“Beautiful sight isn’t it. Would you have ever thought we would be privy to such a magnificent view?” Kyra asked.

Standing in front of the picture window in Kyra’s quarters Rog couldn’t disagree. He had seen plenty on Hyneria, but had never gotten the chance to travel off planet. Views like this reminded him of looking out over the ocean. One felt both small and at peace all at the same time. Deep space, like the ocean, seemed to put everything into perspective. Little worries actually did seem little.

“Nice view pumpkin, but I ain’t figuring you brought me here to wax philosophical about the cosmos,” said Rog.

Kyra laughed. “Cut the crap Rog. That view blows you away, you know it, but ain’t got the balls to tell this little pumpkin that there might actually be a sentimental bone in that leather saddlebag of a body of yours. Speaking of which, how are you feeling, not that I really care,” Kyra quizzed with a sly smile knowing she had disarmed her navigator without ever lying a hand on him.

Rog cleared his throat. “I’m feeling just fine. Why do you ask?” he queried, trying to gain some sense of control of the conversation he had lost so quickly. Kyra saw right through him. The anti-charm shield seemed to be working both ways.

“Has Trev said anything to you this morning about his discovery in the lab?” Kyra’s piercing blue eyes boring a hole right through Rog’s forehead. She had a natural ability to read faces for truth. Papa always said she would have made one kickass interrogator. No one on board would have disagreed with that view, nonetheless Rog at this moment.

With Kyra looking at him that way, he couldn’t have lied if he wanted, such was the power of her look. “Uh, nada. Got no idea what you’re talkin ‘bout darlin’,” Rog replied kinda smugly, feeling like he had found his balance again. Besides, it was the truth, he had no idea what was going on.

“Rog, you know anything about the animus virus?”

“Only that you get it just one time. If not treated with the proper antiviral vox within forty-eight hours . . .” Rog stopped in mid sentence. His eyes locked on Kyra’s and her’s locked back on his.

“Damnit, what do you need me to do,” Rog shifted gears. He was in full serious mode now. Playful banter jettisoned like a bad date on the front porch. Their small ship was sharing space with the most hostile virus known to Hynerians. Death rate exceeded ninety percent.

“I need to know as much as you can about Neraj. Download everything the Metalunans told us. Prepare the pod for launch and pick two other mates for a journey to the surface,” Kyra barked like a hardened master sergeant. Times like this her natural leadership ability rose to the surface. Papa always said leaders were born not made. Kyra was proving the point.

“Oh, and Rog,” purred Kyra.

“Yes ma’am?”

“Make sure everyone has their Golden Tree soup. That’s the only thing buying us time.”

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