23) Alone in Space

Cobishandra and Anadia awoke suddenly. It wasn’t the pressure wave from the exploding starship. They were too far away for that. It was an inner startling flash. Like a terrific scream in their heads.”What’s happened?” Anadia sat up.

“I don’t know, Ana, but I felt it too.”

“Check the instruments.”

Cobishandra put on her headpiece and opened all channels for scan. “I’m getting nothing from base, Ana … absolutely nothing!”

“Nothing at all? That can mean only one thing Cobi … our former home is gone.”

“Gone? You mean gone away?”

“I know it seems impossible.”

“Wait Ana, I’m getting something over the secured channel.”

Cobishandra carefully turned some dials. “I’m getting something … wait … oh!”

“What is it?”

“The starship has blown up! Survivors are regrouping! Lance is still alive!”

“Can you pick up any of their transmissions?”

“I’ll try. Quick, put on a headpiece.”

Anadia groaned and fumbled with the headpiece. It wasn’t easy to get it on with one hand.

“I’ll get you another pain shot in a micron,” said Cobi.

“I need one badly.”

“Okay, you listen while I get it.” Cobishandra quickly took off her headpiece and floated back behind the seats.

“Here, love.” She gave Ana the pain shot and reseated herself.

“They are all terrified,” Ana said. “No one expected it. The majority want to hail another starship and get out of there but Lance is furious and wants justice. All the small craft have formed an energy linkup around Lance’s ship. They have no independent movement. The ships are magnetically bound together. Lance is still calling all the shots. Thousands died, Cobi! Only a few hundred of our people are left!”

“Let’s get down to Miraba,” said Cobi. “We’ll be invisible to the inhabitants. Lance probably thinks we’re both dead. Anyhow, he’s more interested in Pheledra right now. We’ll find a nice spot that’s not too torn up and hunker down.”

“He can scan us just like we’re scanning him.”

“Yes, if he tries.”

“He will eventually. Cobi … I want to contact Pheledra.”

“No Ana, please. She frightens me even more than Lance. Ana, please try to forget about Pheledra.”

“I can’t, Cobi. She may be the only hope. Not only my hope, but yours too.”

“She hates us, Ana. We are completely alien to her.”

“Cobi, we’ve been together our whole lives. We were nest mates. Yet … our souls never touched until we were together in this situation. Cobi … what did you feel when you touched my soul?”

“I love you Ana. Your soul and mine are truly one. We can be that way because we are the same kind. We are the same kind!”

“I’m learning something, Cobi. Even opposite polarities are at root the same. Polarity is not a matter of kind … it’s a matter of choice.”

“This scares me, Ana.”

“I know. It scares me too but when I touched Pheledra, I found her to be like you … like me. I must find out more.”

“What do you want to do, Ana?”

“I want to telepath with her.”

“I can’t stop you but please Ana … be careful … and please let me in on what’s happening.”

“I love you Cobishandra. And I no longer have any secrets.”

“When will you contact her?”

“Right now. I’ll go to the back of the ship for awhile.”

“All right. In the meantime, I’ll move us behind Avengarone so we’re not out in the open.”

“Peace, my love.”

Anadia floated to the back of the scout craft while it accelerated toward Miraba’s large moon, Avengarone. Sometime later, Anadia returned. Cobishandra was anxious.

“Did you reach her?”

“No, Cobi. For some reason I can’t just now. She seems to be tuned in on something else, probably her mission.”

“What should we do?”

“Get a fix on the Firefly and also on Lance. Then, set down on Avengarone somewhere between mountain ranges and monitor the situation. That will give us some protection for the time being. We can watch and wait out there for awhile and just take it as it comes.”

Cobishandra reached over and caressed Ana’s shoulder.

“That sounds good and we won’t be making any hasty decisions.”

Their eyes met.

CONTINUE: 24) New Plans

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