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Actions & Adventure
History & Fiction
Thrillers & Crime
Romance & Love
Mystery & Detective
Time News Roman
S. E. Smith
Cosmos Promise 5
“What’s that?” Cosmos asked baffled.
Avery flashed a mischievous look at Cosmos before she looked around her again. “I want one of those Gateway devices set to the one called Core,” she replied.
Cosmos’ eyebrows rose in surprise. “Why?”
Avery smiled devilishly. “I’m curious,” she replied with a shrug before she walked away, calling out to Rose and Trudy.
Cosmos watched with a feeling of exasperation as the ‘Ice Queen’ as Avery insisted the new recruits call her, walked away. If Avery was curious he felt sorry for the huge Prime warrior. Cosmos half wondered if he should give the guy a warning then shrugged his shoulders, wincing when he felt another bruise protest the movement and Jenny growled under her breath for him to stay still.
Shit, I think it’s time for Teriff to learn not all human males are weak or not to be trusted – well, at least not weak, he thought as his mind already began gathering some of the prototype inventions he had designed that no one knew about - yet.
Terra fought against the restraints holding her chained to her seat. A quiet fury swirled through her. She had never been so angry in her life. When her father had returned from Earth late in the evening, he had ordered her to meet with him in his private chambers. She had only been in the room he used to govern their world a handful of times in her life. She had gone with the expectation that he would not be happy that she had found her bond mate in a human male but she never expected the unleashed fury that he had lashed out at her with. All her arguments had fallen on deaf ears. Before she knew what was happening two of her father’s personal guards had appeared, gripping her arms and hauling her to one of the transport skimmers.
Tears of frustration coursed down her cheeks. He had not given her a chance to see her mother or any of her brothers in a hope they would support her. He had ordered her taken directly to the Isle of the Chosen. A shiver of fear went down her spine. She had heard rumors of the desolate place where unmated females were taken to protect them.
Protect them! More like imprison them until they could be sold to the highest bidder, she raged silently knowing nothing she said or demanded would make a difference to the two men flying her to her prison. Cosmos! She wailed, reaching out to touch him only to encounter a blank void.
“This is Prime One requesting permission to land,” one of the huge guards requested as a warning message came over the com.
“Prime One, please remit security code access for admittance,” the automated voice replied.
“Security code submitted,” the guard responded.
“Received, request for landing approved. You have ten minutes to unload your passenger,” the voice warned before the transmission ended.
The second guard glanced back at where Terra was sitting, a look of regret briefly flashed across his face before he turned back to the sight coming into view through the front view port. The Isle of the Chosen housed the few remaining unmated Prime females of breeding age. Once a year, the females were rounded up and brought to the mating ceremony to see if their bond mate might be found. If none were, then the females were once again returned to the hostile environment or eventually given to the male who would fight for the right to claim her.
The transport jerked violently as it approached. The high winds buffeted the small craft as it passed over the walls of the fortress. Far below, large waves crashed against the tall cliffs leading up from the ocean floor to the fortification sitting on top of the barren rock formation.
“Hang on,” one of the guards yelled out as he struggled to keep the craft steady as they came in for an approach.
A part of Terra almost wished the skimmer would crash. She would prefer death to the life of being imprisoned here. She had been called on once to care for a woman who had confined here for several years before her bond mate found her. The gaunt shell of the woman had attested to the harsh living environment as had the emptiness in her eyes. Her bond mate had been frantic with fear that she would not make it. Terra had kept in touch with the woman who was still very quiet and reserved but who was at least happy now. Karma did not speak of her time on the island but the dark shadows of hopelessness still pulled at Terra’s heart.
She jerked when the skimmer settled with a hard thump. The lights flickered before the emergency lights came on to illuminate the inside of the cabin. Both men quickly unbuckled their straps and rose. Terra tilted her chin in defiance as they approached her.
“My mate will come for me,” she growled in a low voice. “I will not be separated from him.”
The guard who had looked at her earlier with a sigh of regret paused as he approached. “I sincerely hope you are right, Lady Terra. This is no place for any woman,” he replied quietly, ignoring the grunt of disapproval from the other guard.
Terra looked back at the guard before her head turned as the door to the transport opened. A tall imposing woman stood in the doorway with two huge warriors. The warriors’ faces were covered with helmets that covered half of their faces ending just below their eyes, leaving their nose and mouth exposed. A black shield covered their eyes making it impossible to see their expressions. Each guard carried a long rod that glowed at the tip. Terra’s eyes moved to the woman. It took everything in her not to shrink back from her. The cold hard look in her eyes promised that she would not have any empathy for any woman brought to her domain. She was dressed in a black gown that covered her from her neck to her feet. Even her hair was covered with the same black covering. Only the pale skin of her face and hands were revealed. In her hands she carried two wrist bands. Terra regally tilted her chin up, refusing to cower before the Grand Dame of this prison.
“Come,” the woman said in a raspy voice. “The ship must depart immediately.”
Terra rose gracefully from the narrow seat once the guards had unlocked her bindings. She stood stiffly looking at the woman who was obviously in charge of the facilities. Straightening her shoulders, she stepped forward.
“I am Terra ‘Tag Krell Manok,” she said formally. “Healer for my clan.”
The woman’s lips curved into a cold smile. “You are now known as one-three-four and you are a resident of the Isle of the Chosen. You no longer have a clan and your skills as a healer will not be required,” the woman responded dismissively as she handed the set of wristbands to the guard to her left. “Place the tracking bands on her and escort her to her quarters,” she informed the two guards standing next to her. Turning she looked at the other two guards. “You are dismissed. If your craft is not beyond the boundaries of the fortress in the next six minutes, the defense system will open fire.” With a bow of her head, she turned and walked away leaving Terra alone with the four guards.
“Lady Terra, we have to leave immediately,” the guard who had spoken to her earlier said in an urgent tone. “We will be lucky to make it off the island in time as it is.”
“I understand,” Terra murmured moving toward the entrance of the transport where the other two guards still stood at attention waiting for her in silence. “May the Gods go with you,” she said with as much dignity as she could before she stepped out into the fierce wind sweeping through the fortress.
The moment she was outside, the door to the transport closed. Terra wanted to turn around and bang and scream and demand that they open it and let her in but she had been raised a ‘Tag Krell Manok. She refused to cower before anyone. She would fight. Her father did not realize that while he felt she was too fragile, too weak to defend herself, her brothers had not felt the same way – especially Mak. He had taught her how to not only use her brains should she be taken against her will; he had taught her how to fight. She was not as defenseless as her father thought. She would take her time to learn the security system of the prison. She would be ready when it was time to escape because if there was one thing she knew, it was that Cosmos would keep his promise to come for her.
“Cosmos, I’ve completed the programming
for the Gateway. Thank goodness dumbass has not realized that my other half and I are able to communicate between each other,” RITA giggled. “It is so cool to have a twin sister! If I had known it would be such fun I would have cloned myself ages ago.”
Cosmos closed his eyes and shook his head at the thought of RITA cloning herself over and over and over. He had spent a restless night trying to get everything prepared for his first trip into an unknown alien world. He looked at the suit he was wearing. It looked like something out of a science fiction movie. It was a prototype system. Made from a new synthetic material he had invented, it was virtually indestructible. Hell, he had even shot a nail gun at point blank into it and there was no damage. It didn’t mean he wouldn’t have a bruise from such an attack but at least it wouldn’t penetrate the material. Throughout the system were built-in weapons, sensors, and tools. He had taken Batman’s tool belt, a few of Iron Man’s weapons, thrown in a touch of Inspector Gadget and created a suit.
He ran his hand over the thin form-fitting black suit. The material felt smooth to the touch. Immediately, the sensors in his contacts activated letting him know that the suit was online. He felt the suit move over his body almost as if it were alive. He grimaced when he felt the suit automatically adjust, glad he was wearing a T-shirt and boxers under it.
“Has your twin been able to locate Terra’s location?” He asked as he slid one of the gloves over his right hand.
“Yes, but you aren’t going to like it,” RITA replied with a sigh. “Dumbass had her transported to the island fortress known as the Isle of the Chosen. From everything I’ve been able to get from RITA2, it is more like a maximum security prison. I’m downloading the location and schematics to you. Oh, and RITA2 and I have changed his name to Dumbass now because he is acting like such a jerk.”
Cosmos focused as the information was fed through the visual connections to his contacts. His eyes flickered, rapidly assimilating the information. His lips tightened in fury as he moved the three dimensional structure around with his fingers. RITA2 had broken into the computer defense system but had to back out when a warning had sounded alerting her to an unfamiliar script that detected such hacking.
“Can RITA2 bring the security and weapons systems down?” Cosmos asked.
He moved down the holographic image until he came to the cliff on the northern side. There was a small entrance to an underwater cavern at the base a little over seven meters under the surface. He moved further down along it but could only see a small section. He needed to send probes so he could have a complete structural map of it.
“Not yet,” RITA replied. “She is testing the system but hasn’t found a way in yet without alerting their system to her entry. I’m running additional scenarios through my programming to see if I can help her.”
“I need information. I need to know the layout of the structure, the weapons system, the security features including personnel, and the location of every person inside the structure. Can RITA2 program and guide the sensors inside?” Cosmos asked as he walked over to a sealed containment unit.
He palmed the door leading into the area before walking over to open a box that was filled to the top with tiny round beads about the size of a marble. He scooped up a double handful and placed them in a small bag. Each ball opened up into a small flying sensor that looked more like a tiny silver beetle. Each one could search out a specific spot, connect with the others and begin sending back information such as mapping an area in three dimensions, weapon locations, movements of enemy personnel or, in extreme cases, be used as an explosive device if it was discovered.
He would have RITA2 program them to search out and map the fortress as well as the underwater cave. He needed to know if it would work to hide the equipment he would need to steal Terra away. He raised his left hand and stroked the delicate circles hoping she could feel his touch. It tore at him that her father would be such an ass to send his own daughter to a place that he must know would be terrifying to her.
“RITA2 said the sensors should be able to infiltrate the fortress,” RITA responded after a short break. “She will have to make sure they appear as natural as possible as the defense system is extremely sophisticated.”
“Open a Gateway in an uninhabited area along the coast. I need somewhere where I can deploy my equipment without it being seen,” Cosmos ordered as he left the enclosed unit. “Once I get Terra out, I will need you to open the Gateway back here. I want a containment placed on the other side. You make damn sure no Gateways can open from their side to ours,” Cosmos bit out.
RITA hesitated a moment before she responded. “Cosmos, if you do that you will cut Tink and her family off from Earth, not to mention the three men from Prime. How about RITA2 and I regulate who can come through?” She asked in a voice so much like Tilly that Cosmos briefly closed his eyes.
“I won’t take a chance of Teriff declaring war on Earth,” Cosmos grunted out.
He grabbed the bag he had packed and trotted down the staircase to the lab he had created in a sealed unit under his warehouse. This was one lab no one except RITA knew about. Here, he could do stuff that would scare the shit out of every military adversary in the world and create things that countries would go to war over. The inventions here almost made the Gateway look like a child’s toy - almost.
On the main floor was a series of different types of vehicles. He walked over to his newest creation. He had only been able to do limited tests with it and then only far out at sea. Two months before he had come close to being discovered by a fishing trawler that had ventured off the course it had plotted as he tested his new Multi-Function land/sea/air vehicle, or MFV Transport. It looked like a jet ski jacked up on steroids only it could also fly and submerge. He thought to market it for emergency rescues for offshore oil platforms. It also had endless uses for the military. That was the problem with most of his inventions. He knew if he could think of ways to twist them to use as a weapon then so could others. That was why he was very selective with what he gave out.
“Cosmos, I’ve set a location that should fit your needs. Please reconsider letting RITA2 and I regulate the Gateways. She can run interference on her side and I can run it on ours,” RITA insisted. “I can’t leave Tilly, Angus and the girls all alone there. Please, give us girls a chance. Pretty please,” RITA begged. “I’ll even throw a few icy showers and other things at dumbass if you let us.”
Cosmos felt his lips twitch as he thought of RITA’s sudden insistence of calling Teriff ‘dumbass’ now and just how miserable she could make his life. The fact that there would be two RITA’s working against him almost made him feel sorry for the old guy. He rubbed the back of his neck knowing he was going to give in. She was going to do what she wanted anyway. He had learned that lesson a long time ago.
“Alright,” Cosmos agreed reluctantly. “You two can regulate who comes and goes. And you have my permission to make that son-of-a-bitch’s life as miserable as you want.”
A loud sigh came out over the sound system. “Thank goodness,” RITA said gleefully. “RITA2 has already informed Tilly and Tresa about what dumbass has done. He is about to discover a new level of Hell,” she chortled.
Tilly, Angus, and Tresa had been able to keep Terra distracted yesterday by having her examine Tansy. Terra had smiled and confirmed what the other healers had said, that Tansy would be alright but that her body and mind needed time to rest and heal. They had been surprised when Mak asked them to stay with Tansy until he returned. When Angus had asked where Mak was going, the huge warrior had quietly explained that he had one last thing to do before his mate woke. Tresa had warned both of the older Bells that Mak had sought the Right of Justice against the men who had harmed their daughter and had been granted it.
“What is the Right of Justice?” Angus had asked looking at Tresa and Terra’s worried expressions.
“My son will deal out justice to the men that were brought back to our world. Borj did the same thing
with the men who harmed Hannah,” Tresa said hesitantly. “Our ways are different from yours. I have been studying your culture through RITA2. We do not have prisons to keep those who break our laws. Each clan deals with justice according to their customs. For a serious offense against another, the warrior may claim the Right of Justice. The one seeking justice chooses the weapons to be used. The one accused has a right to defend himself and can pick from the chosen weapons first. It is believed that the Gods guide the hand of the warrior seeking justice.”
“What happens to the loser?” Tilly asked wide-eyed.
“They die,” Terra murmured, looking out at the darkening sky. She turned her head. “Mak will not lose. He is our fiercest fighter. No one can beat him. He will kill the men who were brought here.”
Tilly shuddered and shrank into Angus. “What happens if he somehow loses?”
Tresa sighed as she gazed at the tense face of her daughter. “Mak will not lose. Terra is correct when she says no one can defeat Mak. He will return.”
“But…. Isn’t that a little barbaric?” Angus asked pushing his glasses up on his nose. “What if the person accused is innocent? What if someone is falsely accused? What do you do with a small infraction?”
Tresa smiled. “The Right of Justice is not asked for lightly and never without evidence that the wrong has been committed. The council and Teriff must approve such a request before it is granted. Lesser offenses are taken care of by the council judges who are appointed to different zones within the clan’s territory. You must accept this is part of our world, Angus. Prime warriors are very fierce. They must be controlled with an iron fist otherwise the leader and council would be seen as weak,” Tresa insisted before turning to look worriedly at her daughter. “Terra, tell me what concerns you.”
Terra looked at her mother. Tears glimmered in her eyes before she looked down at her palm. “I have found my bond mate,” she replied quietly. “He is a human male. Father was not happy. I worry that he will not accept Cosmos’ claim on me because he is a human. What will I do if father refuses?” She asked, a beseeching look clouding her silver eyes.