Calan is a smart, sexy psion with a talent for making people see things his way. Parlor tricks, he calls them.
Ajha Lann, a dawning psion grew up under the wing of an older girl. Together they scrounged for food and avoided capture by the gangers in the ruins of Farringay. Left on her own when Mikki is captured by gangers, the voices in her head seemed to get louder but one presence is stronger than the others. It gives her hope of something better for her future.
Calan Narcaza’s mother, the former Michelle Marlow was born in the ruins Farringay outside the Starport Compound. Little had changed since his father went to Earth to find Chelle and claim her as his mate. Calan knows the dangers, but he has felt Ajha Lann reaching out to him from several years. He knew that for her to reach him over such interstellar distance could only mean that she was his psion mate.
His brother Jamerin brings Calan to Earth in his starship, though he is skeptical about leaving his baby brother on his own. Then they find a cyborg in stasis at the industrial complex that Calan bought to give refuge to the people struggling to survive in the city ruins. They wake him.
Calan and cyborg Rax Ven become allies building the Refuge together and facing off with the Overlords and gangers in a final showdown.
“Are you sure about this, Calan?” Jamerin asked skeptically. “This place is barely civilized even now—hardly any better than when I got Lara and Xaver out of here five years ago.”
“It’s never going to get any better if nobody tries to make it better,” Calan said. “All they ever did was rebuild little pockets of civilization here. They never went any farther in Farringay after they finished the starport and residential compound.”
“What do you think you’re going to do by yourself?”
“First I’m going to set up the clinic in that industrial complex I bought and see what develops.”
“The gangs in Farringay are just as bad as when Dad came here to get Mom before they ever dreamed of us.”
“I can deal with them. I’m not hindered by any stupid psi laws like they used to have on Aledus. I’m strong enough to protect myself with psi.”
“Except against Tregans,” Jamerin reminded.
“Telepathy doesn’t work, but telekinesis will work.”
“Calan, I know you’ve got skills. I just hate leaving you here on your own. Most of these people are barely civilized.”
“You taught me everything you learned for Aledus. I’m not as strong as you were then, but I’m strong enough to fend off a bunch of thugs.”
“These are not nice people.”
“Some of them are. Those are the ones I want to help. You got a couple days layover before your passengers get here. Why don’t you come out to the complex with me and have a look around?”
“And help you set up the solar array and the power storage cells.”
Calan grinned. “It did cross my mind… But I want you to get a look at the place as well.”
“Sure, why not? Not much to do on the ship while we’re waiting. We didn’t come to Farringay the last time. We landed out west to get Lara.”
The three of them took the pedestrian belt through the starport to meet the hovercraft that was being towed to the hover lot outside. This was no sleek little flyer. It was a six-passenger hover tram with three-ton cargo capacity.
Calan had to be prepared for anything from scavenging for material and supplies to moving people. He had bought the industrial complex from the Federation. It had been used by the cyborg warriors for two centuries while they were building the Farringay Starport and complex.
Things had started to turn around until the cyborgs had put in their time and left Earth for the cyborg colony. The cyborgs did a lot, but they ran out of support after five hundred years. The Federation abandoned the cyborg project before they finished so Cyborg Command invited all their active cyborgs to come to Phantom. Some stayed at Starport City, but most had left.
Calan had only seen holographic pictures of the facility and read the assessment reports. That complex would provide refuge for a lot of people, and the building was reasonably secure.
After all this time it would need a good cleaning, but he had bots for that. Getting power to the building was first on the agenda. Then they could check to see if the well was still operational. Calan knew from the start that public utilities were a thing of the past in Farringay except for the starport compound.
It had been no different where his family built their home on Oltarin. Their farm complex was entirely self-powered. Calan’s bots could probably restore water to the complex if there were still water available from the aquifer it tapped.
The hover tram was waiting for them when they left the starport, and the doors opened automatically as Calan approached the pilot side. The three climbed in, and Calan gave the command for the preset coordinates of the complex.
It was a ten-minute flight from takeoff to touch down in front of the main entrance to the sprawling building. There were also some outbuildings. Since the building had been abandoned for centuries, they weren’t surprised to find the front door opened. No doubt the building had been scavenged more than once in all that time.
Structurally, the building was sound because the cyborgs had made sure of it. They were designed to be efficient at whatever task they were given.
The three psions stood before the entrance and scanned the building telepathically for mind signatures. All three of them frowned then looked at each other.
“I felt it, too.” All three expressed at once.
“ It’s faint—like maybe he’s in stasis. He’s definitely male.” Calan indicated. “But where?”
“One of those outbuildings on the east side,” Jamerin said.
Calan concentrated his consciousness in that direction. “Yes, I think it’s that one.” He pointed to one about a quarter mile away. “I’ll unload the runabout, and we can scoot over and have a look.”
Calan gave a command, and the back of the hover tram lowered into a ramp exposing the roomy cargo compartment. The runabout was a small wheeled vehicle that held four people and ran on crystal power. It rolled down the ramp on command, and the three of them climbed onto it. It wasn’t speedy by any means, but it was faster than walking.
The building was a nondescript gray steel building two stories high probably used as a shuttle port. Its front door was locked, though not for long. Calan took out his mini tablet and scanned the lock mechanism. A holographic image popped up from the tablet showing the lock in detail.
Once he knew how it worked, he manipulated it telekinetically, and the door popped open.
The interior was mostly dark with dim shafts of light penetrating the few dirty windows in the building. All three of them engaged the flashlight features on their tablets as they stepped into the darkness. Their innate psionic ability already told them there was no other living being inside other than the faint consciousness signature they had all sensed.
As they shined their lights around the building, it was mostly empty. There was a room with a locked door at the back left corner of the room. Calan strode across the concrete floor and opened the lock the same way he had the lock on the building. The entity they had sensed was in that room.
The inside of that room was even darker than the rest of the building. Against the wall, there was a tall cabinet covered with a tarp. One tiny light blinked intermittently behind the tarp, so Calan reached up and pulled the canvas off the chamber.
“Sweet Mother of Life!” all three of them exclaimed at once. “A cyborg!”
End of Excerpt