Read Falcorans' Faith Online

Authors: Laura Jo Phillips

Tags: #Paranormal Romance

Falcorans' Faith (7 page)

BOOK: Falcorans' Faith
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“We have sensor readings from one,” Jackson said.  “We can search for matching readings, but if Faith can identify another one or two of them, that would help.”

 “The biggest problem we have now is time,” Trey said.  “And the fact that Faith is only one person.  She can only do so much.”

“That’s true,” Jackson agreed.  “Even so, she’s already given us much that we would not otherwise have.  And don’t forget, she spotted another one from the Skyport today.  That will give us even more information.”

Rob finished reading the report, then handed the terminal back to Trey.  “The report contained no indication that the Falcorans still doubt Faith’s ability,” he said.

“Lucky for them,” Trey said with a hint of a growl in his voice.  “I was not altogether happy to leave her with them this morning.  If I had detected any doubt or condescension in this report I would have taken Faith from them, and found another male-set to work with her.  You wouldn’t know it to look at her, or to speak with her, but she is both too fragile, and too important to risk.”

“None of us were happy about it,” Jackson said.  “But, like it or not, she is the Falcorans’ Arima.  She is in the safest hands possible.”

“She is in the safest hands
,” Trey corrected.  “I’m not so sure how safe she is emotionally.”

“We will all keep a close watch on her and the Falcorans,” Jackson said.  “At the first sign of trouble, we will retrieve her.”

Trey nodded.  “That is the best we can do I suppose.  Right now, they are standing by to help us calibrate another set of sensors for the new readings.”

“Then lets not keep them waiting any longer,” Jackson said. 





Xaqana-Ti, Ruling Queen of the North and East Quads of Xantara, stood motionless as her grooming males crawled over her body, her mind reviewing the most recent reports from Za-Grix, the new Leg Leader of the Onddo operation.  There was something there that niggled at her, but so far, she hadn’t been able to put her stinger on it.  Frustrated, she shook the groomers off and returned to her private chamber to review the reports again. 

Hours later, after dissecting each word of each report, she still didn’t know what the problem was.  But, there was one.  Something was wrong there.  One of her greatest assets was her finely tuned sense of danger.  It had gotten her this far, and she was not about to ignore it just because she couldn’t identify what had set it off.

So, what to do?  She tapped one foreleg against her control board while she considered her options.  Suddenly, an idea occurred to her and, had she been capable, she might have grinned.  She returned to the reports and reviewed them again, this time looking for anything that might make her suspicious if she were one of her two remaining sisters.  Again, there was nothing.  Perfect.

Laughing softly to herself, she began composing a carefully worded missive to her mother, Qarnia, the Supreme Queen of Xantara. 





Faith spent several hours going back and forth from the Skyport to the cutter with the Bearens to help them adjust a new set of dedicated security sensors on the artificial jump point, which they were now calling
.  They’d tried to explain the differences in the sensor readings between the Doors, both open and closed, and natural jump points, but it was over her head.

Now, she was exhausted.  Graysan told her it would take an hour to reach the anomaly she’d seen from the Observation Deck earlier that morning, and suggested she take a break.  She’d jumped at the chance.

A few minutes later, after only one wrong turn, she entered her cabin and locked the door behind her.  It was a simple button lock, meant for privacy rather than security, which she didn’t like.  She looked around for something she could put in front of the door, but all of the furniture was either built into the walls or bolted to the floor.  She turned back to face the door and realized that it was actually quite thin.  She could probably break it down herself if she tried hard enough.  It certainly wouldn’t keep men as big and strong as the Falcorans out. 

She didn’t like the surge of excitement she felt when she thought of the Falcorans, and reminded herself firmly that they wanted nothing at all to do with her.  There was certainly no sense in worrying about them breaking into her cabin.  They probably had a key to the lock anyway. 

She opened the closet, determined not to allow herself to obsess over the door lock.  She grabbed some clean clothes and went into the bathroom, locking that door behind her without even thinking about it.

The bathroom consisted of a good sized stall shower, a toilet, and a sink with a cabinet beneath it.  There was also a mirrored medicine cabinet over the sink, and a full length mirror on the back of the door.  She opened the cabinet and found a stack of clean towels, another of washcloths, and a variety of other bathroom necessities.  She grabbed three towels and closed the cabinet. 

She shook out one towel, opened the medicine cabinet, and draped it over the mirror, then closed it as much as she could with the towel in the way.  Then she turned to the mirror on the door.  The only way to cover that mirror was to open the door, and drape one edge of the towel over the top of it.  The problem was that she’d have to leave the door partially open, and of course, unlocked. 

She didn’t have to think twice.  Security was important, but even that was not as important as her need to avoid looking at herself in a mirror. 

With both mirrors safely covered she took a moment to be sure there weren’t any other reflective surfaces.  The chrome trim on the shower door was a potential problem, but there was no way to cover that.  She’d just be careful not to look at it.  Satisfied that she wouldn’t accidentally catch a glimpse of herself, she reached into the shower, flipped on the water taps, and undressed. 

Ten minutes later she stepped out of the shower and reached for the towel she’d left on the sink just as a knock sounded on the door.  Startled, she jumped so hard that she slammed her hip into the corner of the countertop which hurt enough to take her breath away for a few moments.  When she could breathe again she wrapped the towel around herself and left the bathroom.  By then the knocking had become more urgent.

“Are you all right Miss Meyers?” Gray called, then knocked again.

“Yes, I’m fine,” Faith said through the door, wondering why they refused to call her by her first name.  “I’m sorry I took so long, but I was in the shower.”

There was a long silence and Faith wondered if he’d left.  “We’ll arrive in the vicinity of the potential jump point you spotted in just a few minutes,” he said.

“I’ll be right there,” she replied. 

“There’s no need to rush,” he said.  “Take your time.”

“All right, thanks,” Faith said uncertainly.  If there was no rush, why was he banging on her door?  She turned and went back to the bathroom where she quickly dried off and got dressed.  She ran a comb through her wet hair, then hurried to the auxiliary control room.

The Falcorans all turned to look at her the moment she stepped into the room.  “There’s a hair dryer mounted beneath the sink in the bathroom,” Tristan said.

Faith raised one hand to her wet hair, her face heating with embarrassment.  Then she dropped her hand and shrugged.  “I didn’t want to keep you waiting,” she said, matching his cool tone.  “I had no idea that my appearance would be of any concern to you.  I certainly didn’t expect you to be offended by it.”

She turned away from Tristan and crossed to where she’d stood earlier, as far from the Falcorans as she could get and still see out the viewport.  She wanted to turn around and run back to the privacy of her cabin, but she refused to give in to the urge.  In her place, Grace would have thought of something very clever and cutting that would have put Tristan Falcoran in his place without half trying.  But she wasn’t Grace, and nothing clever came to mind. 

She looked out the viewport, determined to ignore Tristan, and saw the new jump point, or Door...whatever it was...clearly.  This one was much lighter in color than the other one had been, and it was bigger.  Way bigger.  There was something else about it that was different, too.  She frowned, trying to figure out what the difference was.

“Do you see it?” Graysan asked.

“Yes, it’s huge,” she said.  “Definitely a hole that goes all the way through.  I can even see to the other side.  But something else is different.”

“You can see to the other side?” Tristan asked in surprise.

“What’s different?” Jonathan asked at the same time.

“Yes, I can,” she replied to Tristan without looking at him.  “And I’m not sure,” she said to Jonathan, softening her tone.  In spite of the flat way he spoke all the time, she was beginning to sense that he was very wounded, and she felt a need to be more gentle with him.

She closed her eyes, picturing the Door near the Skyport in her mind.  She’d only seen a small handful of jump points, so she didn’t have much to compare this one against.  After a few moments her eyes flew open and she stared at the hole in front of her, then smiled.  “That’s it,” she said.  “This jump point, or whatever it is, is ragged around the edges.  But the other one, the Door
near the Skyport, is perfectly even, as though cut with a knife.”

“You think the ragged edges indicate a natural phenomenon,” Graysan began, then paused when Faith held up a hand. 

“As I said before, I am not a scientist and don’t want to be accused of pretending otherwise,” Faith said.  “What the ragged edges mean is for others to figure out.  What I think is irrelevant.”

“What you think is not irrelevant to me,” Jonathan said.  Faith glanced at him in surprise, almost thanked him, and bit her tongue. 

“This is interesting,” Gray said. 

“Interesting?” Faith asked.

“We have a small confession to make,” Gray said.  “We tried to use the sensor readings from the Door to guide us to the spot you pointed to earlier, but we came up empty.  We then tried the readings from the Door after it was closed, and still no luck.  So, on a hunch, we tried the common jump point sensor readings.  What we found doesn’t match, but it’s got some of the same characteristics, and it’s in the right area.  We thought we’d give it a try.”

“Well, it worked,” Faith said.  “Do you guys think this is a natural jump point, rather than a created one?”

“The sensor readings resemble those of a natural jump point, but at the same time, they’re different enough that we would not have suspected it to be one,” Gray said.  “You said it’s big?”

“Yes, very,” Faith said.  “At least ten times the size of the one by the Skyport, if not more.”

Gray spent a moment tapping keys on his vid terminal.  “That’s three times the size of any known jump point,” he said.  “The larger size could have something to do with the change in sensor readings.”

“Which means what?” Faith asked.

“Which means, Miss Meyers, that I believe you found a new natural jump point,” Gray said.

“Really?” Faith said, smiling.  “That’s good, right?”

“Yes, it’s very good,” Gray agreed, returning her smile.

“What do you see on the other side?” Tristan asked.

“Do you have a map room?”

“One moment,” Graysan said.  He crossed to a large panel set into the wall and punched several buttons.  The lights dimmed, and a holographic map filled the room with thousands upon thousands of stars, moons, and planets.  Faith’s smile widened as she gazed in wonder at the sight.  She realized that the Falcorans were staring at her after a few moments, and remembered what she was supposed to be doing.

“Where are we exactly?” she asked Gray.  He walked toward the far side of the room and she followed him.  He stopped under a purplish blue planet.  “That’s Jasan,” he said, then pointed at an empty spot nearby.  “That’s about where we are right now.”

“Okay,” Faith said.  She looked at the jump point through the viewport, then began walking across the room slowly, glancing back to where Gray stood and out the viewport a few times as she went.  Finally she stopped, looked at the planets floating above her head, and pointed at one that was green and brown.  “There,” she said.  “That jump point leads to whatever world is right there.”

“Sheara 3,” Gray said, a note of shock in his voice.  “With the jump points we know of, it takes about four weeks to reach that world.  With this jump point, it would take less than a day.”

“If it leads where she says,” Tristan put in. 

Faith spun around as a deep, warning growl filled the room.  She never questioned how she knew that it was a warning growl, she just knew it. 

“It’s all right, Admiral Jonathan,” she said.  They hadn’t invited her to use their names, and refused to use hers, so she figured she’d best keep it formal.  “Admiral Tristan is right.  I’ve never done this before, so I honestly don’t know whether I’m right or wrong.”  She turned to Gray, determined to act as though nothing strange had happened even though her heart was racing so fast she could feel the blood pounding in her wrists and neck.  “Isn’t there a way to test this?”

“We could go into it and attempt to engage our jump drive,” he said.  “If it works, we know it’s a jump point and can shut down before we actually jump.”

BOOK: Falcorans' Faith
7.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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