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Cosmos' Promise

Cosmos' Promise

Cosmos Promise 12


  Cosmos? Terra called softly.

  Grief raged through Cosmos as he thought about his quiet, eccentric father who loved to tinker on things that would make the world a better place. He closed his eyes as he fought the pain swamping him knowing that he was the reason his kindhearted father was dead. He hadn’t even taken the time the last couple of months to see his parents much less talk to them for more than a few minutes. He turned, opening eyes that burned with tears that he refused to let fall. He had brought this darkness to his family, he would end it. He would get his mother away from Avilov and he would kill him.

  “Together!” Terra said sharply, standing up and slowly walking toward him. “You are not to blame for this. The man who did it is responsible. Together, we will stop him.”

  Cosmos shook his head. “Not this time, Terra. I need to do this without worrying about you. I need…” He paused to take a deep breath. “I’ll get her out of there. I need you back on Baade with your father and brothers. I have to know you are safe. I’ll send my mom through the Gateway to you. She’ll need… she’ll need support. She has never spent a night away from him. Hell, he even slept on the damn floor when I was born so they could be together,” he choked out.

  “Cosmos,” Terra said reaching up to touch his cheek. She ignored the hurt when he turned his face away from her touch. “Talk to my father. He can help. We are one now. If you die, so do I. You must understand that our bond links our lives together. It is not like your world where your mother will live on. Our joining is a connection of the soul, mind, and body.”

  Cosmos turned back to look at Terra. The quiet resolve and compassion in her eyes was his undoing. He didn’t resist when she wound her arms around his waist and held him tightly against her warm body. Lowering his head until it was buried in her hair, he wrapped his arms around her. His body trembled as silent tears coursed down his cheeks dampening her hair and neck. She held him close as pain and sorrow swept through him. He felt her inside of him, soothing his soul with her calm strength. After several long minutes he pulled back and looked down at her with a heavy heart.

  “I need to ask your dad a favor,” Cosmos choked out.

  “He and my brothers will not let you fight alone,” she assured him tenderly. “And my mother, the other women and I will be there for your mother.”

  “Thank you,” Cosmos said hoarsely.

  “There is no need to thank me,” Terra replied tenderly. “I love you, Cosmos Raines. You are a good man with a good heart. Never forget that. Your mother and father would be proud to know what you do for your world. Never doubt that.”

  Cosmos’ eyes filled with sorrow at the mention of his father. “He’ll never know now.”

  “I bet you he already knew,” Terra murmured. “Let us go. We do not have much time.”

  “Fortunately, Avilov has no idea that we can be there quicker than he expects traveling through the Gateway. I need to get a few things together. Be ready to go in twenty minutes,” Cosmos said as his eyes hardened with determination. “RITA, I want the location of that son-of-a-bitch and every ounce of information, including any surrounding surveillance video, downloaded to your sister by the time we leave.”

  “I’m on it, Cosmos,” RITA said quietly. “I’ll do what I can remotely. I’m sorry for your loss. I really liked your dad.”

  Cosmos paused as he turned toward the lower level and the lab he had below this one where he kept his prototype equipment. He paused, pushing the grief behind the wall he had built years ago. His mind was racing as he thought of what he would need to take.

  “Thanks, RITA,” Cosmos said in a steely voice. “Let’s move.”

  *.*.*

  Avilov nodded to the man holding the sobbing mother of Cosmos Raines. Her dead husband lay at an awkward angle on the floor of the warehouse where he had fallen after Avilov ordered Frazer, one of the new men he had hired, to shoot the man. Avilov had been furious at the man’s insistence that he and his wife knew nothing of aliens or his son’s inventions.

  “Take her to a room and lock her in,” Avilov said turning away. “Get someone to dump the body,” he started to say before a malicious smile curved his lips. “On second thought, string it up. I want Raines to see it. That should loosen his tongue. If it doesn’t, his mother will join her husband.”

  Afon nodded. He barked out a few sharp commands and two of the men with them quickly moved to take the body of Adam Raines. His eyes followed the man who looked nothing like he did four months ago. The visit to the plastic surgeon along with his weight loss, change in hair color and contact lenses made Avilov a totally different man. That was how they were able to travel to Hong Kong to meet up with the contacts Afon had waiting for them.

  “Do you want me to give the signal for the Team Leader to move in on Raines?” Afon asked quietly. “He will not be prepared for an attack now and will be vulnerable due to the news of his father and mother.”

  Avilov looked at Afon and shook his head. “No. I don’t want to take a chance of Raines getting hurt. He will come to me. Have your men go in after he leaves. I want the girl captured alive in case having his mother is not enough of an incentive. I also want any equipment they find delivered to the warehouse in Washington, D.C.”

  “What should I tell the doctor holding the silver-eyed man?” Afon asked. “Should we terminate him? The doctor has grown frustrated as the man continues to resist.”

  Avilov scowled. He was down to one doctor and three men thanks to that alien. The man had either killed or run off the other doctors and security personnel. Avilov had ordered the ones that ran terminated. Unfortunately, Afon had not been able to find replacements yet. They had to move the bastard a half dozen times in the past four and a half months. They were currently using a private clinic for patients with mental disorders outside of Reno, Nevada.

  “I’ve told you before, until we know where he came from and what he is capable of he is to be kept alive,” Avilov snapped.

  Afon’s mouth tightened but he refrained from voicing his opinion. Personally, he felt the huge bastard should have been immediately terminated. The alien was too unpredictable to be allowed to remain alive. Even sedated, he was dangerous as the last phone call Afon received proved. The man had been heavily injected with sedatives and had still managed to kill a doctor and two of his men before they were finally able to restrain him. Now, he was locked in a re-enforced cell and chained at his wrists, waist, and ankles.

  “Yes, sir,” Afon responded with a bow. “I’ll let the Team Leader know to move in the moment Raines has departed the warehouse.”

  “That is all,” Avilov said dismissively as he turned away.

  He waited until Afon had walked away before he headed up the stairs to the room that he had converted to his private quarters. He caught a glimpse of his reflection in the glass windows that lined the walkway. He was no longer the dark-haired handsome man he had been before. Now, silver hair and wrinkles creased a face that should have shown a much younger man. Once he had what he wanted he would find another surgeon to restore his good looks. For now, he would hide in plain sight as an old man.

  A crooked smile curved his lips as he thought of the beauty that Cosmos had been living with the past four months. He only had a few blurry pictures of her but even that did not hide her soft glowing skin or her rich dark hair. He might just let Raines live long enough to watch as he enjoyed the delicate beauty.

  Chapter 15

  “Cosmos?” RITA called out.

  Cosmos was busy assembling a collection of weapons that he would need to rescue his mother. He needed to be careful as he did not want any of the prototype devices to fall into Avilov or anyone else’s hands. The world was not ready for many of the things he had invented.

  His eyes moved to the large vessel that he was in the process of building. The huge black hull was made of a new material he had developed. The craft was designed to transport a pilot and a small three-man crew into hostile areas. It was designed for stealth
, speed, maneuverability, and protection against enemy fire. The odd shaped hull looked like something out of a Science Fiction or Comic Book movie.

  Or, a Baade reproduction battle skimmer, Cosmos thought distractedly.

  “What is it, RITA?” Cosmos asked as he turned to focus back on what he was doing.

  “I’ve been keeping a perimeter check of the warehouse and I think we might have trouble coming. All my calculations are showing a ninety-nine percent chance there is something going on,” she replied.

  Cosmos frowned, running his hand over the back of his neck. “What makes you think that? Avilov knows I’m coming to him. There is no reason for him to send in a team to get me.”

  “I have a higher than normal concentration of strangers converging around the warehouse. I’ve been monitoring the incoming traffic but it hasn’t varied greatly over the past few months until an hour ago when four vans and two SUVs parked along the back street about three blocks down from the warehouse,” RITA said cautiously. “I know Avilov is expecting you but something isn’t right. I’ve checked his location and it is in a warehouse based in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui District. The warehouse is located off of Cheong Wan Road. I’ve accessed all the video surveillance in the area and uploaded it to RITA2. You were right about Dolinski. He is there.”

  Cosmos leaned against the table in front of him and lowered his head, closing his eyes as he tried to clear his mind and think like Avilov. The man wanted him, there was no doubt about that but he wanted something else too. Why would he demand Cosmos travel to him if he was sending a team into his warehouse after the fact?

  I have something of yours and I want to know where it came from. The echo of Avilov’s voice resonated through Cosmos’ mind as he picked up on key sentences from the conversation. His eyes snapped open when he remembered one sentence in particular. You like to keep your head in your inventions and your eyes on the pretty ladies, including the one by your side now.

  “SHIT! That bastard has had someone casing the warehouse all this time,” Cosmos cursed under his breath. “RITA, I need you to contact Avery. Tell her I need an advance assault team STAT! That bastard is going to attack the warehouse and try to take Terra and the Gateway while I’m gone.”

  “That would explain the unusual activity,” RITA said. “But, why not try to take you too?”

  Cosmos shook his head at the man’s audacity. “Because he wants me alive and the last group he sent in to kill me missed. He knows I have help and I’ll fight. If he can bring me to him by using my mother than he controls the situation and he believes it will leave Terra and the warehouse defenseless.”

  RITA snorted. “That just shows how stupid he is then if he thinks you wouldn’t have one of the most advanced security systems in the world in place,” she responded. “Avery has alerted Jason. His team is the closest to you. I’m sending him the information now. It will take them four hours to get here though. Oh, and she wanted me to let you know Runt has disappeared again. She said quote ‘I’m going to wring that scrawny brat’s neck when I catch her again’.”

  Cosmos closed his eyes as he realized the fastest way to get them here was to use the Gateway. It would mean more people knowing about it. Jason was relatively new to his team but he was a good man. Garrett had vouched for him and Garrett never vouched for anyone. The more he thought about it, the more he realized that there was a faint similarity between Garrett and Jason. Hell, the last thing he needed was things getting more complicated. If that similarity meant they were related he didn’t want to think what would happen when Jason realized Garrett was off chasing bogies on an alien planet.

  “RITA, tell Jason to get prepared but not to deploy until I give him the command,” Cosmos ordered opening his eyes.

  Cosmos gathered the prototype suit he had used to save Terra. He draped it over his arm. He couldn’t afford to take much else. He could deactivate the suit remotely using the contact lenses he wore to control it if it became evident he would not make it out alive. It would take years for anyone to re-engineer the material and it would still be worthless without RITA and the technology of the contact lenses. He gathered his utility belt that contained a few cleverly engineered hooks, explosives, and blades before he reached for the small box of sensors. He would deploy the bug sensors to give him more intel inside the warehouse and help pinpoint the location of his mother – and his father’s body. He would not leave his father’s body behind.

  Turning, he headed back upstairs calling out an order to RITA to open the hidden elevator. Stepping into the small circular tube, he reached out to Terra. She was waiting patiently for him. He smiled when she opened to him and he realized that she was aware of everything he had been doing, including his conversation with RITA.

  I can’t keep any secrets from you, can I? He teased before sobering. I want you to stay with your mom and Tilly when I go after Avilov.

  I know but you also know that is not possible. If you are injured, I can help. I will be there for your mother as well, she responded in a tone that said there would be no arguing.

  Have I ever told you that you are one stubborn female? Cosmos responded lightly.

  That is a good thing, my mate. You need someone who is as stubborn as you are. I will meet you back in the lab.

  Cosmos’ head fell back against the wall of the elevator briefly as he brought up memories of his last conversation with his father. They had only talked for a few minutes but it was the words that they both said that pulled at him. They had talked business; his father had shared the excitement of their newest discovery and how their presentation in Japan had gone over so well that they had been invited to Hong Kong. The conversation was normal except for his dad’s last words. He hadn’t thought too much about it until now. Rerunning that conversation now in his head shook him. It was almost like his dad had known that it might be their last conversation.

  “You know, Cosmos, I don’t tell you as often as I should but I want you to know that I am very proud of you and the work you do. I know you think I don’t pay attention but what you are doing is making a huge difference to the world and I’m not talking about the charities that you support or your inventions. I’m talking about the people you help and the things that you do that no one but a handful of people know about,” Adam Raines had said quietly. “I want you to know I’m proud to call you my son and that I love you very much. I always have. You have been a blessing to your mother and me. I know if anything ever happened to me you would be there for her.”

  Cosmos remembered his chuckle of embarrassment at his dad’s words. “Hell, dad, you’re still young. You and mom have another fifty years to go. How about I fly out to Hong Kong in a couple of weeks and we get together for dinner? I have a few things that I’m working on but I should be able to hop over.”

  “I’d like that, son. It’s been a while since we’ve seen you,” his dad had responded hesitantly. “I miss you, son.”

  “I miss you too. Give mom a kiss and hug for me. I’ll contact you in a week or so to let you know exactly when I will be there,” Cosmos had replied absently as he had been working on new information that he had just received from Avery. “Talk to you later.”

  “Love you, son,” his father had said before they had ended the call.

  Cosmos’ eyes glittered with tears as he stared blankly at the light in the elevator. “I love you too, dad,” he whispered as the door to the elevator slid open.

  Chapter 16

  Cosmos followed Terra and Brock down the long corridor to her father’s office. He could feel Terra’s unease as they got closer as her memory of the last time she was in the room surfaced. He slid his arm around her waist and gave her a gentle squeeze.

  You are not the only one who cannot keep anything secret, she sent out to him with a wave of warmth that showed her appreciation for his touch.

  I think your father has finally accepted me. If not, his new grandbabies have kept him too busy to fret, Cosmos responded.

  Broc
k told me Tansy is pregnant as well and Hannah is due any day, Terra said with a small smile. He said my father is enjoying being a ‘Grand’ father to Tink and J’kar’s twins. He can barely keep his hands off them. Brock said he is threatening every warrior he comes across to keep their sons away from the girls. They are just now learning how to crawl!

  Once this is done, I hope they won’t be the only ones he has trouble keeping his hands off of, Cosmos replied.

  “What?” Terra asked startled, tripping slightly as his words sunk in.

  Cosmos nodded briefly at Brock who turned to look at them with an inquisitive expression when they stopped suddenly in the corridor outside of the office. He turned to look back at Terra who was staring up at him with wide eyes. He tenderly brushed her hair back from her face.

  “I want us to try to have a child if it is possible,” Cosmos said quietly. “When this is over, I want to see if we can recreate the mating chemical – that is, if that is what you want,” he added with a sudden look of uncertainty.

  Terra’s eyes glimmered with unshed tears. She threw her arms around his neck, holding him close as her body shook with emotion. When she felt like she was a little more in control, she pulled back far enough to brush a soft kiss across his lips.

  “I love you, Cosmos Raines,” she murmured. “There is nothing more in the world that would make me happier than to have your child.”

  Cosmos’ eyes softened as he stared down at the incredible woman standing in front of him. “Have I ever told you how much I love you?”

  Terra raised her hand and caressed his cheek. “How about you show me how much later?”

  Cosmos turned his head and pressed a kiss into her palm. “With pleasure.”