Earth - Chapter Five

This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!

Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~

Much to Zephryn's delight, the lovely Chloe came back after she disposed of the tray to see if there was anything else he needed.

Regretfully he shook his head. "I feel as though I have imposed on your hospitality long enough. I should be getting back to my ship to see what kind of damage was done to it."

"Really, you've been no trouble at all," she said rather quickly. "You should stay and rest, regain your strength before returning to your ship."

If he didn't know better, he'd think she almost looked frightened at the idea of him leaving. He couldn't shake the feeling there was something wrong here.


There was a sudden pounding noise. Chloe jumped to her feet, face suddenly pale. "That's the door. I need to see who it is." She hesitated, then added. "Please, you need to stay here and not make any noise, no matter what you may hear. I'll explain when I return."

Without waiting for a reply she hurried from the room, closing the door firmly behind her. Zephryn stared at the closed door in bewilderment. Something was very wrong here.

Get dressed. Now. Da'nat's voice filled his mind.

"What? Why? What's going on?"

Quiet! Answer with your mind as I showed you when we first met.

Zephryn caught the sense of urgency from the Illezie. His feet hit the floor as he snagged his clothes from the chair. Quickly he began pulling them on.

All right, I'm getting dressed. Now tell me what's going on?

You must hide.

Hide? Zepheryn looked around the small room. Where am I supposed to hide?

Under the bed - hurry!

He could hear Chloe as she answered the door - she sounded angry. There were at least two other voices, both male. His first impulse was to go help her and he'd taken two steps towards the bedroom door when Da'nat's voice stopped him.

If they find you here it will be worse for her than for you. Hide. Now!

With a last glance towards the door, Zephryn finally dropped to the floor and wriggled under the bed. It was a tight fit, but he managed to work his way as close to the wall as he could.

I'm under the bed. Now will you tell me what's going on?

Quiet. And listen.

The voices outside grew louder, either drawing closer or raised in anger, he couldn't tell which. But he was able to make out what was being said.

"You have no right to just barge in here!" Chole said.

"We have every right. This house is the property of the Mining Guild --" a male voice was saying.

"Which we pay rent for!"

"--and we're doing a search of all houses."

"Go ahead with your search," a second male ordered. "I need to have a word in private with Miss Chole here."

"Get your hand off me!" There was the sound of the bedroom door opening. "How dare you! You have no right to invade my personal space!"

Zephryn heard the sound of footsteps and the door closing again. What by all the winds was going on here? As much as he wanted to find out, he realized Da'nat had been right to have him hide.

"I want you to tell me everything you know about the crash last night," the angry male demanded.

"What's to tell? A meteorite slipped through the protection grid and buried itself in the mountain."

"That was no meteorite, and you know it."

"But what else could manage to slip through the protection grid?" Chloe asked.

"I think it was a ship, and I want you to find it for me."

"Me? You know I can't do anything like that Gannon."

Zephryn could hear movement in the room but could see nothing from where he lay. But he could certainly feel the slight tremor beneath him and he couldn't help but wonder how stable this area was.

"I think you can do a lot more than you let on," Gannon said, his voice suddenly calm.

"Th-that's crazy. You know I'm different from my mother. I don't have nearly her range of skills."

"If I ever find out you've been holding out on me . . ." he let the threat hang in the air.

"You know I would never do anything like that Gannon," Chloe said, a placating tone to her voice.

"Just remember, it's in your own best interest, and those of your mother, to make sure you use your talents for the benefit of the Mining Guild."

The tremor in the floor became more pronounced.

There was a sharp rap on the door.

"All clear," the first man's voice rang out.

"I'll be right there," Gannon yelled back."Mark my words, I'm going to find that ship and whoever was flying it. I want you out there with the search crews tomorrow."

"But what about the new vein of ore? We're so close . . ."

"It can wait. I want that ship!"

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