Luxonians— light beings that can transform into any form they wish usually matching their host’s physiology.
Spaceship: Summons docked at Newearth bay.
Xavier Pax never liked to lie, but some illusions made life easier. Wearing a dark green, form-fitting bodysuit with tall brown boots, his bulky figure appeared almost trim. He tapped his short, blunt fingers on the ship’s console and considered the slim, brown-eyed Luxonian before him. Cerulean was renowned throughout the region for honesty and integrity, a reputation many races found highly suspect. Still, Cerulean’s plea appeared sincere, and objective evidence proved the truth of his words.
Pax folded his thick, muscular arms across his chest and lifted his chin. “So, you want me to pilot my ship with your chosen crew across the universe to—where—exactly?”
Wearing baggy pants and an over-sized sweater, Cerulean strolled around the bridge, one hand sliding over the rail. “Omega may be powerful, but he isn’t immaterial. He lives someplace.” Cerulean stopped with a sigh and leaned against the captain’s chair a couple of meters in front of Pax. “My sources suggest a location—” He pointed to the controls embedded in the chair. “May I?”
Cerulean tapped the console, and the starry universe on the bridge-screen suddenly refocused.
Pax’s eyebrows rose. “That’s quite a distance and very little is known about that sector. You really want to go there?”
Cerulean gripped the rail. “It’s our best guess and as things stand, we had better do something fast. Cosmos is coming this way, and she’s bringing her appetite.”
Pax stepped forward and peered at the screen. “Which planet—?”
Cerulean started forward but stumbled.
Pax caught him under the arm. “You’re not well.”
Snorting back a laugh, Cerulean’s gaze bounced off Pax’s worried frown. “That’d be an understatement. And another reason to hurry.” He jabbed a finger at a star cluster on the right. “Here, the second planet from this sun. It’s presently known as Mirage—a world that Omega created for his amusement.”
Pax titled his head. “Created? A world?”
With an indulgent smile, Cerulean spread his hands wide. “Where’ve you been? All Newearth has been chattering about the mysterious Omega and his appearance—and disappearance—during Justine Santana’s trial.”
Pax crossed his arms. “The Cresta murderer?” He grinned. “Personally, I wouldn’t mind being killed by something that gorgeous.”
The lift door slid open, and Justine stepped forward, her gaze flickering from Cerulean to Pax and back to Cerulean. “Am I interrupting?”
Pax stepped back with a low whistle.
Cerulean beckoned Justine forward and gestured toward the screen. “Just the woman I need. Show our good captain the coordinates for Mirage.”
Justine pursed her lips. “Please?”
Cerulean rolled his eyes. “Please.” He cleared his throat and glanced at Pax. “She’s just become a mother, so she thinks she needs to correct everyone’s gramm—”
“Manners.” Justine’s fingers flew across the console as she zoomed the screen closer to a specific star and magnified, focusing on an orbiting green planet. Slapping her hands as if to dust off the dirty work, she turned and eyed Cerulean. “Now that I am looking after my daughter’s well being, I’ve come to recognize the deficiencies of her environment.”
Cerulean placed his hands on his hips, his voice rising in indignation. “Meaning?”
“You’re the model of perfection, Cerulean, but a please and thank you every now and then won’t kill you.”
Pax stepped forward with a conciliatory wave. “Please, if you would, I’d like to be introduced.”
Leaning against the railing, Cerulean gestured toward Justine. “Justine Santana—innocent human-android with visions of perfect manners—Xavier Pax—renowned ship’s captain who’d like to know where the—”
Justine wiggled a warning finger. She strolled across the bridge, her gaze sweeping over every instrument panel on the bridge. “Well, equipped and state of the art. I’m impressed.” She bestowed her full attention and a warm smile on Pax. “We’re chasing a riddle in hopes of finding a mirage.”
A light shone in Pax’s eyes accompanied by a meandering, mischievous grin. He flashed a glance at Cerulean. “If you had started with that, I would have accepted immediately.”
Cerulean nodded. His gaze strayed from Pax to Justine. “So glad. Now, if we can get Clare to cooperate, we’ll be on our way.” Cerulean started to the lift.
With a frown, Justine leaned on the railing like a woman who had no intention of moving another step. “What’s your hurry? Bala and Max are already aboard the Merrimack and have signed on two good—”
With a shudder, Cerulean turned translucent, nearly disappearing from sight. He wavered and fell full length upon the deck.
In a flash, Justine bent over him, checking his vital signs.
Pax leaned forward, frowning. “I knew he was ill.” He sighed and stepped back. “I guess you better take him in for healing before we begin chasing your mirages.”
Cerulean opened his eyes and struggled to his feet.
Justine gripped his arm and helped him stand. Her gaze flashed to Pax. “On the contrary, we’re leaving Newearth within two minutes of Clare’s arrival. She’s the last of our crew, and I told her to hurry.” She swiveled toward the lift. “Where’s Cerulean’s cabin?”
Pax swallowed, marched to a console, and scrolled through room assignments. “Second level, suite five—but wait—I hardly know you—or him—or what’s expected of me. How can I trust you?”
Justine’s steely gaze speared Pax’s wide eyes. “Same way I’m going to trust you—human who’s not humane—by sheer necessity.” Justine propelled Cerulean’s limp form to the lift and turned, firmly grasping Cerulean’s shoulder. “You think you have trust issues now, wait till you meet Clare.” She tapped the door panel. “Second level.”
After the door slid shut, Pax fell into the Captain’s chair and rubbed his temple. He snorted. “Chasing a riddle to find a mirage? Ha. I should feel right at home.”
Novels by A. K. Frailey
Last of Her Kind http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg
Newearth: Justine Awakens http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN
Coming in 2018…
OldEarth ARAM Encounter (In production)
OldEarth Ishtar Encounter (In production)
OldEarth Neb Encounter (In production)
OldEarth Georgios Encounter (In production)
Melchior—Vengeance Is Mine http://amzn.to/2taeW2r
The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5
The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings http://amzn.to/2lWBd00