three children seemed to love the deep luxurious carpeting of the Blenheim’s
guest quarters. They were sitting on the floor happily together, each wrapped
in a warm white bath towel for extra comfort. A couple of metres in front
of them was a wall-sized ultra-high-definition view-screen. They gazed in
amazement at the colourful cartoon images that danced around the screen,
put on to distract them from their depressing situation. Judging by their
giggling the strategy seemed to have worked.
Sind’a Thighs sat cross-legged on the huge three-metre wide bed at
the centre of the guest quarters. She smiled as she watched the children.
“They must have experienced such horrors down on their planet. It’s
good to see them happy!”
Jemima Murma was standing at a refreshments dispenser at the far side of
the room. Her hair was still tied in a single ponytail, but now she was
wearing a simple red knee-length evening dress. “In a way they are
very lucky.” She said, placing three glasses of fruit juice on a tray.
She walked over to the children. “Now they’ll live at the Palace
of Amino, and be brought up by menial staff and cyborgs in ultra-high-tech
surroundings. They would never have had such an opportunity on their own
world.” She handed each child a drink. They sipped eagerly.
Sind’a Thighs nodded. “That’s so true. And if they excel
at their studies, they may have the opportunity to begin bounty hunter training
- a privilege almost beyond comprehension.”
Jemima Murma joined the bounty hunter on the bed. “One day they will
be thankful that their civilisation, and everyone they knew there, was wiped
out. Good always comes from bad, and opportunities never fail to rise from
the ashes of destruction.”
The sensation of acceleration interrupted the conversation.
Peter the Ace’s voice was heard. “I’m afraid the Cifitra
is still alive. It is trying to punch its way through our hull in an attempt
to tear our limbs off. Don’t worry. I’m going to perform some
manoeuvres that should sort things out. The gee-dampers will not be able
to completely hide the effects of what I’m about to do, so hold on!”
Immediately, a sideways force pulled Sind’a Thighs and Jemima Murma
off the bed. They tumbled to the floor towards the three children. The children
had already slid over to the giant view-screen. They were looking around;
fear once again filled their large and cute eyes.
To comfort them, Sind’a Thighs grabbed two of them and held them close
to her chest in a firm hug. Jemima Murma held the remaining child.
An opposite force pushed them all over to the bed, its deep cushioning softening
The children cried.