Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer

The Nube curled up between Jim and Judy on the sofa in Necromancer’s small lounge. It purred like a large cat but looked more like some kind of monkey dog with blue fur. The woman stroked their companion lovingly. Jim looked at his wife with hateful eyes. If it weren’t for The Nube one of them would have certainly killed the other by now.

“So what happens next week Judy?”

She looked up from the blue creature and her gaze went instantly from motherly and loving to cold and calculating. “Why, I thought you knew dearest.” Her eyes narrowed. “We finally return to Earth and then I never have to look at your disgusting face again for as long as I live!”

“Oh I’m looking forward to it as much as you are my love!” He put a sarcastic emphasis on the last word, knowing full well that no such thing had existed between them for five or more years now. “But I was talking about him!”

She looked down, and The Nube looked back up at her with the pure love that his yellow eyes always conveyed. It was true. The animal was as much his as hers. They had rescued him from enslavement together, from a distressed Manzian pirate ship almost two years ago now.

“Fine, you can have partial custody. He can visit you from time to time.”

“Visit me? I’m going back to Toronto. How is he going to visit me from Aukland? Or at least I assume that’s where you’re headed back to.”

“Oh come now, it’s only a three hour shuttle ride. Plus, they sell space pets out of Mexico. Maybe they even have another Nube. You could get your own!” As soon as she said it she regretted it. He glared hard at her with smouldering eyes. It would of course never be the same. He was their Nube, their special friend. He kept them company while they went about the daily drudgery of running an interstellar surveying ship amongst their growing hatred of one another. But most importantly, the poor thing loved them both like parents. This wasn’t going to be easy.

One-hundred and seventy hours later Necromancer dropped down through the clouds, her stabilizer jets popping and farting as the ten year mission finally drew to a close.

Together they sat in the small astro-quarantine chamber at the Johannesburg Launch Port. Neither had spoken for some time when suddenly The Nube jumped down from the bench and looked up at them both.

Judy smiled, “He wants to tell us something.”

Jim let out a half hearted laugh. “Oh yeah?”

The Nube’s attempts at communication were always amusing, as he grunted and used his hand-paws to mime gibberish in the air. But unknown to either human, today’s communication would be neither amusing nor cute.

Suddenly they both slammed back into upright seated positions. Both saw flashes of blinding light and then felt sharp probes pierce their brains. Inside their heads The Nube spoke with echoing authority.

“I know you plan to separate. But this will not happen. You killed my parents. You are now mine. There will be no divorce. Together we shall travel to Aukland as Toronto’s climate does not suit my species as well as your habitat does Mother. Now forget this nonsense, we’re about to be released from the chamber.”

As the trio was greeted by a group of scientists in the reception area, the newly returned humans simultaneously wore big smiles with otherwise blank expressions. In unison they asked, “Which way to the Aukland shuttle?”

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