Ellie sat in the car, drumming her fingers on her lap in agitation rather than calculation. She’d tried apologizing. She’d tried reasoning with her mother. She’d tried appealing to her father. But aside from telling them everything, which she was sure she’d not done in the past, she’d finally had no choice but to follow Goynee out of the castle, putting on as carefree and casual a face as she could. Now, as Goynee trundled along the streets, her Warp Drive mind raced to find a way to ensure the success of her mission.

“Goynee,” she asked in her sweetest voice. “Would you do me a favor? For Ellie. Would you make sure she’s safe tonight? That she stays in her room and doesn’t get into trouble?”

The servant laughed. “Ellie’s no trouble. She gets angry, but she always obeys.”

I did, didn’t I? At least until I didn’t. “Will you check on her, though? I’m worried. She doesn’t think she’s too young for the Ball, and she may go, just to prove she can.”

“You worry without need. Ellie is a good girl. She will be mad, maybe yell, but she will obey.”

* * *

Ellie did indeed yell when she found out her parents had excommunicated her one friend and ally -and tonight, her protector. Then she tried to apologize for yelling.  She tried to reason with her mother, to appeal to her father. She begged. Finally, in desperation, she told them about Jirek’s threatening note.

“Ellie Elizabeth Doall, you are overreacting. Now, just stop. You’ll see. This whole silliness will be over tomorrow.”

“I might be dead tomorrow!”

Her mother started to shake. “What has happened to you? I, I can’t deal with this. Go to your room, right now. I’m making an appointment for you at the Union Medical facility.”

“I’m not delusional. Fine. I’ll go to my room. Can I have a phaser?”


“I’ll speak to the guards about increasing their patrols in our wing,” her father soothed. Ellie knew that meant a token effort, maybe another walk past their windows sometime in the evening. It was all she was going to get.

She stormed to her room, but once she was out of sight, she took a turn and went to the wing’s storeroom first. She was going to have to take care of herself, and in order to do that, she needed some supplies.

And if she was going to take care of herself, she would take care of a few others while she was at it.