Episode 21

         After a full day of familiarizing Brick with the guts of the ship, Xinxa led Brick back to his room/cell. The exhausted Brick and Todd curled up in the bunk, and Xinxa carefully left them to complete her assignment for the day.

 

         The Grey One waited patiently for Xinxa’s arrival. It entered the briefing room, bowed before the Grey One, and stood at attention. The Grey One stood from its place of brooding and walked a little towards Xinxa. It stopped (its hands clasped behind its back) and peered down at Xinxa.

         “So you have completed his tour of the ship?” asked the Grey One finally.

         “Yes, Grey One.”

         “Did you learn anything of him?”

         “Well, it’s hard to say, Grey One,” replied Xinxa after some thought.

         “Oh? How so?”

         “He seemed to be really careful about letting any information about himself slip. I was unable to learn much about his past. And certainly not about his intentions.”

         “Hmm, I see.” The Grey One seemed lost in thought for a moment. “Aside from any concrete information, what was your impression of him?”

         “Well, he was not without a sense of humor,” replied Xinxa.

         “How so?”

         “When we went to see the (insert really complicated and technologically advanced sounding name) he saw right through the fact that everybody was trying to look busy even though there wasn’t any work to be done. One was acting like he was pressing buttons when he wasn’t doing anything. So Brick told him to push some buttons. Then he pressed a sequence that set up a reactor failure. Then while everybody was going insane, he fixed the problem. I had a hard time keeping a straight face. I had to order someone’s death just to keep from cracking up.”

         “So this Brick plays jokes?” asked the Grey One.

         “There was a certain innocence about him. It was really sweet.”

         “Sweet? Did you say sweet?”

         “Umm, yes?” answered Xinxa, a little worried.

         “Do you mean to say that you have become a little attached to Mr. Manling?”

         “Well… I mean no!”

         The Grey One was quite clearly angry. “I think you have exceeded your boundaries. I doubt very much your abilities to continue on this assignment.”

         “No!”

         “Guard!” called the Grey One. A battle-ready guard entered the briefing room. “Remove this insignificant tech from my sight.”

         The Guard seemed confused. It brought a hand up and tapped the side of its head.

         “Argh!… Grahgeckah!” cried the Grey One as it switched off the translator box. “Sharl ack dack ahtah yahx geckina kakl!”

         The guard seized Xinxa and dragged it bodily from the room. Xinxa attempted a pitiful protest as it disappeared down the hall and into an imminent oblivion.