Authors: Mason Elliott
Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Adventure, #Alien Invasion, #Colonization, #First Contact, #Galactic Empire, #Military, #Space Marine
The Citation Series, Naero’s War: Book Three
High Mark Publishing
Seattle & Portland, Chicago, London
The Citation Series, Naero’s War: Book Three
© 2014 by Mason Elliott. All rights reserved.
Published by High Mark Publishing
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Titles by Mason Elliott
The Spacer Clans Adventures
The Citation Series
Naero’s War, Book One: THE ANNEXATION WAR
Naero’s War, Book Two: THE HIGH CRUSADE
Naero’s War, Book Three: NAERO’S TRIAL
Naero’s War, Book Four: THE GAMMA QUADRANT*
Short Fiction in Ebook Format
Fantasy with Author Garan R. R. Faraday
Mergeworld, Book 1
Mergeworld, Book 2
Mergeworld, Book 3*
Naero Amashin Maeris’s ship’s physician, Trudi Cheyenne, nodded emphatically. “Yes, Captain. The results are actually pretty obvious–”
Naero stared at the floor and then at her feet, several thoughts and emotions swirling around within her. Shock just one of them. “I…I can’t be pregnant.”
Trudi smirked, and then sighed. “Sir, logically, the only way you can’t be pregnant is if you didn’t have sex. Did you have sex, sir?”
Naero felt herself shudder. Then she smiled. “Yes, I did. And it was really great!”
Inside-a-star-great. And what followed after that was all pretty good, too. She was not going to deny any of that. She loved Khai, and he her.
Trudi raised both eyebrows. “Well, then, sir. If you have sex, pregnancy is always possible to some degree, unless you take some kind of precautions or direct birth control. And by the looks of things, you’ve been pregnant for a number of weeks. If you allow me to–”
“Just give me a moment, Trudi,” Naero felt a brief pang of loss and regret. She loved Trudi dearly, like all of her flagship crew, but things just weren’t the same in medical without Naero’s lifelong friend Zhen there.
But Zhen was gone, her body long dead by now, even though Naero still carried her
soul deep within herself, sort of dormant and in storage.
That was complicated as well, like practically everything in her life. Naero had promised Zhen, before her friend died a second time, that she would strive to find a way to bring her back.
Of course, that had happened only a number of weeks ago. But still, Naero was no closer to finding a way to restore Zhen to some form of life with her husband, Tyber, and their infant son, Gallan. No closer to keeping that solemn promise.
Now that Naero was on trial for her life, she might not ever get the chance to make any further progress on that front.
Meanwhile, Trudi waited patiently, staring at her and waiting for her to come back to the present at some point. “N?”
Naero shook herself and forced a weak grin. “Sorry, Tru. I didn’t mean it was impossible that I was pregnant. I’m just saying I can’t be pregnant right now.”
Then the count of days struck her like a spinning wheelkick, right between her big violet eyes. Her mouth dropped open, and she covered it with both hands.
“Weeks ago? That must have been exactly when…”
Trudi blinked. “N, did there happen to be something unusual about the time, place, or the manner of the conception that you would like to share with me, sir?”
Naero closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath. “Hmmm…well, you might say that.”
Again, she reminded herself that she was about to be put on trial for murder. To decide whether or not she would be executed. Not exactly the best of times to be starting a family.
Now Trudi grimaced all the way. “Sir, it shouldn’t be much of a burden for the first trimester. But if you wish, the fetus can easily be removed and put in stasis until a better, future time.”
Naero thought about that very quickly and very hard.
She desperately needed to speak with Khai alone, but the situation was simply impossible.
There had to be a way.
Naero returned her attention to her medical officer once more. “Tru, I think that would be a good idea for now. I can even assist and make the transfer with my Cosmic abilities and biomancy.”
Trudi patted the medbed. “Very well, sir. I’ll prepare a nanofreeze capsule for your future offspring. Shall I keep it stored and protected in stasis with Captain Tyber’s and Zhen’s frozen children?”
Naero smiled sadly. “Perfect. And, Tru. If anything should happen–”
Trudi cut her off. “Nothing’s going to happen, N. I’m sure that everything is going to work out for the best, somehow.”
Naero frowned, and a deep sigh wafted through her. She wished that she could be that certain and hopeful.
“But, on the off chance that anything ever
happen to me, or our ship,” she said. “The special probe that Ty and I prepared will cloak, launch, and take the kids to either
The Dark Star
The Shadow Fox
, other ships of my trade fleet, or my Aunt Sleak, in that order.”
“All right, sir. Got it. Very well. I have the nanofreeze capsule prepared and ready for your direct action. Use your biomancy to conduct the transfer whenever you are ready, and I will monitor the process from here.”
Naero closed her eyes and explored herself with the biomancy sight at the same time that she and Om linked with the medbed and the encapsulation processor with teknomancy.
There it was. There was her tiny little duck, resting and happy deep within her.
She couldn’t help gasping slightly. Her and Khai’s first child. Their baby, formed from the mind-blowing love making session that had overtaken both of them inside of that star, while both of them were in their energy being forms.
A strong, powerful, beautiful, amazing girl.
Naero Amashin Maeris paused for a moment and had to cover her eyes and weep for both joy and sorrow for a few seconds.
She was still right in the middle of one hell of a mess, as usual.
Tru came over to her and hugged her for a moment. “N, it’s going to be all right.”
Naero sighed, and spoke to her child privately within her own mind. I’m sorry, my little duck. Hopefully, after I manage to chat with your dad somehow…not to mention wrangle my murder trial…we’ll be back in business together, little sweetie, and continue all of our stuff later.
She focused and transported her daughter into the protective fluid in the stasis capsule in order to freeze her in that state of development.
Once that was accomplished, Naero breathed a sigh of relief. Although she did feel a pang of emptiness somehow. Perhaps that part was merely psychological. “At least that process is complete,” Naero said out loud.
One instant later, medical warning alarms went off.
Even Trudi jumped and looked completely taken by surprise.
“Haisha!” Trudi cried. “What the hell is going on? Look, sir! The scans and the equipment are going haywire.”
Naero and Om linked in again, trying to make sense of things. Some of the sensitive, hi-tek medgear was already burned out. Om called numerous medical fixers in to conduct immediate repairs.
Clearly something was happening or had already happened.
Naero gaped in stunned surprise. Her tiny daughter was glowing like a star itself.
Her own words caught and hung up in Naero’s mind.
…like a star.
The energy readings were off all known scales. In fact, not only the equipment, but the ship itself should be melting, collapsing, and imploding–in the presence of what could only be likened to the intense power of a small singularity.
That was the only thing close enough in the orders of Cosmic magnitude to compare it to.
And yet here it did little harm, only burning out some med equipment.
No other damage was readily apparent.
Naero and Trudi both stared with their mouths hanging open at what they were witnessing. Like most things involving Naero, it did not make any rational sense. And yet, here it was.
“Uh…sir,” Trudi said, clearly shaken and afraid. “You were about to explain something to me about what you referred to as an ‘unusual conception?’ Perhaps this would be an excellent time for you to explain to me in detail just how unique that conception was. Because I’m about to freak out and lose it here!”
“Uh-huh,” Naero said. “Well, about that. You see, it was kinda like this–”
Without warning, Naero’s daughter vanished off all of the screens.
If they weren’t alarmed before, they certainly were now.
“Haisha!” Tru exclaimed.
“Omigosh,” Naero said. “Where did she–”
Naero smiled and reached down to put her hands on her abdomen.
She didn’t even need to biomance. “My little duck must have gotten homesick, Tru. My girl is right back inside me, where everything began.”
Naero opened the abdomen section of her nanosuit with teknomancy, and climbed back up onto the medbed. Now up on all of the screens and monitors, a slight, glowing pinpoint of blinding light glowed from inside her belly, illuminating her like a lamp from within, but doing no harm to any tissues or organs.
Trudi still looked slightly dumbfounded and afraid, as well as curious. She folded her arms in front of her. “Ready, sir. Still waiting for that explanation. Right about now would be good.”
After a deep breath, Naero began. “My daughter–my and Khai’s daughter–was conceived within the energy fields of a star, after both of us had transformed into energy being forms and were pulled into the star’s gravity well. It makes perfect sense, now that I think back.”
Trudi lifted both hands. “Of course it does. Even though that has never happened before in the course of all human history. Yep. Perfect sense.” Trudi bit her lip and looked down and away.
“You couldn’t know what it was like for us both,” Naero attempted to explain. “In our energy forms in that star, all of our emotions and desires were magnified and so intense–like a thousand times of more. Both of us were having trouble coping with those levels of expanded emotion and desire. It overtook both of us. Neither of us could help what we felt or what we did. And now, neither of us regret any of it. I honestly love Khai. And he is equally devoted to me.”
A period of blinking ensued before Trudi could speak once more. “Yeah, so devoted that he’s going to chop off your head with that damn Cosmic sword of his if you are convicted of murder.”
“I admit, it’s a little complicated,” Naero said, even wincing herself as she spoke those exact words she’s said so often before.
Trudi raised both eyes. “Well, I would guess so.”
“Look. Khai is the Mystic Enforcer. I’m on trial for murder. Neither of us can change that. But we still love each other.”
Trudi examined the screens again. “And now, you have a child inside of you with energy signatures greater than those of a pulsar. I can’t even begin to measure it. And, it has a mind of its own…and it can…transport. Sure it can…why, that’s my fifth teleporting fetus this week alone! The little buggers.”
Naero grinned and rested one hand on the arm of her flustered physician. “Now you’re just being sarcastic, Tru. My girl doesn’t want to hurt anyone. I know it. I can sense that.”
“Well that’s certainly good news. I’d hate to see it if she did.”
“She just wants to be with me. With her mom. That’s all she wants.”
Trudi smiled. “Well, I suppose that seems natural. Captain, I might be wrong, but I think that this child is somehow going to turn out to be a very, very unique and special kid.”
Naero grimaced and ground her teeth for an instant. “I don’t think there’s much disagreement about that.”
Another terrible thought struck Naero, slicing through her in pain as if it were the deep cut of some invisible blade.
If her child refused to leave her, and the worst thing happened and she was executed–would her child die with her as well?
What a terrible, horrible, gut-ripping thought.
A com signal went off and both Naero and Trudi jumped again, their jangled nerves on edge. Word came from Surina Marshall on the Bridge with Enel and the rest of Naero’s flagship crew.
“Sir,” Rina cut in, “sorry to interrupt, but you wanted me to alert you the instant that we began orbiting the new Mystic Homeworld of Kalathar. We’re here, sir.”
“Good work, Rina. Any word from the High Mystics?”
“Yes, indeed, sir. Almost the second we arrived. Both of the High Mystic Masters are demanding that you immediately turn yourself over for arrest, and that you be restrained, and confined to a high security holding cell within a specially armored Intel transport that is docking with us shortly. They said that you should prepare to stay confined within that holding cell for the length of your upcoming trial.”
Naero took another very deep breath. And so it began.
Finally she let that breath out.
“Rina. Inform them that I will comply with all of their instructions. The Mystic Enforcer Khai will escort me down…in restraints as needed. I will not resist in any way.”
By now she already had her small duffle of stuff ready and at hand, selected for her incarceration. Nothing that Intel or anyone would object to.
She left all of her weapons behind. Naero slung her duffle over her shoulder and hit the presets on her wristcom.
All of the many personal messages that she had prepared during the journey to Kalathar went out, saying farewell, if need be, to family and friends until after her trial. She would be kept in isolation until her fate was decided.
Finally, more than anything else that she dreaded, she went to see her lover Khai in her oval captain’s quarters.