Part One - 04 - Allan

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"Log entry 204. Leader Hammond Sylvain speaking. R-607 is resisting our scrutiny. Our researches are stalling. The more we dive into the mechanism of the planet, the less we understand. On another note, today something incredible happened. Scientific Sarah Acker gave birth to her child. Almost six weeks early. Against all expectations, the child is alive and healthy. She is smaller than a baby ought to be at birth, but her body is fully developed. Her eyes are already opened and follow all our movements in the room. During the delivery, lights flickered on and off in the station, and weird electrical phenomenons have been occurring since. For now, we decided to keep the child a secret, not mentioning her in our sporadic encrypted messages sent home. Her name is Kala. Log entry over."

"What in fucking hell...?" said the captain Allan Roy as his eyes fell on the small figure that just stepped out of the dark passageway into the living area.

The seven members of his crew, himself included, were gathered around dinner, and that eighth human being that just appeared wasn't supposed to be on board. He clearly remembered leaving her on Zhangdar three days ago, but here she was. Her long messy hair, the color of dark steel, falling around her small frame, and her pale skin, made him think for a moment she might be an apparition.

But then she said with a shy voice, "I am hungry."

"What in fucking hell?" he repeated, anger simmering. His eyes immediately went to his crew sitting around him. They all looked as surprised as he was. "Someone better explain to me right now what the kid is doing on my ship, after I recall leaving her safely on Zhangdar."

He was used to his crew always pushing the limits of his authority. It was generally all fun and games. They usually knew where to draw the line. But not this time it seemed.

His glare darted toward Hopper. "You," Allan said in a dangerous voice.

Hopper flinched but then smiled knowingly. "Hey, I'm innocent. I'm glad Kala is still with us, but I had no part in it. I swear," he raised his hands as if to prove his honesty.

The captain believed him and so decided to turn to Jessie. She was the one that stayed on the Capricieuse that day. When she noticed his menacing attention, she shook her head slowly. Not me, she mouthed.

"It was me," Lucas admitted. "I'm the one who brought Kala back with us."

Allan's head snapped up toward the giant, sitting opposite of him.

"She found me in the streets. She wasn't okay, and I couldn't leave her behind. She belongs with us," he finalized.

Unbelievable. Great. Just great. The captain lifted his arms into the air in exasperation. He pushed his bench back and stood. He pointed a finger to Lucas, "You can forget about that raise. And here I thought you were on my side. Such betrayal!"

The veteran didn't express any shame; he just crossed his massive arms. Allan could only read it as a further sign of his rebellion. First Hopper got attached to their new stray, but that hadn't been a surprise, but now Daddy too? Unbelievable.

On his right, Min-Hee, his unloyal cook, was already beckoning the kid to sit down next to her and eat. Like the mechanic, she had been seduced by Kala since day one.

Allan knew it was useless to shout at Lucas, but he needed to shout at someone. So, he strode out of the living area, leaving his plate behind, and went straight for the cockpit. There he checked the computer. Perfect. It was the middle of the afternoon on Zhangdar. He opened the line and waited. After a minute, the face of Staffan, owner of the Golden Lake bathhouse, appeared on the screen.

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