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Anathema III - The Liability of Ones Enemies.

By S.L. Koss
Page 2 of 10

Cally stood, trying to settle her thoughts in the grey 'sleep room' in the Ultra's facility, her senses coming together slowly and with effort. Avon remained attached to the machine while Dayna and Tarrant argued futilely over the periodic explosions that rocked them. Cally made an effort to concentrate on their conversation over the queasiness she felt.

'It should have worked by now, shouldn't it?" Dayna asked, alarmed.

"I don't see why not, Cally is done. But, he's not a telepath, it might be different." Tarrant answered calmly, trying to take charge of the situation before it got out of hand.

"Tarrant, we can't afford to wait any longer, this place is going to blow!" Dayna said frantically as another explosion rocked the floor beneath them.

"No, we can't." Tarrant answered calmly, reaching up to disconnect Avon's unresponsive form from the machine. "Take the cylinder."

"Are you crazy, Tarrant? We can't take him like this, he's got no brain!" Dayna said, grabbing the crystal cylinder from the machine nevertheless.

"Come on Cally, we have to get out of here, fast!" Tarrant insisted. "We'll all die if we stay here much longer!"

"Maybe Orac can suggest something." Cally said softly, not entirely sure she understood the situation, or anything yet.

They had navigated the corridors to the ship as quickly as they could, pulling the zombie like figure with them and supporting Cally as best they could.

It was a few hours later when everyone, but Avon who remained strapped to a bed in the medical unit, sat around the flight couches. No one dared look at anyone as Orac pronounced emphatically that without the equipment on the now exploded Ultra station, there was nothing they could do to return the contents of Avon's mind to their proper place. They stared ahead, they stared at nothing, no one spoke. It was Zen that interrupted the silence.

/Information. Scanners report a spacial disturbance several thousand spacials in front of Liberator, in the direct flight path. Strategic computers suggest this is a hyper spacial wave and suggest we avoid it./

"Engines to all-stop!" Tarrant sprang from his seat and headed for his console. "Fire the reverse thrusters one quarter. Put it on the main screen."

A wild jumble of light and color appeared on the viewer, eventually turning into a mirror image of the Liberator. It was painted brightly, however with green, silver, black and gold. Several more plasma cannons were evident and it overall looked bigger.

"What the hell is that?" Vila exclaimed fearfully, he jumped up to his station checking his readings.

/The ship identifies itself as Starfire, commanded by Star Commander Giareth./

Cally got up numbly, opening a channel, she said softly. "This is Liberator."

The voice which answered was familiar, yet barely so. "Liberator, please hold position and allow for docking."

"Sure, no problem." Tarrant said sarcastically, throwing the appropriate switches and staring at the screen.

The other ship came around gracefully to stop not far from them, the huge ships facing one another awesomely in space. One of the pod sections opened and a smaller ship emerged and headed for Liberator and they watched, fascinated. Hearing the docking latches deploy, they turned toward the flight deck entrance unsure of who or what to expect.

Kai descended the flight stairs, with a haughty aire and two Felinian Guards following him. Dressed in the typical black Felinian uniform, broken only by the silver hilts of four knifes, two each wrist and two in the top of his boots and the white, silver and black of his clan. He wore a thigh-length cloak lined with a white and black tiger fur. The now 8-year-old was nearly as tall as his father and was coming to resemble him more with time. He turned depthless brown eyes to Tarrant. "You'll excuse the intrusion. Mother does not like the teleport and she does not travel without the girls." He paused shortly as his mother appeared behind him, then two tiny girls, one with black curls, the other golden red, each dressed in vibrant green silk they rushed forward and down the flight deck stairs nearly in unison, giggling gleefully. Kai ignored the intrusion, obviously it was not unexpected. "What's he done now?" He asked, annoyed, failing to get anything but a blank look from Tarrant, he turned to Cally without looking at her. "Well, speak up woman! I hardly crossed half the galaxy just to pass time. I cease to hear him so does mother, but he is not dead."

Alarayna pushed past her son to stand beside a still shaken Cally. "I feel something, but even that is beginning to fade. Show me where he is, please."

The fair-haired twin had stopped beside Kai. "Which is the Captain's console?" She asked curiously.

"There is none, Alli." Kai answered, reaching down to stroke her shoulder length curls. "This vessel was built for exploration, it does not require a Captain."

"Who gives the orders?" The child asked innocently. The top of her mottled silver ears barely reached Kai's hip. She wore a sort cloak lined in the red and gold tiger skin the Felinians called fire tiger, a very rare creature and the symbol of clan Giarnetha.

Kai smiled down at her warmly. "I imagine it presents problems, but the crew are not militarily trained, they dislike being given orders, but they manage."

Rayvon had finished her inspection and stood at the foot of Vila's console, looking up at him in curious silence. He was paying attention to his console and did not notice her, until she took a step closer and a strand of several tiny bells woven into her tail tinkled musically.

As she took another step, Vila looked down at the black-haired child. *Do not be worried. All things work ut as they are meant, grandfather says one's will cannot change what must be.* She sent with a lyrically musical voice which Vila found oddly soothing. Usually he did not appreciate the touch of a telepathic mind on his. *Male Felinian's in sending seek to dominate and over power. This I can do, but I choose not to.* She smiled sweetly and reached her arms up to him. *Which is my father's console?* Vila picked her up gingerly, with a cautious look at Kai who seemed unconcerned. He brought her over to Avon's console and seated her gently at it.

Vila sighed as he looked at the tiny child, dwarfed in her father's seat. "It is shame you cannot hear, little one." He said compassionately, but uselessly, surprised to find her answer as though she had.

*Only fools feel shame for what they lack. I am not a fool and I have no lack!*

"No offense." Vila muttered.

Alarayna followed Cally quietly to the medical unit. She reached out to touch the silent form on the table, hooked up to various life-support equipment.

"He was fine, breathing and functioning normally until the Ultra station blew up, then he went into failure ane I had to put him on full support." Cally explained. "How did you know?"

Alarayna stared blankly at the crystal cylinder on the table beside the med table and then at the readings on the scanners. "Does it matter?" She asked, feeling helpless. All the readings told her there was nothing there to fix. There was nothing there at all. As a doctor, there was nothing she could do and she disliked immensely feeling helpless, knowing Avon would not want to remain in such a state.

"I'm sorry, Alarayna. No one had any idea of what we should do, but we could not stay on that station, it was unstable, falling apart under our feet." Cally said guiltily.

Numbly, the doctor turned her attention from Avon to Cally. She brought out a portable scanner of her own and took some readings. "You have felt no ill effects?" She asked, attempting professionalism to counter the feelings that welled up in her.

"I was a little queasy for some time. Other than feeling like my brain was scrambled, I don't really feel anything wrong." Cally said, feeling much of her queasiness came from the sight of Avon.

"It's not your fault, Cally." The doctor said compassionately.

Cally looked at her long and hard for a moment, trying to imagine what it must be like to have a telepathic link with someone like Avon. She would from time to time have some small amount of insight into his thoughts, but not very often. "It's funny, you know. He always wants to be left alone and none of us ever have a problem in accommodating him. We just never though something like this could happen, not to Avon, he wouldn't have it." Cally's voice quavered just slightly as she brushed a stray hair fastidiously from his forehead.

"I need a moment alone, if you don't mind." Alarayna said quietly. The readings she was getting were not making any possible sense. She still sensed his presence, though it was without form or its usual edge. Slowly, knowing it could be a mistake and not at all wanting to confirm what she suspected, she reached for his hand. Black she had come to expect from his mind, memories shrouded in darkness, covered in the ashes of the past, burned blacker than night. This, however, was different. Instead of a black that was without light, this was simply nothing. She struggled to ignore the tears streaming down her face as her mind called without hope to his. As a latent telepath, he had no power to block her, but he always responded with barbed walls he surrounded everything in, just as effective as a telepathic block, but there was nothing. Wiping her tears on the back of his hand, she looked suspiciously at the cylinder once more. She though she could hear something coming from it and she reached for it.

Giareth grabbed her hand with more force that she would have expected from him. Felinians did not touch one another, it was unseemly, certainly without permission. "Don't touch that thing!" He warned, growling deeply. "It is a Dolsinar and has great power, an evil creation. I am thankful those who created it are dead. He is there, doctor, but not as you would know him. Static facts and thoughts arranged with purpose . Nothing to resemble a thinking and feeling mind. I fear one would be lost to touch it."

In desperation, Alarayna turned to Kai who had followed the Commander. He reached for his mother instinctively and she wept bitterly against his shoulder. "He's not there, Kai! There's nothing at all, nothing" Shaking furiously, she let go of the hand she was still holding. "Please. Kai not like this, please!"

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