"Do we at least have shields?" Teresa asked nervously.
"Yes, we most surely do," Gabby replied, "but a long time they will not last, I am very sure."
The klaxons continued to sound.
"They are closing in," Attar announced, "taking evasive maneuvers."
The passengers compartment rocked as the craft shifted suddenly and climbed.
They continued to maneuver and suddenly they were all thrown to the floor as a loud report echoed through the craft.
"Direct hit!" Attar yelled.
"Oh! The shields they are almost gone." Gabby said.
They were rocked once more as Attar started another evasive pattern.
"Hold on," Attar yelled, "we are about to get hit again...."
They all grabbed a hold of something and waited. Nothing. They waited.
"What's going on?" Teresa yelled above the screaming klaxons.
"I'm not sure," Attar said as he checked his instruments. "Two of the persuing craft have disappeard off my screens, and the other is turning about. Hold on, we have an incoming communication...."
"YeeeeeeeeHaaaa!" They heard from the comm speakers.
"Gonna get them Sirians."
"That's our ship," Teresa announced to the Canopian escort, "can I speak to them?"
"Sure." Attar turned off the klaxons and there was silence.
"Excalibur, is that you?"
"It sure is. Excalibur to the rescue. Three little piggies just went to market," Blackfive sounded fevered, "Permanently. Need an escort?"
"Well, we were just about to crush them ourselves, but sure, why not," Teresa said. "Everybody OK over there?"
"Yeah, everyone here is ship shape." It was Joanie. "Excalibur too. We're cloaked, what say we follow you in?"
Teresa turned to Attar. "Excalibur," he said, "thanks for the assist. We will transmit a beacon on the previously arranged secure channel. Welcome to Shang Ra La!"
Sissy emerged from the expansive medical "palace" looking refreshed, and a whole lot slimmer.
"Captain," John said, "You look great."
"Well I feel great too. It's such a relief to have um, delivered the package." She went up to Joanie.
"I see the good doctor has managed to patch you up somewhat."
"Good as new," Blackfive said, "Cassandra too."
"And where is that wily wolf, anyway?" Sissy looked around the crowd.
"Well, Captain," John said, "it turns out that Shang Ra La is some kind of garden paradise. Beaches, gardens, hot tubs...,"
"Uh huh," Sissy answered, "So where is Cassandra?"
"Well, Captain, et turns out the natives ar vera friendly too." Greyhawk added.
"Uh huh," Sissy answered, "And where did you say Cassandra was?"
"Last I saw," Cathy put in, "She was down on the beach, sipping on a margarita, enjoying the attention of a very dark and handsome man."
"Oh," Sissy said, "I see. I thought she only liked whiskey?"
"Well I talked to Buddy Holly, and he told us to make ourselves comfortable and to stay as long as we like," Sissy said. "And the way I figure it, we have a week before we need to shove off."
Everyone nodded in anticipation.
"So I officially declare us all on leave. We are finally getting our vacation!" Sissy announced.
With the word vacation, everyone suddenly went on guard and looked around suspiciously. John looked up nervously.
"Um, Captain?" Joanie suggested, "I think a negative conditioning has been attached to the word "vacation" among the crew."
"Oh right." Sissy thought. "Crew!" She commanded.
Everyone snapped to attention.
"You all know what needs to be done here."
"Let's get to work!"
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