Days passed with me pulling more than double my allotted duty shifts. That however was of course entirely typical of any ranking United Elements Star Guard officer in a crisis. As I sat down at my desk in my quarters a steaming hot cup of the strongest black coffee I could find in my hand I marled at how it actually was possible to feel the affects of sleep deprivation after being awake for a great deal more than forty-eight hours. I sighed and picked up a tablet off the desk. I had absolutely no idea how to get the map Alex had given me to reveal its secrets. I tapped the scroll icon on the tablet as I took a sip of my coffee. The damn cube made no sense whatsoever. It appeared to be made from a solid mineral very similar in composition to obsidian and coated in diamond. I had run the silvery markings through every single translator at my disposal.

I threw the tablet with the latest translation across the room. This random outburst of temper was rather unfortunate for a coffee cup and a crappy vase that the previous occupant had left behind because of the simple fact that they intercepted the tablet's flight path. The translation needless to say had been less than helpful. It simply informed me of what I already knew. The cube was a map. I put my head down on the desk and promptly decided that probably wasn't a good idea. After all if I fell asleep at this point I wasn't likely to wake up for quite some time.

" I neeeed sleeeeep!" I whined into the emptiness of my quarters. The tablet and the shattered vase and coffee cup in the corner of the room seemed to stare up at me in agreement. I needed that sleep more than I thought.

"Sleep is for suckers." I jumped and spun around. I knew that voice. Hadn't heard it in years but I knew it.

"Kage Senna?" I stared at the regal engineer. "How the fuck did you get in here without me noticing?"

"How do you think?" I sighed the last time I had gotten a straight answer out of Senna was a long time ago…I actually couldn't remember when I had gotten said straight answer out of said elf/Feloryn thingy. Ok that was about the point I decided I really needed sleep. After all who calls their best friend a Feloryn/elf thingy?

"Senna?" I asked snapping my wristcomm off and picking up a pile of tablets of the desk. "That cube on the computer terminal over there is supposedly a map figure out how it works while I go have a twelve-hour nap." I handed her the wristcomm and tablets. She stared at me and blinked her big amber eyes incredulously at me.

"What?" I turned and walked into the bedroom without a backward glance. It was the only part of the apartment that I had actually bothered personalizing. It was colored in cool hues of blue and green and the large queen sized bed was covered in thin blue-green silk sheets. Above it was a canopy of green gauze. I lay down on the bead not bothering to take my clothes off. Pulling the sheets up around my neck I glanced over at the sparkling silver and blue beta splendens in the blue light of the fish tank and I was gone.

I awoke a few hours earlier than I had said I would and headed out to my study to see how Senna was getting on with my (Alex's really) project-only to find that she had once again made a complete and utter fool out of me by solving the problem in an instant.

"Oi sleeping beauty awakes." I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes.

"Don't you ever get sick of your endless sarcasm?"

"No."

"Didn't think so" I picked up my wristcomm off the desk and snapped it back on. "So what do you have for me?"

"First off. There was dust covering one of the characters on the cube itself." She handed me a tablet. "So your translation stating that the information was inside was wrong."

"Than what is the correct translation?"

"The key to knowledge is contained inside."

"That means that the box is nothing but a box and-"

"-The actual map is inside. Yes."

"Can I see your necklace?"

"What? Why?" but I had already reached around the back of my neck to unclasp the elliptical pendant. I handed it to her. Senna placed it in a similar shaped indent on the bottom of the cub.

"I came across this in your research, you must have overlooked it because you were so tired." A line of light appeared along the top of the cube and then suddenly died away leaving a thin seam around the edge. I wasted no time in opening it.

Inside was the most beautiful obsidian orb I'd ever seen. Not that I'd seen a lot of obsidian orbs. I marveled at how easily it fit into the palm of my hand as I picked it up. It was almost as if it was made for me. No sooner had I lifted the sphere out of the box than did it glow to gloriously to life revealing the path for us to follow.

"What now?" asked the black haired engineer.

"We follow that trail."

AN: sorry I took so long…(if your new to the story my last update was back in September its Christmas today)

To the reviewers, thanks to all who reviewed…

So long

BlackCat Hanyou