Chapter 328: The Next Steps To Take
A faint ringing noise echoed through the transporter room which caused Sophie to groggily open up her eyes.
“Urgh… just let me sleep some more…” Sophie muttered as she yawned sleepily.
She tried to get up but there was a heavy but soft object lying down on her chest.
Sophie took a quick glance at the mysterious object and saw Lily fast asleep with most of her tiny body curled up against her stomach.
There were tiny flecks of dried blood on the little girl’s skin and hair from coming in contact with Sophie’s bodysuit that was still covered in pieces of flesh.
What happened last night?
Bits and flashes of memory surfaced in Sophie’s mind as she vaguely recalled stumbling while walking up the bridge and then finally entering starship.
Once she reached inside the transporter room… she could only remember collapsing to the ground and falling asleep.
The floor of the transporter room was a cold, hard surface so it was no surprise that Lily had decided to snuggle against her body to sleep.
Still… Sophie could not help a warm feeling from bubbling up in her chest as she stroked Lily’s hair lovingly.
It was nice that Lily wasn’t afraid of her.
However, Sophie wrinkled her nose slightly as the foul odour coming off their bodies proved that the pair definitely needed a long shower.
Sophie frowned as she shifted her arm to reach the metalloid device that was still ringing softly.
She pressed a button on the side of the device which caused the ringing to finally stop.
There was no urgent rush to talk to the last surviving members of the crew immediately, so Sophie remained in place to allow Lily a couple more hours of rest.
This brief period of silence was the perfect time to think about what actions should she do next.
In the original plan… Sophie would have killed the key members of the upper command and then teamed up with the mercenaries to take over the ship.
It was time to improvise.
To command the loyalty of a random group of warriors would already be an impressive feat but trying to get the surviving crewmembers to obey the butcher who slaughtered their companions was going to be a herculean task.
Sophie mentally ran through the different methods of leadership and intimidation that her father had mentioned during territorial management training.
Unfortunately, Duke Peterlor had only talked about the various methods in an introductory setting since Sophie’s main focus during high school was fighting techniques or cultivation.
Most of the crewmembers were associated with the Sun God so who knows if they cared for material wealth and besides…
She didn’t have enough currency on hand to make them forget her rampage.
Persuasion or diplomacy?
After what she had done?
Sophie chuckled darkly as that na?ve thought flashed across her mind. Given the chance, there was no doubt that every one of those survivors would kill her at the first opportunity.
The only option that remained was intimidation or fear. The most effective method at least in the short term.
This really wasn’t as easy as one would imagine.
If Sophie pushed the survivors too far then there was a chance of a mental collapse.
She wasn’t afraid of the crew being able to kill her directly because the main problem was that it was impossible to fly a starship using raw strength alone.
The journey to the frontier region would take at least a week which meant that she needed to prevent any rebellions within that time frame and that wasn’t even considering what to do once they reached the warzone.
Joining the army now was going to be impossible since it was the referral was in the name of ‘The Sun’s Glory’.
Maybe she could sneak in with the freelance mercenaries? Sophie tapped her fingers absentmindedly.
That was a problem for another day.
Right now, she needed to worry about a glaring weakness that any intelligent member among the survivors could spot.
She could not afford to eliminate the last crewmembers which meant that she needed them alive and that was a weakness not easily fixed.
Sophie bit her lip as the vague outline of a plan began to take shape in her mind. Minutes turned to hours as Sophie continued to mentally run over different scenarios and ideas.
Her concentration was broken by a loud yawn coming from the small child curled up in her arms.
“Hello sleepyhead,” Sophie smiled playfully as she nuzzled Lily’s cheeks.
“Big sister… you… where are we?” Lily tiredly muttered as she turned around to go back to rest.
“No. I think it’s time that we both take a shower,” Sophie laughed as she gently shook the lazy girl.
Lily groaned in protest but maybe it was the foul stench wafting off Sophie’s dirty bodysuit, but she just couldn’t go back to sleep.
Sophie had visited almost every room on the starship in search for fresh prey during the attack, so she already had a mental map of the vessel in her mind.
Most of the cabins that belonged to the officers onboard the vessel had a private shower room, so she planned on visiting the nearest ones and see if any were clean.
Sophie got up from the hard ground with a painful groan.
Sleeping on cold metal was definitely going to cause her back to ache for the rest of the morning or whatever time it was.
“Sorry Lily but I’m going to need you to wear this,” Sophie whispered as she reached into her storage bag.
She pulled out a nanotech black mask that could hide Lily’s human features but could also be modified with commands.
“Mode Delta- Total Blackout. Password override: House Peterlor,” Sophie spoke with confidence.
She then passed the mask to Lily after feeling a brief vibration coming from the center of the mask.
She carefully pressed its soft surface against Lily’s face and soon the mask sank into the little girl’s skin.
“Big sister… um… I can’t see,” Lily hesitantly spoke.
The eyes section of the mask had been covered by a thin film of black nanofibers which meant that Lily was now trapped in a world of darkness.
“Baby…” Sophie paused briefly as an expression of shame flashed across her face.
Maybe it was for self-satisfaction or cowardice, but she didn’t want Lily to see what had happened to the crew onboard the vessel.
What… she had done to them.
She couldn’t ruin Lily’s image of a perfect big sister.
“I… there are a few dead bodies that still need to be cleaned up. Little children shouldn’t see those things,” Sophie explained calmly.
She did know that the children of high nobility would not be innocent flowers grown in a greenhouse.
It was likely that Lily had seen death or watched holo-videos of brutal wars between cultivators during training.
But… if she could just maintain the illusion that she was a protector…. and not a mons…
Sophie didn’t even notice that her fingers were tightly clenched together until a sharp pain forced her to look down and see thin droplets of blood leaking out from where her nails had dug into her flesh.
There were a few uncomfortable seconds of silence before Lily tilted her mask upwards to face where she thought Sophie’s head was.
“Okay big sister… I understand!” Lily replied cheerfully.
Lily’s tone was slightly forced but Sophie was so relieved that the little girl had bought her explanation that she subconsciously ignored the strangeness.
This was the moment when a small rift began to form between the pair.