Chapter 2Mature

“Wake up!”She heard in her mind. There was no sound of it, but in her mind it was like a booming, thunderous roar.

"Oh no!"Ithica thought to herself as she threw open her eyes.

She could feel the changes inside her even now. She wouldn't have thought it possible if it weren't happening to her.

Preemption.

She gasped. It hadn't happened in a thousand years, but she could feel it happening to her now. Daughters of Ellah were prepared from their birth to be keepers of ancient knowledge. Paired with rulers from friendly star systems as living treaties between worlds of the Vaelor, the Daughters of Ellah have maintained the peace for nearly eight thousand years. Member worlds have access to the knowledge and wisdom of all other sentient worlds of the Vaelor, including the knowledge of the Ancients – through these servants of the Ellah.

The Ancients were wise and built many failsafes into the Daughters of Ellah. Until the time they were mated, Daughters of Ellah are sequestered on the homeworld of Vaelor –the location of the Daughter’s homeworld kept secret among all other worlds of the Vaelor Confederation. But in the event some external threat ever threatened her safety, translation could be preempted, allowing her to mate with any suitable life form and access the knowledge within her, to protect the integrity of Ellah.

“It is… translation…”She thought.

Even now, she could feel her body changing --her DNA code being re-written to suit her "Ahema." No other being could allow her to access the Ellah –the system consisted of the Daughter as the portal, and the Ahema as the key. No other being could command her. To her mate, she would assume a complimentary state of existence. Her entire being would be made pleasing to him. This man before her was now Ahema to her, and she belonged to him.

It was dark and the air felt cramped and stale. The lights on her suit made it possible to see him, but it was still too dark to make out the details. She looked up at him standing above her, holding the partially collapsed corner of the building up. His thoughts were disjointed and difficult to manage but she could tell they were still in grave danger. She kept her gaze fixed on him, sensing that he needed her.

The rubble above them both threatened to crush them both, and yet he held it in place --but just barely. 

“Foley... His name is Foley.”She thought.

He strained silently to hold things in place, and she sensed that verbal communication was difficult for him. He wanted something, but his thoughts were unlike anything she had ever experienced before. His mind moved fast --very Fast. He was in need of a brace --something tall and sturdy to hold the burden. He was tiring and wanted desperately to save them both. No. That wasn't right. He wanted desperately to save her. Even through the haze of his pain and effort, she could tell that the Ellah had chosen well.  He was selfless, strong --the rarest of hearts. She ached for him.

She crawled in the darkness and found what might have helped –a large beam that was partially submerged beneath the rubble. She grabbed it and pulled hard, but she could not dislodge it. She was about to turn to tell him, but in her mind she'd already seen that he was aware of this new revelation and had formulated a new plan. He was going to need her to move closer to him and remain still.

The greatest danger was that shifting the weight would cause other sections of the wall to collapse and the only place that would offer any hope of safety for either of them would be directly beneath him. She returned to her position and knelt quietly. She could feel even now that his physical body was failing. He was injured and all that held him standing was his will. 

She mouthed a quiet prayer of thanks to Ellah. He would need her help and so she moved her hands to either side of him against the wall section and pushed when he pushed. She was physically hardy, though not very strong in comparison. She gave her strength with his as he pushed the mass upwards. For her too, it seemed like moments were like hours but he moved it to a safe position where the jagged edges of the wall pressed against the opposing wall and locked in place --held by opposing pressure.

He looked down at her and smiled; even as he began to slip down into unconsciousness. His body had slackened and he fell forward into her arms.

"Ahema!"

She managed to bring him safely to the floor, his head resting on her shoulder. His breathing was shallow and even, but she could tell if he was in distress, but not how badly in the darkness. If there were any injury, it would be best to keep him from the ground and any contaminants. Her suit raised the level of lighting she needed to make him out more clearly. Physical contact with him provided her body a more direct route to completing translation. He had caramel colored skin and fine features. He was perhaps six inches or so taller than she by her estimation. Her body was instinctively learning him, and with each passing moment she came closer to a complete awareness of his needs.

Her mind was changing as well. She felt the ancient system inside her changing bringing her closer to him. Ahema. The word had many meanings in the common tongues of the Vaelor. It's true meaning was known only to the Daughters of Ellah. She translated it into his language as she learned it from his unconscious mind.

“Everything…  Ahema means everything.”

She sighed and held him in place while she waited for the translation to be complete. Norza and her men would come for them both soon.

Falling into rubble of a collapsing building was sheer madness to some, but she now realized it was a special kind of genius. As she came closer to his thoughts, she could see that he was considered special among his people for his ability. They fell beneath the rubble because this was exactly where he wanted them to be. In milliseconds, his mind had developed a path to relative safety for both of them. With only a pistol, they stood no chance of holding them off for very long. Landing underneath the collapsed section of building would buy them time. She could see in his thoughts that even as he landed, that he could have allowed her closer to harm to lessen his hurt, but he did not. He let his body absorb most of the impacts shielding her from the brunt of it. His mind had tracked the falling debris even as they hurtled towards it --every individual piece was clearly mapped within his mind.

To their pursuer, it might have appeared that he had miscalculated the timing of the null motion pulse and gotten them both caught underneath it as it fell. Norza would either assume the two of them to be crushed, or they would have to dig through the rubble to find them. With the inhabitants of this world being a totally unknown quantity, Norza would take what she could and retreat, returning with greater numbers after she'd gathered her full strength.  In either case, it bought them time. She could feel his body now, as she in tune with his heartbeat. Her rhythms would come to match his as the system made it impossible for her now to be mated with anyone else. With the translation complete, Ahema would be the only one who could access Ellah and the knowledge within her lay safe. But preemption bore a price of its own. This was now her world.

She could feel his blood ooze in a warm trickle down his back.  A gash across his back had opened up from the landing debris. Some of his ribs were broken. He'd managed to localize the damage to his torso and away from his arms and legs, but he was in dire need now. She closed her eyes and reached into his mind. It was disconcerting because his perceptions were so different. She concentrated on feelings for they were the strongest and easiest way marks through his mind. She searched for safety, comfort, contentment and an image in her mind came into focus. She oriented on the image of safety, and inhaled deeply.

"Ellah be kind ...” She whispered to herself. "My Ahema needs you..."

She could not access the system of Ellah, the sentient intelligence of the worlds of Vaelor, without the bidding of the Ahema except in times of extreme distress. Ellah gave each Daughter the ability to fold space time, provided they knew the place where they needed to go. To get here, she'd performed a Pazha Maha -- a blind jump to safety built into Ellah. The Pazha Maha was an instinctive jump to the nearest habitable environment. The only trouble is that the definition is based entirely on the existing knowledge of Ellah and couldn’t be controlled.

This jump would not be so difficult. She was going to fold space to the place of safety she’d gleaned from his mind. She inhaled and they were engulfed in white light.

The End

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