The Enemy Within

by Jason Finigan

Copyright © 2010 -  

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in this novel are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

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Chapter 5


A gentle tug on his tunic drew Jev’s attention down to Aiden who stood beside him.

“Do we get to fly in that?” Aiden asked, looking in awe at the shuttle.

“Yes, we are,” Jev replied.

“Cool,” Aiden said.

Jev smiled as he felt the sudden burst of excitement from Aiden.

“Kiyel, Jev,” Kel called out as he started making his way towards them from where he had been talking to Cael and Ambassador D’lin, next to the shuttle. “Captain Cael has offered to help us pack up the equipment in the cave before we leave. While we’re gone, I’d like for the two of you to wait here fore us on the shuttle with Aiden.”

“Are you sure you don’t need our help as well, Captain?” Jev asked.

“I think we’ll be able to manage, Jev,” Kel said, his ears flicked appreciatively. “Besides,” he added, “I believe you’ll have more important matters to attend to while we’re gone.”

“I don’t quite follow,” Jev said, looking at Kel quizzically.

“If I heard correctly, didn’t Mikkel inform the First Councilor that you were still alive?” Kel asked.

“Yes, he did,” Jev answered.

“Then don’t you think it would be prudent for you to do something about your appearance?” Kel asked. “The last time she saw you, you were human.”

Jev nodded his head in understanding. “I’d almost forgotten about that,” he admitted.

“The two of you get on board then and do what you have to. We’ll be back shortly,” Kel said with a grin, patting Jev’s shoulder.

“Aye, Captain,” Jev said, acknowledging Kel’s order with a flick of his ears.

“You realize, this presents us with a bit of a problem,” Kiyel said as soon as Kel left to round up the rest of the crew.

“I know,” Jev said with a sigh. “We won’t be able to maintain the illusion and help Aiden control his talent at the same time.”

“Elder Veir should be able to help us. He’s already on board,” Kiyel said.

“Then what are we standing out here fore?” Jev asked.

Together they hurried on board the shuttle, where they found Veir sitting alone in the passenger compartment. Jev guided Aiden over to an empty seat across from Veir, then strapped him in.

“Elder,” Kiyel said, acknowledging the other with a flick of his ears as he sat down with Jev.

“Kiyel,” Veir answered, looking up at him. “Have the others left for the cave yet?” he asked.

“Yes, they’re gone,” Kiyel answered.

“There’s something troubling you,” Veir said, looking genuinely concerned. “What is it?”

“We need to ask if you can help us with something,” Jev said, his tone hopeful.

“If it is within my power,” Veir said, leaning forward in his seat, his ears pricked with interest.

“Since realizing Aiden’s talent was awakened prematurely, Kiyel and I have been using our abilities to help Aiden maintain control of his talent so he doesn’t begin randomly broadcasting his thoughts and feelings.”

“That was a very sensible thing to do,” Veir said, nodding his head in approval.

“Yes, but we’re about to fly to Clearhaven. When we get there we may no longer be able to help him,” Kiyel continued.

“Why’s that?” Veir asked, looking at Kiyel, confused.

“Because once we land to meet the council, it’s going to take most of our concentration to hide Jev’s true form from them.”

Veir’s eyes opened wide with shocked amazement. “You’re talking about changing how people perceive you!” he exclaimed. “But that’s never been done before. Not even by other Enassi!”

“Jev and I have done it twice now,” Kiyel said.

“But unfortunately it takes so much out of us that we have almost no energy left to do anything else,” Jev added. “That’s why we need your help. We’d like you to help Aiden maintain control of his talent while we concentrate on our illusion. At least until we can get her to accept me as I am now.”

“So why is it so necessary that you do this in the first place?” Veir asked.

“The First Councilor has just been told by my brother that I’m still alive. She’s going to expect me to appear as I use to.”

Veir narrowed his eyes slightly. “Kiyel, we’re going to have a long talk about all of this once we get back to the Cetani,” Veir said.

Kiyel grinned slightly at him before turning his attention to Jev. “Are you ready?” he asked.

“Let’s do it,” Jev said, with a reluctant nod of his head.

Veir sat and watched in stunned silence as Jev’s body began to shimmer and change before his eyes. His Caitaran features began to wash away like sand being swept away by the tide, revealing human features underneath. Jev’s transformation only took seconds, but when it was finally complete, Veir found himself staring at a young human with light-coloured hair and piercing blue eyes.

“Incredible!” Veir said, staring at Jev with amazed astonishment.

A sudden cry of fright beside Jev caused him to look over, where he saw Aiden shrinking away from him in fear.

Inwardly cursing himself for forgetting Aiden’s fear of humans, Jev acted quickly, reaching out with his mind in an attempt reassure the frightened child.

Hey, it’s okay, Jev sent soothingly. It’s just me.

Jev’s efforts seemed to have the desired effect as Aiden began to calm down somewhat. However, he continued to remain hesitant about getting too close to Jev.

“Go ahead, Aiden, touch his face,” Kiyel suggested, smiling assuredly at him and nodding his head to let him know it was alright.

Looking at Kiyel and then back at Jev, Aiden tentatively reached out with his hand to Jev’s face. His eyes then opened wide with shock and he quickly drew his hand back when his fingers touched fur.

You see? Jev sent.

“How come you don’t look like a cat anymore?” Aiden asked, bringing his hand up to touch Jev’s face again. This time he did so out of curiosity rather than fear.

“That’s because this is a disguise —an illusion —for when we get to Clearhaven,” Jev explained.

Suddenly, one of the pilots came running into the passenger compartment, his face filled with concern. “I heard a yell. Is everything alright in here?” he asked, his eyes taking in the scene before him. His gaze quickly settled on Jev. “Who in the name of the Gods are you?” he demanded, advancing toward him, his tail flicking jerkily.

Jev recoiled back in shock from the intensity of the pilot’s sudden, and unexpected, reaction.

Veir quickly stood up and approached the pilot, preventing him from coming any closer. “Everything’s alright, Ensign,” he assured him. “Return to your cockpit. I can handle things here.”

“Very well, Elder,” the pilot said reluctantly, taking one last long look at Jev before turning to head back down the corridor to the front of the shuttle.

“I didn’t like the way his mind felt,” Jev whispered to Kiyel, in shock. “It felt too much like Gaev’s did.”

“I felt it, too,” Kiyel said, his eyes narrowing slightly. “It was the same kind of xenophobia, only not as intense.”

“You could feel that from him?” Veir asked as he returned to his chair, surprised.

“Yes,” Jev answered quietly, staring after the pilot as a shiver of discomfort ran down his spine.



It took Kel and the others a little over an hour to pack up the equipment in the cave and return to the shuttle. As soon as the equipment was stowed on board, Cael ordered the shuttle pilot to lift off.

Throughout the cabin, the muted whine of the shuttle’s engines could be heard as they fired up. Moments later the shuttled lurched as it slowly began its ascent.. Underneath them, they both heard and felt the landing struts retract back into the hull.

Once again Aiden’s excitement rose, his face practically pressed up against the glass of the view port, as he watched, the shuttle steadily rose into the air.

Within seconds the shuttle cleared the treetops. After angling the nose of the shuttle towards Clearhaven, the pilot pushed on the throttles causing the shuttle to surge forward. They were finally on their way.

At no time during the flight did Aiden’s eyes stray from the scenery below as he looked out the view port, filled with excitement. It was all Jev could do to keep the wonder-struck boy in his seat. Clearly the shuttle’s straps were not designed with four year old children in mind.

Just then the shuttle’s intercom crackled to life, followed by the pilot informing them that they were about to land.

As the shuttle began to slowly make its descent, circling around as it did, Jev could see from his view port a growing mass of people gathering near the town square below. Only the barricades, hastily erected by the town’s security forces, prevented the townsfolk from entering the square.

Then, with a slight bounce, the shuttle touched down, landing in the center of the square. The whine of the shuttle’s engines began to lessen as the pilot shut them down.

“Alright, people, listen up,” Cael said, getting everyone’s attention as he stood up in the middle of the aisle. “Before we go out there to meet this colony’s leaders, I want to remind each of you that this is a diplomatic mission. As such, Ambassador D’lin has asked that all weapons remain on the shuttle.”

“No weapons, Captain?” Jaffay repeated, looking incredulously at the Captain, his ears flicking with alarm.

“That is correct, Lieutenant,” Cael said, in a tone that brook no argument. “The colonists on this world have been kept as virtual slaves to the T’kri for the past several years. The last thing we need is for them to get the impression that we will do the same.”

“I understand the reasoning, Cael,” Kel said, “but surly it would be prudent for us to at least bring along an armed escort once we leave the shuttle.”

“Prudent, maybe, Kel, but Ambassador D’lin is in command of this mission once we’re outside, and these are her instructions.”

“Understood, Captain,” Kel said. It was clear, however, that he wasn’t the least bit pleased.

“Jev,” Cael said, turning his attention to him. “Since you and your brother are both familiar with the colony’s leaders, can the two of you make the introductions for us?”

“Yes, sir,” Jev said. He then turned to his brother behind him and relayed the Captain’s instructions.

“And, Kiyel, until a permanent diplomatic team is assigned to this world, I’d like for you to serve as interpreter for us,” Cael said.

“Aye, sir,” Kiyel answered, acknowledging Cael’s request with an almost imperceptible flick of his ears.

“As soon as I release the airlock, only Ambassador D’lin, Captain Kel, Jev, Mikkel, Kiyel, and myself will meet with the colony’s council...” Cael continued.

“Captain,” Tiela interrupted, “with your permission, I’d like to join you as well.”

“For what reason?” Cael asked, his ears pricking with interest.

“Maintaining this illusion is causing a great deal of strain on Jev and Kiyel. I feel I should be nearby in case they require medical treatment.”

“Very well, doctor,” Cael said with a nod of his head before turning to the rest of the crew. “The rest of you are to wait here until you hear from us.”

After receiving several nods of acknowledgment, Cael pressed the intercom switch on the panel on the wall beside him. “Ensign, we’re ready. Lower the ramp,” he ordered.

“Aye, Captain,” the pilot’s voice said from the intercom.

From the rear of the shuttle, and on the other side of the airlock, came the hiss of hydraulics as the rear hatch opened and the ramp began to lower. When it was down and locked, as indicated on the display panel next to the door, Cael opened the airlock door and indicated for Mikkel to begin leading them outside.

As they started down the ramp, Kel quickly became keenly aware of the growing number of townsfolk who were gathering behind the barricades. “Kiyel, can you get a sense of the mood of these people?” he asked quietly, his tone uneasy.

“They’re curious about us, Captain,” Kiyel said, “and understandably cautious. But I don’t detect any malice directed towards us.”

“Just the same, keep an eye out for any change in their demeanor,” Kel instructed.

“Of course, Captain,” Kiyel agreed.

Mikkel led them to where Janette and the council were waiting for them in front of the council building. It was the largest building in the town square, with three levels instead of the normal two and almost twice as wide. Adorning its roof were several large solar panels. Other than its size, however, it was practically indistinguishable from any other pre-fabricated building in Clearhaven.

“Hello, Mikkel,” Janette said, greeting him has they neared.

“First Councilor,” Mikkel said, shaking her proffered hand.

“So these are the Caitarans you spoke of are they?” she asked, glancing over his shoulder nervously.

“I’d like you to meet Captain Kel, commanding officer of the Caitaran scout ship Lekur, the ship I told you about that was shot down by the T’kri, two months ago,” Mikkel said, indicating for Kel to join him.

“It’s both an honor and a pleasure to meet you, First Councilor,” Kel said in heavily accented English, offering his hand to her.

“I didn’t know you could speak our language,” a startled Janette said, tentatively shaking his hand.

Kel grinned at her reaction. “We’re fortunate to have a gifted pair of telepaths who have imprinted us with your language.”

“Telepaths?” Janette echoed, looking at him somewhat skeptically.

“I understand that it isn’t a gift readily accepted by your people.”

“I’m afraid you’re right.”

“In our society, Telepaths are highly regarded individuals. A good number of them are employed by the courts as Truthseers. Others are trained as diplomats and work with the Brekari, and a few even join the military where they’re assigned to advisory positions.”

“I see,” Janette said, clearly impressed. “Now I wish we had telepaths in this colony. They would have been a great asset to us during the occupation.”

“Indeed,” Kel said, with a slight nod of his head. “As for your colony not having telepaths though, I personally know of one who is in fact a very gifted telepath.”

“You do? Who?” Janette asked.

Instead of answering, however, Kel simply stepped aside and motioned for Jev to step forward.

“Jev!” Janette exclaimed happily, quickly pulling him into a tight embrace.”

“Hello, First Councilor,” Jev said, blushing slightly from embarrassment at her sudden display of affection.

“You have no idea how relieved I was to hear that you were alive,” she said.

“I have a pretty good idea. I was there when Mikkel called you up on the com.”

“You were?” Janette asked, finally letting him go. “I didn’t see you.”

“You wouldn’t have recognized me,” Jev said, grinning slightly. “I’ve changed quite a bit since we last saw each other.”

“I don’t understand, “ Janette said, eying him up and down and looking quite perplexed. “You don’t look any different to me.”

“That’s because I’ve been using my abilities to hide my true appearance from you,” Jev explained. “I’m going to drop the illusion now so you can see me as I really am,” he said.

When Janette tentatively nodded her head, Jev finally allowed his control over the illusion to relax. Gradually his human features began to fade away, revealing to Janette and the assembled council members his true appearance. A collective gasp rose up from the council members, who had taken a step back. Although Janette had not moved, Jev could see her eyes opening wide as the last of his illusion disappeared and a light-coloured Caitaran now stood before her.

“It can’t be,” Janette said in awe.

“That’s what I first thought when he showed me how he’d changed,” Mikkel said.

“You knew about this and you didn’t tell me?” she asked, turning on him.

“Would you have believed me if I had?” Mikkel asked with a small shrug of his shoulders.

“No, probably not,” Janette conceded reluctantly. “But still...” she said, eying Jev warily.

“I know this is difficult for you to accept, First Councilor,” Jev said, his tone turning serious. “but just imagine how difficult it was for me to come to terms with the fact that I’d suddenly changed to become a Caitaran hybrid and that I was no longer human.”

Janette drew back involuntarily from the forcefulness of Jev’s admonishment. “I’m sorry, Jev. I meant no insult to you,” she said.

Jev could feel Kiyel’s comforting hand on his shoulder and he forced himself to relax.

“I almost died because of this change,” Jev finished, quietly.

“You’re okay now, though, right?” she asked, genuinely concerned upon hearing this.

“Yeah,” Jev said, with a slight nod of his head.

“How... why did this happen?” Janette asked.

“We don’t really know,” Kiyel said from behind Jev, startling Janette again as a second Caitaran began speaking to her in English.

“First Councilor, this is Kiyel,” Mikkel said, introducing him to her. “He’s a telepath and one of the survivors of the ship that was shot down.”

“He’s also my life-mate,” Jev said proudly, a thin smile stretching across his face as he glanced up lovingly at Kiyel.

“Oh my!” Janette exclaimed, gasping in astonishment. “When did this happen?” she asked.

“Shortly after we met,” Jev told her. “I’d always known that I was gay, First Councilor. I just never thought I’d find myself falling in love with someone like Kiyel.”

“No, I suppose you didn’t,” Janette said, with a wry grin.

“You should know that besides being life-mates, Jev and I also share a very special telepathic bond which is known as an Enassi link among my people,” Kiyel said.

“In what way is this link of yours special?” Janette asked, intrigued.

“Enassi links among telepaths are very rare. It’s a total blending of mind and body. And it’s indissoluble, except by death. Through this link Jev and I are constantly aware of each others experiences and feelings. Our minds are never alone.”

“Never alone?” Janette echoed in surprise, “But then how do the two of you maintain your individuality?”

“We have our own thoughts, of course, though sometimes even those are shared,” Kiyel answered, with a grin.

“That’s incredible,” Janette said, amazed. “I’ve enough trouble managing my own thoughts and emotions as it is. I couldn’t begin to imagine what it’d be like to have someone else constantly in my head like that.”

Kiyel barked out a laugh.

“I assure you, First Councilor, for us, life would be quite unbearable without the link.”

“Forgive me, First Councilor,” Mikkel interjected, getting her attention. “But perhaps we could finish this conversation some other time so that I can finish with the introductions and we can all get inside?” Mikkel suggested.

“Of course, Mikkel,” Janette said apologetically, indicating for him to proceed.

“I’d like you to meet Captain Cael, the commanding officer of the Caitaran explorer ship Cetani; Ambassador D’lin, who is here to represent the Alliance during this meeting; and Tiela, the medical officer from the ship that was shot down,” Mikkel said, pointing to each in turn. “You should know that neither Ambassador D’lin or Captain Cael have learned English yet, First Councilor,” he added.

“Then how will we be able to talk to each other?” she asked him.

“That’s my job,” Kiyel told her. “I have been asked by Captain Cael to act as an interpreter until a telepath from the Cetani, who’ll eventually be assigned to be your permanent interpreter, can be imprinted with the knowledge of your language.”

With a nod of her head, Janette then turned her attention back to Kel.

“Is this everyone from your shuttle, Captain?” she asked.

“No, some of our people have remained on board. Since their presence wasn’t deemed necessary for this meeting they are taking the opportunity to get some much needed rest.”

“In that case, why don’t you let your people to make use of our inn where they can freshen up and get some refreshments and get something to eat if they’d like,” Janette suggested, pointing to the tall wooden building across the courtyard.

“Thank you, First Councilor. That’s most kind of you,” Kel said, clearly impressed by her unexpected, but very welcome, invitation.

“Not at all, it’s the least we can do for all the help you’ve given us ridding this planet of the T’kri.”

“Believe me, that was a pleasure,” Kel said, with a toothless grin.

“Now, allow me introduce you to the members of the Alessian council,” Janette said, turning her attention to the councilors standing behind her. “To my right is my aide and good friend, Tanis Rowe. Beside him is councilor Erica Hayes, and next to her is councilor Jeff Steiner. To my left is my head of security, Cam Shepard. Beside him is councilor Bob Shuler, and next to him is Sam Hunt,” she said, pointing to each in turn.

“Councilors,” Kel said, bowing respectfully to each of them.

Just then there was a commotion by one of the barricades. They all turned their heads where they saw three men pushing their way through and heading towards them.

“Oh, God, what’s he doing here?” Mikkel asked, with a low moan as he recognized the familiar face of the rebel leader.

“It’s nice to see you again too, Mikkel!” Johnathan retorted sarcastically, with a scowl.

He was flanked on either side by his second in command, Gregori, and another officer, whom Mikkel didn’t recognize.

“First Councilor, I demand the right to be included in these talks,” Johnathan said, his tone serious.

“And just what gives you any right to come barging in, uninvited and making demands, Captain?” Mikkel spat.

“I am the commander of Alessi’s military forces,” Johnathan said, as though that was reason enough.

“You’re not the commander of anything,” Mikkel countered indignantly. “As far as I’m concerned, you forfeited that position when you abandoned Kel and his crew up in the mountains to deal with the T’kri alone.”

“I made a decision to strategically withdraw from a hopeless situation,” Johnathan said, dismissing Mikkel’s criticism with a wave of his hand.

“No you didn’t,” Mikkel said, with a contemptuous growl, “you ran away like the coward you are.”

“Alright that’s enough!” Janette yelled, glaring at both of them until they both looked away from each other. “Mikkel, Captain Harris is correct when he says he has the right to request being present during these talks.” Johnathan grinned smugly at Mikkel. However his grin quickly disappeared when Janette angrily turned on him. “But as for you, Captain. Contrary to what you may believe, you have no right to make demands of anyone. There are some in this colony who wouldn’t mind it one bit if I tossed your rebel butt in jail, and right now I’m more than just a little tempted to do just that. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, First Councilor,” Johnathan said, grudgingly accepting the rebuke.

She’s one formidable female, Kiyel sent to Jev, clearly impressed.

You have no idea, Jev replied. It’s one of the reasons she so easily defeated her opponent during the last elections.

Who was her opponent?

Captain Harris, Jev answered wryly.

“Well then, now that that’s all taken care of, shall we head inside?” Janette asked Kel, partly turning to the council building behind her.

“Agreed,” Kel said, nodding his head.

Having never before been inside the Council Chambers, Jev was completely unprepared for the sight that was to greet them as they walked through the chamber doors. On the outside, the council building was as plain and featureless as any other building in Clearhaven. But the inside was an entirely different matter. The walls of the council chambers were covered in dark wood paneling with meticulously crafted ornate trim. Along the far wall were three very large windows covered by white sheer curtains. Underneath the windows was a raised dais on which sat a number of wood desks, which had the same wood paneling and ornate trim as was on the walls, all laid out in a semi-circle. Centered in front of the dais was a beautifully crafted wood table, stained in a deep red colour, with intricately carved edges, and around it were twelve chairs, each of them meticulously crafted to match the table. Hanging from the chamber’s tall ceilings were several large domed lights.

“Impressive craftsmanship,” Kel said in awe, his deep voice echoing throughout the council chambers.

“It took a team of artisans and contractors from the surrounding towns almost two years to complete the work in this room,” Janette said, grinning at him with gratitude. “Of course, this was before the T’kri arrived.”

“Of course,” Kel said.

Janette led them to the table, and indicated for each of them to take a seat.

As soon as everyone was settled in at the table, D’lin carefully rose from her chair.

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the council of Alessi,” she began through Kiyel, bowing respectfully to the councilors. “I bring you greetings from the Alliance. It is a great honor for us to be here with you, and it is my hope that before we are done here today, the beginnings of a lasting friendship between us will emerge.”

Janette then rose from her seat. “On behalf of the citizens of Alessi, and all of us here on the council, I welcome you to Alessi, Ambassador,” she said.

“Thank you, First Councilor,” D’lin said. When Janette sat back down she continued. “To begin, I’d like to ask Captain Kel to describe the events that led to us meeting here today.”

Kel rose from his chair and bowed his head respectfully at Janette and the council. “Approximately ten of our years ago,” Kel began, speaking in heavily accented English, “Caitaran High Command launched a probe to this world. Its function was to gather data to determine this planet’s suitability for colonization. Roughly two months ago, that probe stopped transmitting its data.”

“Your people have had a probe on Alessi all this time? Why is it we’ve never discovered it?” Janette asked.

“First Councilor, the probe landed high up in the mountains near the T’kri base you call Ru’kayesh, in an area not easily accessible. It also, at some point, had been covered by a landslide which we now believe was caused by the T’kri.”

“I see,” Janette said, nodding her head. “Please continue, Captain,”

“When the probe stopped transmitting, my team was sent to investigate. Upon our arrival, however, we were spotted by the T’kri and were shot down in an unprovoked attack.

“Then the reports we received of an explosion up near Greymarsh was in fact your ship,” Bob said.

“I’m afraid so, councilor,” Kel confirmed, acknowledging him with a flick of his ears.

“If I could interrupt here for just a moment,” Johnathan said, rising up from his chair.

With a nod of her head, Janette indicated for him to proceed.

“Given this new information, I have to seriously recommend we thank these aliens for their efforts in ridding Alessi of the T’kri and then send them on their way.”

“I think you’d better explain yourself, Captain,” Janette said, her eyes narrowing ever so slightly.

“We’ve always known that the T’kri were at war with another race. But until now, we didn’t know with who. During the Caitaran’s attack, we managed to capture and interrogate several T’kri, and what we’ve learned has convinced me that any agreement with these aliens would be a dangerous mistake. One that could destroy this colony.”

“What have you learned, Captain?” Janette asked, leaning forward in her chair.

“Based on the T’kri’s description of their enemy, we’ve determined that this race could only be the Caitarans.”

“No, that’s not possible!” Jev yelled angrily, leaping up from his seat.

“Jev, please sit down,” Janette said.

“But it’s not true,” Jev said, turning to glare at the rebel leader with contempt. “There’s no way the Caitarans could be at war with the T’kri as Captain Harris suggests.”

“Oh really, Jev?” Johnathan asked calmly, but with a wry grin, as Jev reluctantly sat back down. “Isn’t it possible that you’ve allowed your feelings for the Caitarans to blind you to the possibility that they just might not be who they claim to be?”

“You’re forgetting something, Captain,” Jev said, trying to moderate his tone, “I’m a telepath, but more than that, I’m Kiyel’s Enassi. You’ve seen that fact for yourself, and you know what it means. Through this link I’ve gained all of his memories and knowledge. I can assure you that at no point in their history have the Caitarans ever encountered, or even heard of, the T’kri.”

“With all due respect, Captain Harris,” Cael said through Kiyel, “Jev’s recollection of our people’s history is quite correct. Neither Alien Affairs or Caitaran High Command have any records of any encounter with the T’kri until our scout ship was shot down by them on this world.”

“Captain, during your interrogations, did the T’kri reveal the name of species they are at war with?” Janette asked.

“Indeed they did,” Johnathan answered, turning to face her. “They’re called the Chemians.”

“They’re called what?” Cael exclaimed loudly with alarm, his tail flicking erratically behind him.

“You’ve heard that name before?” Janette asked, surprised by his sudden outburst.

“All Caitarans know that name, First Councilor, and what it represents,” Cael said with a scowl. “Just a little over a thousand of our years ago, an extremely xenophobic, and violent, religious sect was banished from our world for attempting to overthrow the government. They called themselves the Chemians, after their leader, Rul Chemia. Their goal was to rid Caitar of all alien influences which they believed was undermining the purity of the Caitaran way of life.”

“Were there any indications that telepaths were a part of this group?” Jev asked Cael, leaning forward in his seat.

“The Chemians hated telepaths almost as much as they hated aliens, Jev. But that didn’t stop them from kidnapping telepaths and forcing them to help their cause,” Cael answered.

Jev nodded his head. “Then that would explain the reaction of the T’kri officer we captured and attempted to question. It was terrified of our presence —of Caitarans. Until now, we didn’t know why.”

“You and Kiyel both fought with the T’kri, personally?” Cael asked, his ears pricked up in astonishment.

“Yes, we did, and killed several of them as well.”

“But how is that even possible?” D’lin asked, looking quite bewildered herself. “You’re both telepaths.”

“Yes, Ambassador, but while Caitaran telepaths are incapable of fighting, because they would feel the pain they inflicted, human telepaths apparently don’t have that limitation, At least, not that I’ve seen,” Kel said.

“And because Kiyel and I are Enassi-linked,” Jev continued, “he’s picked up that trait from me, which means he’s capable of fighting as well.”

“Incredible,” Cael said.