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This chapter, and all following chapters, are the original 1st draft chapters from Destiny's Edge. The places, names, and events contained within these chapters are somewhat different than those found in the finished novel.
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'I will go first, as they will not know you and may decide you are a threat,' Kiyel sent.
'Gee, you make them sound so friendly,' Jev replied sarcastically.
'Trust me on this my love,' Kiyel sent, smiling at Jev.
Shrubs and various bushes lined the base of the rock formation. Jev's senses kept him cautious, yet he remained determined. He couldn't detect any open hostility from the minds of those he had felt, but they were guarded.
"That's far enough," a voice suddenly called out in Caitaran. Thanks to Kiyel's teaching, he was able to understand what was being said.
"Captain Kel," Kiyel shouted, addressing the voice they had heard, coming to a stop, with Jev slightly behind him.
"Kiyel? Is that you?" the voice said, a rather large Caitaran male standing up from the top of the rocks above them.
"Aye Captain," Kiyel said.
"Where in the God's have you been? And what is a native doing with you?"
"I brought him here Captain," Jev said, struggling to speak the Caitaran language. "And I suggest we get under cover as there is possibly a T'Kri patrol searching for us."
"Who are you? Identify yourself!" Kel demanded, leaping down from the rock and landing in front of them. In his arms he carried what to Jev looked like an energy weapon of some sort, which was pointed right at him.
"I will give you my report as soon as we find shelter sir," Kiyel answered, stepping in front of Jev. "and I will explain everything then."
"You're damned right you will Kiyel," Kel said, lowering his weapon. "All right, follow me. And Kiyel, the native is your responsibility."
'Well, this is going well,' Jev sent to Kiyel.
'Don't worry Jev, Kel may seem to be harsh, but he is honorable, and is not prone to rash decisions.'
'I would have felt much better about it if he hadn't pointed his gun at me,' Jev replied.
'I would not have let him harm you.'
'I know babe. We will have to be cautious. I should not have spoken up as I did.'
'No, it is best that you did. Better to let him know that you can speak our tongue now, rather than in the presence of the rest of the crew,' Kiyel sent.
Kel took Kiyel and Jev around what seemed to be a maze of huge rocks, until they had reached a small opening in the wall of the rock formation. They were met there by another male Caitaran, who was slightly taller than the Captain, but looked younger to Jev; a junior officer obviously.
"Captain, I see you have found Kiyel, but who in the name of the gods is that following him?" the Caitaran asked, looking at Jev with suspicion.
"We will find out soon enough I expect Oshi," Kel answered. "Follow us inside."
"I would prefer to stand out here and keep a watch over this... native." Oshi said.
"You will follow us inside and do as you are ordered, Commander," Kel ordered.
"Yes sir," Oshi replied curtly.
Kel entered the opening, followed by Kiyel and Jev, then finally by Oshi. The opening in the mountain led to a narrow tunnel, which after a few dozen yards, opened up into a large cavern where Jev saw two other Caitarans. One of whom he could tell was female; not by the colour of her pelt, or by her shape, but rather by her size compared to the males. They did not have the muscle mass that the males did, but they did impress Jev as being quick on their feet.
Kel led the three of them to a fire which was burning in the center of the room. "Alright, sit down. And Kiyel, this had better be good." Kel said, taking a seat by the fire himself, but sitting in such a way that he could be on his feet in an instant. Oshi, refusing to sit, stood silently behind them. Jev could feel the mistrust and resentment emanating from him and looked to Kiyel for assurance which he did not find.
Over the next hour, Kiyel proceeded to tell the others about what had happened to him during the crash. He included everything, save for him and Jev falling in love. He also left out the part of Jev being a telepath, which Jev thought was odd, as he didn't see the reason for that. But he trusted Kiyel's judgment, as these were his own people and knew them better.
"And how is it that he knows our language Kiyel?" Oshi demanded to know.
"I taught it to him Commander," Kiyel replied, turning to look behind him.
"That was a little presumptuous of you wasn't it? What if Jev is really a spy for the aliens that shot us down? What if it is his people who were responsible in the first place. For all we know, they have an alliance with them."
Kiyel suddenly stood up and came nose to nose with Oshi. "You have not lived among them as I have. You have not seen these T'Kri, nor what they do to the colonists here. You do not know Jev." he said, and even though he was smaller than the Commander, the forcefulness of is verbal tirade only served to anger Oshi more.
"You? You're nothing but a third grade telepath. What would you know? While you've been down there having a ball pretending to be a common animal, we've been roughing it up here in this cave trying to hide from these aliens," Oshi shot back.
"Kiyel! Oshi! Stand down!" Kel ordered, pushing them apart and standing between them. "Now!" he growled when Kiyel and Oshi didn't back down right away. Kiyel was the first, and sat down beside Jev, who was looking more scared by the minute.
"But Captain..." Oshi started.
"I said stand down Commander!" Kel ordered.
Hesitantly, Commander Oshi backed off, and stormed out of the cave. Leaving Jev, Kiyel and Captain Kel looking after him.
"Kiyel, I'm not going to sugar-coat this," Kel said, once more sitting down in front of them. "Bringing Jev here was not a wise decision. It would have been best had you sought us out alone without an alien presence."
"Captain, I know full well what I am doing, and have made my decision. There was little choice for me but to bring Jev, or would you have proffered I let him perish in the fire along with his father, as thanks for the help he has given me?"
"No, certainly not. Your actions were proper, and honorable. Still, you know the difficult position that I have been placed in because of your decision," Kel said.
"I do. My decision stands," Kiyel replied, refusing to back down.
'Very well. However, I am not so blind as to miss that you have omitted certain facts from your report. I would have you divulge them to me now, if I am in any way able to support your decision."
Kiyel looked at Jev who regarded him with apprehension and fear. "Captain, Jev is a telepath, and my Liej."
"Your Liej?" Kel said in shock. "Kiyel, rather than making things easier, you have complicated matters far beyond my ability to comprehend."
"I am aware of that Captain, however, we had little choice in this. A bond has formed between us that can not be severed. Jev is my Liej. I can feel it as surely as I can feel the ground beneath my feet," Kiyel replied.
"I will do what I can Kiyel, but you and I both know the challenges you must face upon our return to Caitar."
"I am aware," Kiyel admitted.
"And are you, Jev, prepared to face those challenges with Kiyel on Caitar when the time comes?" Kel asked Jev, addressing him for the first time directly since entering the cave.
"I am Captain. However, this is all still very new for me. Only in the last few days have I become aware of my being a telepath. If it wasn't for the fact that Kiyel entered my life, I probably would still be with my father looking after the Inn as I have done for many years. I am thankful that I do have Kiyel though. I love him as I have never loved anyone else. Losing my father was something I could not have imagined, and I am only thankful that I had Kiyel to help me through it. It still hurts, I won't deny that, but my love for Kiyel allows me to go on, and with his help, and hopefully yours, I will make those responsible for my father's death pay. Where Kiyel goes, I go," Jev said.
"That is as it should be, nor would it be possible for you to do otherwise if you are truly his Liej," Kel remarked.
"I don't understand what you mean," Jev said confused.
"Jev, we are mates, you and I. But we are much more than that. Because we are both telepaths, we have formed a mental bond with each other as well as an emotional one. We are linked as one, and in that way can always sense what the other is feeling and doing. This bond is so strong that we become dependent on it, almost like an addiction. We've felt it before when we were apart in town."
"Yes, I have. It was almost like I was in pain, and needed to get to you as soon as I could," Jev said.
"That is the link we have Jev. It is stronger than any other link a telepath can share. We will always be able to sense each other, no matter how far apart we are," Kiyel said.
"If we can be apart that is," Jev pointed out.
"That is true. A Liej link also makes touching each other very compelling, especially when it comes to intimacy."
"You mean sex," Jev said.
"Yes. The sexual drive will be increased greatly. Not that I'm complaining mind you," Kiyel said, smiling.
"You're right about that babe," Jev said, returning the smile. "I'm glad that your people have no problems with same sex attraction. Despite all the progress we humans have made, prejudice and fear still exist, and a lot of my people do not like homosexuals."
"Homosexuals?" Kiyel asked, unfamiliar with the word.
"Gays and Lesbians, people who are only attracted to others of the same sex. Like I am. Until I met you, I didn't know that I was gay. I should have guessed I was though when I didn't have any interest in the women coming into the Inn, while several men caught my eye on more than one occasion."
"Well I'm glad that you fell in love with me Jev," Kiyel said.
"So am I Kiyel. I couldn't have asked for anyone better to be my mate. I am concerned though. If this link is as strong as you say it is, it sounds as if there is a very real possibility that either one of us, or both can die of shock if we become separated for too long."
"Yes, Jev. It is possible, however the chances of that occurring are very slim. From what I understand of Liej links, we will always be working together. Where one of us goes, so too does the other. Any separation that we might have to endure would only be temporary and insufficient to cause anything but the most minor of discomfort. I can teach you how to minimize it's effects so that it doesn't affect you as much when we find ourselves separated," Kiyel said.
"Thanks Kiyel. I have a feeling that until things settle down, we'll need to be together as often as possible," Jev said.
"I agree. And besides, I have no desire to leave your side," Kiyel said, a playful smile appearing on his face.
"Alright, enough of this. We have a problem to solve, and you two seem to be right in the middle of it," Kel interrupted. "First of all, we have the T'Kri still searching for us, which has been compounded by the death of three of their officers. They're definitely not going to let that go without hunting down whoever did it. Second of all, we have to locate the probe that was placed here ten years ago."
"Kiyel and I can at least assist you with that Captain," Jev said.
"With what? The T'Kri or the probe? If you're referring to the T'Kri, I think you had better leave that problem to my crew," Kel said.
"I have no intention of hiding from some slimy T'Kri soldier. If it comes to fighting the T'Kri, I will do my part. No, I was referring to the probe."
"And just how do you propose to locate it? From what I've been told, your colony does not possess the technology sufficient enough to find it," Kel interrupted.
Kiyel could tell that the Captain's remarks were beginning to anger Jev, and he put his hand on Jev's shoulder to calm him down. Jev looked up at Kiyel, and smiled at him.
"Captain, we're telepaths. We found your hiding spot here because of Jev. His talent is undisciplined, true, and I am not certain as to his range of abilities, but I believe him when he says that he can find the pod for us. Even if he cannot do it alone, I will be there to help him."
"As I said earlier, he is your responsibility Kiyel. I would advise you to keep him out of Oshi's path. I do not know what is bothering him, but I am telling you to be careful around him. What I want you to do right now is take him over to Tiela so she can look him over,' Kel ordered.
"I understand Captain," Kiyel replied, bowing respectfully to him.
"And when you are ready, I want you working with Taaj on locating that pod. Once you've found it, you'll need to point out it's location for her so she can map out the best route to take."
"Aye Captain," Kiyel said. With that, Kel left Jev and Kiyel standing by the fire as he made his way towards another of his crew.
"Let's get you checked out by Tiela. She's our ship's medic," Kiyel said.
"Very well Kiyel, however I do not see the reason for it."
'If you were to become injured, does it not make sense that our medic has some knowledge of your physiology?" Kiyel asked with a wry grin on his face.
"Yeah, you're right babe. I guess I didn't think about that," Jev said, inwardly cursing himself for not thinking of that.
Jev was led by Kiyel to where he saw one of the female Caitarans packing some things in a metal case of some sort. Finishing what she was doing, she stored it against the wall of the cave with several others just like it, then turned around to see Jev and Kiyel coming towards her.
"Kiyel!" She yelled out, almost running towards Kiyel with excitement. "It's about time Kel let you see me, and who is this? I don't recognized his species? Is he a native of this planet? Come on, you can't expect me to sit here and be kept in the dark now do you?"
Kiyel laughed out loud. "Same old Tiela. You were always a hyper one."
"Kiyel, how could you? I may be hyper, but I'm the best damned medic in the service and you know that." Tiela said, affecting a mock hurt expression on her face.
"You're right about that. In answer to your question though, this here is Jev, my Liej."
"Your Liej!" Tiela exclaimed. "You mean he's a telepath?"
"Yes, he is. And more," Kiyel said, looking lovingly at Jev, who smiled back at him.
"By the gods Kiyel, you're in love with him aren't you?" She asked.
"Yes I am. Kel asked me to have you look him over, as he'll be joining us."
"You're damned right he will be. If he's your Liej, there's no choice in the matter. And I presume that asking you to leave us while I examine him is out of the question."
"We're only recently linked, so I do not know what effects that separation would have on us. What we really need is the medic guild's data on Liej telepathic links. My own knowledge only goes so far."
"I wish I could help you with that Kiyel, but perhaps the medical guild computers on board the Cetani may have more answers for us. That is if we can get a signal to them. We still don't know where the probe is."
"That's where Jev and I come in," Kiyel said. "We're going to try to locate it."
"If you could do that, It'd be a miricle!" Tiela remarked.
"Actually, I'll be doing most of the scanning," Jev spoke up.
"Jev right?" Tiela asked, getting a nod from Jev. "What do you mean you'll be doing the scanning?"
"Well, Kiyel will be helping, as I'm quite new to this whole idea of being a telepath."
"Amazing! Telepaths are so few among our people, and virtually non-existent in any other species we've encountered before now." Tiela asked.
"So Kiyel has told me, however I've only known I was a telepath for a few days now," Jev answered.
"And you've progressed this far so soon?" Then she looked at Kiyel. "You know the telepath guild will have to test him."
"I know. And I'm certain my parents are going to demand to meet him as soon as we arrive on Caitaran."
"Are your parents going to be okay with you and Jev?" Tiela asked.
'There will be...difficulties," Kiyel said simply.
"Alright Jev, lets get started then," Tiela said, going to the wall of the cave and opening a large metal case. "I wish we'd have a table or something you can lie down on, but all we have is this slab of rock," she said, pointing to a rather smooth rectangular rock.
'Where did you find a rock like that?" Jev asked, running his fingers over the smooth surface."
Tiela laughed. "Oh that thing? That's just a large boulder that was in the cave. The Captain had Jaffay use his blaster to smooth it down. I don't know how he was able to get it to melt the rock so smoothly, but it worked and the rock does make the perfect exam table. Okay Jev, I need you to get undressed and lie down on the rock." Tiela instructed him.
"You mean completely?" Jev asked, now a little embarrassed.
"You don't have a problem with that do you?" Tiela asked mischievously.
"Tiela, Jev's people are a very modest people. They are not as open with nudity as we are. Being nude out in the open is something that he's not used to." Kiyel explained, sensing Jev's discomfort, though he did admit that Jev's blush made him look even more cute.
"Oh, I'm so sorry Jev, I had no idea," Tiela said.
"It's okay Tiela, you couldn't have known. Don't worry. I will, and I'm not entirely hesitant about being naked, but, well, I was embarrassed for a different reason entirely," Jev said, looking down at his own body.
Kiyel looked down to where Jev was looking and it suddenly dawned on him what Jev was referring to. "Oh God love, I didn't think about that. I told you that being in close contact with each other would affect each other sexually."
"Yeah, well, it's not something that anyone has seen, except you."
"Jev," Tiela started. "I am a medic, and a medical professional. I am not going to judge you based on any physiological reaction your body has to your contact with Kiyel. On the contrary, for a newly bonded Liej pair, I think the two of you have shown remarkable restraint."
"Actually Tiela, I think that has more to do with our current situation than anything else. The T'Kri have ruined a lot of lives, and Jev's people need our help if they're ever to be rid of them. And to be perfectly honest, I think they would be a very valuable asset to the Alliance."
'Alliance babe?' Jev sent to Kiyel telepathicaly.
'Yes, we have trade agreements and defense pacts with several other species that we have encountered. None of us has ever encountered these T'Kri before, and we have no idea where they came from,' Kiyel replied.
"Ah, that would explain it then," Jev said out loud.
"What would babe?"
"From what I've been able to learn from when I listened in on the council's informal meetings at the inn, the T'Kri were at war with another race, but they needed an out of the way planet to use as a rest and relaxation planet, as well as some place to treat the wounded. Considering the number of ships that have been coming in lately, I can only guess that things haven't been going very well for them, and haven't been for quite some time," Jev said.
"If that's the case, we might just have a chance against the T'Kri after all." Kiyel said.
"That is, if we can locate your probe so you can contact the Cetani for help."
"Don't worry Jev. Our Captain is the best in the fleet, and if there's anyone that can get us to that probe, it's him."
"But he'll need us to locate it for him first," Kiyel pointed out.
"Well, with two telepaths working on it, you're sure to find it." Tiela said with confidence. "Now, are you going to get your clothes off so I can get this examination done?" she asked Jev.
To Be Continued ...