"Joel!" screamed Jevic. "Three attack ships just appeared. Weapons are charged and ready!"
"Defense grid on line!" yelled Brandon.
"Shane! Get us outta here!" yelled Joel.
"Incoming!" warned Jevic. The ship was suddenly pounded with multiple Quantum torpedoes. Shane quickly turned to the left and fully engaged the twin Graviton Drives. The attack ship responded with a violent lurch forward that pushed everybody back in their seats. "Engage stealth mode, Brandon!" Brandon tried to follow Joel's orders, but the g-force of the acceleration held him in his seat. A Quantum torpedo slammed into the rear of the ship. Then another. Shane pulled back on the controls and put the ship into a vertical climb, spiraling upward to keep the attack ships at bay. The g-force on the crew was intense. Shane slammed the controls forward and to the side, banking the ship hard right and straight down. With the g-force momentarily nominal, Brandon quickly entered the command for stealth mode. The ship immediately disappeared into the evening sky, completely invisible to the pursuing enemy.
"We're in stealth!" yelled Brandon. Shane quickly changed directions, pulled the ship back to level flight and veered off the to left.
"Good job, Shane," said Joel. "It looks like we completely lost them."
"What about Cameron!?!" yelled Jevic. Shane banked hard right heading back toward the complex as the pursuing attack ships disappeared into the distance. Jevic looked back at his console. "There's another ship! It's on the patio." Shane kicked up the twin drives and the ship streaked toward the complex. "It's powering up." Shane brought the ship down low, just a few feet above the ground, as they raced toward the complex.
"Turn off stealth mode, Brandon. I want them to see us," directed Joel. Brandon disengaged the mode and nodded at Joel. Just as they arrived, Shane banked up and stopped just above the ship.
"Incoming message," said Docta. Joel nodded.
"This is commander Joel."
"And this is Bahar. If you don't want me to squeeze the last bit of life out of Cameron, you'll stand clear."
"What?" demanded Joel.
"You heard me! I have your precious little Cameron. He's taking a little nap right now, compliments of Kibbeth, and it would be oh so easy to make it difficult for the boy to breathe, if you get my point. Now back off!"
"BITCH!" screamed Jevic as tears rolled down his cheeks.
"That's no way to talk to your mother," Bahar seethed. Jevic was shaking all over. His adrenalin pumped through his veins at a dangerous level.
"You're not my mother! You may have given me life, but you're not my mother! You're just a cowardly bitch that can't do anything without hurting someone!" Jevic yelled. A bright flash came from Bahar's ship. The Quantum torpedo slammed into the attack ship, knocking it sideways. Shane quickly compensated and leveled them out, but not before Bahar's ship streaked off the patio and disappeared into the night under stealth mode.
The pain was like a bee sting, quick and sharp, only this pain was amplified a thousand times. And that's when I saw them! Stars! I couldn't believe it. I was actually seeing stars, but they only lasted a fraction of a second and then ...
* F L A S H *
"Dumbass faggot. We really kicked his ass."
"Yeah, Tom. We really showed him."
"Damn, man! Why'd you have to hit him so hard?"
* F L A S H *
"Cameron, you're not dead. Sit up and look to your left," the voice said softly.
* F L A S H *
"Dead? They want me dead?"
"It's just a few radicals, Cameron. The majority of us look forward to seeing you grow and most are just curious as to what kind of powers you'll develop, if any at all."
* F L A S H *
"Cameron!" came a voice. "I'd think long and hard before you do anything." The smoke continued to clear and there in front of me stood Kibbeth. He was holding a Pulsar pistol. He had it pointed at the head of the person he was holding, but the person had a black sack over their head.
"Why should I listen to you, Kibbeth?"
"Because of this," he said calmly and he pulled the black sack off. It was Jevic!
* F L A S H *
"NOOOOO!" I screamed quickly sitting up. My head was pounding and I was covered in sweat. I glanced left and then right. Another ten by ten room with one door and no furniture ... an isolation chamber. Then it all came back. Bahar. Kibbeth. I rubbed my neck where he had given me the shot. It was still sore. I curled up on the floor and closed my eyes. The pain in my head was intense. I pulled up my tingling and concentrated on the pain. In seconds, it diminished and disappeared. I slipped quietly into the cloak of darkness and immediately felt the isolation chamber's shield, only this time I could sense it completely surround me ... it was in the walls, in the ceiling and even in the floor. Bahar had me this time ... completely ... with no way out.
"Docta, plot the trajectory of Bahar's ship and get us a course," said Shane. Docta quickly put the state-of-the-art NAV computer to work. Mere moments later, Docta looked up.
"Got it," he said. "I'm transferring it to the helm."
"Here we go," Shane said as they took off after Bahar.
"Jevic," said Paulik. His son continued to look at the forward view port. Jevic was red faced and breathing heavy. His fists were clenched and his jaw was set. The anger toward his mother coursed through his veins.
"Jevic!" Jevic's green eyes flashed as he looked over at his dad. "Look, son, I know you're mad. I am too. But right now, I need you to focus. Bahar has Cameron. We need to follow Bahar. Scan ahead for signs of Graviton activity. Maybe we can follow her scent." Jevic's eyes narrowed. Without making a sound, he turned back toward his console. Then he quickly and expertly entered the search commands. Focusing intently on the screen, Jevic resolved to track his mother down.
Paulik watched his son carefully. He knew Jevic was mad. Hell, he was mad. It was quite obvious that his ex-wife had lost her mind. And she had to be stopped. Having known Bahar for a long time, Paulik was somewhat familiar with her unpredictable behavior. But his son had just met his mother for the first time. It was all new and very emotional. Paulik's heart was breaking for what his son was going through. And at the same time he was intensely fearful of what might happen to Cameron, his godson.
"Got it," Jevic said. Paulik sat up straight in his chair and looked intently at his son. "I'm detecting Graviton activity. Wait a minute." Jevic made some adjustments on his console and then looked up. "Here, I'll put it on the head's up display." The scanner display appeared as an overlay on the front view port. "I've colored the Graviton activity with a green tint. All you have to do is follow the particle stream. It'll lead us right to the bitch."
Paulik couldn't help but chuckle a little at his son's brilliant work, and the snide comment at the end. Pride fill his chest as he turned to look at Joel. Paulik's better half had a grin a mile wide.
"OK, Shane. Follow that green," said Joel.
"Good work, Jevic!" Shane said. Scott whistled and everybody else clapped.
The door to my world opened suddenly bringing me back to reality. I sat up quickly.
"Well I see sleeping beauty has decided to join the world of the living ... even if it is just temporary," Bahar chuckled as she stood just outside the door.
"What has your twisted mind come up with this time?" I said flatly. Bahar's smile disappeared.
"You're lucky I don't have time to deal with you right now," she snapped. "I've got a Councilman to dispose of." She quickly whirled around and slammed the door.
"Wonderful," I said out loud. I stood up and stretched. There must be a way out of here. Standing perfectly still in the middle of the room, I pulled up my tingling. I slipped into the cloak of darkness and immediately sensed the isolation grid. I looked at the grid with my inner sight. It was just particles moving up and down in a line. It's energy ... and perhaps this energy can be nudged. I reached out to the grid with my tingling. Then I concentrated and brought my tingling to a very intense level ... a level so intense I knew I couldn't hold it very long. I pushed into the grid and felt it give some. I pushed again and felt it give some more. Looking at the weakened grid, I narrowed my focus to a pin point and pushed. My tingling slipped through the grid! Now all I have to do is expand the opening to a size big enough to step through. Expanding my focus took every ounce of energy I could find. At first, the hole started to enlarge. But the larger it got, the harder it became to push. Even though I concentrated with all my might, the hole slowly started getting smaller. I was losing the battle. I broke off and fell to my knees totally exhausted.
"Joel, it looks like she's headed for the Gemkar Government Building," said Shane. Joel quickly looked at Brandon. Brandon smiled knowing Joel's question.
"Yes, Joel, the stealth mode is operating perfectly." Joel grinned back at Brandon.
"Thanks, Brandon." Joel turned to Paulik and they started a hushed conversation.
"What are we gonna do?" asked Paulik.
"I've been giving this some thought. It sounds like Bahar probably drugged Cameron. But when he wakes up, she'll need an isolation chamber ... a portable isolation chamber. I'll bet it's in the cargo hold on her ship."
"That makes sense. We'll scan it first. What about Radlouf?" asked Paulik
"I have no idea. He could dead by now, for all we know."
"Then why is Bahar taking Cameron with her? It's obvious she wants him alive for something," suggested Paulik.
"Or maybe she wants to kill him herself," Joel said softly.
"I found her ship!" announced Jevic. "It's on the west transport pad."
"I'm on it," said Shane as he pushed the engines harder.
"Jevic, scan the cargo hold first. Look for an active isolation grid," directed Joel. Shane swung us around to a stop just above the pad and about fifty meters from Bahar's ship. The pad was deserted. Jevic focused his scan on the cargo area, then looked up.
"There's an active isolation grid in the cargo hold. I'm detecting one life form just outside the grid. I've tried to scan the grid, but it's too strong. I'm also detecting two more life forms in the captain's salon area. And that's it. There are no other life forms on board."
"I'll bet anything that's Bahar in the cargo hold," said Paulik as he glanced over at Jevic. As Paulik looked, he saw his son start to fade. "No, Jevic! WAIT!" It was too late. Jevic turned himself invisible and mind traveled to the cargo hold.
"Well, Cameron. You should be impressed. I had this portable isolation grid built just for you," said Bahar.
"Well isn't that thoughtful," I said with disgust.
"You've been a pain in my ass, Cameron."
"Well, that's about to end. I'm gonna make sure this time," she said as she opened a console beside the door.
"One thing I can't understand, Bahar is how you can be so cold? You meet your son for the first time in sixteen years. You seem genuinely loving and then you treat him like shit. It just doesn't make sense to me." Bahar laughed quietly.
"Sometimes you have to do things you normally wouldn't do to get what you want."
"Seems like a pretty big price to pay."
"Maybe, but the end reward is bigger than you can imagine."
"Yeah, but your son ..."
"Enough of this!" she yelled. "I'm not going to stand here and let you preach to me about my son. This isn't about him. This is about me. It's always been about someone else. Well, no more! It's about me this time. And you're not going to stand in my way." She turned to the console and entered a command.
"This time, I'm going to make sure that when you're gone, you're really gone. I've just entered the command for the grid to get smaller. As it does, it will get more intense. And when it finally collapses, there won't be one single molecule left. And not even you, Cameron, with all your great power, will be able to stop it." Jevic suddenly appeared out of thin air.
"No, Bahar! NO!" Jevic screamed. He raised the Quantum Pulsar pistol and pointed it at his mother. "Stop!" he commanded.
I dropped to my knees, trying to protect myself from the grid. It was getting smaller quickly. I could only hope Jevic would be able to stop it before it consumed me.
"Don't you see, Jevic? Don't you get it? I'm doing this for you, for us. So we can be together ... mother and son to rule all of Kelmar." Jevic quickly jumped to the side and tried to fire off a shot at the grid control panel, but Bahar was too quick. She moved in front of the panel and pulled her own weapon before he could get off a shot.
"You'll have to shoot me first!" she yelled, wild eyed. Then Bahar turned and looked in the isolation chamber. "He's gotta die!" she shrieked. Bahar turned quickly and pointed her pistol at her son. Jevic fired his pistol. Then he quickly fired again. The grid control panel exploded in a shower of sparks.
As his son disappeared from the bridge of the attack ship, Paulik panicked. He knew his son would head for the grid and that would have him face to face with Bahar.
"Malik, quick, check the scanner!" yelled Paulik. Malik moved to the surveillance console and punched in the commands.
"I'm detecting two life forms just outside the isolation grid, wait a minute," said Malik suddenly. "I'm detecting three attack ships headed this way! ETA, about two minutes!" Paulik gasped. His mind worked like a steel trap. A decision had to be made ... a very difficult decision. Paulik looked out the front view port. Then he turned to Joel.
"Jevic's on his own. We gotta get Radlouf!" said Paulik. Joel handed him a Quantum Pulsar pistol.
"He's my brother, Joel. I don't think we'll need these," Paulik said pushing the pistol away. Joel pushed the pistol back toward Paulik.
"Think about it, Paulik. He's not the man we grew up with. He's changed." Paulik looked Joel in the eye for a fraction of a second. His bright green eyes flashed and then reality hit him hard.
"You're right," Paulik sighed. "But I'm not going in holding a gun," he said as he tucked the pistol under his jacket.
"OK, let's go," said Joel. They joined hands, closed their eyes and disappeared as they entered into the darkness. It was Malik that broke the silence that followed the departure.
"Shane, my scanner shows the grid field getting smaller."
"What do you mean, smaller?" ask Shane.
"It's getting smaller as in 'shrinking in size' smaller. If Cameron is inside that grid and it continues to get smaller ..." Malik was cut off in mid sentence as Shane abruptly stood up. He looked at Malik, then he looked at Bahar's ship through the front view port.
"I'm going in. Give me a pistol," said Shane confidently. No one doubted Shane's intent and knew there would be no stopping him. Docta stood up and handed Shane a pistol. Docta took one himself and turned to look Shane in the eye.
"I can take us both there. We'll mind travel. You ride along," said a very serious Docta, and then he added his final comment. "My brother's in there."
Shane nodded. They quickly joined hands and closed their eyes. Shane felt the unfamiliar weightless feeling. It was soon followed by a familiar voice. Bahar's voice. Shane quickly opened his eyes. The scene before him was surreal. To his left stood Jevic, pistol in hand. And to his right, Bahar, pistol in hand. Bahar was screaming something about dying. As Shane watched, mother and son pointed their pistols at each other. Shane saw Docta move out of the corner of his eye.
Docta's move was if by reflex. In one fluid move, he turned, pulling his pistol from his belt. Continuing the turn, everything suddenly turned into slow motion. Docta watched as his arm reached out on its own with its handful of lethal power. He watched as his finger slowly pulled the trigger. The bright pulse of Quantum energy left the end of the pistol and moved slowly toward its target. Docta looked to his left and saw a bright flash leave Jevic's pistol with another flash right behind it.
The moment was but a mere millisecond in time, but it unfolded frame by frame in front of Docta's eyes. He watched as the blast from his pistol hit Bahar in the chest. As she fell toward the floor, Jevic's blasts went racing by and hit the grid control panel. Then, as if released from some unknown force, Docta fell back into real time.
The intensity of the grid grew and grew. I knew it was bad. My tingling was so strong I was literally buzzing. The shield I put up was strong, very strong. I moved down low on the floor as the grid walls closed in. Curling myself up into a tight ball, I concentrated with all the power I had. The pulse of the grid grew closer. I could feel it. It was starting to burn. I took one last deep breath, then abruptly, the grid was gone. Arms suddenly grabbed me and pulled me tight.
"Cameron! Please, Cameron. Tell me your all right." I moved slowly in his arms and turned to look my sweet Jevic in the face.
"I'm ... I'm OK," I said. We embraced in a strong, loving hug ... the kind of hug that can only be shared between lovers ... between lovers who just stared death in the face.
"Cameron!" someone called out. Jevic helped me to my feet and I looked up to see Shane grinning from ear to ear. "You OK?" he asked. Shane was standing over Bahar.
"I'm fine, Shane. Thank you," I said.
"I think you both need to thank someone else," Shane said, nodding over his left shoulder. I looked around Shane and saw Docta. He was standing about ten feet behind Shane. Docta was white as a ghost. He just stared at Bahar's lifeless body in complete and utter disbelief at what he had done. Shane explained what happened. "Docta shot Bahar. That kept her from shooting Jevic and cleared the way for Jevic to make his shot at the control panel." Jevic looked down at his mother's body.
"I-I thought I shot her," Jevic stammered.
"No, Jevic. I did," said Docta softly, finally looking up. A single tear ran down his cheek. "I'm so sorry, Jevic." Jevic quickly went over and hugged Docta tight.
"You had no choice, Docta. You saved my life. For that, I am eternally in your debt." They hugged tightly as Shane and I looked on.
"We need to get back to the ship," Shane said. No sooner than the words left his lips, a small group of soldiers barged into the cargo hold. They moved quickly and we soon found ourselves looking down the barrels of several Quantum rifles. The lead soldier looked down at Bahar's body on the floor. He looked at each one of us with fury in his eyes.
"You're not going anywhere," he said coldly. "You've got a lot of explaining to do. Which one of you killed Madam Bahar?" I tried to pull up my tingling, but it wasn't going to happen. I had completely depleted my tingling's strength while fighting the grid. We were at the mercy of the soldiers.
Malik, Scott and Brandon sat quietly on the bridge of the attack ship. Malik watched the short range scanner intently as the attack ships grew ever closer.
"I don't know where everybody is, but they better hurry up. We're gonna have company real soon," said Malik.
"What the hell do we do?" asked Brandon.
"I'm charging up my weapons," said Scott.
"It's three against one, Scott. We're outnumbered, outgunned and we don't have anybody to fly this thing," said Malik.
"How long before they're here?" asked Scott.
"Less than a minute."
"He's still in the cargo hold." Scott thought for a moment and then looked back at Malik.
"Let's use the portal and go get him. We gotta get outta here." Malik looked back at the screen.
"I'm showing about five life forms moving real fast toward the cargo hold," he said.
"Shit! Let's get some rifles and go!" said Brandon.
"I'm with ya," said Scott. Malik nodded in agreement. The three boys moved quickly to the portal transport. Scott stopped at the weapons locker and grabbed three Quantum rifles.
"I've transferred the coordinates from surveillance, here to the portal. All we have to do is activate the beam," explained Malik.
"Do it," said Scott. Malik punched in the command on the keypad. The boys felt lightheaded for a moment and then appeared in the cargo hold. They quickly looked around, but didn't see anyone.
"Where is everybody?" asked Brandon.
"Shhhh," said Scott. "I hear talking over in that direction," he said pointing. The boys moved quietly toward the sounds. Peering around a corner, they saw their friends standing in front of a small group of solders. The soldiers were holding their Quantum rifles tightly. Fingers were on triggers. A simple flinch would set off a barrage of gun fire.
"We've got to take the soldiers out," whispered Malik. Brandon and Scott nodded. The boys aimed their rifles and fired. The soldiers didn't know what hit them. When the shooting was over, they all lay dead on the floor beside their leader, Bahar.
"Scott!" I yelled. "Thank God!"
"We've gotta go!" yelled Scott. "Three ships are on the way!"
"Come on you guys. We'll mind travel back together," said Docta. Everybody quickly gathered together and joined hands. Docta took the lead since I was still weak from fighting the grid. In just seconds, we were back on the bridge of the attack ship.
"Cameron! Jevic!" cried out a relieved Paulik as he pulled us both into a big hug. The ship suddenly lurched horribly to the left.
"We've been hit and there's an incoming transmission," said Brandon as he sat down at his station.
"Acknowledge the transmission," said Joel.
"This is Commander Beck of the Baharian Elite Guard. You are surrounded. Surrender your ship immediately or you will be destroyed." Jevic quickly checked his surveillance console.
"There's three attack ships with weapons fully charged," he reported. We were out numbered and out gunned. The time for aggressive action had ended. Now it was time for diplomacy.
"Commander Beck. I am Cameron from the planet Earth. We must talk immediately."
"You are in no position to talk. Surrender your ship or be destroyed."
"Commander, your leader is dead. We must talk. Please allow me to come to your ship."
"What do you mean my leader is dead?"
"Bahar is dead, Commander. We must talk now." Paulik openly gasped, staggered and then fell back into his seat. "I'm sorry, Paulik. We didn't have time to tell you," I said softly. A strange man put his arm on Paulik's shoulder, gave him a reassuring squeeze. Paulik, still recovering from the news of Bahar's death, sat up in his chair. With a great deal of difficulty, he slowly stood up and walked over to Jevic. The son looked up into his father's eyes. Even though no words were spoken, everyone in the room realized they were sharing a moment together to grieve for the loss of Bahar. Not the Bahar of today, but the Bahar that Paulik had loved. The Bahar that had given birth to Jevic. Paulik held his son tightly. I guess we were all kinda in shock. Things had happened so fast. There hadn't been time to think.
"I repeat! Surrender your ship immediately, or be destroyed. This is your final warning." The strange man that had been seated next to Paulik stood up.
"Commander, this is Councilman Radlouf. Stand down your ships and allow us to pass."
"I'm sorry, Councilman. I have my orders. Surrender your ship now or I will have no choice but to open fire." I glanced over at Brandon and indicated for him to cut the transmission. He entered the command and nodded back.
"We're not getting anywhere with this guy. I'm going to see him," I said. Before anyone could disagree, I closed my eyes and entered in to the darkness. I quickly discerned where the Commander was and traveled to him. As I opened my eyes, I saw two soldiers immediately draw their weapons. Despite my weakened condition, I was able to raise my shield. Then I looked over at the Commander.
"Commander, my name is Cameron. I beg you, please let us talk." The Commander looked at me with a blank expression on his face. He slowly stood. He paused for a moment, as if in great thought. Then he told the soldiers to stand down. I lowered my shield, but kept my tingling up.
"Join me in my ready room," the Commander said. Then he started toward the door. I moved to follow but was quickly facing the business end of another Quantum rifle. "Stand down, I said!" the Commander said harshly. The soldier lowered his rifle and moved back, but kept his defensive stance. I followed the Commander through the door. It closed quickly behind us. The Commander stood next to a small view port and spoke to me while still looking out the port.
"You're Cameron? The Cameron from Earth?" he asked as he turned to face me. I nodded. "I knew your mother," he said softly. "She was a wonderful person. Nothing like Madam Bahar."
"Commander, Bahar had plans to take over the Council and to rule Kelmar herself. We both know that would have been bad for everyone."
"You're right, Cameron. It would have been bad. But everybody that stood up to Bahar was killed."
"She won't be killing anyone else. It's time to put this whole thing to rest. War isn't the way to solve differences. It's all about give and take. You give a little, I give a little."
"You take a little and I take a little," the Commander said, finishing my thought. We both smiled.
"Commander. Councilman Radlouf is aboard our ship. The Watchers Council Liaison, Paulik, is also aboard. I think they both need to meet with the Supreme Council."
"Cameron, I think you're right. I'll contact the members of the council and bring them here to the Government Center. Their chambers are on the third floor. Take the Councilman and the liaison there and wait. It's time for that meeting."
"A long overdue meeting, Commander." He nodded and smiled slightly. "We'll be waiting here for your arrival," I said. The Commander nodded again. I smiled back at him, then mind traveled back to my ship.
When I opened my eyes, I was greeted with anxious looks from everyone on board. I looked around the bridge at my friends and couldn't help but smile.
"The Commander says he didn't really like Bahar either," I said. There was a collective sigh of relief. "He also knew my mom. I sense nothing but good feelings from him. He's going to get the council members and bring them here. Councilman Radlouf, sir, the Commander said we should wait in the Council Chambers on the third floor."
"Perfect. Thank you, Cameron," Radlouf said. I suddenly realized that someone had gotten Radlouf to safety.
"Councilman, how did you get here?" I asked.
"Paulik and Joel saved me from Kibbeth. Unfortunately, Kibbeth escaped in the process."
"Joel?" I asked.
"He was too fast for us, Cameron. When we arrived in the captain's salon, Kibbeth saw us before we saw him. I can't explain why, but he just mind traveled out seconds after our arrival."
"You said that right. Anyway, we brought Radlouf back here and then you guys showed up."
"Where did Kibbeth go?"
"I have no idea." Then I turned back to Radlouf.
"Well, at least your OK, Councilman. Now we can tell the Council what's been going on and bring all this fighting to an end."
"You're right, Cameron. I have suspected Bahar's intentions were less than honorable for quite some time, but I never had proof."
"Well, you've got your proof now," Paulik said as he made his way back to his seat.
"I guess we should make our way to the Council Chambers," said Radlouf.
"Shane, let's move over to the pad and set down next to Bahar's ship," said Joel. Shane maneuvered us to the pad and set us down gently. Then he started the shut down process and brought the Graviton drives off line. I took the opportunity to introduce the Councilman to everyone. He was surprised to find out Scott and Brandon were human. He just couldn't understand why humans, especially human teenagers would put their lives on the line for Kelmarians.
"These two humans are very special," explained Paulik. "I've never had the opportunity to know another human besides Kyle, Cameron's father. But these two boys have earned themselves a very prestigious place in Kelmarian history, and a very special place in my heart." Scott and Brandon blushed with Paulik's kind words.
We all made our way off the ship and onto the transport pad. While walking toward the Council Chambers, Paulik continued to explain to Radlouf everything that had happened, including the whole story of the Talons and the destruction of the planet harmonizer. Radlouf was captivated by the details. We sat down in the lobby just outside the Council Chambers and listened as Paulik finished filling in Radlouf.
"I still don't understand how we, as in the Council, could have been so blind to Bahar's intentions. Things are going to change. Dramatically. I can promise you that. We have always been a peace loving people, intent to live in harmony with each other and nature. How we could have been so ignorant to what was going on is beyond me. We'll just have to figure out a way for this to never happen again." Paulik nodded in agreement.
Turbo lift doors started opening and the other Council members started making their way into the Council Chambers. Bringing up the rear was a smiling Commander Beck.
"Hey, Cameron," he said walking over to me. "This should be a very interesting meeting." Then he turned to Radlouf. "Councilman, I humbly apologize for my actions. I am at your disposal to testify as to Bahar's intentions. I am ready to do anything I can do to help."
"Thank you, Commander. Your testimony will be of great influence to the Council," said Radlouf as he stood up. "Please wait here. I want to inform the Council of the events that have taken place. I will need each one of you to come in shortly and provide testimony to back up my story." We all nodded in agreement. Just as Radlouf turned to head into the Council Chambers, Shane noticed a movement from the far side of the room. He asked himself if it was just his imagination or if there was actually something lurking in the shadows. Training his eyes toward the dark corner of the room, Shane suddenly caught a glimpse of a Quantum rifle barrel gleaming in the light. As he watched, the barrel leveled out and pointed across the room. Shane looked to see where it was pointing and Councilman Radlouf came into his view. Just as Shane stood, a Quantum blast rocketed across the room.
Shane jumped and knocked Radlouf to the floor, but not before being hit in the back by the blast. Both went down on the floor hard. Commander Beck spun around, pulled his Quantum pistol, and fired. The figure in the shadows fell to the floor.
"NOOO!" yelled Malik. He ran quickly to Shane's side. There was a huge burn mark on Shane's back. Radlouf scrambled up from the floor. Commander Beck ran to the corner of the room. When he looked down at the would be assassin's face, he openly gasped. He looked back quickly at Paulik.
"It's ... it's you," the Commander said to Paulik.
Paulik quickly glanced at Joel. Joel looked back at his companion of sixteen years. The realization struck like a lightning bolt. Paulik jumped up and ran toward the Commander. I quickly went to Shane. Gently placing my hands on Shane, I kicked up my tingling. As I closed my eyes and begin to slip into the cloak of darkness, I heard Paulik's cry of anguish. My heart went out to him, but Shane's life force was dwindling rapidly. I had to move quickly. I dove headlong into the darkness, reaching out with my tingling for Shane's aura. He was moving rapidly toward the light.
Paulik knelt down beside his twin brother's body. Joel quickly came to his side. The Commander's shot had found its mark. Kibbeth was gone. Joel put his arm around Paulik's shoulders and held him gently. The tears streamed down Paulik's face. Jevic joined his fathers and encircled them in his arms. Even though Kibbeth had been seduced by evil, he was still Paulik's brother and the shock of his death affected all three. Paulik reached out slowly and lovingly pushed the light wisps of hair from his brother's still face. He ran his hand across Kibbeth's chest and took hold of his hand. The scene was surreal as the physically identical twins with exact opposite personalities, touched for the first time in many years. But it was a touch that would be their last. Jevic knew it was Kibbeth on the floor, but the sight still shocked him. It could just as easily have been Paulik. The very thought of losing his father shook him to his core.
I raced through the darkness trying to find Shane. I was almost in a panic. Pausing for just a moment, I took a deep breath and refocused. Time was of the essence. Intense concentration was the only thing that would save Shane. I focused my tingling toward the light. I knew Shane would be moving toward it. I raced forward until suddenly Shane's very essence stood directly in front of me. I reached out for him and gently pulled him back from the light.
"It's not your time, Shane. You have too much life left to live. Come back with me," I said softly. Shane looked at me and smiled slightly.
"But it's so beautiful, Cameron. So peaceful."
"I know it is, Shane, but it's not your time. Let's go back now, OK?" Shane looked into the light with a longing that can't be described. Finally, after one long last look , he turned back to me.
"OK," he said softly. "I'm ready." I charged up my tingling and pulled us back into the land of the living. As I emerged from the darkness, I opened my eyes and concentrated on the ugly burn mark on Shane's back. Scott bent down and looked on intently. I kicked my tingling up a notch and watched as the wound quickly healed. Shane took a sharp breath and moved slightly. Malik openly gasped and tears of joy filled his eyes as Shane slowly lifted his head and looked up at us.
"Hey," he said weakly. Scott put his hand on Shane's shoulder.
"Been there, done that, bro," he said. "Did you see the light?"
"It was so beautiful," Shane said as he tried to sit up. Malik helped him.
"Are you OK?" asked a concerned Malik. Shane looked at Malik and smiled gently. He reached up and wiped the tears from Malik's face.
"I'm fine, Malik," Shane said. Malik pulled Shane into his arms and gave him a hug.
"I thought I'd lost you," whispered Malik. Shane smiled to himself with the feeling that the rest of us already knew ... love.
"Thanks, Cameron," Shane said giving me a small smile.
"I'm glad I could do it," I said, smiling broadly. I glanced over to see Jevic, Joel and Paulik bent over Kibbeth. Commander Beck was giving orders to some of his men to guard the entrances. He obviously didn't want any more surprises.
"Young man, that was the bravest thing I have ever seen," said Radlouf to Shane. "You saved my life. How can I ever repay you?" Shane looked up and smiled.
"You can go in there and bring this war to an end. That's what you can do, Councilman." Radlouf smiled broadly.
"That's something I can, and will do ... with pleasure." He turned and pushed open the doors to the Council Chambers and disappeared inside. I stood up and left Malik to help Shane. I walked across the room and put my hand on Jevic's shoulder and squeezed lightly. He looked up at me with tears in his eyes. Jevic stood up and wrapped me in a tight hug.
"My tears are for my father," he said softly.
"I know, baby. I know," I said holding him even tighter. Joel stood up and helped Paulik to his feet. We all joined in a group hug. My heart was especially heavy for Paulik, my godfather. Not only did he lose the mother of his only child, he also lost his brother. It was more than most people could bear. My heart was also heavy for Jevic. He lost the mother he always wanted. But the reality of it all was, through their deaths, peace would once again come to the Kelmarian people.
As I held Jevic tightly in my arms, I couldn't help but think back to the time I first met him. Jevic saved my life ... in more ways than one. He saved me physically, yes, but he saved me emotionally as well. It seemed like we had been together for generations, when in fact, it had been less than two months. The bond Jevic and I shared transcended everything I had ever known. Our love wasn't just physical; it was much more than that. It was emotional, intellectual and spiritual. We were soul mates. What are the chances of two people actually meeting and finding out they share a unique bond that spans over physical existence itself? Call it fate. Call it destiny. Call it anything Webster can come up with, but it can not be accurately described using combinations of the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet.
Very simply put, Jevic and I were meant to be together ... since before we were born and until after we die. I am him and he is me. Together we are one, forever.
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