She whipped around and started bounding down the hallway. Hans was left with the distinct impression of a puppy on speed as he followed along behind her. He would have smirked if he hadn’t been so deep in thought. He wanted to think of something that he could contribute instead of just relying on Alfie’s network of people.He almost walked right by Mata when she came to a screeching halt outside a door. She reached out and put her hand on his chest. “Hold up there handsome. This is the suite I found for you all. I hope you don’t mind that I stuck you all together with a common room. Anyway, there really isn’t much to choose from. I made sure it was stocked up as well. We all generally share meals in the common area that you were earlier so there isn’t any food in here, but clothes and a few amenities. Just let me know if there is anything else you need.”
She opened the door and stood aside to let them in to the room. It was sparsely furnished, but comfortable enough and functional – which was the most important part. There were four doors that opened into other rooms. One was a shared bathroom and the other three were separate bedrooms. Just as Mata had said there were some spare clothes available for them to wear.Hans turned on the screen and flipped through a few channels before turning it off.
“Hey, wait!” Honora dashed forward and pulled the controller out of Hans’ hand and turned the screen back on.“-ing story for the evening. We take you to head of the Armed Forces Exploration and Expansion division. Admiral Falun has announced that we have made contact with a sentient species from outside of the Milky Way galaxy. Little has been released about the contact with this species, but we will keep you up to date as the story progresses.”
Alfie slammed the door open in his haste to get inside. “Did you hear the news?”“Yeah we saw, but the question remains – which aliens is he talking about?” Hans shut the screen off as the news had moved on to another unrelated story.
“You think it’s these Afoixox?” Alfie asked.“I know it’s not going to be the Shai Halad. They left this galaxy a long time ago and they are never coming back. All they left behind was the warrior class that they created because of the war with the Afoixox. They are too gentle, too peaceful to stand for a war.” Hans began to pace as he tried to wrap his head around the news.
“I’m trying to get as much information as I can. I’m almost tempted to go back to work. I’m his primary aide, but having secreted you three away from under his nose I know it could be a dangerous proposition, but we need more information.” Alfie looked at Hans, his eyes asking a question that he wasn’t willing to vocalize.“It’s your call, but I don’t think it would be a smart idea.” Hans said.
“Got anything better?” Alfie asked.“No, but don’t go.” Hans walked towards Alfie and put his hands on his shoulders looking him straight in the eye. “I’d rather you alive and well than risking life and limb for a chance of getting a little bit more information.”
Alfie nodded and then embraced his friend. “I’m going to go anyway.”Hans held on to him tighter. “I listened to you when you told me to shut up and sit down. It’s your turn to listen to me now. It’s not worth the risk. You know how dangerous these people can be. I know how dangerous they can be. We’ll get the information another way.”
Alfie pushed back from Hans. “I’m going.”
Hans didn’t say anything. He turned and walked to one of the bedrooms and closed the door behind him. He tried to think about anything else other than what Alfie had chosen to do, but it was all he could think about. Here was his friend, once again just taking his word that the Shai Halad were the good guys, and risking his life for it.Hans fell asleep eventually. An alarm brought him fully awake in an instant. Hans rolled out of bed and was running for the door where he collided with Duke.
“What’s going on?” Hans asked once he regained his balance. Duke just shook his head and headed back into the common room. Honora was standing there looking confused, unsure of what to do. Hans headed for the door that opened before he even reached it. Mata poked her head into the room, her eyes wide.“You three need to come with me now.” She whipped around as soon as the words were out of her mouth and dashed down the hallway. Hans was not far behind her. He didn’t need to be told twice, it was evident from the tone of her voice and the alarm that something big was happening. It wasn’t long before he found himself in some sort of control room.
“Alfonzo Ansanza has gone missing, presumed dead.” Hans had no idea who had spoken, but he turned towards the sound of the voice his anger rising at the deadpan tone. Before he could say anything his voice froze in his throat. He had heard of her before from Alfie, but he had never once expected to meet the infamous Eve.She looked at him with no emotion at all. A perfectly blank slate, even her eyes were as if she was dead, but she was very much alive and breathing. Hans closed his eyes for a moment to regain his composure before he spoke. “You’re Eve.”
“And you are Hans Beaulieu. It is a pleasure to meet you even under these grave circumstances. We received a single communiqué from Alfonzo before we lost track of him. Please review the following files and tell us what you know.” She handed him a notepad.Hans looked over the information that his friend had managed to gather before he disappeared. Hans tried not to think about how much the info had cost when he looked at the people gathered around him and said a single word. “Afoixox.”