“All onboard passengers prepare for docking sequence. We have now entered Kajin Rala space port territory,” Hawkins announced cheerfully.

It took a few moments to register what was going on, what with the dead pile of assassin and the bullet wounds riddling her tender flesh, now, it appeared their AI was back online.

Half-spinning, and throwing her hands up dramatically, Violet sneered, “How nice of you to join us, Hawkins! Please, don’t let us disturb you!”

Bardock rolled his eyes and glanced back down at the pile of remains. “Tch,” he scoffed, kicking a bit of dust from his boot. “Worthless technology.”

“I heard that, sir,” Hawkins even had the grace to sound offended, which was a pretty neat trick for a computer.

“Gee, you heard that, but you didn’t say shit when we were walking around trying to kill each other. A little heads up would have been great.” Violet scorned as she began her trip to the crew bay, her mate right behind her. Holding her gun to her side, she kept her guard up for any stray bad guys that could pop up along the way.

“I don’t recall anything out of the ordinary, Captain.”

“I am your captain!” Bardock growled, slamming his fist into a nearby wall. He’d clearly been agitated by the lack of interest between the equipment and its caretakers. “She is not!”

“Apologies, Captain, I am merely referring to her by her appropriate title,” the AI explained. “Assuming she is still considered a ‘captain’ with her affiliation.”

“No, I am not,” Vi replied, grimacing just a little. “Kissing ass isn’t going to help you, Hawkins. By the way, Bar, last time we were here, I met a guy over in Tisserdal that had some upgrades you’d be interested in.”

“Upgrades?” Bardock forked a confused brow as they descended the ramp to the captain’s chairs. “I don’t need any upgrades.”

Crooking a finger to the expansive control panel, Violet coughed.

“Oh, that kind.”

“Yeah,” Violet smirked devilishly. “That kind.”

“Hawkins,” Bardock barked, strapping himself into his chair. “While we’re docking, do a full scan of the ship for the remaining crew. Check everything that is not outside of this ship.”

“Yes, Captain,” Hawkins replied obediently. “Also, we shall be docking in five minutes, Sir. I am radioing the control tower now for landing instructions.”

Violet clicked her belt into place, and turned her chair to face her mate’s. “What if we can’t find them, Bar? Do you think he’d…he’d-“

Bardock raised a hand to wave off the possibility. It was unfathomable that his crewmen could have faced such a undignified death at the hands of a coward. Who could be gunning for them that badly, anyhow? “Let’s just assume they are still alive until bodies show up.”

“This ship isn’t that big, there aren’t that many places to hide.” She watched her little hula dancer on the dash sway its little jointed hips as the ship rocketed through a pocket of turbulence. Her eyes closed, her mind releasing its steely gates to roam across the breadth of the vessel. Little flickers of brainwaves could be felt, but were faint enough to pass off as simply residue. Other than Bardock’s, there were no other strong brainwaves that could be felt anywhere else.

While her telepathy was getting stronger every day, she knew it wasn’t the best. However, feeling the crew’s brain activity was one of her daily exercises, coupled with her ki sensory; learning their particular patterns had come to the point to where she couldn’t mistake them for anyone or anything else. This logic pointed at only one conclusion, and it wasn’t a pleasant one.

“They’re alive, Violet.”

She shook her head, loosening a bit of moisture from the corner of her eye. The young captain didn’t realize she’d begun to cry, but it was apparent now as suddenly she was overwhelmed with a feeling of guilt and hopelessness. Hiding her face behind a cupped hand, she turned back towards the large glass window. Maybe if she would have just scouted the ship last night instead of goofing off with the crew, like she usually did with Kayley, chatting away about nothing, this could have been prevented.

Just maybe she should have gotten up when the footsteps outside their door stopped, a thin shadow just beneath the door reaching across the dark linoleum outlining a figure. It was a clue, and she could have stopped whatever ‘plan’ was beginning to unfold. She’d been in enough of these situations to see the same shit happening all over again.

“This was a decoy,” she muttered quietly, her eyes flashing as it began to piece together inside her head. “Why else would you send a weakling, someone I could have taken alone, nonetheless , stick him on a ship, kill the crew, and leave the big fish alone? We’re going to a planet where our powers will be useless, Bardock. If we get attacked there, we’re going to be killed!”

“Impossible, nothing will get past the security they have at the docking stations without getting one of those cursed collars.” Bardock scoffed. “They’ll be just as weak.”

“Prepare for landing, Captain.” Hawkins interrupted the conversation with a very flat narrative of their landing sequence, the countdown ticking backwards slowly from ten. As the thrusters reversed their direction, the ship shook violently as it lowered onto the landing strip. “Three, two, one. Welcome to Kajin Rala.”

After the shaking had stopped, the pair looked at each other contemplatively, unbeknownst that their thoughts had run the same course. “Nothing off of this ship until the crew has been recovered,” Violet commanded, her eyes affixed to her mate. “I’ll go grab some supplies while you check us in, Bardock.”