** This work is a sexually explicit fiction intended for audiences 18 and over, or as determined by local ordinance(s). All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, dead or alive, is purely coincidental. The material below contains scenes depicting sexual romantic involvement between an adult and a fourteen year older. If this is illegal in your country, or if this offends your sensibility, please read no further. This work is the property of its author and may be protected under U.S. and international copyright, and may not be reproduced, modified or reworked without the author's consent. All rights reserved. **
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Passing through Utopian launch holes was not a problem.
Captain Bristow proved rather resourceful in terms of connections, so it wasn't hard for us to cross into Athruvian Space. Our official itinerary is to go to Kalandar –one of the six moons of planet Xirosa- to sell a variety of products to a reliable buyer of Captain Bristow's. Save for a quick inspection, The Covenant officers didn't dig much. I was introduced as part of the crew and there weren't any more questions.
Now we're en route to Kalandar, from where I'll be transported to Minios, the other moon around Xirosa that can sustain life, and the place where Chris is supposed to await for me.
I'm anxious. I can't stop pacing back and forth in my quarters as a caged lion. I've tried reading, but it hasn't worked so far. I re-checked Chris' mother's log in case there was something that might come in handy, but there wasn't.
We arrived in Kalandar about an hour ago and Captain Bristow's contact, a blue skinned Danaaren female called Diamond, had already arranged for me to be transported to Xirosa's smaller moon. So I've departed from Kalandar in a small scout with Jay, the doctor, and the muscular guy called O'Malley. The rest of The Persephone's crew has stayed in Kalandar to conclude their business and wait for us.
It's a twenty minute trip, so we'll be arriving in Minios shortly.
"Have you located the right spot, Jay?" O'Malley asks as he maneuvers the small scout.
"Yes, Phillip," the engineer says, "I'm trying to find a safe spot to land, since most of the moon is basically rocks, mountains and caves."
"Fine," he says.
"I bet you're excited, huh?" the doctor asks as he winks at me.
"You have no idea," I tell him.
"I can't imagine how important this lad is, for you to leave everything behind ..."
"I needed to come after him."
"I guess," he says.
Then he goes silent and starts double checking on his medical kit. He goes through his stuff religiously, making sure every single item has been correctly placed.
"Buckle up, people!" O'Malley says, "We're about to enter Minios' atmosphere."
Even though he sounds slightly worried, the entrance to the atmosphere is much less aggressive than I had anticipated. The only one who seems to suffer through the ordeal is Doctor Melaree, whose skin has gone almost transparent.
"Trouble with flying, doctor?" I ask him slightly amused.
"I don't think you're being funny," he says.
The scout jerks slightly as O'Malley finishes bringing us inside the moon's atmosphere. Melaree tightens his grip on the chair's arms as he curses in Nabïan and closes his eyes.
"I've uploaded the signal coordinates to your terminal, Philip," Jay says as he finishes typing on his terminal.
"Got `em," O'Malley says, "I estimate a couple more minutes for landing."
"Roger that," says Jay from his terminal.
I'm impressed at O'Malley's ability for piloting the small vessel. Jay has told me most of the crewmates of the Persephone know the basics, but the one who usually pilots in outside missions is the Persephone's first hand, Hadzaana Missdon. Captain Bristow decided not to send her with us in this particular mission.
As forecasted, two minutes later, O'Malley brings the scout down and prepares for landing. The scout slightly jerks as we start approaching the rocky floor of the small moon.
"Fuck, I hate these things!" Doctor Melaree says.
Finally, the scout settles on Minios' surface down close to the cave where Chris' signal came from.
"Okay people," says O'Malley, "This should be rather quick. Doctor, have you got everything you need?"
"Indeed. Everything packed and ready to go."
"As well. Hardware and software that might come in handy."
O'Malley opens a crate from where he picks different weapons that fit the different holsters on his chest, hip and legs. Once he's done that, he gives each of us a laser gun. I try and object, but he says we never know what we might encounter and we should be ready in case something arises.
"You set, Sergeant?" he asks me.
"Fine, let's move! I wanna be back home for dinner."
Being the ones with military or combat training, O'Malley takes the lead and I choose to come last so both the doctor and the engineer can be protected should and eventuality arise. The cave isn't as dark as we expected, since there's artificial lighting here and there through the narrow stone corridors.
We keep walking to the end of the corridor where a more intense light shows and I'm expecting it to be the spot where Chris awaits, but it isn't. It is a high ceiling natural hall.
"We're very close to the spot now," Jay says looking at his monitoring device.
We walk inside the wide natural hall.
"Hello?" I ask.
We wait. Nothing happens, so I venture a bit further.
"Who the fuck is there?" someone shouts from the other side of the cave. It's a deep and raspy masculine voice.
"We don't wanna hurt you!" I reply.
A thunderous laugh comes first as an answer.
"Like you could!" he shouts then and starts laughing again.
"I'm here in peace!" I shout.
"What the fuck do you want?"
"If you would just come out ..." I say showing myself.
Before I can react, a laser beam hits the rock very close to my position. I don't buckle. Instead of going back in hiding, I drop my gun.
"I'm not armed anymore, see?" I shout, "I just wanna talk!"
"We ain't got nothing to talk about!" He replies.
"I wanna talk about Chris!"
Silence follows. For some tense seconds nothing happens and the only sounds are that distant hum we heard as we entered the cave.
"I don't know what you're talking about!" he shouts, There's no one here but me!"
"Are you Tsuni?"
Silence comes again as an answer. Finally, he shows himself from behind a rock, but he doesn't drop his weapon.
"Who sent you?" he asks aiming his gun at me.
"Nobody. We followed Irina Donahue's logs to this location. This is about her son."
He starts walking in my direction, his gun still aimed at me.
"Who are you with?"
"I don't know what you mean," I reply honestly.
"Which power? The Core? The Covenant?"
"I'm not with anyone. I'm on my own."
He stops ten meters short from my position.
"Somehow I don't believe you," he says.
I walk a couple of steps towards him showing Irina's briefcase/computer. I kneel and open it for him. I take the key from my necklace and insert it in the device. Almost instantly, the logs start loading.
"You can see for yourself then," I tell him.
I walk five steps backwards to give him space and he approaches the device. He kneels before it, but his hand never wavers as he aims the gun at me.
"It is Irina's personal computer," he says.
He stands from his position and places his gun back in its holster on his hip. He closes the computer and then walks towards me. He extends his hand for me to shake and I do so.
"Tsuni Hamaru," he says.
"Ro'vahert Ni'sugah," I reply, "These are O'Malley, Aodhagán and Melaree."
"Nice to make your acquaintance," he says.
He turns around and starts walking in opposite direction to the one we came from.
"Follow me, Ni'sugah. We have no time to waste."
We follow the tall bulky man through the maze of corridors until we reach a very old lab, like the one in my dream. In the center of the room lies the tank I also saw in my dream. Suddenly, the realization that I'm close to being reunited with my beloved brings tears to my eyes, tears I strongly fight to prevent them from rolling down.
Hamaru walks all the way to the tank and touches the crystal wall to it.
"Here we are," he says.
In a heartbeat and without warning, a group of men all dressed in black with high tech rifles storm inside the room aiming their sophisticated weapons at us. Their grayish complexion and iridescent eyes give them away immediately as Phinaran.
A man with similar uniform and medals on his chest comes in right after them.
"Good evening, gentlemen," he says.
"What is this? Who are you?" I ask.
"Colonel Debark. Phinaran Army. And this is a classified project. I should be asking who you are."
"Truth is I don't need to ask. I know who you are and why you're here."
"Where is he?"
He smirks and his almost transparent eyelids flutter open and close rapidly as he approaches me.
"Not here, obviously. I'm taking you into custody."
"You have no jurisdiction here. This is Covenant Rule."
"And this is a Phinaran classified project, which gives me all the jurisdiction I need."
I look sideways. O'Malley, Melaree and Aodhagán are right beside me.
"Let them go," I say, "They have nothing to do with this."
"That is for me to say. Sergeant Jatsuk, please take all these three men to the detention area. Sergeant Ni'sugah and I have a lot to discuss."
Some of the men take the crewmates of The Persephone while Colonel Debrak and three of his men `escort' me to a different room.
"I'm sorry man," Hamaru says.
"No, you're not," I say turning my head slightly so he can see my expression.
Colonel Debrak takes me to a small and virtually empty room. There's a metal table with a couple of chairs. It smells of closed and old and I can feel a tinge of nausea.
"Have a seat, Sergeant," he says.
"I'd rather stand."
"What gave you the impression I was asking?"
I sit down and he sits across from me. He crosses a leg over the other and partially smiles.
"You are one unlucky man Sergeant. And a careless one too."
I don't reply and instead look at him intently.
"For a very long time we'd considered this project lost. We thought it had all ended with the subject's death on board The Messiah. And then you showed in the picture and everything changed."
He leans his elbows on the table and looks at me in the eye.
"Activating the asset's homing beacon was a sloppy move on your part, Sergeant."
"I did not ..."
"Oh but you did! You were probably just not aware of it."
"What is this all about?"
"It's about him, Sergeant. You are after him and I need to know why and how much you know about the project. My superiors need to understand why you've poked your nose in a project they have jealously kept classified for so long."
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Oh, but you do! You wouldn't be here if you didn't!"
"I'm here because I need to save him ..."
"Save him? From what?"
"What makes you think he needs to be saved?"
"What do you mean?"
"Cut the crap. Tell me how much you know. I am very civil, but I'm not very patient."
I say nothing.
"Fine, have it your way. I'm taking you with me. I'm sure our intelligence officers will find a way to make you speak."
"I don't know what you want me to say."
"The truth, for starters."
"I have nothing to say."
He stands from the chair and walks towards the door. He goes out and a couple of Phinaran muscular soldiers come in his stead. They don't even bother speaking to me, they just pull me up and drag me outside the room.
They conduct me through the corridors until we reach a sort of higher cave again. There, in the middle, there's a ship of Phinaran origin. It's not big, more of a shuttle. The angular, black metal edges of the ship design make it look menacing.
I suddenly stop, but one of the soldiers hits my back with his laser rifle.
"Move!" he shouts.
The sharp pain convinces me to move forward. I wonder where Aodhagán, Melaree and O'Malley are, and I just hope I didn't drag them to their doom. There is no way of communicating with the Persephone and therefore no way for them to be rescued.
Once in the shuttle, the guards take me straight to the brig. There's no way I will come out of this alive.
The brig is dark and cold, but at least there's a small mattress over a sort of bed. I don't know how long I have been here, but I must have dozed off for a while. For the first time in many days, I'm not thinking of Chris. Now, my thoughts are with Aodhagán, Melaree and O'Malley. I feel guilty for having involved them, and the crew of the Persephone, in this whole business.
The door to the brig opens and in comes a good looking dark haired human female.
"You're not Pinaran," I say.
"How astute," she says and comes closer.
She's carrying a sort of briefcase and an electronic monitoring device with which she seems to be scanning me.
"Do you need me to stay still?" I ask.
"It doesn't really matter," she says.
She finishes scanning me and she turns her back on me and walks towards the door.
"Wait!" I shout but she doesn't turn and exits the room.
I go back to sitting on the mattress and wait. There doesn't seem to be much for me to do.
Time passes before the door opens again. This time it's a guard holding a tray in his hands. I don't know what sort of food it might be, but it smells delicious. He leaves the tray on the floor and exits the room once again.
I don't think twice, I take the tray and start eating. These Phinaran don't seem to treat prisoners as such. Thy have done their best to cook something that resembles a hamburger and fries. I take a bite and swallow it down with the sparkling water they have brought.
I'm halfway through with my meal when I realize something's wrong. Before I can react I notice how things start coming out of focus and I feel dizzy. I try to stand up but that proves to be a big mistake. The tray falls from my hands crashing to the floor right before me.
And the whole world goes black.
When I open my eyes, I'm strapped to a sort of medical table. The same woman who visited me in the brig is coming and going with a medical robe on. I have been completely immobilized and, as I try to speak, something that sounds more like an animal grunt comes out of my mouth.
"Ah! Sergeant Ni'sugah," the woman says, "you're back from your slumber before planned. I guess your physiological scan did not consider the atmospheric differences when calculating the dose."
"What ... what did ... you give ... me?"
"A sedative so we could move you here. I did not expect you to come out of good will."
"What ... do you ... want?"
"As my commanding officer must have informed you, he wants answers. Since you seemed unwilling to provide them, we're resorting to more unorthodox methods."
"What ... are you gonna ... do ... to me?"
"A Sukhayoskophein," she says as she fills a syringe with a bright blue fluid."
"It's a medical procedure developed by The Phinaran to read your memories."
"I'm going to inject you with this serum in my hand, which will bring you into a comatose state and trigger all the memories stored in your brain," she explains as she searches for a vein in my arm so she can administer the drug, "I wanted to do it while you were still sedated, but the effects of the sedative wore off more quickly than I had anticipated."
"You ... you ..."
"Don't worry, Sergeant, it's not painful. As your body goes into a coma, the serum will excite your synapses so that all the information stored in your long-term memory areas can be brought back in the form of electric impulses. Through the nodules attached to your head, also of Phinaran origin, the electric pulses of your memories will be transferred into this unit which will convert them to images."
"You ... you can't do that ... that ... that is a violation of my privacy."
"Unfortunately it is, but it's not like you've given us that much choice."
Almost immediately, the serum starts working its way through my system. I start losing consciousness very quickly as the fluid in my organism takes me into an induced coma.
A man comes into the room but I'm almost completely gone to know exactly who it is or what's going on.
"The serum has started working already," the woman says.
"Good. Let's see what he's hiding," the man replies.
Then everything goes black.
A flash of bright light.
A flash of light. Bright blue eyes.
Hermes sits back on the bed and extends the briefcase in my direction.
The paper falls from my hands as a sink to my knees. I'm breathless. `I knew you'd come' the paper reads.
"I'm real," Chris says and then kisses me, "This is real, and I do love you, sillyhead."
I make my way to the exit of the Core hospital with the tiny Athruvian box in my hands.
I cry like a baby remembering Chris and all the beautiful moments we shared.
"Christopher William Donahue," the Core psychologist says, "he was a passenger on the cruiser along with his mother. The crew and what few passengers had remained on board at the moment of the crash, perished."
"I know what they said," Chris tells me as I lie in the hospital's bed, "the question is, Robbi, do you believe them?"
"You've been in a coma for the past nineteen days since you crashed on that planet. Your co-pilot, Rhabanar Meb'har unfortunately did not make it," the Core doctor says.
"Robbi," Chris says and kisses me again, "Did you think I'd leave you?"
Chris turns around and we spoon. As I hold him tight, his breathing starts becoming even and rhythmic, so I know he's fallen asleep. I keep on rubbing his hair as I think once again of how lucky I am to have ever found him.
I kiss Chris' forehead and he mumbles something that sounds like a lost in sleep I love you. I smile and kiss his forehead again.
"Are you happy, you know, like here ....?" Chris asks. I place him in bed and then kneel in front of him.
Chris' lovely face is looking upon me. He smiles. I kiss him and tell him I love him. He's in my arms as we sleep together inside my shuttle. There's nothing I love more than the sweet scent that emanates from his golden mane.
"I love you sillyhead," Chris says as his head rests on my chest after making love.
A bright light. Pain. So much pain. And then, total Darkness.
My head hurts so much as I open my eyes. Light is pouring through the window. I'm not sure where I am, but it's definitely not the brig of the Phinaran shuttle. I try to straighten on the bed, but the dizziness convinces me otherwise.
The room is square and not big. It kind of reminds me of business hotels, those in which the room is only meant to be used for sleeping. There's medical monitors connected to my chest, head and arms, but I am not restrained.
The sky outside has a slight tinge of orange. I don't know how many hours have passed, but my stomach feels empty. I suddenly remember being strapped to a medical bed and a woman. A human dark-haired female telling me the procedure through which they expect to get the answers they want me to provide and which I cannot.
The door to the room slides open and that very woman comes in after Colonel Debrak, the Phinaran whose men ambushed me and the crewmates of the Persephone.
"Hello, Sergeant," the male says, "Doctor Stamos is here to make sure you are fine."
The woman approaches the monitors and checks on the information displayed. Shortly after, she runs a scanning device all over my body.
"Everything in check, Colonel," she says.
"Thank you, doctor," he says, "you may leave then."
The woman bows and leaves the room.
Colonel Debrak walks in my direction and then sits on the edge of the bed. He smiles and it's terrifying.
"So," I tell him, "did you find what you were looking for?"
"You damn well know I didn't, Sergeant. The medical procedure was a total waste of time and resources."
"I told you I had nothing to say."
"And I do believe you now."
"Are you gonna let me go now? And my friends?"
He stands from the bed and walks towards the window. He places his hand on the window, as if admiring the sky, and speaks with his back to me.
"Why would a man like you with a promising career in the Core forces forsake everything to chase after a dream?"
"It is not a dream," I say with strong conviction.
"You know next to nothing about the subject you've been `trying to rescue', Sergeant."
"I love him," I say.
He turns around and looks me in the eye.
"You can't love what you can't understand. It's not real," he says, "It's all in your head."
"It's not and you know it, dammit!" I shout.
"Are you sure you really want to know what you're after, Sergeant?"
"Fine. We might have to start from the beginning then. But I'm not allowed to disclose any information to you."
"So, who is?" I ask.
The door opens wide and a blinding light invades the room. There's a thrumming sound, like that of engines. The blonde haired silhouette of a tall man crosses the threshold and walks toward us.