[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.“After this song is finished.”Radian took in a breath and held it in his chest as if his lungs would burst before speaking again.“Honestly, Mirilee, sometimes I wonder if you love your music more than you love me.”“Come now, dear.You know a professional musician cannot leave a song unresolved.”Nebula’s fingers came to the end of the piece and she brought her hands down.The silence heightened the anticipation of the response.“Will you come with me now?”“Yes, but you know I don’t agree with your father’s tactics.” She rose from the piano, and without the sound of the music, the vision started to fade.She must have finished the song at the piano back on board the flight ship.Nebula held on as tightly as she could.Perhaps she could last a few more moments to glean another morsel of information.“I know.I don’t either, but it’s my father’s legacy.I must support him whether I agree or not.”“The Gryphonites will never bow to our requests for peace.Slavery has been embedded in their culture for eons and they see it as a right.”“I know, but we must try.Another war would devastate the UPA alliance.”“There are people suffering on that bleak planet as we speak with no hope of rescue and here we are, in gowns clinking wine glasses.When your father preaches peace, he is also prolonging their pain.Radian, he’s fighting the inevitable.What we need is full-out war.”He put a hand on her shoulder.“Mirilee, please understand.We are taking measures to return them through negotiations right now, as we speak.That is my father’s main goal.”“Negotiations are useless and time consuming! What if it is too late?” She stepped away from the piano bench and took his arm.Radian shifted like a cold wind blew down his spine and a frown twitched in his lips.He looked as though he were about to reply, but no answer came.Her shoulders shook with a reflexive shudder.“I’d rather die than be taken by them and forced into their worker camps.”Radian laughed lightly, but the sound was brittle.She could tell her comment made him uncomfortable.“Well, they’ve never come here and attacked Earth.” He brushed a curl out of her eyes.“And that, my dear, will never happen.”As they walked into the extravagant ballroom, the lights from the chandeliers refracted off the hanging crystals, and Nebula’s vision fragmented and flickered out.Chapter 5Another FaceThis time when Nebula regained consciousness, she was sprawled several feet from the piano, which stood by the glass like a portal into space, a vessel that whisked her to faraway places in time.Its slick black frame was both awe-inspiring and intimidating.Sitting up, Nebula processed the ramifications of the memory.It must have been Mirilee’s sister in the boat.Not only did she look just like her, but she was mentioned in their conversation concerning the lake house.The probability was high, but it was more of a gut feeling, an impulse to save her, that pushed her toward that conclusion.“Mora.” The sound of the name comforted her.She’d never spoken with Mora, but somehow, deep down, she felt like Nebula’s own sister as well.It was the only family she knew of and the connection warmed her heart.Just hours ago, she didn’t have any family at all.The Gryphonites had taken Mora.The thought hit Nebula hard in the stomach and it took her long moments to come to grips with the idea of it.She’d heard so many stories of people taken by them, but never had those stories been confirmed.Nebula straightened.Her purpose of preserving life took on a new meaning.The Gryphonites were not known to execute their prisoners, so Mora may still be alive.Whether or not Mora accepted her as family, Nebula could still try to reach out to her.Rescuing Mora would not conflict with her orders if she waited until a leave of absence and requested a transport—then she might be able to arrange a rescue team.All her circuits screamed it was impossible, but somehow Nebula knew she’d find a way.Her thoughts were interrupted by the intercom.A red flashing light alerted an incoming transmission.Nebula sprinted to the monitor, her index finger striking the key to turn it on.The guard from Deck Eighteen flashed his face on her screen.“Good evening, Nebula.”“Good evening, Corporal.” She returned his salute, hoping her earlier intrusion hadn’t caused a problem.“Sorry to bother you,” he scratched his head, “but it seems Prisoner Twenty-six has had a change of heart.”Nebula leaned into the screen, her chin down so her eyes locked directly into his.“What do you mean by that?”“It seems he wants to talk.But he wants to talk to you alone.”This new information was highly unpredictable and Radian’s actions were clearly impulsive and erratic.Nebula’s circuits were sparking with all possible outcomes, but she couldn’t pin down any one in particular.Was it a trap?To visit him again would raise the risks involved by thirty-four percent, never mind the physiological affects.Nebula paused while the information computed.She overrode the warnings and spoke into the intercom, exerting an extra effort to keep her voice steady.“I will be right down.”It did not take her long to get there.Within minutes, she stood before Radian’s cell, the corporal at her side, inputting the code into the panel.“You give me a holler if he turns on you,” the guard said.The door vanished and the open cell loomed.“I’ve programmed a voice-activated response to your commands.”“Thank you, Corporal.” This time Nebula didn’t have to fake her ambivalence.His protection tactics were completely unnecessary and stemmed from an illogical disposition to protect slender women.She hardly needed it.With a nod, she walked in.The cell door materialized behind her, giving her the privacy she required [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]