Yelsa loved sunshine. The rays of light pouring down on her elven face and perfectly petite form immersed her soul in ecstasy. She lay back on the shore, her sandaled feet falling to the side, her dark brown shorts contrasting with the tan grains of sand, while her white blouse rippled like the waves in a gentle breeze. She gazed up at a wispy cloud sweeping across the blue expanse. Birds twittered in the tree line behind her, animating a smile on her lips. “The Creator be praised—”
Her sensitive ears perked at the sound of footsteps plowing across the sand. She waited for a shadow to intercept the sun.
“Yelsa?” The voice, though deep and commanding, hinted at a need.
Raising herself on one arm, Yelsa turned and faced the being before her—a Luxonian in human form: dark skinned, muscular, black eyes, wearing casual long pants, a dark blue t-shirt, and sporting a black headscarf. Her left eyebrow arched.
“Yes? May I be of assistance, Luxonian?”
The stranger grinned as he pulled his headscarf away. “No fooling a Bhuac, is there?” Kneeing on the sand, he gazed across the waves and inhaled a cleansing breath. “Beautiful. Hard to find serenity on Newearth, but you’ve got something good here.” Facing her, he thrust out a work-roughened hand. “Roux, a friend of Cerulean. Faye gave me your name.”
Yelsa sat up, shook his hand, and nodded. “Faye is revered among my people.”
“Apparently she thinks a lot of you—bragged non-stop about your tracking and tactical abilities—”
Yelsa’s cheeks flushed as she stood, her eyes dancing over the waves as if to find a path across. “Faye likes to exaggerate our merits—part of our culture—to always appear better than we are.”
Roux heaved himself to his feet and brushed the sand from his pants. “I haven’t met a race yet who wants to appear any less than the best.” His sudden grin disappeared as he turned toward the woods and gestured an invitation forward.
After picking up a yellow bag, Yelsa wrapped its long embroidered strap over her shoulder and padded across the shifting sand.
Glancing in her direction, Roux’s gaze swept over her. “You’ve heard about Cosmos?”
Yelsa sighed. “Faye sent word through Bhuaci channels. I doubt there’s anyone on Newearth who’s ignorant of our impending doom.”
Roux rubbed his hands across his face. “From the way most are reacting, you’d never guess. Business as usual.”
“Rumor has it that Cerulean is leading a mission to find the mysterious Omega—so he can deal with her. Of course, the Inter-Alien Alliance and Newearth authorities assure us that they have everything well in hand.”
The sand gave way to black earth and short grass as they entered a copse of woods. Leaning against a large, spreading oak, Roux shrugged. “The IAA has no interest in panic, so they’ll assure us of anything and everything. But the truth is…. Well, Cerulean’s mission is only a part of the plan. No one, not even the Supreme Council, knows exactly where Omega lives, so the whole venture is a gamble.” His gaze lingered over Yelsa as she shook the sand out her sandals, propping one hand on the tree.
Comfortable again, she crossed her arms and waited.
Roux pressed forward and strolled deeper into the park-like woods. “We’re sending a ship out in search of Cosmos herself.”
“To determine her exact location?” Yelsa strode along, her gaze sweeping her environment.
“To intercept and—” he hesitated and glanced her direction, “—to engage if necessary.”
Furrows formed between Yelsa’s blue eyes; her gaze fell to the ground as she stepped evenly at his side. “You have the IAA’s authority—?”
Roux slapped his leg. “They’re lending me a ship….” He stopped and faced her, his gaze searching hers. “Listen, I worked with Cerulean on the original Inter-Alien-Alliance, and it was no picnic, trust me. Nearly got ourselves killed. Trying to get everyone to agree is about as dangerous as waiting for Cosmos to devour us.”
“So you’re taking the law—”
“We’re not taking anything!” Roux threw back his head, closing his eyes. Inhaling a deep breath, he held up a hand. “I’m explaining this badly. Cerulean should’ve stopped here first. He’s more eloquent.”
Yelsa’s chuckle brought a relieved sigh from Roux’s middle.
She arched her brows. “You’ll do fine. Just tell me the facts.”
“Facts? Okay, the fact is that we are sending out another ship—the Merrimack—to locate Cosmos, and we need you on board.”
“And if we find her, what will you do? Form a treaty—?”
Roux rolled his eyes. “A treaty like—say—Please don’t eat us, or we’ll be forced to cause you digestive problems?”
Yelsa stared deep into the woods. Finally, her gaze refocused, and she locked onto Roux. “Cosmos devoured our sister planet. My sister lived there….”
Roux closed his eyes; his hand pressed together. After a moment, he blew air between his lips and glanced at Yelsa. “You understand why we need you.”
Yelsa took the lead and marched along the winding path, slapping stray vines out of her way. After hiking a steep hill, she stopped at the edge of a vast viewing platform overlooking Newearth’s largest transport docking bay. “Once you direct me to the Merrimack’s shuttle, I’ll know exactly what to do.”
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