"Carpet!!!' CARRRRRRRPET!!! Chumley bellowed as he ran the corridor from the command deck heading in the direction of Silo's quarters.
'I'm right here you great oaf! Stop!' Bunched up next to the wall trying gamely to avoid Chumley's massive feet and dragging tail Carpet shook
himself out only after the panting Regellian came to a complete stop.
Gasping, unable to catch his wind words were beyond the great being, cheeks flushed in a ghastly green, sweat pouring and dripping from every bloated
pore. Panting, his tentacles clasp to his chest Chumley's face registered a mirror of horrific emotions before he could speak again. Carpet waited
patiently knowing if he tried to rush the agitated Chumley it would only make things worse.
'It's her...' Panting and swallowing he tried again. 'It's Silo.' He finally made out.
'WHAT! Why didn't you say so you big idiot! Where is she! What's wrong!' Carpet bristled, his nap shivering like a maddened porcupine.
'One minute... Just a sec...' Laboring under the strain and stress, along with at least a hundred kilos of excess weight the Regellian pushed both
tentacles against his sternum hoping to speak.
'Her Sprint. It's... It's activated... A DISTRESS SIGNAL!' Emotion won and Chumley sank to the floor in a rubbery heap, great tears rolling from
his eyes adding to his dripping mess.
'If you wouldn't go running about like a addle-brained idiot! You..!' Carpet cut his insults and headed for Deson. He had no time to deal with a
overwrought Chumley and getting mad at him wouldn't help anyone.
Within moments Carpet found the Armsman Deson leaving his workroom and positioned himself effectively blocking the path forward.
'Hello Carpet, nice to see you've joined the land of the living.' Deson smiled wiping his spotless hands on a pristine work rag knowing his insult
would stick, as he'd meant it to. Carpet had been holed up in Silo's quarters since her disappearance and for reasons unknown it had Deson at odd
ends with the Milli-Being.
'Where is she.' Carpet's cold rejoined surprised Deson, but only momentarily.
'If you'd be so kind as to remove your...bunch...from my path I believe we can discus this on the way to the command deck.' Deson raised a foreleg
and held it still waiting for Carpet to move. He did not.
'I asked, where is she?' Pulling his complete mass together took Herculean effort, but Carpet did, and now risen to chest high to the Armor he
presented himself a force immobile.
'Why what's this? Have you grown a backbone Carpet?' Angered beyond understanding at the Milli-Beings obstinacy Deson gave in to an emotion he
rarely visited. Anger.
'Save your braying Deson it 'dus-na' impress me.' Carpet's imitation of the Armors baroque perfect.
His eyes nearly rolling in his head Deson lowered his hoof in a stamp sending shock waves across the floor that shivered up through Carpet's fibers,
but he remained firm.
'Where-is-SHE? Carpet stormed, never feeling at impotence as he did at that very moment. He wanted to take the Armor by his throat and thrash him
'Stand down.' Came Ship's voice. Her essence like an invisible wall came between the two creating a barrier between two who were closer than ever to
engaging in battle.
'Gentleman.' Ship said coolly, waiting for the tension to ease from the air. It took a matter of moments, but finally Deson's nostrils stopped
flaring, Carpet's nap lay back smoothly and the two visibly relaxed.
'Gather up Chumley before he completely dehydrates and the three of you meet me in on the command deck.' 'Pronto.'
Feeling the absence of her being leave the area Carpet, without another thought to Deson paved the corridor back to Chumley, commanded him to follow
and didn't wait for either the Armor or the Regellian before laying fiber to the command deck. Before he even made his way across the threshold he
'Ship, please. Where is she. No ones said a word in all this time she's been gone. I can't help but think there's a...'
'Problem. Yes, I agree Carpet.' Ship finished for him. 'And problem number one is she's taken off her Green Man.' Ship's voice betrayed none of
the desolation she felt, having been so removed from Silo's life, but the desolation was a great empty void in the center of herself. An emptiness
she could only explain in quiet moments as being if she'd lost a child.
Carpet, unable to fathom what he'd just heard remained still, and quiet. In all actuality he couldn't believe what he'd heard. It was as if the
world as he knew it had just come to and end.
'She's gone.' Chumley sputtered as he floundered his way onto the deck and into the Head Security Officers chair.
Deson, following, remained quiet, regretting for a moment the pain felt by the others, but not regretting it so much he gave up his personal
information to put them at ease. He'd been driven into a corner by events and that's where he'd stay.
'Chumley, you say she's gone. I've scanned recent Ship's departures and you're correct, a small Sprint was taken without clearance from Deson's
A slight stain spread across the Armor's squared cheeks, he hoped it would be interpreted as his embarrassment in lack of security of one of his
'Deson, what have you to say for yourself?' Ship continued.
'Well Mam, as it is true one of my Sprints is missing, it's also true I'd just installed a training program in her, so, there's a chance Mam she's off
doing some in-flight precision tuning of the program...'
Cutting him off Ship asked coldly, 'When was the last time one of your vehicles 'got away' form you Deson?'
Left with no choice, he had to answer.
'Never Mam.' A slight tremor rippled along his back like a fly had landed atop his shinning coat.
'Never?' Ship countered.
'No Man. Not until now.' The ripple spread to his side and it was al he could do not to swish his tail.
'So Chumley.' Her attention turned to her Security Officer. 'What can you tell us now?' Ship had completely dismissed Deson and his, as she knew
them to be, half truths. Oh his species couldn't lie, but they could bend the truth nearly in two.
'Mam, a newly engaged distress beacon from the missing Sprint is broadcasting an emergency alert. It's her. I know it's her. And she's in trouble.
She's crashed, she's...' A sob broke from the big Regellian leaving him unable to continue..
'Chumley. The distress signal has been received. This means we can track it, as I presume you're doing.'
'Yes Mam!' Chumley squared his shoulders knowing at once he'd done something right. 'We're tracking the Sprint right now!' Punching buttons with
the tip of his tentacle Chumley called up the Sprint on radar visible to all on the wide view screen at the front of the deck. A glow of hope that
hadn't been there moments before warmed Chumley's whole face somehow making him more pitiable than before.
'So, if the beacon is moving we can assume she didn't crash. Especially since there's no planets or stars to crash into
within range.' Ship
sighed tying the obvious information together for Chumley. 'Now, did you check for signs of life on the craft?' Knowing already he had not Ship
hated asking, but...but to her surprise Deson answered.
'Mam, that little Sprite wouldn't give up her cargo no matter if it was live or dead.'
At the word 'dead' Chumley began to howl and Carpet paled to a translucency that nearly made him invisible.
'Explain! Ship commanded, clearly at the end of her patience with his double talk.
'Mam', Deson said slowly, 'The little Sprint is designed for stealth. That she's activated a distress beacon? It must be something Silo took aboard
with her. The Sprint is protected from being followed, it's occupancy from being monitored. As a rule...'
'So we don't know if she's alive or dead, or even on the Sprint!' Ship let her anger slip through, not against her will.
'Yes Mam, I mean no Mam, we do not'. Extraordinarily uncomfortable with the stream of the conversation he locked his knees in order not to
'Chumley, go after her. Now. Take whatever rig Deson believes will suit best.' At Chumley's whoop of joy Ship returned her attention to Deson.
'Armor, outfit Chumley then remain at your post to monitor all communications. And Deson, you're on Ship's arrest.'
Clearly not expecting the nasty turn of events Deson, stunned and out of voice blinked, and blinked again.
'Carpet, meet me in Silo's quarters. It's time we had a talk.' Orders given, action to be taken, Ship felt better for having made them, but, had
another question before she was through with the Armor.
'And Deson, before you go...' Ship waited for the other two to leave before she went on. Enjoying the Armor's obvious discomfiture she waited
another hands-breadth of moments before asking what she was sure he guessed she would. 'What do you know of Silo removing her communications
Though she had no eyes to glare at him Deson felt her intent penetrating him to his very soul, but that she'd not used the name 'Green Man' gave him
the 'out' he needed.
'I know nothing of her communications removal' Deson replied calmly, his head bobbing once as he stared intently at the 'blip' the Sprint made on
radar at the front of the room.
'So that's how it's going to be is it?' Ship said almost to herself. Deson took her words as a queue and headed to his post.
Ship, knowing she hadn't been told the whole story knew enough about Deson to be sure it was all he was going to tell and let him go. Just before she
transferred her energy to Silo's quarters where Carpet waited Ship gave a short prayer in hopes Silo, wherever she was hiding, was well.
edit on 24-9-2010 by silo13 because: (no reason given)