Suffice it to say, life in the ‘verse was going to be interesting, working with Her Majesty Jupiter Jones. Once she had done checking that her family were safe, healed, and in memory-free stasis (all of which she accepted with royal aplomb despite her shocking lack of education), she had turned to you and asked—not to go back to that horrid backwater, not whether her family would remember all of this nightmare (for them-- this was a comparatively mild day for the Aegis Corps), not for something to eat (Wise’s request, but he was half ‘wolf after all)—“so why was it that Stinger betrayed us?”
Her Majesty was like Seraphi in interesting ways, it appeared. Incisiveness, for one, if not interest in frippery and profit. Chalk one up, at least, for the Earthers. You would enjoy playing host to this woman, however long it might be, and not just because of the Congressional provisions for ferrying Elites. You could write off the fuel and ordnance expenditure for this entire adventure, but Her Majesty’s company was proving to be—enjoyable, even, at least when she was not falling into mortal peril. You would have to do something to outfit her against that eventuality.
You explained, to the best of your understanding, how Stinger had come to be in his sticky wicket, pun all intended. You had no patience for torture, and despite Stinger’s betrayal, he and Caine had managed to tell enough of the story to satisfy you of its essential, if garbled, truth. Only such fundamentally male beings would let a young girl go off on her own with Abrasaxen threatening.
Had Her Majesty appreciated the danger (had Caine briefed her, and you would take him to task for that later, leaving royalty out of the loop, in violation of so, so many edicts, though at least he had armed her and she had the common sense to tend to his wounds with that ingenious bandage, primitive as it had been) she would never have let the girl go to the store.
Her Majesty snorted at the end of your tale, shaking her head. Her rich, chocolate braid twitched over her shoulder, her depthless eyes looking fond, annoyed, and amused rather than enraged by this idiocy.
“So Papa Bees McBeeserson—tell me something, Captain, is there some law I can pass to make the name laws less stupid? I mean, I might as well call him Moon Moon—was just following his family instinct to save his daughter, who is the only thing left in his life that he loves, except his missing wings, his military position, and his quasi-paternal relationship with Caine. Okay. I guess, what. I pardon him? Am I going to annoy anyone except the Abrasaxes if I do something like that?”
You nodded agreement with her summation, even if she did have the incorrect plural of Abrasax. She had time to learn, even if the immortality industry did come crashing to a halt sometime in the next millennia. “Stinger and Caine still have the Aegis crew’s good will, your majesty—Abrasax happen.”
Her Majesty huffed a laugh, and muttered something incomprehensibly Earth to herself before returning her attention to you. “So, where do we start looking for Kiza?”
“Nesh has been tracking the movements of the mercenaries contracted by Chicanery Night and…”
“Nesh?” Her Majesty interrupted.
“The elephant splice,” you explained.
“Well, at least he’s not named Elleph Hant,” she muttered. “Is his first name Gah?” Her expressive chocolate orbs rolled in exasperation, you knew not with what.
“How did Your Majesty know?”
“Seriously,” she muttered. “First abuse of royal authority. Get Phylo Percadium to get me Android Advocate Bob on the line.”
Since it was of no matter to you if her majesty wanted to trouble herself with the problems of splices, you nodded agreement. “Will there be anything else, before we re-route to Kiza’s last known whereabouts?”
Her Majesty pursed her expressive pink lips in thought. “As a matter of fact, I can think of one thing.” She plucked at the loaned uniform. “This is great, I’m super-happy to get out of that dress, and I mean, this is stylish and breathes well and the stretch, it's out of this world, plus, I mean, how am I supposed to fight bad guys when I’m dressed for space prom, but you know what I’m getting sick of? Falling off things… Not that it’s not a relief to not have to catch yourself all the time, and not that Caine isn’t dreamy, but still…” Her Majesty’s eyes lit appreciatively on Caine’s form at the end of the hall, where the man-wolf was hunched in the mess, putting away pho like noodles were going out of style, then flicked down to her own, dainty feet. Her expression shaded from appreciative to acquisitive. “Are you picking up what I’m putting down, Captain?”
“Your Majesty,” you said, feeling delighted laughter bubble in your throat in a way it hadn’t since you’d escaped the Byrn-Wyrms of Astari Five with Phylo and Droid. “I think this is going to be the start of a beautiful friendship. Would you like a space-shield with that?”
Her Majesty Jupiter Jones threw the long column of her throat back and laughed. “You bet I would. And call me Jupe, would you?”
“Jupe. I’d like that. My friends call me Dio.”
Jupe smiled, her teeth pearly and shining like the harmonies of spheres. “Cool, Dio. Let’s get me some space rollerblades, and get our rescuing on.”
You and Jupe walked toward the Quartermaster to get her new kit, as the red eye collapsed beneath you through the plexglas of the ‘walk.
You had the passing thought that the star scape would forever be changed. You, for one, were excited.