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Chapter One   |   Chapter two   |   Chapter Three   |   Chapter Four   |   Chapter Five   |   Chapter Six   |   Chapter Seven   |   Chapter Eight   |   Chapter Nine   |   Chapter Ten   |   Chapter Eleven   |   Chapter Twelve   |   Chapter 13
Chapter Nine
     Rail looked over the group, closing his eyes for a moment before continuing in a weak voice. "The lost ships are evil, tainting all of humanity with their madness.  They are a darkness we must all fight against.  I was unable to destroy the one I was on, but they must be destroyed or humanity will be lost to the abyss. Our only hope is to band together and fight as a single unit.  Where a single human can not withstand the power of a lost ship, as a group we can cast off the shackles of hate and madness to rid ourselves of the ones which enslave us.  Humanity has always fought against being trapped; we may take many casualties but in the end, we will survive.  Humans are very good at surviving."

     Lina glanced at Kain. "Does he always talk like that?"

     "Pretty much." Kain shrugged.
     "Hey, Rail, how did you try to kill the lost ship?" Lina asked leaning forward to look the bedridden man in the eyes.

     "Who are you? No matter, you are human.  I had the codes. There is a group within the Universal Guardians who have always known that the lost ships would be back, that Darkstar would rise again.  We have searched out the old lore and preserved it, waiting for the next emergence." Rail's eyes hardened as he caught sight of Xellos standing close to Lina, "You, what are you?  Not human, but what? Explain," Rail demanded.

     Xellos laughed sheepishly, putting on his most harmless demeanour.  "Me just a traveling priest, completely harmless I assure you."

     Lina snorted, "Don't worry, Rail, Xellos and I are here to help destroy Darkstar.  We've fought against him before and we want to finish the job this time."

     "They are the one's that destroyed your link to the lost ship, you should show a bit of gratitude," Kain added.

     "If you did that... then... I truly thank you." Rail's eyes blinked shut as he drifted off to sleep.

     "We should leave him alone for a while, did you let Neena know how he is?" Kain asked Canal.

     "I'm doing that now... no. Neena, don't do that... stay there....Arghhhh!" Canal stood in the corridor not moving for a moment and then drifted out of the room mumbling to herself.

     "I guess Neena is on her way." Kain smiled. "I'm sure that she'll be taking good care of her Lt. Rail."

     Rail's groan was almost inaudible against the wails that started in the hallway. Kain's smile widened as he remembered the chicken episode, revenge was going to be sweet.  "There, there, I'm sure she'll make you lots of tea to wear, Rail." Yes, revenge was going to be sweet.

     "We'll be back later," Lina told Rail after shooting Kain a quizzical look. "We have a lot to talk about and I want to read what scrolls you have."

     "Scrolls, hah, I should have known you'd have as sense of humour hanging around Kain." Rail laughed weakly.  "Keep it, you'll need it."

     "Ooookay, rest up now." Lina gave Rail another sharp look and then turned and left the room.  Xellos followed after her giving Kain a saucy smile and a wink.

     "Are you going to be all right here, Rail?" Kain asked, then succumbing to temptation added, "Until Neena arrives, of course."

     "Neena is a very able assistant, I'll let you know," Rail protested.  "The time however is wrong for..." Rail's voice drifted off as he succumbed to the pull of unconsciousness.

     Lina and Xellos waited outside, Lina shifting her weight nervously as she watched the distraught Canal.  "All that angst and not a meal to be found." Xellos nudged Lina in the ribs.  "What do you think?"

     "Of what, oh Rail, I still need more information.  What's so funny about scrolls, Xellos?"

     "Don't know." Xellos shrugged.  "These people are definitely strange."

     Lina started giggling, "That is a first, you calling someone else strange."

     Xellos smiled at Lina fondly, enjoying the rush of joy that she emitted.  He coveted her happiness, which was rapidly becoming more important to him than his own desires.  Lina still couldn't, no wouldn't believe in his love for her.  He wanted to be patient, he should have learned at least that in the past thousand years or so, but it seemed like everything he thought he knew was wrong when it came to his new feelings.  Except for how he felt for Lina, that was the one thing that he held onto when everything else turned crazy.  Liking people, wanting to help out these weird new people, Xellos shook his head, why would he want these things?  That Lina wanted it should be reason enough but why would he want it, another mystery for him to solve.

     `Damn it, I shouldn't have secrets from myself,' Xellos thought to himself. `I wonder if...' Xellos edged closer to Lina and slipped his hand into hers, enjoying how she unconsciously went into sync with him.  Drawing on her contentment, he stroked her palm gently feeling a quiver of pleasure go through her.  Xellos grinned to himself like a child with a new toy and continued, pausing only when Lina began drawing back, then continuing again when she was distracted by Kain leaving the room and walking with Canal down the hallway towards the exit.  As Lina became engrossed in Kain and Canal's conversation about ship functions, he let her hand go and gently slipped it around her waist, holding her loosely until she was used to the weight and then tightening it slowly until she fit under his arm.

     Just as Xellos was considering his next move Lina stumbled on a step. "What are you doing, you fruitcake?" Lina asked angrily.

     "Just trying to stop you from falling," Xellos answered, plastering his most innocent look on his face.
     Lina glared at him and stalked off, her spine stiff with outrage.  Xellos laughed to himself, this was an experiment that bore repeating.  She did get so involved with her textbooks.  Watching Lina walk in front of him, Xellos stopped for a moment to enjoy the view.  She would be his one day, but that patience thing was definitely not going to be easy.

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