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Chapter Five
Lina's in Jail Again

     “You know, I really hope Milly stocked up well on the food purchases. Lina could well turn out to be more expensive to feed than those new missiles you wanted,” Kain observed.

     Canal just smiled in response.  In her opinion, Lina was more destructive than missiles and she could be reused too.  If she would just stop shutting off Canal’s sensors when she went to her room.  That Xellos still bothered her. They hadn’t been able to hook him up to the ship; there was something about him that refused even that amount of assimilation.  Xellos, of course, seemed unconcerned. Was there anything that could wipe that smile off his face? Even when Lina beat him into a pancake, there was that smile. Frustrating.  He had just told her he would go outside of the ship to fight as he had done with Lina; then he had winked and told her that she wouldn’t be disappointed in his performance if he was needed but he wouldn’t take away from Lina’s fun.

     Lina’s fun, well she did seem to enjoy the fighting but the way Xellos had made that comment made it sound as if he was as strong as Lina, if not stronger.  Canal decided he was pulling her leg and resigned herself to having him protect the psychic realm; if he could block even a portion of the psychic attacks, it would be helpful.

     “Canal, how far are we away from port now?” Kain asked anxiously.

     “2 minutes 45 seconds until I ask for docking privileges,” Canal answered. “Missing Milly are you?” she added impishly.

     “That’s not it,” Kain grumbled.  “Will you give Neena a ring and see if there is any news about Rail?”

     “Just a second. Hi Neena,” chirped Canal as a young girl’s face appeared on screen.  “What’s the latest news on Rail?”

     Neena’s long brown hair bobbed as her shoulders hunched and her chin lowered as she took a deep breath.  “I was just questioned by the Universal Guardian Council. They think Rail is a spy; they said that he stole a lost ship, but my Lt. Rail would never do anything like that, he wouldn’t.”
     “Calm down, Neena,” Canal told Neena. “I’m sure it’s all a mistake and will be cleared up soon.  Did he leave any clues to where he was going?”

     “Nothing.  I’d tell you if I had a hint. Could you find him? He has no one to make him tea or take his laundry to the cleaners, I’m sure he’s suffering.  If I could just look for him.   Maybe you...” Neena babbled.

     “We’ll let you know if we find anything out. Oh, I have another transmission coming in, take care Neena, talk to you later,” Canal interrupted before she closed the connection.

     “Why did you do that, Canal?  I think she wants to come with us,” Kain asked.

     “I don’t want that system frying nitwit on my beautiful ship.  I remember her frying my holographic relay if you don’t. It...Was...Not...A...Pleasant...Experience,” Canal finished the sentence with clenched teeth.

     “Okay,” Kain backed off quickly and started walking around nervously.  “Are we there yet?”

     “You sound like a kid on a school trip.  Give me a chance to finish docking,” Canal told Kain sternly. “Go get Lina and Xellos, oh never mind,” she added as she spotted the pair entering the room.

     “Are we there yet?” Lina asked.

     “Geez, is there a broken record in here?  I’m all docked now.  Kain, you go get Milly and make sure that she’s purchased enough food.  I’m going to give these two a tour of the port,” Canal blithely ordered Kain with a wave of her hand.

     “I’ll just tell Milly to triple the order of food and buy some rations packs just in case,” Kain answered.

     Lina and Xellos tried to act blasé at the view of the port but only Xellos managed to keep his calm. Soon, Lina was jumping from shop to shop, happily squealing at the items offered for sale.  Soon she had outpaced Xellos and Canal, who were strolling behind her.  Canal glanced at Xellos, who began to look around when they did not immediately catch up to Lina.

     “I don’t like this,” he muttered darkly as he quickened his pace.

     “Don’t worry,” Canal assured him “There is a detachment of Universal Guardians here so it’s quite safe.”

“I’m not worried about Lina getting hurt...” Xellos’ voice trailed off as he heard an explosion from in front of him. He added, “That’s what I’m worried about,” as he started flying towards the sight of the disturbance.

     Canal began to run after him, “Xellos, what do you mean? What is going on?”  A feeling of dread came over her as she started to consider possible disasters.

     Later... much later... in the security office, Canal was standing in front of the Port Security Chief.

     “I’m sorry, she didn’t know.  I’ll explain the laws to her and I’ll pay for all the damages.”  Canal was trying to keep her voice calm but she could feel the frustration trying to break out.

     “Hi Canal, what’s up?”  Canal instinctively shied away from the newcomer’s touch.

     “Oops, sorry.  Can I help with anything?”

     “One of my passengers had a disagreement with a shop owner and lost her temper.  She is not used to her new psy powers and inadvertently blew up his shop.”  Canal crossed her fingers behind her back and continued, “I’ve offered to take her back to the ship and not let her disembark again and I’ve offered to pay for all the damages but this gentleman will not let her go.”

     “Let me see her file.  Hmm no priors. Look at her picture chief, she’s just a kid.” Neena shoved the file under the chief’s nose.  His craggy features softened as he looked at Lina’s picture.

     “You’re right, she can’t be more than 12 or 13, the same age as my daughter.  Okay Canal, you’re responsible for her. I’ll have her released to you as soon as you pay the damages at the claims office.”

     “Thank you. Thank you.” Canal bowed quickly to UG Chief as she left the office and entered the hall.

     “Okay, Xellos, you can stop your escape plans; they’re letting her go.  Neena, don’t sneak up on me like that and don’t touch me.”  Canal skittered to the side nervously.  “Thanks for your help back there, I was worried that we couldn’t get Lina out before she blew up the jail.”

     “Oh, she couldn’t do that.  She’s in one of the psy blocking cells, standard practice with psy positive prisoners,” Neena reassured Canal.

     Xellos snorted, “That’s been tried before, didn’t work then.  Why don’t I go reassure Lina while you pay her fines? I don’t think there’s a cell made in any world that could keep her in once she decides to leave.”  With a parting wave, he then disappeared.
     “Canal, is he a hologram too? I thought that you were the only hard hologram around.”  Neena looked quizzically at Canal.

     “No, that is one of my new crew members just like that girl in the cell.  Have you heard anything new from Rail?”

     Tears started flowing from Neena’s eyes. “There was a sighting of my Lt. in the D section but no one wants to go and help him.  They all want to blow him up.  Canal, you have to help him, you know that’s he’s not some horrible monster.  If you let me go with you, I promise not to touch anything really, please.”

     “Neena, I’ll have to talk this over with Kain.  We’re pretty crowded as it is now and you’d do more good here where you can get information that we can’t get any other way.”  Canal searched her mind for other reasons to give so that she wouldn’t have to suffer Neena on board.

     “You may be right, I have to be at my Lt.’s office in case he comes back, but you will look for him won’t you? Promise me Canal.  When you leave here you’ll go to D section, won’t you?”  Neena looked at Canal with tear filled eyes.

      Canal weighed the options in her mind. They had no set destination; one place really was as good as another, Neena would be an invaluable pipeline into UG HQ, and, best of all, Neena’s electronic frying powers would be far away from her and Swordbreaker.  As far as Canal could make out, this was a win win situation.  She smiled at Neena. “Of course we’ll go find Rail. Isn’t he our friend? And I’m sure he’d do the same thing for us.”

     “That’s true. My Lt. is so lucky to have friends like you.”  Canal got out of the way just in time to miss out on a hug from the exuberant girl.

     “I have to go and pay Lina’s fine now and get her out before she gets too upset.  Give me a call later when you’re off work,” Canal told Neena as she rushed off.

     Back at the ship, Milly was complaining loudly,  “There’s only two more people, Kain, I don’t understand why we bought out a supermarket.”  She adjusted a huge bag as she entered the ship.  I mean, I am the world’s greatest cook but this food is going to spoil before I have a chance to cook even a fraction of it.”

     “Milly, I told you before, she eats like a starved animal.  Canal tried to run it through the computer but gave up when she found out that Lina ate over twice her body weight in just one meal,” Kain explained for what felt like the hundredth time.

     “She must be pretty fat then,” Milly said as a happy smile appeared on her face.

     They heard a noise behind them. “They’re just getting back now?” Kain wondered.

     “It’s not my fault I tell you, he wouldn’t take any gems in payment and the food was only second rate,” a female voice shouted.

     “Lina, you did not have to blow up his shop.  I don’t know the customs of where you’re from but that is not the way things are done here,” Canal’s voice shouted in return.  Kain groaned as the ramifications of what was said made their way into his consciousness.  Milly gave him a quizzical glance.

     “You don’t want to know, in fact, I don’t want to know,” Kain told Milly.

      “Actually, it’s not the custom at home, but then Lina has never been bound by tradition,” a male voice interjected.
     Milly stared at the couple with Canal, a short young girl with a smiling man both wearing what looked to be Halloween costumes.  Taking in the capes on their shoulders, she turned to Kain and said in a quiet voice, “I knew it. Capes are a sign of deep madness; I’m going to my kitchen now, I’ll see you later.” Milly then turned around and left with her bag of groceries.

     Kain lifted his hands in confusion. “That was Milly.”

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