Table of Contents
Lost Waters - Chapter 24
Rakal stretched luxuriously and rolled
on his back. Kiralla was curled, sound asleep, with her tail over her
nose, but he could still see her faint smile through the downy fur. Rakal
lay there for a moment, regarding her as she slept. The blood from Landry
was still caked on her paws and muzzle.
The approach klaxon broke the quiet moment.
Kiralla awoke with a start and leapt straight to her feet. "The jump
gate! Time to get back to work. I trust, Rakal, that your team had the
good sense to secure the crew of this tub? I doubt now that Landry is
gone that they'll be particularly keen on us deploying the gate crasher."
Rakal chuckled at her discomfiture knowing
his crew had already made quick work of the demoralized Arrallakeeni left
on the ship. Faking nervousness, he reached for his uniform helmet. "Sidal?
Is the Dark Hope secure?" he used an uncertain tone that brought
Kiralla's furious gaze toward him. The comm crackled to life. "Yes
sir. Crew quarters have been sealed, and the gate crasher is being checked
for final deployment." Rakal faked a sigh of relief and she moved
toward him to scold. Raising a paw in playful defense, he chided her,
"You don't always have to do everything yourself, you know. Some
of us are fairly competent." Kiralla laughed.
"You're one lucky bastard. God is
in the details, as the humans say." She tinkered with the broken
door lock and it opened with a whoosh. She grabbed a piece of what had
been part of Landry's uniform and wrapped it tightly around Rakal's injured
leg, tying it in a knot. "Sanitary? No. But effective. We'll get
you to med lab after we crash the gate."
Rakal ignored the pain in his foot and
worked with his helmet. "Thank you Sidal...Have you had any communication
with the colony?" He removed the comm piece from his helmet and looped
it over one ear..
:"No sir. Nothing at all."
"Kiralla..." He bounded after
her on three legs. "Time to use your little gift, eh?"
She glanced back at him, "Well, I've
used your little gift all up. I guess I'll have to use mine now."
She laughed and continued ahead.
"Hey!" Rakal grabbed her tail
with his teeth and gave it a tug, still swooning a little from her musky
smell. She ignored him...she was concentrating.
"I don't know if I have the range
for this, but someone there, if they're listening, can make up the difference."
She stopped suddenly, and Rakal skidded to a halt behind her. She stared
blankly at the wall, as if listening. "I've got someone. Ekayim Barryd,
a healing place to the north. I've got the second acolyte on. There's
been a war...Telka and Mulkol. Telka lost about half it's population...Mulkol
won, but the 'Archs were killed. Tara is alive...she's recovering but
not fully conscious." She paused, and stopped relaying, but continued
talking as if to someone in the room. "They fear the Barryds are
lost? I don't know what you mean. Can you explain that?" The sound
of her tail swishing from side to side was the only noise in the corridor
as she listened to some unseen voice. "Thank you....Yes, we're going
to close the space hole...yes... thank you...BYE!" She growled.
"What a bunch of yammerers. You get
'em started and they just don't shut up. I just don't understand what
they're talking about. How do you lose a damn city? Fuzz lizards. And,
if the leaders are dead, then Mulkol did lose, if you ask me." She
gave Rakal a playful bite on the nose. "Tara's alive, as are many
of the colonists, and the other Arrallin pairs are currently the guests
of Ekal, and are fine. If Mulkol is 'lost', whatever that means, it won't
be any more trouble to us."
She continued on down the hallway and into
the lift. "Cargo 2". The gravity lightened as they moved toward
the center of the rotating ship.
"I'd rather take my chances on Dimar
than have this litter end up just another addition to the fleet crews."
Rakal fiddled with the bandage on his leg.
"Agreed." Together they strode
into the cargo bay, greeted by the throaty rumbles and cheers of Arrallakeeni
waiting for them.