Challenging saber, p.18
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       Challenging Saber, p.18

           S. E. Smith
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  He slid his hand upward, driving his fingers into her as she came. He could feel the walls of her vagina pulse with her release. Knowing he could not last long this first time, he wanted to draw out her pleasure. Now was the time to mark her as his.

  His fingers slid from her slick warmth. His gaze locked on her as he pulled her legs up around his waist. He leaned forward, aligning his cock with her silky entrance. Her eyes opened and she looked at him with a dazed expression.

  “Forever, Taylor,” he muttered as he slowly impaled her.

  “Saber!” Taylor cried out, arching into him and holding on to his arms as he began to rock.

  Saber clenched his teeth. He needed to wait until she was at the precipice. When she was, he would strike, marking her as his. The chemical in his teeth would numb the pain and increase her pleasure as it bound her to him.

  He increased his thrust, driving deeper each time until he felt they were truly one. Each thrust of his hips pulled his throbbing cock along her swollen channel. He could feel every silky inch of it as it sucked greedily for his seed.

  Saber threw his head back and roared when Taylor’s body stiffened around him, clamping down on him like a fist. His body trembled for a fraction of a second before he exploded inside her with a force that ripped a cry from his throat. Breathing heavily, he leaned forward and opened his mouth. Reciting his pledge to her, he bit down on the curve of her shoulder near her neck.

  She writhed under him, her hands clawing at him for a brief moment before the heat of another orgasm locked her in its greedy grasp. Saber reluctantly released her neck and licked the wound. The puncture wounds would be healed by morning, but the mark of his teeth would never fade.

  She is mine, Saber thought as a wave of calm settled over his soul.

  Chapter 25

  Saber ran his fingers down along Taylor’s flushed cheek. His eyebrow rose when she snorted in her sleep and rolled onto her side, hugging his pillow. He closed his eyes when she wiggled back against him and tucked the curve of her ass against him.

  “You are a very, very dangerous woman, my Amate,” Saber whispered, leaning forward to press a kiss against her bare shoulder. “I am the luckiest warrior in the world to have you by my side.”

  Taylor mumbled in her sleep. It sounded suspiciously like ‘you bet your ass, old man’. Shaking his head, he pressed another kiss to her shoulder before releasing a sigh when he heard a chime at the outer door. Rising from the bed, he grabbed the towel and wrapped it around his waist before stepping over to the door and pressing his palm against the panel.

  “What?” He asked in aggravation.

  Hunter glanced up and down before his gaze moved to the dim room behind him. “I’m warning you now, Saber, you better not break Taylor’s heart again. If I don’t kill you first, you’ll wish I had after Jesse and Jordan get a hold of you,” he bit out in a quiet, menacing voice. “Get dressed. We have a meeting with Commander Atlas and Razor.”

  Saber nodded and started to pull away. “She wears my mark on her,” Saber replied quietly. “Once we are back on Rathon, we will complete the ceremony. I will not turn her away again, Hunter. I understand the gift I have been given.”

  “It’s about time,” Hunter muttered.

  Saber palmed the door shut, but not before he caught Hunter’s muttered statement. A soft chuckle escaped him. Yes, it was about time. He glanced at where Taylor was peacefully sleeping. Drawing in a deep breath, he shook his head in exasperation. He didn’t want to leave her for fear that she would disappear.

  “No one ever told me just how hard it was to have an Amate,” he muttered.

  He quickly pulled on the set of clean clothes that Taylor had picked up when she heard that Maridi had gone to retrieve him and the others. He didn’t bother with his leg brace. The power was depleted on it. While it would still give him support, he figured he would not need it until later.

  By then, he hoped he could find a way to recharge it. His gaze swept back to Taylor. She had rolled onto her back. Her right arm was now thrown up over her head in relaxed abandon. If anyone knew how to recharge it, Taylor would, he thought with a sense of pride. Refocusing on the task at hand, he turned toward the door once again.

  Two minutes later, he was striding back to the lift from hell with Hunter. He turned and faced the front. A grin curved his lips when he saw Hunter grip the hand bar.

  “Taylor loves this thing,” Saber shared with a sigh.

  Hunter chuckled. “I can understand why. Do you remember when she learned how to ride the air bike?” He reminded Saber.

  Saber’s face twisted at the memory. “She scared the hell out of me,” he murmured. “I love her, Hunter. I’ve known that since I first saw her, but I never realized how much until she walked out of the door the night after….” He paused and drew in a deep breath as the lift started to slow. “When I found out she had been captured, it was like someone had ripped out my heart.”

  “I know what you were going through, Saber. It was not always easy for Jesse and I,” Hunter responded with a weary sigh.

  Saber nodded to the other men as they entered what looked like the main control room. In the center was a huge holovid with troop movements. He noticed Hunter’s mouth tightening as he stared at the classified information. It was obvious that Razor hadn’t shared everything about the mission.

  “What is going on, Razor?” Saber asked, looking around the command center. “This wasn’t built in the last six months. A command center this large must have been under construction for a number of years.”

  “True,” Hunter growled with a glare at his older brother.

  Razor sighed and nodded. He glanced at Commander Atlas. The commander gave him a sharp nod to continue.

  “As you know, a new star system joined the Alliance a few years ago. There was concern voiced by many within the Alliance council of their acceptance due to their technological advancements,” Razor began.

  “I hate to tell you this, Razor, but the Trivators are not without our own advances,” Trig interjected dryly.

  Razor shot Trig a heated look. “I’m well aware of our advancements, Trig. The Kassisans and the Elpidiosians are slightly ahead of us in certain areas. Still, some of our more recent advances in weaponry, including the signal disrupter we are using, are because of their willingness to share. Before joining the Alliance, the former ruler of Kassis and their present ambassador, Ajaska Ja Kel Coradon, was suspicious of increased hostile activities that were taking place within the star systems, both under the Kassisan protection and ones that were considered off limits due to their lack of intergalactic space travel. Those hostilities have increased since their incorporation into the Alliance Council.”

  “Define hostile,” Dagger demanded, leaning against a table near the center map.

  “They tried to assassinate my sons and myself,” a deep voice said dryly. “I consider that hostile.”

  “Lord Ja Kel Coradon,” Commander Atlas greeted.

  “Greetings, Commander… High Chancellor,” Ajaska said with a slight bow of his head.

  Saber stared at the Kassisan ambassador with a growing sense of concern. This wasn’t a typical diplomatic meeting on a planet torn apart by civil unrest any more than this was a typical rebel base. There was more going on than he or the other warriors had been told.

  “Can someone please tell me what in the shewta is going on?” Ace finally asked from behind the group.

  *.*.*

  Ajaska glanced at Commander Atlas and nodded his head. The commander pursed his lips before he barked out a sharp order for the room to be cleared and sealed. Within minutes, the only ones left in the room were the Kassisan, Commander Atlas, and the Trivators.

  “How well do you trust the men in this room, Razor?” Ajaska asked in a quiet voice.

  “With my life,” Razor replied immediately.

  Ajaska chuckled. “Something tells me that is not something you would normally say,
he responded with an assessing look.

  “It’s not,” Razor answered in a clipped tone.

  Ajaska released a sigh and walked over to the map. He stood studying it for several long minutes before he turned. His face was cut into a hard mask, highlighting the long scar along one side of it.

  “I won’t tell you everything, so don’t bother asking,” he began, looking around the group with a serious expression. “What I am going to tell you might not make sense, or even be believable, but I can assure you it is all real. Shortly after we joined the Alliance, one of our shuttles was returning from a diplomatic mission. It was overtaken by a Tearant warship…”

  Saber listened as Ajaska Ja Kel Coradon outlined the initial threat against the Houses of Kassis and the unexpected alliance with Elpidios that led to the discovery of a special ship… a ship that went places and a special warrior who saw things that warned of events to come.

  “If you are worried about influencing the future, why are you telling us this?” Trig asked. “Why didn’t this ‘warrior’ of yours tell you how to prevent it?”

  Ajaska turned a steely gaze to Trig. “Because he understands more than anyone that such knowledge could work both ways. He was only able to obtain a limited amount of data during his mission. What information he did record made it essential that we prepare as much as possible. War is coming, the only uncertainty is the outcome.”

  “If it is just the Drethulans, we can strike now,” Ace argued, standing up and glaring at Ajaska. “Why go to such extremes by building a base here? Why not just eliminate them?”

  Ajaska’s lips tightened. “There are more than the Drethulans. There is another group, one that has been building up forces for centuries.”

  “Who?” Hunter asked.

  “Ones that we faced in a previous life,” Ajaska replied quietly. “That is all I can tell you at the moment. We are still trying to interpret what we do know. Our single most important advantage is the knowledge we have that it is going to happen. We are currently taking steps to infiltrate the enemy as much as we can in an effort to minimize the devastation.”

  “The Kassisan at the fortress,” Saber murmured.

  Ajaska grimaced and nodded. “He is just one of many. I have kept a low profile among the Alliance Council in an effort to keep much of what we know a secret. It was also essential to give the impression that the Kassisans are not interested in the issues going on in this star system.”

  “Why are you?” Dagger asked with a raised eyebrow. He waved his hand around the control room. “I see at least a dozen technological advances that we are just working on. The power source for this base alone would take up half a mountain, yet unless you were able to build it underground without anyone ever seeing a damn thing, then I would have to say you are ahead of us in energy technology.”

  A slight smile curved Ajaska’s lips. “We have a common interest, Trivator,” he assured Dagger in a quiet voice. “The safety of the star systems is paramount to the welfare of us all. The fall of one can easily lead to the fall of the entire Alliance. I don’t particularly relish seeing my planet enslaved, or worse.”

  A low murmur swept around the group. Saber glanced at the Kassisan before turning to look at Razor and Hunter. His hand ran down to his leg. This mission showed that he was still capable of fighting. He would do whatever was necessary to protect Taylor and his people.

  “Why here?” He asked, looking at the Kassisan. “Why Dises V?”

  Ajaska turned to look at Saber. “Dises V is where the Drethulans obtain the ore necessary to build up their forces. We must prevent that. The production has just started, but if it continues, it will not only give the Drethulans and their Allies the resources they need to fight, it will also cause massive environmental destruction. Dises V will be the first planet to fall, Trivator. We must make sure that does not happen.”

  “The Waxian forces have taken over the Western Region. Their annihilation of the Western Council was foretold by Ajaska’s warrior. The Western council refused to acknowledge the threat by the Waxians, despite the warnings given to them. This refusal is what led to their assassination when they began to realize that the warnings given to them were valid,” Commander Atlas said, stepping up.

  “Then, how was this base built?” Hunter asked with a frown. “As Dagger said, this structure would take years to build. I cannot see the military being unaware of it.”

  “It wasn’t,” Commander Atlas stated. “I was the military for the Western Region. Ajaska approached me with evidence five years ago. Construction began without the Council's knowledge a few months later.”

  “What about the Eastern Region? Why enslave the people from that region?” Saber asked.

  “We don’t,” Commander Atlas replied. “The Eastern Council is just as corrupt as our own. The Waxian and Drethulans have purchased the council. They are using the propaganda that the West is behind the recent enslavement of their people to create unrest and explain for the massive disappearance of their people. When I proposed a military attack on those running the mines, I was labeled a traitor. I, and several other senior military officers, disappeared before we could be arrested and sent to the mines.”

  “The rebel base in the mountains of the Crescent Moon,” Saber murmured.

  “Yes,” Commander Atlas replied. “It is run by my Eastern counterpart, Commander Faila. Fortunately, most of the construction of this base has been completed. What is left can be done without drawing the attention to the current ruling forces, especially now that both the East and the West are under the control of the Drethulans and the Waxians.”

  “Our forces…,” Hunter started to say in concern, looking at Razor.

  Razor shook his head. “I contacted the Alliance Council earlier,” he replied grimly. “They have ordered the Trivator forces to leave. They believe that individual strife on a planet should be handled by the planet’s ruling governments. The ambassador to Dises V insists this is an internal matter. They have specified that all Trivator military support here to protect the medical aid is no longer necessary. The Council has agreed. All Trivator military troops have withdrawn.”

  “Except us,” Dagger muttered, looking around the room. “So, where does that leave us?”

  Razor turned his gaze to the small group of men. “Behind enemy lines,” he replied grimly.

  Chapter 26

  Saber gazed around him with a new appreciation. Ajaska Ja Kel Coradon’s fantastical story that began in the past and moved to the future before returning to the present was difficult to wrap his mind around. The Kassisan refused to give any other details about the supposed ‘ship’ or the warrior who piloted it. All he would say was that some things were best left unexplained.

  Saber wasn’t sure if he agreed with the Kassisan, but deep down, he knew the male was speaking the truth. There were just too many facts that he knew, and was able to prove when he shared recent Intel that Razor and Hunter were able to confirm as being accurate.

  “What do you think?” Dagger asked, matching his stride.

  “That we’d better be prepared,” Saber finally said. “The combined forces of the Waxian and Drethulan forces do not concern me. Our military is four times the size of theirs and we are better trained. Neither one of those species has ever had a military force under one rule because they are too busy either killing each other or looking for credits.”

  “Until now,” Dagger pointed out, folding his arms across his chest. “The fact that they are both working together here on Dises V shows something is not right.”

  “Until now,” Saber agreed, looking at Dagger when he suddenly touched his arm. “What’s wrong?” He asked when he saw the serious look in Dagger’s eyes.

  “I think I know the warrior that Ajaska was talking about,” Dagger reluctantly admitted. He glanced around, running a hand through his hair. “I don’t know why I didn’t piece it together at first.”

  “What happened?” Saber aske
d.

  “It was after Jordan and I escaped from the Spaceport,” Dagger muttered, his eyes dark with memories. “The starship we were in was damaged. I had to make an emergency landing on a moon that was filled with Gartaians of all things. While we were there, a strange red crystal ship appeared out of nowhere.”

  Saber released a low curse. “Did you tell Hunter or Razor about this?” He asked in disbelief.

  Dagger shook his head, staring blankly down the hallway as if he was still locked in his memories. “No, I wasn’t in a ‘good place’, as Jordan would call it, for almost a year, if you remember,” he replied with a bitter twist of his lips.

  “Yes, I remember,” Saber murmured. “What happened?”

  Dagger’s lips twitched. “I met some of the strangest creatures I have ever seen in my life,” he chuckled with a shake of his head. “Two bumbling Frenchmen from Earth who drank too much, two service bots that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and a man who was more machine than living tissue.”

  Saber stared at Dagger with a raised eyebrow, waiting for him to continue. A snarl escaped him when his friend didn’t say anything. Dagger jerked, as if he was lost in that time instead of standing next to Saber.

  “Well?” Saber finally asked.

  Dagger shook his head. “His name was Jarmen,” he replied in a quiet voice. “He was searching for someone, according to the two Frenchmen.” Dagger looked back at Saber. “He helped me repair the starship, and he saved our lives when we were attacked. Then he, his unusual crew, and the red crystal ship just vanished,” he finished quietly before he turned and started walking again.

  *.*.*

 
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