And so we begin – the sequel to Awakened. We follow Zan and Eowyn home to Solaris and Antar as they continue the fight to free their world and their people from Kivar and the Skins.
You'll need to read awakened first if you want to read , as otherwise a lot of it won't make sense.
Disclaimer: I own nothing of Antar.
Miles to go before I sleep.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
'Stopping by the woods on a Snowy evening' Robert Frost
Previously in Awakened
… Max knew that She was missing, his other half, his soul. Since he could remember he had had this aching emptiness inside of him. As if he had given his heart and soul to another and part of him would be always be a void, be broken, until they were finally reunited and became one.
… the crew realised that their shields, which should have made them undetectable by the humans had all failed!
… It was with that final memory, the memory of holding his wife as they were ripped apart that Zan finally fully emerged roaring with physical and emotional pain.
… "Eowyn, what they showed you, what they told you. I swear, I never touched Tessa or Liz, it was all lies, illusion…my love, I'm sorry for everything you went through. I'm sorry that you were hurt. I should have been able to save you earlier. You are my world, my reason for living." "Zan" her soft voice uttered his name, "I never doubted you"
… Max I still love you." Zan did not answer Liz. He had had enough! He turned instead to the two guards. "James, Eric, please see Miss Parker to her car. Escort her to a secluded spot outside Roswell, give her something to calm her down and make sure she will not waken until after we have left Earth. After that she can tell anyone and everyone whatever she chooses." Without another word or backward glance at Liz, Eowyn and Zan left the room.
… My Lord Kivar wishes to wed the Queen Eowyn." He admitted. Zan's face clouded. "He wanted her for a political alliance. Nothing more?" he asked his voice barely under control. Nicholas gulped. "No, my Lord Kivar desires the Queen, he always has done, even before you were married, he wishes for her to be his Queen so that he can possess her. Have her completely and totally."
… Captain Aja approached as they entered the ship "Your Majesties welcome aboard" he said "Do we have your permission to leave the planet?" "Of course, proceed with take-off immediately" Zan commanded ….
Stepping into the control room of the ship Captain Aja turned to Zan and Eowyn. "We are now in orbit around Earth. Do I have Your Majesties permission to contact Solaris for a flight plan?" Zan smiled at the Captain and was about to answer in the affirmative, when Eowyn put her hand on his arm. "May I?" she asked turning to the Captain. "I would like our first transmission to my Father's planet to be from me." "Why of course, My Queen" Captain Aja replied, "I should have anticipated your wish." Smiling at the Captain, Eowyn took her place in front of the control panel. Picking up the Com she spoke into it, barely able to keep her voice steady with the emotion of calling home. "Calling Solaris air traffic control. Do you read me?" After what seemed like an age a voice replied crackling with static. "This is Solaris air traffic control. Identify yourself." Zan came behind Eowyn and placed his hand supportively on her shoulder, knowing how emotional this was for is wife, indeed how emotional it was for him! "Negative Solaris Air traffic control" Eowyn spoke into the Com. "We require a secure channel. Security ident to follow …. 7 . 5 . 0 . 0 . 4 . 9 . 0 . 5 . 9 ." "Hold please" the efficient voice instructed on the other end of the line. When the voice returned it did not sound so efficient, but rather cracked with emotion as it recognised the code. "Se .. secure channel being established" the voice said. There was some brief static as the channel changed and then a voice that Eowyn would have recognised anywhere came over the line. It was her big brother! "Eowyn … Zan … is that you?" Eowyn let out a sound that was somewhere between a sob and a laugh as she replied through her tears of joy. "Yes Callub, it's us!" There was a pause at the other end of the line as Callub too, tried to get his emotions under check. "Welcome back baby sister" he said "I can't wait to see you! Is everyone alright?" Eowyn sobbed again as Zan wrapped his arms around her as she sat, he too, was glad beyond words to hear the voice of his brother – in – law. "Yes Callub, we're all fine. Father … is he well?" Eowyn replied through her tears. "He's well, he'll be even better when he hears you're on the way home." her brother replied. "I can't stay on for any longer, as the Skins have been trying to break into our secure channels. I'll send through the route. See you tomorrow baby sis." "Tomorrow" was all Eowyn could gasp out as the coordinates came onto the screen in front of her. This was it, they were really going home!
On the short journey towards the black hole that would take them home, Zan and Ava debriefed the Captain and his officers on all that had occurred during their sojourn on earth. There was much to tell, and Captain Aja and his crew turned alternately pale with anxiety and red with anger as the tale unfolded. They were devastated to learn that their Monarchs had suffered so much, while they had lain safe and sleeping. Seeing their devastated faces, Zan tried to reassure them. "All is well now, there was nothing you could have done." Eowyn also stepped forward to comfort the crew. "Larek and Captain Stevens kept us safe. Our experiences on earth helped us, made us grow. We are better, stronger for it." Larek looked at his King and Queen thoughtfully, "Yes stronger, that reminds me …" he muttered to himself. Eowyn looked at her protector questioningly, but he only shook his head, indicating that it could wait until later. Eowyn had no time to question him as at that moment Captain Aja approached them. "May I have a word with Your Majesties" he asked. "And with Lady Ava, Lord Rath, Commander Larek and Captain Stevens if you would all be so good."
As Captain Aja's second in command, First Officer Radj shut the door behind the last officer, everyone turned to look at Captain Aja, wondering what it was that he wanted to say to them that he could not say in front of his officers. "Your Majesties," the Captain began hesitatingly. "I must beg all your pardons." "Captain please" Zan replied, "We are fine, there is no need to apologise for what has happened. It was none of it your fault." The Captain exchanged worried looks with Radj. "I hate to contradict Your Majesty" he interrupted, "but some of it, in fact was." At everyone's bewildered looks, Captain Aja turned to his first officer. "Perhaps you had better explain Radj," he said. "After all it was you who worked it all out." The young officer stood up, clearly nervous at the attention he was receiving from his Monarchs and the others. "You see Your Majesties, it began like this" pausing he ran his hands through his hair nervously. "Go on" Ava said to him encouragingly. Radj glanced at her gratefully, then dropped his gaze blushing. "When we repaired our shields and reached the rendezvous point, and everyone but myself and the Captain were in hyper sleep," he continued. "I thought that I had better check the shields to see why they weren't working – why they all failed and the humans were able to detect us as we entered Earth's atmosphere." Here he paused again. "Well .." said Zan somewhat impatiently. He was unused to receiving reports in such a halting fashion. Eowyn placed her hand on his back to encourage him to be patient. Radj gulped and continued. "There was nothing wrong with the shields." A startled silence followed this pronouncement, which was interrupted by Rath. "But that's impossible, they all failed!" Radj looked, if possible, even more intimidated by the curt General than by his King. "That's what I though too," he rushed on, eager now to finish to get everyone's attention off him. "But then I thought, it made sense, every inch of the ship was checked many times before we launched. Our mission was too important to take any chances." Larek was nodding, a thoughtful look on his face. "So, I brought it to the Captain's attention." Radj said. Captain Aja nodded and continued. "I decided that we should check if it was a manual error. If someone had accidentally pressed the 'disable sheilds' control." He said. "I think it would be easier to show Your Majesties. Turning to the screen, Captain Aja brought up the security tape of the Bridge on the day of the accident. Fascinated, they all watched as the Ship entered Earth's orbit. Then they saw it. One of the officers, Lieutenant Cava, approached the control panel while Captain Aja and the other officers were busy directing the ship out of orbit. Looking around carefully, Cava deliberately switched off the shields!
The stunned silence that followed was interrupted by Rath's thunderous voice. "The treasonous dog!" he roared. "Where is he, I'll separate him from his skin!" Zan stepped forward to the enraged General. He was no less incensed, but being a King had better reign on his emotions. "Calm down Rath, we must think!" he commanded. Eowyn looked at the screen thoughtfully. "I know Cava, have known him and his family for years … he would never … I would have thought that he would be the last one to betray us!" Captain Aja looked at his Queen with approval "You are right, Your Majesty" he said. Everyone stared at him puzzled. "That is not Lieutenant Cava!" he announced. At the others' doubtful looks he rushed on. "Once we saw the tape, we though that we had better search the ship thoroughly to ensure there were no other surprises." He paused, "that's when we found it … Cava's body." "Then if that's not Lieutenant Cava …" Captain Stevens said. "It's a Skin!" finished Eowyn.
They were all quiet for a moment after this revelation. The Skin's plotting went further than they had at first thought. If they had infiltrated the ship, who knew where else they were, what other schemes they had hatched, what other traps were awaiting them? Now that he had calmed down a little Rath's strategic mind was working at top speed. "Nicholas" he announced into the silence. "Of course," replied Zan. "Kivar's General is sure to know of all of Kivar's plots. As they made their way to the Skin General's cell, Zan pulled Eowyn to one side, motioning the others to go on. Zan took his wife in his arms and buried his face in her hair. "Are you alright?" he asked concerned. "You knew Cava well." Eowyn looked up at her husband gratefully, tears that she would not let the others see glistened unshed in her eyes. "Better now" she said with a shaky smile, embracing him back. Zan could not help himself, with her ruby lips so close and the scent of her enveloping his senses, he leaned down and captured her lips in a kiss. Eowyn willingly returned the kiss. Running his tongue over her lower lip, Zan sought entry to her mouth. Gasping with passion, Eowyn opened her mouth to allow his tongue access as her hands slid up his body. But they could not continue, not now, and so the couple parted reluctantly and followed their people down the hall.
Entering Nicholas's cell where he was once more being held unconscious, Zan signalled to his General. Rath, nodded to his King and roughly awoke the Skin General with a hard blow from his mind to Nicholas's psyche. Jerking awake, Nicholas looked around at his captors fearfully. His eyes darted around the room and darkened as they landed on Eowyn. "My Queen" he leered at her. This time Zan and Rath were too slow. Eowyn advanced and felled the Skin General with a swift kick of her boot to his genitals. "That's something I learned on Earth" she told him as she grabbed him by the hair and began to probe his mind. Ava came forward and grasped her Queen's other hand to lend her her energy. "Tell me who of our people you have killed, who you have replaced with your own men, where they are and what their orders are." Eowyn commanded. Nicholas resisted, twisting in mental pain as he attempted to avoid answering her. But Eowyn was too strong for him. Before he knew it, Nicholas was reciting the names of the ten Skins that were hidden within their forces. Two in the ship and eight in the court of Eowyn's father King Tillian. The two on the ship were to disable the shields and the eight in King Tilian's court were instructed to act if or when their ship ever returned to Solaris.
After planning how they would meet the threat of the hidden Skins upon their return to Solaris, they all prepared to go into hyper sleep while the ship negotiated the black hole. The rest of the crew were already asleep. When they awakened, they would be less than an hour from Solaris. As Eowyn made to get into her pod, she was grabbed from behind. Zan pulled her to him almost roughly. Crushing his lips to hers. "Where do you think you're going?" he demanded. Eowyn pulled away from him slightly, gasping with sudden passion. "My pod" she objected. "The last time we got into separate pods, I lost you for fourteen years," he growled. "I'm not letting you get any further away from me than this!" Lifting her Zan deposited her in his pod and climbed in beside her pulling her into his embrace. As the pod engaged and she started to fall into unconsciousness, Eowyn sighed contentedly. There was danger all around and war ahead, but she was going home, and she was in the arms of her husband. And it was enough, for now.