Excerpt: Striker

The view of the night sky alleviated his momentary doubt and confirmed where he was drifting. A blanket of midnight blue covered the heavens, bedecked with the brilliant points of stars shining like precious jewels. The primary moon sat fat and heavy with a red sliver of the secondary moon peeking out the side, reminding people that two moons hung in the Atlaintician sky. The pale white glow of the primary caused the waters to appear slick and black. Zeus awakened floating on the warm Waters of Poseidon. He did not know how he came to be there but instinct, or possibly his deep need for home, identified where he was; the waters surrounding him soothed his longing.

He searched for his sister, Shaneva. Only she brought him to the Waters of Poseidon. As one who was born with the Longing, the waters became her home when she turned fifteen summers. Strangely, the waters appeared empty of people. Both times he had been called here other souls floated nearby, not close enough to disturb them but silhouettes drifting in the distance nonetheless.

“Shaneva sleeps this night.”

Treading water, he turned toward the masculine voice. Not an arm’s length away swam a male unlike any Mar’Sani Zeus had ever seen. Zeus had never met a being as visually intriguing. Something nagged at him. He had never seen the male before, but the voice stirred old memories he wished to forget, haunting his darkest dreams. Since none had met with harm while dreaming of Poseidon’s waters, Zeus momentarily put aside his anxiety and studied the being before him.

The Mar’Sani’s body was covered in a combination of yellow, leathery skin and prominent green scales rimmed with a vibrant blue-green. The scale’s pattern resembled sharp tipped stripes flowing down his neck, arms, and what Zeus could see of his back. Stunning large green reptilian eyes stared at Zeus from between long thick eyelashes. Zeus decided the face of the being appeared much like his own, with a small nose and wide full mouth. When the male smiled, his teeth were sharp but did not resemble the needle-like ones of Zeus’s family. A thick ridge above the brow supported a spiked crest which rose a couple of centimeters tall in the front, increasing in size to as much as six centimeters at the back of his crown. A deep red membrane made an arching bridge between each spike, giving the strange impression of a royal coronet.

“Why am I here? Shaneva only brings me here when I’m injured.” Zeus’s frowned in thought. “There is nothing wrong with me.”

The male grinned. “As I am well aware. You found your life partners and soon will be a father. Congratulations, brother.”

Warm affection blossomed in his chest at the thought of Dargon and Alpha. Zeus’s fingertips skirted the edge of the dark green dot on his forehead that proclaimed him a part of an Alpha Trine and allowed him to communicate with Alpha, Dargon’s symbiote.

“You called me brother.” He searched the face before him, looking for but not seeing anything familiar. The voice though; the sound niggled at his memory and yet he could not place the countenance.

“All in good time.” The male flashed his sharp teeth, humor lighting his green eyes. “I did bring you here for a reason. You need to warn our brothers they are heading into a trap. The space over Valespia is no longer safe.”

“What do you mean? What waits there?” Zeus asked in alarm. How did he know where they were heading? Zeus should be suspicious of anyone other than the crew of The Gorgon or the Oethra 7 knowing their destination. And yet, the sense of familiarity, the knowing that came from his gut caused him to want to trust his male because—brother—did he dare to hope?

The male continued, unaware of Zeus’s inner turmoil. “What indeed. V’Saar are slipping through the defense grid near the Milky Way and they have partnered with one of the four Terren companies.”

The V’Saar, commonly called bugs, voraciously consumed all in their path, and should be trapped behind a grid built by the Ancients because the. A long ago treaty reinforced an uneasy truce between the Ancients and the V’Saar queen, Isolt. The Valespian Pact brought together the peoples of the galaxies on this side of the grid, requiring a triad of galactic emperors to power the grid keeping the V’Saar from overrunning the galaxies and destroying more innocent lives. But the galactic royals were old, causing the grid to weaken in places as their power waned. The control of the grid should have passed to the crown princes, allowing the next generation’s youth and vitality to renew the shields, but the third crown prince, the Bespoken, had disappeared.

Zeus moved to float on his back as he turned the information over, the sky lightening with the colors of the coming dawn. For some reason he trusted the male next to him, who seemed more than simply a strange Mar’Sani. If what he said was true then the V’Saar had gained allies and Valespia lay under siege.

The male rested in the water next to him. “The V’Saar destroy or enslave all races they encounter. Why then have they not overrun the human’s solar system? You and our brothers will need to puzzle out the answer. What I do know is you need to seek the Feteine’s help. If you decline to do so … no, you must. With their assistance, you can survive what will occur when you reach Valespian space.”

Zeus turned to the male and stared hard, his heart squeezed with sudden recognition. He now recalled where he had heard the voice before. Many years ago, when he had been thirteen summers, Shaneva brought him for the first time to the Waters of Poseidon in an attempted to save him as he suffered at the hands of Chtichlians. After being attacked and seriously injured, his father had insisted on repairing his blindness. But the Chtichlians used the procedure to steal something far more precious to him than his sight. Shaneva had not been alone. A male had accompanied her. Certain of his identification, Zeus slid his fingers through Canry’s slightly webbed ones, careful of the wickedly sharp claws.

Zeus’s hesitancy to trust the information given to him slipped away. “Is there anything else I should do?”

Canry drew in a shuddering breath. “You believe me?”

“Of course, you are our brother.” Zeus shook with barely controlled elation. He could not wait to tell his brothers and parents.

The sun kissed the edge of the ocean, washing the sky with brilliant shades of red and orange. “A storm is coming.” Zeus glanced at Canry who echoed his words.

“You are more sensitive than you know, Zeus. If you must fight on land, find a pool of water. It can be as small as the size of my palm. Submerge your fingers and call my name. I will come to your aid. Promise me you will.” It was less a question than a demand.

He moved to tread water once again. “What do you see?” Zeus suspected Canry was touched by Poseidon. He may have more information that would help Zeus on this quest to seek out the Feteine, or provide assistance on how to navigate Valespian space safely.

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