The lift journey and the walk back to the Royal Suite from the Arboretum took more than forty minutes, and by the time Brittany finally slapped the access panel to gain entry to her apartments, she was still livid with anger
"Shit!" she hissed, once the doors had safely whispered closed behind her "Shit. Shit. Smegging shit!"
She stomped down the hallway, shrugging her way out of her jacket and balled it up to hurl it across the lounge
"Shit!" she bellowed, near doubling over in rage "Smegging, smegging shit!"
"...And hello to you too" Cassandra grated from where she was stood over on one side of the lounge amidst an array of techno- junk, strewn across the floor
"Augh? You?" Brittany snapped "When did you get out?"
"A few hours ago" Cassandra breezed, raising her arms, reaching high above her head, her t-shirt riding up to expose her midrift "Check. Where have you been?"
"Check" a modulated voice repeated
"Only on some smegging Molopod ship that just warped in from Little smegging Cheftonia" Brittany snarled "Turns out there's another Queen Brittany"
"Oh, right... That's what that theatrical little outburst was all about, was it?" Cassandra moved her arms down by her side "Check"
"Uh... yeah!?" Brittany sneered "What? Did you think I'd be happy, or something!?"
"Check" the modulated voice came again
"Did you explain it in terms of quantum entanglement discrepancies like I planned?" Cassandra asked holding her arms straight out in front of her "Check"
Brittany frowned
"You mean like I planned. Yeah, I did.... What are you doing?" she asked
"Check" the computerised voice repeated
"A machine telepathy and bio force-feedback experiment" Cassandra announced "Came up with it while I was convalescing and got Holly to fab these bits for me"
She paused to look down at a screen laid flat on the floor, near her feet
"So what's with this other Brittany?" she asked absently, evidently happy enough with the readouts "Does she walk with a limp or something? We buried her foot at space, remember?"
"Dunno" Brittany shrugged, flopping down onto one of the sofas "Haven't seen her; the foot could have been left behind when she was teleported out of that Blue Midget, but she could equally be an imposter..."
"No!" Cassandra looked mock shocked "Such a thing couldn't happen, could it!?"
"Cute" Brittany observed, her mouth curling downwards at the corners
Cassandra crouched, hunching her shoulders up
"Check" she intoned
"Check" repeated the modulated voice
"So what are you going to do about this 'imposter'?" she asked, as she stood up again
"Not sure" Brittany mused "She's a threat, but she could be useful... She is useful; the Molopod's are on our side now, and I think they might even offer to eat William Liar if I ask nicely"
Cassandra raised her eyebrows
"Won't eating the prime minister cause a diplomatic incident?"
"Oh, who smegging cares?" Brittany snarled "I'll just gloss over it as a minor inter-species misunderstanding, and we'll be peachy; the goit needs to die for the shit he's giving me!"
"Huh" Cass shrugged, pirouetting slowly on the spot "I guess... Check"
"Check" the computer voice replied
"Am I missing something?" she asked abruptly "Why do we even need the Molopods on our side?"
"To help with the assault on the JMC headquarters" Brittany replied "Didn't you hear? They've a base at the very centre of Jupiter!"
"What the...!? How!?" Cass was amazed "Regardless of the fact that it's way hotter than the surface of the sun in there, the gravity and pressure at those depths is almost unimaginable! I mean, how do you carve a base out of the centre of what is essentially a failed star?"
"Yeah, I know..." Brittany smiled "Someone's been holding out with some seriously heavy-duty ultratech that's way beyond anything we currently have.... and I want it!"
"Damn right" Cassandra smiled in turn "Beyond the academic interest, that kind of thing could help get the former colonies back in line in no time!"
"My thoughts precisely"
"Cool" Cass nodded "System online. Deactivate physical overrides. Mark by mark... Engage!"
Brittany turned in surprise as a small humanoid robot marched around from behind the sofa she was sitting on
"Is that what I think it is?" she asked
"Yeah" Cassandra smiled with satisfaction "I see what it sees, and I'm controlling most of its movements with my mind; the rest is interpreted by the onboard AI... neat huh?"
Brittany had to agree that it was
"Let's fabricate a couple of three metre tall smeggers and load them up with weapons; you can join the away team with them when we hit Jupiter"


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