❯ The Daughter – Welcome Home ( Chapter 13 )

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It was close. Two hours later, we came out of Z-space. But we�d overlooked something. The Alliance ships, faced with the appearance of a Blade ship, immediately sent fighter wings out to intercept us.

Alloran dodged, while I tried to get the pilots� attention.

�Stop shooting at me!� I ordered, to no effect. I�d already broadcast my identity, also to no effect. When I saw Prince Reynor-Temillan-Yassar�s ship, I lost patience.

�Stop shooting at me, or so help me God, Prince Reynor, I will never pay attention in your class again!�

It was ridiculous. It was absurd. And it worked.

Immediately, the shooting stopped. <Loren?> came the Prince�s startled voice.

�No, it�s the Easter Bunny,� I said, my voice heavy with sarcasm. �I did broadcast my identity, didn�t I?� The Prince tried to answer that, but he couldn�t, really. I laughed, Daren grinned, and Alloran rolled his eyes sky ward. Suddenly, the explanations cut off. There was silence for a moment, then a new thoughtspeak voice came on.

<Now,> said the dry voice of Science Officer Sarala-Kemtar-Eliss, <if you�re finished embarrassing the fighter pilots, would you land in the main hangar?>

�Right,� I said, grinning.

Alloran manoeuvred the Blade ship into the hangar. As soon as we landed, Daren and I took off for the main hatch. We ran out into the hangar.I don�t think you could have put more people into one hangar than there were there at that moment. I think everyone from both Dome ships was trying to squeeze into the area.

Suddenly, the crowd parted. Running through the middle was my Uncle, and, somehow keeping up with him, Marco. Neither Daren or I stopped to think. We ran down the boarding ramp and into our family�s arms.

After a few moments, in which I cannot remember a single word I said, Marco asked, �Where did you get the Blade ship?�

�Stole it,� I said, like I did that sort of thing every day.

<Who flew it?> Uncle asked.

Daren and I looked at each other for a moment. Then, Daren said, �War-Prince Alloran.�

The shocked silence that filled our little group made me laugh. My Uncle and Daren�s dad were staring at us, like we�d grown wings or something.

�I want to hear this one,� Marco muttered under his breath.

<Where is he now?> Uncle asked, switching from �Uncle� mode to �Captain� mode.

�On the Blade ship,� I said, and then everything, the whole hangar, went silent. Daren looked at me.

�I don�t think he�s on the ship anymore,� he whispered, lifting an eyebrow.

We all turned.At the top of the ramp stood Alloran. He had this incredibly sad expression, one that made you want to cry.

Uncle Aximili moved forwards. He moved to the bottom of the ramp. <War-Prince Alloran-Semitur-Corass,> he said. Alloran looked at him. Uncle smiled, but it, too was a very sad smile. <Welcome home.>

The Daughter – Breath!