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Dragon Musings

The Colony Chronicles-Pt.7-Sophie-first half

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Sophie tried to process the information she had just received from her grandfather. Her mother could be brought back to life? Her grandmother too? All morning she had listened to him tell her impossible things. Somehow, they made sense, in a twisted way. She had never felt normal, so being told she was half alien was not as unbelievable as one might assume. She had listened, and let him explain, and she thought she had her emotions under control. But the old anger was bubbling back up. He had swooped in, took her mother away, allowing her to believe she was dead all this time. And now he was telling her there was a way to get her back. How could he have kept this from her all these years?

“Can’t Alasdair get the antidote and bring it back?” Tasha’s voice interrupted Sophie’s thoughts.

“It’s not that simple. Alasdair took a great chance coming here today. Travel between the two worlds is forbidden. If he gets caught it could mean his life. Especially if it is found out he is communicating with me. As good a friend as Alasdair is, I cannot ask him to put himself in that position. I have presumed on our friendship too much as it is.” Quentin took Sophie’s hands in his. “The fact that he did come, and is returning tonight, has given me a tiny glimmer of hope, but I do not dare let that grow until I talk to him again. I promise you Sophie, if there is even the smallest chance I can bring your mother and grandmother back, I will take it.”

She wanted to believe him. Was she crazy? Was he crazy? The hope that was building in her quickly overwhelmed the logical part of her brain. Aliens, magic, bringing people back to life, all of it was surreal, but she was going to go along until she had proof one way or another. Maybe Randy hadn’t missed when he shot at them, and she was lying in a hospital bed, in a coma, all this her imagination. God knows she had an active one. How many times had she convinced herself that Kira was alive, and jumped out of bed, running into the kitchen, only to find it was only a dream? Too many times to count. The first few months after the murder had been the hardest, but Tasha and her parents had gotten her through it. She had been convinced on several occasions that she had heard her mother’s voice, only to realize it was the wind or some other ordinary noise. Or was it? A sudden idea occurred to her.

“If she isn’t dead, where is her spirit? Could she have tried to contact me?”

Quentin frowned. “It’s possible, I suppose. I have never spoken to anyone who has returned from being in stasis as long as Elise or Kira, so I do not know if it is possible to communicate. Her connection was strongest to you, so if she was going to contact anyone, you would be the obvious choice. If you felt anything, it was due to her great love of you Sophie. Kira may have had her faults, but she was a good mother.”

A sound in the kitchen caught everyone’s attention. Alasdair walked in the room, and smiled. It didn’t escape anyone’s notice that the smile didn’t reach his eyes.

“You are back a lot sooner than I expected.” Quentin said.

“Situation has changed. I need to speak to you privately.”

“No.” Sophie said vehemently. “You promised no more secrets Gramps. Whatever Alasdair has to say, we should all hear it.” She had a feeling it wasn’t good news, but she wanted to hear it anyway.

“She’s right. Better to tell us all together. Save me the trouble of repeating it later. I have to warn you girls, though. You are not going to understand half of what he is talking about. I would appreciate it if you don’t interrupt until he is through, then I will explain what I can.” He looked to his granddaughter. “We will discuss the antidote later, Sophie.”

“Actually, that is part of what has changed.” Alasdair said. “Jessa wants you back on Tellus Quentin, and she won’t take no for an answer. She instructed me to tell you if you agree to come back, she will make the antidote available.”

Quentin snorted. “How stupid does she think I am? She no more has the antidote than I do. And what about my exile, the order to kill me on sight if I set foot on Tellus? How exactly does she intend to get around that?”

“She has procured permission to start a new Game. A Grand Game.” Alasdair smiled, genuinely this time as Quentin’s jaw dropped. “Better yet, she has convinced the other Masks that the Game will not work without your presence on Tellus.”

“A Grand Game? Do you know how long it will take to set everything up? And who will run it? The Elders actually agreed to this?” Quentin was in shock. Never in his wildest dreams did he expect this.

“712 years to be exact. Jessa already has everything in place, except the stock players. Apparently she has been working on this from the day she arrived on Tellus. The Sentinels being sidelined actually gave her the advantage she needed to secure the cooperation of the Elders. They were grudgingly grateful when she presented them with a solution to their problems. As far as who will run it, well, that’s where you come in. Make no mistake, Jessa wants you back for personal reasons, but the Game will not run the way she needs it to without the Machine, and you are the only one who can turn it back on.” Alasdair looked at the confused faces of the three women. He didn’t know how much Quentin had told them about Tellus, but he was pretty sure they had no idea what he was talking about.

“No way am I turning that thing back on. It was unstable then, and it is unstable now. Tellus has not fully recovered from the damage that was done the last time. The Elders truly agreed to this?”

“Well, it took a lot of compromising on both parties, but in the end, they agreed to let it be turned on if certain parts were disabled. Of course, Jessa agreed, even though she has no idea if it can be done. She really needs you back. The Valkyries managed to get the power grids partially online, but other than that, it is still unusable. With time, they might be able to get more of it up and running, but Jessa doesn’t want to wait any longer. I think she is worried some of the Emeri are deteriorating.”

“Jessa needs the Machine to run the Game. And she thinks I will fix it if she gives me the antidote? What does she think will happen when I find out she doesn’t have it?” Quentin asked.

“I don’t think she is too worried about that. You see, she has another stipulation in order for you to gain the antidote. You have to get her pregnant. I think she truly believes you will fall in love with her and abandon Elise if you have a child to bond over. I have tried to reason with her, but, well, you know how that is.” Alasdair watched as Quentin took in everything he just said. The expected rage never came, instead, his friend burst out laughing.

“A baby? She wants me to father a child with her? Seriously, has the woman gone completely mad?”

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