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Famous First Impressions

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"We'll be right behind you."

Ethelda grunted as she pushed the escape pod's hatch into place. When it closed with a loud clang! she breathed a sigh of relief. Regardless of what happened to her, she could breathe a little easier knowing that Jude would escape safely. Keeping that thought at the forefront of her mind, she turned to her former colleagues. "All right; we need to hurry. If we don't leave within the next minute or two, we'll be destroyed along with the shelter."

As they rushed to retrieve the documentation she had gathered minutes earlier, Ethelda couldn't help but spare a final glance at Jude's escape pod. "I hope he'll be all right. I never wanted him to find out the truth about Ciel like this."

"We all agreed that he would be told the truth eventually," Diana's soothing voice responded. "It just happened a few years earlier than planned, that's all. Jude's strong, you know that. He'll come through this okay."

"Yes, but –" She sighed. "Never mind. I can at least take comfort in the fact that he's not alone."

"Oh, I don't know about that," Samuel interjected. "If I were you, Ethelda, I'd be wishing that he was alone."

"Samuel, she's worried enough about the poor boy as it is! Don't make things worse!"

"Calm down, I didn't mean anything by it. It's just that…well, Ethelda, you yourself said that no one can remain a child forever."

"I did," she said, staring hard at Samuel. "But what does that have to do with anything?"

"Jude's not a little boy anymore. And when a boy gets to be his age he starts to…..notice others. And he's never seen any other kids before."

Ethelda's face reddened. "Are you suggesting he and that girl - ?"

"What, her? Pfft, of course not. She's harmless. I was talking about that boy who's with them – whatshisname."

"You've come to some strange conclusions in the years I've known you, but this is just ridiculous. This boy is years older than Jude – this boy, Samuel! He's not going to pay attention to a thirteen year-old. If he…ah, "attempts" anything in that escape pod, it's going to be with that poor girl!"

"I doubt it. Gay as a spring breeze, that one."

"Samuel." Diana's voice was as hard as Ethelda's. "This is hardly the time or the place to be discussing this. We've wasted enough time listening to you ramble on as it is. Now, come on! We've got to get gather everything up and get out of here!"

"I know, I know! Don't hassle me, woman!"

As they ran, Ethelda wanted to dismiss Samuel's remarks as stress-induced rambling. But there was enough overprotective mother in her to make her decide that if that boy had even appeared to have done anything to her son, she was going to rip off his scarf and wring his scrawny neck with it.