Starblue Ash swore never to do two things: join the Rovers and leave Mallachrom. Commander Day of the Rover Corps didn't care -- she was the last of their family and her heritage was the Rovers. When Rover Pilot Neona Creed needed rescuing from creatures that mimicked the Shadows of Mallachrom, Blue's psionic bond with Neona and her twin brother, Keegan, was their best chance of breaking her free. Blue teamed with Keegan and a ship full of Rovers to chase the kidnappers across the galaxy. The long journey deepened their bonds and changed their friendship to love. If they survived this crisis, they might change the universe.
"How long a delay?" Keegan asked. He glanced at Blue before meeting Loris' gaze.
"No telling until they start mop-up operations."
"Then I say we evacuate." His voice was calm, thin, almost unfeeling.
Blue caught her breath. Not from the shock of hearing him so easily decide to abandon his sister -- because it wasn't easy. The force of the pain and fury that swept through him hit her in the chest with near-physical intensity. She reached for Keegan's hand under the table. His fingers wrapped around hers tight enough to make her bones ache.
"Fifteen of them -- but fifteen Shades controlling them, possibly accessing all their knowledge of Rover weaponry and equipment and tactics." Loris sighed and nodded slowly. "And security codes. Communication codes. Everything they need to infiltrate... but if we abandon them, set up an interdiction so no one can land and give them a way off the planet, maybe keep their creators from coming back for them, what can they do? Both ships have been running full-array sensor scans of the planet's surface and surrounding space, and there is nothing anywhere within hailing distance, nothing hidden underground. The Shades are effectively stranded here, once we leave."
"What happens to our people when the Shades realize they're stuck here?" Katha said.
"Do they even want to get off the planet?" Aryl said.
"Wouldn't you?" Keegan's voice said he didn't care. Blue could feel how much he cared, the battle in his heart, just through his tight grip on her hand.
"It makes sense that their next step after taking over our people is to get off this planet, move through the galaxy... but they haven't done anything yet."
"Everything changed when Danil and his team left," Blue said. "They were all resistant to whatever the Shades might have been trying to do to them. It took the arrival of less experienced Rovers, younger minds, and..." She shivered, feeling she had come close to understanding, but unable to put it into words