“Now that you scanned her, why do you still need her?” Chel inquired curiously.

“The system keeps track of them. They all have be on the ship before I can look for the next dice. If one is missing… I have to find it.” Lexx explained, finding it much easier to talk about the dice than anything else. It was beginning to be almost ‘fun’ discussing something that he did with someone who had no idea what it was. “ADIS, locate the next dice.”

“Adis? Is that the name of your computer?”

“Yes. ADIS,.. It stands for Alien Dice Information System. It’s wired directly into this ship, every aspect of it and every sensor makes sure that everything is done by the rules. It also tells me information about the dice that can sometimes be useful.”

The bodiless voice spoke again, the air in front of the dice shelf distorting and forming into a shape. Chel’s eyes widened and her jaw dropped in amazement as the form of something that looked suspiciously like a manta ray materialized. It was white and red, varying shades of both with the white covering the belly and red spots freckling across the ‘wings’ underneath. A pair of extra fins seemed to extrude naturally from its back, these a contrasting dark blue. The dice moved gracefully and here and there in the translucent background the top of a coral reef could be seen along with various brightly colored fish darting in and out of anemones. “Scanning … Dice 5 – Swim Dice Located. Level 4 … Coordinates set into the teleporter.”

Lexx turned back to the crimson and gold vortex. “I need to go down and get this one now. You are free to watch me catch it if you desire, from here. Or, if you would like to watch more comfortably, Stealth and Zeta will take you to the living area to watch. Explore the ship. I don’t care. Just don’t go through the blue doors on the upper deck. You don’t belong in there.” He didn’t even wait for a response, stepping through the ‘door’ and vanishing instantly.

Chel stood there a moment without saying anything, staring at the vortex as it changed color, then completely faded out and she found herself staring at her reflection. A full-length mirror was fixed into the wall where the vortex had been.

The alien was gone and now Chel was left on the ship, by herself. Well, not completely by herself as Zeta nudged her leg, reminding her he was there. She looked down at the little red and gold speckled creature. What if something happened and Lexx didn’t return? She’d be trapped in the ship with no way to get home! What would happen..?

“Chel, follow us to the lift, we can go up to the main deck. It’s more comfortable up there.” The cat rubbed against Chel’s other leg. Stealth didn’t seem to worried.

“Uhm… ok.” Chel spoke uncertainly as both animals skirted around her and darted through an open doorway into a tiny room. The girl followed them. She didn’t have anywhere else to go, did she? And now was a bit late to be considering that.

“Up!” Zeta hopped up and down eagerly next to Chel.

Chel jumped as the floor moved. Stealth chuckled to herself. It was just like an elevator, only the door didn’t close on it and Chel could see nothing but smooth gold wall where the door had been. Then, there was an opening again. Stealth and Zeta stepped out with Chel following almost on their tails.

This was much better, especially if she was expected to stay in this ship all the time. The lift let out into a large room. Like the lower deck, it was spartan, but it was much bigger. Along one wall, Chel noted a comfortable looking couch like seat, a small table at one end with metal plates resting on it and bookcases, sealed. The room itself was divided. She noted the blue doors she wasn’t to go through and completely ignored them. That wouldn’t be a good way to start out.

To one side, there was a bar that divided the room from an area that looked somewhat like a kitchen, although with implements Chel couldn’t even begin to figure out the purpose of. At the back of the living area, there was another set of doors. These were closed. Chel made her way to the couch and sat down.

“Viewer on.” Stealth spoke and a transparent sphere appeared out of nowhere, floating in the middle of the room, the color altering at the rims. It darkened and the image of the dice they’d seen below formed in the middle of it. The ray was still swimming and there was no sign of Lexx.

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