FROM AN ACCIDENTAL GODDESS
Makarian was not happy. Gillie didn’t need
her telepathic senses to figure that out. It was in the tension
in his broad shoulders, in the way the tall man moved like
a jungle pantrelon, poised to kill.
remind her of a pantrelon, with his dark hair and
eyes, his black uniform accenting his sleekly muscled body.
Pure Khalar, and definitely attractive. His people had changed
little in three hundred and some odd years. Except to become
a little less warlike, a little more tolerant than she remembered
them. And a lot less careful.
Though Makarian might be the exception.
Simon’s teasing comment reached her as she palmed open
the ship’s main hatch. He found the temple, and her
attendant goddesshood, amusing. She didn’t.
not my fault! She could feel Makarian’s breath
on her hair, the heat from his body brushing hers as the hatch
slid open. He didn’t trust her more than five inches
away from him.
Holy Guidelines of the Goddess Kiasidira—
all Tridivinians. There is no Goddess Kiasidira and you damn
well know it!
Stuff a sock in it, Simon. I don’t have time for that
The small bridge was appropriately disheveled. She sent Simon
a mental nod of appreciation. She’d been out cold while
he’d altered the ship into something suitable for this
situation, place, and time. And done a damned good job of
Gillie slid into the pilot’s chair, dusted some debris
from the console in front of her. It was her first look at
Simon’s rendition, but she’d helmed a variety
of starships most of her adult life. She let her fingers play
over the touchpads, knowing the pads wouldn’t respond
right away. They weren’t supposed to. Not until she
and Simon could figure out who they were supposed to be and
provide the wary admiral with information that would make
him leave them alone. They needed privacy to effect the repairs.
She let out what she hoped was a convincing sigh of frustration.
“Systems aren’t responding.”
Makarian leaned around her, repeated her sequence on the console.
Tried two more. The screens before them flickered, then died.
need some time to work on her system synchs,” she told
He took the copilot’s seat next to her. “Don’t
try to play games with me, Captain. You won’t succeed.”
She swiveled to face him. “Sir?” Had she let something
slip? Did he suspect the truth?
ship’s on lockout. Yes, that’s a safety measure
to prevent hijackings. But there’s not a smuggler I’ve
boarded who didn’t have his ship rigged to mimic a safety
lockout, just to keep Fleet from accessing his files. And
I’ve opened every one.”
He leaned his elbows on his knees, his narrowed eyes sending
a clear warning. And a clear message that he thought she was
a smuggler. Not a goddess. She let out a slow sigh of relief
as he continued, “You have two choices. We can do this
the easy way, and you unlock those files now. Or we can do
it the hard way. And you’ll face not only smuggling
charges, but obstruction of an investigation and any other
charge I can throw at you while I’m unscrambling your
codes. And unscramble them I will.”
She put on her most conciliatory expression. “I assure
you, Admiral, there’s no deliberate obstruction on my
part.” Well, not for the reasons he thought, anyway.
“My ship was damaged. Send someone below decks to verify
that while I try to realign my databanks, if you want. Only
make sure they’re willing to help and not just be decorative.
I’ve a lot of work just to get this ship operative again.
The sooner I do, the sooner my existence here will cease to
be a problem for both of us.”
to get home?”
Home wasn’t a possibility. Home had ceased to exist,
three hundred and forty two years ago. The best she could
hope for was to get back to Raheiran space as quickly as possible
and leave the erroneous legend of the Lady Goddess Kiasidira
far behind her. However, Simon was in no condition to handle
the complexities, and stresses, of transiting the Rift right
now. His initial three-week estimate might have been overly
optimistic. “I’m anxious to be somewhere my every
move’s not questioned.”
One dark eyebrow lifted slightly. “Open those files.”
can’t.” Simon hadn’t finished constructing
them. She sure as hell wasn’t going to show him her
real logs. The damned Khalar would probably deem them sacred
texts or some such nonsense. “I need time.”
He sighed. His disappointment filtered over her. She pulled
her telepathic field in more tightly. It was one thing to
prudently monitor the enemy. It was totally another to let
his emotions become a distraction.
“The hard way, then, is it?” Makarian shoved himself
to his feet.
Makarian.” She rose as well then let her arms rise and
fall to her sides in a gesture of exasperation. It wasn’t
totally feigned. How much longer do you need, Simon?
few hours, at most. I’m still not functioning at full
capacity. And this station’s databanks are singularly
He wants to see something now.
Those new trick shots of yours at billiards are quite impressive.
to cooperate, Captain Davré?” Makarian’s
deep voice was a low rumble.
give me something.
I snagged a block of shipping manifests. They’re not
perfect. By the time you take him belowdecks, I might have
him out of everything but that, then. Gillie gestured
toward the bridge hatchway. “My databanks are yours,
Admiral. I’ve nothing to hide.” She prayed she
had something believable to show him…
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