Part 9



 Her hand dropped back into her lap, and she slumped further down into the seat.  Eventually she slid to the floor, and lay sprawled out face down.  As Lanie listened to the hum of the engines taking her further out into space, she rolled to one side; drawing her knees to her chest, she wrapped her arms around them.

It was the sudden silence of the engines stopping that woke her.  Her eyes opened, and confused, she went to the console.  When Lanie viewed the fuel gauge it confirmed what she was thinking, she still had fuel left.  Her hands moved quickly over the instrument panels, looking for the problem. 

There was a noise, as if something had hit the ship, and she felt the movement under her feet.  Lanie looked out the window and scanned the area, but saw nothing.  This ship was not only a refurbished one, but rather old, considering the advances in the last few years.  There were no cameras outside the ship for her to see what was happening. 

The button on the panel that announced a voice transmission was initiated lit up.  Lanie pushed the button, "Hello?  This is Captain Romein."  A series of clicks and hums came back; Lanie assumed it wasn't working.  "I can't hear what you're saying."  She said.  No further transmission came.

It appeared to her she was being towed.  The man from the used transportation yard must have sent someone after her.  Why would he care?  Lanie resigned herself to the fact she was returning to the moon base, courtesy of her unseen benefactor.  They must have shut her engines down somehow, so they could tow her and save her fuel for life support.  There was nothing left to do, but wait.

Feeling extremely dejected, she gazed out the window and lamented where her life had led.  She worked so hard, and yet became a total failure.  Being towed back like a spoiled child, she would be a laughing stock now.

The view outside the window started to blur.  It made Lanie feel dizzy and she shook her head.  She stood up and continued to look out the window.  All she could see was blackness, no stars.  The realization hit Lanie that she was likely traveling through a wormhole, which not only frightened her, but also confused her, as she hadn't used a wormhole to get to where she was.  Who or what had control of her ship?

There came a sound behind her as if someone were stirring ice in a glass.  Turning around, she saw a blue-faced man in a long tunic standing there.  He bowed his head and extended his hand to her.  They were only a few feet apart, so she leaned forward and took his hand. 

After a moment, his head came up and he smiled, "Hello Lanie."

Lanie looked him over, and then quietly said, "Hello, how do you know my name?"

He smiled, "Please, come with me, our ship is better equipped for comfort."  Still holding her hand, in the blink of an eye, they were transported to the spaceship that towed hers.

Lanie glanced around the new environment she was in.  Unknown technology was everywhere; she took a few moments to take it all in.  It was a much larger ship than hers was and it took more crewmembers to run it.  They sat at panels full of dials and blinking lights, working intently, not seeming to notice her.  The rest of the room she was in was much like the cabin of her ship only bigger, with one huge difference.  There were no windows!  

Once the sense of wonderment passed, she started to ask questions, and they all came out as one sentence.  Several of the crewmembers turned to look at her, and then went back to their jobs.  Lanie's face felt hot as she realized how disturbing her behavior must be.

The blue man in the tunic, who brought her here, approached her and tugged on her hand, beckoning her to follow him.  He led her to a smaller room, comfortable with muted lighting, reminding her of the room Azano had taken her to. 

"I'm looking for someone, you might know him, his name is Azano."  She said as she watched the blue man settle into a soft chair.  Lanie slid into a chair near him.

He took a moment to answer, "Why must you find him?"

"Because...Because he came to me when I was a child, he changed my life."  Lanie paused, realizing how true that statement was.  "And...  It's possible we may have a child together."

The man sighed before speaking, "Many of our males sought out mates from other worlds.  For many years, our females could not conceive children.  Our people were in danger of dying out; we had no choice.  Much research was done, and the women were chosen carefully.  One of those things concidered was the likelihood of one of them pursuing the male."

Lanie nodded, they never expected her to get this far.  Did that make her a danger to them?  "I just need to know!  I have compared every man of my own world to the man from your world.  I have a feeling I belong here."

"You don't."  He said sharply.  "We value life, and we had to save you.  We will take you back to our planet, we will simulate your fuel source and place you back where we found you, and then set you on a course for your planet.  Your memory of this will be erased."

"NO!"  Lanie stood and screamed at him, "You don't have the right to do this!"

The man stood and walked towards the doorway to the room.  He spoke over his shoulder to her.  "I'm afraid you have nothing to say about it."  He literally disappeared through the door without opening it.

Lanie's jaw dropped, and when she recovered from the sight, she ran to the door and found it had no handle.  She was a prisoner.  Anger fuming, she stomped across the room several times before she sat down in one of the comfy chairs.  Curling her legs up and leaning her head on the armrest, she looked around the room.  It almost could have been the same room Azano had taken her to.  Lanie closed her eyes and in her mind, she heard his soft sensuous voice, and felt his arms holding her.  Soon she was asleep.
 The man standing before her must have spoke to her, which is what actually woke her, but as her eyes opened, she was startled by his presence.  She sat up and looked at him wide eyed.

"Come with me."  He said, turning around expecting her to follow.

Glad to be released from the room, she stood and followed him.  As they walked through the doorway, Lanie stopped.  The room that all the crewmembers sat in before she was exiled to the small room, was empty.  What caught her attention was a huge window in the front of the room that was now visible. 

"Lanie!"  He called to her as if she were a child.