Authors: Shay West
Copyright 2013 Shay Fabbro
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
— You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
— You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
No Derivative Works
— You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.
Inquiries about additional permissions should be directed to:
Cover Design by Eric Malbone
Edited by Katie Flanagan
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to similarly named places or to persons living or deceased is unintentional.
PRINT ISBN 978-1-62015-135-8
EPUB ISBN 978-1-62015-110-5
For further information regarding permissions, please contact
Library of Congress Control Number: 2013938694
I dedicate this book to my sisters, Cimarron and Bree. Thank you for all the wonderful years full of laughter and tears. I couldn't have done this without you!
I have come to the realization that the writer is just a very small part of what makes a book. The finished product is more than the arduous hours spent hunched over a computer typing away at lightning speed. The finished product needs the help of a myriad of talents. The editors are there to gently (or not so gently) point out mistakes with grammar, spelling, sentence structure, flow of the story, gaping holes that a reader could drive a semi-truck through. Then there is the cover design and the formatting.
No author could ever make it through this process without friends. And I have been blessed with meeting some of the most amazing people through Facebook or Twitter that post encouraging messages when I am feeling down, encourage me when I need it, make me laugh.
So this is a big “thank you” from me to all of you. I could not have done it without you!
Number 1 (clone 53279)
Number 2 (clone 48951)
Number 3 (clone 9684)
Number 4 (clone 70786)
Number 5 (clone 8503)
Brok (Astra; Master Brok)
Gerok (Volgon; Premier Viisyr)
Forka (Earth; General Ted Smith)
Mirka (Kromin; Research leader 70521)
MASTER FERROK WATCHED
the scrago as they floated lazily in their pens. His favorite beast had her head buried in the lush sea grass, nibbling on the tender shoots. Normally this pastime brought him joy, but not today.
He felt a disturbance in the water behind him. Master Briska floated around next to him. She held out a handful of green sea grass to a scrago near the side of the pen. Her mouth curled in a half smile, but it never reached her eyes.
“Tell me the Chosen can still fulfill their destiny,” she whispered.
Ferrok sighed in a blast of water that shot out of his siphon. “You wish me to lie?”
“Are you certain it would be a lie?”
“I don't know. About any of it.” Ferrok picked a piece of sea grass and methodically ripped it into tiny strands. “We thought we were doing the right thing in sending the Guardians to their new worlds early, but look what that got us: one of the Chosen is dead, and our prophets can write nothing but gibberish concerning the
Chosen and the Mekan threat.” He swallowed hard against the lump in his throat. “Did we cause that?”
Briska met his violet eyes and cringed at the hopelessness in their depths. “Do you wish me to lie?” she asked.
“Yes, damn it all, I wish you to lie!”
Briska flinched at his outburst. Of all the Masters of Gentra, she had stood behind Master Ferrok and his decision to send the Guardians to the home planets of the Chosen early, going against the exact words of the prophecy. None of them ever thought any harm would come of that decision.
And now one of the Chosen was dead, murdered by another as she lay sleeping.
Maybe we were the cause.
Briska knew what was at stake, had seen it with her own eyes on the computer screens: the Mekans were coming, and with them the destruction of all life in the galaxy.
“The Guardians will be on alert, more so than they were before Tess's death. They are only supposed to be gone with their Chosen a for few weeks, only long enough to allow them to get to know one another and to see the worlds they all come from. They will keep their Chosen safe,” Briska said, trying to sound more confident than she felt.
Ferrok nodded, continuing to peel the sea grass into strips. They floated gently to the ocean floor. “I won't rest easy until they return here to Gentra.” He straightened and put on a smile, hoping it would help ease the fear clenching his heart. “I suppose not much can happen in a few weeks’ time.”
Briska forced a smile. “I suppose not.”
A servant arrived, announcing the arrival of visitors from a nearby settlement.
“We'll be along shortly,” Ferrok said.
As he and Briska swam to the main audience chamber, his mind churned. Worry for the Chosen tangled with fear of the future if they failed in their task. And flowing through it all was a voice whispering that it was all his fault that the world was going to end. It laughed when he denied it, murmured the names of those that had already been destroyed by the Mekans when he tried to convince
himself that everything was going to turn out fine, despite the death of one of the Chosen.
They have to prevail.
As though hearing that desperate plea, Briska took his hand in hers as they made their way silently through the warm water.
“WHAT ARE THESE USELESS APPENDAGES?”
Seelyr frowned in confusion as she stared down at her bare chest. She pushed her breasts from side to side. Her normal reptilian form on planet Volgon did not possess such appendages. “I understand the others.” She gestured vaguely at the junction between her thighs, also indicating the males of the group. “But these seem to be completely
! How am I supposed to fight with these things flopping about?” She glared at the four Astran Chosen, who were doubled over, snickering and laughing, and for the moment, completely forgetting to be embarrassed to be in the nude.
“They are called breasts, Seelyr. They are for feeding our young. Among other things.” Keera said the last as an aside to Kaelin, who blushed as red as Keera's fiery hair.
Kaelin giggled, enjoying a moment of laughter with Keera, one of her fellow Astran Chosen. “Do Volgons not have similar organs?”
Moylir snorted, as perplexed and annoyed as Seelyr. “We certainly do not! Our young eat the same synthesized gruel as the adults of our planet.” Moylir pushed her ample breasts up, letting them fall back down. “How are these used for feeding?” She shared
an irritated look with Seelyr.
We will never be agile with these things flopping about.
She hoped there wouldn't be a need to fight on this planet.
“When a woman has a baby, her breasts produce milk that will sustain the infant until it is able to eat solid food,” Master Brok explained. “Dress quickly,
, we need to be about our business.” He gazed pointedly at the clothing his Chosen had left behind when they had made the trip to Gentra through the portal.