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Chen touched the plant specimen in his robes. He felt the organism search his skin for the toxins it craved, but there was none on his person. Chen was pure, uncorrupted energy.
Chen could tell that Ngai was not stable in his mind. He may have had his plan to use Chen and his link as a homing beacon, but not if Chen extinguished the beacon first. Not if he took his own life and ensured the safety of everyone he held dear. It was a great and terrible sacrifice, but one he was prepared to make.
Chen closed his eyes. In his mind’s eye he saw the faces of his parents on the last day of their lives. They’d left their children, knowing that they might never return. Chen had always remembered the looks on their faces to be ones of sadness. But now he realized they were of steel.
There was sadness in Chen’s hearts. A deep ache that he would not get to touch Shanti’s lips to his again. A hollowness that he would no longer stand beside his brother to offer support. On the surface of his mind sat despair that the plant would not make it to the Mothership to save the rest of his tribe. But surely once Chen was gone and the Marred Ones on their way, Hsing would return to the Earth to gather another specimen.
Hsing would not fall to the way of the Marred Ones. His brother was strong, more importantly their mate was stronger. And Hsing was on the Mothership, surrounded by those who would care for and support him. If they came after the Marred Ones, who knows who would get harmed. Any more casualties aboard the Mothership could cause the Eloheem brothers to turn on each other. If they turned on each other then Shanti would get hurt. If Shanti got hurt, Hsing would well and truly go mad and then there would be no one from their tribe left.
No. The best thing would be for them to stay away. Let Chen go so that they could save themselves. Chen’s hearts felt heavy that his brother would receive this same message a second time in his life, but it had to be done.
Chen sent this message along the bond. His inner voice was weak, but he knew the message got through. Knew if for certain when he heard the vehement reply of both his brother and his mate.
For a moment, their outrage and refusal made his hearts swell. He yearned to be with them both. To hold Shanti to him to let her know she was not alone. To place his hand at his brother’s back to let him know he had support. Chen couldn’t shake the image. It was his hearts’ desire. Was he wrong to give up so quickly? To not put up a fight for the one’s he loved? His death would cause them both great pain, and though he knew they were strong enough to persevere, it pained him that he would be without them.
Chen straightened his spine to sit up. Ngai and Manu had left long moments ago and not returned. Chen reached out and sensed a great deal of agitation. Just then, the ship twisted and turned in the Heaven’s abyss. Chen felt the unmistakable sound of sonar coming towards him and then the ship shook as a blast impacted them.
Chen’s mind was rattled along with his body. Could that be his brother come to rescue him? But no, the Mothership had no weapons. She was a vessel of peace.
Cold dread went down Chen’s spine as he realized where the blast came from. There was sonar power on this cold, Grey ship where he was being held captive. That could only mean that another Grey Reticulean ship gave chase.
As they maneuvered, Chen was thrown into the side of the metal room they’d been put in. His body twisted awkwardly as the shackles held onto his wrists. The metal smashed into his shoulder, sending sharp pain down his arm. As the ship sped through the Heavens, Chen imagined he heard screams. Was that his Shanti? Did she sense his pain. Chen centered his mind. The last thing he wanted was to cause her any more pain.
After long moments, all was silent. Deathly silent. Chen opened his eyes. Before him stood Manu. Manu looked battle weary and in pain.
When Manu came near, Chen felt minuscule movement beneath his robes. The hungry plant yearned for the marred Eloh. Chen tuned into the plant. Through its awareness he sensed the toxins within Manu.
“Are we captured?” Chen asked.
“No, the grey ones did not capture us. Ngai blasted them out of the sky. They are all dead. But more will come. They are a family, they will seek revenge. That is how they take care of one another.”
“We are a family too, Manu. We take care of one another through healing. Come home.”
Manu laughed. He looked down at his hands. Then he looked back up at Chen. His eyes were empty pools of mist.
Manu held his hands out to Chen. “Every thing I touch dies.” He looked back at his hands as though they didn’t belong to him. “That’s not right is it? That’s not how its meant to be?”
“No,” said Chen. “You are Eloh. You are Yin. You are a healer.”
Manu shook his head. “Can’t you see it?” He raised his eyes to Chen. The orbs were no longer empty, they were full of an aching darkness. “Can’t you see the blood?”
Chen shook his head. “I see remorse. That is the first step towards redemption.”
“I don’t want redemption. I want death.” Manu came to Chen’s shackled wrists. He unlocked the lock and pulled the metal free of Chen’s flesh.
Chen cried out at the pain.
Manu pulled a dagger from his robes. He turned the blade towards his gut and handed Chen the blunt end.
“If you take my life, you could return to the Mothership, to your family.”
“I will not take your life. I want to save it.”
Manu shoved the dagger into Chen’s hand’s. He would not let go until Chen grasped it.
“You will change your mind when you see what I have done.” Manu walked out of the room.
Chen hesitated with the dagger in his hand. He was a being of peace. He’d never harmed a living creature in his entire life. He thought of the scorpion who’d poisoned Shanti. It had acted in self defense. He thought of the marred one’s who killed his parents. They’d done it out of madness, an illness that had overtaken them.
Chen had planned to take his own life in sacrifice, but he would never kill another. That’s what he told himself as he placed the dagger inside his robes and followed Manu out.
They went down the hall. Chen heard sobs and wails. They were feminine. His hearts kicked into his gut. It hadn’t been his imagination. Manu had Shanti. She was here. And she was in pain. Chen reached out passed the metal doors, but he couldn’t feel her within.
Manu reached out to unlock the door.
Chen reached into his robes for the dagger.
When the door opened, the sight was not what Chen expected, but it was sickening just the same.
“I thought that if I replaced the link with my mate then I would be free. But I was wrong.”
Strapped down on examination tables were three human females. Two full grown females and one child. Chen couldn’t take his eyes of the child. She had her dark hair styled in tiny knots about the crown of her head. She could have been an Eloh youngling. The sight of her strapped to an examination table turned
Chen’s stomach. The knife trembled in Chen’s hand, slipping as he grasped it tightly.
“Will you take my life now Chen-Na?”
Tune in next week for another installment!