Chapter 12 – Comron
Unable to sleep more than a few hours, I awaken and gently lift Vaush’s arm off me. Though it pleases me to see her lying in my bed, there are too many pressing matters vying for my attention to allow for this small indulgence.
They entered my home and murdered my mother!
I’ve sworn to Vaush that I wouldn’t go on the offensive with Fort Extremis, but that was before the Hegemony had struck and drew first blood.But I can’t make a move without first persuading Vaush of the merit of it.
We’re going to burn Van Laven alive!
Dredfort’s vile words still ring in my ears.Wouldn’t my best defense be a strong offense?I glance back at my wife sleeping soundly.I cannot. I will not destroy her faith in me.And yet I can’t allow my mother’s death to go unanswered allowing the Hegemony to interpret inaction as weakness.I need to find the evidence of the Hegemony’s direct involvement.Only then would Vaush grant me leave to begin collecting heads.
I make my way toward the study and retrieve the Bramech box.Upon opening it, the little sensors fail to light up the way they usually do.I tap the Bramech.Nothing!
“What the hell?” I lift it out of the box and place it in the opening of my ear, but it lays there like a stump.“No!”Had the Murkudahl made good on their threat to sever their link to the archives?Had this been Chaiyse’s doing? Duplicitous bitch!She spent all this time training me, ostensibly helping me to hone my skills, when all along she was just waiting for us to slip up and break her precious rule.How could she do this to us now, when we need the Bramech more than ever?
Pissed as hell, I hurry back to Vaush and turn up the light dimmer.When she fails to stir, I nudge her arm.
“Com…,” she says, squinting against the light, “what is it?”
I hold out the open Bramech box. “They’ve cut us off.”
“What? That can’t be,” Vaush is suddenly alert and sitting up to examine the Bramech.After trying repeatedly to activate it, her warm hazel eyes lock with mine.“They must have found out about our last unauthorized excursion.Damn it, Comron, I knew this would happen.” She swings her legs around to the floor.“We’ve irrevocably compromised our relationship with the Murkudahland lost our leverage,” she says, holding up the Bramech box.
“I don’t really give a shite about what the Murkudahl think,” I reply.“Right now, I need to know what the Hegemony is planning next so we can head them off.”
“Without the Bramech, we’re as blind as anyone else,” Vaush says in a caustic tone as she stands and begins pacing the room.“We never should’ve attempted it. I warned you.”
“Think of what would have happened if we hadn’t?” I exclaim.“Hanset would still be unwittingly leaking vital information to the Hegemony, and they’d be building a case to execute me and bombard Nethic.”
Vaush stops and looks at me.“I would never have let that happen.Even if it meant we had to go into hiding in the Hinter Worlds.But now the Kait will likely sever all ties with us.Chaiyse and Bhedrus won’t have a thing to do with us.”
“The Hegemony wants to kill me and burn Nethic to a cinder,” I respond tersely.“Could we please focus on that?”
Suddenly, a spark leaps into her hazel eyes and her lips curve into a smile.“Sweetheart, I don’t think the Murkudahl have abandoned us.”
“Did you not hear what I just said?” I ask bewildered by her fixation with the Kait.
“What if Murkudahl severed the link…,” her head lilts to the side, “because they know we don’t need it anymore?”
I give her a look of utter incredulity.“We’ve been trying for months to breech the archives and only stumbled upon it recently, but suddenly you think we can access the Chronicle Archives at will?”
She bites on her bottom lips as she contemplates the matter.“They’ve invested too much in us to simply give up now.I think we’re doing exactly what they thought we would.Maybe Chaiyse gave us a taste of the Chronicle Archives with all those restrictions knowing that we…,” she nods at me, “meaning you, would push the limits and make the leap beyond the need for the Bramech.”Her brow furrows. “Even Fort Extremis…maybe they knew that we didn’t stand a chance against the Hegemony or the Kurukaii without these weapons.”
My heart stirs at her words and something deep within seems to validate her speculation.But it was all pointless without proof.I spread my arms, inviting her to come to me.“There is only one way to know for certain.”
Vaush hesitates.“Comron…I think that I am the key or, rather, the catalyst.”
I drop my arms to my side.“But, at the risk of sounding immodest, I’m the stronger telepath.”
“And, yet, multiple times,” she breaks from my gaze, “you’ve failed to take us back to the archives.”
“Oh, so now you’re the expert on all things Murkudahl?” I say a little sharper than I’d intended.
Her head cants to the side and a small smile touches her lips.“Both times when we succeeded, I initiated the mind link at that critical point.I went deep into your psyche and…I don’t know, ignited something in you.That’s when you take over and whisk us to the archives.”
Again, the truth of her words resonates within my soul.“It’s the moment when I’m in you and you’re in me, and we mutually experience the shared climax.”
Vaush nods. “You were completely surrendered to me, no walls, no barriers.”
“Completely vulnerable,” I add as it all starts to make sense, “like the first time we life-mated.”
“Yes,” she says triumphantly.“I think that may be the secret to all of it.”
She meets me in the center of the bedroom, lets me lace my fingers through hers.“All right, I think we both know what needs to be done here,” I say, glancing at the bed.“Our fate is in your hands, my love.”
The corner of her mouth twitches up the way it does when she’s one part nervous and two parts wildly aroused. “Shall we?”
I take my wife’s hand and lead her to our bed.