“Are we ready?” Father asked tightly, fingering the blaster in the holster at his hip and glancing at my mothers.
“I should change,” said Nalina, my governess.
“There’s no time. The Tregans could be here any minute. We can get you something else to wear when we get there.” My father snapped at her like he was mad. I didn’t know why he was hurrying or why he and my mothers all had blasters on their hips.
My mothers were both frightened. Even though I am a telepath, the things I saw in their minds seemed like a holovid. They didn’t want to leave, but they were scared to stay.
Spaceships landed, and soldiers with long guns poured out of them; shooting people was another vision I saw in my father’s mind. He was afraid they would come to our house and angry the Federation wasn’t stopping them, so we didn’t have to leave our home.
Our hovercraft was too far away from our underground house. But he left it by the barn. We might have to run if the soldiers come. Father picked me up like I was still a baby and carried me.
It didn’t matter, because it was already too late when we left the house. The Tregans started shooting as soon as we were all outside. My mothers and father shot back, but the Tregans killed them one after another. I screamed as I felt their pain and fear, and their last thought was they loved me. They told Nalina to take me to a man named Hankura Narcaza. I saw him in their minds.
When Father fell, Nalina screamed and picked me up, running as fast as she could for the hovercraft. Someone was still shooting. Nalina couldn’t shoot back because she needed both arms to carry me. Crying, she pushed me into the hovercraft, and she got in behind me. I was sobbing.
“Nalina. We can’t go without them. We have to make them get up so they can come too.”
Barely four years old, I did not yet understand death.
“No, sweetheart, they can’t get up. They are dead. They will never get up again.
“Who will take care of me? ” I sobbed.
“Oh, baby, I will take care of you until we can find the man your father told you to find.”
“He said Hankura, but I don’t know who that is,” I cried.
“I’m not sure yet. I will have to look him up on the AI network when I can get access again.” She held me in her arms, rocking me and stroking my hair, weeping softly as reality was settling in. It all happened in a few short minutes; three lives gone, my only family was gone. Their bodies were left lying on the ground, a memory that haunted me in my nightmares.
Although Orin Hart told me that he buried them and made grave markers for them, it didn’t erase my memory of them lying on the ground. Orin was the good Tregan who saved us and took care of us until the invasion was over.
He and Nalina fell in love, and they became my new family. We were happy until some construction workers came to rebuild the house where we settled. One of them shot Orin because he was a Tregan. When I told their boss he was a good Tregan, they called Hankura and Chelle to save him.
I liked them because they saved Orin, but I didn’t want to live with them.
“Why can’t I stay with you and Orin?” I asked as I walked with Nalina to the office in the infirmary section of the construction residence.
“Because your father arranged for Hankura Narcaza to become your guardian if anything happened to him,” Nalina replied.
“But he seems like he’s mad all the time. Do I have to go in by myself?”
“Yes. Give him a chance, Lanimer. He’s been through a lot worse than we have. Your father trusted him to care for you because he a psion like you,” Nalina told me. “I promise he won’t hurt you.”
By then, we had reached the office where my new guardian was waiting to meet me for the first time. Every time I saw him around the barracks, he looked grumpy, and I didn’t think he even liked me.
Hankura was taller than my father with dark hair. Nalina knocked on the doorframe to alert him we were there, but I could tell that he knew. He turned from the window and tried to smile at me, but he was sad inside.
“Hello, Lanimer. I’m sorry about your mothers and father… that we have to meet because they are dead. Your father was a dear friend, and I was looking forward to seeing him again when we got to Zevus Mar a few months ago. It was already too late then. I lost so many friends in the Tregan invasion, and those who weren’t killed were hurt badly. When I could finally help them get free, we had all suffered.”
“I saw my mothers and father get shot when we were trying to go to a safer place.”
“I know, Lanimer. That was a terrible thing to happen. I saw too many of my friends killed, but there was nothing either of us could have done,” he told me. “The reason your father wanted me to be your guardian was that Aledus, where your grandparents live, is no place for psions like us.”
“But why can we all stay here?”
“Because it is a constant reminder of all the bad things that happened here,” Hankura said evenly. “Do you really want to go back to the place where your family died?”
I didn’t know what to say. I still dreamed about that day only to wake up and remember my father and mothers were really dead. Feeling Hankura’s profound sorrow about my parents and all his friends who died made me realize he really wanted me to have a good life because he loved my parents like family. I was all he had left of them. Finally, I shook my head.
“Nalina said she and Orin are coming, too. For sure?”
Hankura nodded, and I believed him.
“Nalina, Orin, and you will come with Casir’s company because my spaceship is only designed for two people.” He paused. “You know Orin is a Tregan, even though he saved you and Nalina?”
“The guy shot him because he didn’t know Orin is good.”
“Yes, and he almost died. If he stays here, other people the bad Tregans hurt might try to kill him again,” he said. “Most importantly, we want you to come with us. Your father was my dear friend, and I want to be your friend, too.”
“Okay, I can be your friend.” It really didn’t matter if I stayed on Zevus Mar with my parents dead. They would still be dead no matter where I went, and I didn’t want Orin to get shot again.
Nalina cried every day because she was so scared, he was going to die. But Hankura and his wife Chelle and Casir fixed him; I thought going to that planet Oltarin was as good as any place.
When we landed at the starport on Oltarin, it didn’t look much different from Zevus Mar’s deserts. But that was just the landing place. Hankura took us high in the mountain forest, where we stayed in the temporary housing until Casir’s construction crew built them a huge log home.
It was set on a farm that Orin would manage, and we had our own flat in the big house. Nalina took care of their baby Jamerin and me while Hankura and Chelle worked as physicians.
The farm was surrounded by lush green forests where we played as children and trails where we rode horses when Jamerin and Lara got old enough. I was four years older than Jamerin and six years older than Lara. I looked out for them.
I really missed them when they went to Velran for Jamerin when his dawning went awry. We had a good childhood, and I was happy growing up on Oltarin. We all completed our primary studies early and studied medicine. They went as far as Tech Five just because Jamerin was a psychokinetic healer who, unlike his mother, could heal without a telepathic connection. After Lara reached Tech Five, she switched over to veterinary medicine. There brother Calan, and I went on to become full-fledged physicians.
As an adult, I thought about building a home of my own, but I’d started having the nightmare of the day my parents died again. Time and distance had dulled the pain in my waking hours, but not in the dream. The pain and fear came back full force until I woke up in a cold sweat trembling.
Then I would remember the idyllic months I lived on that abandoned agri-complex with Nalina and Orin. This time I got out of bed and went out to the porch attached to our flat. The moons and the stars were breathtaking, with little light on the ground to block their light.
As I looked out into the night, I realized Zevus Mar was calling me back. I owned the agricomplex that belonged to my family, the place where my parents were buried. That’s when I knew I was going back.
Copyright 2021 by Christine Myers All Rights Reserved