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They surrounded themselves with decadence on scarce resources, because things and ceremonies were all they had. These glass walls locked them in, and only the sheer size of the ship warded off cabin fever. He longed to report to none but himself—oh, but that was a dream. He was captain. Not the captain of his cruel masters, but captain of the White Flower II and the ten thousand geroo who needed him.

Ateri grabbed his eye patch from the nightstand and affixed it over the left socket with the transparent placeholder. He blinked his good eye, adjusting to the light, before checking himself. His brown and tan fur appeared frayed where he laid on it, but it was short enough that it would settle back with only a little coaxing.

His thick tail, however, contained a sizable crick, possibly from engaging in raucous behavior the night before. He pressed the top of his tail base against the bed and yanked until he heard an audible pop.

"Hon?" Jakari asked again. She sat up. "The running lights aren't that import—"

Ateri shot her a look. Her countenance sobered. She climbed out of bed with the same serious, worried look as him. Feeling as though the sternness had somehow done her wrong, he approached and kissed her.

"It doesn't matter," Ateri said. "We can make this work."

She smiled, laid a hand on his side and returned the kiss. He let himself flow into the moment and began to wrap his hands around her waist, pulling in closer.

They did not have the time. She knew, too—far from being disappointed as he pulled away, she gave him the most sincere and knowing of smiles. He smiled too, opening up his demeanor and revealing a proud and defiant look underneath.

They dressed, taking their uniforms from the motorized closet. The clothes were a clean uniform blue, devoid of accoutrements besides the company logo over the left breast.

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