All five watched with great interest as the Nighthawk formed back into her original configuration beyond the doors of the shuttle bay. They were speechless as the craft gracefully glided into the hold of the Lionid’s Pride. Never before had they seen a vessel like her, one that could traverse the depths of space, yet separate to become three very formidable fighter craft. They more than proved their worth this day, and all thought they could have easily destroyed the Jackai ship. But they let them go, returning in a protective formation around the Pride.
Marina and Calder waited with excitement by the control shield as the bay began to recycle atmosphere as the doors closed. The great, dark blue bird, resting in the middle of the room. She looked pristine as she sat there, like some majestic ice eagle, one of the greatest birds that roamed the ice cliffs of the northern continent of Canin. As the control shield lowered, the pair of cubs raced down to get a closer look. Urial, Nadia and Snowy each walked casually toward the craft, but deep down, they were just like Calder and Marina, filled with excitement as they saw the craft.
“Those Vulpine and Felanus are incredible craftsman,” Urial said in a low voice as he looked over the hull of the ship. Snowy looked back and smiled, knowing with just a look at the ship that there were designs from both Vulpine and Felanus ingenuity at work in that craft. The fleet may have been called the Royal Vulpine Authority, but the Felanus had a great hand in helping construct and man the vessels that roamed space from Vulpinia.
The main hatch of the craft lowered, and the three Vulpine walked down the ramp, offering a wave as they caught sight of the small group.
“Thank you very much for letting uth dock,” Senia called out.
“It seems I’ll have somethin’ to look into,” Hardy added. “Fuel reserves start ta bottom out when the ship separates. Gotta be a way to make sure the reserves keep level.”
Marina and Calder stared in wonder at the three pilots. They weren’t much shorter than them at all. “Wow,” Calder whispered with a touch of awe in his voice. “I’ve never seen Vulpine before.”
“Ah…” Urial began as he stepped forward. “You’ll have to excuse our children,” he said as he motioned to his mate. “This is they’re first time travelling such a distance. They just recently met some of the Lupine in a cargo run to the Wolves of the Plains.”
“Oh, no need to explain,” Senia said with a smile. “In a way, thith ith our firtht journey to the other planetth ath well. More formal introductionth. Left-tenant Thenia Felix.” Senia extended her hand to Urial and then added, “That’th Thenia. With an ‘Eth’.” She cleared her throat as she heard the cubs giggling. “Pardon me, but, I have to explain thometimeth. I am aware I have a thpeech impediment.”
“I for one don’t mind,” Nadia said as she stepped forward and shook Senia’s hand. “You did quite the number on those pirates.” They all exchanged greetings, even the cubs who needed a bit of proding to say their names. They were still caught with a bit of wonder.
“I am afraid it will be a little while yet before we can press on,” Urial said with a sigh. “Our engines were hit and we lost out main hyper drive. We have parts, but it might take sometime to fix.”
“Unfortunately, that means I’ll have to get to work,” Snowy said as she picked up a tool kit from a nearby work station.
“Well,” Hardy piped up as she stepped over to the white Felanus. “They maybe the job can go faster if I give ya a hand. I’m pretty good with a wrench myself. An’ I look at it this way, with a Vulpine an’ a Felanus workin’ on the engines together, we should have her up and runnin’ in no time.” Snowy chuckled at the enthusiasm Hardy showed and nodded, motioning for her to follow.
“It’s not completely necessary,” Urial spoke up. “You saved us from those pirates. We owe you a good deal more.”
“This is our duty,” Clarfax said with a nod. “It would be out of character for us not to respond to an attack.”
“Bethideth,” Senia said with a firm nod. “You’re give uth pathage while we repair our own ship, the leatht we can do ith help you with yourth.”
“In that case, you are most welcome to join us for dinner,” Urial said as he bowed slightly. “I will do the cooking. I believe you will enjoy our fine selection of ginseng and rose petal teas also, Lieutenant.”
Senia looked to Clarfax and smiled. He nodded in reply, impressed with the announced selection. If there was one thing that always caught a Vulpine’s attention, it was the mention of tea.