Seri sat in the dining area with Zhuang and Luka, watching Luka devour a bowl of rice. She looked at Zhuang and then said, "So Luka here is essentially your slave until she's paid herself off."
"I prefer to call her my consenting servant." said Zhuang.
"And I don't like either of those names!" Luka was red in the face.
"You're so cute when you're flustered." said Zhuang, giggling.
"F-flustered? Whose flustered?" Luka blushed deep red, her snaggletooth showing as she laughed and turned her head away to hide her embarassment.
"Anyways, it doesn't matter. Luka, you're gonna help me fix up the place after we finish eating. Putting on heavy bulkheads, new cameras and a new airlock circuit." Seri pushed her now much longer hair out of her face, it reaching passed her shoulders now.
Finishing up eating, Seri got a cart and began loading the parts on board. As the old parts were removed, there was no disassembly needed. Heading upstairs with the cart, Seri tried to lift the bulkhead, but found she couldn't. Luka offered a hand, "Let me see if I can help..." she lifted one end of the bulkhead effortlessly. Seri's jaw dropped to the floor. "What?" said Luka, putting it on its hinges and beginning plugging it together.
"You're strong." Seri was astounded. She secretly thanked that they had the alien to deal with her. They installed the rest of the new hardware quite easily.
Zhuang, meanwhile, was talking with Orphe scientists. The head of reversal research, Jacqueline "Jack" Van-Horn was a sufferer of the effects of Rathit. Indeed, Zhuang noted "Jack" as she preferred to be called, identified as a male, a trademark case of the problem and had the problem fully masculinize her. Despite this, she wanted to meet as soon as possible.
"Can you fly here with the specimens in question tomorrow?" Jack said, eagerly.
"It'll take us about 30 hours, but we can leave soon if needed." Zhuang drummed her fingers. "How much if we prove they work?"
"If you have a solution to our problem the Rathit counsel is offering a fully outfitted U-90 Battle-Cruiser, plus 30 million credits." Jack looked at her, wringing her hands uncomfortably.
Zhuang spat out her coffee on the floor. "We'll leave right now. Have the ship docked at Orphe. We'll be coming in a Flanker and a T66 Interceptor." She got up and headed over to the intercom. "Hey Luka, Seri, are you finished with the hideout upgrades?"
"Yeah, we're just sitting here getting to know each other." Seri replied back.
"Pack your bags. We're going to Rathit. They want to give us 30 million credits plus a U-90 battlecruiser." she said.
"A U-90? That's three times this big!" said Luka.
"Whoa. Okay, we'll get ready." Seri and Luka scrambled to their rooms to pack their gear, and then prepare the ships for the journey.
Zhuang met them in the docking bay as they were preparing the Flanker. "Seri, you're gonna have to take Luka in the Flanker. The T66 is too small for two people to stay comfortably, especially with the aliens on board in the hold.
Seri looked over at the T66. Unlike the later T78 it was considerably smaller, made for one, and only had a tiny living area consisting of a bed, sofa, a table and a small fridge. "Okay."
Seri loaded Luka's bag into the living area. "Luka, you can take it easy until I get the coordinates set. Once they're set, I'll come back."
"Sure." she said, sitting on the couch and opening a beer. "Wow, I've not had this beer in ages."
"Came with the ship." said Seri. She wasn't lying.
Soon they launched and were on their way. Seri set the navigation towards Orphe, Rathit's satellite. She walked to the back and sat on the sofa beside Luka.
"You know this Flanker seems real familiar but I don't quite know where." Luka said.
"Does it now?" Seri said somewhat nervously.
"Yeah, this sofa feels similar... this table I've almost definitely seen before... But where?" she said.
"I don't know. Ever ridden a Flanker before?" Seri tried to distract the conversation.
"Hold on... I think I owned one... Yes. It even had the same colour bed and the same beer in the refridgerator..." Luka looked around. "It can't be." Luka touched herself, all over.
"Shit." Seri said under her breath. She grabbed her PDA and messaged Zhuang. "Possible problem. You did stick Luka with some sort of amnesia drug?"
"Your hideout... Did it happen to once be home to a guy named Kathed?" Luka said. "I'm also..." She started crying.
"What's wrong? Seri said."
"I... I remember..." Luka sobbed. "I was Lucius Scyte, wasn't I? You let that alien on me... You and Zhuang... But yet... you all are so... kind."
Seri touched Luka's shoulder. "Are you angry with us? And yes, I was attacked by one of those aliens. I was Kathed."
"I don't... know. I want to be. But I can't... Zhuang was very kind to me under the circumstances... and I don't want to go back to being an outlaw now that I don't have to be... Plus 30 million? That's enough for us to live nicely for some time..." Luka sighed.
"I understand how you're probably feeling. But this is a fresh start, is the way I see it. I'm not Kathed anymore, you're not Lucius. You even said you don't really blame us." Seri readied her plasma pistol, setting it to stun, if she needed it.
"I... I don't even know! I feel like two people in the same body... Ugh... I even fucking remember why I wanted to come to your hideout to plunder. I wanted the place to hideout from the law. I planned to kill both of you..." Luka started sobbing again.
"I don't care, you know? At first I hated being like this, but I got used to it... It isn't great, at first, but you get used to it." Seri's breathing went through the charts.
"Ughhh! Luka stood up and leaned on the table before it tipped and hit her in the head as she fell to the floor.
"Luka? Luka??" Seri lifted up Luka, heavy as she was, onto the bed.
Zhuang messaged back. "Yeah. It doesn't wear off, it shouldn't be wearing off. Everything okay?"
"She started freaking out, stood up and hit her head on the table when it tipped over. She's out cold." Seri said frantically.
"She'll probably be fine, keep me informed, don't be afraid to use the ship computer to restrain her." Zhuang said.
An hour later, Luka stirred, groaning. "Ugh my head. Seri... can I get some water?"
Seri grabbed a can of water and lifted Luka's head, giving her some.
"What happened? I don't remember how I got here." Luka asked Seri, looked up at her with unfocused eyes.
"What do you remember?" Seri looked at her concernedly.
"We were sitting on the couch and then I hear crying and I hit my head on something. You'd just finished prepping the ship for the journey." Luka said.
"Yeah, you freaked out for a second about the ship for some reason and then hit your head on the table." Seri lied.
"What about it? It's a nice ship, where did you get it?" Luka said confusedly.
"I don't remember." Seri said.
"I'm cold... Can you get in next to me?" Luka asked Seri. She pulled off her top and skirt and pulled the blanket over her.
"Fine." Seri put on a t-shirt, and besides that, she just had panties on. She got in, where promptly Luka removed her bra, and chuckling, squeezed Seri from behind.
"How does that feel?" Luka giggled.
"Honestly? You tits are like giant pillows.You may be a cow, but you're warm..." Seri said, teasing her.
"Moo." Luka laughed.
Luka soon began to snore, once Seri was sure she was asleep, she pulled her PDA and messaged. "She doesn't remember anymore. I guess that KO she did to herself did it. Thank god she's clumsy."
"Good. Get some rest, enjoy her big pillows <3" Zhuang sent to her.
"Goddamn pervert." Seri said to herself. "We're less than halfway to Orphe. Geez."
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