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  • The ship was unlike anything that Rahl had seen before. Not a ship for the water, but a spaceship designed for interplanetary travel. He had read the alien’s mind for the location when they made their jump from the bar. When Zon and Rahl had turned toward the door they saw the reason for the sudden silence. Six of them, in uniform, had their laser rifles pointed loosely at a group of patrons at the closest table. There was a short burst of mental communication, none of which Rahl understood before the entire group stood and moved to the bar so the newcomers could sit down. Rahl looked at their new companion but he was still shut down and playing dead. Rahl had long ago learned how to go into the listen only mode without putting any thought waves out to be intercepted.

    The rest of the room, which had been bustling with plots and conversation earlier, was in the same kind of listening mode. It was like they were waiting to be called out by the soldiers and were hoping to be passed over. Rahl laid his hands on Zon and the alien’s arms. As soon as he was sure they were not being observed by anyone, he cloaked them and they jumped to the alien’s ship. “We must hurry” thought the alien as he raced up the ramp. Rahl and Zon followed him inside and the ramp retracted into place.

    “I got us clear of the danger, now you need to explain before we go anywhere with you. Zon and I can jump out of here as fast as we jumped in.” Rahl pushed at him. The alien stopped and turned to them, “My name is En and I am being pursued by those agents of my government you saw in the bar. This ship is headed for my home planet with much needed supplies for the revolution. Those hired agents would call me a pirate or a traitor; what I am is a patriot blockade runner. My partner was killed in our last encounter with them before I could lose them and land here.” He paused and then continued “If you will help me get to my planet with these supplies, you will be handsomely rewarded and I promise to return you to your homes on my return trip.” He waited while they considered his proposal.

    Always the adventurer, Rahl turned to Zon for his input. Zon was born to be in a fight and Rahl could see the gleam in his eyes. They nodded to En and he turned to punch coordinates into a computer. Zon climbed into the gunners chair and practiced a few rotations to get the feel of the action. When he turned to Rahl he had such a bloodlust in his eyes that Rahl had to warn him not to shoot unless they were fired upon. En took the pilots chair and Rahl sat beside him and buckled in. En thought “Zon. Do you see that ship that looks a lot like mine two berths down?” and when Zon nodded in the affirmative, “See if you can cripple it. That will slow any pursuit.” He gave Zon a moment to fire a few shots and then they were airborne and moving fast. Rahl had time to see the ship burning into a molten ball as they zipped past it and then they left the planet of Faldo and were accelerating toward the great emptiness of space. The ship had its own atmosphere that smelled of canned air.

    Rahl thought “How long until we get to your planet?” and En paused a moment while he checked the space around them “Only a few hours once I jump into hyper drive. I’m just checking to make sure we don’t have any companions following us before I make the jump.” The screens were blank of contacts when En pushed the touch screen area marked in red. For thirty seconds it was as if they were moving through water. All of their movements were slowed down and breathing was difficult. Rahl looked at Zon and his eyes were wide with fear. At the end of the acceleration phase they returned to normal and he could see by the forward looking radar that they were passing star system after star system.

    “Sorry, I should have warned you before we made the jump. I forgot you have never been to space before. What you felt was normal for entering hyper drive. The same thing will happen when we come out of hyper drive in about two hours. I am bringing us out behind one of the moons of my planet. I don’t want to give any warning to any of the blockade ships that may be near.”

    Zon was able to handle the gunnery station, so Rahl set his sights on mastering the flight controls. En began training him on all the systems and by the time they were ready to drop back into normal drive, Rahl felt confident he could fly the ship and land it. He had marked his home planet in the navigation system and hoped he would be able to find it again.

    En thought, “Coming out now” as they experienced the same thirty seconds ‘out of time’ as before. This time, as soon as they had slowed Rahl used his powers to cloak the entire ship. He wasn’t sure it would work, but it wasn’t any harder than cloaking one of the shuttles back home. It was a good thing he did, because they came out flying right in the middle of a small fleet of warships. En was barely able to function from the fear, so Rahl took the controls. There were too many of them to start a fight unless they were discovered. Zon tracked the nearest targets as they passed through the armada and into empty space beyond them. Rahl knew the cloaking would hide them visually and now he knew it made them invisible on detection devices.

    As they cleared the danger zone and got into the atmosphere of the planet, En came around and took the controls. He found an empty spot in one of the hidden hangers and eased the ship into it. That’s when Rahl uncloaked them. Rahl sent out peaceful thoughts to the surrounding area and En debarked first to make contact with his rebel force commander.

    Rahl turned to Zon and asked him how he liked the trip. “I don’t care for the jumping in and out of hyper drive at all. How far from home do you think we are?” Rahl told him without the hyper drive it would take them the rest of their lives to get home. “But, buck up. Maybe we can get a decent set of clothes on this planet…and a bath. We both look like escapees from a detention center.” With that they started down the ramp to the hanger below…
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