"The Ritz and the Wrongs"
Written by: Erin Weinstock
Novelization verison by: Reba Grayladyfalcon
I don't hold any of the copyrights in this story, and this story was made without profit.

A space ship is drifting through space. A saucer shape cut in a ring, its center opening is very wide. On its outside it's lined with lights that are not lit. The ship has been badly damaged. There's another ship near it. It has the same design as the disabled ship. This ship is fully functional with no damage. In the center of it filling out the ring shape, is a red glow fluttering around it.. It looks beautiful, like some type of odd gemstone with electricity fluttering throughout it.

"The Daffo has been located at last, drifting through the Altaira Galaxy." Aleekeyta hesitated while she looked over the ship's outer hull. "Unfortunately it appears to have suffered a horrible amount of damage, cause unknown. My most trusted crew and myself have vowed to investigate this," Aleekeyta said.

The ship that isn't damaged moves to being above the other ship. The red center of the ship, while still staying in contact with the ship, dips down onto the other ship, looking like a drop of water that wants to separate from its source. Once the droplet bulb of the red is touching the other ship on top of one of the gashes, some of the droplet dips down into the ship.

"Due to the massive gashes in the hull, it is highly likely this ship no longer has any short of atmosphere to it. So we're going to be entering it wearing protective suits and oxygen containing helmets. Even though it's very unlikely we'll find anyone left alive, at the very least we'll find out who manned this ship, so their next of kin and the Thorcomen Defense Administration will know who was lost," Aleekeyta said.

Aleekeyta and the crew of five enter the damaged ship. Their spot lights searching through out the ship.

"What could have done this? Those gashes look like something only an animal could have done," Riokti asked.

"I have a suspicion, but it seems wrong for me to even think it," Aleekeyta replied.

"What is your suspicion that you so strongly suspect is wrong?" Maz asked looking over towards Aleekeyta.

"Something the Thorcomen Defense Administration has never had to deal with before," Aleekeyta replied glancing over at Maz.

"You don't think?" Maz asked with a concerned look.

"It's very unlikely, but nonetheless they are still a threat in this galaxy," Aleekeyta replied.

"Admiral," Riokti said pointing a flashlight at a door with dim light seeping out at its bottom.

The search team made their way to the conference room, and slowly opened the door. Inside they find aliens. Looking inside the helmet they can see their faces. Two sets of eyes that look insect-like, nearly no nose. And a mouth that has a normal size lower lip, but the upper one is fat and wide, covered with thick bristled hair.

"It's nice to know the ship didn't lose.." Aleekeyta stopped as her eyes focused on a chair that was in front of her. Sitting in the chair was a Loumis. The head has a Mohawk running down it. The Mohawk look goes for the other Loumis as well. Mouth and eyes open, obviously dead, with an information transmitter on his forehead. Aleekeyta walks over to the sitting Loumis. "All of its power." Aleekeyta hesitates. "Riokit, Maz, Simqa, Culat, I want you to detach the hardware this one is hooked up to, and take it back to the ship. Pearlsa, you and me, we'll search the ship for anyone else who might be able to lend us a clue as to what happened here," Aleekeyta ordered as she turned to walk away.

In the operations room of the other ship. Two technicians are packing up the tools they used to install the other ship's hardware into this ship. Aleekeyta and Maz are watching from a slight distance.

"The setup has been completed, Admiral Aleekeyta. Is there anything else here you'll be needing me for?" Tech one asked.

"There will be nothing more. You can continue about your normal business," Aleekeyta replied.

"Thank you, Admiral," Tech one replied. The two technicians take hold of their belongings and left.

"Shall I recall the final minutes?" Maz asked.

"There's no need to ask that, Maz. Go ahead, we need to find out what happened to that ship," Aleekeyta replied.

Maz punches a few buttons on the ship's hardware. Suddenly the new hardware lights up, and a screen jumps up into the air. At first it's flickering black and gray. Then an image quickly forms of a Loumis talking in the center of the screen. The Loumis is waved away, behind him is a window looking out into outer space. Next to the window a human male in his late 20's or early 30's can be seen talking to the Loumis. The man stops talking and turns to the window like he's being told to look at it. The human sees what looks like a star moving towards the ship, becoming larger as it moves. The man turns back to the Loumis he was speaking to and starts to speak again and then starts to run.

Then the screen flickers black then gray before a new image comes up. Theimage is another screen that shows the object that is headed for the ship. It looks like a ball of light growing in size as it forms out a shape. As it moves along, it forms itself out into looking like a hawk with no truly outlined shape.As the hawk moves along it forms out legs and feet containing talons. The image grows in size till it fills the screen. The screen flickers once again black then gray before the last image comes up. On the screen the Loumis is raising the information transmitter to his forehead, and placing it.


Chapter 1

In Huer's Office. Huer stands next to where Dr. Theopolis's face is built into the wall.

"I won't have it!" Huer shouts.

"The rest of the Computer Council and myself don't agree with that doctor. Our conclusion is sound. All that remains to be done is to make the agreement a truly valid one with the Thorcomen Defense Administration," Theopolis replies.

"Still, Dr. Theopolis, there must be some way this can be prevented! We may be allies with the Thorcomen Defense Administration, but the Defense Directorate must stand alone, by itself in matters such as this!" Huer replies.

"I don't understand your point in saying that, Dr. Huer. Please clarify for me why you believe that to be so?" Theopolis asked.

"We're allies with the Loumis, with the Thorcomen Defense Administration, and have been for a hundred and ten years, ever since we first came into contact with them in the battle of the Norcame. And they've fought by our side time and time again since. But we must stand by ourselves in control, because if they were ever to deter from being our allies and became our foes, then where would that leave us, Theopolis?" Huer asked. Huer hesitates for a moment. "It gives them a means of power over us that leaves us in no control of our own actions in combat! That's why I won't have it, doctor!" Huer said loudly.

"I see your point now, Dr. Huer, but still I cannot speak for the rest of the council on that. Although there is something to your point that does worry me in itself," Theopolis replied.

"And what would that be?" Huer asked.

"Well a saying Captain Rogers once used on me, and I asked him to explain it to me." Theopolis hesitated for a slight moment. "Don't you think you're jumping the gun on one this? Meaning, thinking of something that could be that may well won't," Theopolis replied..

"An interesting saying, and I understand its point. But I stand by my word nonetheless. Theopolis," Huer replied.

"Remember this is not official yet. Maybe, if you really feel so strongly about this, you could convince them this takeover of the Defense Directorate is really just simply an unwarranted act. But still remember, Dr. Huer, we in the Computer Council do not truly agree with you on this. This attack is the first the Thorcomen Defense Administration has dealt with. There still might be many more in the future to follow it," Theopolis said.

"That attack is something I'm sure their media will milk for ages to come. The term "Unknown Eagle" was coined due to attacks that up until now have only been on Earth ships. And even then, only Earth ships carrying Humans. We don't know where these ships come from, or who's in control of them," Huer said as he walks around his office. He stops and turns to face Theopolis again. "Dr. Theopolis, I'd like to speak to them personally. Try to change their minds on the matter by them seeing with their own eyes what I mean to do," Huer said.

"And who is it of the Thorcomen Defense Administration that you'd like to have a word with?" Theopolis asked.

The war room is a large room, surrounded by windows that normally in a time of war have panels coming off from the ceiling to cover them. But for now the sun is shining in through them. The silhouette of Huer stands at one looking out. Behind him is an island table with a painting on it that shows our solar system and many that lie out beyond it. The table also is littered in numbers spread out all over it. Admiral Aleekeyta is standing behind the table and watches Huer.

"Hello Elias, it's been a long time since the last time we met here," Aleekeyta said in a warm and friendly voice.

Huer turns to face her. "I know, Admiral Aleekeyta. Meeting with you here, my reason for it..." Huer stops after Aleekeyta interrupts him.

"Elias, I know you too well. I know why you wanted me here," Aleekeyta replied. Huer reaches up with his right hand and rubs his head. "You don't want the Thorcomen Defense Administration to take control of Earth's Defense Directorate. And you want to convince me the takeover is a bad choice," Aleekeyta said.

"All of our ships have known for ages not to enter the Altaira Galaxy," Huer replied.

"But you've still sent ships," Aleekeyta replied.

"No, the Defense Directorate has not sent any ships. The only Earth ships that have gone out that way are ships that are independent of any Directorate. To what I've heard they've just been single passenger ships and research ones, some of them even loaded for bear," Huer explained.

"And that is what the Thorcomen Defense Administration intends to put an end to. That no Earth ships enter the Altaira Galaxy at all. That nothing like the incident with the Daffo ever happens again,"Aleekeyta replied.

"That isn't what the Defense Directorate was set up to do. Aleekeyta, we don't see it as our job here to try to control people's movements. It was one of your ships that had a human crew member on it, not one of ours," Huer said.

"Elias, this was not my decision, it was the Thorcomen Defense Administration's decision. They only sent me because it was my ship that found the Daffo, also because we know each other and trust each other's decisions. If you can convince me the Thorcomen Defense Administration is wrong. Then they'll talk with your Computer Council over this matter, and put an end to this takeover talk," Aleekeyta said.

"Aleekeyta, we may be friends who have had many good times in the past, and I hope we still will have many good times to come after this. But while you're here on Earth my only focus now with you is going to be the job at hand. Understood?" Huer asked looking in to Aleekeyta eyes.

"Doctor, there is nothing here you need to do to convince me," Aleekeyta replied.

"But what you said a moment ago?" Huer asked.

"If this takeover happens it will mean the Defense Directorate's and the Defense Administration's staff will be mixed together. While I'm here I'll be observing how some of my Defense Administration's staff gets along with your staff," Aleekeyta explained.

"And how will that be done?" Huer asked with a confused expression on his face.

"Elias, before I go any further with this I'd like to tell you that what I'm about to tell you was approved by your Computer Council before I even set foot on Earth soil today," Aleekeyta said.

"Spill it, Alee," Huer said watching her.

"You are not to tell anyone in your staff about this, but cameras have been set up throughout the whole of the Defense Directorate to do this," Aleekeyta informed Huer.

Huer's mouth opens in shock. then after a moment to think. "Does your staff know about this?" Huer asked.

"They don't know and I'm never going to tell the," Aleekeyta replied.

"Are the cameras running now?" Huer asked.

"Yes," Aleekeyta replied.

Buck, Fox, and Flash are sitting at a table eating dinner in the Defense Directorate's food court.

"I had four female Loumises with me! Four! Can either of you tell me you've ever beaten that?" Flash asked.

"Flash, in all honesty I can tell you I've never slept with four Loumises. Or even one for that matter," Buck replies.

"You don't know what you're missing," Flash said with a smile on his face.

"You'll sleep with anything on two legs, won't you, Flash?" Fox asked.

"You're right, and I'll also sleep with things that have four legs as well," Flash replied chuckling.

"You're sick!" Buck replied shaking his head.

"A Ked, Buck! I meant a Ked by that! Buck, what have you done since you woke up in this century?" Flash asked jokingly.

"I've done lots, what are you asking about?" Buck asked.

"I meant how many women have you slept with?" Flash asked glancing over at Buck while taking a bit of food.

"Why are you asking me this?" Buck asked glancing up at Flash.

"I'm just wondering. The only people I ever really see you hanging around are De-Pas and Fox here," Flash said with a grin.

"I'm not...I had a girlfriend back in the 21st century. And I have been trying to get a girlfriend in this century. I just haven't had any real luck in it," Buck replied.

"Oh. So you now, Fox?" Flash asked looking over at Fox.

"I like women. They just don't like me," Fox replied lowering his head.

Flash goes into a look of deep thought, rubs his chin. "You know, you two are just about the saddest pair of bachelors I've ever seen. And you know what I'd really like to see happen for the two of you?" Flash asked.

"Please tell me you're thinking with a clean mind right now Flash?" Buck asked.

"Oh my mind is being clean right now for once. Tell you guys what. If either of you can get dates with any of the Thorcomen Defense Administration's staff, I'll give you guys any of my music chips, any ones you want. I have hundreds," Flash replied grinning at Buck and Fox.

"Tom Petty? AC/DC? Kid Rock?" Buck asked with smile.

"Huh?" Flash said looking at Buck with a confused look on his face.

"Beethoven? Frank Sinatra? Green Day?" Fox asked.

"Never heard of them ... I'll have to check, I have many chips," Flash replied.

Wilma, Dantin, Thomas, and Jade are sitting at another table close by. Wilma shakes her head watching and listening to Buck, Fox, and Flash.

"You find something wrong with what they're doing with their time off?" Dantin asked.

"You mind if I speak my mind right now, Major?" Wilma asked.

"Go ahead," Dantin replied smiling.

"They're boars. They're just a pack of boars," Wilma replied.

"All of them are boars? What about Rogers?" Dantin asked glancing over at Buck.

"What about Buck?" Wilma asked.

"Ever since you came back from that mission you, him, and Taindair had on Sanopp, you've been acting different towards him. Now it's my understanding from what I've been told of that event, that for the most part on that mission, you two weren't working together. What happened? And oh yeah, you've been acting even more different now towards him still. Word gets around, I heard something a little while ago about you two having to make a crash landing on Otie Nine. Wilma, you used to hate that man," Dantin said watching Wilma's expression.

"Nothing happened that's of importance to the Directorate," Wilma replied taking a sip of her drink.

"The way you interact with him, that's of importance to the Directorate," Jade replied.

"Guys, all that happened in those events is my viewpoint on the man changed. He, he's a better person than the one I thought he was at first, that's all," Wilma replied glancing over at Buck.

"And you're now calling him a boar?" Dantin asked.

"Guys, this is none of your business," Wilma said lowering her head and looking at her drink.

"You don't like what he just agreed to with Flash and Fox. You don't want to see him date another woman," Dantin said.

"That is such an ignorant way of looking at what those three just did. I'm not even going to respond to you, Major," Wilma replied as she stood.

"Ha ... ha," Jade laughed.

"OK, time to leave this table," Wilma said as she turned and walked away.

"You're not the only one, Willy. I just got a page," Thomas replied as he stood to leave.

"From who?" Dantin asked.

Thomas looks at his pager. "Someone of no importance to you, Major Yogurt," Thomas replied with a smile.

"You're going to help that wolfman with something! He's the only one who calls me that, aside from Rogers!" Dantin said.

"And just as Buck would say, "put a sock in it," Thomas replied as he walked off.

"Two months! Two months, Jade! And no one still will tell me what that means!" Dantin said shaking his head.

Jade just sits looking at Dantin with a wide grin. "I know, you don't," he replies in amusement.

Chapter 2

In Huer's office Aleekeyta is acting really relaxed, feet up on Huer's desk. Huer on the other hand, clearly isn't but he's trying to look like he is. From an alien projection device set up on the desk they are watching an ever-changing screen hovering in the air. What's being shown on the screen is film being captured from the many cameras that have been set about all over the place.

"Elias, just for once could you relax?" Aleekeyta asked as she watches Huer pace the floor.

"How can I relax with this going on?" He asked pointing at the screen.

"Only the guilty fear justice, Doctor. You have a fine staff who I'm sure will prove to you through this. That being as well trained in their jobs as they are, this takeover you fear won't be needed," Aleekeyta replied.

"Did you put any cameras on your own ship?" Huer asked.

"They're everywhere on my ship too. The Thorcomen Defense Administration when deciding to do this act of putting cameras throughout your Defense Directorate. Did remember that some of your staff might get curious about mine further and wander onto mine,"Aleekeyta replied.

Huer's attention is suddenly snapped to the screen.

"Is something wrong, Elias?" Aleekeyta asked.

"One of your staff is a Humdos!" Huer said.

"You see something wrong with that?" Aleekeyta asked.

"Aleekeyta, I need to leave here. Right now!" Huer said.

"You don't like Humdos?" Aleekeyta asked.

"No," Huer replied.

"Someone in your staff doesn't like Humdos?" Aleekeyta asked.

"No, he isn't a member of my staff. Alee, I need to go, get him in here before he encounters ..." Huer hesitates. "Oh my, I forgot his wife feels the same about them," Huer said.

"Elias, what's going on? Who are these people you have about this Directorate that you don't want to encounter Ven-Aid, the Humdos I have working on my staff?!" Aleekeyta asked looking at the concerned expression on Huer's face.

"Alee, I have two, no three Candos here! And one of them is a terrorist, he's here as a prisoner! His wife, and well sort of kid are here also! If he were to find out that there's a Humdos here. I don't even think his Vireis series ambuquad could stop him from doing something bad!" Huer replied.

"You have a known terrorist here?! And with free roam of your Directorate?! Elias, how could, how did you allow this to happen?!" Aleekeyta asked.

"He's no threat, Alee! At least to us, he only hates the Humdos!" Huer replied.

"My, what an interesting place you run here, Elias. Don't leave here. Don't talk to these Candos you have here at all. For what we're doing to work, neither of us can interfere with what takes place outside this room," Aleekeyta said motioning for Huer to sit down.

"Alee?" Huer asked confused.

"We are not to leave this room, or even contact Theopolis," Aleekeyta said.

"Yes Madam," Huer replied sitting down.

In the Archives storage room, Buck and Fox are standing off to the side going through magazines and books. Buck is looking through a magazine that he had not seen since a week before he left Earth.

"The same problem," Fox said reading through the magazine he was looking at.

"At least you've spent your whole life in this century, I haven't," Buck replied.

"Born in the 25th, okay," Fox said putting the magazine down.

"The thing about now is well, times have changed. But people, they still act like people, Fox. The people we see around us today, I've known people who act like ones of today centuries ago," Buck replied.

"Maybe lost to time. Buck, were there any tricks to getting women in your day that you haven't seen yet happen in this day?" Fox asked.

"Watching Flash get women, I'd say most of the tricks. That I've known about for some time are still in use now," Buck replied.

"And what tricks aren't?" Fox asked as he takes the magazine Buck was gazing at and starts to look at it.

"Well for one, I think Flash only acts how he does act to get women. I wouldn't be shocked if there's a whole other non-horntoad side to that man we've never seen before," Buck replied picking up another magazine.

"What are you saying?" Fox asked glancing up from the magazine.

"Fox, if you'll excuse my wording to this. If we stopped trying to act like sly foxes around women and acted like our true selves. Maybe we'd get some," Buck said looking over at Fox.

"Act like our true selves. Are you kidding?" Fox asked with a puzzled expression.

"Some women like to only see men act like who they really are," Buck replied.

Fox looks to be in deep thought, a moment later. "I'm going to go raid the clothing area of the archives. How about you?" Fox asked with a grin.

In De-Pas'es living quarters Ge-Ja and Thomas stand outside a door. Ge-Ja is holding a bottle of something. De-Pas is on the other side of the door.

"No, I won't do it, no way!" De-Pas yells through the door.

"De-Pas, I'm not asking much of you. All I'm asking is you make yourself presentable to the public," Ge-Ja replies.

"I've never had to do this before!" De-Pas said.

"You've never had fleas before," Ge-Ja replied.

"Thomas, let me out of here!" De-Pas begged.

"Can't do that De, I'm with your wife on this one," Thomas replied.

"Ge-Ja!" De-Pas called out.

"I've heard there are some very important visitors here at the Directorate. Do you want to give them fleas or even your daughter?" Ge-Ja asked.

"No, I don't want to give anyone fleas," De-Pas replied.

"Then you'll use the special soap I got you?" Ge-Ja said.

"No, I won't use that special soap you .... Ow!" De-Pas yells out in some pain.

"What is it you were thinking about doing?" Thomas asked.

"Nothing bad!" De-Pas replied.

"Nuisance, agrees with Ge-Ja and me, doesn't it?" Thomas asked with a grin on his face.

De-Pas growls.

"Nuisance will just keep stabbing you till you cave in to us, you know," Ge-Ja said.

"Thomas?" De-Pas asked.

Thomas smiled at Ge-Ja. "Yes? What is it De?" Thomas replied.

"Unlock the door." De-Pas sighed. "I'll use it," De-Pas said knowing he was fighting a losing battle.

Thomas takes a tool out of his pocket and uses it to open up the access panel by the door. Then taking another tool out of another pocket, he works it around the inside of the panel till he hears a light click. Thomas turns to Ge-Ja and nods.

"De-Pas," Ge-Ja said.

"Yes?" De-Pas asked.

"It's been unlocked," Ge-Ja replies.

A moment later a hand reaches through the Phasoft-door. Ge-Ja hands De-Pas the bottle. He takes it then he pulls his hand with the bottle in it back into the unseen room.

Talking under his breath. "Would you like me to lock it again so you know he'll go through with it?" Thomas asked Ge-Ja.

Talking under her breath. "I don't think that will be needed, but thanks for the offer anyway," Ge-Ja replies with a smile.

Thomas turns to leave. "Good day and good luck then, Ge-Ja," Thomas said as he walked out the door.

In Main Entrance way to the Defense Directorate. Wilma is bent over to interact with Twiki better. Who is standing close to her, facing the entranceway. People and aliens are moving in and out through its clear Phasoft-door. When someone isn't at the door it looks like red glass. Once someone has used an access pad, the glass turns plain clear, and they pass through.

"Give me a reason," Twiki said.

"I'm concerned for him. All these aliens moving around here he's not used to seeing. He might say something regrettable to one of them. I want to tell him what is and isn't OK to say to them," Wilma replied.

"Buck has been doing better with aliens for weeks now. I'm sure he won't fall off the wagon today," Twiki replies.

"Still Twiki, where is he?" Wilma asked.

"He's sailing to Brazil," Twiki replied in a sarcastic voice.

"Twiki!" Wilma said placing her hands on her hips.

A voice came from behind them. "Say, aren't you Colonel Deering?" Guest One asked.

Wilma gets up to face Guest One, who's a Loumis. "I am," Wilma replied.

"I've heard of you. I may work for the Thorcomen Defense Administration, but I've heard of you. You've fought many fine battles and won most of them. Tell me, I'd like to, do you drink coffee? I've been told it's a very popular drink on this planet. Would you like to drink coffee with me now?" Guest One asked.

"I can't, I'm sorry," Wilma replied.

"So tell me, where do you plan on being later?" Guest One asked.

"Can't tell, it's top secret," Wilma replied.

"Gotcha," Guest One said.

Guest One turns and walks away. Twiki turns to Wilma and tries to give her a raspberry but can't get it out right.

"What was that?" Wilma asked.

"You know what that was," Twiki replied.

Chapter 3

In Huer's office Aleekeyta still as relaxed as before. Huer still doesn't have a kicked back look to him, but he does look more relaxed.

"Interesting outfit, I didn't know the Directorate recently had a dress code change." Aleekeyta glanced over at Huer. Huer runs one of his hands over his face at seeing the screen. "What is its purpose?" Aleekeyta asked.

Huer groans.

"Elias?" Aleekeyta asked looking at Huer.

Huer continues his groaning.

In the Study Center rows of two-inch thick walls, with card size labels spread out on them every three inches. When someone presses one of these labels, it tells its contents in a stand out image, ex: "The Wizard's First Rule, by Terry Goodkind." After a moment the image goes back inside the label. If someone hits one of the labels twice a metal chip comes out of the label, which can be taken. Elsewhere in this room are tables filled with computers with hovering screens. On these tables right in front of each computer is a slot where the chips can be inserted in to, to view the chip in its entirely. There are many people in this room including Buck and Fox. Buck is wearing a pair of khakis and a Hawaiian shirt. Fox on the other hand is a sight to see. He's wearing a civil war cap, with a button on it that says "Don't Bomb Vietnam". A Chicago Cubs t-shirt, a pair of bell-bottoms pants, and bowling shoes. The two of them are standing by one of the tables. Each of them is holding a hand each of these library chip books. They're discussing which one has the best read in it. But truly by how they're acting, that isn't really where their minds are. Some of the passersby just ignore them. Others just try to contain their laugher at them.

Buck and Fox turn their attention to an alien woman. She has green long hair. Her forehead down to the tip of her nose is pale green. The rest of her face is a pale pinkish, yellow color. Her eyes are orange in color and she looks to be about Fox's age. She comes towards Buck and Fox; mainly towards Fox. She faces Fox. "That's an interesting uniform. What is it you do here?" Burash asked.

Buck looks to Fox with a smile. "I .. I'm one of its fighter pilots," Fox replied.

"Really, you're one of the fighters?" Burash asked.

"Yeah," Fox replies as he tries to put a hand on one of her shoulders. Once he touches her just a little she jerks back. Buck notices this with a worried look. Fox pulls back.

"You're a member of the Thorcomen Defense Administration?" Buck asked.

"I am. You thought I wasn't?" Burash asked.

"Well before the other day I'd never heard of the Thorcomen Defense Administration. When I started finding out who you guys were," Buck replied.

"The Loumis are the ones who founded the Thorcomen Defense Administration. But they aren't the only species in it, although I'm its first Gasheen. How is it that you're a member of the Defense Directorate, and you didn't well know who we were?" Burash asked looking at Buck.

"I'm kind of new here," Buck replied glancing over at Fox with a smile.

"Indeed, um what planet are you from?" Burash asked.

"Excuse me? What do you mean, what planet am I from?" Buck asked.

"What planet are you from? I know you're human, but since you didn't know about the Thorcomen Defense Administration till just the other day, I can only guess that you must have just come here recently from some far off colony planet," Burash replied.

"I'm from this planet, Earth," Buck replied.

"How interesting," Burash replied examining Buck over from head to toe.

"It is interesting. Your name, I haven't caught it. Mine is Fox," Fox said.

"Burash Phillyma. You are a canine, not human?" Burash asked.

"What?" Fox asked with a confused look on his face.

"You are "Fox"?" Burash asked.

"Oh no no, I'm not a canine. Fox is just my last name. I only like to go by my last name. My first name is Hieronymous," Fox replied smiling.

"How interesting. I think I understand now why you go by your last name," Burash replied jokingly.

"You wouldn't happen to have any friends here would you? Any female friends?" Buck asked.

"I..I don't have any friends, as I said I'm the Administration's first Gasheen. But I know other beings in the Administration." Burash hesitated for a moment. "Would you like to see my ship?" She asked looking at Fox. Then she turns to Buck. "Your name? The name you like to go by?" Burash asked.

"Buck," Buck replied.

"Buck?" Burash asked with a puzzled look on her face.

"We would love to, Burash," Fox replied.

"Follow me, I'm sure your chips will work on my ship. It has some astonishing computers on it," Burash replied motioning for Buck and Fox to follow.

Fox and Buck smiled at one another and followed Burash out of the Study Center.

In De-Pas'es Living quarters, De-Pas walks into his living room. Ge-Ja and Beu-Pas are sitting on the living room floor. The two of them are playing a little game. Ge-Ja picks up a wooden letter block and shows it to the infant. After saying a word that begins with that letter she puts down the block, then asks Beu-Pas what's the next letter of the word. De-Pas with only a towel wrapped around his waist, rubs another towel all over in his hair to make it dry. The Vireis series ambuquad "Nuisance" is still sitting on one of De-Pas'es shoulders. De-Pas not noticing Ge-Ja and Beu-Pas at first walks towards them. The only thing he has on his mind is drying off.

"Cow, Beu-Pas. Cow, what letter comes next?" Ge-Ja asked holding up the letter "C".

Beu-Pas, makes some happy baby noises and grabs the "U".

Ge-Ja smiles and picks up the right block. "It's the letter "O", oh my.. oh my.. oh my." De-Pas is watching them, now smiling at the sight.

Beu-Pas'es happy infant sounds start to get a little louder.

De-Pas continues drying himself off, smiling at the two. Till he looks at a window and the smile goes away. After a moment he looks down at the ground, then to his wife and baby.

In the hallway, just outside of Huer's office. Wilma is holding one of the Administration's cameras. It's the size of a shirt button. She's pushing on the door.

"Dr. Huer?" Wilma asked. When she got no answer. "Dr. Huer, did you know .. Oh Rats to hell," Wilma said in a loud voice.

In side Huer's office Aleekeyta and Huer were kicked back watching the screen. Only now Huer doesn't look like he's in embarrassment for his staff. Suddenly the door opens and Wilma walks in.

"Dr. Huer! Did you ..!" Wilma started to say but soon notices what Huer and Aleekeyta are doing. Wilma walks over to Huer.

"You tell no one," Huer said still keeping an eye on the screen.

"How did she get in here?" Aleekeyta asked with a surprised look on her face.

"I don't know. But, I told you she was clever," Huer replied.

"What is going on here! Are you two, are you two spying on us?! The whole Directorate?!" Wilma asked as she turned to see the screen.

"Wilma, I really don't want to tell you what's going on. In fact care to join us?" Huer asked motioning for Wilma to sit down.

"What?! You don't want to tell me what's really going on and you still want me to join you?!" Wilma asked with concern.

"You'll worry less if you don't know what's going on. Now find some place to sit. Because you're not leaving here till Elias says it's okay!" Aleekeyta replied.

"Dr. Huer!" Wilma said turning to Huer.

"She means it, Wilma. You can't leave here," Huer replied.

"W-why?" Wilma asked.

"Sit," Aleekeyta said in a demanding voice.

Wilma still looking surprised and unsure in action. Finds a spot on the floor, and sits.

On board the Red Mass shades of pink flash with flashes of white through out the ship at an incredible pace. After a few moments they start to slow down to a regular steady systematic pace. Buck, Fox, and Burash are standing in this void of shifting images. Once it has slowed down to a good degree, the image begins to stand more and more on one room. The room shifts into some kind of holding pen. The flashing lights slow to a complete stop then return to normal.

"Welcome to the Ratadoc, Fox," Burash said extending her arm.

Buck and Fox started to gaze at everything in the room. Burash goes to a force field sealed off doorway and enters a code into a pad by the door. Shutting the force field down. In the next room, Burash with her back to Buck and Fox puts a hand on her head showing she's in pain.

"I think it's time you took your medicine, Burash," A voice said coming from behind Buck and Fox. They turned to see a Loumis walking up behind them. Buck and Fox turned back around to see Burash with a look of fear and pain in her eyes.

Chapter 4

Buck and Fox walked over to Burash. "You're ill?" Buck asked.

"I, Fox, Buck, I need to go with .. go with him. Go about the ship as you wish, I'll catch up with you later," Burash replied still holding her head in pain.

Fox stares at her, then glances at Buck, then back to Burash.

"You don't have to go, Burash. We have doctors at the Directorate that can take care of you," Buck said.

Burash turns back to Buck and Fox. "No no, he has to take care of this. There aren't many, he's the only one around who can treat me," Burash replied.

At the same time Buck and Fox said loudly. "Burash."

"You're not members of this ship's crew. Don't disturb us in our business," the Loumis doctor said.

"She doesn't sound too fond of you," Fox replied.

"It's okay, Fox. You and Buck can ..." Burash presses her hand harder against her head.

"Leave us alone, and just wander off," the Loumis doctor said.

"Burash, has this man done any ..?" Buck asked gleeming at the Loumis doctor.

"This isn't your ship. Back off," the Loumis doctor said as he took hold of Burash's arm and walked her out of the room.

Buck and Fox turned to one another. Buck looked enraged while Fox just looks really worried.

Back in the work shop, De-Pas is standing with a women named Kate, who's acting very excited. De-Pas is holding a large piece of equipment in his hands.

"Are you sure? I mean completely sure this will work how you say it will work?" Kate asked with excitement in her voice.

"It's a dangerous sport, Kate. One I'd never participate in. Trust me when I say this, I'm really sure, really certain this will work right. With this working hand in hand with your Cheetah Bolt ship's navigational controls. Your reaction time at the controls will be noted instantaneously," De-Pas replied.

"I hope so, I mean the Olympics are only seven months away. I need good parts in my ship for good practice. One mistake and .." Kate hung her head.

"Not in the way you'd encounter them, but I know force fields can be no fun," De-Pas replied handing Kate the piece of equipment.

"Exactly, thanks for this. Wanna help me install this into my ship?" Kate asked.

"It would be my honor, Kate," De-Pas replied with a smile.

They turned and walked out of the work shop and into the hallway. In the hallway just outside of the workshop De-Pas and Kate had to quickly move against the wall to make way for others passing through the hallway.

De-Pas with eyes opened wide, watch the Humdos walk past. The Humdos staring back at De-Pas as it moves along.

De-Pas closes his eyes. Nuisance moves around on De-Pas'es shoulders watching his face.

"Wasn't that a Humdos?" Kate asked.

"Yes, it was," De-Pas replied.

"Aren't they the ones that back on your home planet .." Kate started to ask. But soon noticed the expression on De-Pas'es face and stopped.

"Yes I know, please don't remind me," De-Pas replied.

Nuisance, who in its own way looks shocked by the lack of reaction. Stopped moving around on De-Pas'es shoulders.

Back on board the Ratadoc. Buck and Fox found their way to the door marked Medical Treatment Facility. Buck listens at the door, which is not Phasoft in nature. After a moment he gets a disgusted look on his face and looks back to Fox with it. Fox understands, looking cold. At almost the same moment the two of them proceed to work at breaking the door down because it won't open.

"Burash!" Fox calls out.

"Fox!" Burash replied in a quaking voice.

They get the door broken down and then they quickly go inside it.

"What are you two doing here! Leave us alone!" the Loumis doctor ordered.

A moment later there is the sound of a fight coming from inside.

In the room with the health regeneration chambers built in it, Buck and Nurse Stevens are standing, talking. Burash is sitting on one of the pullout planks. Fox is by her side talking with her.

"Are you sure she'll be okay after that treatment you gave her with the chamber?" Buck asked.

"The only condition the chambers can't cure is a fatal injury. She's going to be fine, at least physically," Nurse Stevens replied.

"Except for a fatal injury? What about Wilma's ankle?" Buck asked with a puzzled expression on his face.

"She wanted to heal it the old-fashioned way. She told me it had something to do with being angry with you. And healing it that way to make a point to you," Stevens replied with a grin.

A moment later Buck glanced over at Burash. "So what's going to happen to her?" Buck asked.

"I don't know, she's not one of ours so we have no control over what happens to her," Stevens replied.

In Huer's office Aleekeyta stands up. "I've seen enough. Elias, I've made my decision," Aleekeyta says.

As Huer stands up from where he's been sitting. Wilma looks to the two of them, puzzled. "Alee, please I run a good Directorate, don't ..." Huer started to say but was interrupted by Aleekeyta.

"I'm not going to recommend the take over," Aleekeyta replies.

"So that's what this was about. Why didn't you want me to know?" Wilma asked.

"Alee and I are the only ones here meant to know about what was happening, Wilma. It was done so Alee could see how all of you act when you don't know your behavior is being judged," Huer replied.

After a few moments of allowing it to sink in. "I understand, Dr. Huer I'm sorry for how I've been acting," Wilma said.

"Wilma, I'm not angry at you. I think how you've been acting is quite understandable under the circumstances," Huer replied.

"What's going to happen to Burash?" Wilma asked.

"She hasn't been working for me long. But ever since she first stepped on board my ship I've known the Red Mass has been causing her pain. She's a good officer, loyal. I had no idea he was hurting her that way." Aleekeyta turns to Huer. "Elias, you have a fine staff, good and loyal. I'd like it very much if you took her into your Defense Directorate. She'll serve you well," Aleekeyta said.

"I'll do that, Alee," Huer replied with a smile.

Wilma slowly stands up from where she's been sitting because of her injury. After walking over to Huer."May I leave now?" Wilma asked.

"What you witnessed here?" Huer said.

"Doesn't leave here," Wilma replied.

"You can leave now, Wilma," Huer replied nodding towards the door.

As Wilma leaves the room, Huer and Aleekeyta watch her leave.

In Buck's living quarters, with a reading light overhead and laying on the couch, Buck is reading a book. He hears a knock at his door.

"You can come in," Buck said glancing up from his book. "So how's she doing?" Buck asked seeing Fox entered.

"Settling in." Fox walked over to Buck, and pulling a music chip out of his pocket. "Here, got it from Flash. Didn't tell him it was for you," Fox replied handing Buck the music chip.

Putting down his book and sitting up to take the chip from Fox's hand. "Thanks, who is it?" Buck asked looking at the chip.

"Missing Persons, never listened to it before. But I've heard it's old," Fox replied.

"Destination Unknown, isn't it always," Buck said.

"What?" Fox asked with uncertainty in his voice.

"It's the name of one of their songs. You can never truly know what's on the path ahead, Fox," Buck replied.

"Is that in the song's lyrics?" Fox asked.

"No, but it should be," Buck replied.

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