By Jason Finigan

This story is completely fictional. Any similarities to any persons or events, past or present are purely coincidental. This story may contain scenes which involve sexual situations. If this type of material is offensive to you, or it is not legal for you to be reading this type of material, please do not read any further. This story is copyright © 2007 by Jason. Please do not copy this story for distribution or post on any online server without the author's permission. Please send all your comments to:, or You can also visit my site at: Thanks and enjoy the story.

Chapter 9

Captain Kel woke up sore and thirsty. The latter he could deal with, but the former was sending pain shooting over every inch of his body, feeling as though he had been pierced by thousands of shards of glass, all grinding together with every movement he made. His attempt at sitting up caused him to moan out loud the pain threatened to make him pass out, but he persevered, finally sitting up and slowly turning his head to survey his surroundings.

Oshi had to be nearby, he knew. He had caught them unawares, and sleeping. Madness had obviously taken over Oshi's mind, making any attempt to reason with him impossible. One by one he bound them, gagged them, and dragged them to this cavern. Despite the wounds he had suffered at the hands of Jev, Oshi's strength seemed unaffected, other than seemingly to have increased. He knew that it was the madness that drove Oshi now. The man he once knew was lost to him, possibly forever. Kel knew that unless they were able to escape from this world, there would be no hope of helping Oshi. As much as he hated to admit it, all his hopes for rescue lie with Kiyel and his Liej, Jev.

Jev. His being here was turning out to be both a curse and a blessing. For without him, they would have no hope of finding the probe anytime soon, and yet, if it hadn't been for him, Oshi's madness may never have been brought to the surface, and they possibly would have had a greater success on their own, working as a team as they had always done in the past.

Oshi was not just his first officer, he was his closest friend. For most of his career in the military he had worked alongside Oshi. The two of them growing up on two separate worlds, but brought together for a single cause; the defense of Caitar. Unlike Kel, Oshi was born on the colony world of Stratha. They met while in the Acadamy, becoming partners in training, and shortly thereafter, friends. On a couple of occasions, Oshi had saved his life, and he felt indebted to him, though Oshi demanded no favors in return. They were truly friends, almost like brothers to each other, and it saddened him greatly to see his friend lost as he was.

"Captain," a voice echoed in the quiet chamber. Turning his head, he saw Kiyel sitting by the fire, watching.

"Kiyel? What in the God's name are you doing here? Where is Oshi? What happened?" Kel demanded to know.

"Sir, I will answer your questions, though I ask that you take it easy. Your body has suffered a lot of trauma, and it would do us no good if you were to injure yourself further." Kiyel said calmly. Almost too calmly for Kel's liking.

"Kiyel, just tell me what is going on," Kel said, straining to control his emotions.

"The short version is you were attacked by Oshi, and brought to this cavern where he intended to kill you, after learning all he could from Taaj. That is until I had interrupted him."

"Taaj," Kel said suddenly, remembering something, the vision of Taaj being beaten mercilessly by Oshi. "Where is he?"

"He is still beside you, though his condition remains unchanged, and will remain so unless we are able to get him to Tiela in time. He is in a coma, I believe as a result of the assault he suffered due to Oshi's madness. It was Oshi's intent to discern the whereabouts of the probe through interrogating Taaj. He felt we all were contaminated by Jev's presence, that Jev was an abomination that created a sickness in us all and that only he was immune to Jev's effects.

"That's madness!" Kel said, refusing to believe what he was hearing.

"It is true nonetheless. In his mental state, he was broadcasting wildly, and I saw clearly what he did. I would show you now what I saw, but I am still week from dealing with Oshi, and I cannot do much until I have had the chance to recover some more of my strength. If it wasn't for Jev, I would have failed, and possibly burned out my talent. It had to be done though. Oshi had to be stopped."

"Oshi, what happened to him?" Kel asked.

"He is to your right, bound and gagged. He has not yet regained consciousness, and should not for a while."

"What did you do to him?"

"I placed in his mind the image of him being on fire, and he reacted accordingly. To him he was on fire, and his mind convinced him he was feeling the pain. It was too much for him, and he collapsed. Only after I had been assured that he was unconscious did I cease sending him the image. It is not something that I enjoyed doing, Captain. To use my talent in that way was bordering on a violation of the laws governing Telepaths. Had I not acted however, we would now all be dead."

"Kiyel, do not blame yourself for having to do what you did. Had I been in your place, I might have found myself having to kill Oshi, and that is not a thought I relish."

"No. I would imagine not. I could not help pick up on the friendship the two of you share, and I know you care for him a great deal. You are like brothers, and I swear to you, I will do what I can to help Oshi. We need him if we are to escape from this world," Kiyel said.

"I thank you Kiyel. And I thank Jev for helping you. How is he by the way? Where is he?"

"He is resting in the main cave with Tiela. He had still not recovered most of his strength, and what little he had left was needed to do what I did to stop Oshi. Tiela has given him a sedative to help him recover and gather his strength back."

"I will have to thank him when we get back then. What about Jaffay?"

"He is still unconscious, but is not seriously wounded. I expect like you, he will wake up feeling groggy and very sore. I do not have anything with me to help you, so all we can do is wait until you are feeling better. The way back is long and treacherous," Kiyel said.

"I am well enough now," Kel said, attempting to get up from off the ground. Pain shot up his arms as he tried to push himself up, but he ignored it, gritting his teeth together, and pushing back the pain as he slowly got back up onto his feet.

"Captain, please, do not push yourself any farther. I can feel the pain you are in," Kiyel pleaded.

"Kiyel, I will not sit here and do nothing," Kel said defiantly. "I have dealt with pain far greater than this before, and I will manage."

"Then I will help you," Kiyel said, slowly getting to his feet. He was still a little unsteady from his weakness, but found he had enough to move about. He watched as Kel made his way towards the prone figure of Oshi, bound and unconscious. Despite the pain he was in, Kel knelt before his friend.

"Oshi my friend. What could have driven you to such madness? You have saved my life in the past, and I will do all I can for you my friend. I promise you that," Kel whispered, placing a comforting hand on his friend's arm. "Alright Kiyel. We can't stay here."

"No we can't," Kiyel agreed. "Taaj needs medical treatment now."

"True, but with the risk Oshi poses to us right now, we can't risk leaving him here alone while we get Taaj to Tiela. We need to take Oshi over first."

"We will have to bind him further Captain, and there is no more rope that I could find."

"Then we will have to make due with what we have Kiyel. There is more rope in the main cave where Tiela and Jev are that we can use."

"And if he should wake up when we are on our way there?" Kiyel asked.

"Then I will render him unconscious again," Kel said simply.

"He is your friend," Kiyel pointed out.

"I am also his commanding officer, and I have a responsibility to him and to the rest of this crew. And yes Kiyel, because of your link to Jev, I consider him a part of this crew as well. Right now, the safety of everyone is paramount, and I will not allow anyone to jeopardize that."

"I understand Sir. I have regained enough strength to assist you," Kiyel stated.

"Good. Let me just check on the others before we go. I want to get this done as quick as possible," Kel said. Kiyel watched as Kel checked over both Taaj and Jaffay. Kiyel had placed them close together so both would remain warm, and near enough to the fire that it's heat would make them more comfortable. He had also ensured that the fire had no chance of threatening either of them.

"Al right Kiyel, let's go," Kel said, returning to where Kiyel was standing. Carefully, Kiyel helped him lift Oshi up. Being the stronger of the two, Kel opted to carry Oshi by himself, draping Oshi's prone body over his left shoulder, and steadying it with his right hand.

"Captain, are you certain you can manage on your own?" Kiyel asked.

"He is my friend Kiyel, and I will manage. I owe him that much."

"I understand Captain," Kiyel said, and together the two of them made their way out of the cavern.

Despite the heavy load of Oshi's body weighing him down, Kel managed to keep up with Kiyel, who led the way. Together they followed the path that lined the wall outside the cavern. The added weight of Oshi made the going difficult for Kel, but with Kiyel to help steady him, they navigated their way past the pit, until Kiyel led them to the maze of jagged rocks he had passed earlier. From here, he knew there was no further danger of any drop offs, but still the going was slow. Kiyel could see the obvious signs of exhaustion on Kel's face.

"Captain. We should rest and allow you to regain some of your strength. Let me carry Oshi for now. We are almost there," Kiyel offered.

Kel could not deny what he was feeling now. Every step he took was sheer agony. Every muscle in his body was screaming for relief, and had Kiyel not stopped, he was sure he would have collapsed, creating more problems for Kiyel.

"Very well, Kiyel. I can't go any further with Oshi. I have to rest."

"Set him down then Captain. We will rest for a bit, and then I will carry Oshi the rest of the way," Kiyel said. Kel did as Kiyel instructed, then slowly sat down, leaning his back up against one of the rock formations. He was sweating and panting, every muscle in his body felt as it it was being torn from his body.

"I don't know how much farther I can go Kiyel," Kel said, breathing heavily.

"I understand Captain. Don't worry. When we get back to the cave, I'm certain Tiela will be able to give you something that will help."

"She probably will. I just hope it's going to be enough," Kel said wearily.

"Since when has Tiela not been unprepared?" Kiyel asked, smiling at him.

"True," Kel laughed weekly. "The sooner she gives me something the better. Taaj didn't look good at all when I looked at him."

"I know. I checked on him periodically while you were out. I tried to reach him mentally, asking him to hold on and to not leave us. I don't know whether or not I was able to get through to him, but I can only hope."

"Let's hope you were able to Kiyel. I have never before appreciated the benefits of having a telepath on board. I sometimes found them to be a waste of space. You are proving all my assumptions wrong, Kiyel."

"Thank you Captain. I agree that some in my Guild can be overbearing, and egotistical, but the majority of telepaths are very good at what they do."

"I am beginning to see that Kiyel," Kel said. Then he rose slowly to his feet. "Are you ready Kiyel?"

"I am Captain," Kiyel said, getting up himself. Kel bent down to pick Oshi up, then carefully draped him over Kiyel's shoulder.

"Have you got him?" Kel asked.

"I have. He is not as heavy as I thought," Kiyel said.

"No he is not, but over long distances, his weight will begin to affect you."

"I will be alright Captain," Kiyel said. Slowly they continued on their way. Kiyel only had to adjust Oshi's weight a few times, but in a short time they finally reached the opening to the main cave. Upon entering it, Tiela saw them and ushered them over to the rock platform.

"Over here Kiyel!" she called out. Kiyel headed for her, and carefully lay Oshi down on the rock.

"Captain, I need to go see Jev," Kiyel said.

"Go Kiyel. I will stay here with Tiela and help secure Oshi to the rock."

"Thank you Captain," Kiyel said, then he walked over to where Jev was still sleeping. He lay down beside Jev, spooning up against him, and began to run his hand over Jev's arm, rubbing it gently.

Jev moaned, and began to wake up. For a second he panicked as he felt someone next to him, then he relaxed as he felt Kiyel's familiar presence.

'I am back my love,' Kiyel sent.

'I missed you Kiyel,' Jev replied.

'I missed you too. We need to go back though. Taaj and Jaffay are still back there, and we need to bring them back.'

'Then I will help you Kiyel,' Jev sent.

'You are still too week Jev,' Kiyel pointed out. 'Kel is with me, and we will get them. I will be okay.'

'Kiyel, you lie terribly. You are as week as I am. Only together will you be able to make it, and you know that. I have regained enough strength that I can help with this.'

'You are right of course, Jev,' Kiyel laughed. 'I forgot that I cannot hide my feelings from you.'

'Would you want to hide them from me Kiyel?' Jev asked.

'No,' Kiyel answered.

'Then help me up and let us see what we can do for your crew,' Jev sent. Kiyel got up and taking a hold of Jev's left hand, helped Jev to his feet.

'You've just been laying here waiting for me to get back,' Kiyel sent, suddenly realizing that Jev wasn't as weak as he was pretending to be.

'Of course Kiyel. I needed some excuse to have you lay down with me,' Jev snickered.

'Of all the sneaky...' Kiyel sent, not knowing whether to laugh or scold him.

'Shush, you would have done the same. Admit it,' Jev sent.

'Me? I am an angel babe,' Kiyel said, trying to give Jev as innocent a look as he could.

'And the T'Kri are nothing more than annoying little children,' Jev said, laughing out loud for the first time since Kiyel had helped him recover from the shock of his change.

'Come on, let's go see what we can do to help,' Kiyel sent, laughing with him. Together the two of them went over to where Kel and Tiela were just finished securing Oshi to the rock.

"Will that hold him Captain?" Jev asked him.

"It will Jev. It's good to see you on your feet again," Kel said.

"Thank you. It's good to be able to walk around again. Though I'm still not used to this tail," Jev said looking at the tail behind him."

Kel, Kiyel and Tiela all laughed at him. "You will Jev," Tiela said. "How are you feeling?"

"Quite rested actually. I've come to see what I can do to help. I understand that Taaj and Jaffay are still back in the cavern where Oshi had taken you."

"They are. Are you well enough to help them back?" Kel asked.

"Captain, I don't think Jev should be doing anything other than resting," Tiela interrupted.

"Tiela, we need all the help we can get. If Jev says he's ready to help, I believe him."

"Alright, but it's against my better judgment. And I want to give you a stimulant to help you Jev. You need to get something to eat later on to build back your strength."

"Don't worry Tiela. I appreciate all you've done for me, and I promise I won't stress myself out more than I have to. We have a lot of work to do, and I want to be ready to help you find the probe so you can contact the Cetani. Then you and your crew can leave this place. But I hope that you can first help us with the T'Kri before you leave," Jev said.

"Jev, I don't think Kiyel has mentioned this to you, but since you have linked with Kiyel, and are now his Liej, as well as his mate, you have effectively become a part of this crew," Kel said.

"Captain?" Jev said, bewildered at what he was being told.

"He's right Jev," Kiyel said. "I didn't tell you this, because we never really had the chance to. The moment we became linked, you were automatically enlisted in the Caitaran military."

"Damn Kiyel," Jev said, suddenly having to lean against the wall of the cave. "I knew eventually I would probably join the rebels just like my brother did, but I didn't expect this."

"I know it's a lot to take in Jev, and I am sorry," Kiyel said.

"Kiyel, no. Don't be. I am not mad. On the contrary, I am actually happy this happened. For the longest time I've had to sit around and do nothing while the T'Kri destroyed my colony bit by bit. They've killed my father, and hurt a lot of people who did nothing to deserve this. No, I'm glad. Now I get the chance to help drive the T'Kri from this world."

"I'm glad to hear that Jev," Kel said. "Will you serve under me Jev? Will you voluntarily join this crew?" Kel asked.

"Yes I will Captain. I will join your crew. There is no place for me on this world anymore. I will do whatever I can to help you rid this world of the T'Kri, and then when you leave, I will also."

"Very well. Kiyel will instruct you more on our ways, and I will have Jaffay, when he is able, begin your training. Welcome aboard Jev," Kel said, reaching out his hand which Jev grabbed a hold of and shook briefly. "Now let's get back to that cavern and bring back Taaj and Jaffay."

"Just one second Captain," Tiela said. "I need to give Jev this," she said, holding a syringe.

"I hate needles," Jev complained.

"Well too bad. You're getting one. This is the best I've got to help you bring back the rest of the crew until we can get some proper food into your system so you can regain all your strength," Tiela said, carefully injecting the contents of the syringe into his arm.

"Ouch!" Jev exclaimed.

"Oh stop your complaining. You never complained about the other needles I gave you," Tiela said.

"That's because he was unconscious Tiela," Kiyel pointed out.

"Details, details," she said, withdrawing the needle, and placing it back in her medical kit.

"Will you be alright here with Oshi alone?" Kel asked.

"Yes. I gave him a tranquilizer, so he won't be waking up anytime soon. He'll be unconscious for a few hours at least," she answered.

"Good. We shouldn't be too long," Kel said. "All right, let's get a move on." Kel led them back to where they came from with Oshi. This time they made better time than before, though they knew it was going to be much slower on the way back. Especially if both Taaj and Jaffay needed to be carried.

"Captain, we'll need Jaffay awake," Kiyel pointed out.

"I know Kiyel. I'm hoping that he's already regained consciousness," Kel said.

"He has," Jev spoke up.

"What?" Kel asked, stopping suddenly.

"I said Jaffay is awake."

"How do you know that?" Kiyel asked.

"Cause I can sense him nearby," Jev said.

"What about Taaj?" Kel asked.

"I'm sorry Captain, but I'm not picking him up, except that I know that he's still alive."

"Thank the Gods for that at least," Kel said. "We'd better hurry." They began to move more quickly, walking along the wall of the pit, being careful of where they stepped. Eventually they reached the cavern, and saw Jaffay sitting up, looking confused and disoriented. They rushed to him, where Kiyel knelt down in front of him.

"Jaffay. It's me Kiyel. Can you hear me?" he asked.

"K-Kiyel?" Jaffay stammered.

"Yes. It's me. You're safe."

"Oshi? Where's Oshi?" Jaffay demanded to know, looking around him.

"It's okay Jaffay, he's not here," Kel said.

"Captain? Gods I have the worst headache!" he complained.

"That's understandable after what you've been through," Kiyel said.

"What about Taaj?" Jaffay asked, looking over to where Taaj continued to lay unconscious.

"We need to get him back to Tiela right away. Oshi hurt him very badly, and there's no way of knowing just how bad until we get him back to the main cave," Kel said.

"Then we'd better get moving," Jaffay said, standing up, wavering slightly before he was able to steady himself.

"Are you okay to travel?" Kel asked.

"Yes Captain. And I can help you carry Taaj back," Jaffay said.

"Alright then. There is one other thing. Jev here is now a member of this crew and will be leaving with us when we go back to Caitan. I need you to begin training him when you are feeling up to it."

"Of course Captain," Jaffay said, then turned to look at Jev. "Are you prepared to go through with this training Jev? Just because you are a telepath and Kiyel's mate doesn't mean I'm going to go easy on you."

"I wouldn't expect you to. I am prepared for whatever I need to do," Jev said.

"Very well. We'll start your training tomorrow. Now can we please get out of this place?"

"Of course. Kiyel, would you help me with Taaj?" Kel asked. Together Kiyel and Kel lifted Taaj up and draped him over Kel's shoulder, just as they had done with Oshi. "When I get tired, you can take over for me Jaffay. But for now, I want you to conserve as much strength as you can."

"I understand Captain. But if I see you faltering, I'm going to take him off your shoulder."

"Agreed. Ready everyone?" Kel asked, then without waiting for an answer said, "Lets go."

Together they made their way back through the cavern and back towards the main cave. About half way there, Kel started to stumble, and barely caught himself before both he and Taaj fell to the ground.

"Okay, that's far enough Captain. I'll take Taaj from here," Jaffay said, almost effortlessly grabbing Taaj from Kel's shoulder, and hoisting him up onto his. Testing his balance, and making sure Taaj wouldn't fall off, Jaffay turned back around, and let Kiyel and Jev lead the way back.

It took them longer to get back to Tiela, as they had expected. Jaffay was obviously showing signs that he was getting tired, but he never stopped once, pushing on until he had brought Taaj over to where Tiela had laid out a spot near the fire for him.

"Put him down there Jaffay," she told him. "Then I want you to get some rest. The same goes for all of you. I'll see what I can do with Taaj."

"I'm sorry Tiela, but I need to hunt. We need food. Rations are no longer going to serve us, and we need something else to eat," Kiyel said.

"Fine. But don't you dare think about trying to take on something big. The last thing we need is for you to collapse out there with us having no way to find you."

"Don't worry. I won't push myself too hard. Though I am feeling much better now."

"Hmmph," Tiela grunted. "So typical of you males."

"Don't worry Tiela. You know we'd be lost without you," Kiyel said, smiling at her.

"Too right you would," she said, already beginning to look over Taaj.

"Well Jev," Kiyel said, turning to look at his Liej. "Do you think you're up for a bit of hunting? It'd give you a chance to stretch out those new Caitaran muscles of yours."

"Sounds like fun babe. I'd like that very much."

"Oh please!" Tiela said, looking at them. "You can't fool me, you just want a chance to be alone with each other."

"Can you blame us?" Kiyel said smiling wickedly at her.

"No," she said laughing. "Go. And be sure to bring back something tasty."

"We will, I promise," Kiyel said.

"Come on Jev. Let's go so I can show you what it means to be Caitaran."

"I would love that Kiyel. I would love that very much," Jev said. Kiyel grabbed a hold of Jev's hand, and together the two of them left the cave, walking out into the open air for the first time since Jev's change.

Editor's Notes:
Well, I am very impressed, not only with how brave and strong Kiyel is but how much he cares about the people around him. The same thing goes for Jev. Those two really are similar, and they make a wonderful pair. I am very glad that they managed to get everyone back to the main cave. Together, I have a feeling that Kiyel and Jev can move mountains. I do hope that somehow Tiela and possibly Kiyel and Jev will be able to help Oshi. There is definitely something weird going on with him. I have to wonder if he is somehow possessed. I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens next.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

So Jev is now officially a part of the crew. I hope Jaffay goes easy on him, though knowing how rigorous military training is, I expect he'll be exhausted most of the time. Keep on sending me those comments. You can reach me, or You can also visit my site at: