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Méridien by S. H. Jucha

Méridien by S. H. Jucha

Author:S. H. Jucha
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Publisher: S. H. Jucha
Published: 2015-11-01T00:00:00+00:00


-25-

The Outward Bound eased away from the Rêveur. When clear of the liner, Captain Manet ignited its primary engines for the trip planetside to Libre. Aboard for the historic occasion were Alex, Renée, Terese, Étienne, Alain, Tatia with four armed troopers, and the standard Outward Bound crew of Miko, Pia, and the techs, Lyle and Zeke.

<Julien, where is our personal Swei Swee?> Alex sent.

<He’s keeping pace with you, Admiral, off your aft, port quarter. It appears you have an escort planetside.>

Alex relayed the information concerning their escort to Edouard, who confirmed he had the dark traveler on his controller’s telemetry. Alex adjusted his belt harness, which Julien had hurriedly programmed with the basic Swei Swee vocabulary. Under the circumstances, Alex was going to remain linked to Julien via the Outward Bound, and Julien would have Cordelia and Mutter monitor their comm.

The cliff top above the beach where the Swei Swee had disgorged their hive members was littered with dark travelers, and shells were in the process of being dismantled. Edouard searched for a clear place to land the shuttle. The openings were few and far between, and he circled the area looking for a safe spot.

Miko glanced at her Captain’s intent expression, marked with a deep frown. “After all we’ve been through, Captain, it would probably be a bad thing to kill the Admiral in a shuttle landing in perfect weather.”

Edouard glanced at Miko and a small smile erased his frown. He eased his grip on the control stick and relaxed his hunched shoulders. Edouard made one more turn around the landing area and slid the Outward Bound neatly into a clear slot in the field. As they came to rest, Miko reported grass fires and Edouard fired the belly extinguishers, starving the fires of oxygen before they could spread.

Alex led his entourage down the gangway ramp. Tatia’s request to lead with her four troopers was politely denied. “We’re here to establish relationships, not prove our dominance, Commander,” Alex had replied. Still, Tatia had her troopers position themselves on the outskirts of the company as they walked toward the cliff. She was especially grateful for the presence of the twins, who closely shadowed Alex and Renée.

The dark travelers lay nestled in the grass and rocky soil. As Alex’s company wound past them, the humans took note of the large, irregular holes cut in the sides of the hulls near ground level.

<Biological ingress and egress, Admiral,> Julien said, monitoring from on high.

As the humans neared the cliffs, a dark traveler gracefully set down barely thirty meters away—no engines flaring, no hot gasses emanating, no noise, and no grass fires.

<Julien!> Alex sent, his thoughts speeding to his friend.

<A wonderful idea, Admiral!> Julien shot back.

<How many do we need?> Alex asked.

<I believe two would be more than sufficient … one with an opening and one without.>

Alex halted his company. They watched as a small hole opened in the side of the recently landed ship. Alex was fascinated as the Swei Swee enlarged the holes.



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