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  • An honor guard of two Falian warriors and two soldiers accompanied him on his trip back to the oasis. He was glad of the company, but wasn’t yet used to being deferred to on all matters. It would be a day and a half trip and he was worried because he couldn’t contact Angel. Last night, before he went to bed, she was in his head for a few wonderful minutes. But today, he tried over and over and nothing came through. Something was wrong. He felt it in the pit of his stomach.

    The others in his party felt the tension in him and got caught up in his mood. The two Falian warriors tried to contact Angel and were both puzzled by the emptiness. He tried to think of some logical reason why Angel didn’t contact him and all he could think of was that she was hurt bad, unconscious; he didn’t want to think the other thought and kept pushing it away. By the time they made camp for the night, he was a man possessed. If the oasis had been attacked by someone or something, they needed to be careful when they approached it. They broke camp at midnight and drove through ‘til just before dawn. The oasis was just beyond the next dune. They stopped and climbed to the top of the dune.

    The netting was ripped to shreds and the entire oasis was eerily silent in the early dawn light. They could make out the outlines of their fighters broken into strange shapes along with a few shuttles. He felt a coldness in his soul as they readied their weapons and slowly slid down the face of the dune. As they got closer, there was evidence of a great battle taking place. Strangely there was no blast marks or smoldering fires.

    Then they saw the foot prints of great beasts and began finding bodies of their people. He steeled himself as he looked at all the dead. He didn’t know whether to cry with relief when Angel was not among them. They kept searching and one of the Falian warriors thought to him, “She was over here. And then her trail ends at the back of her cave.” She pointed to the mirror leaning against the wall.

    Could it be so simple? He thought to himself as he pulled the mirror to one side. There in the wall was a shaft going deep into the side of the dune. He stuck his head into the shaft and tried sending thoughts to her. He felt something, but it was different than Angel. They grabbed cloth and sticks to make torches and started down the shaft. It stayed narrow for twenty yards and then opened into a small room. Angel lay on the floor unconscious in a small pool of blood. He sent his thoughts to her and realized his unborn daughter was receiving and channeling back to him. Yes, he was sure she was his daughter.

    They gently moved Angel back to the surface and treated her for shock and loss of blood. The warriors had been trained to deal with battlefield injuries and set him on a cot next to her. They began a direct transfusion and gave her a lifeline of his blood. He lay there with his eyes half closed, pushing away the “cup’s half empty” thoughts that tried to invade. His eyes had tears from the effort to keep positive when he heard, “I knew you would come.” Instantly the warriors were at her side and evaluating. They stopped the infusion and he was able to hold her hand. “Our daughter told me where you were.” he thought to her. “She is strong” were her thoughts as she drifted into a healthy sleep. He looked at the warriors and they nodded and smiled at him.

    He began to tremble all over as the sobs silently wracked his body. The warriors immediately took his hands and made him lay back down on the cot. Whether it was from relief or shock from lack of blood, he didn’t know. They gave him some sort of injection and he relaxed into sleep. He didn’t want to sleep. There were things to be done.

    He woke in the afternoon’s heat and turned to Angel. She was awake and smiling at him, “You needed the rest so don’t be upset with your warriors. I am fully recovered with only the slightest of scars to show for my wounds. It was terrible. We were crushed before we had time to come fully awake. There was a herd of giant beasts that trampled everything in their path. They must have smelled the water on their journey across the desert. We all ran from our caves in the night when the noises started and then tried to find cover from the stampede. I hit my head as I ran back to my secret hideaway. I don’t remember crawling to the room. I just couldn’t think straight. That’s all I remember until I woke up here.”

    He slowly sat up and realized he had needed the rest. He went to her and just held her in his arms. She placed his hand on her belly and he felt his daughter pushing with her feet as she stretched. They both laughed and he enjoyed the first of many family moments to come. “She is strong willed you know?” he thought to her. “A lot like her mother.”

    When he left her to rest, he found his crew had been busy with the burial detail and had even salvaged several shuttles not too badly damaged. The warriors had located a pocket of survivors hidden in one of the higher caves. After attending to the wounded they did a head count and out of over sixty men and women there were only twenty one left, counting Angel. He made the decision that they would allow the wounded to rest another day before starting their journey.

    As nightfall arrived he posted only one sentry to keep from being surprised by another stampede. The two soldiers and his warriors took turns relieving each other until dawn. They worked hard through the next day making necessary repairs to the remaining shuttles and stocking them with supplies.

    As the second sun set and the full moons gave the sky a half light, they set out to rejoin their people. He would be happy to have them all in one place. They were a people and felt stronger banded together. There was a beginning of loyalty to each other that overcame their differences; an easy comradeship developing amongst the warriors and the soldiers. A belief in each other…
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