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NULL SPACE - Part 3

If Jeran hadn’t been an experienced solder he would have jumped out of his skin when he heard Null speak from behind him. “Where are we going?” Until she had spoken Jeran hadn’t heard anything, a normal person should have been able to sneak up on him like that, though he was forced to conclude that a woman with rainbow hair who had been frozen in a giant crystal was anything but normal.

“We are heading to Ark-Neon. It is a large space resort. I have a friend who works here and who helps be gather information. However it will take us several days to reach it.” Jeran said as he turned around to face Null.

“I see.” Null didn’t really seem like that chatting type thought Jeran. Her responses seemed to keep lacking any real substance to there.

Jeran stood up and motioned to the kitchen. “I was warming us up something to eat. I was thinking you might be hungry after… well everything that happened to you. I don’t really have very much so I hope you like reconstituted nutrition paste.”

Jeran tried to decipher her expression. Eventually he decided that is must be disappointment, he figured he might be disappointed too to discover that all he had to eat after being brought back from a state of suspended animation was reconstituted nutrition paste. He would have wanted a steak or something.

The warmer had managed to solidify the paste to a consistency similar to mashed potatoes. It really didn’t taste that bad, it was just… unsatisfying. Jeran scooped out a plate for him and Null and set them down at the table. After he sat down and motioned to her he said, “So, do you want to ask questions first or should I? Or would you rather wait until after eating?”

Null dipped her spoon in the paste for a second before setting it to the side. “You can ask me your questions, but there are some that I will not be able to answer.”

“Alright, I guess everyone has a right to their secrets. I guess my first question is how longer were you stuck in that crystal… what did you call it again?”

“It is a Hexion Sphere and I was inside it for 105 years and 57 days.” Said Null.

“That is a fairly precise figure.” Said Jeran, however it didn’t seem that Null was much one for expanding on what she said. “I was looking for the Null Crystal and since your name is so similar I wanted to know if you knew anything about it.”

Null appraised him quietly before responding, “Why are you seeking this Null Crystal? You don’t seem like the person who would search strange planets for material wealth. Is is for prestige, power, or for something more.” Null’s question probed deeply at Jeran. He hesitated, trying to decide whether to tell Null why he wanted to seek the Null Crystal.

Jeran uncountcously lowered his voice even though no body else would be able to hear them. “It is said that embedded in the Null Crystal is the information required to perform a low level DNA replacement.”

Null stared at him her expression unchanging. “That is illegal you know. If ANGEL ever found out that your were looking for forbidden technology then you wouldn’t stand a chance. It would be better if you gave up now.”

Jeran’s usually calm demeanor broke as he slammed his hand down of the table. The plates bounced across the table and clattered on the floor, leaving bits of paste smeared on the ground. “I refused to give up looking. If I don’t find the Null Crystal then my daughter is going to die!” He shouted at her.

“I see,” said Null and Jeran thought he could almost see a smile on Null’s face. “Had you answered differently I would leave you as soon as we arrived at Ark-Neon. However since your desire is honest I will help you achieve it. While I do not know how the story of the Null Crystal came to be I am certain that it is referring to me.

“You? You know forbidden technology? Is that why you were stuck in that blue crystal? But… wait… why should I believe you? Doesn’t it seem unlikely that I would just happen to free you, the person who claims to know the knowledge that I am seeking. How do I know that you really do know it.” Jeran had begun to become skeptical, sure she was trapped in that crystal but that didn’t mean she had access to forbidden technology.

“Yes I have have access to the forbidden technology and yes I was imprisoned inside the Hexion Sphere because of that knowledge. However if you want a demonstration then there is only so much I can do without turning your ship into scrap metal which would almost certainly kill you. Also without a supply of nano-machines I am limited to what I can accomplish. Right now I only have access to the knowledge in my mind and my body.”

“For now I’ll believe you.” Said Jeran, “at least until we arrive at Ark-Neon. Then before I stop looking for something to cure my daughter I will need to see some sort of proof. Not that I don’t trust you, but with something this important I can’t just leave it to words along.”

Null nodded, “I understand. There should be enough equipment at at Ark-Neon for me to give you a demonstration. However I still feel obliged to recommend that you leave me there. It would be better if you don’t become associated with forbidden technology.”

“Would you be able to make do without me. I mean you don’t have any money do you? I’m sure you could make money with the forbidden technology but you seem like you don’t want to use it for the wrong reasons. As admirable as that is it would make it have for you to make a living.” Said Jeran.

Null stiffened and said in a proud tone, “I’m sure everything would work out. I would be quiet capable of surviving by myself, thank you very much. I hardly need your help and was offering you mine as a token of gratitude. However if you don’t want it I can certainly take care of myself.”

Jeran raised his hand to stop her, “Yes, I’m sure you could.” It had been a while since he had dealt with someone with such pride. He normally tried to train the pride out of solders but Null wasn’t one of his trainees. “I want you to come with me and save my daughter. I wouldn’t care if it was forbidden technology or magic, all I want it to see her well again or I would never be able to forgive myself.”

“Very well then. I shall give you the pleasure of letting me accompany you. I could hardly leave you daughter in mortal peril, now could I?” Null had calmed down, soothed my Jeran’s words. He could tell that this might be a long trip. He bent down and picked up the plates that had fallen on the ground as a result of his outburst.

“I’m sorry for messing up dinner. If you still want more to eat the after I clean this up I can make some more.” Said Jeran as he grabbed a cloth to clean up the paste that had smeared itself over the floor. Jeran might have been annoying having to clean the floor but there was precious little to do when on a ship in the middle of space. Even scrubbing food paste could sound like an interesting activity out here.

“No,” responding Null, pointing her nose up in the air slightly. It was plain that the food paste was obviously not what she wanted to eat. Still she would need to eat it until they arrived at Ark-Neon. Jeran made a note that he would have to pick up something more to her taste once they docked. His daughter didn’t like the nutritional paste either no Jeran wasn’t completely unused to having real food aboard his ship, however it didn’t keep as well as nutritional paste so he didn’t bother when traveling alone.

The rest of the trip was mostly uneventful. After that meal Null haven’t wanted to answer any more questions so Jeran tried to spend the time by talking with her. She didn’t seem that interested but she at least she respectfully paid attention. Jeran tried telling her what happened since she had been trapped in the Hexion Sphere. However the galaxy is a big place and Jeran mainly just knew the history of major events and what had happened on Myth. Once he had run out of history to tell her he began to divert into telling her about his daughter.

Jeran spoke lively about his daughter and it was plain that he was proud of her. However behind all his words was a hint of sadness. With the possibility of his daughters death at stake it wasn’t surprising. His wife had died more then five years ago in an attack on Myth, long before their daughter was diagnosed with her condition. Null didn’t really ask questions but instead just listened to him talking. Maybe the reason that she listened to him was because there really wasn’t anything else to do while on the ship. Jeran hadn’t brought much with him to entertain others, after all he hadn’t expected to pick up a passenger.

When Jeran wasn’t talking Null was glued to the ship’s terminal reading what little information was available. The only information there was what Jeran had brought with him and updates he received at regular intervals. It was hard to get anything else because by the time any new requests were processed the ship would have already reached Ark-Neon which would have a much larger information bank for them to request information from.