Archer’s eyes widened. “Was this creature small and purple and yellow? With like, a long tail and whiskers?”
“Did he like, purr when you touched him?”
Again she nodded.
“Was his name—“
“Bruce,” she said, finishing Archer’s sentence.
“He protects us,” she said softly.
“That’s a good thing,” Archer said in amazement. Because honestly? He couldn’t imagine having the massive creature as an enemy. Just thinking about it made his heart race once more. “Him and all his little babies, which really aren’t so little anymore.”
Pointy-Ears nodded. “Oh yes. He has lots of babies. They live all over the planet, keeping watch.” Good to know, Archer thought. And then another thought entered his mind. “Does he know…do you people know of the pirates on the other side of the mountain?”
“Pirates?” Pointy-Ears said the word slowly, a little frown on her face.
Sousha. It made Archer think of sunlight and apples and Cook’s fresh biscuits. “I like that,” he said with a slow grin.
“Would your friend help us? Like, if we needed him to?”
“Help you do what?” Sousha asked.
Archer blew out a long, hot breath and wiped sweat off his brow. He glanced up at his bot again but Dash was no help. The little bot floated in the air, eyes glowing red.
Sousha nodded. “The pretty girl.
Well, yes, Archer thought that Del was pretty. You know. For a girl.
“I know,” Archer replied. He thought back to the cave he’d slept in. Of the drawings on the walls, the stories they told. “I know the prisms are important to your survival so I’d never just like, give them to the pirates. Especially because….” His voice trailed off and he shuddered.
“What do they want with them?” Sousha asked hesitantly. The many little Pointy-Ears behind them had gathered close. All seemed to be listening intently, while the guards scowled, their eyes narrow and fierce.
Archer thought of his own father. He thought of his hologram and his chest tightened. How he missed his dad and for the first time he realized that maybe, he might not ever see him again. But Del’s father was here. He was here and he was alive and Archer was determined to get him away from the clutches of the pirates. Sousha moved forward and hugged Archer tightly.
“Archibald. I must inform you that after an initial scan of the prisms I’ve determined that the probability of depletion is less than 5%.”
Archer’s heart sank. Was anything going to go their way?
Sousha smiled. “I think we can make that work.”
“Unless Magnar is there to retrieve the prisms.” Sousha jumped up and down, turning back to the massive creature.
All eyes were focused on the spider and when it lowered its legs and nodded to Sousha, Archer whooped aloud and jumped up into the air. He scooped his little alien friend into a hug and kissed her on the cheek.
This was going to work, he wanted to shout. Except for one smalll problem. Where in the world were Del and Bruce?