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Chapter 18

Everyone came running at Kyra's scream, then when they came around the corner each and every one of them couldn't believe their eyes. Standing their, albeit it, very weakly, was Chaz Ashley.

"What are you guys staring at? You've never seen a man stand on his own two feet before?" asked Chaz with a smile.

Derren smiled, and ran over to Chaz with blinding speed, as Chaz nearly collapsed, the others wanted to help but Chaz weakly waved them off, while accepting Derren's help. "Not from someone who is not supposed to be able to move." said Derren cheerfully.

Chaz's smile disappeared quickly, and the mood in the room darkened with the absence of his smile. He then said in dark, yet cool voice, "Where is my wife?"

Nei stepped forward. Chaz recognized the instant similarities between this woman, and Rika. But, he could tell that she was not. The hair could have been different, she could have, for some reason changed her hair. But, her whole attitude, walk, gestures, a lot of the little things that only a husband could notice were different. Nei shook her head, "I'm sorry Mr. Ashley. But, she did not make it. She was lost in the Crevice. You yourself were nearly killed."

Chaz instantly went limp, and Derren put him on his bed. Chaz just stared up at the ceiling and muttered, "She's gone."

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Rika put a pillow over her head, to try and hush out the continually blaring sound of the escape siren. "I wish someone would just shut that damn thing off." She then got up and opened the door, the dark Esper turned and smiled.

"Yes madam? And what can I get for you?"

"Could you get that stupid klaxxon to shut off!" shouts Rika.

A look of concern gets on his face, he then nods, "I will see to it immediately. I am sorry for the inconvenience. Uh, where are you going?"

"I need to stretch my legs."

"What you need is some rest." said the Dark Esper, "And I am not about to go back on the Master's orders."

"Master?"

The Dark Esper cursed himself. Rika noticed, but she didn't let it show. "Uh, yes. Mr. Ashley. He runs everything, and so we sometimes call him Master. Though, he doesn't like it too much."

Rika chuckled, "Good, then I have something to tease him with." The Dark Esper swallowed once. "Oh, don't worry, I was just teasing." the Dark Esper eased up visibly. "Now, to find something that might bring back some memories."

The Dark Esper blocked her path. "I'm sorry Madam Rika, but I can't allow that. Not while...the hunters are still training."

"But, if it's only training...."

"No buts, the Mas...I mean Mr. Ashley." started the Dark Esper, causing Rika to laugh at his calling him Master again, "He is running the training session, and they still act very rough. And if your not careful, you could be seriously hurt, and your still weak from your accident. Whether you like or NOT!" with that last word he envelopes Rika in a misty cloud, causing her to get to get dizzy and then collapse. The Dark Esper picks her up and carries her to the bed.

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Neifirst had killed off nearly twenty of her own fighters before making it to shuttle bay, after "accidentally" making a few wrong turns. The Master could feel resentment among the Dark Espers, but it was necessary. Besides it helped convinced Tom of the "realism" of their escape.

"Tom, and Rika my dear. I'm sorry I can't allow you to leave."

Tom flinched, he'd experienced fear before, but what he went through, it released a paralyzing, blood freezing fear. Nothing like what he had even experienced before. Then, all of the sudden, it stopped. Tom decided to simply play along, realizing, that some telekinetic abilities must be at work. The Master smiled realizing that his little fear programming worked, at that he could turn it off and on at will. He then jerked back as he noticed a claw in his side, as he realized he'd been focusing on Tom Steiner so much that he completely forgot about Neifirst. The Master slumped over. Neifirst picked up Tom and ran into a ship. Forsha walked in, and fired a few magical spells at the escaping ship, but nothing that could stop it.

"OK. Their gone."

The Master stood up and brushed himself off, "Perfect. Let's get ready for the next step."

"Yes, master."

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Chaz sat up, "She's alive."

Kyra woke up after realizing that she must have fallen asleep on the couch. "Chaz..."

"She's alive." he said bluntly again, "I know it. I saw her in my dream."

"Chaz." said Kyra sadly, thinking of nothing else to say.

"No you don't understand. You see, I've always had this ability."

"What?" said Kyra, a little concerned.

"Sometimes, I dream, and sometimes....the dreams come true."

"Chaz, I know that..."

"NO!" shouted Chaz angrily, "She's alive, and that Nei person is involved. I saw her kill me disguised as Rika in a previous dream, but I was on Rykros, and was just a spectator behind a crystal wall. I also had a dream eleven years before. A dark man had scooped up Alys, and then I and four other strangers dove of the edge of a cliff in a swelling pit of darkness. The four strangers had gathered around me and then a thrust a glowing sword into the center of the darkness and there was an explosion, and we found ourselves back on the cliff, with the sun shinning."

Kyra stood there with her mouth a hanging down, "I...I never knew."

"Well, like you, I thought they were just dreams. But, they seem to be more."

"Chaz, there is one way to find out. I could..." started Kyra, as she pointed from her temple to his.

Chaz nodded once. "Maybe, I could finally get some answers."

"This could have been done a long time ago."

"I know. I know. It's just that, I've always felt uncomfortable about what skills I have. I mean, some call be a great swordsman, but I've never even practiced. While others practice for hours and hours, and have trouble doing a simple parry."

Kyra smiled, "These are actually very common feelings. In fact, most of the Espers that we recruit feel just that way. Now, just relax. I'm only going to check your..."

Chaz just sat back and closed his eyes, "Just do it."

Kyra nodded.

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Neifirst looked back, and Tom smiled weakly. "I owe you, yet again."

She smiled, "Yes, you do. And you can pay me back by buying me lunch."

Tom throw out a laugh that was clearly forced. He wasn't really in the mood for jokes. Then the ship shook suddenly. Neifirst was at the controls in an instant. "We've got company!"

"I could have told you that." mumbled Tom, noticing the moves the Neifirst was doing, "Wow, where'd you learn to fly like that?"

"Stupid nosy Esper." thought Neifirst, "Uh....Seed."

"Seed? Oh! You mean that computer where you where.....born."

"Something like that. This is the ship, uh," Neifirst looked around and found the ID on the panel of the ship. "Grandview! We are under attack. Damn! They're jamming our communications. I think part of our transmittion got through, but I'm not...."

There was a sudden loud rush as three Dezorian fighter jets flew past them. A Dezorian voice game over the comm unit, "Grandview, stand by, we are here to assist, then escort you back to our base. Failure to comply with us, will result in destruction of your craft."

"You idiot!" said Neifirst, though not over the communicator, "This isn't even our ship! Stupid military..." grumbled an irritated Neifirst. Tom gave an authentic laugh at that.

The three military ships then fought the three drone ships for a little bit, but then managed to catch them all in a tractor beam, but then something went wrong. The tractor beam seemed to change. Both the color and frequency seemed to modify, as in a feedback loop. The loop cycled around, back and forth. The dezorian ships tried to break off, but by the time they noticed it was too late, and then suddenly all six ships exploded in a massive display of fireworks and destruction.

"Well," said Neifirst, "I guess we now get you back to your home."

Tom simply nodded. He couldn't believe it. While true most military, espically Dezorian militants, could be very boorish. As she seemed to point out, but still they upheld freedom, and protected the public trust, and here who knows who many Dezorians just gave their lives for them, and all she could say was, `well'. Something wasn't right, that much was very obvious.

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The Master piloted the modified the ship down into the Crevice. He had to go down very slowly. He had the ship piloting at full thrust, will just a slight downward thrust. He moved downward, and came to the old spaceport. Which stayed in what looked like a sinkhole at the bottom of the Crevice, which kept it from the winds, but the Master had a feeling that the Lutz had something to do with that.

He docked with the old port and went inside, but as the Master walked through the old structure, something woke up.

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Chaz nodded, "I think I understand."

"But, there's more. You have something in the back of your mind."

"Go on."

"Well it seems..."

"Kyra!" shouted Missy, as she rounded the corner, "There is a ship approaching the Mansion. Rune wants you at the front of the Mansion with the other Espers."

Kyra nodded got up and started to leave, "I'm on my...", she paused and started to turn and face Chaz.

"I'll be all right. Go."

Kyra nodded and left.

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The Grand-View landed and the door opened. About sixty Espers stood there, spells at the ready. The door opened, and everyone held their breath.

"By the Light." said Kyra, "He was...right. But, a girl wearing a purple wig. Hey, where's Nei? I'd have thought she'd want to be here."

Rune looked around, "I'm not sure, she was here a few moments ago."

"I saw her go back into the mansion." said Derren.

"Interesting." said Kyra, "Perhaps..."

"You know something that we do not?" asked Derren.

"Later." said Kyra flatly, and she smiled as she say a teary-eyed Sarah moving towards Tom, and helped him inside. Tom and Kyra's eyes locked, and with just that glance, they exchanged a few simple words without saying any words, telepathic or otherwise.

We need to talk.

The Espers on the otherhand, were applauding at what they thought was Rika, as she and Sarah helped Tom back into the Mansion.

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