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Actions & Adventure
History & Fiction
Thrillers & Crime
Romance & Love
Mystery & Detective
Time News Roman
S. E. Smith
Cosmos Promise 16
And free, he thought as he turned toward a waiting taxi.
The first thing Cosmos saw when he walked out of the portal room on Baade was the slender figure standing near the window in the long hallway. He stepped aside so Mak could carry the body of Avilov to the detention cell that he would be held in alongside the other man that was brought back. J’kar followed Mak while Teriff headed in the opposite direction.
Borj came out of the room with a huge, but worried grin on his face. “I must go,” he said with an apologetic slap on Cosmos’ shoulder. “Hannah is having pains. Tilly says she had gone into labor. Hannah is threatening to find a ‘cast iron’ frying pan.”
Cosmos nodded absent-mindedly, his eyes never leaving Terra’s face. “Congratulations,” he murmured.
Borj looked over at Terra, a worried expression on his face. “Will you be there?”
Terra smiled and nodded. “Let mother, Tilly and Hannah know I will be there shortly.”
Borj released a breath of relief before he grimaced and grabbed his stomach. Terra grinned while Cosmos looked on with concern as Borj let out a long groan. Cosmos reached for the huge warrior to steady him when he swayed.
“Borj, what’s wrong?” Cosmos asked holding the man’s arm as he drew in a deep breath.
Terra’s soft chuckle echoed in the hallway. “I believe Hannah is sharing her labor with him. Tink must have shared the ability to do that with Hannah. Tink learned during her labor that she could open up and share every aspect of it with J’kar. He complained about the pain so much that I had to give him a sedative. He swore she would never have another child if that was what she had to endure. He said it was worse than any wound he had ever received. This is just the beginning. Hannah will more than likely have many more hours before the babies are born.”
“Hours,” Borj whispered hoarsely, paling.
“Just remember to breathe,” Terra said encouragingly. “You’d better go or she might share the entire experience. Tink finally took sympathy on J’kar and shut him out during the delivery.”
“Gods,” Borj paled. “I have to go.”
Cosmos chuckled as Borj took off at a run down the long corridor. He turned back to stare at Terra who still stood next to the windows. The sun had risen on Baade and she appeared to glow in the early morning light. He walked over to her, opening his arms.
Terra released a soft cry and flew into his opened arms, burying her face in his chest. Cosmos’ arms closed around her. It was only then that he realized that both of them were trembling.
I love you, he whispered in her mind. Thank you for everything.
I love you so much, Cosmos Raines. You never have to thank me for being there.
“I don’t want you to ever think I don’t see the things you do for me,” he said pulling back to look down at her. “I want you to know every single day what a beautiful miracle you are to me.”
Terra’s face softened as she reached up to run her fingers gently down his cheek. “You are silly. Don’t you know that I can feel everything that you feel?”
Cosmos gently bit the tips of her fingers when she touched his lips. “I still want to tell you,” he said before his eyes darkened. “My mother?”
Terra’s own eyes filled with sorrow for Cosmos’ mother and her mate. “She is resting. I gave her a sedative. She is hurting. Mak has taken your father’s body to be prepared. He will be given a warrior’s burial.”
Cosmos’ eyes filled with tears. He bit his lip and blinked rapidly looking out the window at the rising sun. A shuddering breath escaped him.
“I thought about what you said,” he said quietly. “About him knowing what I was doing. My…,” his voice faded as the lump of grief choked him. “The last time I talked to him, my dad said some things that made me think that maybe he knew I wasn’t the absented minded billionaire playboy like the papers and tabloids like to depict me. I’d like to go see my mom.”
“I’ll take you to her room. I need to go check on Hannah. She wanted to have the babies at her and Borj’s home,” Terra said pulling back and squeezing his hand.
Cosmos held her still for a few moments, studying her face intently before he said anything. “When this is over, I want to spend some time with just you.”
“Of course,” Terra responded lightly with a raised eyebrow. “You do not think I would allow my brothers to be the only one to experience what labor for a female is like, do you?”
Cosmos chuckled as he let her pull him after her. He knew the next few weeks would be difficult but he could see the light at the end of the tunnel. His mind was already racing forward. He and Terra would find a way to re-create the mating chemical and as soon as it was perfected, he was going to do everything he could to fulfill the images that Terra had sent him of the happy little girl wrapped in love.
Two weeks later, Cosmos stood in the center of an indoor arena. It was about the size of a basketball court only with high walls surrounding it. There were only two entrances leading into it. Surrounding the top of the arena stood the figures of the Baade council. The council would observe the challenge but not interfere. In the top center, Teriff stood looking dark and menacing.
“Cosmos Raines,” Teriff’s voice echoed over the enclosed room. “You have requested and received permission to administer the Right of Justice against those who have grievously harmed your family. Do you accept that justice will guide your hand and give you the strength to defeat those who have wronged you?”
“I do,” Cosmos responded.
Cosmos stood tall as he faced the Prime Leader. A lot had happened over the past two weeks. Cosmos had traveled back and forth between Earth and Baade, meeting with Avery on the cleanup of both his home and the Hong Kong warehouse. Nothing had been found yet of Afon Dolinski. It was as if the man had disappeared off the face of the planet. He was the least of Cosmos’ concerns right now. The interrogation of both Avilov and the man named Frazer proved he had the two men most responsible for his father’s murder.
He had formally petitioned the council for the Right of Justice. Teriff had immediately accepted his claims. Mak also petitioned and received permission to act as Cosmos’ second when he fought against Avilov. Terra had wanted to come but he had persuaded her to stay with his mother instead. Ava Raines was slowly beginning to wake from the cloud of grief that surrounded her since her husband of thirty years was murdered. His father had been given a full warrior’s burial. It had been a beautiful ceremony held in a sun-filled cavern not far from the city. His father’s body was entombed inside the mountain. An inscription of who he was and his life’s accomplishments had been carved into the stone.
He and Terra spent hours each day walking with his mother along the shores or through the marketplaces. They showed her the new world she was on and encouraged her to talk about her grief when she felt like it. Terra and Tresa’s gentle touch, as well as Tilly’s exuberance and determination to provide sex education to the Prime males and females, slowly brought small smiles to his mother’s face once again. Angus was always there to support his mom when she would droop. He never said much, just provided the strong arm that she needed when Cosmos wasn’t with her.
Cosmos’ last return to Earth brought additional good news, Merrick had been found alive. Rose and Trudy had narrowed the search to a small clinic outside of Reno, Nevada thanks to an anonymous caller. Avery, her crew and several special agents sent in by the President, staged an operation and were able to get him out. They had their hands full when he promptly took off on a wild chase after the female who had alerted them to his location. Merrick promised Avery he would return to the warehouse as soon as he caught the female who had worked at the facility where he had been held.
Now the only ones he was worried about were Garrett and Rico. Both men were still missing. Each of the Clan Leaders promised they would search their regions for the two missing men and the female that had been with them. There had been no word on th
e other female they had been trying to rescue. The skimmer carrying her had not been located yet and because the warriors who had attacked the fortress had dismantled the emergency tracking device, there was no way to electronically locate it.
Cosmos focused back to the task at hand when Teriff slammed the gavel down in front of him. He turned as a door slid open on the opposite side of the arena. Two guards pushed Frazer out of the opening. One of the guards released the restraints around his wrists before stepping back through the opening and closing the door again.
Teriff glared down at the other human male. “Human, you have been accused of causing grievous harm to this man and his family. You have admitted to killing his father. He has demanded the Right of Justice and he has been granted the right to avenge this wrong.”
Frazer spit onto the dirt floor then wiped the dirty sleeve of his shirt across his mouth. Hatred burned in his eyes. He had learned the hard way that the Prime’s idea of interrogation was to almost kill him over and over until he told them what they wanted to know. Just when he thought he would finally find relief from the pain, they would heal him and do it all over again until he thought he would go mad. The problem was they wouldn’t let him. They fucking healed his shattered mind, not even giving him the relief of insanity.
“Right of Justice,” he sneered looking at where Cosmos stood. “What justice is there where he gets to kill a defenseless man?”
Teriff looked down at Frazer in disgust. “As the accused, you are allowed to choose one of the weapons against the wall to defend yourself with. Which do you choose?”
Frazer looked over to the side and saw three weapons attached to the wall on his side of the arena. He glanced at all the men watching him before turning to walk over to the rack. There was a long knife, a spear with a sharp blade at the tip, and a broad sword. He immediately discarded the sword. It would be heavy and he would tire easily. The spear had possibilities. The blade on the end had one smooth edge and one jagged edge. He could slice with it or saw through the bastard. His eyes flickered to the knife. He was damn good with a knife but that meant close range combat. His eyes glanced back to where Raines stood stiffly watching him. His eyes moved back to the weapons and his hand wavered back and forth between the knife and the spear. At the last minute, he grabbed the spear.
This shouldn’t take long with pretty boy and I can always use the knife if I have to fight again, Frazer thought with a menacing grin as he turned back to face Raines.
“I choose the spear,” Frazer called out. “If I win, what happens next?”
Teriff’s face remained carved in stone. “You will go free,” he replied. “Only Cosmos has asked for the Right of Justice against you. Your friend has not been so fortunate. Two requests have been granted against him.”
Frazer spit on the ground again and grinned up at Teriff. “Avilov’s no friend of mine,” he replied. “I want passage back to my world once this is over.”
Teriff sneered. “Granted. I don’t want your stench on my planet,” he responded coldly before turning to Cosmos. “The weapon of justice is the spear. You will face off inside the center circle and wait until I give the command to start. Once you begin, the doors to the arena will be opened only when one of you remains alive.”
Cosmos bowed his head in respect. He turned to walk over to the weapons on his side of the arena. He had only taken a few steps when Mak’s roar of rage warned him that Frazer was not going to wait for him to get his weapon or enter the circle. Cosmos ducked and twisted as the sharp blade danced across the area he had been standing. The smooth blade sliced a thin, shallow cut across his upper shoulder as he grabbed Frazer’s other arm and shoved him away.
“You bastard,” Cosmos growled out as Frazer twisted around to face him. “Even given an opportunity to win your freedom in a fair fight you would cheat.”
Frazer smiled as he circled around Cosmos. He jabbed the spear toward him, deftly putting his body between Cosmos and his weapons. He charged toward Cosmos again. Instead of turning away like Frazer expected, Cosmos twisted just enough that the long shaft slid between his arm and his body. Cosmos grabbed the shaft with both hands and brought his knee up, catching Frazer in the stomach at the same time as he twisted the spear. The move caught Frazer by surprise allowing Cosmos to jerk the spear out of the slightly larger man’s hands.
Cosmos stepped back with the spear in his hands as Frazer went down on one knee, gasping for breath. He held one hand to his stomach while the other touched the dirt ground in an effort to support himself. Frazer warily rose, never taking his eyes off of where Cosmos stood confidently swirling the spear between his hands before he brought it down against his side and struck a pose that spoke of his skill as a fighter.
Fear raced through Frazer as he realized that he had made a very serious mistake. He had underestimated Raines. He had believed all the newspaper and tabloid reports about him being nothing more than a playboy billionaire who spent his time either in his lab or with the ladies. The confidence of his stance and the look in his eyes spoke of a man who not only knew how to fight but how to win.
“Get your weapon,” Cosmos growled. “When you die, you will do so knowing what it feels like to be totally helpless.”
Frazer backed up toward the rack of weapons on Cosmos’ side of the arena. He turned briefly, glancing over his shoulder at where Cosmos stood watching him. He reached out both hands, grabbing the spear off the rack. As he turned, his other hand slipped down and pulled the knife off as well. He slipped it into the back waistband of his pants.
Turning around until he was facing the man waiting patiently for him, he twirled the spear between his hands as well. He had no intentions of dying. If killing Raines was his way off this damn world, he didn’t have a problem doing it. He had been looking forward to killing him anyway, now there was just more incentive.
Walking toward the circle, he stepped inside it and struck a fighting stance. He waited as Raines walked toward the circle. He was wary now as he picked up clues about the man walking toward him. He noticed the way Raines walked on silent feet with an easy, relaxed gait. His fingers held the spear in a light, but firm grip. Raines’ eyes stayed focused on him, not on his weapon like someone who was new to fighting would do. Sweat beaded as he realized that getting out of this alive wasn’t going to be as easy as he thought it would be.
“Let’s do this,” Frazer snapped out as his apprehension built.
Cosmos’ lips curled in a cold sneer. “Now, we fight,” he said as he stepped into the circle and positioned himself.
Cosmos knew the moment Frazer realized not only his mistake but that he was not going to be as easy to defeat as the man first thought. Frazer was over-confident in his ability to bully his opponents. He used his strength and intimidation to try to overwhelm them. Cosmos struck out quickly with the tip of the spear the moment Teriff called out to begin. He sliced a deep cut over Frazer’s shoulder in the same exact place as Frazer had cut him.
Frazer’s grunt of pain pulled a mocking chuckle from Cosmos. He planned on drawing a lot of those grunts before he killed the bastard. He pulled on the cold rage burning inside him. He let the image of his father’s body hanging limply from the beam in the warehouse and the pale face of his mother to give him the cold focus he needed to defeat the man in front of him.
Cosmos parried the shaft as Frazer moved in a small circle around him knocking it casually to the side. He returned it with a clean slice to the backside of Frazer’s left calf. The curse from the man echoed in the quiet arena. The only sound was the slight scuffle of their feet in the dirt and Frazer’s heavy breathing.
“I’m going to kill you pretty boy,” Frazer taunted. “Did I tell you how your father begged me to let them go right before I shot him? How he whined about not knowing anything about your inventions?” He sneered, slicing through the air at Cosmos’ neck.
Cosmos bent backwards, the blade missing his neck by s
cant millimeters. He twisted and sliced a long cut across Frazer’s stomach.
“Go on,” Cosmos said quietly not showing any emotion.
Frazer snarled when he didn’t get the response he was expecting and jabbed the spear at Cosmos’ stomach. He followed by kicking out with his leg, striking a glancing blow to Cosmos’ side. He grunted when Cosmos returned the blow by twisting low and knocking his feet out from under him with the spear. Fear glazed his eyes before fury poured through him when Cosmos drew two matching cuts along each of his cheeks from just below his eye to his jaw.
He rolled and scrambled to his feet as Cosmos stepped back. He pressed the sleeve of his shirt against the burning sting of the cut on his right cheek. The sleeve came away smeared in blood. Hatred burned like fire in the pit of his stomach. He knew that Raines was just toying with him.
“Why the fuck don’t you just kill me?” Frazer said harshly.
Cosmos swirled the spear in front of him and motioned with his fingers for Frazer to attack. A dark smile curved his lips as he took in the blood from the cuts he had made. There would be many more, each slowly draining the man of strength until he felt weak and helpless.
“I will,” Cosmos promised, remaining poised.
Over the next two hours, Cosmos drew more and more cuts across Frazer until the man staggered as he tried to remain standing. The last slice had cut him diagonally across the chest from one side to the other. Cosmos watched as the spear fell from Frazer’s hands and he sank to his knees.
“Kill me,” Frazer said hoarsely.
“Stand up,” Cosmos responded coldly, wiping the blood out of his left eye where the tip of Frazer’s spear had opened a small cut right above it.
Frazer’s head dropped down until his chin rested on his chest. His hands fell limply to his side. He looked defeated but Cosmos wasn’t about to believe that a man like Frazer would just accept death, not when he still could draw a breath.