Template:PostIn CatH Post 25 Kokoro Lymn argues with Princess Aurora Briarose that they need to get to the planet Tangris so that they can inform the Æon Lords of the Black Water threat they discovered in CatH Post 24. Aurora, however, wants to be delivered to Dacato on the way. While Clear agrees with Lymn, she confesses they will have to go to Dacato because The Hopeful desperately needs repairs. Aurora reveals that she doesn't remember anything since her last visit to the grave of Algernon, and doesn't know why she was in the casket that Clear found her in in CatH Post 20 nor why she was on Earth in HFO Post ?. She describes her disability to Clear and announces that she will die young because of it. Clear then goes to find Pully so that they could drink Martian alcohol together.
The Royal Disease
Lymn: "Every moment wasted is time for that Black Water to spread! We can't go ferrying you around! You can get back to your people after we reach Tangris."
Princess Aurora: "Strang's fleet is going to be in disarray, the Rebel Alliance needs to be made aware of his death immediately so that they can capitalise on it and take the territories he once laid claim to. This could solidify the Rebel Alliance and make it the dominant force in the galaxy! Freedom, tolerance, hope! We can't afford to wait here!"
Lymn: "There'll be nothing left for your rebels to take if that Black Water gets off-world!"
Princess Aurora: "The Rebel Alliance will help the Æon Lords in their quest once Strang's faction is quelled. You have my word on this!"
Lymn: "It won't be enough if we're too late!"
Clear: "Okay, okay. I'm getting a migraine listening to the pair of you."
Lymn: "Clear, you know what we must do."
Princess Aurora: "Captain, please. I need to return to my people. It's much closer than Tangris and we can help the Æon Lords once we're prepared!"
Clear: "It is nearer, but I think the Darkness is a greater concern to everyone."
Clear: "But, I'm sorry Kokoro, I don't know if we can make it to Tangris in one piece. The Hopeless wasn't repaired completely. In fact it was really far from even passable. Parts of the ship are still falling off even now. A few hits from asteroids would probably cripple us. We just can't get all the way to Tangris and back. Kokoro told me Tangris has no shipyards. But the planet Dacato does. We go to Dacato and arrange essential repairs to be done as soon as possible. In the mean time, surely you can send a transmission to Tangris?"
Lymn: "I can't go relaying sensitive information through a transmission that could be caught up by just about anyone!"
Clear: "Maybe you don't have to give all the details? Besides, I don't think this is something we should be hiding from people anyway. Everyone should know!"
Lymn: "Alright... fine. If the ship can't make it, it can't make it. I'll have Ffion arrange a transmission... I really hope this doesn't cost us."
Clear: "If we went without the repairs, it really would cost us..."
Lymn sulks and leaves the room in search of Ffion. Both of the students had been fairly difficult to come by since everyone got back to The Hopeful. However when Clear asked where they wished to go, suddenly Ffion appeared and began her argument with the princess. Clear knows going to Tangris would be the best option and the most dutiful one, however she doesn't know if The Hopeful could possibly make it. Even if it got there without incident, they'd have to hope they could make it back again without hitch - and with an entire imperial fleet looking for them, they would run into trouble sooner or later.
Princess Aurora: "Thank you, Captain. I'm sure the Rebel Alliance will be happy to make repairs to The Hopeful without charge. I owe you my life and the people of Algernon need me. Nightstrider has proven as much to me. The way he acts..."
Clear walks across the semi-circular pad of the Command Centre to address the princess.
Clear: "Why were you in that casket?"
Aurora looks up at Clear with surprise then shrugs.
Princess Aurora: "I was hoping you might be able to explain things to me. You woke me up after all."
Clear: "You came out of warp and you were brought aboard The Hopeless. We tinkered with your box and opened it. Nothing else to it. I think Thrain discovered that the previous location of the casket was, annoyingly, Earth."
Princess Aurora: "Earth? I don't remember being there at all! Last I remember I was..."
She tries to focus.
Princess Aurora: "I was travelling to the grave of Algernon to pay my respects to those lost. I do this once every two months. Many of my people follow my example and it has become something of an event for us. Many ships arrive in the system, make our prayers and, after meeting with each other, we head back to our new homes. But when I was on my way there I was... I was attacked. My ship was attacked. Not by Imperials though... by... I don't know who. I can't remember. I remember the lights turn red and then... then nothing. I guess we must have been hit and I was knocked unconscious when we were hit or something."
Clear: "So you were knocked unconscious... when?"
Princess Aurora: "I'm not really sure. Nightsrider hasn't told me how long I've been missing for."
Clear: "Were you disabled during the attack?"
Princess Aurora looks down at her legs and slowly shakes her head.
Clear: "Can't say I know what that is."
Princess Aurora: "It's a disease that affects motor function. Started with my right leg becoming limp. Then dead. Then it spread to my other leg. My arms will probably be next. Then I'll find it hard to speak... swallow... It may affect my brain and I could develop dementia. It's... well... it won't be pretty."
Clear: "I'm... I'm sorry..."
Princess Aurora: "Don't be. You didn't give me this disease, did you?"
Clear: "I'm still sorry. Doesn't bacta help?"
Princess Aurora: "Regular bacta injections keep me healthier for longer. But bacta can only repair damaged tissue, not dead brain cells. It can't bring things back from the dead."
Clear: "Couldn't you... I don't know, put a permanent drip into your brain?"
Princess Aurora laughs.
Princess Aurora: "Not much of a doctor are you?"
Clear: "Can't say that I am. Worst I ever had to deal with were cuts and bruises."
Princess Aurora: "Staying on bacta long-term causes you to become immune to it. Just like most drugs. And once immune to bacta, I could wind up dead from one of those cuts or bruises you mentioned."
Clear: "In other words, I'm an idiot."
Princess Aurora: "Well, I didn't want to say it..."
Princess Aurora: "I'm just teasing you. Your doctor, Thrain, explained that you're from far away and they have no bacta there, right?"
Clear: "I'm from Mars. Funnily enough it's the next door neighbour to Earth. Earth is the third planet and Mars is the fourth."
Princess Aurora: "Earth... strange that I'd be there. I guess my butler thought I'd be safe with the humans there. Well-hidden. But if so where is he and why was I fired back into space alone?"
Clear: "Questions for him, I guess. Maybe you can try to find him once you get back to the Rebel Alliance?"
Princess Aurora: "I will definitely have to do some investigating."
Clear: "And what about that crazy sword you have? Is that like your crown?"
Princess Aurora: "Something like that. Thank you for taking care of it for me, by the way."
Clear: "I didn't want Strang to get his hands on it so I hid it from Turbo and his men. You can go claim it back anytime you like."
Princess Aurora: "I'll need it when we get to Dacato. Until then, better to leave it where it's safe. Truth is, the sword is actually from Earth originally."
Clear: "Originally? So it was taken from Earth sometime ago?"
Princess Aurora: "That's right. But that's a history lesson for another time. I'm sure I've chewed your ears off enough. Thanks for listening though. I appreciate your time, Captain."
Clear: "You're welcome."
With that the princess switches her hoverchair to take her from the Command Centre. Clear eventually left the room too and saunters back towards her chambers. She wonders if her attachment to Mars is any less than Aurora's to Algernon. Aurora was born on her planet, experienced it, loved it, lived on it... Clear hadn't. Maybe that's why she could scavenge it while she couldn't possibly have it harvested. But Clear also thinks that the princess never had to work for scraps. She probably always has money and people to watch over her. Clear had nothing but herself and a tatty, old ship.
She comes to Pully's door and decides to knock. Pully opens it and leans against the door frame.
Pully: "Sir. Come to tell me off for drinking?"
Clear: "You're not in the army now, Pully. In fact, I was about to open one of the oldest bottles of booze I've ever found on Mars. I bet the percentage is enough to kill us."
Pully: "That sounds fantastic. I'm in. Let me just get my helmet..."
Clear: "What do you need that for?"
Pully comes out of her room with the helmet and a few bottles of alcohol.
Pully: "It's got a loudspeaker in it. Switch the frequency of the communicator and hey presto, we have music!"