Welcome to the Realms of Imagination
Official website of Science Fiction and Fantasy Author Carol Hightshoe
Selaynia paused as she stepped out of the shuttle and into the security airlock. “You ready?” she whispered.
:Yes, Shadowmist’s answer came in her mind.
“Good, because I’m not sure I am.”
She rubbed at the large Canthralian Wolf’s ears as he pushed against her hand. :I’m just not sure I will be able to find our contact. Wyverns are hard to read.
“In more ways than one.” She took a deep breath. “Let’s go.”
There were only a few people on the shuttle and Selaynia made a point to lag behind them as they moved through security. Shadowmist’s telepathic abilities had gotten them past any number of security checkpoints in the past, but the fewer minds he had to deal with the easier it was. There was a trick to waiting and not making it look like she was deliberately trying to hesitate going through security. Fortunately, it was a trick she was good at. She needed Shadowmist to be focused on getting them past the scanners, not worrying about covering suspicious behavior on her part.
She heard the weapon’s alarm sound and ignored it as she continued past the guard who looked at the scanner and then shut the alarm off. “Another malfunction. This piece of junk is giving us a weapon notification every three or four people and then not showing anything,” she heard him tell the other guard.
“I thought the maintenance chief took care of it yesterday,” the other one said.
“That’s what he said. But, it’s back to doing the same thing.” He kicked the machine and Selaynia grinned at the string of curses he muttered.
She ducked into the crowd of people moving through Athena Station Twelve, knowing Shadowmist would keep anyone from remembering very clearly what she looked like—if they even noticed her at all. Now all she had to do was find Shyreth and convince him to help her get out of Alliance territory, across Confederation lines and to Wyvern. And, she had to make sure he believed her reasons for doing so.
Shadowmist whined as they passed one of the food vendors. She followed his gaze to see a Wyvern with brilliant red scales and gold hair sitting at one of the tables with a human in an Alliance uniform. “Drop the mental fog,” she whispered.
:You want them to be able to remember you?
“Shyreth needs to be able to recognize me and I believe the person he’s with is my other contact—even if he doesn’t know it yet.”
The wolf nodded his head and she followed him as he led the way through the crowd to the table.
“My apologies for disturbing you gentlemen, but I need to speak to Shyreth,” she said when she approached the table.
“Please join us,” the human said.
She smiled and she saw interest in his dark blue eyes, but this was not the time. “I wish I could, Lieutenant McKeon, but this is a private matter.”
The lieutenant’s eyebrows lifted and she saw his eyes narrow slightly. She knew she had gotten his interest in other ways. A private matter to discuss with a Wyvern; now that his planet was officially part of the Confederation and the Centauri Alliance was at war with the Confederation. However, he only nodded and offered his hand.
“Well, it was a pleasure to meet you Miss...”
“Selaynia. I should be around for a few days. Perhaps, we will meet again,” she said taking his hand.
“I hope so.” He kissed her hand lightly before releasing it.
Shyreth stood up and motioned toward the door. “We can talk in my office.”
Selaynia nodded then smiled again at Lieutenant McKeon before following the Wyvern out of the café.
~ * ~
Shyreth gestured to one of the two chairs as they entered the small office. Selaynia sat down and watched as his clawed hands activated a privacy shield.
“Now, why are you and the fleabag here?”
Shadowmist growled and took a step toward the Wyvern.
Shyreth hissed then grinned showing his sharp teeth.
“Shadow! Enough!” Selaynia put a hand on her partner’s neck and the wolf stepped back.
:I. Hate. That. Nickname. Shadowmist’s voice echoed in Selaynia’s head and from the expression on Shyreth’s face, she knew he had heard it also. She would have a headache for several hours because of the power Shadowmist had used to force his thoughts into the Wyvern’s mind.
“I want to defect, and I was hoping you could help me,” she said.
“I’m tired of the hypocrisy of the Alliance. They preach one thing and yet they let groups like Omega, and we’re not the only one, subvert the laws and what they stand for—all in the name of the greater good. At least the Confederation doesn’t lie about their methods.”
Selaynia waited as Shyreth watched at her. :He’s not sure he believes you, Shadowmist’s voice whispered in her mind.
Selaynia scratched the wolf’s head lightly and continued to wait as Shyreth studied her, his amber eyes not moving, only staring at her for several minutes. He kept his face neutral. A practiced expression Selaynia was quite familiar with herself.
Shadowmist yelped as Selaynia tugged one of his ears. “Sorry, Shadow,” she whispered to the wolf. Looking up at Shyreth, she asked, “Do you think you can help me?”
“I’ll see what I can do. In the meantime do you and Shadowmist have a place to stay?”
“Stay here. I have a small room in the back, which will serve for the few days it will take to make some arrangements. I think that might be safer in case any of your associates show up looking for you.”
Shyreth stood up and offered his hand to Selaynia, who smiled as she took it and stood. “You realize I will have to clear this with my associates and they will want proof you really have decided to betray the Alliance.”
Selaynia nodded. “I understand.”
Shyreth entered a code into his computer console and a panel on the wall slid open. “You can get in or out using this,” he handed her a small data crystal then pointed to a small port on his desk and another on the other side of the wall. “What will the orders of those following you be?”
Selaynia took the crystal, stepped into the room and looked around at the clutter and the small bed in one corner before answering. She turned around slowly. “Maximum sanction.”
Shyreth’s amber eyes glowed golden then he nodded once as Selaynia closed the door to the room.