AeroQuest 5… Canto 142

Canto 142 – Night Thoughts

It was during that eight-hour period set aside for sleep that Ged awoke in a sweat.  Dreams again!  He couldn’t quite recall what he’d been dreaming, but it gave him the uneasy feeling that it was about his brother Ham, and that it was one of those dreams a Psion sometimes has that comes true.  He was sandwiched in between two small, warm bodies.  Junior was snuggled next to him on one side, snoring softly.  Sarah was on the other side, her small body sheathed in her white body suit, looking like an angel and radiating angelic energies.

The spaceship, in the form of an Ancient Red Dragon, continued to purr with power as it flew through jump space.

Ged knew sleep was highly unlikely for him now.  Still, he didn’t turn on the lights or re-absorb the short brown fur that his Psion power generated every evening now to keep him warm.  He looked at the two sleeping children.  They had grown a lot while in his care.

Junior reminded him of Ham as much as any blood relative would have.  The blue face was totally different from the handsomer half of the Aero Brothers’ Space Safari Service, but the unruly blond hair was similar.  And Ged couldn’t help but call to mind the boy’s wistful smile, so like the smile that made his brother Ham so engaging and heroic.  With one furry hand, Ged reached over and stroked the boy’s yellow hair.  This child was precious to him.  So alien, yet now become an indispensable part of Ged’s life as a spacer.

Sarah, on the other side, was probably the most beautiful child he had ever encountered.  As he looked at her intently, he couldn’t help but think it was far more than a physical beauty.  Her father was one of a handful of so-called Forever Men in the galaxy.  He was an immortal, capable of traveling in a straight line through a thousand years.  He had gifted his daughter with more than a thousand years worth of human wisdom, culture, and literature.  What was more, she was able to draw entire libraries full of learning directly from her father’s head via telepathy.  At less than twelve years old, she was more learned than Ged would ever be.

What was he doing on this alien space craft in a bed between these two amazing children?  How could he ever hope to be worthy of caring for them and protecting them?  Worse, he was now taking them from the relative safety of the planet Gaijin, back into an Imperial Space full of war and violence, cruel pirates, and shambling hordes of rot warriors who were no more than animated skeletons with a computerized control system.  Not just these two, either.  He had a whole shipload of special children that he was now somehow responsible for.  What was he doing here?  How could a talented hunter and space traveler from Questor suddenly be a teacher and the only adult guiding these children toward a highly questionable future?  The thought made him quiver in spite of the warm fur.

Maybe being a teacher wasn’t so bad, though.  He was a natural with loving discipline.  Except for Alec Songh, all of these children adored and looked up to him.  It felt good to be addressed with respectful honorifics and awe.  It seemed he did have something to teach them. 

Shu Kwai had become a powerful telekinetic because of Ged’s success in describing for him the workings of the inner eye. 

Ged’s own perceptive powers had grown exponentially as he continued to practice changing his own shape.  He could transform now not just by taste and touch, but by scent and even by imagination.  He could almost become the creatures of his dreams by placing them at the focus of his powerful inner eye. 

Friashqazatla was gaining a lot in shape-change power from the instruction Ged gave him.  So far, he could only take a humanoid shape with canine features or a small, black wolf with a human brain and voice, but the rest would surely come with time and practice. 

Gyro, the other Nebulon boy besides Junior was learning practically everything Ged knew about starship repair and maintenance.  He could find and pull the skills directly out of Ged’s memory.  He seemed to have a really vast aptitude for anything mechanical or electronic.  He was also a god of mathematics and space-travel equations.  The need to find an astrogator was quickly becoming irrelevant. 

Even the Phoenix and Rocket Rogers were learning from him.  They had a power over fire that he did not comprehend at all.  It was a Psion power completely un-like his own.  Still, they learned to work together from Ged, in the way he had always done so naturally with his brother Ham.  He taught the two boys the hunting language of hand signs and gestures that allowed non-telepaths to speak in silence.  He taught them tracking skills and the interpreting of signs left by those who pass through a place.

But the question that bothered Ged most was, “What have I become?”  He had taken pride in being a moral man, a servant of the true God.  Now, he was the lover of two different women, one little more than a child herself.  His love had caused them both pain and trouble.  And the more he became a Psion and used his power, the more he felt degraded and sick.  He had become a monster.  And what about his brother Ham?

Still, as he lay there awake and troubled he couldn’t help but turn back to thoughts of Ham.  They had escaped from Imperial Space.  They had found paradise.  Don’t Go Here was a source of potential wealth.  He and Ham had liberated the population, revived the starport, and wove them into the great web of space.  They owned the starport and had control over who came in. 

Gaijin was even better. There he had found acceptance.  They didn’t seem to care that he was different and tainted with Psion blood.  They seemed to think it was a good thing.  He and Ham could have a good life between those two planets.  And now, it seemed, both of them were being drawn back into the dangerous realm that was the Imperium.  Looming doom seemed to be beckoning to them both.  Ged hunkered down again between the two sleeping children.  He needed to get some sleep.  Thoughts of the other children in his care, Billy Iowa, Jadalaqstbr, Mai Ling, Hassan Parker, Taffy King, and difficult Alec Songh, could be put off for the moment.  Still, thinking about the future made his stomach churn and sleep remained a stranger.

In the hold, three decks below in the belly of the Ancient dragon starship, the malevolent Tesserah continued to percolate with sickly green and purple lights.  Whatever evil thing the device was supposed to do, it was busy doing it.

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Filed under aliens, heroes, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, science fiction

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