“You’ve been what?” Trema asked Amy after a few days of flight.
“Talking to Llyra so I could get dresses that would flatter me,” repeated Amy.
“Amy, I can’t believe you’re getting involved with her,” snapped Trema. “The whole notion of you being friendly with her is ridiculous!”
“I guess you’re going to tell me not to associate with her?” guessed Amy as she made plans to disobey such a command.
“And you’re telling me that Stylor and his Headmaster associates are giving you support?!” snarled Trema.
“We’re in this together!” insisted Amy. “And, feud or not, Llyra’s the only one who can get us through this! I really don’t care if her father did something you thought of as cowardly.”
“This has nothing to do with my specific distaste for Llyra’s father,” argued Trema.
“Then what’s the problem?!” snapped Amy.
“You really want to know?!” growled Trema. “You absolutely want to know what my problem is?! I’ll tell you! The history of Zarak’s lineage, that’s my problem! Every time magic tries to resurface on Nebulos, we get ostracized by Zarak’s family! In the height of his time, we magic-folk weren’t welcome! Yes, we could be performers or janitors, but citizens? Forget it!”
“Maybe that’s what Llyra’s father may believe is right,” countered Amy, “but I’m not seeing that with Llyra herself. I have never felt uncomfortable around her and neither have your husband or the Headmasters! Even Sira and Natalie have gotten tips on how to go through Nebulos from her!”
“Don’t you see?! That’s the lie!” insisted Trema. “When she was a young girl, she always believed in the inherent good of people and wasn’t corrupted by her father’s ideals! She is blind to the fact that it’s still not an easy time for magic users and I am NOT going to pretend that it is!”
“Trema,” argued Amy, “I can respect the fact that her views may not be a totally accurate reflection of the political situation, but I always believed that people like her could see both sides of the issue. She can see the way things could have been, the way they should have been.”
“We cannot ignore the truth about the past!” growled Trema.
“Letting Llyra help us isn’t going to make us forget who we are and where we came from!” snapped Amy. “What it does is remind us that we can flourish if both sides give each other a chance! The only way to do that is to accept that we are not bound by any limitations! At least, only the ones we choose ourselves. Now, if you’re still going to tell me that I can’t talk to her anymore, just know that I have every intention to disobey that.” Trema sighed.
Llyra and Stylor overheard the entire conversation. An accusing look from Llyra was directed at Stylor. “You never told me your wife’s prejudice of my family stems from something like that!” she accused.
“Trema’s a woman of strong convictions,” replied Stylor as he polished his Headmaster armor. “She believes that high-class members of society can never truly see the suffering going on in the middle and lower classes and shouldn’t even try to change.”
“That’s a prejudiced, narrow-minded view!” growled Llyra.
“There IS precedence for that view!” snarled Stylor. “Her family suffered greatly in the relocation camps all magic folk lived in! If someone wishes to join OUR house, they must prove that they can understand the value of both magic AND science!”
“I HAVE proven that!” insisted Llyra.
“And Galen wouldn’t have proposed to you if you didn’t,” assured Stylor. “You have proven yourself to be an honorable woman and a great warrior.”
“Then you should say that to Trema!” urged Llyra.
“…N-n-not such a good idea,” stammered Stylor. “I don’t want her to think I’m stepping into her domain as Head of House.”
“…Perhaps I should say something,” mused Llyra. “If I made my case that I CAN listen to those that were oppressed, it wouldn’t seem like a challenge to her authority.”
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you!” warned Stylor.
“…Why?” asked Llyra.
“Well…,” floundered Stylor, “to tell you the truth…she doesn’t like politicians either.” Llyra rolled her eyes as she sat down.
“Of course she doesn’t!” she hissed.
“Don’t let that bother you,” replied Stylor. “Rexna, Orbenth, and I had EVERY right to override her when Galen chose you as his bride. She’s accepted the fact that there’s nothing she can do about THAT.”
“How comforting,” snarked Llyra. The comms then beeped.
“This is Gort calling Stylor and Trema!” called the young helmsman.
“Stylor here,” replied Stylor.
“Go ahead,” directed Trema’s voice.
“We’ve just entered Nebulan space and have spotted a ship held in a tractor beam!” reported Gort. “The held ship is a Femaxian vessel and the ship firing the tractor beam is the Peaceful Tyranny!”
“The D.J.D’s ship?!” yelped Llyra. “They have no right to hold vessels in our space!”
“Battle Stations!” ordered Trema’s voice. Everyone made their way to the bridge and took their stations.
“I heard Llyra say it’s the D.J.D’s ship,” called Sira. “What does D.J.D mean?”
“Decepticon Justice Division,” explained Trema. “They’re a branch of the Decepticon Empire that deals out ‘justice’.”
“I could practically hear the quotation marks around ‘justice’,” observed Amy.
“When I say ‘justice’,” growled Trema, “I mean ‘unmarked graves’. They kill any Decepticon transgressors in the messiest fashion possible.”
“They usually use a computer program called The List to find and execute their victims,” supplied Llyra. “Many Decepticons prefer suicide over the D.J.D knocking on their door. None of them get the chance as the arrival of the D.J.D is the only clue that they were ON The List in the first place. They’re very much hated among the Decepticons’ rank-and-file.”
“The question I have is this;” muttered Trema, “why are they holding a ship in OUR space?”
“We’re about to find out,” reported Duros. “We’re within visual range.” The Peaceful Tyranny was a small vessel compared to the Nemesis, looking like a sword fish with a few extra fins and two extra noses.
“Hail them,” ordered Trema. “Engage our holo-filter, see if you can make us look like Decepticon supporters.” Duros did so and a face filled the screen. It was Cybertronian and was covered in a mask that was the Decepticon symbol.
“This is Tarn, leader of the Decepticon Justice Division,” answered the bot, the voice being very deep and very masculine. “How may I help you, my friends?”
“You can start by telling us why you’re holding that ship!” snarled Trema.
“We have orders to search all vessels attempting to go through Nebulan space,” explained Tarn.
“Search them for what?” asked Trema.
“For Decepticon transgressors,” replied Tarn. “What else? Each ship will be scanned, its cargo searched, and its crew members and passengers subjected to mental testing.”
“On whose authority?” snapped Trema.
“On the authority of the Decepticon Lord,” answered Tarn, “and the Decepticon Empire. You know, the Empire your people are members of?” Amy, Natalie, and Sira arched an eyebrow as they hid behind Trema’s chair.
“The D.J.D,” hissed Trema, sensing her friends’ worry, “has no jurisdiction over ships in our space.”
“We assumed you would welcome our assistance,” remarked Tarn.
“Do you have any evidence that there are transgressors aboard the ship you have in your tractor beam?” asked Trema.
“How can we have evidence,” countered Tarn, the limits of his patience being reached, “until we conduct our tests?!”
“Tarn,” growled Trema, “Nebulan law strictly prohibits any unwarranted search and seizure of vessels in our territory!”
“I have my orders!” hissed Tarn. “Now, keep your place!” He terminated the call.
“Let me talk to him,” urged Llyra. Trema turned and looked at her. “Please,” pleaded Llyra. “I can get him out of here, but only if you let me talk to him.” Trema considered, then turn to Duros.
“Hail them again,” she ordered. “After I have delayed him long enough, Llyra will step in and handle interstellar diplomacy. Ready weapons if she wishes.”
“Thank you,” bid Llyra. Tarn’s face came back, looking a little irritated.
“Didn’t I tell you to stay out of this?!” he demanded.
“There have been reports of Decepticon smuggling in this territory,” answered Trema. “Usually, these kinds of searches, like the one you plan to conduct, are ways to deter other ships to search THEIR vessels. I have a warrant for searching any Decepticon vessel, so, unless you release that ship, I will need to search your vessel.”
“Forget it!” shouted Tarn. “And if you attempt to board our vessel, I will consider it an act of piracy and have you turned over to Zarak! Is that clear?!”
“You can call it whatever you wish,” roared Trema, “but we’re not leaving until one of two things happens; you allow us to search your vessel, or you release that ship!”
“Well,” chuckled Tarn as Trema subtly nodded to Llyra, “in that case, Captain…”
“In that case,” interrupted Llyra, “you will comply with the captain’s wishes!”
“Llyra?!” yelped Tarn. “I don’t understand! Your father gave me permission to search any vessels going through your space!”
“Within reason, if I recall!” countered Llyra. “If you do not allow either of the captain’s choices to come to fruition, she has permission to destroy your vessel’s engines and then search it to see if YOU are behind the Decepticon smuggling ring!”
“Llyra, this is outrageous!” boomed Tarn.
“I agree,” replied Llyra, “but I will not allow this breach of legality to continue in my people’s space! Now, release that ship immediately!”
“We are your allies!” urged Tarn.
“Go ahead!” Llyra called to Trema.
“Tactical, target the Peaceful Tyranny’s engines,” ordered Trema. Tarn then made his decision.
“Vos, deactivate the tractor beam!” he ordered. He then turned back to the screen. “Llyra, your father and my Lord will hear of this!” The call ended and the Peaceful Tyranny left Nebulan space.
“We’re being hailed,” reported Duros. “It’s the Femaxian Captain.”
“Put her through,” replied Trema. The Femaxian Captain came through with a fat grin on her face.
“Captain,” she greeted, “this is Captain Sharveen of the Femaxian Vessel Gold Medal. I don’t know what you said to the D.J.D, but it must have been good.”
“Captain Sharveen,” replied Trema, “with your permission, and the right amount of Arsanium, I would like to use your vessel and crews’ image for my vessel’s holo-cloak.”
“You saved my ship from the D.J.D,” answered Sharveen. “It would be rude of me to take any Arsanium from you.”
“Given the fright you may have had,” argued Trema, “I say Arsanium will help calm your nerves. Would 40 bars calm your nerves?” Sharveen considered.
“…No,” she replied, “but 70 might.”
“50,” offered Trema.
“60,” countered Sharveen.
“Done,” replied Trema. She turned to Duros. “Beam over 60 bars of Arsanium to the Gold Medal’s bridge. Sharveen needs to be assured that the Arsanium is genuine.” Duros did so and Sharveen checked the bronzish metal for authenticity.
“Scan away!” she replied. The ship was subjected to a holo-scan and, after it was completed, left Nebulan space.
“Er, Trema,” called Amy as she, Sira, and Natalie stepped from behind the chair, “you told us Nebulos had dealings with the Decepticons in the past. You never said you were part of their Empire.”
“The rest of the planet may support the Decepticons,” replied Trema, “but not my family.”
“Another reason for her distaste for me,” mused Llyra. “Father’s a bit too friendly with the Decepticons. Shta, (Nebulan equivalent of Hell) he married a Decepticon after Mother died.”
“That’s news to me,” remarked Trema. “Who was the Decepticon?”
“Nightracer,” explained Llyra.
“That anti-social femme?!” yelped Stylor. “How did a recluse like her get married?!”
“I thought she died during the Great War!” continued Trema.
“A little pet project of Shockwave’s brought her back,” answered Llyra. “Her Spark was digitized and stored on a storage device hidden within her body. The device was then inserted into a blank protoform and it became a Spark chamber for Nightracer’s new body. One time use for Spark safety.”
“A Nebulan marrying a Transformer?” muttered Amy. “I somehow can’t fathom that.”
“What I can’t fathom,” hissed Llyra, “is why Father insists on forgetting Mother!”
“…I have the distinct feeling your relationship with your father is strained,” observed Natalie.
“It is,” confirmed Llyra. “Father doesn’t know I have acquired a pardon for Galen.”
“That’s why you insisted on coming,” realized Trema. “You needed the family as witnesses.”
“I can, at least, get us past the tougher areas like the patrols,” replied Llyra.
“I see,” mused Trema. “While this doesn’t entirely have me liking you, this is a step in the right direction.”
“…Thank you, Lady Trema,” bid Llyra. “May your house prosper.”
“And yours,” replied Trema, returning the wish as manners demand.
“That’s better,” chuckled Amy as she smiled. Sira and Natalie could only agree.