from his second attempt of holding her, knowing that he could not hold her back.

"I… must head to Amaji High Command. I must head there to Command Center and convince them or your people will suffer! I cannot fail! I WILL NOT ACCEPT THIS! I CANNOT FAIL AGAIN!", Hailynn suddenly barked at them before staggering her way to the metallic door of the apartment.

"Hailynn, wait!", urging to come with her, the young Amaji snatched her jacket and approached her beloved friend, "I'm coming with you! This is something you shouldn't do alone!"
"Stay here, Velle! I need you to take care of Aira and Vayn. Don't leave the apartment! It'll be my fault if the Somtaaw get away with the enslaved Gaalsi-Siidim!"
"Girl - I wouldn't be in freedom just now if you hadn't done anything!"

"No more explanations! I'm going!"
"Hailynn!", Velle cried, but Hailynn swung her hand, aggressively meeting upon the root of Velle's neck just as she approached her.

The young Amaji woman instantly froze as the remembrance of being choked - though unwittingly - recalled itself from the previous night; the remembrance was so intense that the touch below her throat paralyzed her breath. The gasps… the fear… all of it returned in an instant. Just as short moment after, Hailynn slowly removed her hand with sorrows, wanting to apologize to all of them for losing her mind, but it was too late. Without further protests, the two grown-ups were forced to see the desperate Hiigaran leaving them behind, following the will to stand for the righteous pride of the Amaji.

Aira silently reached her hand out into the emptiness but lowered it again as she noticed her frightened caretaker disappearing from her sight. She neither fret nor spoke a single word and yet she was assured both the Tear and Eye of Kadesha talismans would reveal clairvoyance for her Naji's sorrows.

= Amaji High Command Base - Western Wing Entrance =

Nearly an hour later… The ride through the inner city of Providence into the military district took the Hiigaran much time in account that intensified her worries. Even if she would have been driven by Velle's car, it would have taken an age for her to get through the traffic.

The taxi services of the city had a slightly higher right of way than the common civilian drivers - along emergency and law enforcement units being top priority, of course. Nonetheless, the worrisome Hiigaran had much to worry about.

Ever since Hailynn reached with the taxi the centric military district and entered its massive structure, many of military personnel recognized the hasty Hiigaran officer making her way through the security points; surely by the breaking news that was broadcasted earlier about the presumed violator.
Having no time for talks, the woman only ignored those who wanted to kill time with her, at least politely.

One even wondered what she was doing here as it was well known that the status of the Vjel-Amaj was set off-duty. One rumoring talk from a pair of individuals did catch her attention shortly that dealt with the Vjel-Amaj taking part on the Kharakian Anniversary at Hiigara - but that sounded like nonsense as the ship would have to 'leave shore' within the next few days. While it was likely to be there just on time, assembling the crew and ship would prove to be difficult means to meet up with.

Military operatives, officers, technical personnel and many other individuals filled the area; groups walking around, talking and taking care of their business - Some even carrying their gear to the emergency deployment lifts that would bring them to the rapid deployment hangar network for fighter and frigate personnel.
The area itself was pretty lively, but as she made her way through, this area surely was only a mild precursor of what activity was going on at her true destination. Following a long executive corridor with several different sorts of fast shifting gateways through the last security point, she crossed her arm after finally reaching the huge lift that would bring her to the final destination. Several other officers and operatives saluted and greeted her.

Moments later…

*Security doors shift open*

Letting the others leave the lift, the hesitant Hiigaran officer made slow steps as her senses were mildly lambasted by the activity throughout the surroundings before her. The Command Information Center, short CIC, was a probably the closest term that only described the surroundings, yet it was a term that did not even explain the slightest of all features.

There were many high security lift points that ended down to this huge underworld of command structures below the thriving city of Providence. Each lift was surrounded by platforms and secured bridging catwalks.

Just for the brief moment, the troubled Hiigaran let her mind wander off as her psyche was shortly distracted by memories of the past and present; the time during the war and after. The entire CIC was a broad nexus of practically anything that dealt information, fleet intelligence and another hundred of important segments.

Ironically, each segment was like a synapse networked in this gigantic sophisticated brain made of command structures. Each second brought thousands of thousands of updates about the seven stars systems of the Amaji Constellation whereas the segments would divert units by given orders like nerves transmitting sparks of information.

Combined groups of voices sounded from all sides below along with the recognizable inducing cycles of power flowing to all stations.

The entire area itself was dark; only lit by thousands of holographic screens, panels, live media feed and supportive artificial lighting units in dark red or blue for avoiding eye straining for being so long in the darkness. It was common to see several operatives wearing sophisticated goggles as visual aids. Operatives, officers, military security forces and other minor kiithid and political individuals of many kinds dealt with the ongoing status of the entire Amaji constellation.

Everybody wore different sets of uniforms, from ranking to specific colors.

There were even commanders who sat on higher secured situated seats that offered a very well overview of their units below. One could say that this entire place was a bridge with many secondary bridges below.

While military detachments and segments of all kinds were below, there were also separate civilian supporter maintained units that dealt with the space ports and flight control of the entire orbit of Amaji Prime; some revealing the cityscape of all districts within Providence and a so-called Geoscape of the planet with myriads of holographic points, symbols and colors along with situational media and meteorological data.

Networks of satellite uplinks circled the planet. Blue stars frequently sparkled at several rational positions around the gravity well of Amaji Prime, most likely resembling the frequent arrival and departure hyperjumps along with lines linking between the seven stars of the constellation and known locations for mining excavations and other specific sites and belts in space.

There was a segment of this massive technological masterpiece that remained partially manned: The helm of the Progenitor vessel. Providence has not moved from its geostationary orbit for years thanks to its 'natural' interphase gravity field harmonized to hold the massive Providence from falling into planet's atmosphere. Henceforth, the entire base of operations was a mastermind in both military and colonization means - and continued to serve as a silent guardian angel.

It was great to see all departments harmonizing and -

Snap out of it!

Hailynn's mind insulted herself for swaying off. Probably the medical drug she took were causing this. Nonetheless, awakening from her daydream, the female officer with the wild black hair and eye-patch immediately turned her view to the nearest node below that dealt with internal maritime affairs of Providence. She was going to need to speak with the supervising officer at once.

After receiving a shortwave headset unit and sophistical eyewear that looked like protective goggles for chemistry from an operative at the access point, Hailynn arranged her uniform and shared the smaller lift leading down to her new destination with another support officer in an automated wheelchair; she gave a thankful salute, as a gratitude for his ongoing service despite his handicap - the Kiith Amaj needed all the help it could get.

"Hey, aren't you Commander Hailynn Delixa of the 'Vjel-Amaj', ma'am?", the man asked her as they both seemed to have the same destination.
Hailynn quietly nodded.

"Thought so, Commander. Pride with you. You were mentioned and seen on the headlines at a short situational briefing, ma'am. I have to say, I am surprised to see you here."
"Is that so, Sub-Lieutenant?", her voice revealed no surprise. Her face was probably tossed across the public news media again.

Once the small lift reached the lower situated level, both made their way ahead to the segment.

"Indeed. Internal affairs recently revealed concerns about the discovery you made but has not diverted anything about it as other troubles revealed themselves elsewhere. Commodore Yor has not responded to any of this either."

"This incident occurred too recent and is rather small fish for any higher command structure to actually classify it as an urgent matter unless we do something about it, Sub-Lieutenant" , she nervously replied to him.

"You look like you will require some help, Commander. I am sure Lieutenant Commander Suron and I can support your intentions - There he is, just ahead."

Noticing their approach, Hailynn greeted Suron, a Nabaali around her age. Hailynn kept her greet short though, "I must apologize Commander Suron, but I must take command of this unit. Urgently."
"Fine with us. We were on standby anyhow. How can we help?"

"Hold on, LTC, I am going to announce my intentions over the comm to all of your units."
"Roger", he replied, instantly snipped his fingers twice to the communication operatives and gave hand signals signaling them to open a commline to all units of the intelligence node. She had to smile shortly; this guy reminded her about Orelis - she hoped he was alright.

"I better get to my station to serve your needs, Commanders", the Sub-Lieutenant mentioned lastly and made his way.

"Thanks", Hailynn wove before receiving confirmation that her communication unit was active. Tossing her hair behind her shoulders, she took a deep breath and announced:

""Commander Hailynn Delixa, online. To all units: I am taking temporary command initiative over this node as an event of great concern has developed over the past hours. As some may have notice, I have stumbled upon an issue that requires serious actions. According to my discovery, Somtaaw vessel 'Regausa-Maru' appears to be involved in illegal deeds that violating kushan rights by holding enslaved people intended for harsh labor.
Although I have rescued one of them, it is unlikely that the Regausa-Maru will cooperate by releasing the rest to us as the unfortunately… superior… Somtaaw of our alliance follow their own intentions. I demand all units to divert all focus on detecting the whereabouts of the Regausa-Maru at once! Primary objective is to lockdown the Regausa-Maru for investigational inquiries to inspect their assets! There is no chance they can get away with this.""

Noninvolved operatives carrying documents bypassed the node.

""Agreed. Suggestive approach -"", Lieutenant Suron proposed, ""We are going to need immediate support from civilian flight control, marshal security and kiith advocacy for taking on this urgent task given by the Commander. As we do not have any true evidence, we shall follow the procedure of halting possible smuggling. Conduct orders.""

The node of operatives immediately derived their gathered data to the main screen at the center of their segment. It was surprising how effectively the group supported each other with the exchange of information. Several minutes went by.
"Commanders", an operative called from their side, "I have something that might be of interest."

"Bring it on", Suron notified as they made their way.
"Right away. According to the information we just gathered in this short time, the Regausa-Maru appears to be part of a Somtaaw flotilla; Regausa-Maru currently docked at Providence Space Port, external docking point, Gate III - Unit 288-Victor-Charlie, secured logistics segment while being the lead command vessel of a small group of ships.
Ship-class 'Mandrill' - Heavy Deep Space Industrial Carrier along with two smaller standard industrial transports currently linked to its hull; else supported by two combat cruisers and three frigates that are situated at the primary space ports of THIRD- and SIXTH-STAR. Recent intelligence extractions from agencies have revealed that their flight plan involves a rendezvous point at a specific sector in space within our territory. We can assume that this is for all of the suspected Somtaaw ships to unite for a combined flotilla hyperjump out of Amaji Sovereignty."

"So, there are three ships carrying enslaved people in total.", Hailynn mentioned to herself and then raised her voice, "Understood. All right, issue full denial of departure by both Amaji High Command and Flight Control at once! High priority! Get the marshals to that specific Gateway asap."

The supporting commanding officer followed initiative and enforced further orders regarding the denial of departure. Hailynn found it amazing how these supporting operatives handled the situation with efficiency; a short moment long feeling as if she were onboard the 'Vjel-Amaj' with the same competent crew.

"Uh… Uh-oh."
Hailynn instantly snapped out of her short daydream.
"Uh-oh, is something I don't want to hear, Petty Officer", Suron suddenly mentioned as their attention was caught, "Explain!"
That guy really reminded her about Orelis.

"Break! Urgent!", an operative announced next of the Petty Officer.
"Go!"

"The Petty Officer - and just now, I - are unable to complete the last stage of that order! The Regausa-Maru is bypassing our attempts lockdown!"

"WHAT?!", Hailynn instantly barked, "Compensate!"

"W-We're trying, ma'am!"

"I said 'compensate'!"

Blinking symbols on the main holographic screen revealed the Regausa-Maru and the transport ships latched to its hull revealing several locking points and mechanical footbridges opening and retracting one by one. The specific space port revealed many other vessels respecting the given lockdown order upon the area - but this did not interest the larger Somtaaw ship. Live feed revealed several abortions of gas exchange tubes that were aggressively detached.

"Why are they still able to unlock their anchoring?!", Suron called for an explanation, "Those holding clams of the gateway on our side should be holding them! Even if they try, their mass could never move anything."

"Sir, it appears that they are overriding our initial lockdown order by the level of their command initiative! This includes the anchoring clams!", a female operative explained from the other side of the node, "Suggestive attempts of compensation are being rendered ineffective as we speak!"

Hailynn began to fret as the observed the last two batches of symbol resembling the heavy anchoring points. Individuals blinked from green to red and lastly to grey; within both batches, the symbols revealed several opening grey chain symbols with every bypassing second.

"Commander Delixa", Suron notified Hailynn instantly, "Ma'am, all footbridges have been retracted on every possible access point. Security forces barely missed the opportunity!"

Time - That damn currency Hailynn always lacked. Apparently, she went optimistic too soon - now punished by fate. Sometimes, she wished she just had the pessimism as Orelis. One of two remaining batches faded away, leaving only one left that also was almost through with unlocking.

"Restraining demands from our segment and Flight Control are being ignored! The Somtaaw vessel is - Alert, Commanders, Regausa-Maru has cleared itself from all anchoring points and has initiated vernier thrust profile!", another operative announced loudly.

Hailynn's mouth fell open in despair. Witnessing the live feed of surveillance unit, all attempts of stopping the Regausa-Maru failed. The ship slowly began its drift away from the docking point.

"Regausa-Maru is inducing an independent field that is repulsing our last attempts of magnetic lockdown!"
"Forget about that attempt, Petty Officer", Suron mentioned, "Won't work…"

"What now, sir?!"
"M-Ma'am? I don't know but we're losing options here! We can't dispatch frigates units against our own allies… They're Somtaaw!", the Nabaali supervisor mentioned.

"Of course we can!", Hailynn suddenly barked, her wild hair whipped to the side as she turned her head anxiously, "STOP THEM! Stop them at once! They can't hyperjump so deeply within the gravity well of Amaji Prime! We can still lock them down through threats! I want available frigates to surround that damn cruiser! Their hasted acts of retreat is proof enough that they are trying to get away with the violations!
THEY'RE the violators! Amaji naval laws dictate that we are alleged to perform warning shots and decapitate propulsion if we must if suspected smugglers further ignores the investigation proposal and attempt to escape! Frell with 'They are Somtaaw' - I don't want to hear that!"

"Wait. Are you sure?!", Suron shortly yelled into his headset, "But… That would mean that…"

"What the -?!", Hailynn discovered particle reactions and gravimetric fields evolving at the bow of the Regausa-Maru. Readings of radiations and other detectors skyrocketed instantly.
"Detecting low grade hyperjump signature evolving around the vessel Regausa-Maru! Commanders, the ship is engaging hyperdrive profile!"

"But HOW?!", Hailynn barked to the male operative further away, "We're deep within a natural gravity well - How - "

Before anything was possibly done, the huge Somtaaw cruiser barely cleared the space port. Due to the unexpected event of quantum fields forming closely to Providence, the entire vessel experienced faint tremors as these fields were contesting with the numbers of gravity field emitters.

Cold void… Only cold void of space was left. The huge vessel vanished as the violent quantum fields slipped upon its hull. Hyperspace swiftly devoured it within two heartbeats. Due to the hyperjump within the gravity well of a planet, the collapse of the quantum field dispersed abnormally with its rests of particles and waves wiping and spraying until it left what was called 'cold void'.

Unnoticeable, the same emptiness struck Hailynn's heart as she turned away from the screen. Inner conflicts and despair lambasted her psyche as the operatives and the supervisory commander debated on the issues.

They got away! They got away!

Guilt was shredding the troubled Hiigaran with each bypassing second, leaving nothing but a broken symmetry of her will. If she had reacted faster - or differently - she would have succeeded, but due to the allegations openly revealed over the media, she definitely unleashed an avalanche she could not hinder. The Somtaaw vessel disappeared with the enslaved Gaalsi and Siidim people, gods knowing what they would do without their guide. Terrified by that fact, turmoil within her psyche merely tormented her. It was her dignity and responsibility to rescue those people.

The fretful Hiigaran officer suddenly held her breath as her eye stumbled upon the displayed map of the Amaji Constellation. Synapses instantly sparked as her mind recent memories excited her imagination.

'Low grade hyperjump'… 'Rendezvous point'…'Combined hyperjump'…

The turmoil eroding her psyche led to a single moment of genius… and madness. Deep within, an idea forged itself, led by bizarre speculations. The idea however was forged by uncontrollable thoughts; the intensive headache merely barraging her soul. No, it was not an idea - it was an intention, a utmost dire intention. Amidst the calamity, the voice of her former guidance revealed a phrase that echoed repeatedly: Your heart wills the path of fate.

But the demon within her soul corrupted her slowly.

A soft grip cushioned upon the shoulder pad of her uniform, "Commander Delixa, what did you just ask? A-and are you all right, ma'am?", Suron asked from her side.

For a split second, the Hiigaran woman awoke from her trance - just this moment long, she forgot what she said. Looking up upon the screen again, her lips repeated the phrase she unintentionally said, "Where?"
"Where? What do you mean? If you mean 'Where they went' - we don't know. Well… Actually…"

Simple as it was, Hailynn's conscience was going to have to cope with her dire intentions. The Somtaaw used dirty tricks… Now she was going to have to do the same.

"Excuse me, Suron", the Hiigaran suddenly replied with a cold voice to him and arranged her headset, ""All units, silence.""
All conversations and debates seized at once as Hailynn approached the center of the node whilst staring on the Constellation's vast holographic map.

""Somebody mentioned that the group of the Regausa-Maru was going to meet up at a rally point… A Rendezvous Point somewhere in the Amaji Constellation. Else, they are still in our territory. They are STILL here… Somewhere"", her eye frequently wandered, ""Intelligence said that there was some sort of rough assumption in what sector we would find them. I am aware that there is an infinite amount of deadspace sectors… but assuming the grid triangulations you all gathered, they will be meeting up in somewhere in - that - grid.""

Hailynn's bandaged right hand pointed towards the specific region that revealed several overlapping bubbles and lines of possible emergence points due to the limited range of such low grade hyperjump profiles. Logics told her that they would only meet up to the farthest point where the short-jumping frigates and cruisers of their group could reach - That possible destination also brought her to her dire intentions.

""I get it now, Commander"", the Sub-Lieutenant from before notified and continued her thoughts, ""Assuming that they all are going to meet up for a combined hyperjump out of Amaji Sovereignty, the Regausa-Maru will still require a certain timeframe to spool sufficient power for the combined jump. If there is one thing I learned:
Even that sort of special hyperdrive will need some time for something like that. Commander, there is a deadline - Worst case would be ten hours, I doubt they could jump earlier - including the current time of their hyperspace flight.""

The Hiigaran threw him a short look, "Can I count on that…?"

The man in the wheelchair silently nodded.

""Assuming that's the grid with sectors where they would emerge"", Suron continued, ""That grid territory is cartographically determined as Lagosa, with a high rate of piracy going on. That area is very dangerous and it's actually off limits. Yet, I guess the Somtaaw are using a secluded sector of deadspace. Due to the fact that independent miner factions tend do stupid things, High Command has several Amaji frigate wings conducting patrols.""

""Stop. This is no longer your area, LTC."", Hailynn suddenly halted his speech.

"M-Ma'am?"

It was totally impossible for the common Amaji units in that grid to pinpoint the Somtaaws… but there were definitely others that had the technology… the ability to find them within the deadline.

""Are there any Amaji vessels belonging to the lance of the 'Vjel-Amaj?'"", Hailynn suddenly asked.

The 'Vjel-Amaj', though being the flagship and largest vessel, namely cruiser, of the Kiith Amaji Navy and the sole vessel that could conduct deep space hyperjumps of all, still belonged nonetheless to a designated fleet of standard ships. Usually, these standard vessels were Amaji frigates specially designated to support the 'Vjel-Amaj' in domestic operations. But just for her cause, Hailynn was going to need very trusty people…

""Data retrieved from Fleet Command"", a different operative reported over the commline, ""Sisterships of Lance 'Vjel-Amaj' found. Aegis Frigates - class 'Dragoon' - Sebun-No and Sejun-No are currently operating in that grid, ma'am. Both vessels are conducting patrols and investigational scans for threats throughout that territory. Larger groups of frigates are -""

""Enough -"", Hailynn interrupted, ""That's fair enough. I wish this node to establish a highly secured hyperlink transmission to both frigates that I will form as soon as the specific person I need for this is available. Due to the urgency and grade of security, I am classifying all that occurred - and that will occur - as confidential. I also want someone to contact Kiith Advocate Bajula Naleigha Nabaal who is somewhere onboard Providence at once and that the urgency for her support is needed immediately - No regrets, I don't care if she is sleeping or in the middle of a processing court. Threaten her with my kiithidial status if she does not comply. I want a secured line of communication with her, stat!""

The new plan that revealed to her as a dire intention was going to be a pact with the devil… and with it; her transmission was going to be a favoring contract to one of the most dangerous factions out there in the Amaji Constellation that nonetheless had the power and technologies to find the Somtaaw… maybe even on time. Trust was going to be the greatest woe, but the Hiigaran had no choice.

Though it was unlikely that the 'Vjel-Amaj' was going to dispatch anytime soon, Hailynn would still need to come with the appropriate security just to make sure that faction does not come on any false ideas. In the meantime, Hailynn began to forge the plot of the transmission that would be ciphered, 'blessed' by the trusted Kiith Advocate and dispatched to that specific faction. Once that would be dispatched, she would have to wait for their ciphered reply if they succeeded.

Assuming that things were going to get ugly, Hailynn came to the point that the 'Vjel-Amaj' was perhaps going to have to dispatch earlier than expected - but how without a sufficient crew such as viable pilots? There was definitely not enough time to really assemble a roster by herself so soon - that was a stunt she definitely could not repeat. Especially the fact of getting a viable helmsman for the Vjel-Amaj was going to be the greatest issue of all. Her blatant intentions were definitely going against the laws, too, merely making her a scum equal to the Somtaaw runners - but did she have a choice?

= Hailynn's apartment =

Several hours later…
After a long conversation with Hailynn's roommates, rest and a later long shower, the Gaalsi man managed to recover some strength and knowledge about this place known as Providence and the Kiith Amaj. No more scrubbing dirty exhaust pipes, he smirked. Worries for Hailynn still disturbed him, though. After drying up, he put on most of the previous clothes he had at his disposal due to the unfortunate fact that these women did not have men's wear, of course.

Leaving the bathroom, the Gaalsi man spotted a strange silvery cube with a heart symbol on its sides. Strange enough, as he moved further, he had the distinct feeling as if jealous eyes were observing him.

Making his way to the living room, Vayn spotted the young Amaji woman known as Velle Xoti sitting on the couch, somewhat half-asleep with a strangely large uniform that had the same colors as the one Hailynn ran off with ours ago. The uniform the Amaji had on was full of holes, torn spots, stained and in desperate need for a wash. Velle suddenly awoke as she sensed his presence.

"Sorry about that."

"Tell me, is that Hailey's uniform?", he asked curiously.

Velle suddenly stammered as she tried to figure an explanation. It was easy to assume that Hailynn's bag that was now on the couch was opened by the Amaji.

"You really like Hailey, huh? I never thought she was -"
"She isn't, … but she accepts my admiration and closeness as a mutual gratitude for rescuing her."
"Hey, it's just Vayn. I'm not a diplomat, y'know. Yeah, I remember you telling about that heroic effort pulling her away of hazards. I have to thank you for that, too."

"Let us just say I like. She is a heroine I greatly admire."
"No problem with that", he cheerfully replied, "She really is something special. Stubborn, but special."

The Amaji curled into the larger wrecked uniform jacket a bit more, "Were you two together back on Hiigara?", she suddenly asked, revealing curiosity.

"Yes and no, Velle. We were too much of good friends that had to care of each other. It was against the kiithid laws for a Gaalsi to come together with any Delixa individual. I won't deny that we still shared love and respect just for being together as friends - some would say even more than siblings."

Velle revealed great interests as she stared at him. Apparently, she wanted to know more all about Hailynn's former life before the long war. However, the young woman kept quiet.

"Where is the other girl?"

"She is praying or… meditating. She is something very special, Vayn. Something we both can barely understand."
"I didn't get her part on this anyhow, but I am glad to see Hailynn with friends. She never had many."

Hearing various ringing tones from her other side and elsewhere in the spacious apartment, Velle turned around and picked up the cordless phone.

"Hailynn Delixa's apartment. You are speaking with - Oh! Hello Hailynn!", Velle anxiously replied, "Mh-hm… Mh-hmm - uh, oh-okay, I'll put you on loudspeaker so we all can hear you. Let me get Aira quickly."

"I am here…", the girl's voice suddenly replied from behind.
"I told you not to scare me like that, Aira."

After fiddling with the phone, the three finally heard Hailynn's voice over the loudspeaker.

""Hey, everybody. You all listening?""
"Good to hear from you, wolf-girl. Yeah, we're all here. Hey, where've you been?"

""I can't talk for long, guys, but I will need some help from you. Things went… terribly wrong and I am forced to take on it. I-I can't talk on it over the phone about what went wrong - but anyways. Velle, I need your help specifically as you currently being my alleged substitute.""
"G-Go ahead, Hailynn, always ready for you."

""Listen, I am going to have to go on a trip - two actually. I need you to do the following.""
The nervous Amaji instantly pulled out an old fashioned clipboard with pages of paper.

""Just for a surprise, it looks like we are going to participate on the Kharakian Anniversary. I don't know how yet but it looks like we're heading there. Whatever may be, I would you to contact all commanding officers and the main shift of operatives. You have access to the rosters on my personal computer in the workroom.
I would like you to invite them to my place on an appropriate time in two days. We will also needing the appropriate goods like drinks and all that stuff. I'm sure Vayn can help you out. You have the mere endless amount of cash to buy whatever.""

"Uhm… Is this some kind of party?", Vayn asked.

""Sort of. A formal get-together with everybody from my crew. There are things I wish to discuss. If I get things right now, we might be able to retrieve your people, Vayn.""
"You can count on me - I mean, us, Hailynn", Velle assured, "- but what about that other trip you mentioned? It sounds important."

""Indeed, but I will talk about it once I get back to the apartment with you guys. Okay I have to go now. I will be back very late - but please get things done. I'll send you an email on further things that need to be done.""
"Got it."
""Aira, I hope you are all right. I'm sorry that I can't speak any longer with you, but we will see each other - Take care, you three.""

The connection ended before the three could say goodbye. There was a distinct note of worrisome in Hailynn's voice. The three hoped she was going to be all right.

*****

"… and remember, Ms. Delixa, Aerohansa will always have an open seat and a career ladder ready for you. If you should ever quit the military, remember us. We always could need experienced atmo-pilots for shuttles ", the civilian flight captain commented politely before shaking hands with her and her good bye.

"Heh, I'll think about it, Captain. Good flying. Pride be with you."

Voices of other passengers and public announcements filled the area as she left customs. Distant rumbles and faint flashes occurred from the outside that overlapped the myriads of tapping noises.

Ever since her feet met the floor of this world, the weird feel of gravity surrounded. Looking around one more time, the Hiigaran woman in the navy blue leather trench coat spotted many groups of civilians everywhere along the near endless halls with signs and advertisements.

Tossing her single backpack over her shoulders, she shortly approached an observation window that offered much of an overview of the outer surroundings. Structures and aerospace ships blinked signal lights periodically. The endless streams of the light-breaking fluid and the darkness outside hindered the range of the view. The fluid… water… falling from the mere transparent skies.

Another public announcement echoed through the lively gateway terminals. Looking out of the arced window, the Hiigaran woman gazed upwards at the very dark purple sky that barely revealed the beginning of a long twilight; staring at a specific region beyond the edge of near-translucent clouds for of a faint star resembling Providence Anchorage. Her closest friends were all up there, thousands of kilometers in space.

She startled.

It was astounding how the sky was raining without any truly visible clouds. Rainfall It was much different than Hiigara, whereas its clouds were thick gaseous masses roaming the skies. Amaji Prime's meteorological air pressure, humidity levels, the lack of industrial pollution and other tendencies caused many of these mysterious phenomena that brought mystifying beauties upon it.

The Hiigaran shortly fell into another daydream, recalling moments not long before the flight

*****
The Kadeshi girl turned her view away from the projected window, quietly eavesdropping to the conversation between the grown-ups.

"Hailynn, you just got back here, and you're already running off again? Why can't you -"

"No time for talking. There's a job to do, Velle. For the sake of… everything…", the Hiigaran replied whilst grabbing specific were, identification means such as passports and telecommunication cards, "I was recently booked for a public shuttle flight down to Amaji Prime. For what I have planned, I can't have High Command noticing me using military shuttles. But anyways, did you do as I demanded you?"

Velle straightened her back from leaning down to her, "Y-Yes. As ordered", there was a note of seriousness and anger in her voice, "Everybody will come to the desired date you asked for. Emailed the bunch with the designated urgency - so they'll be coming. We got Vayn a bunch of appropriate clothing, too. But why are you in such a hurry? What's so important that requires you to head to Planet?"

The hands of the Hiigaran slowed down from stuffing things into the backpack, "We're… No… I'm on for something big."

"The Kharakian Anniversary? You said something about it once - that we would partake on it?"
"Y-Yes", now it was Hailynn who began to stammer, "Not just that. There isn't much time for all of this. As *sigh* As you know, the 'Vjel-Amaj' is a ship that requires a skilled pilot for its helm. You know how confusingly that station is."

The young Amaji nodded frantically, recalling the time when Vaygr artillery fire exploded upon the vicinity during her time as a short replacement pilot.

The Hiigaran sighed once more before explaining further, "Maintaining secondary command and controlling the ship is a talent I possess - but now with me having ultimate command over the ship, the combined tasks have proven themselves far too difficult for me. Orelis is a good commander, but that's the point, he is a superior tactical commander who works best in ship operations, not full command - and I was even forced to have Kaydaana take the captain's seat just so I could concentrate on saving. Without Captain Soban being available as Chief-in-Command, I'm forced to attain viable pilots."

"Hailynn, I've studied most of the available roster plans. We now have around four viable novice pilots and the new Ensign, Kelsea", the faintly purple-haired woman signaled the number by her hand, "I don't know how they are, but they definitely got more knowledge than I."

"And that's just the point. They're all novices… a pack of noobs. The 'Vjel-Amaj' still requires at least one able pilot. While I'm glad we have a larger pool of substitutes, it is just not sufficient. I was at Amaji High Command, Velle. There isn't a single advanced helmsman available with the required skills - just like back then when I was desperate to find one. Not a single one on Providence despite the mass of standard pilots. I need one who excels beyond the common ones. There are many war veterans, but they're strictly serving High Command - which is self-explanatory due to the everyday troubles. I can't dare to pull off any of them for my intentions as one elite commands a massive number of proud Amajis into space and save many lives."

"Like you?"

Hailynn scoffed, "... I can't believe it, but I'm on my own. That is, not unless I do what is needed."
"Such as headin' down to that Amaj-Planet, eh?", her Gaalsi friend questioned from afar.

"Yes."
"Are you looking for some sort of elite war-veteran-retiree?"

"Elite?", the Hiigaran scoffed one more time, "No. But it's just one person on the face of that planet who happens to be the only one I can… trust. It's just freaking amazing that I'm going to have to convince that person. Nothing will move without her. For the sake of Vayn's people and beyond - I will need that person's service. I should be back early enough for the gathering."

"I'd like to talk to you in person, Hailynn- but, I guess it'll have to wait", Velle revealed notes of concern again.
"I'm afraid it'll have to be like that, Velle."

"There are several colony clusters on the planet, Hailynn, how do you know where to go?"
"I've had an agency track down that person."

Before Velle was able to ask who that person was, Aira had suddenly approached the two women.

"Hm? What is it, Aira?"

"May I join your venture to the planet, my Naji?"

*****

Soft streams slid upon the arced window.

Hailynn recalled the reasons for Aira's surprising question. The planet's mysteries and endless beauties attracted her, as if it were calling her. The Kadeshi girl revealed a dream of feeling each tear of the sorrowing sky.

Never had the girl ever felt true rain other than the shattered memories of the enigmatic Shodanii that resided deeply within her soul. Even Velle and Vayn insisted to join her alongside, but Hailynn had already forged important plans and tasks for them on Providence.

Though Aira was not required to do anything and actually could have joined the Hiigaran's travel to the planet, Hailynn's memory instantly recalled a specific phone conversation.

"… so I wondered if I could take her with me?"
There was a pause before the Doctor Jonas's voice gave a reply, ""Let me tell you this, Hailynn. It was a good decision to call me before heading out. Devastating things might have happened to the girl.""
"W-What?!", Hailynn's eyes widened, astounded by his serious words, "I-I beg to understand. Why?"

""Remember, Hailynn, the girl is not kushan. Well, I must correct myself - at least she is not the common kushan like the Amaji or you as a Hiigaran"", the man explained carefully, ""Listen. Remember our conversation we had a month ago, back on the Bentusi ship in its medical facility. While Aira's physiology is a pure mystery to any doctor that has stumbled upon, there are still logical facts that we must respect. We must accept the fact that she is a space-born Kadeshi. There are major differences between natural planetary gravity and artificial ones.""

"But… Gravity is gravity, is it not? Else, we'd be floating around rather than standing anywhere on a ship or even Providence?"
""No. As I said: The artificial gravity differs greatly. It is based on combined fields harmonizing for their respective purposes. One, of course, is the mimicking pull-down force. Another one emphasizes inertia… another one negates bone deterioration as all bodies in the artificial fields are actually 'weightless'.""

"Now… I'm confused."

""The generators are only mimicking, Hailynn, providing another life-supporting measure for every being on ships. I will not going into further details, but there are serious differences - Let me mention this, however. The artificial gravity allows spaceborn to grow naturally, but such individual have to undergo health tests and observations. Amaji spaceborn are nonetheless sturdier than, say, a Kadeshi girl. Aira is young, a girl around the age of 17. Her body is still prospering. And according to the medical records of today and the past, she's prospering well. But this is where we need to watch out.""

"I'm all ears."

""Natural gravity is a force that is something we can withstand with ease. Aside to that, vaccination isn't a problem -but without training or stress tests, the girl's system would be vulnerable to serious physical shocks. Though she is healthy, she would suffer; not noticeable by pain, but her cardiovascular-system would undergo an ongoing-stress that may lead to shock and arrest. Please, do not take her with you.""

""Aside to that. Aira's physiology reveals myriads of implant networks throughout her entire body. The frequently static atmosphere, while practically harmless for us, can cause issues for her at the beginning, too. Unless I haven't trained or check her, I strictly demand you to refrain from taking her with you.""

"A-All right, doctor. I have to catch the flight. Thanks for the advice."
""I am glad you called. If you ever have a question of any kind, call me. Anytime.""

"You will be coming to the ensemble later?"
""Yes.""

"All right, see you then."
""Goodbye.""

Before Hailynn said the bad news, the girl already lowered her view, revealing that her mysterious senses already eavesdropped to the conversation. Nonetheless, the girl gave her a silent embrace of thankfulness.

"W-We will head to the planet together, Aira, some day. You will see the sky with your eyes. I promise."

*****

Hailynn suddenly turned her view away from the arced window and the rain. Another promise… Another cold shiver that instantly ran down her spine. Checking the time, the nightly curfew was about to end. One thing that Amaji colonists and visitors had to be aware of:

While the night sky of the planet may be like on other planets, such as clear, cloudy or stormy, the latter is something that must be seriously reckoned with, especially during the night. Astrophysical processes occur among the nightly hemispheres of the planet as the radiant star waves its solar winds upon the protective magnet fields.

Although the stellar forces are negated of its fatal affects, the outer layers of the atmosphere are still affected each cycle, causing energetic storms beneath to occur every now and then. Lightning discharges seldom hit the colonial regions, but for the safety of everybody, mild curfews are maintained for the interest of all.

Hailynn wondered if there was ever going to be a chance to see the sky. It was well known that the night sky offered spectacular sightings of the galaxy, featuring the Core Systems, the definite few stars of the Amaji Constellation, orbital celestial objects and the distinct aurora phenomena - unfortunately all hard to sight due to the current weather situation.

Aside to all the facts and things she read in the informative pamphlets of the shuttle for some distraction, she had trouble actually getting some sleep. While the entry into the planet's atmosphere was a wild one, her worries kept her from inner remedy. Hailynn shook her head. There was going to be enough time to rest on the ride back up; most likely intending to have soothing medicines administered by a flight doctor so she would be ready for the next step.

Like many capital colonial sites, the 'city' was actually based on many modules and structures that survived planetfall. Thanks to the combination of various alien and hiigaran technologies, the base establishment vessels brought much for lives' beginning on an unknown planet. The wild lands surrounding each colony base offered much material and space for the prospering intentions.

Despite being colonists, the Amaji have accepted the law of maintaining the world's nature; merely avoiding the common reckless nature of typical colonist factions of other kiithid, as the Amaji were actually the beings who were 'invading' this world. Respecting it meant much for all of them, even during the times when the Hiigaran Empire was above all.
Despite the beauties of the world, the planet was also a dangerous place for anybody.

- Resident Lost -

The two hours-long bulk train ride to Hollow's Creek from Maratropa Landing went by fast. Time of course had its strict pace, but when one's mind was plagued by ongoing worries, that being would lose its sense of time with ease.

Throughout the few years after the various colonization modules planted upon the planet and prospered, each cluster has established roads and rails of all kind between the main colony boroughs, usually named with the 'suffix' such as Landing, to its several rural habitat and offside industrial sites throughout the surrounding wildernesses.

The 'Landing' name identically also represented the primary location of the appropriate space port featuring freighter shuttles with supplies and other vital commodities. It was also common to see huge structures that were formerly space vessels that found eternal rest as an expanded habitat complex, industrial or hydroponic crop unit.

After departing from the train, Hailynn noticed that not many people have disembarked. The station, itself being a moderately large structure, did not have much activity either. Echoes across the wide halls revealed small groups having euphoric reunions - possibly a few returnees from space services. She sighed greatly before moving on.

Nobody waiting for me here...

There were certain eyes that fell upon her, however. It was noticeable that she was not an Amaji, but hence that fact, her wild hair and eye patch gave her appearance an unintentional threatening look despite her abstinence.

At least nobody recognized her as 'that hero-woman from the TV waves' yet. Before letting fate take its chance on her, she instantly urged her way to the exits despite not really knowing where to go or asking anybody at the information stands.

Once the second secured gateway opened for her and others, the Hiigaran woman was instantly engaged by the drift of humid wind hurling against her. The air was cold but fresh; if not, it was the most clearest purity of breathable air - not like the differences of Hiigara or the industrial Kyori - ugh, Kyori, she slurred.

Being on the Amaji planet again was a surreal feeling. Though she had been on the planet shortly before the Vaygr-Hiigaran war, it was just a short forced shore leave before engaging the terrifying tour of duty against the crusades.

Alas, her attention was caught by the amazing surroundings of the train station.

She was so distracted with her concerns during the train ride that she even blindly did not notice the territories along the tracks: Giant trees. The entire surrounding was full of flora and thick greens. Forests of Hiigara never had such hulking trees.

"How the frell did I not notice that?!", she asked herself…

Hailynn, you dumb nut, you sat on the left side of the compartment all alone - Your patch is on the left side, her mind insulted her.

At least she had an excuse for not seeing the wood for the trees.

Feeling a small object poking upon her chest as she looked around upwards, Hailynn was immediately reminded about something. Pulling the object hidden between her breasts, she found Aira's mystical necklace.

*Sigh* Oh no

Hailynn forgot to give it back to her - She really was a confused person who really needed to write some notes. Then again, something told her that Aira consciously did not ask for it. Either it was her sheer shyness… or it was for its symbolic means, letting it further guide her sorrows - or something. She even had the symbolic rock in her vest's pocket.

She probably had not noticed it during the customs since the Amaji were too trusty about here. Hailynn did not feel worthy carrying it with her as she truly was the personated trouble on legs. Shoving the enigmatic talisman back between the named two, she looked around and observed the rest of the place.

Hollow's Creek… Great, a backwater village, she cursed as she spotted several small housing metallic structures and minor housing complexes spread around the forest region.

All structures revealed dirty plants upon them. Not that the place was rundown, it simply did not make any sense to maintain the rooftops or sides of the complexes. Easy to notice, this was secluded place - If not, the perfect place someone's disappearance into a hideout.

By now, the twilight sky became marginally brighter from its purple to blue - some time later to become a brighter turquoise. It was impossible to really see the sky with all these trees.

Faint fog also limited the farthest view. The night storms already vanished, leaving an ongoing drizzle upon the muddy area. Despite the backwater looks of the remote structures among the individually leveled areas, people were around.

The name 'Hollow' of the place really fitted the area. Periodical howls of wind moved through the moderate climate as drops of rain tapped upon muddy puddles and her shoulders.

Both vehicles and animals were around… Horses?!

For this moment, Hailynn thought she was in one of those Western movies she saw on Hiigara many years ago; but actually, the people had these recognizable wear, especially 'cowboy hats' so that they did not have to carry an umbrella.

For personal means, she assumed horses were the best mean of transportation. These surprisingly beautiful animals did not have the schemes of the Hiigaran ones she knew though - nothing alike what she would say to be 'imported'. Children were around, too, feeding the horses and moving along with their small families.

*Hmpf* Damn it, I need to get myself one of those hats.

Yet again, she shook her head.

*Sigh* Off we go, she muttered as she pulled out a scribbled address code and made her way to the next person who had feasible looks of a resident citizen, with each step of her boots cushioning and sinking into mud.

- Knock, Knock? -

A young figure moved around within one of the few housing units of the neighborhood at the far edge of the forest establishment. The area fielded enough space for small ranches featuring a very small number of sheltered animals such as horses and other cattle. Inside, the young female figure moved things around.

*Whew*, she blew strains of dark blond hair away from eyes as she stretched herself again. At last, she was done - at least for this place. It took her at least a month to get find this small cozy place and to arrange everything that had to do with the completion of her goals; the last goal was surely on its way to her. Despite being a young woman like many on the planet without a real family, it was the first time in her life where she could call herself a Fortunate Daughter - despite not ever have met her mother or father.

Leaving her previous life of terrors behind, she now looked ahead for a future she ever wished for - and her dream was coming true later this day. The place itself on the outside was a small smudged housings range unit like the other few in the wet forest neighborhood, nimble but perfectly cozy for a couple aiming for a new life.

How was it going to be like? She did not know, but being this a dream to fight for, she willed to do anything to make it come true - as she finally did from the last month to now. The last month was a creepy one though. Being alone during the stormy nights and with winds howling frightening noises was terrifying but she stood her each day and night just for the dream.

******

"Thanks, champ", Hailynn thanked after climbing down from the man's back. The horse of the cowboy-looking man grunted.
"Aye. No worries, mate. You be careful out here, olright?", he replied with an accent, "Area ain't that safe with those bloody yobbering wild life here. Never move around alone, 'specially ye ain't armed."

Hailynn shortly looked at the sides of the man's mount, spotting an Amaji shotgun in a fair shape along with the gear - like the other few of the police rangers around. Looking up at the man with the translucent shades and the cowboy hat, she replied,

"We can I buy those nifty hats… mate?"

"Hollow's Creek got the best weavers on the planet, ' tell yah. Remember, never put on a hat that wasn't made for you. Let's say it's bloody tradition to have them done right for the right person. You can find them in any store around the area, but since ye a visitor from stars with not much time…", the man paused shortly, as if he made his mind. Suddenly tossing her a black-schemed hat after pulling it out of a pouch, it landed nearly perfectly upon her head. Arranging it on her head, she was surprised that it fitted perfectly.

"Didn't you say -?"
"' say it's something I've had around with me for too long, mate…"

He paused. The Hiigaran noticed weird aspects of the hat; cute curves on the black hat, laces tided in an elegant feminine manner. Something told her that this little present had more to it.

"I think ye somebody who will take care 'f it. Whatever, I better get moving. Patrol on this rainy season requires us mounted rangers to keep a good lookout for those bludgin' animals. *ho*", he lastly mentioned, whilst guiding the strains of the horse to turn away.

"Thanks for the help, champ - I owe ya!"
"G'day…"

As the horse made soft stops upon the muddy street, Hailynn turned around, spotting the designated small ranch housing of the neighborhood. She puffed a visible cloud of breath as this was going to require all of her wits once she would confront the person she searched for.

Guess this is the place, she thought as she shoved the scribbled note into the pocket of the trench coat. She began her approach, Where's the door bell unit on this thing?

******

*Stomp… stomp… stomp… STOMP ~tousle~ - *Bump-Bump-Bump*

The young woman's heart suddenly thudded as she head heavy steps walking on the planked steps of the housing. Those steps… The heavy knocking on the door… They were recognizable! Definitely not any silly visitor or neighbor - it was THAT person she was awaiting!

Could it be?! Already here?! Too early.!, her mind frequently asked herself, but then again, the cozy place was nicely arranged enough. Instantly jumping up, she made swift steps from the living room to the doorway. Feelings of all kinds instantly bombarded her soul.

Finally - after so long, after long years and a month fright and terror, she finally could unite with the being she sought for a long while. The young woman looked upon herself, arranging her casual rural schemes of her looks before letting her hand meet the doorknob. It was impossible for her to calm down, the thuds simply made it impossible.

Following a blushing smile of her lowered face, the Amaji woman slowly swung the creaky door open. Shyly scanning the being starting from below, the muddy black boots barely hidden by the heavy leather trench coat brought her euphoria to the edge of an outburst.

"R-R… RAY…", the young Amaji woman stuttered, but as her eyes met the level to where she spotted fair-skinned hands holding a crumbled note, she froze at the moment she noticed that the figure at the door was not a broad shouldered figure but that of a female with the noticeable curves... but nothing instantly paralyzed her as the figure's face was revealed once she raised the black hat from blocking her view.

"*Shriek!*"

At the sudden moment of recognizing the devil, the pupils of her eyes shrunk to a dot as she staggered a single step away from the entrance. She breathed rapidly, frightened as she spoke the name of the devil in the mortal body with an eye patch.

It was not a ghost but the monster itself, personally standing at her front door. Granted, the eye patch, the drenched hair and everything else on her made it hard to believe, but she was that feared Hiigaran nonetheless.

"H… Ha… Hailynn…", the lips trembled.
"Fenna."

- Shattering the Fortunate Daughter -

"H-How did you find me?! I told nobody about my whereabouts, not even Deena!", Fenna aggressively told the Hiigaran.
"Deena? You must be kidding about telling her secrets. That woman leaks more information that the sky of Amaj. No, I back-tracked your location over an intelligence agency.
While it was possible for you to mask your whereabouts after dropping on the planet, the agency still records the whereabouts of people who were in service. You can try hiding but they can find you."

"Not bad of a choice", Hailynn shortly mentioned as she stuffed the note away, "Secluded, wet. Pretty muddy ranch you got here, eh? Nice dress you got there, too."

"Whatever you want", Fenna instantly blared at her, "WE'RE THROUGH WITH EACH OTHER! I don't care what you are up to, woman, I'm through with the Navy and all of its madness!"

"Listen, we need to talk."

"And even if you were the President or that Sajuuk S'jet woman, I wouldn't care - now get off my property!"

Before Fenna was able to shut the door, Hailynn intervene by entering the house with her heavy boots, merely intimidating her with her threatening looks. The Amaji made another two steps away from the intruding Hiigaran. Shortly observing the living room, Hailynn soon noticed the work of Fenna. Obviously, she must have been arranging this place.

"This is not Providence, Hailynn! I can get the rangers on you - You're kiithidial status doesn't- "
"Shut up."

Fenna hushed.

Unfortunately, her nervous fears paralyzed her thoughts for reaction. Staring at the dripping Hiigaran messing up the floor with her muddy boots, she observed Hailynn as she pulled out a strange documents, pulling out files revealing the recognizable symbol of the Kiith Advocacy. Both sat down near a couch table.

"Let me tell you something before you freak out. Just looking around in this place and the name you mentioned sort of got me thinking. You were expecting Ray, weren't you? Of course you were. Just the looks of this place tells me you arranged it for the two of you.
Doubt you can hide the fact that this is a love nest for you two trying to start a new life. Apparently, it looks like you did manage to succeed in a public court for Ray's rights despite him being an official political prisoner of war. I am surprised, to be honest.
While is he a POW, he is actually a POW 'in space' but a free man on the planet once his feet set on its soil. Asylum-rights give him the chance to live a life on the planet assuming he'll follow the rules and keep his vest clean, huh? I have to congratulate you for that, but as you may have noticed, he is still up there."

"…", Fenna's hands met her hips as she eased her stance as she did not respond to Hailynn's speech.

"I guess you two were going to get engaged, just guessing. But anyways… I have a job for you", Hailynn suddenly mentioned as she pulled out a specific document - Yet another recognizable dossier featuring the contract pack like the first time she was contracted by her, "I am amazed to be coming here and asking you for this, but that's the truth. I am in desperate need of a skilled helmsman, or in this case, helmswoman, who has the had in-depth experience with the helm of the 'Vjel-Amaj'. Due to a serious mission that -"

"WHAT THE FRAKK?! YOU WANT TO HIRE ME FOR ANOTHER ONE OF YOUR FRAKKING MISSIONS - LADY, GET-THE-FRAKK-", the Amaji woman instantly blared as she smacked nearly all the documents from Hailynn's hand to the floor and darted upwards from the seat, "-OUT-OF-MY-HOUSE! I'M THROUGH WITH YOU! YOU- BITCH! You can't order me! You can't sanction me with your kiithidial bullshit! Not here in this house, not in this country…"

The mixed files met the messy floor. Fenna pointing hand trembled. Noticeable, though she was proving her grounds, she still had major fear flowing through her veins - despite that, it was clear to Hailynn that she meant it. She hated Hailynn.

"Get off of my house. I don't care about you, the 'Vjel-Amaj', the Amaji Navy or any other of your frakking demands. May all gods due my twin sister, but she knows what she is doing following a freak like you. I don't care if you'd need me to save the entire universe. We're done here."

Hailynn's face still stared upon the mixed files on the floor, "You know… Fenna… You have all the right to be mad at me. I know I am a person who can't be loved - or really love, to be honest", she slowly focused her view upon the angered Amaji, "I've become a war machine throughout these last years. My left eye and other parts of my body are no longer kushan - and even my blood contains alien components. I can't even feel my left shoulder anymore but some weird biotech prosthesis.
But with that said, I am still a being who has become involved in something greater than we ever imagined. You were… no, you are still part of it. The 'Vjel-Amaj' is a ship that needs the appropriate pilot at its helm. I am neither longer capable of doing it myself - nor able to find a trained pilot appropriate for the serious job. The 'Vjel-Amaj' will partake on the Kharakian Anniversary of Hiigara.
You heard right. We will be heading to Hiigara. There are… concerns… if we will actually make it on time. Hyperspace dislocation fields are soon to cut the several in a matter of two days or three - and that for a week or two. Even then, I would never be able to find a suitable expert helmsman or woman."

"I will not repeat myself again, Hailynn. I am done for with that career - Expert? I wasn't even a novice when we started off", Fenna calmed down slightly but still remained seriously, "I only happen to have had my hands on the controls longer than any green pilot… and yet I screwed a lot up. I don't want to see anybody of the crew again. I've had it with the mocks - and even now I feel like vomiting just thinking about heading into space again. My last words, Hailynn: No. Never again… Leave my house."

Fenna's eyes staggered as they silently clashed with the view of the single hideous eye of the opposing Hiigaran…
Was she going to finally give in?

Hailynn looked downwards and took a short but noticeable gasp of air and cleared her throat. Arranging her wet black leather trench coat, the fabrics made its recognizable noise as it moved around - yet, Hailynn still remained seated… Her view then returned to the Amaji.

"I am afraid of many things, Fenna. One thing am I am afraid of… is that I will never be able to convince you. I am amazed that you will engage marriage with a Vaygr man whose history is about as wrecked and flawed as mine. Honestly."

Hearing the leathery fabrics moving again, Hailynn slowly lifted herself from the comfortable sofa, leaving a damped aura behind. Fenna also turned away.

"The burden of many lie upon my soul. It is crushing me… I may be a monster but I cannot fail them… I simply cannot, Fenna… Mae… Amaj."

Hailynn was giving up, Fenna was sure of that.

"I will be leaving to fulfill my burden. But I think you should know that Ray will not return until I return."

Fenna shook her head at her, knowing that was just a trick of Hailynn. Ray was a free man already on Amaji Prime, already on the planet of freedom. Boot steps moved forth and away from her.

Before Hailynn's hand met the door knob, words slowly slipped from her lips, "Now as ever… Ray is, will be always be… a Vaygr… and I, his sworn Lord of Command."

That was something Fenna had to learn the very hard way, but that was over now.

"Where the Lord of Command wills… so will the Vaygr follow. That is the way of the Vaygr..."

"*Egad!*", Fenna shrieked.

The Hiigaran turned around to her, revealing the treacherous glare of her vicious eye; The glare of madness that Fenna and many others confronted with great fear. The Amaji woman paralyzed as their views crossed.

"You have heard right, Fenna Mae Amaj, former Ensign and Helmswoman of the 'Vjel-Amaj' in the Pride of the Kiith Amaj. I will be venturing across the galaxy to find ending salvations for the burdens that plague my soul. I assure you this: My journey will be riddled with madness for the sake of people whose legacy and sake is greater than Hiigaran Heritage. Where my journey will end… I do not know… but I know I am chosen by fate as the one to bring people to their freedoms. The Vaygr Ray will serve the Lord of Command - Always ready… Always ready."

Fenna's eyes widened at the same time Hailynn's view turned away to the side. Rain constantly tapped again the surfaces.

"I don't have much time to experience this beautiful planet, Fenna Mae Amaj, yet again… but I guess my life and fate was never made for settling down on a planet. I am roamer. But face it, Ray will not come, he is already back onboard the 'Vjel-Amaj' and will not come to you until he has completed the task… I - *NNNGH!*"

A force of power knocked her head and body against the door. Fenna lunged forward, grappling with both hands upon her neck, "DON'T YOU DARE TAKE RAY! I LOVE HIM! YOU'LL NEVER- NEVER END YOUR-YOU-… I… ca-cannot… let this… happen…!"

Unfortunately, the hands did not generate the force to actually choke the woman she hated so much. Hailynn did neither returned aggression nor released herself. A formed knocked against her chest, "Y-You… You can't force him… You will not… d-destroy what I've built for our future! *sob*"

Fenna's weak grip instantly grabbed the leather fabrics of Hailynn's waist as she slid downwards until her bottom met the floor. Unbelievably, the Amaji was defeated by the Hiigaran in all aspects.

Slightly cowered upon the floor, the sobbing woman once more threw her grip upon the trench coats, begging for mercy, begging that Hailynn would not take away the man she fell in love with, the man whose soul still followed the way of the Vaygr unless the Lord of Command would set him free. But all in all, Fenna knew that Hailynn would not release her Death Knight.

"Fenna Mae Amaj. The dirty pile of filed documents contains a full contract with advance payment. Accepting the contract by all signatures, you will retain your status as Helmswoman and Ensign serving the Vjel-Amaj and the Pride of the Kiith Amaj.
Once the services of the mission are over, you may forfeit further service and engage retirement. Nonetheless, you are free to decide on declining the given contract and will be released from any future contacts by the Navy - Approved by Kiith Advocate, High Solicitor, Bajula Naleigha Nabaal representing the highest authority of the Kiith Advocacy."

Powerlessly listening, all hopes shattered as Fenna's hands met the dirty floor, followed by the tears that slipped from her eyes.

"Whatever your decision may be, the deadline is listed on the first page of the contract. The main shift of my crew will be meeting up at my apartment as a sort of get-together and pre-celebration before we disembark to the first retrieval mission within the Amaji Constellation.
If we really will head to Hiigara, I don't know. Maybe this all will be over sooner than you think, Fenna. Nonetheless, you have your time for consideration. If you do not appear, I will assume you have declined the given terms. Do not assume that the Vaygr Ray will return soon.
I do not know if we will see each other, but I will now leave your home as demanded…I apologize for messing up your home… Farewell."

Fenna's fist slammed against the floor. Opening the door, Hailynn slowly made short steps towards the outside… plagued for what she had done; persuading a being who only wanted to be with her loved one. She simple could not let them go… yet.

As the door closed, Hailynn shoved her hands into the coat's pockets and only kept black femine cowboy hat behind her head with the lace around her neck. Her steps once again sunk into the mud, leaving the heart of a once fortunate woman shattered behind.

*****

"*Munch, crunch, crunch* Mhm, mmh, I don't know what this stuff is but it's great", Koji mentioned to Sunoga and the others around.

The secured fix infused the short recall of a miserable past as the pressure throughout her head and body increased and it took a long moan until the effects of the injection faded from an agitating pain to relief. The prophylactic fix that mimicked the real one, while short-lived, was just as terrifying, noticeable by the other who witnessed this brief moment.

"That was it, Hailynn. How do you feel?"

Hailynn opened her right eye when the remedy effect finally took place. Revealing her face, she looked around with a lost glare.

"We're in your apartment, Hailynn."
"I-I know…", the lost-minded Hiigaran stuttered to Doctor Jonas, who sat next to her.

Jonas quietly scoffed, "I almost feel like as if you invited me to the party just for this."

"Definitely not, Doctor. There is a lot more to it."

A lot of muffled voices echoed behind the closed to the spacious living room. The get-together party was underway for a long time. Lots of conversations were behind the door. The party itself had already been going for some two hours along with many doorbell ringing, talking, laughter and great food.

Surprisingly, Hailynn had not revealed herself to them at all. Turning her view back towards the workroom, Hailynn spotted few of her friends and acquaintances; Velle and Vayn sitting behind a personal computer with three screens, Doctor Jonas and Aira beside her and Kiith Advocate Naleigha slightly amazed of what she just witnessed.

"Hailynn, we shouldn't keep the people outside waiting so long", Velle suddenly mentioned.
"Ah, I'm sure they're likin' the food and stuff you made", Vayn complimented to her.

"Th-Thank you."

Aira had not said a word but reacted with occasional faint sneezes due to the fresh smell of pine resonating like an aura from Hailynn's self. The smell nonetheless amazed the girl's mind; the smell of the crying Planet.

"Velle, repeat the last report you said about the overall status of the Vjel-Amaj. I sort of… spaced-away on it", Hailynn demanded as she rubbed her forehead, obviously trying to withstand the backlash of pain in her head.

"All right -"
"Just the main stuff…"

Vayn pointed on the screen, helping her find the way through the menus on the screens that revealed a multitude of data about the Vjel-Amaj, its logistics assets and status as Velle explained:

"G-Got it, okay Right, as we can see here, basic crew shifts are on standby. While at least three shifts of experienced operatives are not available at this time, we have sufficient crew initiative status for achieving green… clearance thingy… or something like that. I'm not into these nautical terms. A-Anyways, the majority of the available crewmembers are novice… green - most likely the shifts of young recruit operatives who graduated and were indoctrinated by the Amaji Navy.
Ugh - so many symbols But other than that, note that we have two primary shifts still available - which will have no trouble maintaining the ship itself. Just checking the names within those two primary shifts tell me that the ship has experienced men and women to maintain the ship with no problems. I see a whole bunch of blacked-out names on the security side.
I guess we hardly have any marines, but it is not affecting anything considering the launch status, Hailynn."
The purple-haired Amaji moved her eyes over to the screen that revealed the mainframe of the Vjel-Amaj, "I… have… no clue what all this means, but it I don't see anything red or yellow. Just a few orange spots - but else, the ship looks 'good' … I guess."

"Fair enough."

Naleigha's thoughts were elsewhere. It was already a month since the last time she had spoken or seen Orelis - and now, he was just behind that door. He was here, but they both did not have the chance yet to speak to each other. Nervous as she was, she did not have enough esteem to ask Hailynn to head out for a bit.

Despite her frail will, it was also the major kiithidial testament she privately formed with Hailynn before this get-together that gave her much more to worry about. As an advocate, she has pledged silence, custody, loyalty and secrecy regarding kiithid testaments and cases - and this one was making her take part on something very disturbing - but at least, she was not entirely involved that required her to fly onboard a ship.

Hopefully, she could have some time with Orelis after this… But nonetheless, Hailynn's short-lived euphoria caused by the drugs still left her much to worry about.

Velle's ongoing explanations caught Naleigha's attention again, "I guess we will have enough time for the ship to get into top-notch status, eh?"
"…", Hailynn turned her view away from them - A slightly disturbing reaction for the Amaji.

"What-Whatever. There are several reports attached to the files on this screen here. One revealed that the ship has installed a… honestly, a crapload… of things. I have no idea who issued it, but I'm not into this data.
All I can say is that the Vjel-Amaj has had its new… hybrid Bentusi-whatever Hyperdrive Module installed. I assume the ship is able to hyperjump again", Velle rattled as she ran her voice in a hurry.

"Hmm?", Vayn suddenly asked, "Again? What happened to the previous hyperdrive module?"
"Sort of cracked… We kind of stressed it too heavily on our flight back. Nearly blew us all up", Velle embarrassingly giggled,

"We were really lucky when -".

Accords of digital sounds emitting from the Naleigha's pad interrupted their conversation. The pad, being about as large as the document dossiers she held, was a multimedia unit that resembled the similar personal computer of Hailynn connected to the infolink network.

An urgent message, it seemed. The tanned-skinned advocate in the dark green advocate uniform pressed several keys as she read the text for her eyes and Hailynn's only. A long text… Her eyes skimmed the paragraphs. Suddenly lifting her head, the Nabaali advocate revealed a startled glare towards Hailynn as she quietly handed her the digital data pad.

"Uhm, care to tell us anything or is that another one of those secrets, Hailey?", Vayn dared to ask after a long pause, "You look troubled, girl."

The one-eyed Hiigaran in fact had series of concerns and thoughts bombarding her mind in matter a single second, "N-No", she stuttered, somewhat lying, "Thing 's all right, my man. Good news… We're going to save your people, Vayn. This is the confirmation that - those people - managed to stop the Regausa-Maru and its flotilla from escaping our constellation."

The Gaalsi man instantly raised himself away from Velle's side and approached her as he revealed gratitude for her words.

Embracing the smaller Hiigaran, Vayn thanked her, thanking her that her people would soon be free from their everlasting shackles - but as he held the woman, something told him that something was going on in that hard head of hers.
Vayn released her, "Girl. I know there's something."

"It's too much to talk about… First things first: We're going to get your people away from those Somtaaw. But… Advocate Naleigha -", Hailynn suddenly called out.
"Yes, Commander?"

"Tell me the list of options on how to get to Hiigara, so we can participate on the Kharakian Anniversary Celebration."
Naleigha revealed a startled glare, especially due to the fact that they talked this through thoroughly when she met up with Hailynn at Amaji High Command after her return from the planet today.

"There are hardly any viable options, Commander", the Nabaali woman explained slowly, "I have major doubts on you getting anywhere regarding the testaments you've formed with me.
Particularly, we are entering that specific season where it will be difficult to leave this constellation for several days. I am not into this space-astronomy-whatever things, but 'Dislo…Dislocation Fields' or something like that are likely to interfere with your plans. Hiigara is too far away for a ship of your kind to get there."

"Oh, don't say that", Hailynn suddenly snarled, "Our ship can jump farther than you can imagine."

"Whatever, I just know that you wouldn't make it on time regarding those interfering fields. We are a matter of a some two or three days away. That's a serious deadline regarding where we are coming from. Also, saving the slaved people from the Somtaaw will require some time - not to mention the paperwork and charges against them.
Commander, I can tell you several options but only one really seems to be the real chance to get anywhere… and that would be the Serae-Semaiitolva Fleet, the fleet of taiidan republican, kiithid of Hiigara and others protecting the main vessel that is bringing one hell of a load of politicians to Hiigara."

"Tell me more about that Serae-Fleet."

"They are making their way past Amaji space according to what I heard from my advocacy firm", Naleigha nervously replied, "The main ship is loaded with prominences from nearly all corners of the Hiigaran Empire and the Taiidan Republic… if not, the whole darn galaxy. Whatever, I was told that the Amaji had intentions on partaking on this, so wished our Amaji President and the military Chief-in-Command, Commander Yor - but regarding that, they are actually the only ones who could actually board that ship. Due to the dislocation thing that will soon hit the hyperspace around the Amaji Constellation, I can only guess they aborted the plan."

"There still is a window. I just know it…"

"Commander. Look. While that fleet surely has the technology to get there on time, we won't have a chance to board it without some real authority or supremacy - and by that, I mean, real prominence status. All due respects to your status, Commander, but Krin'Sa is insufficient, and as I said, you are a Commander.
That is, I am afraid, nothing to them. Of course, I am sure the Amaji superiors would love to see any Amaji appear to show the Hiigaran Empire that we are still standing our grounds at the edge of terrors, the Serae-Fleet however just won't let us board. I KNOW THAT, for boarding political ships are cases we advocates frequently have to put up with."

Hailynn turned her view away from Naleigha and stared beyond Jonas' and Velle's shoulders to the projected window…

Do I have a chance to save them?

"Advocate Naleigha, with all due respect - You don't know me. Velle?", Hailynn called out, "I want you to connect that computer's I/O cables to the window's plugin-interface unit behind you so the other people in the living room there can see the data I demand from you, got that?"

"R-Right. V-Vayn, could you help me out."

"Uhm, sure", he confirmed but wondered. All Velle had to do, simply accorded by Hailynn, was to put each colored cable to the appropriate colored plug. Despite the fact, Velle held the small number colored cables with a troublesome look.

"Also, I want you to get that Mr. Weylon on the phone - or wait, forget that, send him an email about the measured numbers I will tell you very soon. Tell him I will quadruple the price for that freaking dress if he finalizes it within an hour. All right everybody, I need you to get to the party in the living room. I'll follow shortly."

= Hailynn's Apartment - Main Living Room =

As heard through the door, bunches of conversations sounded from all corners. The spacious living was filled with many familiar and trusted faces of the bridge crew; all having a great time and taste of Velle's surprising culinary abilities.

Slightly unnoticed, certain figures left the room where the many assumed Hailynn to be in. Among the small number at the door of the workroom, the advocate woman reappeared and looked around - as if she was looking for something or someone specific.

At last, she discovered who she was looking for; the tanned woman made her way through the small groups of conversations until she finally reached her destination.
At the very moment the man in casual wear turned around, both eyes met.

"Orelis."
"Na-… Banana", Orelis repeated.
The talking around them went on with the low-volume classical music in the background.

"So… Is that it?", Naleigha mentioned to him in a serious tone after a while of silence, "Is that all you want to say to me? I've been waiting to hear your voice for an eternity."

"- of a month? Com'on, Bajula, we've not heard from each other even longer before."

"That was during the war, Orelis! So, I ask you again - Is-that-it? Are we splitting up?!"

"We never really had a relationship -", Orelis suddenly paused… the crude words left his lips before he could stop them. Though his words were only replying the truth due to their varying careers, it was not thoughtful of him to say that.

Unfortunately, the words struck her like the shock of lightning, but outwardly, she remained calm, "S-So, you are together with that Manaani woman now, I suppose. I should have known something more happened on that last seven-day mission that happened a month ago - and even more when that crazy Manaani took you away from me.
'An officer's duty', my ass, Orelis - if you didn't want to be with me, why didn't you just say it was over? I've been worrying for days and nights about you, even while you were gone. You promised me that - "

The Nabaali man looked around, spotting the slightly drunk Manaani distracted while blabbering nonsense to a group of others elsewhere in the huge living room as Naleigha spoke further about her worries whilst being at the edge of losing tears.
Taking the chance, Orelis instantly dragged the sorrowing Naleigha through the groups of people to a very short interspacing corridor to other guest rooms and smaller chambers.

"Damn, this place is for a huge family", Orelis cursed, but stopped at last as the area did not seem populated by anybody.

"So, you can't break up in front of the crew, huh? I wish you would just -", Naleigha suddenly stopped talking as Orelis' hands gripped the sides of her shoulder-padded advocate uniform. After a single second, his hands met both her soft cheeks.

"Banana… Bajula, listen. I am not with that Manaani. Are you crazy?", the man steely defended himself, "I would never - ever - drop you for that damn woman, Bajula, not even if she would have chosen me as her… forced 'Vasudnahedme'bibi' mate."

Vasu-what?

Unfortunately, just when Orelis thought he had the courage to reply to what Bajula once said long ago, about the 'weird gut feel of Amaji butterflies in her stomach' when she was with him, he silenced. The matter of her fondness always unfortunately disarmed the usually strong-willed Nabaali man. However, just his silence was proof enough for Naleigha to believe him; a single spark that gave her the hope that he was telling the truth.

But unfortunately again, Orelis lost the courage to say the specific magical words that would finally seal them together, "Naleigha, this is serious. About all that may happen in the near future", he spoke to her with a firm voice, returning to reality - as usual -, "Yes, I won't lie that something seriously happened back then with Kaydaana Manaan. No no - Not that kind of serious happening. D-Darn it -"

The man nervously shortly let go of her cheeks and made a few steps away. The cool air instantly froze her warm cheeks as he shortly rushed to each adjacent room.

What is he doing?

Orelis looked around, making sure nobody was around or listening. Luckily, he found nobody and returned to her. Something was disturbing him.

"Wh-What's wrong, Orelis?"
"Frakking secrets killing me. Listen. I wish to tell you something. I shouldn't, because I am an officer of trust and loyalty. But you being a Kiith Advocate, I want you know something and keep to yourself… Advocate Bajula Naleigha Nabaal: …"

Great, there he goes again with formalities. Killing the moment of salvation with our damn duties again…

"I don't want Hailynn to know of this Though I should tell her IMMEDIATELY!… Look, Kaydaana… That crazy fighter-pilot woman… is dying - Or is going to die."

"Wh-what? She's going to -?!"

"SHH-shhh, for the sake of technology, shhhh!", he laid his finger upon her soft lips, "Yes. Something did happen back then. When her fighter was shot down during that mission, she was exposed to radiation... a dose deadlier than what that Green Hulk guy was exposed to, no shit on that, Bajula.
Whatever, you know what cancer is, right? Well, the difference between what she got and cancer is that there is no way to cure it to at least life a much longer life. What she now suffers of is some sort of blood poisoning - a slow one, very slow - but giving only the time of a year. She'll live normal for a while, but until some Nabaali technology can stop time - frakk, what am I saying, she's going to die, Bajula."

The classical music and mixed conversations beyond them at the living room continued; both Nabaali remained silent as they stared at each other. A very cold shiver ran down her spine along with the feeling of confusions… Bajula suddenly felt admirations for him.

Slowly, it all started to make sense to her as he had the chance to explain himself, "Bajula, You won't believe it, but beyond being an commanding officer who had to support a brothering officer and … a… well, friend… I suddenly noticed that I was the only one whom she barely had the courage to tell this about.
A Manaani always has courage, that is a rule we are told about, but something like that just hit her -just like that. I don't know what I'm trying to say here. Look, she was a former Manaani'Unshi, a VERY high princess of the Kiith - but she was excommunicated and to be forgotten due to the fact that she has a dreaded 'Grade:Z' Breeding Grade: She's infertile - and that in a Manaani Dynasty whose caste is based on heirs? Trust me, that killed her once."

Bajula turned her view away as she looked towards the entry to the living room.

"She had nothing but found ways to survive. I'll spare you the story how she got here, but she's dying… and she has nobody to be with. I am serious. She lost practically all of the pilots who were her something alike of a family. Despite Hailynn being the only person closest to her, shit, maybe even like a blood-sister, Kaydaana actually has zero friends or a real family. You know best how impossible it is to be with a person like hers who is so… so… gods! - She is such as pain on the freaking ass! She is loud, she has such a big mouth, messy, damn it! I get insane when I just think about that last month - I can't barely put up with it and -"

Orelis stopped his monolog. The tanned Nabaali woman turned back at him, silently. Obviously, she understood everything now. Orelis only wanted to be there for the dying Manaani, showing her that she was not alone, as he was the only soul who actually, or barely, had the nerves to handle and withstand the bizarre red hurricane known as Kaydaana.

"I've broken one of my long-going swears and I'm surely going to get punished to frell once Kaydaana figures it out, but I know that us being Nabaali; you being my closest trusted friend, Bajula, I dare to say that I am actually 'trusting myself' a second time. I know I can count on you. No - no, I'm not saying this as a military officer to a kiith advocate, from me to you, Orelis to Bajula. I never wanted to hurt your feelings."

"Orelis, why you… never told me that you just wanted be there for somebody?", Naleigha finally asked, understanding all of his woes, "If I had known, I wouldn't dare to act like such a fool who did not trust you. I -"

Feelings hurt, Orelis knew that. All though Bajula had those 'butterflies-feelings' for him, she knew he had to be an emotionless rock to survive all the madness of the previous war and the losses and stress of the last month - and that he would have to stay like that to live… but could they at least survive together, for a change?

The Nabaali woman's arms wrapped around his waist and held him firmly. He hugged her as well. Bajula's embrace revealed that not only that she wanted to be with him, but that she wished to be besides him, taking on whatever would be in there way - inwardly, the advocate woman swore to herself that she would never lose him out of sight, never again.

"Banana… Bajula…", he stammered, "I… huh!"
"I lo-", just when Naleigha was about to say the magical words, it was too late. Orelis' mind detected a serious difference in their surroundings that abruptly broke the moment between them; merely causing him to forget all emotions at once.

Nooooo!

Orelis slowly slipped away as he made a single step away from her. If there was one thing that Bajula hated about him, it was his other sense that detected the call of duty. The classical music and bunched conversations have silenced.

"W-What is wrong, Orelis-hun?"
"Oh, heh-heh", he scoffed, "I know that silence. Hailynn-Silence. Come on, looks like we're finally going to her what's going on."

"W-Wait."
"Hmm?"

"There is a deadline going on, Orelis. I can't really tell you, but you might be… heading out into space again sooner than expected. Much sooner. I won't lose you out of my sight this time."

= Hailynn's Apartment - The Quiet Living Room =

****

As Orelis and Naleigha made their way to the living around and bypassed a group of people who looked at a specific area, Naleigha shortly felt a hand that halted her. Looking at the person, she spotted a quiet young Amaji woman with a dark blond ponytail whose hand slipped from Naleigha's wrist in to the bag, pulling out a mud-stained document dossier. Noticing the color and frame of the advocate dossier, Naleigha looked at the last page and spotted the signature.

"Oh, you are Fenna Mae Amaj, the specific pilot Commander Delixa wished to contract. I guess she will be pleased to see you here and…", Naleigha shortly whispered to her.
The sound of caused by Fenna's hands twisting leather grip from her back scared the Nabaali somewhat.

****

Several claps and cheers occurred as the troubled Hiigaran made her way into the living room; many were happy as they did not see her since the Visarjan-Drill a month ago. The Hiigaran wove thankfully but maintained the serious look.
Following her, the Gaalsi man they heard and saw about on the television waves also wove and said, "Yo."

"Thank you all for coming", Hailynn suddenly explained, "I am sorry everybody, but I am afraid I must break the party. Just a moment ago, I have received confirmation on the whereabouts of the ship that taken the enslaved Gaalsi and Siidim people of this man, Vayn. Judging things with my own eyes, this Somtaaw ship, the Regausa-Maru, has truly kidnapped the people and tried to get away with it. Fortunately, my contact managed to hinder them from escaping the Amaji Constellation. As far as I can tell, my contact overpowered the Regausa-Maru and its flotilla at… Velle, load the map, please You'll see it in a sec - and note that this all here is confidential, people."

After a few seconds, one of the huge projected windows changed from its live image of the lively Amaji orbit to a detailed three dimensional map of the Amaji Constellation, featuring the Seven Stars and thousands to millions of known locations in its space.
Focusing on a specific grid territory tagged with the title 'Lagosa', the image featured more details, including the warning symbols of space piracy and other hazards. Hailynn spoke further as the image revealed several symbols - and as she spoke, Orelis chuckled slightly… This get-together was a briefing.

"My chosen advocate, Naleigha Nabaal - the woman back there next to Orelis - has- "…, Hailynn paused shortly, spotting the young Amaji pilot woman staring back at her with a hatred glare, "- has received the word of my contact that they have our people and the Regausa-Maru at hand. Sisterships of our Lance, the Sebun-No[i] and the [i]Sejun-No, two of our finest Aegis Assault Frigates, are currently at a designated location for the exchange. Due to the fact that the numbers of Vayn's people exceed their capacities duh, I have decided to dispatch the Vjel-Amaj."

"M-May I ask a question, ma'am?", an operative asked from the other side of the room.
"Go ahead. Cut to the chase, though."

"Right. Why us? Why not an appropriate Amaji transport with the escort?"

Hailynn lowered her right eye; she did not want to lie to them, "People, we are not coming back immediately after that retrieval. We will be heading en route to Hiigara once we have them. I wish to have us participate on the Kharakian Anniversary Celebration at their Homeworld."
Many groups of people looked at each other, many reflecting surprised reactions.

"You heard right, people, we are going to Hiigara."
"Commander", Kenta's voice sounded from further away.
"Good to see you, Chief Astronomer."

"Th-Thank you, ma'am. I just chattered with my brother recently about the same issue that just came in mind. I regret to say this but your second intention sounds impossible to achieve. Several main space lanes, and predominately the ethereal space of our Constellation, are about to be exposed to dislocation fields that will make it impossible for a ship to travel through for several days. Else, if a ship would try to breach through, it would only provoke a misjump once it emerges and cause days of delays until it dissipates. Ma'am, all due respect, but we won't -"

"We will. And that is where we must handle immediately. People, as of now, I declare 'Call to Duty' to the crew of the Vjel-Amaj", Hailynn voice suddenly sounded to them, "We all won't have much time, people, so you better get ready. One more thing, just before you all go nuts.
We will attempt to join up with a fleet later on that will be able to carry us to Hiigara, apparently a Taiidan-Republican group. Some may know of this and doubt that we will be able to board that ship. But I have a plan for that. All right people, enough talk. Please, go home or do whatever, get whatever you need and get ready. I am giving all of you the timeframe of one hour and thirty minutes to get done and be at the Assembly Port to the Vjel-Amaj. This won't be an easy trip people, It's going to be a long trip", Hailynn pronounced with a tone much to be concerned about but then, she spoke words of eternal trust, "My crew, I am counting on each and every one of you.
Each and every one of you. Ever since our last adventure, you have proven me that you are a crew that any Captain can be proud of. I wish I could avoid the nostalgic talk, but I will not lie. You all are my family, as bizarre it may sound, you all are my life and blood. Captain Quenton Soban was proud of you; Please, make me proud of you as your Commander-in-Chief… Just this one more time…"

"Commander", Orelis called from further behind, "Ready to go, but I know about one thing. We don't have marines. If I there is something I learned: Never leave home without a handful of marines. We don't have an appropriate security troop."

"We have enough people who can use standard equipment."

"I was referring to skilled units. Sort of like you, Hailynn. Experts, marines."

"I know. I totally forgot about that fact, to be honest Frell, I'm also a kushan - but trust me, we have the experts on the Vjel-Amaj. Let that be my concern. As long as we have Aaron Salico and the other few, we should be fine. They will be primary squad leaders from now on."

"… All right, you're the boss."

The Kadeshi girl quietly stared at the people; all of them willing to follow Hailynn's persona, willing to serve Hailynn with pride and loyalty. Inwardly, Aira began to feel an unknown feeling; a daring feeling that began to evoke the courage of change.

"All right, people. Velle will be dispatching the declaration to the skeleton crew and the new operative shifts. I am sorry to say this now, but you are all dismissed. Please get going. Out - out you go. Oh, I want Kaydaana and Naleigha Nabaal to stay shortly. Kaydee, get over here, will you?!"

Having actually an hour (and a half) was not going to be much time for all the operatives to get ready, which lastly caused all of them to get their belongings and rush out of Hailynn's apartment - some came back shortly, either for forgetting one of their things or another grab from Velle's food. As people made their way out, Hailynn told Vayn to toss her a small packed object - An old-fashion measuring tape.

At the very moment Orelis dared to approach Hailynn, Kaydaana's instantly caught him making his way for the Hiigaran woman. Her look fended him off.

Not a word to Haileh, got that!, echoed in his mind. He nearly had the guts to just say something about it, but he turned away when Naleigha grabbed his hand.

"I've made a decision, Orelis."
"Huh, what would that be?"

"I'm coming with you",. The Nabaali woman suddenly announced with determination.
"You… what?!... Frell no, what-or-wherever we're going, it's going to be a dangerous trip, as usual, Banana. No, I deny it."

"No way, Orelis. I am coming with you, no matter what! I am not going to let you fly across the galaxy to Hiigara and not hear a word from you again until the next age! I'm coming with you on that ship. I may not be a military officer, but your Commander will require my expertise and advice as an Advocate who knows the laws. I'm a Kiith Advocate, I can join this ship with or without your approval."

"She coming with us, Orelis", Hailynn suddenly confirmed, merely 'running over his dead body', "Going to be needing all the authority power I can get, and she has it."

"… Damn… Well, see you at the 'Vjel-Amaj'. Commander, Colonel, everybody else -", he wove and made his way away from them.

"Haileh -", the slightly drunk Manaani staggered and bumped closely against to Hailynn, "Girl, yah crazeh."

"Girl, you drunk. Whatever, now hold still. I said, hold still and stretch out Velle, you still there?!"

"Yes, Hailynn."

"Write this down on that open email field All right, stretch your arms and hold still."

"Ol' lady, why I'm seppozed to play scarecrow for yah? Ehhhh?!", the Manaani slurred with her accented voice as Hailynn spoke specific terms and numbers after measuring Kaydaana's height and shoulder width, "Okeh, okay, I'm not that tall but I tell yah, I'm one helluvah - *ehhh!*"

Hailynn suddenly wrapped the measuring tape around the bosom bust of Manaani that instantly caused her to be quiet. Frequently fiddling with her and taking accurate note of practically every measurement from size, distance between the breasts, possible weight, overall body weight, waist, thighs and much more, Hailynn's information was instantly typed by Velle into the email designated for the specific man who needed it. After a minute of measuring, Hailynn lastly said, "Tell him to ship it to the Vjel-Amaj and to my name on express-and-pronto. Transfer him the amount of cash as I said - 4x of the price he demanded before."

"He'll do the job all right, Hailynn", Velle lastly commented.
"*Hic!* Haileh, look girl, I always knew yah like my bodeh but -"

"Kaydee, thanks, now get the Vjel-Amaj, and get sober! Doctor Jonas, could you please give take her with you and give her something to get back to the ground?"

"*Sigh* Very well. Come with me, Colonel."

"I'm tha best!"

"Right. Come with me."

As the doctor fought guiding the Manaani out of the place, the whole apartment became quiet.

"*Sigh*", Velle said as she slowly walked towards the remaining few, "I better get this food stored."

"Don't worry about it. There is a cleaning service within this complex, Velle", Hailynn demanded, "They've taken care of this place often while I was gone on various missions. They'll stow it away for us. Vayn, I really think you should stay here until we get back at least. I doubt I will have the time to bring your people back instantly. And…I don't know if I will be back, things won't be going the way I will like it."

"I'm coming with you. Just like that Nabaali woman said to that Commander guy of yours. We've gotta stick together, Werewolf-Girl. I'm not going to lose sight of you again, for the sake of your mice."

"Guess there's no way talking you out of this, either please stay, I beg you..."
"Nope."
"F-Fine... Let's turn off everything, grab some stuff and get going."

Aira had always been a quiet girl, stammering and shy of anything and everybody. Why did she have these fears? For the first time in her life, she began to question things of her soul and psyche. Despite finally being able to return to the Vjel-Amaj, she had a feeling that her caretaker, Hailynn, was going to need more from the girl than ever.

I am ready, Naji…I am ready!, she quietly chanted to herself.

*****

Chapter 21 - Deadline

Though wondering about the hasty operatives upon the other lanes, the young Amaji woman hummed her song as made her way upon the broad footbridge.

Ah, must be another drill for those greenhorns, she supposed, not even caring about the announcement that was broadcasted throughout the entire ship.

Making a short stop, the bubbly Amaji with the dark green uniform turned around and observed each end of the huge Amaji vessel that silently levitated close to the port. After the pause, she turned around and raised her luggage again, joyfully knowing that she did her job well and that her somewhat permanent guests would be fine too.

***

= Assembly Shipyard - Gateway Port =

The huge module segment of Providence was about as restless as the orbit around the emerald planet. All areas were brightly lit with many groups of mobile light units consisting of drones and other supporting objects.

Countless men and women of various professions dealt with the everyday task of maintenance; from small pods to space-faring vessels in need of repairs and checkups or assembly, even fixing foreign ones at least to the extent of their feasible knowledge and material. While most of the hard activity took part in the zero-G and unpressurized areas, anybody could view the works like in any spaceport module of the huge colony ship.

As Hailynn's entourage featuring Orelis, the kiith advocate, Hailynn's roommates such as Velle who carried the flat delivery package and several other people, made their way to the military assembly area where the Vjel-Amaj was to be found, Aira's mind once again was distracted by her surroundings.
Stars and sparks of welding workers and drones rained down like fireworks, sparkling their brightly colors upon the eyes of the girl who became anxious as they approached the cruiser's aura; a Homecoming of her own.

Finally reaching the last area to the broad footbridge, Hailynn's entourage instantly halted as they spotted several rows of young Amaji crewmen that were perfectly aligned in militaristic style and stance; each row ranging from young elite graduates to willing operatives, strikecraft pilots and technicians - but despite their appearances and achievements, they were still young greenhorns who never experienced a real mission. Shaking her head, Hailynn wove her entourage to move on as time was running out.

"W-What - What the frell - What is this all about, Sub-Lieutenant?!", Orelis grunted towards one of the supervisory operatives.

Though holding his straight stance, the eyes of the young supervisory operative bounced back and forth between the rows ahead of him and the angered superior who stood next to him with a disgruntled look, "Uh- uh…"

"Boy - Look at me when I'm talkin' to you!", the Nabaali barked with big eyes, easily intimidating and disarming the surprised youngster with his stare.

"S-Sir, B-B-Blue Squad 42 and 47, pilots of Vanguard 12th Segment, Militia Troopers and Executive Shift of the Bridge are w-welcoming Masters and Commanders!", the Sub-Lieutenant stammered, "We are pr-proud to serve and learn from the best of best!"

The Nabaali pinched his eyes together at the same time wrinkles formed upon his face, "Aww, naw, no no - Don't tell me you guys are performing a freaking Visarjan-Drill?! Not now!"

"But sir, that is tr-tradition, just the way were indoctrina-"

"Yadda-Yadda - We've got a deadline, Sub-Lieutenant! You crazy people, we could be having a war out there and you'd all be waiting in a V-Drill!"

Suddenly, all eyes of Hailynn's entourage and the rows of people noticed a figure appearing at the edge of the broad primary footbridge.

"Hmmhmhmhmh, la-dalalala, du-bi-du, eh?!", the figure hummed until she noticed the mass of people. Everybody spotted the bubbly Deena Mae Amaj in a wrinkled logistics uniform while carrying luggage, "Oh, hi everybody", she cheerfully greeted to them, "Must be another one of them trainin' Ops, eh? Won't bug ye - Movin' on!".

"DEENA?!", Orelis barked, leaving the confused Sub-Lieutenant behind him, "Where are you going?!"

"Uhm… Home. Haven't left the ship since we came back, y'know. Ha-ha, everybody needs to head to the real home once in a while", she giggled.

Now it was Velle whose eyes widened, "Y-You're telling us that you haven't leave the ship ever since it got back?!"
"Uhm, yeah, ha-ha-ha… Lotsa unfinished business since we came back."

"But, we've been back since a month! Hmm, no wonder you didn't show up at the party", the Amaji replied with a confused glare.

"Man, time goes by. Had a lot to do - Now that I had the power of finances and no narrowed budgets around, I've -"

Orelis instantly pointed his finger towards Deena, "YOU", and then swung it to rows of young operatives, "and ALL of you! Get-On-The-SHIP! That's an order! Vjel-Amaj is disembarking! Move, move, move!", lastly adding his thumb as a directive gesture to get moving.

Without seconds of thought, all rows broke up as everybody jumped and ran their way upon the footbridge as the Nabaali officer wove his arm maniacally. At least these imbeciles only consisted of the bridge crew and a few others and not the entire crew, he mumbled.

Shortly stopping one operative, the Nabaali told him to hand him his shoulder communicator so he could gain knowledge on the status of the ship.

Hailynn approached bubbly logistics officer, "I'm sorry, Chief Logistics, but Shore Leave ends here and now with immediate effect. I need you on the ship."

Deena replied an amazed look; amazed that she did so much and had lost the sense of time… but as usual, it only took a matter of seconds before she formed a smile, "Okay, boss. Good to see you - man, lotsa hair you got. And - Owwww, hey Fenna-Chan! Long time no see!"

Fenna, her twin sister, only wove but remained serious. She had been the whole time with Hailynn's entourage but had not said a single word ever since her arrival on Providence. Things surely were not going to go the right way.

As the rows of operatives vanished into the footbridge, Hailynn paused as she observed the huge elegant vessel. Surprisingly, there were countless differences upon its hull; too many to actually distinguish all of them with so little time available.
At least it was neither smoking due the entropic plasma masses any more nor had any hugely visible burnt marks more other than faint battle scars... Sole remembrances of a fierce war.

"Wow, Hailey", her Gaalsi friends shortly remarked from her side as he looked upon the huge ship, "Never thought your 'cruiser' would look like this. It's smaller than that Regausa-Maru monster… but… I've never seen anything amazingly like this one. And it's not as ugly as the 'Mandrill' miner transport of mine."
"There's a lot more to it, pal."

The Gaalsi man suddenly laid shades upon his eyes.

"V-Vayn, why you putting on those sunglasses?"
"A way to hide my ugly eyes, heh", he joked.

"Guys, we better get moving", Orelis reminded as he gave the communicator back to the operative, "Lucky us - I just heard from Chief Brogan that the cruiser's core is online and ready to roll out. At least the right somebody heard the damn 'Call of Duty' declaration... We're the last ones left out here. I say we get to bridge command and engage your desired mission, Commander."

Orelis lastly saluted, respectfully showing that he was ready to serve his superior commander.

"Fine. Come with us, Aira."

Deena's huge smile caught the attention of the people, "Weeeell then, people. I say you follow me!", awkwardly happy as she was, the Amaji with the luggage marched forth upon the footbridge, "There are many surprises for all of you! Heck, you all won't recognize this ship again - Ha, it'll blow your minds!"

"She scares the crap out of me sometimes", Velle mumbled.
As the last group made their way in, both Orelis and Naleigha remained at the beginning of the footbridge.

"Something wrong, Orelis?"

The Nabaali man revealed a worried look for the first time towards her and then a specific region; the region leading to Providence's inner world, "N-Nothing… Let's go."

He was lying again…

- Renaissance -

= Vjel-Amaj - Executive Deck =

The ship was already alive as power faintly phased through the grid. The lighting on along the lane revealed 'Status: Blue'. Tapping steps of boots and shoes revealed rush of operatives and technicians on the hurry.

Beyond the rush, the hasted walk to the bridge through the primary corridor awoke memories within the minds of many. The group moved on towards the bridge, mostly ignoring what the bubbly guide ahead of them was saying. While the many recalled memories, one soul of the group expressed the nightmares of despair. The twin of the bubbly guide tailed the rest of the group with much worries for a while until they all finally reached the bridge.

As the hulking entry doors shifted open, the few steps into the bridge instantly brought surprise reactions.

"Whoa", the Nabaali officer remarked.
"Told ya it would blow your mind", Deena replied and hasted ahead to the center of the bridge.

Those who have been serving since the beginning discovered the differences. Before any reactions, the new Sub-Lieutenant Rolan Drayson raised himself and announced, "Commanders on Deck!"

Instantly reacting to the announcement, several new operatives but also familiar ones raised and aligned themselves to their appropriate stations. Both Hailynn and Orelis made slow steps towards the center as their eyes wandered upon bridge. Even though time was running out, the surprises startled them; far too many noteworthy discoveries.

Orelis' face formed its usual glare of ponder as he looked upon the observatory station that surely undergone serious upgrades like the rest of the bridge's stations - followed by both Kenta and Quan forming a faint smile.

"All right, how much did all the stuff cost?!"
"We can talk about that later", Hailynn proclaimed, "I say we - what the -".

The right eye of the Hiigaran officer widened as she took a second look towards the helm of the bridge.

"Knew you'd be surprised, boss", Deena mumbled as a response to Hailynn's delayed reaction.

Hailynn's attention was not only caught by the fact that main helm, her former station, was upgraded to the such extent that bewildered her; it was the station on the farthest right as opposite to the original left side - Another highly sophisticated helm station but with astonishing differences and systems.

Easily noticeable for the bubbly logistics officers, she knew that that Hiigaran's mind was screaming around like a party animal, likewise screaming around like a winner in a gameshow featured with prizes and their announced aspects from signal-linked interfaces to other navigator technobabble-gadgets - and yet the Hiigaran kept her cool. A female figure suddenly jumped up from the right station as Drayson notified somebody to catch her attention. Just as everybody from the group recognized the late-reacting figure, all eyes turned to towards the communication station, noticing that that somebody was no longer there.

"Another surprise… so like, sa-puurize!", Deena called to the others.

The person who straightened herself to a stance was the young Kelsea Amaj, carrying special shoulder-mounted comm-units with plug-in sockets and cables, headset and the navigator uniform on an Ensign Helmswoman that instantly reminded Hailynn of her early years.

"Y'know, Boss", Denna continued, "I remember people telling me about you having tons of troubles while mastering that control-station thingy of the ship. You had so much responsibility and stuff stuffed aaall on one thing. While yah didn't get insane of it, my sister had even more troubles - which I'm sure everybody recalls, ha-ha. Kelsea - 'xcuse me, Ensign Kelsea here, has undergone a month of training.
I can proudly say she gained 1% of initiative skills of the station. Doesn't sound much, but it is bizarrely more than any of you can imagine. I'm sure my sister has something around the 3% margin. Hailynn's is way above all of you!"
Fenna frowned, No wonder she had not left the ship.

"A-Anyways, since ol' boss Captain Soban and Orelis figured that we had another talent in our crew and the fact that I had a new budget limit to blow which was actually unlimited - I took the opportunity as Chief Logistics to upgrade each corner of this ship. Okay, okay, I kinda got carried away… but a great rush much for a month, don't'cha think?",
she explained further in her usual bubbly manner,
"Cut-to-the-Chase, Boss Hailynn would say - this station is actually a secondary helm-station that features… features… um, what that guy said, supportive synchronization systems and… whatever. One of the key things is that I've also had those other interfaces combinable with Kelsea's communication station, allowing her to overwatch those complicated communication operations and her silly team of operatives."

"Hey!", several operatives mocked.

"There is so much more but I sorta… forgot. Sorries!", Deena lastly shrugged.

"Commanders", Kelsea suddenly noted, "I apologize that I had not reacted appropriately on time, but I was distracted by an incoming communication request just this moment - A request coming from Lieutenant Commander Suron operating at a node segment of High Command Operations. Apparently, there is a hyperspace transmission."

"That'll be it for now, Chief", Hailynn said to her, "At ease, everybody. We cannot lose any more time for surprises and traditions. We need to get rolling. I want everybody to man their stations at once!"

Responding to her sudden demand, everybody, even Aira, made their ways to the stations.

"I will drop your things at your quarters, Commander", Velle notified, "O-Oh wait, which quarters is yours? Is it Captain Soban's or -?"

"Mine."

"All right then. You take care, Commander. I will be reporting in at Damage Control Segment."
"Roger. Take care."

Naleigha was guided by Deena to take a seat with her aside of the bridge's stations. Though actually needed to be elsewhere, Deena insisted to stay, knowing that the new upgrades of the entire ship would require some explanations once everybody would stumble upon them.

Hesitantly, Fenna bypassed the Hiigaran officer with a cold look before taking seat of the primary helm station. As the young Amaji met with the station, cold shivers ran down her spine, sparking the ends of the nerves with dread. A short look to her side revealed Kenta further away - It's been a while since she ever someone alike a co-pilot.

You'll see him soon enough, Hailynn remarked inwardly.

She turned away and immediately spotted Vayn sitting next to the command chair in his black leather trench coat, "Gonna enjoy the show, Com-man-der."

She scoffed silently before turning away again, "Now then, Kelsea, establish to my comm-unit and-"
"Ma'am… You don't have one."
"Hm?"

Looking at herself, Hailynn instantly noticed that she was actually still wearing casual wear, neither having any gear nor uniform, "P-Put Suron on the bridge speakers now!", she demanded, luckily hiding her blushing cheeks beneath her wild hair.

"R-Roger."

After several seconds, everybody listened to the bridge speakers revealing the voice of the man, ""Greetings, Commander Delixa. Suron from Node Segment 117 - Ma'am, we have received a ciphered subspace transmission from the Sejun-No featuring accurate jump coordinates. Transferring transmission to your ship as we speak. Delay of message is approximately three minutes. Quality has been mangled by hyperspace dislocation interferences. Stand by.""

One of the advantages of the Amaji High Command network based on Bentusi technologies was the use of subspace communication that allowed transmissions to be broadcasted and received based on so-called interphase wave.
While commonly lambasted and lagged by the destructive ethereal world of Hyperspace, it still allowed the Amaji Navy to uphold a decisive matter of order, control and intelligence over all units and assets of entire Amaji Constellation.

Following the end of his message, the transmission revealed another voice of a man, garbled by thankfully understandable by intensive and intelligent filtering. All attention focused on the man's announcement,
""This is Lance Captain DaCowl of Amaji Aegis Frigate Sejun-No. Vjel-Amaj, we have been contacted by the faction that is awaiting your specific signal for their dispatch to the desire rendezvous coordinates in Grid Sector 'Lagosa Complex'.""

Orelis shortly snipped his finger towards navigator operative Sunoga, Aira and the observatory siblings, silently ordering them to lock hyperjump coordinates on that desired location.

""According to their message, they are residing somewhere in deadspace within this sector and are ready for a short-range 'constellation jump' once the signal is given; their drives cycled for an instant jump that should only take several seconds. Sejun-No and Sebun-No are standing by and awaiting further instructions. We have not been engaged by any of the pirate groups residing in this area, Vjel-Amaj.
However, we have been discovered and were observed for hours by several unknown long range scout units at the rim of our sensor bearings. We no longer detect them but we assure you that we are still… being watched. Lance Captain Amalia Tegron of Sebun-No has noteworthy concerns about waiting here - 'the longer we reside at these coordinates, the creepier it gets here', she says - and I share her comment. The level of piracy and danger in this sector exceeds our initiative level and I strongly recommend to handle as soon as possible. Commander of Vjel-Amaj, I suggest we negotiate at once, carry on with the civilian extraction and retreat before anything goes wrong. End of transmission, Sejun-No, out.""

During his speech, the ship became more alive as more power was induced into its grid, ending its idle state.

"Suron, do you read me?", Hailynn said after receiving a handheld communicator.
""Loud and clearly, Commander.""

"Please transmit the following message to them: Commander Hailynn Delixa of the Vjel-Amaj here. The Vjel-Amaj is dispatching immediately and will arrive shortly at your coordinates. Make sure you maintain a safe distance away from the possible jump inaccuracy sphere and keep your eyes out for any disturbances. You are free of will to retreat if any unexpected appearances occur as we are able to handle the situation. I repeat, do not engage anything for the sake of your ship and crew. Until then, we will meet you shortly. Vjel-Amaj, over and out."

""Consider it done, ma'am. Transmission lag likewise around three minutes.""
"Good."

""Commander, one last thing. All though I am sure you are aware of this, but it is likely that you will be getting contacted by High Command superiors for undertaking this time-consuming extraction operation personally instead of leaving it for other detachments of the Amaji Navy.
According to the task you accepted of partaking on the Kharakian Anniversary Celebration at Hiigara, your only chance to arrive just a bit late is to take direct course to the Core Systems on the designated Hyperspace-Lane Route 0-247-31 before it will be affected and collapsed by dislocation fields soon - Rough guesses say you have just a bit more than an hour to perform the long range jump upon that lane. The longer you wait, the higher the resistance. Once it exceeds a certain level, not any ship in our fleet or constellation will be able to breach into Hyperspace for a long period of time. I strongly suggest to divert the extraction to another detachment, ma'am.""

The familiar life of the bridge once again hummed, followed by the mild clatter of both new and old operative crewmen interacting with the ship's interior affairs. Throughout this time, Aira sensed faint happenings beneath her skin along with her mind slowly being infused with all that existed around her and the ship. Her soul was coming to life again - A rebirth.

"I respect your concern but I must refuse, LTC. The faction will only negotiate with me - and only me - I've of no choice. This is for the sake of those innocent people. Thank you for all your support and for the warning about High Command and the deadline - We should make it from here on our own. The faction is reliable on their words, Suron. Nonetheless, we are moving out. Here and Now."

""Understood, Commander. We will not interfere with your intentions. My node operatives will support any incoming contacts from superior appropriately. Godspeed - Pride be with you and the crew of Vjel-Amaj. Suron, Over and Out.""
Orelis smiled lightly, knowing they were going to disturb the officials' attempts.

"That does it, everybody", Hailynn lastly announced and took a deep breath, "To all decks: Seal all entry points, detach all footbridges, anchoring hookpoints and prepare our departure with immediate case. Skip the time-consuming checkups as I have already overviewed our assets. To Engineering: Cycle the Hyperjump Module for a Constellation Jump. One we leave the Gravity Well, we will jump immediately!"

"We still have corvette drones anchored on our hull, ma'am", one operative notified.
"*Sigh* No time to figure who they belong to. Have their initiative command links overridden and transferred our drone command interface. Let's use them to get us out of here, pronto!"

= Orbit of Amaji Prime =

It did not take long until the nimble Amaji Cruiser cleared the Assembly Port of Providence Anchorage and cruised safely past the heavily congested orbit. It was clear though that the news of the Vjel-Amaj dispatching was going to spread within a matter of seconds as the surveillance operatives once again caught the civilian network waves reporting about its departure.

No longer leaving a trail of smoke, the Amaji cruiser that carried the smaller stolen drone corvettes on its sides flew forth, blinking pairs of blue signal lights periodically.

Inside, the crew through the ship had mixed feelings as they left the planet, their city lives and loved ones behind - but among all, this was only going to be a long trip Hiigara and back. Aside to the short detour to the 'Lagosa Complex' sector, everybody assumed nothing would go wrong; at least not terribly wrong, that was surely impossible.

"Distance of Constellation Jump to Destination 'Lagosa Complex': approximately zero-point-five Parsecs away from Amaji Prime. Jump coordinates locked in and is being focused as our drives are being cycled", Operative Sunoga explained as she observed her displays revealing the cone of jump inaccuracy narrowing to a line aiming for the destination.

"Constellation Jump should have no interferences during the process", Kenta added while her huge sophisticated observatory station revealed millions of detected stellar matters in the constellation, "I see no troubles, so our jump should take less than five minutes."

Her brother turned over, "Confirmed. Looks like the exterior front of dislocation field is only affecting interphase signals."
"Drives have almost completed their cycle, Commanders", another Technical Engineer Zann announced, "Less than two minutes."

"I love Constellation Jumps", Orelis commented, "Less bouncy and much shorter than the ones we usually have to put up with. I wish we could do more patrol jobs than deep space operations… but oh well. Buckle up everybody. You never know how the ride will be", lastly helping Naleigha and other operatives hooking their seat harnesses.

"Aira?"

The sensory station was still on standby whilst not having its common blue holographic sphere around her, "What needs revealing?"
"I apologize for not enough spending time with you on Providence", Hailynn explained openly with a note of worry, "I wish I had awoken earlier. There was so much I promised to you to do…"

"I never bear grudge upon you. Your sake of awakening was my greatest desire of all, my Naji", her soft accented voice explained, "I have discovered a world and souls of many I wish to understand. I am assured the blessings of her sorrows wills our safe return to your Homeworld. My bear the assurance that you will guide us safely back to Amaji Homeworld soon."

Hailynn quietly formed a nervous fist; not a fist a anger, but a fist a worrisome being that was urging to hide a lie, "S-Soon. Oh… now that you've mentioned it about her sorrows, I have something for you."

"Hyperdrive cycle completed. Vjel-Amaj is ready for hyperjump", Zann shortly notified.
Kelsea shortly chuckled, "Oh dear, if I am getting things right, Commander Yor is having a confusing fuzz talk with LTC Suron. We better get out of here."

"Got it", Hailynn said and pulled out a specific necklace away from the two named ones, "Here, Aira, careful - Catch!"

Gently tossing it, the necklace landed upon the girls lap. It was her necklace, the Eye of Kadesha, the symbolic figure that was forged countless centuries ago… but there was something different on it.

Scanning the frame of the symbolic eye, it was now engraved into another object. Her velvet eyes widened and brightened to a bright pink as she became astonished at the very moment she recognized the frame that filled the holes of the necklace.

"'Kadesha's Eye cries the Tears'", Hailynn spoke as she looked upwards at Aira, "I've had the rock, the true evidence of all, to be engraved and combined with the necklace that means so much to you.
Please take this as a present to you on behalf of my thankfulness. I thank you for providing my… lost soul… blessing it with the Kadeshi guidance of her sorrows. You have trusted her embrace to me during my times of despair - willing to sacrifice the only possession of your past. I still owe you one, Aira, I cannot let my promises fail."

It meant much more to the Kadeshi girl than just a handy way of combining a simple rock with a necklace… Her small fingers curled upon it. Silently, Aira only wished to prove her Naji that she was worth the pride…

*****

That time and again. Wild fabrics of hyperspace blazed upon her soul. Albeit her frights, there was an ironic twist in her psyche that felt slight satisfaction. Unknowingly, her soul sought all this time for heeding the distant songs of the stars that dwelled throughout this ravaging tempest and the galaxy, but also for the feeling of its violent streams slipping upon her skin. There were reasons, but she did not know why.

As the elegant vessel traversed upon the temporary wavefront that was actually calm, blaring howls instantly disturbed the usual sounds of gushing winds. Beyond the sight of her feeble eyes, her emotional senses detected unknown fields of vast coverage. The thundering noises slowly covered the beautiful songs of the galaxy's stars…

Her senses sharpened as she wondered what was causing the disturbances, surprisingly reaching out far ahead like never before; blinded, yet seeking surfaces with sensible hands. Suddenly, the blaring howls sounded accords of deepest bass that suddenly stung her far-reaching perceptive senses, causing them to weaken and retract from their extent.

Awakening within the darkened bridge upon the sensory station, Aira's eyes struck open as she felt the pain emitting upon the skin of her hands and the interior of her ears - Obviously punished for her curiousness.
The cannonade proved to be the existences of various dislocation fields approaching the hyperspace region of the Amaji Constellation; the disruptive masses were not far away. Catching her attention once more, the soul of Kadesh now sensed many objects ahead.

They were slowly reaching their destination…Soon, the flash would occur, followed by the wavefront slipping away and bringing the ship back into normal space.

- A Means to an End -

Chimes repeatedly sounded from several stations.
"Here she comes, Captain. Amaji Cruiser Hyperjump Signature detected - It's the Vjel-Amaj", the male first officer notified.
"At last, they are here. Late, but I'm not complaining."

Ending the last phase of the Constellation Jump, all eyes of the Sejun-No witnessed the emergence of the valiant Pride of the Kiith Amaj. Several men and women of the bridge thanked the gods as they saw the elegant vessel appearing; a certain few even noticing burned scars from a long preceding battle.
Turning his view away from the screen, Captain Miur DaCowl straightened his back and arranged his shoulders, "Comms, establish a three-way communication line between us, Sejun-no and Vjel-Amaj, asap. The earlier we get over with this, the better."
"On the way, sir."

****

= Bridge of the Vjel-Amaj =

Groups of relief sounded throughout the bridge of the Vjel-Amaj as all power and lighting returned - but among all, one person still had both hands clenched to the straps of the belts.
"Whoa, ma'am, you okay?", somebody asked from her side.
Naleigha's skin seemed all but of healthy tan. Breathing uneasily, the Nabaali woman kept her mouth closed and shook her head.

"I better call a local medic over. Looks like you've got a sickness, eh? Guess you don't jump that much, do you, ma'am?", the operative assumed and handled his comm-unit.
She nodded him, "-hate these flights -"
"Ahooooouuu - Love these flights!", Deena's bubbly voice sounded from the other side.

The operative sighed and shook his head.

The new Sub-Lieutenant stared upon the long range detectors on a secondary screen, "So. This is the 'Lagosa Complex'…"
In the eyes of many, the so-called Complex was nothing more than a sector full of minor celestial objects, debris and other useless things drifting lifelessly through space.

While the majority of this sector consisted of strangely rock formations, vague fields of radiation, depressing debris, scrapheap and deformed masses, it nonetheless offered myriads of locative possibilities - an endless opportunity of bases and hideouts for any outlaw that willed to hunt those mindless foreign corporations who dared to venture here for minerals and other rare or valuable treasures of stellar composition.

Unfortunately, the Amaji Constellation offered thousands of such dangerous locations, likewise giving endless feeding grounds for any pirate clan…

"All right, Ladies and Gentlemen", Orelis suddenly said, "Surveillance, Obs, Sensory - Immediately scan our surroundings and -."

Shortly interrupting, Ensign Kelsea notified, "We're being hailed by our two Lance Units."
"Always on the rush, eh? Establish the line, but tell them maintain 'clear comms'. We need to survey our surroundings first."

"I'm on it, sir."

Within a matter of seconds, the bridge came back to full activity as the screens revealed the surrounding space and internal communications.

"I am only detecting our allied frigates on the physical optical scanners", Quan reported, "Nothing but 'Lagosa' out there. I would still suggest Aira to have a look with her capabilities."

There was a pause after his comment. Orelis actually expected Kenta to add her report to the comment but she was still viewing something through her new sophisticated goggles. It was already a surprise that she already got used to the plethora of new gadgets.
After removing them, she moved her head upon a pair of telescopic units that seemed like binoculars fixed upon her station and blinked several times. There were so many possibilities available by her new equipment, and yet she still could not make up of what she seemed to have discovered.

"Kenta? Anything you wish to share?", Orelis asked, wondering why she was hesitant.
"Not sure yet… sir."

"Just keep us in touch when you're sure. Well, Commander, awaiting your move?"

Vayn patted her shoulder, somewhat waking her up from a daydream. Apologizing for not reacting at first, the Hiigaran woman in casual wear detached herself and approached the center of the bridge. Her eye focused on one of the two frigates that were visible upon one of the secondary screens.
It was no wonder why she was distracted.

Hailynn formed a faint smile as she slowly approached the screen overhead. The frigates recalled memories of her former ship, the Talon-Vo. However, there were major differences as her thoughts compared the old frigate with these two - once again wandering off in memories.

These Amaji frigates were descendants of the Kushan "Vengeance" class; the Talon-Vo belonging to the last version in the line of service. Formerly, such frigate was actually only used a vessel to train cadets to appropriate initiative levels for them to later serve onboard other true warfare vessels - but specific admirals and several superiors including Captain Quenton Soban discovered more uses in such other than just a ship with training wheels.

Alike the Talon-Vo, all other "Vengeance" class frigates achieved the capability of combining series of weapon systems upon its fuselage; Rather than trying to compete with other anti-ship units, the "Vengeance" class found its use again in becoming one of the most hard-to-hit independent capable of using a small variety of flechette weaponry to suppress enemy fire; should it be missiles or masses of strikecrafts.

It was hard to deny the fact that Hailynn was a gun nut and albeit all the terrors she went through with the Talon-Vo, she lived the days at the helm of the nimble frigate to the fullest.
These late relatives, the various versions of the Aegis Assault Frigates and their various subclasses, were the backbones of the Amaji Navy.

Amaji creativity was well-written upon these units that resembled the looks of the old Hiigaran assault frigates. Not only were these flexible in maneuverability, such frigates were also capable of mounting combinations of weapon systems appropriately to any situation, hence the name of its subclass 'Dragoon'.

The hull of the Dragoon-Class was also lengthened on its broadside by a minor factor by the bow's extension to carry the weapon mounts and the addition of the fixed Constellation Drive Engineering unit added to the stern.

The Amaji Navy was well aware that the Constellation was full of dangerous factions and that they needed to adapt to their foes and situations using creative doctrines that were far beyond - if not, unorthodox - than those of the former Hiigaran procedure.
The pirates never really dared to go against the Hiigaran Empire due to its status of an all-out war; But other than that, the Hiigaran Fleet was actually inappropriate against the agile pirates that dwelled the Constellation.

Not only this, the later Amaji Navy its independent Kiith also needed to understand that the mass of Amaji crewmen with green initiative status definitely could not handle the largest vessels left behind by the Empire. Battlecruisers and other heavy warfare vessel were simply out of the question, also due to the fact that these vessels possessed slow tracking anti-ship warfare.

Following the renowned concept of mounts, the Amaji engineered new ways of mounting independent weapon systems for their advanced frigate constructions. Simple and yet remarkable, each frigate was now capable of mounting any weapon system from flak to medium class anti-ship weaponry followed by the appropriate storages of special ammunitions.

Of course, all military ships of the galaxy could mount weapon, but none could adapt or dispatch rapid to any situation as these nimble units. Such carriage arrays could be exchanged in a matter of minutes.

There were times where Hailynn would call these frigates, "D'Assault" Frigate, simply by the fact of the Dragoon naming and their superior fleet-defensive capabilities that were alike those of the Talon-Vo. All names of the Amaji Frigate subclasses were based on defensive terms. Alas, these frigates have proven the pirates throughout the Constellation that they were a serious force to be reckoned with - at least most of the time. Whenever the pirates would strike, it would not take long until the rapid response units would appear. Another point was that these frigates never flew alone, following the new doctrine of overpowering the opposing force with a mass of versatile and flexible units.

The Amaji Navy provided something that no military navy ever dared to follow - Doctrines and warfare strategies based on massive numbers of various frigate subclasses rather than hulking monsters like battlecruisers and other warships. Alas, the Sejun-No and Sebun-No and their crews have served Navy but predominantly the Vjel-Amaj during the first month with extraordinary effectiveness, reliance and loyalty.

***

*Bump*
"Hey."
Hailynn awoke from her monologizing daydream, " Vayn, what?"

"That's my line. You spaced-out just now, Wolf. Looked like you were staring on a ghost - Standin' there and not noticing your people talking for you. Didn't see me next to you? Something with those ships?"

"Negative - I mean, no. Just thought about things. Besides, I can't see a thing on my left side, pal", she pointed to her black eye-patch.

"My bad."
"It's okay… Bonehead", her friendly smile after the reply vanished the moment she lowered her view with a concerned face. Clearly, Vayn knew that something was disturbing her, but he did not know how deeply in misery she was.

Deena's laughter was heard, and then her chatter jabbering a group of operatives full of nonsense.

"Commander", Orelis reminded, "Captain DaCowl and Tegron are still calling us. We shouldn't keep them waiting."
"Right. Just a moment."

"Besides - Where are these people - This faction we're supposed to meet out here? I don't see them on any of scanners. This place is empty.", the young Sub-Lieutenant asked.

"Oh, those suckers are out there… somewhere Open the secure channel to our frigates, please."

Hearing the communication operatives at Kelsea's former station handling her demand, they soon confirmed that the line was fully established.

"Commander Hailynn Delixa and Lieutenant Commander Orelis Nabaal here. Apologies for the late response, my lance. Your status?", Hailynn called out into her handheld unit.

""Good to see you, Vjel-Amaj. Thought something went wrong on your side. It has been a long while since our last mission"", DaCowl's voice sounded from the speakers, much clearly than the former transmission, ""As you have noticed, we are still alone here. Sejun-No is a-okay and on a lookout. How about you, Sebun-No?""

""Pride, Vjel-Amaj. Likewise. Sebun-No is at full efficiency and ready for anything"", the female voice of Captain Tegron added, ""I have the feeling they're still out there.""

"Being out here for so long, no wonder Tegron is nervous with their weapons hot", Orelis commented from the side as he spotted their statuses revealed on the tactical station and smirked, noticing Tegron's seemingly exaggerated military voicing.

"Yes, Sebun-No, they're out there. They aren't doing anything because we haven't dispatched the specific go-signal. And they're closer than we are expecting."

As the others held their conversations with the allied frigates, one of the newer operatives leaned over the others and Drayson, "Guys, is it normal on this ship that our Chief-in-Command wears casual wear?"

"I have no idea", Drayson mentioned quietly, "I don't get why they are standing there at the middle of the bridge. They've been doing that since we boarded this ship. Now, *psst* quiet down, people - trying to get a hang of this!"

Kenta gained attention after waving her hand, "Ma'am, sorry to interrupt but I've discovered several anomalies surrounding us. While the majority is beyond the optimal scanning range of the frigates, my station detects several faint but unusual disturbances out there - along with a gigantic one not far away from our position."

The Hiigaran woman suddenly scoffed slightly, "No wonder Tegron is going nuts", knowing how sensitive that Lance Captain was, but at least her instincts shared the same assumption of Hailynn, "I'm not amazed about it."

"Hey, woman - are you going to finally get on with this and tell us what the frakk we're doing here? I know you're up to a lot more than just sitting here", Fenna's voice suddenly cursed from the helm.

"Standby, Jun-no and Bun-no! Mute the damn channel! Damn it, Fenna", Orelis suddenly barked back at her, "Don't come with that acting up like you did last time! Respect - or else -!"
"Orelis, wait", Hailynn immediately intervened, "She's not obliged to show any respects regarding our ranks or the Amaji Navy."

"Excuse me, ma'am?!"

The woozy advocate suddenly approached them, "T-True. Ms. Fenna Mae is not required to respect the Ama… Amaji -"
Orelis caught the swaying Nabaali, "Whoa, careful there, Bana- I mean, Naleigha!"

"Bit sick, hyperjumps…"

"So… Fenna", Hailynn commented, "I guess you read the contract… carefully."

The Amaji helmswoman only gazed a cold but vicious look before returning her view straight ahead.
At least I am wearing an uniform, you...

"Naleigha, hand my operatives the specific code that shall be dispatched immediately - and I wish to have this comm-unit of mine to be linked to a ship-wide announcement along with Sejun-No and Sebun-No listening. But other than that, people, as Fenna noticed, I only told you half of the story - and it is time I tell the other half."

"Hate to say it, Hailynn, but I knew there was more to it", Orelis confessed.

"Sorry for not sharing the whole story."

"No harsh feelings on that. We know you're doing it for the better."

She nodded, barely succeeding in hiding the other intentions that nearly surfaced.

At the same time a medic appeared astern of the bridge, Naleigha staggered to the communication operatives, pulled out a special page from her confidential dossier linked to her suitcase and made her way to the man.

"Order fulfilled, encoded signal dispatched, line to all ships established, ma'am", the operative lastly called out.

""Thank you To all units of the Lance and my crew, this is Commander Delixa speaking"", she announced, ""As you are aware of, we have arrived in the 'Lagosa Complex' sector to extract the civilians taken by the divergent Somtaaw. I will spare you the details but I must explain the following.
This operation required me to contact with a specific faction, confidentially - before continuing with our venture to Hiigara.""
Throughout the three Amaji ships, all operatives elsewhere on each deck quietly listened to her voice emitting from the adjacent speakers:

""Due to the matters with the Somtaaw, I was forced to contact the same faction that has… supported my former crew during Hiigaran Vaygr war times on a basis of mutual agreements and exchanges… Be aware that I take full responsibility for what I am about to say: I am affiliated with and contacted the leader of the Tau Corsari Fealty, the renowned - and one of the mostly wanted - Sjaurdsson Illykar Kroll…""

Waves of astonishment went throughout the ships and the bridge besides Hailynn, Aira, Vayn and the cool-minded Fenna, who expected something so bizarre and stupid.

""I repeat, I take full responsibility for my intentions. You all will not be affected by any kiithid violation charges for my negotiations with declared terrorists. You are all protected under my kiithidial voice,approved by my Kiith Advocate and the filed proposals handled by my Advocate's respective Advocacy Firm.
Apart from that, this venture is to be held confidential. But yes, as all of you may be asking just now - I have… connections… to a known and declared terrorist turanic cartel. I have no doubts that any of you wonder why I don't hand this man to Amaji justice for various wrongdoings.""

Practically everybody had their reasons to be unease, knowing that they were already in the deep of it.

""Trust was a matter that I was forced to exploit. I know that all of you have deep grudge for all turanic factions of the Amaji Constellation - but I must tell you that I was forced to… count… on these people more than once.
Far too many things have gone seriously wrong during the war, and there were many sacrifices and hard choices made just for the sake of survival. I never trusted these Turanics, but I was in great doubt these last days. For this undertaking, I had no choice. I was forced to contact them as they were the only force who could stop the Somtaaw within 'Lagosa' from escaping and getting away with their guilt. It was out of the question that Amaji High Command would handle this matter as time was scarce.
As of now, I am declaring Security Level 'Three' to all ships as we will surely be required to transfer the people to our ship. We have dispatched the contact signal as I speak. They will appear shortly. All negotiations will be lead by me - and only me. All protests are to be sent to me, as well, if any - Commander Delixa, over and out.""

Hailynn sighed.

"Hailynn - Whoa, just when I thought you were going to do something crazy, I didn't expect you to go that far! I thought this faction you were talking about was some kiithid operating secretly - you know, those - whatever!", Orelis instantly commented, "Crap, and even Naleigha knew of it, right?!"

The Nabaali advocate nodded silently right after receiving medication for her nausea.

"So, this Kroll-guy you called for help is a badguy? Pirate?", Vayn asked, "Didn't expect some pirate to be the savior of my people - but I'd take it anything."

"Shit… Kroll. That ruthless terrorist - drug smuggler… everything! He is one of those many wanted criminals terrorizing everywhere", Orelis explained along with another curse while waving his hand around, "And he's not only wanted here within this constellation. His gang of crooks frequently raid foolish industrial and trade convoys that try to harvest dangerous sites and sectors like these. I can't believe you've contacted such a thug, Hailynn. He is just like any other turanic terrorist pillaging the freaking constellation!"

"No", Hailynn corrected Orelis and explained, "Not quite. Look. I never trusted Turanics - but this faction is different. During the war, my group was forced to enter a Blood Truce agreement for the sake of our survival. It was a jagged agreement, but during that a specific year of terrors, we simply had no choice. Please, Orelis, don't ask me here now for what deeds and trades we were forced to do now. Though -",
The woman in casual wear paused shortly, ignoring the acute pain emitting from her left shoulder,
"Though he is a renowned and wanted terrorist today, I am assured he is not as fanatic as the real Turanic Raiders, Marauders, Blades, Blood Fangs and other cartels out there - They are Corsari - or as we classify them nowadays: Corsairs. Unlike the others, his cartel only take what they needed but without the mindless killing… well, usually. They do abduct people, just like any other Turanic, but with a more… kushane matter - more often for blood plasma and genes to develop vaccines or whatsoever rather than breeding… Never mind - But as long as I can give what they want - as stated in the confirmation they sent me - They will concur. And I've already transferred them one heck of a ransom. "

Even the angered Fenna felt a purely cold shiver running down her back as she silently listened to Hailynn's speech.

"Marauders… Blades, whatever - Turanics are snakes - All right, exclude those permanent-guests we still have onboard at the brig, but I know this is crazy, Hailynn", Orelis shook his head again.

"And what else they want, Wolf?"

"Kroll's main demand has always been fuels and he noted that 'commodity' with a codeword in the ciphered reply. Actually, he's always been asking for various sorts of special fuels. From what I know, his main vessel uses a specific sort of jump technology. He said he would tell me the full request once we meet up with him."

Just as he was about give another remark, Aira soft voice caught their attentions, "Naji… Friends of Amaj, we are not alone. I sense them… They are here. Around us… before us…"

The eyes of Kadeshi girl who sat further behind and higher above them wandered. Following her view, her eyes met the insignificant areas and corners of the bridge - Her sightings and act meant something serious.

Unknown for the others, Aira's audible psyche heard numerous mumbling all this time through… lacking in quality... randomly but frequent. Practically all voices transmitted through various frequencies echoed in her mind; many of them resonating from the Amaji - but then there was this mumbling… layered, ciphered and transmitted units below the lowest detectable wave.

Furthermore, there were other disturbing noises covering the area from various arcs. Space was full of nonsense - but this mumbling revealed sentience.

"…Uhm", Orelis replied to Hailynn, "Am I the only one who notices her not using an active sensory station? How is she seeing these things?", merely forgetting that she had done this a few times in the past.

"Who… What is that girl, Orelis?", Naleigha whispered once next to his side again.

"She's one special being, Banana. You've never seen such before."

She hushed and stared upon the mysterious girl as the others spoke further.

"Commanders", Kenta confirmed, "Aira is right. There's a lot happening out there - We just can't see it on our basic scanners. I never thought this was possible - but I can confirm that we are surrounded by several numbers of barely detectable anomalies that consist mainly of fields negating standard scan beams, dispersing light and lastly generating inverted holographic projections.
I wasn't sure at the beginning but after using the more sophisticated arrays and other alternative procedures, I was able to pinpoint the wavelengths. That is some serious technology out there - I lack the knowledge of the name but those people are doing everything to remain invisible. Aira's station… well, her perception actually detected them long before I figured things out."

"We military people call that stealth - Or cloaking. Now that's something I didn't expect. Why didn't Aira just tell us earlier?"

Kenta only looked back at Orelis and gave a faint shrug; her face quietly beseeching him to show some point of consideration for her shyness.

"Aira can't express herself well, Orelis", Hailynn added, "She surely doesn't know about such technology. I remember that vessel of Kroll using early states of cloaking - I just never thought he'd ever achieve advancements. Looks like he has a fleet that can do such likewise."

"I-I'll just transfer what we have figured out to all screens and the required settings to our allies from here on", the female astrogation operative explained, followed by accords of sounds emitting from each button.

"Affirmative. Again, this is just amazing. If I am seeing things right, they're not just using stealth. They're using a variety of effective electronic warfare to negate their emissions and whatever else would compromise them."

Aira wished to apologize but could not overwhelm her shyness… but what was the feeling disturbing her for not doing so?

Within a short moment, the bridge's main screens revealed isolated dots glowing in green.. Several of them alternated in size, length and intensity, but from all, the monstrous green blob of all was detected on the portside of the Vjel-Amaj. The brightness and intensity was immense.
If the Vjel-Amaj had not had such powerful and versatile sensory capabilities, they probably would have never discovered cloaked behemoth.

Before Orelis could react with another curse, he noticed Hailynn chuckling silently, "That Kroll. I knew you were out there besides us all this time through I can imagine Tegron going berserk with her gunnery station just now."

"CODE:RED! CODE:RED!... Gunner - Target nearest batch and charge all arrays -!"

"I'm not far from calling 'Hull Polarization now', either, just for the records", the Nabaali officer remarked with a firm voice.

"Stand by. To all units, stand down. I repeat, stand down. Hold your fire - Do not fire upon the hidden contacts. I will handle this", Hailynn instantly notified to the other two frigates, "Kelsea, set my unit to open frequencies."

After receiving confirmation on which channel to use from Kelsea, Hailynn walked to the center of the bridge again, but instead of using the expectable diplomacy, her patience suddenly snapped, ""Damn it, Kroll! We sent the signal! And we know you and your fools are out there just some three klicks away from our portside! Stop fooling around and reveal yourselves - or do I have to fire some 'blindshots'?!""

The entire bridge went silent after hearing Hailynn's barking.
Aira's view moved back and forth as her eyes changed from velvet to grey, spotting the hundreds to thousands of invisible vessels that soon became visible. The most noticeable of the bunch was a hulking vessel that was far beyond the size of a battleship. Fear unleashed at the same time she sensed further happenings.

"N-Naji! More of them… They are approaching!"
"We've noticed that, Aira, thank you - now stay calm and -", the grimly officer replied back to her but was interrupted.
"No - I sense more approaching our presence", the girl nervously explained as her eyes pinpointed various locations precisely sensed by her fears, "H-Hyperspace… They will emerge. Soon... Si-Signa-tures", she stammered, hoping she pronounced the word correctly.

Her grey eyes pinpointed a plethora of anomalies appearing around them as she repeated her findings.

"Must be emergence points, Commander Orelis!", Quan notified loudly, "Picking up radiation spikes - They're coming! Lots!"
"So, they were on the way the minute our position was confirmed", Orelis mumbled, "More guests for the party."

"Detecting numerous batches decloaking upon all arcs", a surveillance operative announced, "Confirmed: Turanic signatures. Mostly light carrier frigates holding corvettes and smaller strikecrafts.
Cruiser hulls… and… other awkward platforms that contain strikecrafts and corvettes - Detecting siege frigates on the move as well. Emerging contacts appearing upon several arcs! Primary turanic vessel is u-unclassified - Our database does not possess any data of this… behemoth!"

"That's just awesome", the Nabaali man ironically snarled.

*****

"'… Brigands', 'Thief' - 'Garmons' - 'Bandits' - Captain, practically all known types are all around us! Gravity well generators amidst the arcs - They were cloaked along with them!"

"Ion Array Frigates - 'Assassin' and 'Dagger', appearing on the 30 klicks marks. Their cannons' cores are spooled with particles but none of their injectors are charged for immediate fire! I'm sure we'll be seeing 'Rapiers' showing up too, Captain!", somebody else confirmed.

"Oh no… 'Garmon' heavy corvettes…", Captain Amalia Tegron spoke with a dreaded tone in her voice - one of the toughest foes of an Amaji Frigate; such corvette not only had firepower, it also was a resistant craft capable to withstand massive punishment.

Further hostile vessels emerged from hyperspace; each blazing flash of their wavefronts tipping the urge of giving the order to fire at will. With the seconds passing by, Amalia startled as the threat indicators and her operatives signaled hostile target locks on their ship; pirate corvettes slowly encircling over the arcs of the active scanner… and sitting on this spot like a sitting duck only made her more nervous.

This wasn't going to be easy

*****

"We're surrounded", Surveillance Operative Koji notified, "It's a trap!"

"Don't fret", Hailynn wove her hand once more to everybody, silently repeating not to perform anything prematurely. Surprisingly, she kept her cool.

It was hard to classify the monstrous vessel of all. While this monster was much larger than a carrier, it was hard to believe that it was just a simple mothership, starting with the fact this behemoth possessed threatening turrets, clearly excluding it from the usual defensively armed, fleet-combined jumping class.

Aside the noticeable turret arrays, the schemes and its overall structure was ugly, junky, asymmetric and tainted with mixed colors of rusted crimson and silvery chrome according to the augmented sensors revealed on main screen.

Judging its rabid looks, the outwardly limbs and exterior body of this hulking monster were surely affected and hit by almost anything throughout the years in space - From hailing gunfire, explosions and thermal scars to debris and other rocky impacts, all left their signatures.
Likewise, provisional platforms based upon wrecked carcasses featuring activity served as launch pads and drop-off points for crafts, irregularly found throughout the baffling structure.

The Hiigaran woman crossed her arms and sighed before explaining, "It's the Bryggen'Turasr, 'Blood Claw' of Turan, I don't know the exact translation - Kroll's main battleship-vessel platform, wharf… or whatever that monstrosity of a ship that it's supposed to be - Or was. No idea who made that name up.
I had that ship differently in mind, it was smaller; now, it's at several times larger and bulkier. A monster. Stupid name for a stupid ship that unfortunately gave him serious powers, featuring fleet-combined jumping, and now stealth warfare. Don't ask me how they built that pile of crap, I only know that they raided it from an independent faction during the war and it looks like they just duct-taped and welded whatever else they find together with any blown carcass they found in space",
Hailynn explained,
"and to be honest, it looks like as if they added thousands of other things on it since the last time I saw it."

"That's one heck of a monstrosity", somebody else commented, "They took that phrase 'Means to an end', seriously…"

"No shit", the Nabaali officer cursed, "They welded everything they could get. Never saw such battle-salvaging!"

"Vessel… B-Burie-gahn'Turasir is contacting us - It's him. Kroll", Kelsea announced as a certain screen of her station blinked a recognizable line between both, "We should be able to align a viable frequency, ma'am."

"Consider it done", Kelsea's subordinating operatives confirmed.

"Great, guys!"

"Fine. Open the channel. Everybody else, silence, please", the Hiigaran woman demanded as she approached the center of the bridge.
"Locking frequencies… Filters set… done - Vjel-Amaj to the Belmon'Traza. Y-You are free to speak, Mr. Kroll."

Aira once again heard the power of bridge pulsing slowly through the grid; the people amidst bridge hushed. Even the random resonances of consoles silenced.

""Well, well, well. You've survived…"", the raw and treacherous voice emitted from the bridge's speakers along with various interferences and clatter in its background; his first words more of an impertinence and ascertainment, ""I recognize that voice… Ensign Hailynn Delixa, it has been quite a long time. Two years? Maybe three… or longer? I'd never thought that I'd ever hear anything from you again since the end of your war. And you now serve onboard that legendary 'Vjel-Amaj' vessel of the Kiith Amaj? Honestly - I'd never thought to hear that distinctive voice sounding the 'Favor the Narris' code again. So, is Captain Soban letting his fosterling do the talking, traditionally?""

"Pff, Turanic and honesty…", the scoffing man next to Hailynn mumbled.

"It's Commander and Krin'Sa Delixa to you, Kroll. And no, this is my ship. Captain Soban is no longer in command."

""Comm… Commander?!"", Kroll's garbled voice now was the one who scoffed several times, ""So those Amaji weaklings were desperate in finding viable people after the Empire's retreat from this constellation that they just promoted you across the ranks. I've never heard of any Hiigaran, let alone a military officer, rise in ranks in such short time…Well, for non-turanics… But you are not Captain? I bet you are still flying the helm and -""

"Cut to the chase, man! I don't have time for talk or any 'good ol' times' - I don't care about memories. I want the Gaalsi people. I will arrange whatever fuel materials you want transported to you as soon as I get what I desire - as stated in the agreement. It will require some time, but you know the drill."

""Direct as usual. Your diplomacy never lacked wasting a drop of time. So be it then"", his garbled voice replied and paused for a while,"" My scumbags took care of the job and overpowered those Somtaaw as you requested. They were up for a tough fight - and did manage to land hits, but they did not hold for long. They thought they could handle us - which made things interestingfor us"",
Kroll's rough voice sounded with a note of pride,
""So, to make it clear: We have those who were in their captivity. They are no longer forced of servitude to the Somtaaw. AND we do have the Somtaaw in captivity… minor casualties - No deaths… just a few bruises from our interrogations. Additionally, Delixa, their vessels are under our possession. I do hope our mutual Blood Truce Agreement we formed since the past is still authentic.
I doubt you will ever backstab us but I know you are an unpredictable woman - which is why I brought extra company from my Fealty and trusted clans to this... meeting. Then again, it is unlikely you'd be sending tons of Amaji cannon fodder to this place - You're already running against the laws, woman, and you are very deep within our territory. Nevertheless, Hiigaran, if you want those people, you are to dock upon our ship. We have the appropriate module for it. My Lead Coordinator will send you the appropriate location for docking.""

"Expectable. Fine. See you at the dock. But note that we're coming in armed. Don't plan anything stupid, Kroll."

Laughter sounded amidst the background of the speakers, ""That's the Delixa I know. Of course you will be armed. And hurry up, there is a disturbance in hyperspace and I want to get out of here before it hits this place.""

"Ow, ow ow - Boss, Boss", Deena wove, raising her hand wildly like a nervous child in a classroom, "I wanna talk to that Coordinator guy - I can handle some quick exchanges while we get the people onboard."

"Exchanges? Like what?", the Nabaali wondered.
Following Deena's long hesitation, she shrugged, "Y'know, Champ - Stuff! Rare stuff - big stuff!", then formed the recognizable smile.

"Do whatever. Just make sure you don't disrupt the Coordinator's docking guidance, so ask for somebody else on that monster - and Deena, you're going to have to be involved in this anyhow. Our decks are loaded with your stuff and our crew quarters are still stuffed with the Vaygr and Hiigaran; plus, we've got the Gaalsi coming soon. So come with us",
Hailynn replied without actually caring much and tossed her the small comm-unit,
"Before we get moving, I want the following things arranged: I want a communication unit set with my authentication to be brought to me at the main airlock of Logistics Deck. And I will be requiring experienced security forces."

Orelis suddenly turned to Hailynn, "Aren't you forgetting something? Our crew currently lacks the experienced forces, if you are talking about marines, Commander", he explained, "Have you forgotten about our status-talk before departure? We only a handful of Militia Troopers who are just providing us as a provisional security team - If not, we're talking here about policemen and women of Providence who signed up for a test of service to engage a possible career with one of those Military Police organizations, featuring other cops who won some lottery for a trip to Hiigara's Ceremony.
Oh, and we only have the real marines Corporal Aaron Salico and two other Privates who are trying to uphold overall integrity with all these chaotic newbies all over the ship due to the rush here. They won't be enough to show those turanics that we have balls. Those Militia Troopers are simply too green."

"I know about the chaotic crew situation. Leave it to the Privates to take care of the crew troubles but have Salico meet us at the airlock. Tell him to bring a sidearm and gear for me, too",
she responded and slowly made steps heading for the rear section of the bridge,
"Advocate Naleigha, I'm sorry, but you'll have no time to recover just yet - come with me. Now then, I want you, Orelis, to contact a few Militia Troopers and the brig-watch. I need to speak with our taiiranic prisoners."

"No idea what you are up to, but I'm on it, sir", he said and instantly dealt with the order. Ironically, Orelis did not notice that he responded as if he received an order from the former Captain Soban.

"Aira, take care. I will be back once I settle this business. As for the rest of you at the bridge, I want a steady commline in order to notify me of any false activity you see. Let me know about anything, even if it's the smallest thing. And keep me in touch about our deadline - We must not fail on that one or else we'll be stuck here. The ship and crew must be on constant readiness for a hasted Hyperjump once we have the people",
the Hiigaran woman explained, frequently stopping and going on her path as she reminded herself of advices,
"Sejun-No and Bun-no are to standby - Eyes open, cautious but no firing unless hostile aggression is imminent. Loose formation is acceptable. And for gods' sake, do not link Kaydaana's requests to me - That drunk nut is surely wanting to head out there and blow everybody up."

"Hailynn, about Kay-", Orelis suddenly said, but before he actually said what he really wanted, Naleigha secretly urged him to remain silent, "- the taiiranics, yeah, I meant them... They're not What you say?! They're not at the brig -?!", he hurled into his shoulder unit.

"Don't tell me they escaped."

"Ah, ha-hah-ha, no, Boss. Wait", the bubbly Logistics Officer suddenly mentioned and jogged over to them, "My bad, again, for forgetting about telling you about something - Sorries!"

"All right, what'll that be, Chief?!", he asked, nearly at the edge of exploding again.

Several views from the surrounding operatives turned over to the woman in the dark green uniform, wondering what she had done again, "Oh, you know, guys - Can't keep those guests of ours at jail - they aren't baddies, I know it, I tell ya."
"The orders were clear, Chief LOGISTICS, Prisoners and Ray to the brig - NOT ELSEWHERE!", Orelis nearly blared loudly, but the embrace of Naleigha around his arm soothed his angered nerve, forcing him to calm down, "*Sigh* So where -"

"WHERE IS RAY?!", Fenna suddenly sounded from the primary helm station, desperately staring at her twin sister - somewhat willing to even drop her duties for meeting him here and now.

"You're staying right where you are, Helmswoman. You've still agreed on serving as a Helmswoman, or not?!"
The young Amaji Helmswoman slipped down slightly, her buttocks meeting the seat again; She was not going anywhere anyhow as she was still strapped up after all, still carefully listening as her bubbly sister explained in her bizarre way:

"Oh, don't argue, my friends! Look, guys, since I was the boss around as Boss and you weren't around, it got awfully BORING and quiet while taking care of the ship over the last month, y'know. Though I had a lot of talkin' with the R-Gs, they were too busy settling themselves on the deck and handling life, planning their futures and all that stuff. Sooo, I sorta came up with the idea of taking care of our other guests. They are great people, I tell you! Had to be fair, so I played it square-on-fair for Ray, too."

"R-Gs, square-fair… what?!", the Nabaali rubbed his forehead,

"Oh… refugees…"

"Since I'm Chief Loggy, I designated Delophane, her people and Ray to crew quarters - of course Ray at Fenna's quarters", she giggled, "No worries, Boss, the taiiranics still got those operative guards around on a locked segment and separated from the other R-Gs! Four crew quarters on a locked-down block. Bit more privacy and comfort for everybody. Even Aaron visited them."

Deena revealed two thumbs up.

Orelis shook his head again, "So… You had some sort of party with them or what?", while actually wondering why he was even asking.

"Ehh…", she replied as she indulged herself in various times and experiences of hanging around with the taiiranic prisoners at their new cells

*****

Both Deena and Delophane are seen bursting in wild laughter as they watch an animated series being broadcasted on television wave during their time docked at Providence; Delophane for sure not even understanding anything but the bizarre situation happening in the colorful story she had never seen in her life. Surprisingly, both pointed at Beii as they noticed her smiling - which she denied with an angered look away from them.

It was amazing for Deena as she broke the ice of distrust. The turanics never had the chance to enjoy life. The escape from the cursed M'randara system was a serious strive… but despite the confusion and terrors, they all revealed that they always stayed true with their version of kushanity - and sanity.

*****

Deena smiled lastly, "They're people we can trust. Let me call them over to us, Ex-Oh."

The executive Nabaali tossed his hand gently, "Fine, fine. I doubt I understood the reasons, but I have yet to understand why Hailynn is calling them over."

"Chief, give me my comm-unit back - and use your own, you silly operative. Aaron shall bring more than just my sidearm from the brig…"

"Aye, aye, aye!", she babbled and tossed it back to her, "Sure I can get stuff for Juno and Bunny as well. I know these turanics got stuff!", referring to the two frigates.
"Whatever. Let's go, whoever needs to partake on this, follow me. Damn it, almost forgot: Active receive-only from my comm-unit to Operative Velle Xoti, as she is my adjutant who needs to know what is going on."

"Sub-Lieutenant Drayson, I want you to -", Orelis was about to order, but then saw the youngster's surprised face about taking over bridge command during his absence; instead, he changed his mind, "Ensign Kelsea, maintain Bridge with the Sub-Lieutenant and keep a steady link to my unit as well", Orelis lastly ordered as he followed the women towards the rear exit, "Don't hesitate to call me, got it?!"

The new Amaji Ensign nodded nervously and gulped before focusing her concentration back on the docking procedure. Fenna lowered her view as she fell into a short daydream of concern and hopes, leaving most of the docking job for the novice Kelsea.

She will see him… Hopefully soon…

= Logistics Deck - Airlock section =

The rushed linkage between the Vjel-Amaj and the provisional screw-up given as a docking port went surprisingly smooth, requiring not much effort but only worries about the whole cooperation with the Turanics... the Turanic Corsari Fealty had their grudges likewise, but both sides conducted the meeting sequence without provoking false intentions.
Signal lights emitting from the broadside of the valiant Amaji cruiser met with abnormal husks, clawing the specific segments to build the short footbridge between both worlds.

Meanwhile at the lively chaotic area of the airlock section, Hailynn and others met up. While notified that certain equalizations of air pressure needed to be undertaken, which giving Hailynn some time to give further instructions to the inexperienced Militia Trooper entourage, a group of arrested people approached them along with the marine Aaron Salico, and helpful operatives bringing a sealed container with them.

Other operatives supported the medics and others for the setup of first aid segments and security, including the handouts of simple oxygen mask units to each participant.
During the conversations, Naleigha turned over to Deena who had been chattering loads of words ever since they left the bridge.

"Ms. Deena, you know you are going to be negotiating with terrorists and violating various numbers of kiithid laws as well?", the Nabaali advocate reminded.

The bubbly woman gulped but wove her hand several times, "Ooooh, it's for the greater good, Advo-Catey, please don't sue me! We're protected by that formed proposal-thingy, eh - For greater justice and - Yes, yes, yes - I buy it! And this, and this, and this…!"

"Yes, you're protected by Hailynn's authentically signed -"
Deena's attention became distracted by the turanic voice speaking further with her as she selected several things from her digital pad, lastly having her just staring and blabbering about purchasable trade goods and other junk towards the confused Naleigha.
"- proposals…"

Aaron saluted to the Commanders, "Ma'am, sir."

Orelis saluted back, "Good to see you, Corporal."

Nervous operatives surrounding them kept their distances from the turanic survivors. There were still a few among them who had bad memories of the roguish people who stood behind the leading taiidan woman.
Many of them pinched their eyes together, due to the affection of lighting. Certain operatives began to understand; finding explainable reasons why these turanics who were invaders a just month before having troubles seeing things.

Others stared upon the taiidan woman representing the persona as their leader. If it were not for her above-amaji-average size, her sharp eyes and the elegantly feminine but militaristic uniform of a taiidan officer, one could easily confuse her as an Amaji or Hiigaran rather than a Taiidan who was born in deep space during times of terrors.

And then there was the taiiranic woman besides her who held her hands upon the her hips, not even giving the lightest interests on the eyes that stared upon them. The noise of their surroundings distracted her.

"Free the prisoners of their shackles", the Hiigaran woman in casual wear suddenly demanded.
"Commander - I know they're not the enemy but -"

"No buts, Corporal. I need you as my right hand on interacting with them."
"Interaction with the Turanic Corsair guys, Commander?", the young Amaji marine asked as he and others helped removing the cuffs from them.

"No, the prisoners - The Survivors."
"Ma'am?"

""Vjel-Amaj has completed a secure linkage with the vessel, Commander. Pressurization almost completed "", Hailynn's new radio unit sounded as she rubbed her eye, feeling a painful ache coming.
"Understood.", she shortly mentioned into her radio unit, " Salico, respects to the available troopers but they're men and women who aren't marines or ever handled hardware. According to the reports I've heard about, you seem to have gained trust with the taiidan officer whose shackles you are removing just now."

Aaron's eyes met with Delophane's.

Hailynn spoke directly to her, "Officer Vamaii. I do not know how much of a grudge your people may have against us, but for now, I require you and your people to be part of my security force - as you all have military knowledge."

The female taiidan who wore her uniform loosely and the officer's cap turned her view over to her clan, wondering what to say, "To… understand?", she stammered.

"Hailey, aren't you going to far on this?", Orelis asked to her as he leaned closer to ear.

"I need them. When I used to negotiate with Kroll, we always met with a full load of armed marines. I want to make sure that fool doesn't pull anything - or even come on the idea. I know he needs that treaty running - as I'm still the only person he can trust to keep his damn ship running every now and then. He did try a few things back then throughout the times I had to put up with him though - No killing, but… things. "

"That's bizarre what you're trying to pull. Dealing with the devils like this is really getting me anxious. Look, I'm always there to back you up, but don't go too deeply."
"Noted."

"What should I do, Hailey?", Vayn curiously asked.
"Stay with Deena, as she will be transferring goods and your people to this deck. I want you to keep a sharp lookout for suspicious people within that Gaalsi-Siidim group."

"Got it. And Hailynn, thanks."
"Not yet, Bonehead. This is just starting…"

Beii rubbed her wrists several times and pinched her eyes due to the overall lighting as Aaron explained them the situation in the taiidani language.

"I hope you know what you're doing, ma'am", Aaron lastly mentioned before opening the crate and giving them their turanic weapons, featuring their prominent version of the dreaded 'Repeater' assault rifles and their respective ammunition clips.

"Ana'takeii senit mhelaiit… Beii", the young marine notified to Delophane's half-sister.

The grey-eyed taiiranic raised an eyebrow as she heard the threat that he was watching them. Without giving greater attention to him, she skillfully turned the rear end of her repeater, examined, spun and armed it.
She surely knew her hardware, just like the rest of the full-blooded turanics who strapped on their gear. Delophane picked up her familiar belt, featuring the sidearm and the short blade… the same one she nearly used to perform Jigaii.

"Corporal, I did not understand what you said to her, but I know you threatened her shomhow", Hailynn suddenly notified, "I know they are turanics, but I've been told once by Captain Soban and another man that we must drop our grudges, prejudices and worries about these specific survivors - and that we must look forward.
I'm not much a trusty person either but that's our destiny. Officer Vamaii shall continue her initiative as their leader - and we will respect their persona - You of course will be above her in the command chain. They have the perfect appearance of military presence to support our deeds."

""Pressurization complete. Conducting opening.""

Secured seals of the airlock segments began to sound activity as the sounded faint alerts and signals before slowly opening.

"Vamaii, Leii't - or Lieutenant - I suppose - I would like to talk to you directly when we have the chance after this task. For now, please help us maintain the level of security. Chief Deena Mae and Corporal Salico revealed greatest trust about your person and your entourage.
I've learned much from the Sobani Captain - and yet I've much more to learn about you. I am willing to see neither you nor your people longer as prisoners of war but people we need to learn better of - beyond the disgrace of misunderstandings. Prevailing truce is what we shall follow."

Boss 3 …, Deena's quietly said with largely, merely sparkling eyes.

There was a note of disturbing unease going through Delophane - and surely through those of her brethren. Beii whispered something to her; Delophane returned an answer. Both looked upon their brethren, reflecting the same thoughts; knowing that they did not really have much of a choice, as they all did not know where to go or what to do ever since their escape from the 'Curse' also known as the 'M'randara Star System'.

Alas, the taiidan woman arranged holster, her sidearm, uniform and cap, "Of order and trust with leader of Amajen. No more bloodkeii must spill. Endeavoring trust bemidst our keii is of my intention - of our intention of my brethering. Of order… and trust, Hiigarajen."

Her stilted confirmation gave Hailynn sufficient belief.

"Of order and trust to all of you", the Hiigaran replied as a way of forging the mutual blood truce.
"And what if those Turanic Raiders behind that airlock run in here with their loads of freaks after all?", Orelis asked once more.

"As I said before, XO, they are not Raiders."
"Yeah, yeah - but Raiders, or not, they're pirates."

"Plus 'sense'. That is what I am aiming for."
"*Sigh* Raiders, Marauders, Blades… Corsari - eh, Corsairs - What the frell is next? Real Turanic Buccaneers - out for some parley, yarrage and rum?!"

"Commander Orelis, please take over the command of the Vjel-Amaj while we settle things. Receive-only to you and Velle as said before - I need you two be in-touch with what is going on. We won't need long. Now let's get to it, everybody. Follow me."

"Roger - heading back to the bridge, better make sure that Fenna woman is not sneaking off it for Ray", He replied, but frowned and shook his head as his view followed her entourage making way for the turanic vessel across the secured footbridge, "And take care, Naleigha! I know you will support Hailynn well."

As Beii passed Orelis, she suddenly stopped and purred to him with a rolling 'r', "Yarr", then rested her threatening repeater upon her shoulder before following the group further, leaving the Nabaali behind with a disgruntled look.

Buccaneers… -_-

= Bryggen'Turasr, outer docking segment =

"Good gracious…", Naleigha cursed silently and tried to avoid breathing through her sensitive nose by putting on the oxygen mask. Others did the same.

The Hiigaran who led the group did not even think about it. Ironically, she was used to the smell that caused distraction within her mind as memories were revived; it was foolish, but she knew her enriched blood aspect would adapt to the lower pressure and oxygen levels. The first steps crossing the border into the world of the turanic fortress brought an unwelcoming and disgusting stint of burnt oil, metal and other nauseating gaseous smells.

Each breath hurled faint clouds crystallizing by the cold surroundings. There was barely enough light in the vastly surrounding area other than dots on the grate floor and sporadic lamp units revealing obstacles.
Not only that, the gravity in this area was not as effective either - It was unclear if this was because of the lack of knowledge about the technology or if was a smart decision to move massive objects with ease.

Foreign voices of near and far sounded from all corners and each level of the area, along with frequent buzzing, blazing and milling of manufacturing teams messing around with scrap heap, ships and other frames. Welders and sparks lit the spots that were previously darkened.
Pods filled with breathable liquids were fed into crafts; chains rattled and transported hulks of strikecrafts to different areas. Though Hailynn's entourage was noticed, the majority of those visible workers concentrated on their work, unknowingly about those hidden in the darkness. The overall darkness made it difficult for the Hiigaran woman to see anything as her augmented eye was still patched and suffering the aftermath of surgery that would surely prevail for a very long time.

Deena bumped against Hailynn's back when she abruptly stopped along with the group, "Sorries!"

She did not respond but held her view straight at the rows of armed Turanics. All of them looked individually. The bunch ranged from tall and heavy brutes to the slimmer sorts who were just as mischievous looking as their counterparts.
Not all of them were turanics either; noticeable, there were men and women from distant tribes of the outlying Turanic Kingdom including separate ones that did not have rigged foreheads or other significant noteworthy things of their physiology.

Nonetheless, all had their signatures of belonging to the Turanic Corsari Fealty - and there were surely others from adjacent cartels, too.

Hailynn lifted her arm, and then lowered. Following her gesture, her armed entourage lowered their weapons.

"Delixa", a man's deep voice sounded from behind the rows, followed by the appearance of true Kroll.

Other than his recognizable voice, this man had the rough'n'tough' aspects as the outnumbering thugs and crooks around that were guarding him - However, the scarred face revealed a man that had survived frequent battles and eluded fatal situations... almost a Sobani, one would say.

The Turanic man wore a heavy suit, likewise marked by violence but also decorated with symbolic blades, claws and other emblems of various Turanic clans. Indeed, this man was the leader.

The Hiigaran woman moved her hands into her black leather trench coat; her hand gripping her sidearm - ready for any case.

"Kroll…"
"You two, haha", Deena giggled, breaking the cold stare between the two without any real consideration, "Gonna get the stuff and people in now as we're all on the rush. Me gone!"

After a look and two steps away from the group, the bizarre logistics officer found the turanic man who had her desired goods and was told to open the cargo access bay of the Vjel-Amaj.
Deena waved Vayn to follow her for verifying the people's identities but told Delophane and her followers to stay with Hailynn, knowing that the Hiigaran woman was going to need the backup more than her.

"That is a… weird crew you got there, Hiigaran. Are those mercenaries? Or since when does the Kiith Amaj allow Turanics… and Taiiranics into their services… They neither belong to any clan I know regarding their foreheads nor do I understand their dialects.
Wait - You look totally different than the last time I've met you, too - and you've not only matured, former Ensign. I see that you've 'not only survived'… You've changed. I sense it… Since when do officers run around in such an uniform?", he commented, referring to her casual wear," And foremost, what happened to your eye?"

"The Gaalsi people - I want them. Now. I've already transferred the desired financial payment by a universal currency through an independent service, so you're cleared of any agency trying to backtrack you. I don't care about any nostalgic talks of the war. I didn't like the war, and I don't like you.
There is something else I desire, though. Before I ask - I know you are up to something, Kroll. I know it. Every time I am forced to summon you, I figure that you are up to something."

The Tau Corsari leader revealed a vicious smile despite the eclipsing shadow thrown by the light beam shortly swinging by, "That is none of your business."

Heavy rumbles were felt as humming vehicles hovered on the plated platform situated a level above them followed by foreign shouts and plethora of footsteps from all sides. But amidst these noises, Hailynn and a selected few recognized the sound of smelters in the distant; the Hiigaran's mind bugging her - as if she had heard this rattling noise once before.
More noises rained from the distant, making it impossible to distinguish anything further.

"I know you're helping several other non-turanic factions in this constellation, Kroll. Independent ones. I can't get behind which ones but -"
"My clients are of no matter to you, woman. Dare not to investigate. I warn you."

Clatter shattered again throughout the dark world of the outer segment as both paused. Hovering antigravity vehicles were seen as they transport goods toward the upper access leading to the cargo bay.
Deena was afar and above as well, waving the cargo lifters in like a position adapter; dancing and jumping around as the goods were being brought into the Vjel-Amaj along with security forces keeping an eye for suspicious happenings and the row of Gaalsi and Siidim people finally boarding.

"Frell with your threats, Kroll. Whatever it may be - I'll figure it out, as usual. Other than that, I know you are that your Fealty possesses one of the most accurate Intelligence within and beyond the borders of the Amaji Constellation."

"The Constellation ain't yours, woman!", one of the pirates remarked with a deep slang, "Stupid Amaji weaklings tryin' t' claim what -"

"Silence!", Kroll instantly barked towards the rows of guards behind him.

The thug silenced immediately. Luckily, Kroll did not execute him for speaking.

"Now then. What is it you want, Delixa?"

The Hiigaran woman straightened her stance and replied with a sharp eye, "I am in the need of locating a fleet of Taiidan Republicans. It is essential to find them. According to my knowledge, they are currently charging their special jump drives somewhere not far from this constellation as we speak. You know that those Dislocation Fields are going to lockdown hyperjumps for a long period of time and I seriously doubt I will be able to reach my desired destination on time if I were to jump without the appropriate light years-per-unit."

Suddenly, another person appeared from the rows of taiidans, "So, the Amaji are trying to partake on the Ceremony of Hiigara's heritage - The Ceremony of such Empire that followed the sin of neglecting those who claimed planets? How amusing."
Another turanic. While not seeming much of a brute, he was just as mischievous looking as Kroll along with another two who followed him.

"Delixa, my Right Hand who is my Lead Coordinator and a mastermind who has served me well over the past years. He belongs to one of the few that I allow to speak and listen to."

Something told Hailynn and the others that this man must have had contact to spies and corrupted people as the 'Right Hand' of the Turanic Devil spoke, "You happen to be looking for the so-called Serae-Semaiitolva Fleet - A fleet of Taiidans and Hiigarans guarding the 'Taara's Star' liner full of precious politician-pigs, I suppose?"

Hailynn's silence revealed the confirmation.

"Ah. Well, Hiigaran. We do not care what your intentions are. I can assure you that we are not doing anything that will deal with those fools. I am willing to say, though, that we… had something in mind but we dropped it as something else profitable and worthwhile surfaced", Kroll confessed but remained serious, "So you wish to find them and head to the so-called Core Systems?"

"Yes. I require accurate coordinates from your side for definite verification. Having accurate data about their last emergence point will allow my astrogation team to figure out which one of the many suggested locations in space they've chosen with ease."

Kroll did not ponder long as he gave the head gesture to his Right Hand, confirming him to transmit data to the Amaji, "So, this unusual…'Vjel-Amaj' vessel will not be around for a while. That is good news."

Several of his henchmen chuckled faintly.

"You know what a flock of Amaji Frigates can do."

They stopped instantly. Surprisingly, the variety of Frigate classes and the subclasses of the Amaji Navy were threats to be taken seriously.

"So far, so good…", Aaron whispered to Delophane in taiidani dialect.
"Salico-keii. These people are not to be trusted! They are alike those my clan dared to flee from… They are dangerous…"
The Amaji marine looked at her, the taiidan woman who only replied with a worrisome stare.

"Now, Delixa. We must speak of my request as we are running out of time. I would -"

A shout blared not far from them that interrupted Kroll's speech. Moving steps beyond the row, Hailynn and others spotted several rows of familiarly uniformed men and women in a chain of shackles being shoved and pushed to the opening.
"Ah… Them…"

The eyes of Naleigha and the rest of the Militia Troopers widened as they recognized the massive numbers of Somtaaw operatives, crewmen and officers; obviously they were crewmen taken into captivity after the raid on the Regausa-Maru. Unfortunately, several of them recognized Hailynn and Kroll - featuring a recognizable Somtaaw operative... The same arrogant and tough one who hunted Vayn back with Providence's inner city.

"Delixa! You frakking traitor!", the Somtaaw barked further, insulting and accusing her of treason, fighting and resisting against the Turanics blocking him off.

The Somtaaw man was just as injured and brutalized as the rest of the captured Somtaaw. Hailynn had no idea about his superiors who were actually behind all this, but she supposed they were elsewhere - either being interrogated or brought to the same destination.

"Where are you bringing the Somtaaw, Kroll?"

"Speaking of the devils", Kroll continued, "I am not sure what to do with these pests. Maybe dump them through the airlock…"
Hailynn froze. Not only was she recognized, she also confronted Kroll's ruthlessness… Though he was, what he would call 'noble', he had absolutely no remorse to those he declared hated nemesis - the Somtaaw being those somewhere on the top of his list. Something else must have gone wrong during that raid on the Regausa-Maru. The Corsari leader raised an eye brow towards the Hiigaran.

At the same time, Hailynn's shoulder unit emitted a tone; somebody was calling her. Shortly ignoring this situation, she signaled Kroll to show some patience and pulled out the earplug from her unit, allowing her to listen privately.

"Delixa here… Orelis? What is it? I'm in a bit of a situation right now."

All this time through, Orelis was on stand-by, listening to all of the talking through his earplug, but did not interact with her until now.

""Commander, sorry for disturbing but this is urgent"", Orelis anxious voice sounded into her ear, ""Bad news: Aira and Kenta have figured that the Hyperspace Lane we wanted to use has been hit by the Dislocation Fields already and that some of its mass will hit this grid in less than twenty minutes!
Even Suron managed to send us a messy warning about it. As a reminder, Commander, our only chances and choices from now now are to either jump back to Amaji Prime or get to that Taiidan Republican Fleet for a piggyback jump with them to Hiigara. I've ordered Code:Black to the crew, which will hasten the preparations of the jump drives and readiness! Again, we've not much time!""

"Understood - ", Hailynn replied and paused, noticing that Kroll's Right Hand received word of warning and gave Kroll the notification that the Dislocation Fields were soon to affect the entire area, "We'll hurry!"

""Now that's GOOD news. Bridge, over and out! *Veep*""

***

Not far above, both Deena and Vayn raised their hands as gunpoints were threatening them. Both refrained from making further protests as neither wanted to provoke any nervous trigger-fingers.

Should'a brought a shotgunny, eh?

***

- Collateral of Fealty -

Vapor rapidly appeared on the oxygen mask of the Nabaali advocate as she became anxious. Howling alerts blared and echoed through the surrounding darkness that scared Naleigha. The echoes barely hinted how vast this outer segment of the behemoth was... and this was only the lateral segment. Aaron noticed the alerted Turanics, acting similar to the Code: Black alert of the Vjel-Amaj.

At the same time the communication line ended, another tone sounded. Accepting the request again, Hailynn asked, "Delixa here. Orelis, is that you again?!"

""No, no, Boss - Chief-Dee here, up here… Higher… Higher"", Deena's voice replied happily and directed Hailynn's view until she spotted her waving from afar, ""Found me!""

"Deena, are you done up there?! No time for games - We've got to get out of here FAST!"
""That's the problem -""

"Damn it, I don't care about the cargo you bought. We're moving out of here without delays!"
""It's not the cargo, it's the people - the people of Vayn, Boss.""

"Now what's wrong with them?" Hailynn asked as her view lowered upon Kroll.

""Boss… There's some kinda problem here, Wolf-Girl, there's some two-hundred of them missing. About the half of them -"", Vayn's voice sounded next to Deena's, ""These guys are aiming guns at us! Telling us that they won't release the rest of them to us! That Kroll guy ordered it!""

"KROLL!", Hailynn instantly barked at him, "What's this all about now?! WHY ARE YOU HOLDING BACK THE OTHER HALF OF THE PEOPLE! We have an agreement! Frakking cash and fuel for the people - You know the frakking deal!"

Everybody on both sides raised their aims at each other due to the cause of a chain reaction; An unexpected standoff occurred between the factions as Hailynn's hands gripped Kroll's collar.

"CAREFUL, DELIXA - Another wrong move and my men will slaughter everybody!", Kroll's Right Hand threatened.

"Frakk you! My ships would beat the shit out of you if they must! We had an agreement, you son of a bitch!", Hailynn knew best that trusting Kroll was a serious flaw, but she did not expect things to go like this, "You got millions and you'll be getting your fuel - Give us the people!"

Kroll also grappled her throat, "Listen, and listen carefully, Delixa! When we attacked those Somtaaw, their silly fleet still managed to burst three of our volatile tanks full of fuels… You've guessed correctly that I would be requesting such from you - but you are going to have to give me more than just the drop of the usual…"

"What are you talking about *nghh!*", Hailynn slurred as pain was striking her… Unfortunately, she was not in shape for this.

"Isotopic fuels…Heavy Ozone Liquids… and many more types, in thousands of cubic meters…in massive quantities."

Hailynn's eye widened, "Are you - Are you frakking insane, man?! Even you know that the Amaji don't have that in quantities or as an abundance available in this constellation - Your Intelligence knows that!", Hailynn barked back at him, after both freed themselves from one another, "You can't be serious about holding the Gaalsi people back! Hand-them-OVER!"

"The longer you resist, the greater the chance that you will be stuck here in 'Lagosa', Delixa. I'd freely kick that Amaji cruiser off the hull of my ship just to lower the mass of the upcoming jump… I'm giving you the chance to survive this. I am keeping them as a… Collateral of Fealty considering the arrangements I've made with your former Captain. He always knew how to avoid such things like this, usually… I thought you had learn from him, Delixa", Kroll explained slowly but with a serious note of threat.

Naleigha was powerless considering this standoff, but still dared to say a word, "How can we trust the opposing side if it's acting on betrayal just now?!"

"You advocate-worm, I gave my word and I am the one who can change it to my will!", Kroll barked at both of them, "and you being one of those puny advocates, you should know that Contracts are Contracts - Treaties are Treaties.
You could not fulfill all my needs on my first beseech, allowing me to redefine my demands until you fulfill my following true needs. I need those fuels and that is my new demand! I've taking the collateral of currency as a true payment for not slaughtering the …Somtaaw innocents.
You and those idiots should be thankful enough, Amaji. Just in case you feel elided, Hiigaran, I am actually following the agreement - It's just you, Comman- No… Ensign Delixa, who got too greedy and naive."

Before the Nabaali acted as a true advocate willing to sound objections, Hailynn swung her hand at Naleigha to stay out of it, "I should've known - you planned this all time along, didn't you, Kroll?!"

He did not answer.

Of course, he did.

"The Kiith Amaj only has separate refineries that produce those complex fuels - but never in such bizarre amounts, you moron! "

"Those are the demands, Delixa", the double-crossing Turanic leader replied with a serious voice and spoke plain language with his dreaded terms, "See this as an enigma you need to solve. You've always been somebody who had thought of mind… A woman with plans - despite your naivety. There was always something going on in that head of yours that also helped your former Captain evade troubles. You only need to recall your psyche…
There was always that sense of filth in your mind - as if I were speaking to one of my own scumbags at various occasions - Whatever, I'm giving you this riddle to solve. Bring me the fuels. Bring the fuels to the coordinates I will dispatch to you in a ciphered message before you hyperjump to the Taiidan Republic Fleet. The message will reveal a new meeting point for trading… supposed you found a solution to bring the fuels. I don't care if you pillage other ships in the galaxy or buy it and have it dumped into space around the given location -
You are going to bring it to me on time or I will punish those people. I'm giving you a deadline, long enough to do what I request. Plus, you are en route to the Core Systems… and we will be at the given location at the edge of the border. There's a plethora of possibilities."

Delophane had no idea what to do due to the fact that she only understood half of what was going on. Ironically, she wanted to help Delixa - but the situation was tight and fragile; any wrong movement could lead to unwanted bloodshed… but knowing that this was serious, the taiidan officer lowered her aim.

"Amajikeii - Corsaii, to beg for sake! We are not of madness! I endeavor of all that we must not cause shedding blood-keii!", Delophane intervened and showed the Turanic Corsairs that she was standing down.

Though understanding only half of what she said, they somewhat understood her gesture. Hesitantly, the Corsairs responded equally, leaving only a few still holding their aim towards the threatening Hiigaran. Alas, Naleigha was thankful that the taiidan woman had at least sense of sanity.

Vayn returned to them at the same moment Hailynn shouted,
"This is not over, Kroll!"

"It's over, Delixa, for now", Kroll replied firmly and made a step to the back, "I have clients with given assignments and operations to serve, so I will be returning to the command complex of this ship. Beat it, woman. You should be thankful of the fact that I will be setting those Somtaaw out on one of their captured ships.
They will be able to jump the way back to the Amaji Homeworld or wherever they want to go. The Somtaaw may try to accuse you, but I doubt they will have a chance as they did exert slavery…I think you are a lucky woman."

Hailynn bit her teeth together.

"I will dispatch the fully ciphered message to your ship. I don't care how you will do it, but you are one creative bitch. I've learned that", Kroll lastly noted, then turned away from her slowly and began walking across the open field of the area, "I suggest you get going. Oh, and 'Pride' - as those Amaji people of yours would say."

A lethal takedown - Here and NOW!, a thought struck into Hailynn's mind… but this would not work out for any of her surrounding friends. Her hidden trembling right hand in her pocket was the sign of her other hatred consciousness truly daring to shoot the backstabber in his back …
The Amaji sidearm was a slick service pistole, much lighter then her usual sidearm. A clean aim, even for a hasted snapshot if she would dare to do it. Alas, it would end in bloodshed; but being able to take out Kroll and even his Right Son-of-A-Bitch would at least do a favor to the Amaji Constellation - maybe even end the Tau Corsari Fealty that was terrorizing the region.

Suddenly, Vayn wrapped his arms around the tempting Hiigaran; a begging embrace, "I know that face", he desperately whispered, "Let him go - Let him go… I thank you, Hailynn, you've done so much for me and my people already. So many sacrifices on your side. I simply can't allow you to take on a guy and get beaten to frell like back then when we were kids… I've sworn never to make you suffer on my behalf and get another bloody face - I can't see it again."

Hailynn's sanity barely returned; but as of now, her mind was about to enter a world of agonizing misery.

"I-I've promised you…", she silently stuttered towards the Gaalsi man, "I"

His embrace tightened slightly. With time strangling her mind, she needed to understand that this was… another failed promise…

"Commander", Aaron said and touched her shoulder, luckily awakening her from her thoughtfulness, "I'm sorry to say this, but we better get out of here - Ma'am!"

The other militia troopers wove at the others to head the opposite way.

Another failure…

- Breakthrough -

= Bridge of the Vjel-Amaj =

"Navigation - SITREP!"

"Commander Orelis - All personnel and away teams are safely aboard the Vjel-Amaj. Double-confirmed by eye-sight as ordered!", Koji informed him, "Arranged trade goods and the enslaved people are onboard as well."
"Helm, get us off this monster, now! We've been kissing that piece of shit for far too long!"

"Sir, we need to decide on our destination. Either Amaji Prime to safe-haven or the presumed location of the Serae-Semaiitolva Fleet!", Astrogation Operative Sunoga added anxiously, "Just a supplemental note about the Republican Fleet: We do not have enough time to verify the data! Thus, our estimated jump deviation may lead us to the wrong emergence sector! I do not know if Operative Aira is capable of helping us out here."

"Route to the 'Fleet' would be a flight of approximately nine hours, sir, I'm not even sure if we can hold THAT deadline of reaching them before they conduct the last long jump to the Core Systems of the Hiigaran Empire",
Quan lastly reported,
"Bumpy for sure, as both routes will be right at the edge of the Dislocation Fields. Our pilots will have to avoid those random fields in hyperspace or we might lose our wavefront!"

"Gods…", Kelsea sunk into her seat - She failed the whole time during her provisional training and hoped that Fenna would manage the job. Glimpsing over to her left, the nervous Ensign only spotted Fenna looking straight ahead with crossed arms.

""So, where are we going, Vjel-Amaj?"", Captain DaCowl asked; followed by Tegron's fretful questioning, ""I strongly advise to return to Providence! I'm willing to drop taking part on that ceremony just for the sake of our hides, Lance. This whole operation has got out of hand! At least have the Lance Frigates return to base and have the Vjel-Amaj continue on its own. This task is a number too tough for us!""

During the time of hasted preparations, the Corsari fleet and its mischievous allies achieved combining jump formations; the allied cartel units performed their constellation jumps, retreating to unknown locations and safespots while all Corsari vessels and strikecrafts retreated to the Bryggen'Turasr behemoth.

""Attention, Amaji Flotilla. I know you will concur with the terms of the treaty. Serve the Fealty…", Kroll's voice transmitted and spoke further.

""This is not over… Delixa"", another voice transmitted by the battered Somtaaw vessel sounded over the upper speakers, before the distinctive ship entered hyperspace.

"GET ALL THOSE SONS OF A BITCHES OFF THE DAMN SPEAKERS - Enough of THEM!", the angered commanding officer blared to the communication operatives.

Arguments continued between the two Lance Captains - and time was running; but among all, it was Orelis who had to make a decision. Though Hailynn was still connected with his unit, she did not respond just yet.

"We are not splitting up - We ARE a Lance", Orelis shortly commented whilst interrupting the two Lance Captains, but did not answer with a decision yet, "Helm - Undock from that Bryggen'Turasr and get us close to the frigates!"

"...Yeah... yeah…", Fenna remarked dully.
"Affirmative, Commander!", Kenta respectfully added.

""Commander, I doubt that our frigates are able to reach the designated location as it is beyond the given range of our constellation drives"", Tegron protested, ""On top of that, it's beyond the red lines given on our constellation map!""

"Ma'am, all due respect", Kenta briefly explained, "but that is just a red line revealing the maximum range of the gravitational effects in Hyperspace. With the Dislocation Fields covering the area, the red line would actually expand as the Constellation resistance is lowered.
S-Sorry about the Astro…Quantum-Physics-Babble, ma'am, but our vessel is able to perform a combined wavefront. Your ships are only required to synchronize the frequencies and level respectively to those values giving by our Chief Engineering Officer."

""I still protest! We barely have five minutes left! All due respects of the galaxy to your superior, Commander Orelis, but this is serious!""

"R-Receiving a large ciphered message from the Belmon'Traza… For Commander Delixa's eyes… err, eye only", one of the communication operatives notified, "One portion has another update on feasible jump coordinates, but I doubt that we have sufficient time for lowering the d-deviation... thing."
"Whatever…",
Orelis said and straightened his back,
"Attention, Lance, and all stations. I respect all protests, but I am Commander Delixa's Executive Officer - and I will serve her interests. Astrogation - Lock Hyperjump Coordinates for the Serae-Semaiitolva Fleet! We are going to perform a combined jump with the frigates. Frigates Sejun-No and Sebun-No, do you copy?!"

""Going where you're going, Vjel-Amaj. Frigate Sejun-No: Affirmative.""

""Sebun-No… A-Affirmative…"", the drought of a willing response of Tegron sounded from the speakers.

"Commander Orelis, our deviation value is still dangerously high!"
"We've no choice, damn it!"

Receiving respective confirmations from the frigates, other stations revealed that both were close enough and synchronized with the Vjel-Amaj's jump systems.

""Bridge.""

"Commander, glad to hear from you! All ears! What are we to do, Ma'am?", Orelis replied with great anticipation.

""Th-This is too dangerous…"", her voice announced over the bridge, ""I cannot allow us to go over the edge. I thought I was able to rescue all of the Gaalsi… but We - We are against the wall here… I cannot allow you to…""

Everybody noticed the note of concern in Hailynn's voice that even sounded almost the same as that of Tegron's. With the Dislocation Fields just about to reach this sector and the unbelievable ransom of the Corsari cartel, Hailynn's will was at the edge of defeat, willing to order the retreat to Amaji Prime and Providence.

""Commander! We are not going to be able to make to Amaji Prime safely either!"", Kenta cried, ""Strains of the D-Fields are already affecting the Constellation's integrity! Y-You may still order the jump to Providence, but we might end up elsewhere, C-Commander…""

Further despair and fears went across the bridge. But suddenly and unexpectedly, nobody expected the voice of the Kadeshi girl to shout from the rear section, "I will not disappoint you, NAJI!"

"A-Aira?", Kenta nervously asked.

****

Hailynn paralyzed… unable to finish her order of full retreat.

****

All eyes looked up towards rear section, staring at mysterious girl who sat upon the sensory station, speaking with a shaky voice but with the note of dreaded anticipation,
"People of Amaj, Naji - Ever since I have awaken into your world, you all have pr-protected me! I feared all of you, you all feared my presence… and yet - You all guided my soul to the truth of my heritage… I never found ways to thank all of you for your deeds", she spoke at the edge of her voice.

Aira's voice was outright nervous and wild of speech, everybody could see that, but there was such an unusual urge of determination like never before in her voice that surprised everybody,
even the absent Hailynn who listened through the commline,
"You have served for the sake of my soul and those of people who had nothing but fears and death at hand. I have fears, my friends, great fears - I feel the Dis…Dislocation… approaching my soul with each moment the flowing time… I feel it."

Instantly, both Hailynn and Orelis recalled memories… This voice was just as fanatic as the Kadeshi Fanaticism revealed by the Kadeshi Seekers of the M'randara star system. It was in her blood and soul… a breakthrough arousing her psyche.

Reflecting her words, her psyche was about to be exposed by the hideous overwhelming wall of calamity. The blaring howls of the black storms echoing in her psyche were so loud that it even forced her to shout throughout the bridge.
Static strains whipped everywhere, devouring the constellation with each flowing second, stinging her holographic self. Her hair wove rapidly. And just for this moment, the pounding within her chest reflected her fears as the massively wall of frightening fields approached her.

There was a time where this extraordinary Kadeshi being would frantically cower, close her eyes and cry to her sorrowing deities for a pitiful end of such terrors… but she could not do such this time - The entire crew was in despair for the sake of a task that needed to be accomplished, which foremost plagued her Naji with the greatest of all scruples.

Feeling the power flowing through the veins of the Vjel-Amaj, her soul sensed lost psyches blessing her…

Only a minute remained. Just before this mark, the entire Tau Corsari entourage suddenly vanished, jumping away from the sector and leaving the three Amaji vessel behind with their fate; The first deadline already choking merely everybody's neck.

Above the pounding core of her body, both of Aira's trembling hands curled among the new sorrowing 'Eye and Tear of Kadesha', the iconic necklace…Uncontrollable pearls of emotions ran down her eyes.

"N-No longer will I cower, people of Amaj! You have guided me… As the loyal Nabaali Orelis says - as my Naji Hailynn says: Make… Make me proud, my people! You all are in suffer of fear and concern about the future - No, I no longer can hide, I will not hide!
Now, it is my soul that must guide you. I shall stand against the calamity - against my fears, against your fears for the sake of the G-Gaalsi people and the Amaji Pride - Thy will not cower, never again, thy of Kadesh will not cower! people of Amaj - Please, entrust my soul with your Pride… I wish to be part of your pride - I wish to be worthy of your pride! I… I-I wish to prove my worthy of your PRIDE! Guidance at hand for the Amaji people! I will guide you!"

****

Nobody, not even Hailynn believed what they heard over their commlines. Unknown to the Kadeshi psyche at the edge of outburst, her voice echoed through all frequencies and space; every operative and every ship heard her statement.

****

The enigmatic Kadeshi girl breathed uneasily and became agitated to such content that her cries revealed the hidden shame beneath her shy soul; being a fretful being her life long, needing the care and warmth of other beings.

But now, the frightened girl was no longer willing to stand behind the shadows of the others as she now knew that she was the only hope to serve the helpless people and her beloved Naji.

A pause… and only several seconds away from the massively disruptive storms about to devour the hyperspace of the 'Lagosa Complex'...

She closed her eyes for the single moment of a heartbeat that lastly like an eternity for thought and a single plea.

Shodanii… - The single moment lasted sufficiently, instantly sensing the desire of her Naji and the people of the Amaj like never before. The forms, the massive numbers of objects, the stars, everything amidst the region beyond the edge of the Amaji Constellation…her eyes focused on her open hand reaching out widely to a specific region among the arcs.
Reminiscence of Shodanii… I heed your revealing, her psyche echoed. Her arm returned to her side. Following her wording, both hands then slipped away from the necklace and met with both orbs of her station.

Albeit all disturbances and calamities wrecking havoc upon the fabrics of hyperspace and her psyche, her mind shortly cleared into a clean slate within a split second, allowing her to heed the songs of the galaxy's stars allowing her orientation.

Destination…My goal… My ambition…

At the same moment she opened her enigmatic eyes, many of the people present upon the bridge witnessed change across the bridge along with Aira's sudden outburst. Her eyes altered its colors from grey to a stinging blood orange color just before the lighting throughout the ship flickered, followed by a familiar fade to darkness.

"C-Commanders…", Engineer Zann stuttered as a plethora of values were reaching their peaks on his station, "Hyperdrive about to leash the wavefront - J-Jump imminent!"

"Gods… She's going to do it!", Sunoga warned and buckled herself up anxiously.

""All hands - Brace yourselves for an imminent hyperjump!"", Hailynn's voice lastly blared across all frequencies once more, despite the crew warned by Code: Black.

****

"What the -", Captain Tegron fretfully said, just as she felt the nimble frigate rumbling along with the sighting of energetic particles appearing ahead of the vessels' bows.

The sudden wavefront revealed to be much different than those the crew witnessed so far in their lives. Visible vague fabrics of energetic matter struck whipped through the wavefront that was no longer white-blue; leaving many in the concern if the ship would be struck by such devastating thunder. Noises and turbulences interfered with the ship's inertia fields.

Aira then closed her eyes as the three vessels were enveloped by two unusually additional fields; all of them violently blending with each other. Batches of phased energies lastly revealed lastly striking ran upon the hulls…

A flash…

Silence…

*****

Though energized by the fear and the thriving fanatical determination of the Kadeshi girl, the mysterious energetic fields representing an unknown mixture of wavefronts continuously shattered and dissipated as the twisted mass slowly enveloped them. Dislocation warped everything of the surrounding Tempest known as Hyperspace as it covered the rear arcs slowly but surely - and that was much to be concerned of.

All observers witnessed the vast blackish storm encircling the three Amaji vessels - doubting that they were going to outrun this terrifying mess.

Aira's prayers repeated without end… but the fields were enveloping her… embracing her with their dreadful matter of howl and dirge.

The hyperdrive module and its empowering reactors pulsed rapidly as the stress of hyperspace and dislocation took their affects - the rapid pulsing nearly as fast as that of the Kadeshi girl. Terrified cries and nervous clamor sounded throughout the darkened bridge as the ship rocked back and forth, but beyond all terrors and Orelis' cursing orders, it was the arguments of the two helmswomen that blared above all.

Going on for the last twenty minutes, it was Fenna who foremost shouted at everybody and everything; blaming every single mishap that caused another one of those unknown wavefronts to destabilize.

While the Kadeshi adolescent desperately evoked newer fields on her own mysterious way, it was the job of the Helmswomen to dodge whatever energetic anomaly appeared on the way. This was the most difficult task of all, however, due to the sluggish reaction of wavefronts; having another two frigates that were only roughly synchronized with the primary wavefront and mainly the inexperienced Kelsea unable to support Fenna's awkward and unorthodox way of Hyperspace navigation.

The screaming kept going on between the two helmswomen.

Kelsea was unfortunately the one who was blamed at, being the one who most of the time was unable to return verbal fire due to her hesitant interaction with the secondary helm. On top of all troubles, everybody knew that Aira's surprisingly new wavefront capabilities were not going to hold for long.

Another sustained number of violent rumbles struck all ships as their combined wavefronts bashed through the anomalies. Orelis' ears were already full of endless reports coming from all decks and sides. Albeit being a master of coordination, he foremost fought trying to keep everybody calm, especially the Frigate Captain Amalia Tegron who kept interrupting the commline with her extremely garbled requests.

"Busting through this mess like a bullet!", somebody commented, "Are we even on course?!"

"No idea!", Navigator Sunoga shouted, "No freakin' idea!"

"We're still within the Amaji Constellation, people!", Kenta reported with a shaky voice, "I don't know about hyperdrive knowledge, but if we stay too long in this mess, we'll be thrown way off course!"

Never look back! Never look back! I must not fail my Naji - The People of Amaji! I must not FAIL!, Aira's mind repeatedly echoed, begging. Her breathing became unsteadily to her already trembling body. Pain was stinging her psychic eyes as blackish shrouds slowly covered her destination. It was stealing hear breath; bounding her soul by empowering her fears.
Bewildered by the surroundings, her psyche was at the edge of becoming instable - but there was a single string of willpower deep within her that protected her from ultimate failure and calamity; a will that silently urged her not to repel the dirge...

"FRAKK YOU! SET THE FRAKKING *AHH*!", Fenna argued but cried as the wavefronts bashed through another dislocated anomaly.

Warning signals blared from all sides, notifying her that the ship was slightly overbalancing; just barely able to compensate by pulling the sophisticated controls with all repelling strength she had. Despite all technology, the kushan being was still limited to old-fashion navigation - and just for this moment, she wished she had a few Bentusi gimmicks for this mess.

Fenna reacted sluggish herself to incoming anomalies. But not only Fenna had difficulties; the inexperienced Kelsea had serious troubles allocating evasive measures due to Fenna's primary controls.

However, it was noticeable that Kelsea was the one who possessed the talent of spotting anomalies just moments before bashing through them - and that with all surveillance screens being greatly distorted.

" People of Amaj!", Aira frantically shouted, "H-Heed my voice!", she begged once more.

There was still clamor sounding from all corners, but she sensed their attentions throughout the darkness despite the ongoing alerts and clattering equipment. The bridge frequently lit as flashes of hyperspace and the dislocation mass flared their energetic whips across all arcs.

Thoughtful words slipped from her lips, "C-Combine… Combine your thoughts!"

"What does she mean?!", a voice yelled from somewhere, "No not you, sir, sorry!", who then confused his words with somebody else.

"Combine… your… minds - My trusted believers, I beseech you: Combine your minds."

"I don't get it!", the overwhelmed Nabaali deck officer notified.

"Could somebody tell her to shut-up! I'm losing control here! How about -", Fenna blared at everybody, but was interrupted as Kenta cursed at her.
"Fenna, SHUT-UP yourself! You two need to work together!"

"WHAT?!"
"Kelsea and you - Stop fighting each other and trying to tackle things on your owns! ", Kenta begged at them, " Fenna, you've got to stop shouting around like this! We're not idiots - and we're not going to survive this if we -"

"Another one of those… wavefronts… dispersed!", Zann shortly notified.

"- if we don't work together!"

For a change, Fenna stopped returning arguments and listened whilst fighting with the helm's controls. Unable to look across the whole bridge, the frantic Amaji helmswoman feared to look beyond the edge, knowing that all eyes were just stabbing upon her.

But what were those fools expecting?

She was the only one actually keeping this ship - and two other ones - from being ripped off course, or worse.

"Hearing you two pilots screaming around is not going to help us at all! Aira is right! You two need to work together!"
"And just how, numbnut?!"

Orelis' voice shouted several times about something, obviously distracted by his commlinks.

One of the newer female operatives suddenly entered the loud conversation, "Damn it! Haven't you noticed that you two are fighting against each other rather than working together? Ensign Kelsea happens to see things better than you -"

"Oh, right, why don't we let her fly this ship on her own then and -?!"
"SHUT UP!", Sunoga yelled towards Fenna, due to the loudness but also annoyed of the Amaji pilot, "You happen to know how to dodge those damn anomaly barriers out there, but you simply can't detect them on time! Kelsea isn't daring herself to do anything - You're the experienced pilot - but she tends to be the one who can see things coming just seconds before you! THINK ABOUT IT!"

"L-Ladies, please, stay focused and -", Sub-Lieutenant Drayson tried to intervene but was not even taking seriously by the other women. Even Orelis smirked faintly just before countless voices struck his ears again.

"Sunoga's hitting the nail on the head - Aira needs our help! She's only holding our ships' wavefronts together!", Kenta lastly added.

Fenna's silenced and looked ahead upon the frontal arc of her peripheral screens. There were thousands to millions of hidden obstacles out there. Distortion riddled her screen to a mess impossible to comprehend other than the basic supportive symbols of gravimetric masses.
She was not going to make it on her own. The stubborn Amaji threw a short glimpse towards the nervous Kelsea just before the ships bashed through another surreal barrier.

= Amaji Prime, Providence =

Meanwhile, as life goes on within the orbiting colony vessel, an unusual conversation is being held. Unlike natural speech, these undetectable waves of voice are transmitted into the lobe implants of specific people moving throughout the secluded technocratic district of Kiith S'jet somewhere below the thriving City Deck.
Though names are spoken, there are far too many hooded cultists and profane technocratic citizens of the Kiith moving throughout the area to determinate the people.

"'Nij Asaku, 'Nij Kiitaiku. Speak.", the daunting voice demanded.
"Yes", the male voice of Asaku, a Kiith'Nij of S'jet, replied slowly and thoughtfully, "Kiith'Pitet of Sjet, the Vjel-Amaj has not returned to Amaji Prime. According to the recent developments given by our allied members just before the dislocation lockdown, the Vjel-Amaj has conducted a hyperjump. Due to its success, the ship has successfully eluded the Dislocation Field that is now covering the Amaji Constellation.
Furthermore, Kiith'Pitet, the Amaji High Command reveals no confirmed positioning, contact or reports about safe-havens around the Constellation. We may be assured that the Vjel-Amaj has succeeded in eluding the dislocation but may return within two days as they did not succeed in reaching the desired Hyperspace Lane to Hiigara."

"False. I do not trust the calculated assumptions of my selfish brother fully, my 'Pitet", a younger but seriously determined female voice transmitted, speaking sharply and sure with every pronounced word, "His assumption reveals a deficient chance of 12.71% - This is the calculated chance that they may return to Amaji Prime within this week. Above all, he believes upon the 1% that the Vjel-Amaj will give us what our cult desires within the given time before our ultimate departure…
'Pitet, my calculations even approve 0%, with all given factors. I do not believe in the everlasting theory of 'Ultimate Single Percentage'. The omniscient exemplar will not return to Amaji Prime that soon. I stand my calculation - The Vjel-Amaj has engaged its journey to Hiigara. This fact interferes with your former plans but not with your ultimate intention, wise 'Pitet."

"Bah", 'Nij Asaku replied with a bored and arrogant voice, "My sister never obeys the Kiith's theories. She is relentless! But I still suggest to recall our allies to be available for relocation upon our departure, my 'Pitet. The exemplar being is only a factor. We shall continue with the intentions without delay. The Kiith Amaj lacks feasible variables for our goal."

"I object his proposal, my 'Pitet! Heed my calculative proposal! We must let our disciples of Hiigara attain the omniscient specimen. I have estimated great chance of success with our supporters of that region. Our intentions requires that being above all and -", she replied energetically, but was surpassed by sudden demand of the superior daunting voice.

"Silence! Speak no more", the Kiith'Pitet commanded and explained, "Worthless young 'Nij and their arguments... But you have assumed correctly, 'Nij Kiitaiku. The omniscient specimen is the decisive variable to the ultimate goal of our S'jeti Kiith. Our Kiith must achieve more of Subject Prosperity before all other kiithid, as the word of its existence has reached others. It is for the sake of our cult.
According to our dutiful calculators, our ultimate success lies in subjugating the mind of the omniscient specimen as this being has the ultimate knowledge… beyond… all. This being... must be subdued. The Kiith Amaj lacks supremacy… but possesses vital connections to outer corporations. We will make further use of these… fools. We will also not let this Dislocation hinder our plans. We must reinitiate the combine with the Bentusi Enclave."

"Forgive my forwardness, my 'Pitet", the echoing voice of the female calculator replied, "but I must advise my 'Pitet of my… initiative."
"What is it? What have you done, 'Nij?"

There was a hesitant pause before Kiitaiku answered, "K-Kiith'Pitet, following my calculations, I have dispatched an encrypted transwave message to our disciples of the Cult S'Jet within Hiigara's Reach featuring my inciting thoughts concerning about the Vjel-Amaj. I have dispatched this message before the Dislocation's arrival, my Pitet.
Our disciples of the Core Systems and our spies among the paths to Hiigara should receive the message with very high chance of success and will react appropriately to your will. Greatest success shall be approved by the same faction and leader who discovered the Subject. This will further allow our allies to adapt to our intentions."
The daunting superior paused, leaving a long silence among the neural links.

"Thoughtful, 'Nij Kiitaiku. You have reacted. Our disciples already know what to do accordingly to the ultimate attention. Our intention follows 'Cause and Effect' Theory, making them react appropriately… which leads me once more to a serious appeal, hasty child!", he replied threateningly to her, " Never act prematurely and undermine my kiithid voice again, or I will… silence… you. Eternally."

Even her hideous brother silenced. Unlike her pertly sister, he knew when to speak - and when not.
"*Egad* F-Forgive my sins…", she stuttered fearfully. Unfortunately, the girl actually calculated her superior to be more thankful and complementing... a miscalculation.

The shrouds were slowly freeing her as the unknown urge entrusted her willpower… No… It was not willpower. The physical body and mysterious psyche were both excited and bewildered by fear.

It was not soothing salvation that was calming her mind, but apparently, the Kadeshi girl was suddenly learning that she need not to repel what aggressively intruded her. Despite the frightening emotions of drowning, the existence known Dislocation was not assimilating her. It was not an 'anomaly', as the bound minds would say, so recalled the reminiscences of the will. Alas, Aira sensed the Amaji that believed in her were desperate but slowly succeeding in their attempts of support.

Path… Destination…

Yet, the blaring dirges of the Dislocation was a frightful one…

"You got it! Keep it right there! *oof!", Sunoga mentioned before feeling another heavy impact upon the ship.

Shockingly, the ships' only barely grazed the energetic whip with a gleaming flash and yet it still caused serious tremor. Several minutes went by as both pilots began to support each other. There were still arguments between the stubborn and the shy, but both were unknowingly adapting to each another's abilities, albeit barely.

Fenna's limbs frequently knocked all sophisticated controls and rows secondary pedals as Kelsea concentrated on discovering the ethereal obstacles.

"CLEAR PATH DETECTED!", Kenta suddenly shouted, "Kelsea, you found a way!"

The nervous Ensign still stared upon the screen. Indeed, for the first time in her life, she unknowingly achieved the complicated algorithm in how to find viable evasive navigational paths - one of thousand theories and procedures of hyperspace navigation. Many operative included their vital input of information and support, finally giving both pilots useful suggestive guidelines.

Aside to the discovery, the ships' wavefronts were slowly harmonizing with the destructive forces. Only a selected few could guess that this had to do with Aira, but there was no feasible explanation or time for thorough speculations.

I… understand.

"Breakthrough! Fenna - Follow Kelsea's guide! You can do it! This is our chance!"

They did not have to say that again. The ship rumbled like never before as Fenna evoked all of her strengths to lastly push the specific controls forward, causing the hyperspace module of the Vjel-Amaj to induce massive output into the primary wavefronts.

Several waypoints featuring fuzzy 'hoops' and blinking symbols appeared on her screen, narrowing the troublesome flight with the best route out of the mess; a major trajectory, a long path with several red blinking hoops, meaning that time was the greatest factor to compete against.

Fenna gained all her wits, "Kelsea!", she repeated three times until the nervous Ensign gave her attention, "I'll take over all primary functions and - Frakk it You just concentrate on the secondary wavefronts of our frigates and the stabilizers! I can't take care of all this stuff so do as I demand! Got it?!"
The ship frequently bounced up and down.

"…"
"Leave the big thing to me - GOT IT?!", she barked once more.
Kelsea finally nodded and adjusted her controls and authorities to the given request.

Outside, the wavefronts of the three vessels sailed upon the dislocation mass consisting of blackish waves, violent storms, whips of energy negating with the endless hyperspace maelstrom and warped forces. Awkward waves clashed upon each another, but just before the ultimate occurrence amidst the twisted perspectives, the single star of the combine wavefronts would dash by.

All eyes witnessed the vessels merely surfing upon the twisted forces of mass as the arcing main screens revealed several wild spins and rotational lapses. All bodies sensed the gravity fields lagging; the primary inertia stabilizer failing slightly, causing the noticeable force of powerful acceleration.
The blaring dirges began to fade, but were still existent.

As her presence returned to normality slowly, the mysterious girl felt the cold shiver slipping upon her skin again - a reaction, then the so-called 'goosebumps'. She trembled slightly as the warped embrace slowly fade and loosened its grip upon her psyche.

After minutes of violent tremor, the combined wavefront, merely being an atomic dot somewhere upon dislocation fields' vast region, entered the major trajectory as the blackish remains dissolved into the surroundings of hyperspace. Feeling the change, everybody spotted the arcs upon the screen slowly freeing its distortions. Despite the blue maelstrom of Hyperspace being a wild one, the ships' flight became calmer at the very moment the breakthrough succeeded, finally free of the blackish storm.

The view became once again one of the amazing ones that brought spectacular sighting of the endless surreal galaxy within hyperspace. Understanding certain theories, Kenta learned that the dead-zone between edge of the star systems' gravity reach and hyperspace's true existence offered short unaffected observations.

Bubbles, dots and other gravimetric entities of galaxy and matter would be visible for several seconds before the vessels' wavefronts would breach into the maelstrom of hyperspace and be shrouded by its world. There was far too much to see, leaving her only the short time of making snapshots with her photographic systems.

Nervous cheers sounded throughout the bridge - and surely throughout every deck of the three ships.

Though having sworn not to look back, the Kadeshi girl dared to make a glimpse upon the path behind, spotting the trail of dissolving fields and the constellation of seven stars gathering within a shroud of darkish squall. The blustery storms vanished, leaving the girl's consciousness upon stable wavefronts, feeling the winds of hyperspace whipping upon her.

The throbbing within her body was still present but was not as wild and erratic like before as Aira shortly awoke within the darkened bridge. She was still in control of the hyperjump and the combined fields. Rush and hisses sounded in her ears; the sound of Hyperspace Winds gushing passed the ship. It was different than usual. Calmer, as if she were gliding upon its streams with wings.

Alike the Kadeshi girl, whose consciousness returned to reality, many worries emerged as the crew became aware of a certain fact: Once again, they were leaving their Homeworld behind, hoping they would return soon...

"We… We have left the Amaji Constellation and its gravitational realm", Kenta reported with a note of concern.
The bridge silenced albeit the occasional noises of rocking equipment.

"Oh my… Kenta, look how fast we are flying?"

Despite the view limiting view as the Vjel-Amaj and its allying frigates ventured beyond the Amaji Constellation, it was noticeable that the fabrics of hyperspace flowing past them was astonishingly fast - not to mention the numbers of stars and gravitational realm bubbles moving an unusual rate.

"Holy", Quan added, "I guess our 9 hour calculation is nonsense… at this rate."
"Probably the wrong time for this, but you people done great! Great work", Drayson complimented, "*Aehm*, I mean, officers and operatives."

Several nods and hand gestures thanked him. This was such a weird crew. Despite successfully achieving his degree from the academy and other institutions, none trained him for such developments. Observing the operatives resembling the cadets he was trained with, they all revealed thoughts alike his, wondering if they were even fitting. They hardly could do anything remarkable alike the primary crew. Upon all, they only could guess that more was yet to come...