Authors: Taylor Dillion
Do you think she’s going to be okay?
Vax smiled to himself and wondered if she realized that she had switched to mental communication or ‘talking’. “
Yes, Dezek will make sure of it. He’s enamored of her. He found his mate also. Do you realize you’re only telepathing or ‘talking’ as we call it?
Rose looked shocked and then started to laugh. “
How is that I understand you? When did I learn your language? Will I be able to do this with anyone or just you?
Wait, one question at time!
” he laughed. “
I don’t understand all of it either. My mother who is also human can only reach my father and her four sons but it took her much longer to ‘talk’ so easily and to understand what she was hearing. Try to reach Moz, I’ll send you what his mind feels like and then see if you can find him.
They walked into another bedroom off the passage way she now knew was Deck Eighteen. It was similar to the one where they left Dezek and Sienna. Rose sat in a comfortable chair and concentrated on Moz and the images and feelings she got from Vax about him.
” came the surprised reply. Rose burst into giggles.
Vax raised his brows as he received from Moz. “
Kid, does Dezek know what you did? If not, let me know when you tell him, I want to make sure I’m somewhere else, anywhere else
Vax laughed with Rose then. “
He knows. We told him and Sienna a little while ago. It wasn’t intentional but I’m not sorry and I told them I’m keeping her.
Your mother is Human. Does she have this connection with your father?
” Moz asked.
Yes, she can also communicate with the four of us children but not anyone outside our family. Nyman’s mother is also human and can talk with his father and her two sons but no one else. Most of human mates I know can work with their mate and children, but reaching outside those bonds must be a Rose trait since she was able to reach you,
” Vax told him.
I have to go, Kid, Fazon is doing something that’s upsetting Taylor. Oh,hell?!
Vax was laughing so hard he nearly fell out of the chair. They were up to four mated pairs and it hadn’t even been twenty four hours.
Must be something in the water,
” Rose giggled as she ‘talked’ to him.
After recovering from his shock that his connection to Taylor was intact, Moz entered deck Eighteen’s lounge to find Fazon backed up against a wall with his beautiful Navajo poking the big man in the chest and chastising him as though he were a child and not nearly twice her size. Taylor like Sienna and Wendy stood three or four inches taller than the other women but Fazon had a good foot and a little more on her.
“I don’t care what you think. You will not treat her like she’s some animal to be carted around by the neck. She is sentient intelligent being and you will show her the respect she deserves. Just because she has fur and isn’t a biped doesn’t mean you’re better than she is, buddy! And you can save that glare for somebody who will cower under it!” Taylor admonished.
“Fazon, what did you do to annoy my Taylor?” Moz leaned against the door jamb smirking. Fazon glared at him.
“He’s an idiot who happens to prejudiced against non-bipeds,” Taylor turned to Moz. “Which deck is hydroponics on? I need to escort Zabyss there. He can just stay here and think about how not to be jerk,” Taylor glared at Fazon again then turned and gently ushered the Xydrav through door.
“Left at the end of the passage to the lift and we’re going down to Deck Seven,” Moz told Taylor as he followed her and her charge into the passageway but smirked over his shoulder at the glaring Fazon. Before the door could close he heard an amazed Natalie, “Wow, dude, you really screwed up. Taylor
“The idiot thought he could just charge in there and snatch her up like she was a dog or something,” Taylor fumed.
When they reached the lift door, Moz stopped and knelt next to Zabyss.
“Zabyss, my name is Moz and I’m very pleased to meet Taylor’s friend. I’d also like to apologize for my shipmate. I’ll work on his retraining,” Moz told her sincerely and held out his hand palm up.
Zabyss made a delighted chittering noise and graced his palm with a tentacle. Moz looked up and to see Taylor beaming at him.
“Now let’s go see what we need in Hydroponics so Zabyss feels comfortable and at home,” he told Taylor as he stood and took her hand.
The lift door opened after a short trip and Taylor might have stood there all day. The deck was wide and cavernous and filled to near overflowing with plants of all colors and shapes imaginable including full size trees. Moz pulled her out to stand next to him while the Xydrav was rushing from place to place chittering with excitement and awe.
“You’d almost never know you were on a ship. Are any of the plants edible?”
“About half are. The rest are fresh air creation, air filtering and water filters,” Moz told her proudly. “Our ship has one of the best hydro farms of any fleet.”
“This is your space,” she said to him as the knowledge dawned on her. He beamed and nodded, “I’ll show you around.” They wandered through the foliage for a while listening to Zabyss move around and chitter.
Zabyss came scurrying back out of the foliage. The orange of her fur had already seemed to brighten in color and shine more and her pale green eyes were lit with excitement.
“Zabyss found beautiful place. Zabyss loves flowers. Zabyss found XyNystle fruit!” the little creature told her excitedly. She gave Taylor one of the spiky dark blue green orbs that they had eaten on the suPonick ship.
“Ooh, these are great,” Taylor told her. “We had them on the suPonick ship. They were really tasty and juicy.”
Zabyss blinked for a minute. “Ugly gray teethy giants. Keep Zabyss in cage for bird,” Zabyss muttered. “Always step on everything,” she huffed.
Moz knelt next to Zabyss. “I’m glad you like my gardens. Did you find someplace to nest?”
“XyNystle trees,” she pointed a tentacle in the direction of a stand of trees whose appearance made Taylor smother a laugh. They looked like they had come out of a Dr.Seuss book Taylor had once read as a child. The trees had fronds like a coconut palm tree but with thick knobby trunks sprouting large twisted limbs that gave it an umbrella like shape. But it was the color that made Taylor smile. The fronds were the same bright orange as Zabyss and appeared to be just as fuzzy. The trunk was a bright garish purple that clashed horribly with the orange fronds. Zabyss latched on to Taylor with a tentacle and pulled her toward the trees. Up close Taylor could see the spiky blue green orbs of fruit. Zabyss latched on to a limb and scurried into the tree easily and settled into a natural pocket made by several of the limbs crossing each other at about four feet in height. She sighed in contentment. Taylor laughed at the Dr. Seuss picture in front of her.
“So you like this spot for the trip home?” Moz asked her. Looking at Taylor he said, “These trees are from the original home world of the Xydrav.”
“Oh, yessss. Zabyss happy,” The little creature sighed.
Taylor brushed a hand across one of the tentacles. “Good night, Zabyss. I’ll see you in the morning.” She and Moz left the little creature purring in her tree. Together they walked the gardens for a while longer.
“Fazon sent me your quarter assignment, 18-6.” Moz smiled at her and pulled her to stop near what looked a pad of grass but it was soft pastel yellow in color. “Sit with me,” he said pulling her down on the pad and surrounding her with his body. “Tell me what you’re thinking,” he said cradling her against him so that her head rested against his shoulder and he pressed his lips to her forehead. She smiled and relaxed into him.
“I’m thinking that I am SO much better off than I was forty-eight hours ago,” she said with a laugh. “I was missing my greenhouse and my plants and everything else good
bad about home while wondering when my friends and I would get eaten. And then you picked me up, literally and figuratively, and made it better.”
“You know I can’t let you go, right?”
“I’m counting on it,” she said with a smile. They sat that way for a long time talking and getting to know one another. A comfortable silence finally settled over them. Then after he felt her relax into sleep, he lifted her and carried her sleeping form back up to the quarters she had been assigned. He removed her shoes and covered her with the blanket. At the door he gave her one last look and made himself leave. In the hall, he found a grumpy Fazon.
“Are they all in for the night?” Moz asked quietly.
“Yes, and tomorrow they’re your job,” Fazon growled fiercely and poked him in the chest.
“What happened?” he asked.
“Blanca, that’s what happened. If she wasn’t pregnant, I’d paddle her bottom till she couldn’t sit down!” Fazon stalked away with this declaration and entered the lift. “I’ll be on the bridge.”
Moz just shook his head and then headed back to the gardens to do some work and store the seeds and soil conditioners he gotten on the planet. He knew he was too wound up to sleep, realizing one had found the soul mate in his life had that effect on a guy.
Rev knew the moment she woke. She didn’t move or change her breathing but he felt the wariness steal over her. He had been sitting for almost another hour with his hands on her. He had one hand resting on her stomach and the other was holding one of hers.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” he told her in his deep, rough voice. “I’m using my hands to help you heal yourself. We were worried. Your nervous system took quite a hit.”
She slowly opened her eyes and he saw the surprise on her face and in her eyes. She still didn’t move. In fact, she had become nearly frozen.
“Nothing to say?” He gave her a sardonic smile. “Okay, I’ll start. My name is Rev. They told me your name is Ashaa. You and I are Zargazians which Vax tells me you probably don’t know but you can explain that to me later. You were purchased along with your human friends from a Truskan merchant on the planet Katowia. He apparently threw in the Xydrav for free. Nice of him wasn’t it,” he explained.
“I don’t know what a Xydrav is.”
“Small, fuzzy, orange and lots of tentacles?”
“Zabyss, her name is Zabyss,” she told him. She still looked a little lost and uncertain. He could feel her confusion.
“I know you’re worried and a little lost, but I promise it’s getting better already.”
“She’s asleep in the room next door. She finally stopped worrying about everyone and gave in to her exhaustion. Rose is back in one piece and down the hall with Vax and Taylor who is also well now went with Moz to show Zabyss the hydroponic lab which is on Deck Seven. The higher humidity from the plants will make Zabyss more comfortable. The others are in various rooms on this deck which is Eighteen. You are in quarters seven.”
He slipped his hand from under her shirt. “Would you like to eat something?”
“Yes. I think that would help.”
He helped her sit up and then stand. She was surprised to discover Rev had easily eight inches of height on her so she came to about his shoulder. She was used to being on eye-level with most human males. As the average for human males was six feet and since she was slightly under 6’2” herself she rarely looked so far up. Once she seemed steady Rev guided her to the table and chair set in the room pulling out her chair for her, something no one had ever done for her. She watched as he pushed buttons on a console and then open the small door next it. He produced a soup with chunks of what looked like meat and vegetables and a pitcher of cool water and one of a juice he knew would do her energy levels some good. He pulled bowls and glasses and such from the next cabinet. He turned to look at her and he froze.
“Why did you re-camouflage?” he growled softly.
“You look human again.”
“It’s what I’m used to doing. My natural coloring makes the humans nervous. So when I was small, Dr. Westing suggested I learn to alter my appearance because it would get the humans to treat me with less fear and more like a person instead of a lab experiment. He apparently was aware that I could camouflage before I was.”
He sat the dishes on the table in front of her. “Take it off. It uses up energy you need to finish healing and recovering,” he commanded in a low deep fierce growl.
Ashaa stared at him for a moment and then complied. He smiled as spots began appearing. “That’s better. When you’re with me, you have no need to hide. Who is Dr. Westing?”
“He was in charge of the lab.”
He frowned for a moment as the rest of what she said penetrated. “What did you mean ‘lab experiment’?”
“I was created as a lab experiment. I am the combined DNA of a human and an alien who crashed on Earth, so Vax is correct. I did not know the alien was called a Zargazian. After he was killed, his DNA was combined with human ova and several generations of the resulting hybrids were grown. I am approximately one third human and two thirds alien according to Dr. Westing and Nogith agreed with that figure. I am Alien Hybrid Species specimen aa or Ashaa for short,” she explained with no emotion.