In the Maker, I introduce several new characters. Not all of them are human, in fact, most of them are some sort of bipedal alien race. There are others, however, who are just as important, but aren't remotely human. In fact, some of the best characters in the books are the sentient ships. We've already met Styx, Hammer, Anvil and Quick Silver. They are a family unit who have been remarkably helpful to the folk of Shakazhan.
Now, however, a galaxy wide call has gone out and the Timokuan people must respond. The ships are the ones who must carry them to Shakazhan. This scene takes place as the Timokuan prepare to depart. It is customary for the mated pairs to travel, leaving their children for who knows how long, because there isn't any room on the ship for them. Reluctantly, Tianna and Lordvik must leave their family behind.
The final good byes were said and the four of them took the nearest teleporter to the spaceport. Luggage stowed, they tried to make themselves comfortable in their tiny cabins.
Jessia's thoughts turned to the legends she had heard in her childhood of the living ships her people had used. They were said to be operated by tiny, hairy men and carried the Timokuan wherever they need to go. Large and spacious, they could house everyone in comfort, their needs met with a thought.
She looked around at the cold metallic and silicon cabin. Not even the bed she and Acey were to share was homey or comfortable. Despite her efforts, she knew nothing would ever make it feel like home. But it would be where they lived for who knew how long?
Sighing deeply, she sank slowly to the hard, chilly metal chair, her thoughts churning slowly as she felt the engines ignite.
Suddenly, planetary alarms sounded. An attack? Had the Evil Ones come for them? Her training took over and she responded automatically to the klaxon. Grabbing up her weapons, she ran to her duty station. Acey met her there, anxiety in his face, which he tried hard to conceal.
"What is it?" What's happening?" Jessia asked.
"Not sure, but I heard someone say there were ships on the sensors."
"Ships? What ships could there be? Is it the Evil One?"
Acey turned confidently to his new wife, taking her hand gently. "No, Jessia, if it were the Kahlea, we would already be dead."
They both shuddered involuntarily. All they could do was wait, which they did, in silence. A few minutes later, the alarms silenced and a ship wide announcement began.
"Good people, although this will seem a peculiar command, you're to return to the planet, gather your families and come back to the spaceport within the next quarter sun. That is all."
Acey and Jessia turned to one another, stunned. Gather their families and return? Nothing more. Obediently, they met Acey's parents and went back to their house.
In silence, Jessia and Tianna gathered the children's things together, told the servants to watch over the house in their absence and returned to the spaceport. They were surrounded with other dazed and confused people, children in tow.
The skies seemed to part and above their heads was a gigantic, multicolored ship of unknown make and origin. Never had they seen such a vessel. Shocked, no one spoke for a few moments and then the flood of comments began.
"What is this ship? Who mans it? Where did it come from?" The same questions, as yet unanswered, bubbled through the crowd. As if in response to their queries, a large view screen flickered into life high on the main tower of the spaceport, showing the Parva's pale, startled face. Beside him, resplendent in full ceremonial gear, a short, furry person stood proudly, dwarfed only in size by his human counterpart.
"Good people," the Parva began. "My friends and colleges, we're honored today to welcome the Kindred from the planet Iyundo."
Silence echoed from one end of the spaceport to the other. A murmur began, then a thunderous sound of shock. Amazement, horror and consternation rumbled through the assembly. Kindred? Iyundo? These were names from myth, legend, histories older than recorded time and yet here they were in the flesh.
As if having anticipated the noise, the Parva held his hands for quiet. Slowly, the rumble died to a mutter and then silence.
"As unbelievable as it may be, it is true. We welcome the Kindred and ask all of you to make your way to the designated areas of the spaceport for transport to the ship. You'll see the symbol of your units emblazoned above each section. Stand quietly and be patient. This will be as swift as possible. I assure you, you have nothing to fear."
Tianna's face was ashen and she looked ready to faint. Lordvik held her firmly by the elbow, leading her to their designated departure area. The sign of their unit was hanging in the sky above it, blazing orange. Reaching to touch it, Lordvik found his hand passed through it, not even seeming to break the image. It was neither hot nor cold, as if his fingers mere passed through air.
"Do you think it's safe?" Tianna's face showed fear, which she tried to hide from her children.
"I'm sure it's perfectly safe. They could have killed us a million times over by now. They mean us no harm."
"Perhaps they want to lure us on board to enslave us!"
"My love, be reasonable. There are simpler ways of enslaving people. They could have drugged us all by infiltrating our atmosphere with chemicals to make us sleep and then swept us up in one massive motion. No, we're fine, don't fear."
A gentle tingle started on their scalps, working down to their toes. The children giggled happily, holding onto their parents hands. Jessia clutched Acey's hand in both of hers, not noticing that his fingers were going blue. Acey was too fascinated by the process to notice until they were aboard.
They found themselves in a large cargo hold with more of their people around them, equally benumbed. A strange voice made an announcement which they received in silence.
"Welcome good friends. We apologize for taking you so much by surprise, but it was unavoidable. Our attempts at communication were unproductive. We tried to warn you of our arrival. An anomaly of your planet made communication impossible until we were in your atmosphere." There was a short pause and the voice continued.
"Please accept our hospitality. The Sentience has instructed us to transport you to Shakazhan. You'll be taken to the quarters assigned to you. Your belongings have already been brought here and are waiting for you in your state rooms. As your children are such a vital part of you, we have invited them to join you, they'll be well cared for. I am delighted to introduce myself, I am Bellerophon, your ship and home to you for the next few weeks. Welcome."
© 2014 Dellani Oakes