One woman determined to avenge her mother's death and free her people from the slavery of the Empyre - or die trying.
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"The daughter will return and avenge the death of her mother
and those innocents killed here today."
Dorak Deanna has come home to claim her birthright. Home, to a planet she remembers only through the implanted memories of her mother, Miktra. Home to a planet still occupied by the same Empyrean forces that forced her departure nearly thirty years ago.
The Day of Ascension is fast approaching and the Empyrean Governor of Nedamla grows more fearful of Aneesha’s Prophecy with each passing day. Especially since each day seems to bring another unexplained, violent death of at least one of this soldiers. Yet the Empyror refuses his requests for more troops, assuring him that since Aneesha’s child was killed during the invasion, there is no heir to ascend to the throne.
By accident Deanna discovers she has the ability to communicate, with at least one Nedamlan, by using only her thoughts. Is it possible that there are others among her people with this ability? Perhaps it will be the secret weapon she needs.
Even with the ability to mind-talk, how can one woman turn a population of women, known for their pacifism, into warriors? And if she and her warriors take Nedamla from the troops now occupying her, how will they maintain their freedom? The Empyror has more than enough troops to simply send another invasion force.
As if fighting the Empyre weren’t enough to worry about, Deanna has another problem–she has fallen in love.
Will Deanna fulfill Aneesha’s Prophecy? Can she return her people to a time when they were fierce warriors, asking no quarter and giving none? Will Jorsta agree to join with her?
The computer aboard the Aneektra walked me through all the technical departure sequences for leaving Earth and in a matter of minutes I was on my way home to Nedamla.
As far back as I can remember I’ve dreamed of traveling in space. I grew up watching Star Trek™ and its various spin-offs, hoping that someday, during my lifetime, space travel would become possible. Now that I was in outer space, the beauty and wonder of its astronomical anomalies and myriad mysteries was wasted on me.
My initial thoughts as I watched Earth fade into the distance were the sadness I felt at leaving behind those people who had come to mean so much to me; Danny, with his penchant for mischief and defiance of authority and Tracie, whose touch could send shivers up my spine. I would even miss Det. Johnson. I took a deep breath and reminded myself that Earth was not my home. I did not belong there. Nedamla was my home and I had been absent too long already.
Besides on Earth I was wanted for murder.
On Nedamla I was the Dorak, leader of my people and ruler of the planet. Granted, I would first have to release Nedamla from Empyrean rule but everything has its down side.
For instance traveling in the Aneektra wasn’t exactly a roomy proposition. The main cabin/bridge is probably about one hundred square feet. There are two very comfortable chairs at the computer control console. The view offered via the window is amazing. Along the walls on either side of the main cabin are cushioned areas, similar to couches, built into the bulkhead. To the rear of the main cabin are two separate sleeping chambers, which is about all they’re fit for due to their size. They’re hardly big enough to turn around in. Just before you reach the airlock hatch at the rear you come to the waste disposal unit. On Earth it would be called the head or the bathroom, depending on whom you were talking to. Set in the bulkhead of the main cabin and the two sleeping chambers are various storage compartments.
Soon after Earth was nothing more than a distant speck of light no longer discernible from thousands of other specks of light, boredom began to set in. I paced the corridor between the bridge and the living quarters.
“Tracie, I’m bored.” I found it easier to talk to the computer after I gave her a name. So before we even left Earth I christened the computer, Tracie.
Do you have any suggestions for something to occupy my time? How long before we reach Nedamla?”
There was no noticeable pause before Tracie responded, “There are many ways you could pass your time during the remaining 32 days, 10 hours, 44 minutes and 27 seconds which remain before we arrive at Nedamla. I would suggest you spend the time learning about your home planet. My archives contain all the knowledge of Nedamla, the culture, politics, history, science, everything.”
An old Earth adage popped into my mind. A nation that ignores the past has no future. I figured that what applied to a nation would certainly apply to a planet.
The next thirty-two days were spent learning about a world I left when I was only three days old. The time went by very quickly.
In orbit around Nedamla I was mesmerized by the planet’s beauty. With less browns and greens than Earth and ocean covering approximately seven eighths of the planet’s surface from space Nedamla looks like a blue ball with wisps of white provided by the occasional cloud. Orbiting twin suns keep the temperature warm, sometimes downright hot.
“Deanna. Deanna. Dorak Deanna!”
I snapped out of my contemplation of my home world. “Yes, Tracie, what is it?”
“We need to begin our descent if we expect the solar flares to mask our arrival.”
By the time I guided the Aneektra beneath the surface of Nedamla’s Utoch Sea I knew her history better than I had ever learned Earth’s history. Nedamla’s distant past had been a violent one but then her people had learned to solve their differences peacefully. I knew the knowledge I had gained would come in handy in convincing Nedamlans to follow me in a revolution against the Empyre. However, I was also aware that my information was thirty years out of date.
The foremost question I had was one the computer couldn’t answer. Would my people believe me and would they follow me in a fight against the Empyre?
I guided the ship to the exact coordinates from which Miktra had departed when she fled the invading Empyrean forces with a three-day-old infant. This placed me very close to the underwater tunnels that led to the Dorak’s Palace.
Not knowing what kind of patrols the Empyre might have in operation I took the precaution of giving the computer very specific instructions before I left the ship. “Computer, you will not respond to any requests or instructions from anyone other than myself unless they call you Tracie. Do you understand what I have told you?”
“Yes, Dorak. I am to respond only to you or someone who calls me Tracie.”
I entered the air lock and cycled it. It occurred to me that I would have to find another name to call the computer. At first I had thought using Tracie’s name would be a way to honor her memory but each time I spoke it only increased my sadness at her absence. Besides “Tracie” was going to be the special code word for others who might need access to the computer.
My baptism in the oceans of my home world was both wondrous and frightening. The oxygen content of the Utoch Sea is much higher than that of the Atlantic Ocean on Earth. It took a few moments for my body to adjust. Once the adjustment was complete I felt a freedom and a rightness that I cannot put into words. I was home! This was where I belonged, not just on this planet but also in this ocean. It took a few minutes of simply frolicking among the fish and enjoying the fact that I was home before I reminded myself that there was much work to be done.
I swam toward the tunnels that honeycombed the underside of the Dorak’s Palace. I entered a tunnel and swam through the darkness for several yards. Finally I could feel a difference in the way the water flowed around me and I began to move upward in search of the surface.
The tunnel emptied into a pool of water with a narrow sandy beach. I walked out of the water onto the beach. The sand beneath my feet and between my toes was nothing like the gritty sand of Florida’s beaches. This was more like baby powder only without the dust effect of baby powder. Where I first stepped from the water onto the beach the sand was wet and I expected it to be hard packed instead it molded itself to the shape of my foot. It offered no resistance when I lifted my feet but when I stepped on it, it wrapped itself around my feet like a cushion.
I knew I was somewhere beneath the palace. I shone a light along the walls and located an opening to another tunnel, this one above water. As I entered this new tunnel I noticed the ground gradually sloped upward. Moving away from the wet sand of the beach to the dry sand I was surprised to find that even the dry sand seemed to have the same embracing properties. I soon became accustomed to the feel of my home world beneath my bare feet.
The light strapped to my wrist was my only source of illumination. It was enough to see the skeletons scattered along the way. The first one startled me. I reminded myself that it wasn’t the dead I needed to fear but the living. By the time I came up from the bowels of the Palace into the light of Nedamla’s twin suns I had become accustomed to stepping over the bones of the dead.
Okay, so maybe it still gave me the willies but I did it anyway.