Pt. 27

It took the help of the Technomages and Max's eclectic intellect to decipher the strange symbols Marianne left behind. "It appears to be a set of coordinates in hyperspace as well as some sort of chemical designator" Galen mused, squinting at the symbols on the screen in front of him. "But this symbol also seems to represent the Drahk – which is strange."

"Not so strange." Alwyn looked up from the representation of hyperspace that had led them to the Draco family. "The Drahk re-created the plague from something they had seen or experienced as servants of the Shadows. It maybe that whatever is at this coordinates will reveal as much about their history as their present. And it may also lead us to a cure for the plague the Drakh have inflicted on Earth. Why else would she have left this type of clue?"

Max looked up from his computer. "Maybe we'll find more ancient technology."

Galen sighed, then rose and stretched his tired muscles. "Really Max, does your mind ever not immediately go to ancient technology and profit?"

Max shrugged and continued to review the data before him. "Probably not. It seems rather pointless not to consider all options."

Galen shrugged and started for the door. "I need to check something on my ship."

Alwyn rose as well. "I'll walk with you. It's time for me to be on my way."

The two men walked in silence down the silent corridors, lost in their own thoughts. At Galen's ship the older Technomage stopped and leaned on his staff. "Will you be alright?"

"Yes – why wouldn't I be?" Galen asked, puzzled.

"You've had quite the adventure," Alwyn said somberly. "You may find it's not all as amusing as you are trying to pretend it was."

"I'm fine," he protested. "And the sooner I get back in my ship and start out on the trail of that point in hyperspace our guest has pointed out to us the better off I'll be." He waved his hand and the ship opened to receive him.

Alwyn watched his young friend disappear into the depths of his ship. "Stubborn young pup," he muttered, then turned to find his own ship.

Inside Galen settled himself at the help of his craft, going through the launch protocols in his head. He stopped for a moment, and then hesitantly re-ran the imaging program he had been using when the Dreaming had begun. The image of the Swordsman came alive on the screen. He examined it for a moment but closed the program in annoyance. "Magic! Absurd. There has to be another explanation."

A low laugh filled his mind. "Until we meet again, little brother."

Galen glared at his controls as he set his ship to flight, hoping that his "little adventure" would prove to have been worth the pain and annoyance.

In the darkness of space, three ships leaped back into hyperspace, two headed for the same destination and one for distant space. Behind them a shining phoenix flared to life, watching them leave with fiery eyes. A man's laugh filled the empty space around the bird, the sound following the ships till they disappeared.