Riley’s voice trailed off into silence. He looked directly into Chel’s eyes, his tone shifting to that of genuine concern. “Are you up to all of this, Chel?” The question was surprising. Up to what? She was here, wasn’t she? What did Riley mean by that? “Do you realize that the longer you are here, the more you are taking on? You can still get out. Just leave and go home. Think about it, before it’s too late. Your decisions will soon impact more than just yourself.” The Littan stood and shifted the coat around his shoulders, leaving Chel a moment to think.

The girl turned the block of disks over in her hands thoughtfully. ‘Impact more than just me? Too late? I’m not a quitter. How would I live with myself?’

Now she knew exactly what it was that Riley was trying to tell her in his roundabout way. ‘I keep saying I want to help Lexx, ever since I found out what this game really was. The thing is, this really,.. isn’t, like anything I’ve ever done before. It’s not dropping money in a bucket at Christmastime.’

Riley turned back to Chel, leaning forward slightly, “There might come a point in which you can not go back. What if you can never go home, Chel? Never see your family, friends or Earth?”

‘That’s a lot of what-ifs.’ Chel stared at the disks. ‘Why is Riley doing this? He’s said he’s Lexx’s friend. Lexx says that he is his friend. What’s he trying to do?’ She frowned, going in circles around the real question edging on her mind. ‘I know, I know. This is a commitment, to someone I barely know who really needs it. But does he really need me? I’m just a stupid human. He’s smarter than me, stronger, faster, what can I do other than get in the way?”

Chel sighed heavily, as though the weight of a world had been settled on her shoulders. ‘This is becoming more serious than I thought it would be. It was just a game. That’s all I saw. A game, not this.’ Then, she noticed a quick movement out of the corner of her eye.