Xura drifted through space, gazing out the window at the passing stars, the command to run still echoing in her mind. The further she drifted from the palace, the quieter the command became. When it had all but faded, Xura looked out the window for a place she could find some refuge from the emptiness of space, and the confinement of the pod. She saw a ship in the distance, appearing like a fast moving star. She watched as it grew closer, the lights separating into distinct points along the hull. She looked at the control panel, pressing a few buttons to hail the ship.
“Passing ship, please respond!” She called.
“We hear you. State your business.” A female voice replied. Xura hesitated, she was unsure of how to tell the woman how she had been commanded to flee the palace, and she was here because of a strange compelling force.
“I am Lady Xura, court apparent to the Royal family of Koranus. I am in need of refuge.”
“Cut your engines Lady, we shall tug you aboard.” The other ship clicked off the line, Xura cut the pods engines, a tug rope shot out of the side of the ship and clamped onto the pods hull. Xura jumped at the loud noise but straightened her robes and stood tall. She might have been banished but her entire life she had trained to be Princess, and she would act like it.
Once aboard she was escorted by an armed guard to a small chamber. The men were large and bristled with weapons. Their leader, a somewhat shorter man with a false eye stood with his arms crossed at the door. Despite the few inches he lacked he was nevertheless intimidating, the weapons he carried had seen their use, and he carried himself with authority. Xura stood up straighter. Inside the chamber was a table with two chairs on either side. Xura stood behind one of the chairs, resting her hands on it, trying to appear relaxed. The door to the chamber opened and a woman appeared. She was wearing a starched blue coat, buttoned up to her neck. The white epaulettes and several medals she had pinned to her chest labeled her the captain. She was tall and slim, but moved with the grace of a dancer, or an athlete. The man with the false eye closed the door behind the captain, standing in front of it, an impenetrable wall.
“Good evening, Lady Xura, is that correct?” The captain said calmly.
“That is correct. How do you do.” Xura replied, it wasn't a question, merely a formality, but the captain responded anyway.
“I am well, I am Amalia Vega. This is my ship, please sit, we have much to discuss.” The captain moved to sit in one of the chairs across from Xura, appearing completely relaxed. Xura shook her head.
“I would prefer to stand.” She said, afraid that if she moved her trembling would be noticed.
“Very well,” Captain Vega said. “Tell me, how did a member of the Koranian court get all the way out here?”
Xura looked down at her hands, fighting not to twist her fingers together.
“There was a conflict, madam. Of a private nature,” she said, not really wanting to discuss it.
“I was sent from the Palace in that pod.”
“You were sent? Are you an outlaw?” The captain looked Xura over. In her royal clothes, with the simple jewelry and lack of shoes, Xura didn't look the picture of the outlaw, only royal trifle. Xura shook her head vehemently, confirming the captains observation.
“I don't have room for passengers on this ship. If you stay, you will work.” The captain stood from her chair.
“Yes madam.” Xura tipped her head to the captain.
“You don't look like you've worked a day in your life, that will change soon enough.” The captain turned to the man guarding the door before leaving the room.
“Westcott, keep her here for the time being, until arrangements can be made.” The man nodded and jerked his head at one of the men in the room.
“Stand guard outside the door, that should be enough,” he said quietly. He and the other men left the chamber, the door locking behind them.
When every one was gone, Xura collapsed into one of the chairs, shaking with a mix of emotion. Relief, sadness and fear shuddered through her. She wondered if this situation was any better than the last.