While Rarrarar tries to sell the idea of giving the Rabits a tour of the ship, the Rabit make their plans.




Tour de Ship

«Without an honor guard?» The captain of the RORR couldn't believe Rarrarar's request. It wouldn't have been the first tragic event during the trip to the therapy ship. When the Rabit had set their mind to die, there was no telling what ingenious stupidity they would come up with. One time, they had even tried to burn their beds. Another, they had turned the showers into an aquarium, trying to drown themselves. «He is a honored guest of your house!»

«He seems very nervous around Haul Rarrarar explained. «So I figured that Raor will do. She has a lot of experience with the Rabit race. Also, we will watch them using the safety systems. I can not imagine that there will be any problems.»

The captain leaned back to consider this. His topmost priority was the safety of the ship. Since this was a unit of House Haul-Heror, Rarrarar had no authority here. On the other paw, he was one of the most important Haul in the empire. A legend since the Rarera Treaty. Turning him down without a good reason would cause a loss of face for Haul-Heror. Raor had no combat training but the safety systems of the ship should be able to handle four raging Rabit until reinforcements arrived. «Considering all facts, I think I can agree to give four Rabits a tour of the ship,» he told Rarrarar.

«My thanks, Captain. I do also have a few ideas what to show them.»

The captain wondered why the adviser took such a deep interest in this. «I will leave the preparations to you. Any resource you might need is at your service,» he offered generously.

* * *

Back in the Rabit's room, Forne slumped down on the first bed at hand. He felt his legs wouldn't support him for another step.

«That was quick thinking», Captain Boser praised him. «Miller, you'll stay here, I'll need more brains for the tour.» At a gesture of her, a group of Rabit started to sing a lewd and loud song to cover what they were talking. Some beds were stripped and the blankets arranged to keep cameras with lip-reading software out.

«So what was it like outside?» an officer asked.

«Clean,» Vance laughed. «Damn, the floor outside is so polished, I could put my make-up on in it! And everything is in red. Like blood.» He shivered.

«Always an eye for the important things, eh?» Miller snorted. «There are three rings of guards. Each ring has it's own set of barricades and can be sealed off with reinforced doors about this thick.» He held his paws apart. «They got enough arms for all of us and then some and enough firepower to make sure we won't lay our dirty fingers on 'em.»

«I want no cheers. The Haul are keeping cool right now and I don't want to change that,» Captain Boser ordered. After she had made sure that every ear knew the command, she said quietly: «It seems that the large explosion we saw was one of the Haul ships. One of their generals went with it.»

The background noise rose quite a bit when the Rabit silently celebrated their victory. Captain Boser smiled at Forne: «It seems that the new prototypes have some real punch.»

«Yeah.» Forne nodded with a solemn face. 'Once,' he added for himself. He hadn't seen anyone but Vance from his special unit so far. Until the Haul had admitted their loss, he had decided to believe they just hadn't been caught. To know that one of them must be dead ate a lot of the good mood in his head. 'Who might it have been? Morry? Danny?'

«Okay, I want everyone back to their play-innocent routine,» Boser ordered, ripping him out of his dark thoughts. «Forne bought us a tour of the ship. Look for the weak spots. Steal what you can without being caught. Screwdrivers, knives, maybe arms, just don't risk being strip-searched. When you return, we'll decide how to move.»

'If we return,' Forne thought, fighting with a sudden wave of desperation. For a moment, everything seemed futile, they'd never make it past the guards and this was all just some cruel game of their guards to keep their hopes up so they would stay put just a few more hours.

«We'll wait four hours for your return,» the captain said. «If you're not back by then, we'll assume that something ... has happened.»

«Don't make such a face,» Miller grinned.

«Easy to say when it's not your fur,» Forne snarled.

«Easy there,» stepped Captain Boser in. «Calm down, lads. We don't want to make our ... hosts nervous, now do we? You think you can make it?»

«Yeah,» Forne promised despite his state. «I won't let you down.»

«Good,» Boser slapped him on the shoulder reassuringly. «I think it looks much better than half an hour ago. Let's see the next set of cards, shall we?»

A newcomer saluted before Boser. She introduced her. «This is Chermy. She's our expert for Haul. She'll fill in for Miller

While they waited to be picked up, Chermy grilled them for all kinds of information. Forne couldn't remember much of what he had seen outside but the others had kept a clear head, and could tell her countless details.

«So this house, that's probably a family of some kind,» Chermy recapitulated, «has now lost its general. We have to try to find out if this adviser is higher or lower in the hierarchy. Who leads such a house? And how important is this house of the dead general? How many other are there? Do they cooperate or are they at war?»

«Why?» Vance wondered.

«Because we need a large set of questions which show kind interests,» Boser explained. «In those, we can hide our important questions. Size of crew. Location of important parts of the ship. Security systems. Armory. Defense systems. Jumpdrive. Bridge

The door opened and a single Haul came in. He ignored the stares and came directly to Forne. «The Captain of the RORR grants your request,» he said with a heavy accent. «I have been chosen to show you around the ship. When would you like to begin?»

Forne peeled his eyes from the cable sticking out of the Haul's head. «You're this Raor guy, right? Well, ...»

* * *

There was only so much Raor would take especially from a person like this Rabit. With a certain satisfaction, she interrupted the Rabit. «Sir, my name is Ra-or. Raor is a male name.»

Forne blinked. «What?»

«My name is Ra-or, not Raor she repeated.

«Ra-or?» the Rabit tried.

Raor kept her ears straight. «That would be a city name.»

Captain Boser came to Forne's rescue. «I'm sorry, we can't make out a difference.»

The translator turned to her. «In that case, let us just assume I can pronounce his name properly and he can pronounce mine.» With a glance at Forne, she added: «And I'm female.»

The way he mustered her told her that he had no idea how to tell female and male Haul apart. 'Does this man know anything?' Raor wondered. 'Maybe he slept through the instructions? Or his mind was elsewhere, probably in his pants ...' She stopped herself. If she started to react to the games this Rabit was trying to play with her, there was no telling where this might lead. Also, she still feeling more edgy than usual because of the effect of the shots she had had.

«I'm sure he had no ill intentions,» Captain Boser said quickly to save their chance. «If you're ready to show us the ship, then we're ready, too.»

Raor tried to keep her reluctance out of her ears. She had really hoped the Rabits would want the tour tomorrow, so she could get some time to recover. But there was no way out, now. «As you wish. Have you chosen the people to accompany you?»

Three Rabits stepped next to Forne. «Yeah. We can start.»

«Very well.» Raor tried to relax. «What would you like to see first?»

«Oh, I would like to see the hangar, the jump drive and the bridge Forne said casually. «Which one is closest?»

Raor used her implant to check the ships layout. «That would be the hangar,» she answered. «Please, follow me.»


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