The Watchers

Thanks for all the wonderful emails ... it's good to hear from long time readers and friends and really nice to hear from new people that have stumbled across The Watchers. As I've said in the past, I always answer every email. So sit back and enjoy the lastest chapter as things really start to heat up on Kelmar.

Like any author, I have relied on past experiences to draw from while writing this story. It is entirely a work of fiction. There is a mixture of personality traits of people I have known, but in no way does any character truly reflect any one real life person. This story does involve graphic descriptions of sex between two gay teenage boys. If that offends you, then you should not read it. Any similarity to any real person is purely coincidence.

The adventures that follow tell of an ordinary high school boy finding himself in extraordinary circumstances. Your feedback and comments are welcome. Feel free to email me at

Chapter Seventeen

"We Need a Ship"

"Devin knew there were risks. He knew he had friends that might not come back. He knew there was a chance he might not even come back himself. Devin knew all the risks well." Aaron paused a moment and looked intently among the fellow Shifters listening to him eulogize his brother. "But he also knew that he was fighting for something that transcends concern for personal safety. He fought for freedom, for our freedom and for our children's freedom. We must not let his death, or the deaths of so many more of our friends, neighbors, and brothers go in vain. We must continue the fight. We must continue to persevere." Aaron stood in the shallow waters of the shore of Lake Azure, named for its beautiful water. The lake had special meaning to Aaron and his brother. They swam in its cool, clear water as youngsters. As his friends solemnly watched, Aaron turned toward the open water and started slowly walking. As he walked, he reached into the urn that held his brother's cremated remains. Taking a handful, he gently scattered them out onto the smooth surface. One by one, the handfuls were lovingly spread onto the water. Tears streamed down Aaron's face as he threw the last handful onto the water in front of him. He paused for a brief moment, lost in childhood memories, then plunged headlong into the water ... to swim with his brother ... one last time.

Bahar and her forces had pursued the Shifters relentlessly, but using their guerrilla-type tactics, the brothers and their followers had been able to inflict large amounts of damage. Even though they were vastly outnumbered, the Shifters were spread out throughout the land. Gathering in small raiding parties, they viciously attacked Bahar's forces, destroying weapon stockpiles, supply depots, equipment warehouses and even attacking convoys of supplies and munitions. The Shifters had become a major thorn in Bahar's backside. She purposefully used the media to discredit the Shifters. She, almost on a daily basis, made announcements to make the Shifters appear to be the enemy of all the people. The general public apathetically wanted nothing to do with any of it. As long as the power was on, shops were open, and jobs were to be had, they were happy ... blissfully ignorant of the ever growing strength of Bahar. She was slowly closing the noose around the people's necks. Poised for the most powerful assault on the government in the history of the planet, Bahar's thirst to rule with an iron clad hand had become unquenchable.

"Do you think anyone on the council suspects anything?" asked Kibbeth.

"They're all tired old fools. Except for Radlouf. He has always questioned me. I don't trust him," said Bahar.

"Then we should kill him."

"That would upset quite a few people," cautioned Bahar.

"Not if we make it look like the Shifters did it," suggested Kibbeth.

"My dear Kibbeth, it has been entirely too long since I have been graced with your presence. That is an excellent idea." A soldier walked into Bahar's quarters.

"Excuse me, Madam. We're just about to touch down. A transport is waiting for you and Commander Kibbeth."

"Excellent, we'll be ready." The soldier turned and left the room. Kibbeth got up and closed the door, then continued his conversation as he made his way back to his seat.

"Can't be too careful," he said.

"Thank you, Kibbeth. You're right. All of my men are completely loyal to me though. They know where the true power of the council lies. When the time comes, they will be ready to strike. And they'll do it without hesitation."

"Good. How strong is your force?"

"I have my elite guard, which numbers one hundred. They are the best of the best. I have entrusted most of the supervision of my force to them. The others will follow the elite guard without question. All together there are just over a thousand soldiers under my command. The council still has control over the armed forces. The combined force of the Kelmarian Military is well over five thousand. Combined with the police and the council special guard unit, there is quite a force to be reckoned with."

"And there's the Shifters."

"Those damn Shifters. They keep screwing up all my plans."

"Then what is your plan?"

"First, we have to eliminate a few loose ends," said Bahar coldly.

"Ah ... that would be Cameron."

"And Paulik. He still has a strong ally on the council. A very influential ally who just happens to be Radlouf. Now I have two reasons to get rid of him. Radlouf must be assassinated. Then no one will stand in the way of my appointing a very experienced military commander to oversee the entire armed forces of Kelmar."

"Who's that?"

"Why of course you, Kibbeth."

"I'm liking this plan."

"Good. I'll arrange for the assassination and dispatch the capital police to capture Paulik and Cameron when they arrive."

"Sounds like we have entered into an alliance my dear?"

"Yes we have, Kibbeth. An alliance that will bring the entire planet under our control." Bahar's ship settled down on the spaceport platform at the planet's capital city of Gemkar. Bahar and Kibbeth immediately made their way to her secret headquarters to develop the intricate details necessary for their plan to work.

* * * * *

"Oh God, Cameron!" panted Jevic as I buried myself deep into my love. "Oh, Cameron, I've missed this. Make sweet love to me baby." I pushed his legs up on my shoulders and learned forward, smothering him in passionate kisses.

"I've missed you so much, Jevic," I whispered into his ear as I slowly buried my cock into his tight ass.

"I've missed you too, Cameron," Jevic said. He reached up and put his hands on either side of my face, held me still, and looked deeply into my eyes. "I love you, Cameron. I'm sorry. I feel like such an idiot." I quickly buried my cock deep into his ass again. Jevic gasped openly with a surprised look on his face.

"I love you too, Jevic and we'll have plenty of time to catch up, but right now, we need to renew our physical relationship." I swiftly plunged into him again evoking another gasp. A grin slowly grew on his beautiful face. His hands moved to the small of my back. Then he pulled his legs up even further, pushing his ass up to meet my cock. Then Jevic pulled me closer, demanding even more of me. His grin slowly disappeared and the expression that took its place was one of pure lust. His cheeks were flushed with the rosy glow that only comes with intimate contact. Finally, we were one again ... two lovers in the throws of passionate lovemaking. Our tongues sought out one another and entered into an erotic fight for dominance. Breaking our kiss, I leaned up and scooted a little closer. Then I took hold of his legs and pushed them to his chest. Leaning back down for another kiss, my throbbing cock slid in to the hilt and left my balls resting softly against the cheeks of his ass. Starting with a slow rhythm of strokes, I made love to my man. I could feel Jevic's cock throbbing against my stomach as I ground into him. Jevic's beautiful green eyes sparkled as he looked up at me.

"Oh, Cameron. That feels so good. Take your time baby. Take your time." Our slow rhythm had increased and I was already feeling the signs of my impending orgasm. It had been so long.

"I'm trying, baby, but you make me feel so good," I panted.

"Cameron ... aaah ... yes ... ooooh ... give it to me." Jevic's chest glistened with sweat. His cute little nipples were hard as a rock. God how I love this boy! Jevic's soft blond hair swayed with each thrust of my cock, some of it sticking to his sweat covered forehead. His groans of encouragement were quickly bringing me closer and closer to orgasm. My tingling came up and encircled us with its now familiar climactic warmth. Jevic gave me that look that told me it was time. It was more of a pleading look. Pleading me to bring him over the edge. I continued to plunge into him, but I added an extra nudge at the bottom of each downward stroke. The surprised look on his face was pure bliss. My extra nudge massaged his prostrate and pushed him right up to the point of no return. I was gasping for breath as my orgasm started to build. Beads of sweat fell from my face, splashing down on Jevic's chest. His moans suddenly changed to a higher pitch, demanding that I give him what we both were so close to. My tingling swirled around us, lifting us into a place that only we would ever know. We stood together at the edge, joined as one and took the leap together. Our orgasms rocked us both with wave after wave of immeasurable pleasure. The intensity of that pleasure zapped all our strength and we collapsed onto the bunk. I fought to find my breath. Gulping in air as fast as I could, I melted onto Jevic's chest. He was fighting for breath as well ... his chest rising and falling rapidly. I was still buried deep inside my lover and could feel his muscles squeeze me gently.

Basking in the afterglow of long overdue love making, my mind wondered back through everything that had happened since I had last made love with Jevic. I couldn't even tell you how long Jevic and I have been together. Time is simply a measurement, but its perception carries many different facets. Considering my relationship with Jevic, I realized that it seemed to me as if we had always been together, when in reality, it has only been a very short time.

* * * * *

"Did you get the charge set?" Aaron asked as a young boy came running back into the bushes.

"All set," he said. Aaron turned to look at the others. There were a total of six in his squad hidden in the bushes.

"OK, now we wait. It shouldn't be long." They all nodded at him and turned to watch the road. Aaron had overheard a conversation at a local bar about a troop convoy coming to Kutal with supplies for Bahar's forces. The convoy carried supplies and weapons and was not supposed to be heavily guarded. It was the perfect target. Many of Aaron's squads had attacked convoys in the past reeking havoc on the local commanders of Bahar's forces. Without proper weapons and supplies, the commanders were handicapped in their efforts to fight the Shifters. Today's ambush would cause yet another setback.

>From Aaron's vantage point, high above the road, his squad would be able to look down on the transport vehicles as they passed. Even though the large transports could travel at high altitudes, they chose to travel just a few feet off the ground to be less conspicuous. Little did the coming convoy know of the impending peril that awaited them.

"Here they come," announced one of Aaron's men.

"Are you ready, Cody?" Aaron asked the boy next to him. This was the seventeen year old's first raid. He nodded nervously. "OK, blow the charge, but only when I tell you." The boy nodded. Aaron turned and watched the road. The first transport vehicle came around the corner and was quickly followed by one more. A small command vehicle led the convoy. There were no troop transports in sight. The vehicles approached the location of the explosive, traveling along at a slow and deliberate speed. Aaron held his breath as the lead command vehicle suddenly stopped just short of the explosive. An officer stood up in the open compartment of the vehicle and looked intently at the road in front of him. Everybody in Aaron's unit sat frozen in the bushes overlooking the roadway. Cody looked up at Aaron.

"What's happening?" he whispered.

"Shhhhh," Aaron said without taking his eyes off the road. "We'll know in a second." Cody's adrenaline level was at its peak. He was literally shaking with excitement. He had often listened to the stories of the convoy raids and desperately wanted to go, but his father, Aaron's best friend, made him wait until he turned seventeen. This was the first raid since his birthday.

Bahar's forces made a habit of going from village to village and from farm to farm collecting taxes, as they called it. Anyone who refused to pay was shot. Anyone who couldn't pay was taken away to prison. Bahar's soldiers took what they wanted from the shops in the villages and made a habit of taking food from the farmers. Cody's father worked a small farm that barely provided enough for the family, but the soldiers took from them anyway. Many nights Cody would go to sleep hungry. Lying in his bed, he would listen as his mother cried. His father had taken a night time job in the village trying to make enough to get more food, but the soldiers took so much that no matter how hard Cody's father worked, he would never be able to have food on the table every night. Cody had vowed he would fight the evil that was slowly taking over the land.

Cody leaned up from his sitting position and looked through the bushes at the convoy commander. The commander was frowning and his eyes went from one side of the road to the other. He intently studied the bushes where Aaron's group silently hid. After what seemed like minutes, but in reality was only a few seconds, the commander ordered the convoy to move forward. In doing so, the commander sealed his fate.

"Get ready," Aaron said breathlessly to Cody. The boy's sweaty hands held the device that would reek destruction on the convoy. He looked at the detonator intently. Cody pictured the destruction that would come from the device he held in his hands, but never comprehended the loss of life that would go along with the explosion.

"Now, Cody! Do it now!" directed Aaron quietly. Cody learned forward and with both thumbs placed directly over the button, he pushed with all his might. The explosion that instantly followed was nothing that Cody had prepared himself for. The ground shook beneath him. Immediately, Aaron and his men stood and started firing at anything moving on the roadway below. Cody stood and watched as men screamed out in agony. Aaron's men were marksmen and no shot missed its mark as the men of the convoy fell to their deaths. The first large transport vehicle received the blast. It was on its side with its cargo spilled out onto the road. The second transport vehicle had rammed into the back of the first. Despite the heavy damage, the crew was able to set the vehicle down smoothly on the road. Now they were fighting Aaron and his men for their lives.

Aaron was Cody's idol. The man that stood for everything they sought stood beside him and relentlessly pounded the enemy. Still the men of the convoy fought back. Cody stood almost transfixed as the scene unfolded in front of him. Sharp red Quantum Pulsar blasts filled the morning air as good fought evil.

Dozens of bodies littered the roadway when the shooting was done. Cody stood in the bushes overlooking the scene below ... the light brown highlights in his hair shimmering in the morning sunlight. His chocolate brown eyes slowly surveyed the scene below. The young boy had watched as man after man fell to his death. The screams of death still echoed through his mind. The reality of it all was too much for him to comprehend.

A sudden blast came from nowhere and hit Cody square in the chest. He staggered backward and slowly fell to the ground, his hands trying desperately trying to break his fall. The pain spread out quickly and consumed him in sheer agony. Aaron quickly pulled Cody into his arms and held him tight. The realization of impending death gripped Aaron like an iron fist. Cody looked at the man he idolized.

"Did we win?" asked Cody weakly.

"You made it all possible, Cody. Without you, it never would have happened." Cody looked into Aaron's eyes pleading.

"Please make it stop hurting. It hurts so bad. Please, Aaron. Help me. I can't take it much longer." Aaron gripped Cody tightly and kissed him gently.

"Cody, it will be all right. I'll make it all right. Just hang on. Please. Just hold me, Cody and it will be all right." Aaron felt the young boy tighten his grip ... and then the grip slowly began to loosen. The tears streamed down Aaron's face as he held the body of his best friend's son.

"Noooooo!" Aaron screamed into the morning air. He pulled Cody close to him and gently kissed the young boy's hair. His sweet scent assaulted Aaron's nose ... forever embedding itself into his memory. The tears dropped from Aaron's cheeks and rolled gently down Cody's lifeless face. The whole experience was another nail in the coffin of war ... another poignant reminder that life is so very precious.

* * * * *

"OK, Shane, set her down easy," directed Joel. Shane brought the 'Deliverance' around to the landing pad. Engaging the reverse thrusters to steady the ship, he slowly put her down on the pad. "Good job, Shane," Joel said.

Jevic and I walked on to the bridge just as we touched down. Jevic went to his station and checked the monitors.


"Yes, Jevic."

"There're about fifty men taking up positions all around the ship." Joel quickly looked at the forward view port. There were indeed armed policemen moving quickly around the 'Deliverance.'

"I doubt that's a welcoming committee," said Paulik.

"That's the Capital Police. They're under Bahar's control," said Docta.

"I wonder what's up with this?" asked Joel.

"The real question is how are we going to get out of here?" said Joel.

"We're not going to take off," said Jevic.

"What?" asked Joel.

"Some kind of force grid has been activated over the pad. We're not going anywhere."

"Incoming transmission," said Brandon. Joel nodded and Brandon entered the receive command.

"Attention! This is Captain Trent of the Gemkar Capital Police. You are ordered to exit your ship immediately. You are surrounded and a containment field has been activated. There is no chance of escape. Exit your ship now and no one will be hurt."

"Captain, this is Commander Joel. We have just arrived from Earth and have important business with the Supreme Council. What is the meaning of this order and who authorized it?"

"Commander, you are in no position to be asking questions. Exit your ship now or we will be forced to come aboard and physically remove you and your crew. You have two minutes to comply." The transmission was immediately terminated.

The situation was going from bad to worse. I grabbed a quick seat and tried to relax. Finally, I slipped into the cloak of darkness. I reached out and felt the containment field. It was strong ... very strong. Charging up my tingling, I threw a substantial ball of force toward it. I blew a hole in the field large enough to drive a tractor trailer through, but as I watched, the hole slowly shrunk and in mere moments, it completely closed up.

"What are we gonna do?" asked Brandon. "They don't sound real friendly."

"What about weapons? Can we blast 'em?" asked Scott.

"What about our own defense grid? Will that keep them back?" asked Brandon.

I blinked by eyes open and looked around the bridge. No one seemed to have any idea as to what to do. I looked at Joel and Paulik. Then I look at Shane. Brandon and Scott sat quietly with worried looks on their faces. I looked at Jevic. He shrugged his shoulders. Finally, I looked at Docta. He was smiling as if he knew I had a plan ... and he was right.

"Well I know what to do," I said as I stood up. "And that's not hang around here. We've gotta go and we've gotta go now."

"What do you know that the rest of us don't?" asked Paulik.

"I know I can knock a hole in the containment field big enough to mind travel through. The only thing I don't know is how many people I can take with me."

"Cameron, I can mind travel," said Jevic. "And both Paulik and Joel can mind travel. We can act as back up with you in the lead and we can all get outta here." I looked at Docta.

"I can offer some assistance as well." I nodded in appreciation, but no one seemed to understand the choice that had to be made.

"I can't mind travel over forty people. There's just no way." An uneasy feeling of impending doom spread over us.

"We'll have to leave the men," said Joel quietly. "I'll tell them to surrender peacefully and hopefully they won't be hurt." The silence that followed consumed each one of us as we considered our options.

"Do it, Joel. Then let's get outta here," I said. Joel made the announcement throughout the 'Deliverance.' When he was finished I motioned for everyone to come join me. Brandon, Scott, Shane, Jevic, Joel, Paulik and Docta all moved over to me. We joined hands in a big circle. "I've got to establish a solid connection to each one of you before we travel. Paulik, you, Joel and Docta back me up. Jevic, I'm going to make a parallel physical connection with you to give me more strength. Once I've made a connection with everybody, I've got to blow a hole in the field. Then we'll go." I looked at each person in the circle. I saw worried faces.

"Don't worry. Just concentrate on Cameron and we'll be outta here before you know what happened," Docta said in his most reassuring voice. Brandon smiled weakly at me.

"It'll be OK, Brandon. Trust me. I know we can do this. Now close your eyes and concentrate on me." I closed my eyes and concentrated on Jevic. I had to establish my connection with him first. The cloak of darkness greeted me and I immediately felt the presence of Paulik, Joel and Docta. Then I felt a warmth wash over me as Jevic and I connected at a level we had never shared. It was awesome. I could actually feel what it was like to be Jevic. Awesome! Then I reached out and felt Scott's presence. I knew he would be easy considering our past. Then Brandon, and finally Shane's presence entered my mind. Shane's aura was especially reassuring. Now it was time to blow a hole in the field and get us all to safety. As soon as I pictured the safe house in my mind, the feeling of the field appeared. My tingling charged up and I threw a huge blast at the field. The opening was much smaller this time and I knew we had to hurry. I concentrated on the safe house as hard as I could. The familiar weightless feeling came and I knew we were moving to safety.

"Hold it right there. Nobody moves." I blinked my eyes open and looked at a half dozen soldiers holding Quantum Pulsar rifles pointed directly as us. We had made it to the safe house, but it was definitely no longer safe. My tingling was weak from traveling eight people, but not too weak to fight.

"You have no idea who you're dealing with," I said defiantly. The lead soldier raised his rifle and pointed it directly at me.

"I'm afraid you have no choice but to deal with me," the soldier said. My tingling was already charged up. I popped out a quick blast that hit him between the eyes. The thud sound as he hit the floor got everybody's attention. I quickly put up a shield between us and the soldiers. Quantum shots quickly filled the air, but were easily reflected back from my shield. Two of the men fell to the ground ... killed by their own blasts.

"Hold your fire!" barked a man coming around the corner and into the room. He looked directly at me. "You must be Cameron. I have a special present from Kibbeth." He raised what appeared to be a Quantum Pulsar Rifle and pointed it me. The rifle suddenly surged a thick white beam. Intense pain hit me as the beam hit my shield. I staggered back, but managed to maintain the shield. The man stopped firing and looked at me grinning. "Thought you'd like that," he said with an evil leer. "And that was only the medium setting. Please, allow me," he said sarcastically as he dialed the setting to max. "Now ... how 'bout a little fire scarecrow?" The thick beam cut into my shield again bringing another wave of intense burning pain. I pushed as hard as I could against the beam, but it wasn't enough. It was quickly draining my strength. I vaguely felt a hand on my shoulder. Then a surge of energy sweep through me, bringing with it new found courage and determination. My tingling rose slowly, bolstering the enormous amount of energy I was directing at the shield. I could sense the building energy wave. Just a few more moments. Beads of sweat rolled down my face. I concentrated on the man ... staring him directly in the eyes. The sinister smile slowly eroded from his ugly face. Then I felt another hand on my other shoulder. Another wave of energy swept through me. My tingling was instantly fully charged and I lashed out. The man and the rifle glowed for a moment, as if surrounded by a bright white light. Then he dissolved into thin air in a bright flash. I fell to my knees from exhaustion, but somehow managed to maintain the protective shield. Quantum Pulsar shots suddenly filled the air. The soldiers dropped like flies. We could do nothing but watch. When the last soldier fell to the floor, Aaron came around the corner.

"Hey, Cameron," he said. "Looks like we got here just in time." I released the shield and looked up behind me. Jevic had his hand on one shoulder. Docta had his hand on my other shoulder. "Everybody all right?" asked Aaron.

"We're fine, Aaron. It's good to see you again," said Docta.

"It's good to see you too, Docta," Aaron said and he walked across the room to us. "Cameron? You OK? You look a little frazzled."

"I'm OK, Aaron. Thanks." I introduced him to everyone. He remembered Paulik from my parent's funeral and seemed genuinely pleased to meet Joel. Meeting Scott and Brandon was a real treat. Aaron had never been to earth and was excited to meet real live humans. I introduced Shane as our master engineer and technical expert. And finally, I introduced Jevic. "So this is Jevic," he said with a great big smile. "A pleasure indeed," he said warmly as he shook Jevic's hand.

"I left the kitchen well stocked. I'm going to cook us all a meal," said Docta.

"I'll help," offered Scott. Docta smiled and motioned for Scott to join him in the kitchen.

"This is my team," said Aaron. "Over next to the door is our best crack shot. That's Garla. She could blast your ear off at a hundred yards." She blushed deeply. "And next to her is Jayme. Jayme is our explosives expert. He's always blowing things up." Jayme grinned and nodded at us. "Over here is Malik. He's the team's gadget expert. Maybe he can get together with Shane and figure out some of the new stuff we got on our last raid?" Shane nodded in agreement. It also didn't escape Shane's keen eye that Malik was quite handsome. "And finally, there's Ginny. She's our surveillance expert. When you need to know something, Ginny can usually find everything there is to know about it." Ginny smiled shyly.

"Where's Cody?" asked Docta looking around the corner from the kitchen. The room suddenly got very quiet. Aaron closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "Oh no, Aaron," said Docta softly. He quickly went over and pulled Aaron into a tight hug. "I'm so sorry." They hugged for a moment and the rest of us gave them the time they needed. Finally, Aaron straightened up and looked at Docta with reddened eyes.

"I hate this fighting so much. Too many good people are being killed. We've got to figure a way to bring this whole thing to an end," Aaron said.

"I think I speak for our whole group," started Paulik. "We would also like to see this conflict brought to a swift close. Bahar is out of control and now has another equally aggressive ally. His name is Kibbeth. He was the leader of the Talons on Earth. Together they will be a formidable enemy."

"I'm going back to the kitchen and help Scott. It sounds like you two have a lot to talk about," said Docta. He went back to the kitchen and we all sat down to devise a plan. Aaron filled us in on the recent increase in activity around Kutal. We learned about the soldiers raiding the villages and farms. Brandon, Jevic and I told Aaron about our battle with the Talons while Shane and Malik got together and compared notes. Malik took some of the hardware taken on the last raid from his backpack and shared with Shane. Together, they tried to determine what each device did and how it worked. They huddled together in the corner.

"So, Ginny, what's the latest news from Gemkar?" asked Joel.

"We heard about your pending arrival and the order for your ship to be impounded. We figured Cameron would end up here and that's why we came. But I also learned about an assassination plot against Supreme Council Member Radlouf."

"What?" asked Paulik.

"That's what I heard. I really don't know any of the particulars, only that he's supposed to be killed soon," she said.

"Radlouf is my main contact on the council. He's a friend and an ally. We've gotta figure a way to stop this," said Paulik. Docta came back into the room with trays full of food. The delicious smells wafted throughout the apartment making hungry mouths water. Scott and Docta passed steaming hot plates to everybody and then found a place for themselves.

"One more thing, Paulik," said Ginny. She swallowed a mouthful and continued. "My sources also told me there's a pending military appointment. Word has it that Kibbeth is to be named to head the Kelmarian Military." Paulik openly gasped.

"If that happens, it will spell the end of life on Kelmar as we know it. Kibbeth has an unquenchable thirst for power and an unwavering desire to kill every single human on Earth. Something has to be done," said Paulik.

"That's just it, Paulik. What do we do?" said Aaron. The room grew silent again as we ate the wonderful food that Docta and Scott had prepared. Minds were working in overtime. You could see the concentration on every face in the room. You could even feel the charged energy in the air.

* * * * *

The Gemkar Police Captain walked into the outer office and was immediately ushered inside. There he was met by Bahar and Kibbeth.

"Well, Captain?" Bahar asked.

"We are holding forty prisoners from the 'Deliverance'."

"Excellent," said Bahar.

"There were no boys on board. Only men."

"That's not good, Captain," said a solemn Bahar.

"They didn't escape on foot, Madam. The only thing that indicates anything out of the ordinary were two momentary power surges in the containment field."

"Damn that Cameron! I want that kid DEAD!" screamed Bahar, jumping up from her desk.

"What about the Shifter safe house in Kutal? Did you send a squad as I requested?" asked Kibbeth.

"Yes sir, I sent them immediately, but we have yet to hear from them."

"They've had plenty of time to report back, Captain. I strongly suggest you send another squad, perhaps with more men and heavier weapons."

"Yes, sir. Right away, sir."

"Are you sure you haven't heard from Rhodell?"

"No, sir. Not a word. And I did give him the Quantum Laser Cutting tool per your request."

"Fine, Captain. Just let me know what you find out. That will be all." The captain left the room.

"Who's Rhodell?" asked Bahar.

"One of my most trusted men. He was being held on the 'Falcon'."

"The 'Falcon'?" asked Bahar.

"I liked that name much better than 'Deliverance.' She was my Flag Ship back on Earth. To be brought here in captivity aboard her was a major humiliation."

"You don't have to worry about that now. What we do have to worry about is taking Radlouf out. As soon as that's done, I'll appoint you head of the military and we can kick some real ass."

* * * * *

"We need a ship," I said, breaking the silence in the room. Everyone looked at me. "We need a state of the art ship with stealth mode and a heavy weapons array." I looked around room. Most of the expressions were blank, but a few were nodding in agreement. "Then we can grab Radlouf before Bahar gets to him. Paulik, you said he was your friend and ally. Don't you think we could convince him that Bahar is behind everything going on here? Don't you think he could sway the council to eject her? Don't you think that would stop Kibbeth and bring this war to an end?" I was seeing more and more heads nod in agreement. Paulik took a deep breath and then sighed.

"Yes to all your questions, Cameron, but first of all, where are we going to get such a ship and second, I have no idea where Radlouf is."

"I think Malik and I have the solution to your first problem, Paulik," said Shane. Paulik quickly looked over at Shane and Malik, as did everyone else. "One of the devices taken from this morning's raid is a remote extraction portal."

"A what?" asked Joel.

"A remote extraction portal. It's used to extract one's self from a bad situation. Soldiers aboard attack ships use them to get back to the ship if they get into trouble. It remotely activates the ship's transport portal. The portal homes in on the coordinates of this device and transports the holder back to the ship. This particular device is programmable to different ships. There's a dozen different attack class ships already programmed in," explained Malik.

"Let me see the names of the ships!" said Ginny. Malik showed her the device and pulled up the ships on its display. As he scrolled down the list, Ginny became very excited. "All these ships are right here in Kutal! And two of them would suit our needs perfectly!" she exclaimed.

"So let me see if I get this right?" started Aaron. "You program the portal to which ship you want to go to, activate it and end up on that ship?"

"Correct. It remotely activates the ship's portal transport," said Shane.

"Sounds like you've got your ship, Cameron, but none of my people can operate the systems. We have a basic understanding, but not the expertise to take one into battle, let alone a covert mission like this," said Aaron.

"That's where our team comes into play," I said. "We have the experience and the know how." Paulik nodded in agreement.

"He's right, Aaron. You heard the story about the battle with the Talons. And then we fought with Bahar's ship. I'd say these boys make a damn fine team," Paulik said while patting Shane on the shoulder.

"Thanks, Paulik. I appreciate the vote of confidence," said Shane.

"We're overlooking one possibility," said Ginny. "If we use the portal, will the ship be manned? We could walk right into a trap." Things got quiet again. She had a very valid point.

"I can go," said Jevic softly.

"What?" I said with a very worried tone.

"Cameron, it's one of my powers. I can become invisible. I could use the portal and if anybody's there, they'd never see me."

"What if the use of the portal sounds an alarm? What if something is stored on the portal platform on the ship? You'd be killed!" Jevic looked at me with his jaw set. I closed my eyes and shook my head. He had already made up his mind and there was nothing I could say or do to stop him.

"Sounds like our options are being narrowed down," said Aaron. "It's your plan, Cameron, and therefore your call."

"There's one more thing that might make this transport safer," said Docta. We all turned to listen. "Cameron, you could make a parallel physical connection with Jevic. When he becomes invisible, you become invisible. Then you both use the portal. Not only are you invisible, but you have your tingling there just in case." Damn! I'll have to give it to my brother. He just solved our problem. I looked around the room and saw the knowing smiles.

"Sounds like a plan. Let's do it!"

* * * * *

Copyright © 2003 Stonemark. All rights reserved.

Note from the Author:

Sounds like the boys have figured out a way to get a ship, but what will they do with it once they get it? And Bahar is out for blood ... Cameron's blood! And Kibbeth is getting to be just as cold hearted as Bahar ... did I say "getting?" ... and poor Radlouf ... it seems like everybody is looking for him. Will his death solve Bahar's problems? Will his survival put Bahar out of business? The title of Chapter Eighteen is "The Line in the Sand." Who's going to cross it first? Come back next week ... same Bat Time ... same Bat Channel ... And as always, be sure to email me at and let me know what you thought of Chapter Seventeen. And hey, ... be careful out there ... play, but play safe! I know I say that at the end of every chapter, but it's so true.

Special thanks to Davin, Cody and Paul for their editing, proof reading and technical advice!