The Camulus Incursion: Part 5 The Mutiny

CHAPTER IX

January 2, 2081. 0632 hours Zulu.

For a second she had forgotten where she was but in remembering she ran her hand along the arm and lower torso of her companion.

They had not shifted during the night, Chrissie’s arm and leg pinned him even if he’d wanted to move. Her hand felt around the velvet like skin of his small buttocks, the tight abs. Deciding he had a great body she decided she wanted to get know more of it. Moving her leg, it let her hand drop lower, finding his morning glory. Not quite a grip but more than a touch, she stroked the length of his hard on, feeling its thickness and firmness, on the back slide she kept going and felt his balls, a handful even for her. He was every inch a man, and a man of a good several inches.

He hummed lightly as if half awake: she had to expect the touch would cause it. He swung his body to face her, his fingers feeling her clit and lips.

“Ooh, Lauren, you’re so fucking hard and wet down there.”

Chrissie resolved to ignore the words and enjoy the touch. He started to push her over, his fingers feeling her from behind, the head of his cock pressed against the crack of her ass.

“You sure have got a lot harder real quick, girl.”

His hand left the dampness of her vagina for her hip, he was about to position himself when he felt the now familiar feel of Chrissie’s upper thigh. He stopped, pushed down on her hip, hesitating, she whispered.

“Kiss me, Marc.”

She was on her back, the expanse of her shoulders consuming the width of the double bunk, he reached toward her; with her left hand she brought him up her torso then dropped it to caress his baton-hard phallus.

They kissed with passion, their tongues locked, his hands found her breasts, her free hand his back. After a long moment, Marcellus put his hands beside himself and lifted like a push up. He smiled and nodded, she eased him inside her, the head arching back as he gently pushed his length in as her legs came together around her hips. The thrusts had the consistency of a metronome, a nice, easy pace. He was focused, she equally unfocused, eyes closed, moaning, the hands pushing flat then grabbing at the polyester covering.

‘BUZZZ’

“FUCK!”

“Ignore it, Chrissie, it’ll be Aleksandr.”

He started to ramp up the pace, he wanted to get her there.

“No, no Marc, you gotta take it. You gotta.”

‘BUZZZ’

Clumsily she grabbed the hand-pod from the side stand and thrust it at the Colonel. He grimaced and stopped dead, still hard inside her.

“Aries.”
...
“Good morning, Aleksandr.”

His eyes motioned to Chrissie as if ‘I told you so’.
...
“I, I don’t ...”
...
“Yeah, look ... alright, come around at ...”

He sighed.

“... 0730. Okay?”
...
“Bring her with you; I’ll get onto the General.”

Chrissie arched her head back and avoided a laugh. He was still hard, still inside, her legs still locked in place. He couldn’t be more ‘onto her’ if he tried.

Marcellus turned off the hand-pod and threw it on the bunk.

“Adjutant Interruptus.”

“Sorry, Marc, it’s not his fault. Order is breaking down on this craft. We really have to get going.”

She unlocked her legs and gave out another little gasp as he eased from her. He reached up and turned on the bunk light.

“Well, good morning General Matterson.”

He slumped back to the bunk, his face a picture of frustration. Chrissie smiled.

“Nice to be recognised for once.”

“I’m real sorry about that it’s ...”

“No, no, I’m joshing.”

“... you know, Lauren was just a stray fuck, Chrissie. It’s you I care about.”

That was gratuitous. Maybe there’s more to Lauren’s emotional issues than can be explained away to the soup.
Chrissie threw her legs off the bunk.

“I’ll go first in the shower, Marc, suggest you follow right behind.”

For fifteen minutes as they washed and clothed Chrissie briefed Marcellus on the trip to Phobos and the conversation with Woodruff. Marcellus didn’t share Chrissie’s concern about the purpose of the ‘escort’ but the guard on the door was a surprise. As Marcellus sought his own relief, Chrissie opened the hatch.

“Good morning, Airman, you must be feeling for a comfort break.”

“My teeth are swimming, ma’am.”

“Look, just slip off and be back by 0745. I’ll cover for you.”

He smiled wide.

“Thank you, ma’am.”

One problem solved.

“They left that poor boy on the hatch and then forgot about him.”

“Who’s ‘they’ Chrissie?”

“Simmonds I assume. Which reminds me, the Brits are pulling out. They got a ceasefire with the Chinese to take effect in five hours."

“So that explains it.”

“What?”

“I tried to contact Major Hartley, she didn’t return my call or bother to message.”

“I’ll try later. Who was your guest?”

“Simmonds. Well, he invited himself, wanting to chat about morale and safety. He was the next officer on deck so we discussed the idea of the escort for all crew. ...”

“All crew.”

“... moving around individually.”

“Makes no sense, Marc. The intruder attacked an armed patrol.”

“Yeah, look Chrissie I was tired, I wasn’t thinking right. He was insisting.”

“Sure, sure, I know he would be insisting but he’s just skewered the whole thing so that the women are under house arrest.”

Marcellus wasn’t being candid. He’d been entertaining a guest when Simmonds barged in. The guest excused herself. Marcellus was pissed, he would’ve agreed to the craft blowing up Big Ben just to be rid of him.

“You know Marc, you never told me what happened to your EXOFF, umm, Colonel Ashanti.”

“Raymond was hauled back to Canaveral to get carpeted by Woodruff but she’s up here, so I don’t know what’s happening.”

“What’d he do?”

“He tried to blow the whistle on the long term effects of the soup, at least how he saw it. Thing is he forgot it was war time and everything is under watch. If Woodruff had any balls she’d have him court martialled.”

“What about the Major, umm, ...”

“Ashleigh Peyton. Yeah, she has cancer, she won’t be back.”

“Shame.”

“It is, because the medicos have shown a direct link between the soup and her illness. That’s what sent Ashanti over the edge.”

“She was popular with the men, do they know of this?”

“I reckon so, Simmonds would’ve made sure of that.”

“Fuck.”

“Just gets worse, don’t it?”

The sound of the hatch buzz.

“Enter.”

It was Aleksandr followed by Jian and, unexpectedly, by Hannie du Plessis: now wearing her golden cheetah high on the stretched fabric of the icy. Marcellus moved toward them.

“Good morning and stand easy. Do you have an escort?” Jian spoke.

“Only so far as Lieutenant Konrad’s quarters, sir ...”
Hannie interrupted.

“We arranged for the women to call for escorts at 0720, the armory’s been thrown into chaos.”
Aleksandr addressed his commander.

“I don’t understand this Colonel, the order was to expire at the end of the watch at 0400, I can’t explain the authority for it continuing.”

“Who’s rostered officer on flight deck?”

Jian spoke.

“I am sir, but the Wing Commander has stood me down for the morning.”

“He can’t do that, only the commanding officer has that power.”
Marcellus was beginning to understand the enormity of what confronted them. Chrissie stated the obvious.

“That assumes you’re still the commanding officer, Colonel, I suggest we pay a visit to the flight deck.”

They filed through the hatch, the sentry had not returned. Jian suggested the hatch be locked. Chrissie explained there was a fault. Marcellus shook his head. They departed in the direction of the flight deck.

Within thirty yards, they were intercepted.

It was Simmonds, wearing a sidearm. He was flanked by two armed airmen in full battle dress. His voice cut through the corridor.

“Ah, so this is how orders are disregarded on Camulus? Greater proof of your unfitness for command, Colonel.”

Marcellus confronted him.

“Have you lost your mind? You have no legal basis for these orders.”

“I have taken advice from SPACECOMM, Colonel, in view of the medical condition of the female crew and your inability to provide a safe environment for the male airmen and officers, I have a lawful right to remove you from command.”

“That’s mutiny, Commander.”

Simmonds laughed.

“How very 19th century of you, Colonel. There’s no such thing as mutiny in space as none of the SPACECOMM protocols or regulations recognise it. So, ...”

He unbuttoned the holster and drew out the weapon, clicking off the safety.

“... let’s just be certain that you understand that you are now my prisoner.”

Chrissie intervened.

“That was the reason for the guard on the hatch; you held your little coup last night.”

Simmonds looked at her with contempt.

“What would it matter, Casanova here had his mind on the muscle whore he’d taken to his lair. The threat to the craft couldn’t be further from his mind.”

She flushed red, the first thought being ‘how would he know’? But then she remembered the second glass.

Marcellus shook his head.

“You’re a fucking idiot, Simmonds, the British are out of this war, you can fuck off back to Mars and never lay sight on the Camulus again.”

“And on whose orders would I leave this craft? You see, again, Colonel, you fail to appreciate process and procedures. God knows how the Americans have been so successful in this war with such contempt for basic discipline. ...”

Simmonds trained the firearm at the Colonel’s chest.

“... Now, Marcellus, could you turn so you can be escorted back to your cabin. Once I have the green light from SPACECOMM you and your little muscle cohort will be handed over to the Provost General for further investigation.”

Chrissie tried again.

“Investigation for what?”

Simmonds spoke while watching Marcellus, keeping the gun on him.

“Murder for a start. I have the post mortem on Kapten Wiroyoputra. You see he was not killed by a crushing injury. Sure he was crushed but that was not the cause of death. You look confused, General? You shouldn’t after all you sent the Kapten off with a patrol of drug addled women.”

Her voice was low with anger.

“What the fuck does that mean?”

“He was killed by a single blow to the heart. Who struck that blow is now a matter for the proper authorities. ...”

She took a step forward. Simmonds stepped back and turned, aiming the gun at her.

“... Yes the facade is starting to decay, General. I know why you were summoned to Phobos, the gig’s up for you and Kryptonite Katie. The so-called soup is about to be declared a prohibited substance by no less authority than your Secretary for Health. No more little girls being turned into amazons for the sexual delight of your boyfriends.”

He sneered. Marcellus lost it.

“Show some respect for rank, asshole!”

Simmonds raised the firearm.

“I’ll give you respect.”

Two shots rang out. Chrissie felt the rounds strike her just below the neck. It was all Simmonds had time to do before she had hold of his right arm with her left hand then his collar with her right. She swung him to her right and up, lifting him as she pushed him into the bulkhead with force. His scream coincided with the sound of his bones cracking. She let him go, he slumped to the floor unconscious, a trail of blood smeared on the metallic formwork.

On cue the others sprang into action. Hannie’s right foot sweep brought the first airman to his knees. Her left then crashed into his right pelvis, his scream coinciding with that of Simmonds. The second airman had time to fire but hesitated to click off the safety. It was too late. Jian’s left arm punch to the right elbow dislocated it on impact. He yelled, dropped the weapon and fell to his knees. In less than three seconds it was over.

Marcellus found Simmonds’s hand gun. Aleksandr was standing over the wounded man.

“He’s still breathing, sir.”

The two airmen were writhing in pain.

“Get medical attention for all three. Sergeant Major, you stand guard then arrange for an armed escort to be placed on Wing Commander Simmonds.”

Hannie nodded and picked up the Lulach 1A dropped by the first airman. Marcellus pointed at the second weapon.

“General, you’ve been practising, so ...”

Chrissie grabbed the other Lulach 1A and the four minus Hannie continued along the corridor to the flight deck.

As they came to the threshold to the egress hatch, two armed escorts stood guard. Marcellus shouted the order.

“Escorts stand down. Return your weapons to the armory.”

They each saluted the Colonel, nodded and removed their helmets, flinging their weapons over their shoulders. Chrissie was impressed.

“That was easy.”

“Why? I’m their commander.”

The airmen filed past then Marcellus led the group onto the flight deck, the firearm jammed into his belt.

There were only men at the stations.

“Who is the duty flight officer?”

“Me sir.”

A male lieutenant answered.

“Is this your usual rostered shift?”

“No sir, I was told Lieutenant Li was incapacitated.”

“Fine, then stand down until you are due to be back on deck.”

“Very well, sir.”

Marcellus looked at Jian.

“Lieutenant, resume duty.”

“Sir. Thank you, sir.”

“Who else is not on their usual roster.”

“Me, sir.”

“And me.”

“Report to Lieutenant Li and arrange to be relieved.”

Chrissie handed Marcellus the firearm and spoke.

“That was all very straight forward.”

“These are professionals who follow orders, General. They followed Simmonds only because he was ranking officer.”

“Maybe. Where do you think I’ll find our Master Sergeants?”

“At 0800? Mmm, try the gym.”

As Chrissie turned, Aleksandr was directed to inform the crew that the standing orders of the past twelve hours had been revoked.

Mutiny? What mutiny?

Still there was one more stop to make.

Over the threshold, down the corridor, through the hatch, down the gangway, through another hatch and along a long corridor; turning right Chrissie entered the gym.

At the front were a handful of enlisted airmen – women – lifting heavy or waiting to do so. Chrissie looked at their physiques. Broad, hard, huge and now reaching their legal maximum; God knows how they intend to manage the future for these women.

Two escorts were at the side; still in battle dress, firearm at standby pose. Chrissie ignored them and looked for Fletcher and Stewart. And there they were. Up the back, one benching, the other spotting him.

“Good morning, sergeants.”

Fletcher looked up from the bench and returned the weight to its position. Neither attempted any formality. Stewart spoke as Fletcher sat up.

“Morning, General, sorry, but you won’t see too many big plates being tossed around down this end.”

“Yeah, ma’am, just two hundred pounds on the bar.”

“Not here to chat about weight, gentlemen, wishing to speak about the need for these escorts.”

Fletcher shook his head.

“Just taking airmen away from their duties, General, I don’t know why the Colonel would agree to it.”

“Perhaps he didn’t.”

“Well, not what we hear, but then I only believe what I see these days.”

Stewart added with sarcasm.

“And even then we want it checked twice.”

“Yeah, okay, what about the attack on the patrol. Are you aware that it’s been called a set up?”

Stewart’s tone was blunt.

“I heard the Wing Commander talking like that, ma’am, I told him what I thought.”

“Which is?”

“Which is that I was on that patrol and it was no set up; anyone who says the opposite don’t know their shit from clay.”

Fletcher corrected him.

“Excusing the French, ma’am.”

Chrissie waved her hand to signal she didn’t care.

“Did Simmonds speak to you about taking control of the craft?”

Stewart scoffed.

“Mutiny? We don’t get involved with no mutiny. We’re professional spacecraft technicians in the United States Air Force, ma’am. If some Blighty wants to breeze in and start playing havoc with our pension just ‘cause he’s got some hang-up with the Colonel, well, we just ain’t interested.”

Chrissie nodded.

“I’m assuming you’re both still available for deployment with the anti-incursion team?

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Of course.”

“Thank you sergeants, as you were.”

“Have a good day, ma’am.”

Chrissie turned and walked toward the gym entrance. The escorts were gone.

She needed to return to the Colonel’s cabin to collect her cap and bag. Passing the corridor where the confrontation took place with Simmonds, the injured had been removed, a lone female airman, tall and broad, pushed a mop around a red patch on the floor some distance to the stained wall. Chrissie didn’t think the initial outcome was quite that bloody. She also wondered where du Plessis had got to with that firearm.

In the cabin, she checked her hand-pod. Her stomach seized.

“Missed Call: Message – call SUPCOMALF urgent. 0650Z”

Fuck! Supreme Command Allied Forces.

She thought she had another forty hours to finish off this shit.

To make it worse, she should have heard the call come in. Well, she had an excuse. That brought a smile to her face.

Any tele-message or contact to SUPCOMALF had to be made through an encryption device which meant a visit to Aleksandr. In the end it didn’t matter. It was the Supreme Command who wanted to talk to her and it was now either too late or too early. In lieu, she was told to contact Woodruff’s chief of staff. She shook her head: if she had to waste another fucking day on Phobos ...

No, she’d try again in the early afternoon when the good men and women of the Pentagon were kicking off their caffeine-fuelled daily routines.

Back to her cabin. She hadn’t seen it for near on 20 hours. She sighed and looked in the mirror. A section of her white shirt, maybe thirty inches square, had simply disappeared, the collar and other parts of the fabric over the chest were burnt or frayed, her tunic lapels burnt off to the edge of the USMC badge. A bruise was starting to form in the soft skin above the manubrium (upper sternum). She wondered what ordnance had been in that gun.

She hadn’t eaten. She was hungry and the lack of sugar, starch and sleep was adding up. Kicking off the pumps, Chrissie lay on her bunk and dozed.

CHAPTER X

January 2, 2081. 1532 hours Zulu.

Marcellus stood on the deck of the starboard dock. The only possible reason these two would be here is bad.

Not bad. Horrendous.

They must be here as a result of the shit stirred up by Simmonds. The asshole is in the infirmary with two broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, head lacerations and internal bleeding but for all that is refusing to be transported to Phobos. At best semi-conscious he was full of threats and full of bravado. As a member of an allied force, he could not be compelled to move; rather Marcellus was praying to his God that the man would just pass out or maybe go the way of the two airmen who had the misfortune to experience the power of the South African’s legs.

He sighed. His visitors are travelling to Camulus in the transport shuttle that took the airmen to Phobos for urgent treatment. The first died within minutes of take off. The single kick from Hannie had shattered his pelvis, sending shards of bone through the colon and large intestine. Septic shock set in straight away. It was a foul way to go.

The second airman’s fate was more perplexing. He had a dislocated elbow. Or so it was thought. Yet when the medics attended his jaw was shattered, an artery at the back of his mouth torn open. The bleeding couldn’t be stopped before his body went into shock. Du Plessis said he tried to attack her: that she needed to immobilise him for her own defence. She was the one holding the weapon.

Marcellus hadn’t seen the General since that morning; although she was never far from his thoughts. With the benefit of 20-20 hindsight he was relieved that nothing had come of the night before. Now he had a focus. Chrissie was the woman he really wanted to be with.

And in the pit of his guts he knew she felt the same way.

The hatch opened and the two marines stepped through. They saluted and once acknowledged moved toward Marcellus.

“Colonel Aries, commanding officer USAS Camulus. Welcome aboard and a happy new year.”

Both wore well fitting dress uniforms and carried attaché bags. The first was a female officer whose appearance reminded him immediately of the great 20th century athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

“Afternoon, sir, Lieutenant Colonel Orlanda Henderson, Judge Advocate Division.”

“Welcome, Colonel.”

“And this is Master Gunnery Sergeant James Embrezetti.”

The Master Gunny was shorter than his comrade, older and an obvious receding hairline. He shook the Colonel’s hand and smiled.

“Great to be up here, Colonel, and a happy new year to you.”

Marcellus invited them to his wardroom. They spoke little during the two minute walk from the dock. Meeting them was Aleksandr who took details for refreshments. Marcellus ushered them inside.

“As you can see, I don’t often use this room.”

The officer spoke.

“It’ll be handy for our purposes, Colonel. I’m sorry we have imposed upon you this way, the purpose of our visit is to meet with Brigadier General Matterson. We understand she may not be well.”

“The General was unavailable this morning, it is true, I ... I haven’t tried to contact her since 1300 but I’m happy ...”

“There is no need to bother the General at this time. Just to give you a heads up, Colonel, you may be aware that early this morning the Pentagon had tried to make contact with the General but that was not successful. Umm, it was intended for us to attend upon the General shortly after that call but then came the news of your, err, incident and the unfortunate fatalities to your airmen. ...”

“Yes, two good men.”

“... In all the circumstances, the Pentagon has requested arrangements be made for a tele-conference at 2000 hours Zulu.”

The Master Gunny spoke.

“In which case there’s no need to concern the General at this time.”

Marcellus smiled.

“Of course, all arrangements will be in place for 2000 hours. Umm, unusual for marines to be on Phobos, if you don’t mind me saying.”

The lawyer smiled.

“Not at all, Colonel, we’re stationed at Olympus 1. We left at 0730 ... well, things don’t always go as planned.”

The marines shared a laugh, Marcellus smiled at a joke he didn’t understand. Aleksandr’s return was perfect in its timing.

“Lieutenant, our visitors will be looking to use ...”

“The tele-conference facilities at 2000 hours for a call from the Pentagon. Yes, Colonel, General Matterson briefed me not fifteen minutes ago.”

“So she’s up and about?”

“In her cabin, sir.”

Marcellus stood.

“In the event that you have another four hours until the meeting ...”
Orlanda again.

“We’re happy to wait here, Colonel, if that’s convenient, we have things to go through and we don’t want to hold you up ...”

“That’ll be fine.”

“... perhaps if your adjutant could, umm, ...”

“Lieutenant, show the Colonel and Master Gunny to the facilities and bring them their dinner, unless ...”

“... That’s great, Colonel, thank you. Oh, also we’ll need to stay overnight as our return to Phobos will be with the regular shuttle.”

“The Lieutenant will make those arrangements. Have a pleasant stay on board; I’ll put my adjutant at your disposal.”

They shook hands and gave salutations. Marcellus was desperate to get away.

He strode down the corridor, almost breaking into a trot. His stomach tight. He buzzed her hatch.

“Yes?”

“Colonel Aries, ma’am.”

“Enter.”

He pushed the hatch and leapt the threshold, Chrissie sat at a desk, still in her dress uniform, ruined lapels pulled hard across her chest, two monitors in front of her, a hand-pod to her right. She met his smile with a smile.

“Hi Marc, pull up a seat.”

He closed the hatch, walked to her and bent for a kiss. It was instantly passionate and short lived, Chrissie pulled away.

“Please sit down.”

“I need to do your ointment.”

“Plenty of time. I want to ask you about that firearm you got off Simmonds.”

“Sure.”

“You take it back to the armory?”

“Yep and the Lulach.”

“They identify it when you’re there?”

“Nope.”

“Can you do me a big one? Can you go back there and check out that handgun and its ordnance and get down to the firing range and pull off a couple of rounds.”

“Why?”

“Could you just do it?”

“Fine, but ... it’s only because you’re a general.”

“Not because you like me?”

She smiled; he smiled and left.

He was a little confounded but trusted her intuition. The Armory Superintendent made the position a little plainer. It wasn’t a registered weapon. It also wasn’t ordnance stored or dispersed by the armory. The Superintendent had confiscated the weapon: only on the commander’s order did he relinquish control.

Marcellus attended the twin lane firing range; the first round blew a twelve inch hole in the target at forty feet. At the maximum distance of sixty feet, two rounds took the head and shoulders off a ‘shatterproof’ silhouette. This was one mean mother of a bullet.

Back at the General’s cabin Chrissie was standing with her back to the hatch, wearing only the shirt of her dress uniform. Marcellus buzzed and entered, she turned and smiled.

“You’re right, Chrissie, this isn’t one of ours. ...”

He closed the hatch and began to unbutton the shirt as she walked toward him.

“... Well fuck me.”

She pushed the damaged shirt off her massive shoulders. She was naked but only one part of her concerned Marcellus, a patch of skin six inches wide by three inches high across the base of her neck and serrated pectorals.

He put his hand near the skin. It gave off heat.

“That must hurt like hell.”

“No, and the initial hit didn’t knock me back as much as Hannie’s right boot. But there must have been some micro-explosion a fraction after impact, just as the first layer of skin was broken.”

“Looks like the good Wing Commander gave a bit of thought to his target this morning.”

“What did you find out about the ordnance?”

He showed her an oversized slug.

“I’ve never see one like this, Chrissie, neither has the Armory Superintendent.”

“I’ll bet money it’s not British either ...”

“But we won’t know. Which reminds me, you’ve got two guests joining you for your tele-conference this evening.”

“Two? I know one’s a lawyer.”

“The other’s a marine too, a senior NCO. They’re both from Olympus 1.”

“It’s the Marine Corps base so that makes sense.”

“What’re they here for?”

Chrissie turned away to pick up the jar of ointment and lobbed it to Marcellus. Still holding the ordnance, he caught it left handed.

“Dunno ...

She shrugged her shoulders, causing the traps and delts to jump.

“... arrest me perhaps? Who knows what bullshit Simmonds has been spreading.”

“Lauren’s still held up on Phobos. Nothing seems to be working right.”

“And I was told this morning to contact Woodruff’s chief of staff for more details. Guess what? She’s gone on urgent personal leave.”

“Hope the last one left knows how to land this thing.”

Marcellus began to apply the ointment. After a couple of minutes he spoke.

“Chance you might drop in tonight?”

“Lipstick on you collar, Marc.”

“Eh?”

“The second wine glass. I found out Simmonds doesn’t drink.”

“Oh, umm, yeah, just a new year drink.”

He stood straight to return the jar and lid for her to close. She looked at him with a crooked smile.

“And after all you did get a little confused this morning.”

He grabbed her left wrist, only just managing to wrap his fingers around it, then brought it up and close.

“Well, look you’ve taken your ring off; I can usually see it in the quarter light.”

The crooked smile spread.

“Maybe it means I’m available.”

“Then maybe you should just drop by after your meeting.”

“We’ll see.”

He lent forward and gave her another kiss then held her face in his left hand and looked at it closely.

“What’d you have for lunch?”

“Umm, haven’t yet.”

“I’ll send Aleksandr, down here ...”

He stepped away and shook his head.

“... at least you’ll get one meal today.”

She smiled as he turned and left. Thinking about him for a moment, she found and pulled on her crystals and her boots. There was still much to be done.

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