By: Me, Tato Warlord Shank ate with a spoon. Seriously. He had eaten with a spoon all of his life. While the other warlords had used forks and knives, he had eaten with a spoon, which had claimed him to be powerful. He had managed to eat every meal with a spoon, and for that, people had looked up to him with the up most respect. To eat with a spoon instead of a fork or even a knife was very difficult, especially when eating worms. They would manage to crawl off of the spoon, and so it would take hours for any Warlord to eat with a spoon. But not Warlord Shank. Warlord Shank had spent so many years eating with a spoon that he had overcome the urge to eat with a fork. Which brings us to this present day.... Warlord Shank quickly walked along the corridors of the Spung ship, eyeing each and every guard with a careful eye. He continued to walk through the ship’s halls until he finally reached a door that was directly in front of him. “Open,” he growled, and the door quickly complied. He stepped inside to an elevator. “Close. Floor 6, section two,” he said, looking very upset. The door swiftly closed and the elevator made a humming sound. It only took several seconds to react, then it stopped and opened. Warlord Shank stepped out and walked down another identical hall. He chose each path with ease and soon reached his destination. He glanced at a panel to the side and punched in a small code. The door then opened and he stepped in. The door closed behind him and he walked to a large looking chair behind a metallic desk. He walked to his chair and sat down in it, with a sigh. He leaned his head back, resting it upon the back of the chair. Normally, a Spung would need a full night’s sleep of 4 hours. However, Warlord Shank had only managed to get 3, and so he felt ten times worse than he normally did. His lack of sleep was beginning to get to him. He had gotten very little sleep these past few weeks, and his mind was starting to go along with it. He knew exactly why he had been losing sleep. It was because of those blasted children of the alien ship. He growled in disgust as the thought of them crossed his mind. How could they have escaped the grasp of the great Warlord Shank?? No other had before, and it was an outrage to both him and the Spung race. The Spung had been known for being powerful. The only war they had ever lost was the Spung/Andromedan War, and many claimed that it was because of slacking from some of the great Spung Warlords that had been in battle. Warlord Shank had felt partially responsible for the loss of the War, but knew all too well that he had nothing to do with it. He had been a young Spung warrior at the time, and he had only been in training for being a Warlord. Still, though, almost every Warlord who had been alive in that time felt responsible, and so they taught their guards and others who worked for him never to slack, even when the opponent’s defeat was showing. Warlord Shank had worked hard to train his men, and he had gaining much respect from it. Then, he had married the Spung empire’s queen, and became even more respected than that. Shortly afterwards, however, she had died from “mysterious” reasons, and he was left to the throne. However, in the Spung empire, even one of royal blood was not excused from fighting battles or reeking havoc in the universe. So, Warlord Shank sat in his office, rubbing the temples of his head, and planning an encounter with the Christa’s crew. An encounter he planned to win. Warlord Shank sighed and viewed his throne room. His office served as both a throne room and a place of business. He looked over to a panel next to him, and pressed in a small code, obviously for communication. He then pressed another button down and began to speak. “Brug!! Get in here,” Shank said hastily, then let go of the button. A moment later came a reply. “Yes sir,” a deep, heavy set voice hissed. Shank sighed, tapping his finger on his desk, and waiting impatiently for the Spung guard to get there. Finally, the door opened. “You wanted to see me, sir?” Brug inquired with a bow. “Yes,” Shank said with a nod. “Go for Warlord Shank’s daughter, and bring her to him,” Shank said, throwing his head back. “Yes sir,” Brug replied, and he quickly exited the room. Warlord Shank impatiently tapped his finger against his rather large looking desk. ‘Imbeciles,’ he thought to himself as he thought of his guards, ‘Those blasted guards couldn’t be any slower.’ He sighed heavily as his eyes wandered around the room at the dull, every day scenery he had always seen. ‘Such a dull room,’ he pondered quietly as he awaited his guards. ‘Far too bright too. Maybe Warlord Shank will get Brak to come in here and do something about it -- ah, what is Warlord Shank thinking? That idiot couldn’t do anything for this room. His room is an absolute MESS. Perhaps Warlord Shank will do it himself....’ Shank gave another heavy sigh as he looked at the doorway. As his eyes began to drift once again, he heard the doors open, and his daughter walked in, looking very liberal and independent -- as she normally did. “Ah, daughter, lovely to see you this morning,” Shank said, smiling. Elmira rolled her eyes. “Uh huh. What do you need?” she asked bitterly. “Why do you think Warlord Shank is always asking for something from you?” Warlord Shank inquired curiously, a wry grin spread across his face. Elmira sighed heavily. “Right, you wanted to spend ‘quality time’ with me, right? Which means have lunch with me and then ask for a favor. So spare me the lunch, and just ask the favor.” “My, you are the feisty one, aren’t you?” “Always have been,” Elmira replied tartly. Shank nodded. He had to agree with that. He had always had trouble getting her to obey his orders -- in fact, the only way she would is if he threatened the life of some poor wretch working for them or perhaps even a prisoner. Yes, he had many difficulties dealing with her, and stopped counting how many times he had to run after her after another attempt to run away. Sometimes, he pondered letting her go. However, she was his daughter, and although they hardly got along, he still felt a fatherly feeling with her -- even if she felt she had no relation to him. Also, if something were to happen to the Surrola, he would be held responsible. There was no other child after Elmira, and he had to preserve her safety. When she would run off out into space, she was taking a large risk. Any other race could capture her for ransom, or even hurt her. Although she was an oracle, he felt that she still needed watching. And now, both father and daughter stood face to face, eyeing one another carefully. Finally, Elmira spoke. “So, the favor?” she inquired, looking as if she had other business to attend. “Oh yes...well, Warlord Shank does hate to ask you this, but he’s sent a crew to Callisto - 1769. They haven’t returned yet, and he was hoping to inquire their whereabouts.” Elmira nodded. “Not to worry, they’re fine. Their ship crash landed, but they got it up and running, and they’ll be returning in an hour,” Elmira stated flatly. Shank stood, very impressed. Normally, she would have to do some sort of concentration, but this time, she had the information with her! How was it done? “My, very impressive, daughter. Your powers are becoming strong,” he commented. “Not really,” Elmira said shaking her head. “They sent a message about an hour ago. They told me everything that happened.” Elmira cracked a smile. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go,” Elmira replied, and she quickly left the room. * * * * * * Elmira walked into her room, sitting in front of her screen. She smiled a broad grin and began typing in several keys and terms. She was in the Killcruiser’s data bank. This was her 36th time in this data bank, and this was how she’d plan her escape. She had escaped her father far too many times to count. However, this time would be different. She had talked to one of the workers on the killcruiser, and they had told her precisely how to deactivate her royal retrieval chip -- in reward for being so kind to them. That person, who would remain nameless, had even helped her deactivate it, and now all she needed was an escape plan. Planning her escapes seemed to get harder as every day passed. She would have to pick a time to escape. Normally, she’d choose late at night when her father was asleep. But as time went on, her father came to realize when she would leave, and posted more guards at each station. This frustrated her more, but she learned to become more crafty. Elmira carefully looked over each guard and where they were stationed. It seemed to be that the least amount of guards there seemed to be in the afternoon at precisely 1500 hours. Perfect! Her father would be eating lunch at that time, it was perfect! A smile creased her face as she realized that she would, after months, be able to make another escape! She quickly exited the data bank and started rushing around the room in search for her equipment. She hastily opened her top drawer and dug through the many personal items piled inside. She then pulled out a small device -- a stunning gun. A stunning gun was meant to stun any Spung (or any other race for that matter). Elmira had never used it in her means of escape until now. She saved it for complete emergencies. This WAS considered an emergency -- and if she could escape successfully, then she could be free from the clutches of her father! She sat down on her bed. She still had several hours before she could leave, and she had much to prepare!! * * * * * * Warlord Shank shook his head at his laid out schedule. He had meetings, plans, and Command duty to run all in one day. The one decent thing on his list seemed to be lunch, and he knew what they were serving -- how he hated what they served. One would think that a royal warlord of the Spung Empire would get a variety in his meals, but instead, he got the same thing every other day. The one thing that had once been his favorite food was now something he rolled his eyes about. Of course, being the warlord of she ship, he could easily threaten the lives of a few people and get his way -- and he had tried it! However, the Spung hardly had time to look and drop by planets merely for a food change, so he stuck with his miserable meal. Warlord Shank set his schedule down as he tried to shake the thoughts of his lunch out of his mind. He would normally skip that meal strictly to not taste the routine food, but he hardly had a choice, seeming he’d be having it the next time anyway. Shank slumped down into his hard chair. His question hadn’t been how the crew was doing. He could’ve really cared less about his crew. Most of them were too stupid to make up their own minds, and Warlord Shank had hoped they’d get lost or fall into an endless pit -- anything to get them out of his hair. It hadn’t at all surprised him that they crash landed. It was one of the main reasons he’d never put them in the Command deck. In fact, he normally kept them from any real jobs that needed to be done. He knew all too well that if he put them in the hands of those moronic guards, he’d never have the task done. So when the guards heard they were going on an expedition, they all seemed rather excited about the mission. Of course, the mission was no more than to grab a few minerals so Shank wouldn’t have to waste his time going there himself. Even guards like them couldn’t fumble that one up, and if they did, well then there was no great loss. No, Warlord Shank’s question had nothing to do with his crew, but rather his meals. It was a rather embarrassing question, but he was getting tired of his repetitive meals, and was hoping she could make a prediction on when they would be changed. However, he decided to keep his question hidden away. After all, only a soft warlord would complain about the meals. And Warlord Shank was anything but soft. Shank quickly looked up as he saw several Spung Warlords walk in. He glanced at his schedule, then sighed. The first meeting with the other Warlords was about to begin. He didn’t need Elmira to make one prediction -- he would soon be very bored. * * * * * Surrola Elmira, Spung princess of the Spung Empire, walked along the twisted corridors, looking very content. This particular expression always meant she was deep in thought, on a walk around the ship. She had always complained about how stuffy her room had gotten at times, and seeming she was princess, she scheduled a certain time to roam the ship. Each warlord knew this was her time to explore, and so they left her to her curiosity, keeping a careful eye on her to make sure she wouldn’t get into trouble. However, she had been very good with not getting into trouble, and so most guards were lenient on where she had managed to roam. Elmira carefully walked inside the control room. She greeted the five bored-looking Spung guards on the Command deck, and each groaned in response to her chipper welcome. She ran her fingers along the buttons of the ship, but hardly any guard paid attention to her. Most thought that since she was a girl, she was incompetent of doing any harm. Most ignored the fact that she managed to slip through each Spung guard’s grasp many times before in her previous attempts to escape with ease, and so this made her task easier. The male Spung’s ignorance was at amazing standards. While Elmira had craftily escaped the grasp of the guards many times before, each male Spung still held onto their male pride. And so, Elmira merely ran her fingers along the various buttons, as if she were only doing it for the feel of them. As soon as she reached the alarm systems for the docking bay, however, with a flick of her fingers, she pressed down on it quickly ,turning it off. This fast motion was barely noticeable for the others, and so Elmira finished her stroll through the buttons. She then left the room, then exhaled deeply. She had finally turned the alarms off, but she had many more things to do -- and little time to do it. * * * * * * “And now, I would like to discuss the, uh...new wardrobe change for the newest Spung guards,” one Warlord spoke up. The meeting was droning on, and each and every topic became more and more unbearable. As he listened to each of his colleagues in reeking havoc, he sighed at the ridiculous amounts of comments. Here they were, the greatest, most powerful warlords in the entire galaxy, and what were they doing? Talking about a new wardrobe. Warlord Shank’s mind began to drift once again, as his thoughts went on to pleasant foods... * * * * * * Elmira sat in her room, staring at the screen of her miniature computer. She had been searching the sky with a transmission device for over an hour, and found nothing to be found. Frustration within her grew as each minute passed by, each time, finding nothing. Several false alarms involving hidden colonies had been found, but nothing of any interest. They’ve got to be out there somewhere... Elmira thought to herself, keeping her eyes locked to the screen. She sighed in frustration, then turned away from the computer. There must be another way of doing this, she thought to herself. Suddenly, an idea hit her. While she had been on the Christa, she had formed a bond with the mysterious ship that no one had known about. If she could somehow put her consciousness out to find the Christa, she could ask the glamorous ship for the coordinates of their direction, and intercept the ship at any time! It was brilliant! Excited by her new born idea, Elmira rushed to her bed and lay down. She closed her eyes, and concentrated deeply on the ship and the crew. Within moments, she was in a trance that no one could break.... * * * * * * “I think that, uh, covers everything,” the Spung warlord stated, sitting down in his seat. Warlord Shank had been in agony listening to an entire hour of a Spung warlord’s opinion. How nauseating it was that he had to sit through such dull things, when his stomach growled so. How agonizing it was to listen to his stomach, and yet know it’s fate of his next meal! He knew all too well what he was going to have for lunch that day, and hadn’t been particularly thrilled. Still, anything was better than this meeting, and finally, the meeting was ending. “Does anyone else have anything to say?” Shank spoke up, sounding authoritative. Silence. “Good. Then report to your stations. Warlord Shank has some business to attend to, then he will join you.” And with that, each and every Warlord exited the room. * * * * * * Warlord Shank walked down the corridors of the twisted hallways, looking as he always did -- miserable. Of course, there was no Spung that looked even partially happy, so this was a look mirrored by every Spung warrior. Yet, there was something different about Warlord Shank’s expression. He looked particularly distressed and angered. By what, nobody knew. Warlord Shank hardly knew what he was upset about, only that he hated this particular day. There was a distinct smell of something bound to go wrong lurking in the atmosphere. Warlord Shank hated his orderly terrorism to get out of order, and that’s what he felt was going to happen. After minutes of trudging down the hallways, he reached his destination. He stood in front of a doorway with a small panel next to it. Warlord Shank randomly pressed several buttons, then the door opened. He entered and turned to his right to see his daughter, Elmira, lying on her bed, apparently asleep. “Daughter,” she shouted, hoping this would get her attention. But she lay still. “Surrola,” he addressed her, and still, she did not respond. She’s probably in a trance, again, he thought to himself, growing frustrated. It seemed that she was in a trance more and more frequently, and Warlord Shank’s curiosity was beginning to get the best of him. He often wondered what she was seeing, and if it were any importance to the empire. She would never tell him, unless he asked her what happened in her visions, so he simply left her be. After all, she was probably putting her consciousness into some place she wished she could be, as she often did. Warlord Shank turned to leave. There was no point in waiting for her to come out of it, it could be hours. As he opened the door to leave, he heard a voice from behind. “Is there something you needed, father?” Elmira asked. Warlord Shank turned to face his daughter. She was now sitting upright, looking fully awake. “Yes, well...Warlord Shank was hoping you’d answer a question for him...” he hesitated. Elmira smiled. It had been an incredibly long time since he had seen his daughter smile. It somewhat pleased Warlord Shank, even though the slightest feeling of pleasure made him sick. “Yes, Father, we’re going on a food run tomorrow morning. You wont have to worry about the lack of variety in meals, they’re starting new varieties when we get the food.” Warlord Shank nodded, satisfied. Inside, he was having a party. He was CELEBRATING the new food! But he couldn’t let anyone know how grateful he was for it, so he maintained his behavior. “Thank you,” he said with a nod. “Speak of this to no one.” “Of course not, father,” Elmira said, still smiling. Shank then turned and exited the room. Elmira quickly got up as the doors shut. She rushed to her computer panel and began to type rapidly until her screen brought up several different coordinates. “Yes!” Elmira responded happily. “Found ya!” She then closed down the program and began to get ready for her journey. Her timing was perfect. She had reviewed the guards and their positions earlier that day, she set off the alarm systems, and she had the perfect weapon to get through any Spung warrior who even tried to stop her. She shoved the stun gun inside her pocket and quickly exited the room. * * * * * * Warlord Shank sat down towards the front of the large table for his lunch. He looked to the others as if he were in a better mood than earlier, but no one could be sure of Warlord Shank. Warlord Shank would have such large mood swings sometimes that it was hard to tell how he was really feeling. He was a mystery to all on the ship, and that’s what made him so powerful. Warlord Shank had no secrets and had no hidden life. To everyone, his work was everything, and he had no other thoughts to his life. He was an admirable leader for all future Warlords. He sat down quietly and began to contently eat his food. He hardly spoke a word at the table, for he knew that this was going to be the last time he would have to eat this particular meal with a spoon. His next spoon challenges would come along, and he would eat every meal with a spoon, as he always did. No other Warlord was allowed to eat with a spoon. However, that was to keep them from looking like fools. Only Warlord Shank ate with spoons, and that was why he was considered so brilliant. He was able to eat anything with a spoon, even live worms. There was nothing that overcame him, and so all Spung warriors looked up to him. If they didn’t, they would be terminated by either Warlord Shank himself, or any other Spung who felt that it was an insult to their leader. Either way, the Spung community made sure that all respected Warlord Shank. And so, while each Spung warrior and Warlord gobbled down their food, they also kept one eye on Shank as he ate with his spoon. * * * * * * Elmira walked through the hallway past each guard. None bothered to ask where she was going, for they knew that they wouldn’t receive any answers. Elmira, always being known as the curious one, tended to walk in different directions with no particular reason. Perhaps it was that she wanted to explore different places that she hadn’t been to. She walked inside the elevator and turned to a Spung guard manning the elevator. “Floor 9 please,” she requested politely. “But...S-surrola, I cant let you through that deck. You know your father’s-s orders were not to let you through there.” Surrola Elmira stood patiently, not moving a muscle. “Please?” she asked quietly. “I cannot, S-surrola,” the guard insisted. Elmira quickly pulled out her stun gun and aimed. “Please?” she clarified, more as an order. The Spung guard stood, startled for a moment by her hasty action. How did he manage to get a weapon and hide it from her father? The Spung quickly put that thought in the back of his mind and started programming the elevator for the 9th floor. After a few moments, the elevator took off. It only took several seconds until the elevator came to a complete halt, and the doors quickly brushed open. “Thank you for your help,” Elmira said politely, stepping out. With one move of her finger to the small trigger, the Spung guard fell to the ground, his body completely stunned. She quickly programmed the elevator to take the fallen Spung to the first floor, then she trotted off as the elevator doors closed. Almost out... Elmira thought to herself as she raced past the empty corridors. Most guards had gone to take their short breaks, and, being the not so bright ones that they had shown themselves to be, they had taken their breaks in groups to converse with one another. At each sight of another guard, she would quickly stun them, and begin to rush towards her awaiting pod again. Her plan was perfect: She had turned the alarms off, picked the perfect opportunity to where both her father and the remaining Spung guards were unaware of her devious plan, and set a course ready for the pod all in one day! Not that his hadn’t happened before...she had done this one too many times, but it still never stopped her from trying again and again. With her royal retrieval chip removed, and no tracing mechanisms on her, she could finally be with her friends in a bit of peace. Finally, after minutes of rushing along the corridors, with few distractions, she reached the landing bay. This door was normally locked at all times, which could only be activated by a small card carried by Warlords. However, as she had given the small fortune of the Spung warriors on the planet, she had managed to snatch Warlord Shank’s card. She searched her bag furiously for the card, and after only a few moments of searching, she held the card up as if it were her most beloved prize. She slid the card through the small slot, and the small red light that hung over the door switched to green as the door slid open. Elmira threw the card in her bag, in case she was ever caught (after all, it was better to be safe than sorry, as Earthers put it), she would need it for later use. She then left the corridors and entered the vast area of the landing bay. Elmira stared in awe at the large surroundings. She had seen it many times before, but the Warlords had been having a meeting earlier that day, and she was amazed at the magnificent vessels they had stolen. She wasn’t proud of them for stealing the vehicles, but it still amazed her to see each different race and their unique designs. She quickly snapped out of her daze. There’s no time for dozing off, she thought to herself, the sooner I leave, the better! And with that, she entered her small transportation pod and started it up. She had no problem starting up her small vehicle. She had done so many times before, and she had studied the ingenuity of Spung designs (on her own time, of course). After meddling with several knobs and buttons, the pod began to power up, and seconds after that, she was off to find her friends. She punched in the coordinates that she had found from a message to the Christa, and then she sat back and relaxed.
* * * * * * Warlord Shank finished his meal with ease. Each Warlord that sat at the table was still amazed at his ability to eat with a spoon. They found it nearly impossible to do so, and to witness such an event was simply stunning to them. However, they tried their best not to stare, for they knew that Warlord Shank despised it when other warlords stared. He believed that it showed their true weaknesses when they were in awe at something, and if Warlord Shank said one thing, he was right. Warlord Shank rose from the table and walked out of the room without saying a word. He quietly down the silent corridors, past several threatening looking Spung guards and entered his quarters. He then dropped down into a chair nearby. He sighed heavily. What a long day he was having, and it still wasn’t over! He had 8 more hours of command post duty to look after, several torturing sessions to do, and he still had to visit his daughter once more to ask for the next day’s events. Being a head warlord of a Spung empire could sometimes be tiring, but he loved his work. Torturing people and seeing others in agony just brought up his day. To see that someone was more miserable than him was somewhat refreshing to him, and so he continued to torment people. After all, if he let down his guard and let ONE prisoner go, all the others would expect it, and he would get the reputation of being soft. He was FAR from soft. And so, he continued with his torture sessions. Warlord Shank quickly got up from his rather uncomfortable chair and exited the room, preparing for the torture room. She quickly walked to the elevator and pushed the button. He waited several seconds until the doors slid open. As he began to enter the small elevator, he stopped, shocked to see one of his own Spung guards lying on the floor, unconscious. After several shakes, and a small antidote to a stun gun (which he guessed which was, seeming he had no injuries on him), the guard groggily woke up. At the sight of Warlord Shank, he began to go frantic, finding that his life may be over. “I didn’t know, s-sir, I tried to s-stop her!! She s-stunned me with a gun, I don’t know how she got it!” he rambled on, looking distressed. “Who are you speaking of, foolish guard?” Warlord Shank demanded, looking rather confused. “Y-your daughter, s-sir, Surrola Elmira...” Warlord Shank quickly stood, now angered by the news. He then looked down upon the groveling Spung warrior. “YOU. Where did she go?? Tell me, and I shall spare your life!” “She left, s-sir. She went to deck 9.” Warlord Shank’s eyes widened, and he rushed away, heading towards the command post. * * * * * * Elmira quietly sat, steering the shuttle for the coordinates of her friends of the Christa. She could hardly wait to find her friends there, and the length of time it was taking to get her there seemed like an eternity. Finally, she saw the faint shape of the Christa. Almost there... she thought to herself. Just a little longer... * * * * * * Warlord Shank stormed into the command post as two bored looking guards turned to see who had entered. When they saw Shank in early, they quickly straightened things up, and prepared for a command. “Which one of you imbeciles left the alarms-s off, s-so Warlord Shank could not hear the alarms-s!” he shouted, outraged. Both guards stayed silent, slightly confused on what he was talking about. “And don’t play s-stupid with Warlord Shank, his-s daughter has-s es-scaped this ship once again!” They still stayed silent. “Well, S-SAY SOMETHING!” “We...we can contact her, s-sir,” one piped up. “You do that. Open this-s message to all S-spung frequencies.” Warlord Shank sat at his post, ready to speak. After seconds, the screen popped up, and Elmira sat, staring at her father. “Ah, so you’ve caught me, eh father?” Elmira asked, her mockery fully visible in the tone of her voice. “Daughter, turn back now,” Shank ordered, still slightly angered. “No,” she said simply. “Warlord Shank would wish you to come back NOW.” “No,” she repeated, even more firmly. “Barcly!” Shank shouted. A groveling Spung warrior quickly rushed up at the call of his name. “Activate S-surrola Elmira’s royal retrieval chip,” Shank ordered, a wry smile implanted on his face. Elmira returned the smile just as devilishly. “Go ahead, Barcly. Try it. Goodbye father.” And with that, the screen went dead. Warlord Shank only sat for a moment, hesitation throughout the entire room. Finally, he turned to Barcly. “Well, what are you waiting for!” “I have activated it, s-sire....there s-seems-s to be no respons-se,” Barcly concluded, knowing very well that this may be his life on the line for saying this. Warlord Shank slammed his fist to a control panel, and sparks flew everywhere. He simply ignored it and began pacing the room. “Barcly, get the coordinates-s of her vessel, and find out where she’s-s going,” Shank ordered. “I’ve tried that, s-sir...it s-seems-s that she’s-s been messing with the controls-s...the entire tracking s-system is-s shut down...it’ll take hours-s for us-s to get it back online,” Barcly informed Shank, slightly hesitant. This made Shank pace more and more, his frustration evident. Finally, he slammed his fist to the wall, creating a large hole, and he exited the room. “That little witch has-s es-scaped me again!!” Shank shouted in the corridors. “She WILL NOT get away!” All was quiet for several moments after that, and not a word was spoken. Finally a Spung at the control panels spoke. “I wonder where she went to?” he asked, breaking the silence. “Where do you think? Where she always-s goes-s...”the other replied, shaking his head. “Ah,” the first replied, “the ship.” * * * * * * Harlan, Radu, and Rosie sat in the command post, all three bored out of their minds. They had sat in silence for the last half hour, and couldn’t think of anything to say. Finally, Rosie piped up. “Incoming signal! Oh, yay!” Rosie shouted, looking excited. Both Harlan and Radu exchanged relieved glances, and Harlan motioned for Rosie to play the message. “Hello, Christa! Good to see you!” Elmira’s voice rang out. “Hey, it’s Elmira!” Radu stated happily. “Requesting permission to board?” Elmira asked, knowing the answer as to be a positive. “You bet!” Harlan piped up, just as excited as the others. “Oh, wait...don’t you think we should let Commander Goddard know?” Rosie asked. “Rosie, that’s only for people we DON’T know. Elmira’s not a stranger!” Harlan replied in a laid back manner. “Permission granted,” Radu shouted out. Harlan grinned, and all three retreated the command post to meet their friend. When Elmira landed, the entire crew was there to meet her. Even Commander Goddard and Ms Davenport were pleased to see her return, which surprised her seeming she had a problem taking their orders. Still, it was good to see the crew again, and good to be safe. For now, she had a place to stay, and a family to keep her company. Her most recent escape was her most clever, and she was very proud of herself for it. She still had an uneasy feeling, but that would soon pass once she settled in. But for now, she could be in peace with her friends. The End...for now. :o) And the fish ran away from the spoon!