Welcome to the Realms of Imagination
Official website of Science Fiction and Fantasy Author Carol Hightshoe
Selaynia paused as she stepped off the shuttle and onto the landing deck of the Melpomene mining station. This was the largest of the nine moons orbiting Aganippe and had become the primary home for the refugees leaving what was left of the Centauri Alliance. Even the Confederation had known to avoid the Corycian System with the plasma storms that hindered travel as well as the three asteroid belts. Those hazards were what made it the perfect place for planning a rebellion and that was why she was here.
Before the Alliance’s surrender, she had been sent to Wyvern as a defector, carrying information on Alliance defense strategies. Despite the misinformation included in what she had given them, the Confederation had still managed to defeat the Alliance. Now, after several months trapped on that tropical planet, she was here on a lifeless moon. One of nine used as mining stations around Aganippe.
:Melpomene, Shadowmist’s voice echoed in her head. :The Muse of Tragedy. Seems an appropriate place to organize a rebellion.
“At least they didn’t pick Thalia, the Muse of Comedy, as the primary base,” she said. “Come on let’s blend in and then find Commander Mallory.”
:There are too many minds to try and cloud here. I cannot focus on that and still be able to sense what is going on.
She rested her hand on the wolf’s head and scratched his ears. “Don’t worry about it. I doubt it will really matter if anyone remembers seeing us here.”
The wolf looked up at her, then licked her hand.
“Come on furball—see if you can locate Commander Mallory in this swarm of minds.”
The wolf growled then nipped at her hand. :I hate that nickname.
Selaynia followed the large silver tipped black wolf and grinned as people in the corridor moved quickly out of his way. They didn’t seem to care if they bumped into or even knocked over someone else, as long as they were able to move away from her companion. One or two paused long enough to look at her and she knew they would definitely remember her long silver hair and gray eyes. Most of the time, Shadowmist was able to create a physic fog that caused most people to not notice them—that was one of the reasons she was as good at her job as she was. Actually, Shadowmist was the primary reason she was as good at her job as she was. His telepathic abilities often provided her with information and warnings in addition to being able to protect her from being observed. While most of the Alliance knew the Canthralian Wolves were telepathic, because of the isolationist attitude of the planet, no one really understood how powerful they were. She doubted there was anyone on Canthralas who knew how powerful the wolves were.
She stopped in the middle of the corridor, her right hand going to the dagger on her left arm. There had been a tingle in her mind, another telepath trying to scan her. She glanced at Shadowmist who had also stopped, his ears pricked forward and his stance rigid.
:I felt it too, he sent.
“Great,” she whispered. “Canthralian, Rhiashian or someone else?” Despite their bond, she had never been able to project her thoughts to Shadowmist unless she also spoke them.
:I couldn’t tell. It was very powerful, but too brief to read.
Selaynia frowned. It really didn’t matter which of the telepathic races it was—any of them could be trouble. Her grip on the dagger tightened. She trusted the older style weapon more than she trusted the energy pistol she carried. Most of the current personal shield technology would stop directed energy weapons, but not a properly handled physical weapon. Besides, she just preferred it. The dagger was in her hand and she assumed a defensive stance as Shadowmist’s howl echoed in the corridor. The other people pressed against the walls. Most covering their ears as they stared at her and the wolf.
The wolf didn’t answer her. She tried to relax and touch his mind and found only silence. Even the familiar wolf song that was always in her mind was gone. Someone had dropped a physic shield over her partner.
She grabbed the nearest person in what was once an Alliance uniform. “Where’s Commander Mallory’s office?”
“Two levels up; end of Alpha corridor.”
“Show me!” She pushed him in front of her. “Now!”
She slapped Shadowmist as she followed the man. The wolf stopped howling and she heard him following her.
Selaynia paused and slipped her dagger back into its sheath as she looked at the door she had been ‘escorted’ to. “Anything?”
:I am still blocked.
“Damn.” She reached for the door buzzer.
Selaynia spun around, both of her daggers flying and passing through one of the large Rhiash warriors standing in the now deserted corridor as she dove to the side. Shadowmist was leaping at the smaller Rhiash female and Selaynia grinned as the wolf passed through her. They were only illusions—exceptional ones, but still illusions. The last thing she wanted at this time was to be fighting a Rhiash Triad. The females had strong telepathic abilities that they used to cloud their opponents minds while the males were outstanding warriors. Despite their humanoid appearance, they were tougher and had fewer pain receptors, which allowed them to continue fighting when most humans would have quit. The females were the exact opposite of the males, almost ethereal in their appearance. The one thing that truly distinguished the Rhiash from other humanoid species was their resemblance to felines: particularly their eyes and ears.
“Always the actress, aren’t you,” the female Rhiash said as if Shadowmist had not just proven she wasn’t real. “The Confederation sends their thanks for providing them with the location of this little operation.”
The two warriors maintained their positions next to the female. Selaynia clenched her fists tightly as she realized she would have to play this little scenario out before she would get to see Commander Mallory. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said.
“Really? My counterpart on Wyvern said you were good. Of course, it is easy to be good when you have a telepathic companion who can read the thoughts and emotions of others then pass that information to you. That is the reason she made sure you got the message to come here. She knew you would be able to lead us here. Now, stand away from that door.”
Selaynia shook her head. “I don’t think so.” She took a deep breath then smiled. “Enough!” She turned her back on the Rhiash and faced the door. “This has all the earmarks of a telepathic game and I don’t want to play.”
She winced as a sharp stabbing pain hit her head and she glanced back to see the Rhiash vanish.
“I was warned you would see through my little game quickly,” a man said as he stepped through the door. “I see that warning was correct.”
Selaynia took a step back as she studied the man exiting the office. He was tall with an almost imperious air about him. His dark hair was neatly trimmed and his amber eyes were bright, but cautious as they studied her.
“Commander.” She nodded her head slightly. “I guess I should take your suspicions as a compliment to my acting skills. My defection was that convincing, I take it?”
“It was. You understand I had to be sure.”
She nodded. “If you’re convinced, I would appreciate being shown to quarters. It was a bumpy ride getting here, and it will take me a few hours to get rid of the headache your telepath gave me. And, by the way, where is the person who gave it to me.”
Mallory gestured behind him and another man stepped out of the office accompanied by a small silver wolf.
“Jaharel?” Selaynia took another step back as he breath seemed to stop in her throat.
“Selaynia?” He stared at her.
He was exactly as she remembered him. The dark grey hair that was a match for his gray eyes; the athletic build and chiseled face. Surprisingly, he also didn’t seem to have aged any in the ten years since she had last seen him.
Shadowmist gave a short bark as the other wolf trotted over to him and they touched noses.
“I…. We thought you were dead,” Jaharel said.
“The clan elders exiled me for helping the Alliance stop the raiders, so I left.”
“Jaharel,” Mallory interrupted. “If you would, please escort our guest to quarters in section five-alpha.” He held his hand out. “David Mallory.”
“Glad to have you here. Go, get some rest and I’ll explain things in the morning.”