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NULL SPACE - Part 5

Null seemed to be content through all of dinner. They had finally chosen a normal restaurant at least to Null’s taste. It was a bit rich for Jeran who was used to nutritional paste and who preferred Mythian food better. The meal proceeded normally with Null occasionally asking questions about how things worked now. Some of them were various cultural things that Jeran didn’t know the answer too.

After eating Null wanted to go shopping for some new clothes. She didn’t want to continue to wear the clothes she was stuck in the Hexion Sphere and she was disturbed at Jeran’s suggestion that she could wear his clothes. Jeran really didn’t understand the desire to have lots of clothes and Null couldn’t understand not wanting lots of clothes. So in an attempt to reconcile this difference Null spent lots of Jeran’s money buying new clothes. Jeran paid reluctantly, not wanting to splurge to much of his saved money because he would still need to pay for the materials that they were buying from Aden.

Null seemed to become more alive while in Ark-Nean, the hubub seemed to have finally completely awakened her from her long slumber and Jeran didn’t seem to be able to keep her in rein. She would wonder off and Jeran would look for her for hours before finally finding her back on the ship. He found everything quiet tiring but Null told him that he shouldn’t keep treating her like his daughter and that she was more then capable of taking care of herself.

Had Jeran had the sole discretion of their activities he would have left the space station and spend the days in his ship until Aben contacted him that it was time to pick up the materials, however Null had made it quite clear that she would have none of that and that they would be staying at the space port the entire time.

Null enjoyed the relaxed freedom she was experiencing now. She realized, even if Jeran did not, that this time would be limited. Once she had received the equipment and created the nanomachines things would no longer be quite so relaxed. Null wanted to make the most of the freedom she had remaining before she was hunted again by ANGEL for knowing something that they thought she shouldn’t.

The days passed slowly for Jeran who didn’t spend to much time around and kept to the ship most of the time and passed to quickly for Null who didn’t want to let the time slip away in idle rest. One night Jeran found Null pounding on the ship door. After he let her in he found that she was clearly quite drunk. Null tried to tell him the story of what happened while he lead her to bed however it didn’t really make much sense. Apparently she had gotten into some kind of drinking contest and then drank enough alcohol to kill a person. Jeran doubted parts of her story, partly because she was still alive. However he was extremely frustrated in the morning when it appeared the Null didn’t even have the hints of a hangover.

He was worried that she would do it again the next night but Null thought better of it and came back sober this time. Jeran had to wonder if this was what it was like to have a teenager who wasn’t sick. His only consolation was that having a teenager like this would be better then having one that was nearly dying. Maybe he would have to bring his daughter here after she got better, however after a few moments of contemplating that he decided that it was still a bad idea.

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Far off in the depths of space floating a man. He was without a space suit or ship and by all rights he should be dead. However he was surrounded with a translucent glowing bubble which seemed to keep him alive. He was busy, quite busy, always busy, however a holographic dialog appeared in his bubble he stopped to pay attention to it. At first he wasn’t sure what to make of it, it said that a class A criminal had escaped imprisonment, however he didn’t know that there were any imprisoned class A criminals. He quickly brought up another holographic dialog and searched the records, sure enough nothing showed up about any class A criminals. Strange, he looked back to the warning, it was encrypted and digitally signed correctly. It was an official automated notification so even if it was wrong he still needed to follow up on it.

He turned about and with just a gesture the bubble zipped off into space carrying him with it. It would only take a day to reach the site of the escape, much faster then any modern ship, working of ANGEL did have its perks. However the disadvantage was that he was basically on the job at all time, but sometimes justice came at a cost.

A day later he arrived at planet XJ453, it was out of the way and he didn’t know why somebody would be imprisoned here. Shouldn’t a class A criminal be imprisoned in some sort of proper facility, no just some backwater uninhabited planet. The bubble pierced the atmosphere and touched down on the planet before shimmering one final time and then disappearing.

However the holographic menus still hovered in the air around him. He followed their directions and walked down into the ground. He quickly arrived at a large cavern which was completely empty. As he walked into the room he glanced at his display, this is where it told him to go wasn’t it. There didn’t seem to be anything here, at least that he could see. He pulled up several menus and enabled the sensor functionality. A host of dialogs popped up around him giving him detailed information about the cavern.

They were detecting remnants of human activity, especially in the form of residual DNA which had been left at the scene. It was a man and he had been her around four or five days ago. He glanced back at the information about the criminal. The picture was definitely one of a woman and the record even confirmed that to be true. He looked back at his dialogs for more information. He squinted at the dialog for a moment, residual energy from a Hexion Sphere, why would there be a Hexion Sphere way out here. He took a double take of the criminal record, it wasn’t possible for the criminal to have been kept in the Hexion Sphere, was it? Any normal person would have died if they were trapped inside one, however the record said that she was imprisoned for using forbidden technology so it was possible her body had been altered enough that she would have been able to survive.

If that was the case he wouldn’t be able to waste any time. Whoever had been here had somehow managed to free the criminal, though whether it was deliberately or accidentally he wasn’t sure. He quickly sent out requests for more information from the main office and another requests to need by colonies and space stations for any spottings of the woman in the picture. If this woman really was using forbidden technology he had to stop her and quickly because she could quickly put the entire galaxy in danger with her knowledge.

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Meanwhile back at Ark-Neon several days had passed and Jeran was starting to grow impatient. Aben should be getting back to him soon, was it really taking that long for him gather everything that they needed? Null had just left, presumable to go spend more of his money when he got a call in on his terminal. It was Aben and Jeran almost autably breathed a sigh of relief. However the quickly disappeared when he answered the call and heard Aben’s desperate voice on the other line.

“Jeran, you need to get out of there, fast. The… the Myth military are here. They somehow managed to track down that you were here and are looking for you. I lied to them but it won’t be too long before they convince Ark-Neon to let them access their port records and then they will know where you are.” Said Aben who was speaking as quickly as he possibly could.

“What?” Said Jeran in alarm, “The materials, do you have them? I can’t leave until I get them from you.” Said Jeran as he got up. He quickly grabbed his mini-terminal as he got up.

“The stuff, yeah I have it. I just got the last part earlier today. However the Myth military have been interrogating me and I have only now been able to call you. However I would suggest that you just leave now without it. You might not have another chance to escape if you don’t leave now.”

Jeran buckled one his electrical stun gun, using a more lethal weapon would be crazy inside a space station and he also didn’t want to kill people in the Myth military because some of them had been his friends. “I’m coming to you, make sure you have the stuff ready when I get there.” Said Jeran as he began heading out of the door and onto the dock deck.

“You’re crazy. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Said Aben as the door slide closed behind Jeran.

Jeran had reached the edge of the docks when he heard the sounds of people approaching him. It was the Myth military, they must have gotten permission to search the docks faster then he anticipated. He looked around for some place to escape to when an arm reached out of an alleyway to pull him into it.

He had his gun out of his holster and pointed at the culprit before he had gone even a couple of feet before noticing the rainbow hair. “Shush, and follow me.” Said Null as she pulled him down the alleyway. “It seems that we have worn out are welcome. Since you leave the ship I can assume that Aben already has the stuff that we need.”

Jeran nodded as he followed Null down the alley. “Yes, but we have to get there quickly, the longer we spend the more likely they will find us and the harder it will be to escape Ark-Neon.”