Chapter 2

Talyn had been surprisingly calm when Crais had woken him two days ago. For now, the gunship was quiet, concentrating on both repairing the starburst arm and growing his side cannons. Crais thought it was a measure of how single-minded the Peacekeepers were that they had not noticed the development. He was going back through the records Grayza had left him, making his final selections. Since he'd had time to think about the project, he had already made a list of supplies that he would need to restart the project. He would transmit both to Grayza later today.

Do you trust her? Talyn asked.

Crais considered this question for a few microts. "As much as I trust any Peacekeeper. She realizes how important the gunships are to defeating the Scarrans, and I believe she has the patience to see the project through to the end now that I know how to succeed." The only thing left for him to do was to test his method of Leviathan control.

She is manipulative.

He wondered how Talyn knew that. "Of course she is, but I am using her for my own personal gain, as well."

And you want to be a Peacekeeper again? You did tell the others you were no longer a Peacekeeper.

"It is all I know. Do you really want to return to the solitary life we had? A life on the run, hunted?" He sighed. "I am tired of that life. And I cannot turn my back on the Sebacean people. I cannot let the Scarrans destroy my people, or your kind. We don't have a choice, we are what we were bred to be."

Talyn said nothing else and let Crais continue his work. It did not take long for Crais to finish his selections and send the information to Grayza. He was not expecting a reply until she had secured a suitable facility for his research.

After transmitting the messages, he contemplated his behavior while she had been onboard. True, it had been a long time since he had been with a woman. There had been the occasional Sebacean whore, but those had been very infrequent. And it wasn't as though she was unattractive; she was actually quite striking. But there was still something that bothered him. He had behaved in a most uncharacteristic manner.

He tried to recall if she had done anything to him. She couldn't have drugged him since they had not had any form of refreshment. There had to have been something that would have muddled his thoughts so.

"Are you up to running a chemical analysis?"

Yes. On what?

"My uniform. I want to ensure that Grayza is not doing anything untoward." There was no guarantee that he would find anything, but he wanted to rule everything out that he could.


Grayza was reviewing reports when Braca entered her quarters. "Ma'am? You asked to be notified when we arrived at the designated coordinates."

"Thank you, Captain. I will meet you on the bridge shortly."

"Yes, ma'am," he replied officiously and quickly departed her quarters.

She grinned mischievously as she thought of Braca. He was the perfect adjutant. He was especially susceptible to her powers and would never question her. It had been quite easy for her to fulfill Crais's requests. Surprisingly, he had only requested one Leviathan for the initial stage of the project. She would have to ask him about this. She wanted dozens of gunships, and that would require dozens of Leviathans.

Entering the bridge, she asked, "What do scans show?"

"Standard energy emissions from a Peacekeeper outpost."

"Are there any ships?" Crais had indicated that he would be here, that was why she had diverted her attention from her search for Crichton.

"Nothing shows up on scans. Are you expecting someone to meet us here?"

She didn't answer, but she moved to the scanning console. He might already be here, but was just evading their scans. After all, he seemed to think quite highly of his gunship. She thought she saw something on the display, but it was only a minor distortion. "Are you sure, Captain?" she asked coyly.

Braca moved over to the console and started tweaking the settings. His eyes widened in surprise as the readings resolved. "Prepare main battery," he ordered.

"Stand down, Captain," she countermanded.

"But, Commandant, that is the gunship that destroyed one of our command carriers."

"I am well aware of what it is. Captain Crais is the reason that we are here. Prepare a shuttle to take me to the outpost." For a moment, Braca looked as though he would argue with her, but he finally seemed to realize that he was the subordinate and that her orders were not to be questioned.

"Yes, ma'am."


As soon as Crais let them detect Talyn and determined they were not going to fire on him, he guided the gunship into the landing bay. "Now, I will finally be granted the opportunity to complete your repairs."

As he debarked, he as met by the tech he had selected as his second in command. "Welcome, Captain Crais. I am Lieutenant Dekan. We have all the large equipment in place, though it is still being interconnected. Commandant Grayza is on her way and will be here shortly."

"Thank you, Lieutenant. Once the Commandant is gone, you will give me a full tour of the facility with status reports."

"Yes, sir. If you will follow me to the personnel hangar, we can wait for her arrival."

By the time they arrived at the smaller hangar, Crais could hear the air cycling. He knew that his uniform had seen better days and that was one of the first things he intended to take care of. As she walked through the door, he announced, "Commandant Grayza, welcome to the Leviathan Hybrid Project." He couldn't keep the smug smile off his face as he saw the look of disdain Braca gave him, though the smile did shrink slightly when he noticed that his former lieutenant now wore captain's bars.

"I notice that the hybrid appears to be healed." She looked around and saw the scurrying of techs as they moved equipment from the staging areas into the depths of the complex.

"Talyn is once again fully functional, aside from the main cannon firing mechanism. There are still some minor repairs to be accomplished, but nothing that affects his functionality." It wasn't quite the truth; there were still some instabilities in his personality matrix, but he now knew how to correct them with the proper tools.

"Captain Braca, you will wait here for me. I will not be long." Focusing on Crais, she said, "I will speak with you privately about your orders."

"Of course. Lt. Dekan will lead the way." Before he followed Grayza out of the receiving area, he flashed Braca a very smug grin.

"Is this facility to your satisfaction?" she asked as she looked at the hollowed out rock walls.

"From what I saw in my scans, it is. The main hangar is large enough to dock immature gunships."

"Your quarters, Captain," Dekan said as he activated a door control.

Crais briefly glanced around and saw that they were outfitted with standard Peacekeeper furnishings for one of his status.

Once the door closed, Grayza asked, "I know I made it clear how important this project is. Is there a reason that you have only asked for one Leviathan?"

"A collared Leviathan cannot bear a gunship offspring to term. I have only asked for one so that I can test an alternate control theory that I have. Once I have confirmed the results of my research to date regarding alternate means of Leviathan control, I will ask for others to impregnate."

As she moved closer to him, he noticed that she was running her fingers between her breasts. It looked as though he would have the opportunity to test his theory. "And how long do you expect this to take?" she asked softly.

"No more than thirty days."

She reached up to touch his face. "I think that you can do better."

He found himself involuntarily inhaling deeply. As his body reacted to the pheromones of the heppel oil, he could feel Talyn helping to regulate the reaction. His mind fogged, but he could still hold onto thoughts. Of course, it wouldn't do for her to know that he could resist her. He leaned closer to her and whispered into her ear, "If my theory is correct, it would take much less time."

"You don't want to disappoint me, do you?"

"Never," he replied as he leaned in to nibble at her neck. He was not doing this merely because she expected it. What he remembered of their last encounter had been quite pleasant, and he didn't mind the prospect of experiencing that again.

"My time is limited, Captain," she said as she pushed him away.

Not about to be deterred, he slid behind her and cupped her breasts. "Surely you have enough time for some quick recreation? I know how lonely command is. It might clear your mind." If he could gain this one small victory over her, it would give him an advantage, even if she didn't realize it.

She seemed to be considering his offer. "Command is lonely, isn't it?" she replied as she turned to face him.

"Very." He leaned down and captured her mouth in his for a passionate kiss. Even though he had control of his faculties, the oil still aroused him.

As they kissed, she pushed him backwards toward the bed. Determined to keep the upper hand, he spun her around so that she was on her back. This time he was much more adept at removing her trousers. Now that he had control over his actions, he slipped his fingers inside her, bringing her close to orgasm since he knew that the oil would affect his longevity. As she writhed under his touch, he removed his fingers and lowered his trousers. Before thrusting into her, he whispered, "I will not disappoint you."

This time, he was careful to bring her to orgasm before allowing himself to follow. If she wanted to use sex as a weapon, he was more than happy to do the same. When he finished, he could tell that she was rather confused. "Perhaps next time you can arrange for a longer inspection?"

She shoved him aside and rose to adjust her uniform. "I will require periodic reports. Due to the nature of this project, I don't believe that transmitted reports will be safe."

"I will make my reports in person."

"I expect the first report once you have solved the Leviathan control problem." She turned and walked out of the room.

He couldn't stop the broad grin that spread across his face. As he pulled his trousers up, he said, Thank you, Talyn.

I would not have her control you. Now, you control her?

Not exactly, but I have an advantage over her. Walking over to his desk, he commed for Dekan.

"Yes, Captain?"

"We will conduct our tour of the facilities now."

"Yes, sir."

Crais followed Dekan and listened intently. Half of the labs were already set up. The rest would be finished in the next few days.

"Do you have any orders?" Dekan asked.

"There are some repairs to be conducted on Talyn. I have outlined them here." He handed a data chip to Dekan. "Including the installation of the firing mechanism."

"Yes, sir. We have the replacement standing by. I can have a team installing it in an arn."

"Excellent. I will also require new uniforms. Finally, I will meet with the research department heads in one arn."

"Yes, sir." Dekan clicked his heels and departed to carry out his captain's orders.


As Grayza sat in the transport on the way back to her command carrier, she tried to make sense of what had happened. She knew that the heppel oil was a powerful aphrodisiac for males, but she had always been able to bend them to her will with the promise of fulfilled desires. She had always chosen when she would fulfill those desires, but not today. Could Crais possibly react that strongly to the heppel oil?

"Commandant, are you sure you can trust him?" Braca asked. "After all, he has abandoned the Peacekeepers once, turned his back on everything he knew."

She was irritated that he had disturbed her. "What? Yes, he is perfectly trustworthy. Do you doubt my judgment?" she asked sharply.

"No, ma'am. I just know that he has deceived Scorpius on at least two occasions…"

She interrupted, "For good reason. Scorpius is a dishonest half-breed. Surely you saw that while you served him. He may have claimed that all he did was in the service of Peacekeepers, but you must have seen numerous example of his selfishness. Do you really think he was that trustworthy? You have seen what the Aurora Chair has extracted from his mind."

Braca said nothing more, and she returned to her thoughts. She would have to be careful around Crais. But what did it really matter? He was strong, powerful. He was also young, having moved through the ranks quickly. His quest for greatness had been side-tracked once, but he seemed quite sincere about his desire to develop the gunships for the Peacekeepers.

So what if she recreated with him? It was not as though it hurt anything. Peacekeepers were raised to use recreation to reduce tension. And she was willing to admit that he was quite an excellent partner. What difference would it make if it was the promise of sex or sex itself that she used to control him. She had to admit that this way was much more satisfying.


Crais grinned triumphantly as he stared at the report. It had taken only minor modifications to his theory to gain control over a Leviathan. Their initial subject, Kaya, had been successfully impregnated. With Talyn's personality matrix stabilized, he had helped calm both Kaya and her pilot.

As he set the report down, he found it odd that he was thinking of the Leviathan by her name. He had never before seen any of the others as sentient beings, but his opinion had been changed. He insisted that she be treated with respect and efforts made to spare her pain.

Dekan entered his quarters. "You wished to see me, sir?"

"Yes. You will be in charge for a few days. Talyn and I will be leaving to make a report to Commandant Grayza and to request additional Leviathans. Prepare catalyst and control boxes for at least a dozen Leviathans."

"Yes, sir. We'll have it arranged. Are there any other orders?"

"That is all." Once Dekan was gone, he picked up his bag and made his way to the hangar so that he could take a transport pod to Talyn. When he arrived on Talyn, he said, "Seek the transponder code for Grayza's carrier and prepare for starburst."

Kaya will be safe without me here, won't she?

"She will. They will take care of her. Don't worry." He had no idea how long it would take to find Grayza, but he was looking forward to meeting with her again. He would continue to prove himself trustworthy. When the Hybrid project was revealed, he needed to ensure that she would give him the credit he was due.

During the transit to Grayza's carrier, he reviewed the data gathered so far on the catalyst, trying to determine if there were improvements he could make. First of all, to determine if there was a way to alter the hybrid enough that birth would be easier than Talyn's had been. Secondly, he wanted to evaluate the possibility of speeding up the maturation process. Given his experience with Talyn, he knew that they would need at least two years to properly educate the hybrids. He had initially thought that giving a hybrid knowledge would be like programming a computer, but now he knew that was an incorrect assumption.

Talyn interrupted his thoughts. I have found the command carrier. We will be there in an arn.

"Thank you, Talyn." Crais commed Grayza on the coded frequency he had been given and notified her of his impending arrival. He then reviewed the reports one last time. He didn't like the idea that his name was not mentioned, but he knew that it had be this way for now. Once he had achieved a better measure of success, he would ensure that his involvement was made known to High Command. For delivering a fleet of gunships, they would quite easily forgive him his old indiscretion. And with Scorpius already discredited, his departure from the Peacekeepers could quite easily be explained.

When he landed on the carrier, Braca met him. Deciding Braca was beneath his attention, he said nothing.

As they walked toward Grayza's quarters, Braca said, "I'm surprised you don't have a snide comment about my promotion."

"Why should I? I have already told you what I thought about you as an officer."

Braca stopped him. "You think you are so smart making this pact, don't you? You lied to us, destroyed a valuable asset. Don't think I'll forget that. I'm watching you."

Crais smiled smugly. "As you should. You could learn a lot from my example. More than last time." He turned and walked ahead, knowing exactly where he was going.

They entered Grayza's quarters, Crais first, and he noticed that she did not look pleased.

"Leave us," she snapped at Braca.

Once they were alone, she said, "I assume this means that you have good news."

"Very good news. The first Leviathan is controlled and impregnated. In roughly half a cycle, she will give birth to the first of the new gunships."

"At least something has gone right today," she muttered, clearly frustrated.

Crais saw this as an opening. "Would you like to talk about it? You can count on my discretion." He moved closer to her and gently brushed her arm.

She seemed to consider his offer. "Why don't you tell me what other progress you are making on the hybrid project."

"There's not much else to report, yet. Talyn's matrix has been completely repaired and his main cannon is again fully operational. In another thirty days or so, his auxiliary cannons will be functional, too. He is also beginning to grow combat pods."

"Combat pods?" she asked curiously.

He pulled a datachip out of his pocket and placed it on her desk. "It's all there. They are a cross between a bomber and a Prowler. He is only growing four at the moment. We plan to test them as they may require some modifications. Once we have perfected the design, he will be able to teach the other gunships how to grow them."

Her expression had perked up. "How long will it take to grow them?"

"Approximately a quarter cycle."

"Is there any way to speed that up?"

"No. It is comparable to the time it takes a Leviathan to grow a new transport pod. The more complex the system, the longer it takes. Though, there is a possibility that some time could be saved once Talyn has a full complement of DRDs again." He moved closer to her. "You look tense," he said softly. "You should be rejoicing that the hybrid project is progressing well."

"You have done an excellent job, but I do not need to confide in you."

"If not me, than whom? I know how difficult life this far on the edge of our territory can be." He let his hand trail down her arm and to her waist.

She shoved him away, though not as forcefully as she could have. "You forget who is in charge, Captain!"

He changed his stance to become more deferential. "Not at all, Commandant. I merely wish to make our partnership as…productive as possible."

"Productive for whom?" she asked as she took a step closer to him.

"For us both." He hoped that he didn't look too eager as he watched her trail her fingers through the heppel oil.

"You need me. I don't need you. Your project is an indulgence that will take four cycles to reach fruition."

He inhaled deeply, relishing the aphrodisiac properties of the oil, not that he hadn't already been aroused. "I am working on reducing the amount of time necessary. I think I can get it under three." Grasping her hand, he suckled her fingers. Talyn's assistance allowed him to control his faculties, but he was still a man with needs.

"Three cycles?" she asked.

"I can work quickly when required, though I generally prefer to take my time," he hinted. "I do not need to immediately return to the Gammak base." He leaned down to nibble at her neck. What he really wanted was to take her across the room to the bed and see how much the heppel gland affected her taste, but he knew that he must remain somewhat subordinate, lest she become too suspicious.

"Can you?" she asked seductively as she once again brushed him with heppel oil.

Pulling her tightly against him, he let knew know what he desired. "Absolutely."

She led him to the bed, unfastening his jacket at the same time. She pushed it off his shoulders, letting it fall to the floor.

Exercising self-control, he slowly removed her clothes, caressing her body as he did so. He knew that it was vital that he please her. He needed her to want him as much as he wanted her.

Once they were both undressed, he positioned her on the bed so that he could taste her, tease her with his tongue. He soon had her writhing in pleasure, her hands clutching the sheets beneath her. He continued to tease her until she came. Without giving her time to recover, he plunged into her, intent on bringing her to orgasm again.

In her state of ecstasy, she as much more vocal than any of the partners he had had in the past. He was thankful for this as it gave him cues regarding how to please her. With Talyn's assistance, he was able to hold his release at bay until she was ready. Then, all it took was him nuzzling against her chest, using the heppel oil to his advantage.

She had wrapped her legs around him and was trying to pull him deeper inside. He pounded into her, faster and faster. After he had satisfied his urges, he captured her mouth for a passionate kiss. He then collapsed on the bed next her, wrapping his arm protectively around her.

As she lounged against him, she trailed her finger across his chest. "You are different from the others," she softly.

"Different?" he asked innocently, hoping that she did not suspect anything.

"Are you attracted to me?" she asked coyly.

"You are very beautiful and alluring. And you are a much better recreational partner than I have had in many cycles."

"A Peacekeeper answer. You are a conscript, surely you know more than the standard answer," she teased.

"What is to be served by that?"

"I know you have ambitions, ones that transcend your project. Do you see me as a way to further those ambitions?"

"Wouldn't you be disappointed if I didn't? I think we have much to offer each other." He was thankful that Talyn allowed him to think clearly.

"Indeed I would." She rested her head on his shoulder.

He could tell that she was clearly not through with him, and he wondered when he would be able to leave. But it didn't really matter. His plan was working perfectly. She was growing to trust him. He drifted off to sleep, waiting for her to wake him.


After a long day of heppel oil fueled recreation, he was finally allowed to leave. He was utterly exhausted, having lost count of the number of times she'd had her way with him. At one point, Braca had come by her quarters and she had curtly sent him away. However, he was able to learn that they were still searching for the Moyans. A part of him wondered why she didn't ask for his advice, since he had consorted with them.

As he dressed, he said, "I will report once the other Leviathans have been successfully impregnated."

"And it will take half a cycle for the offspring to be born?"

"Approximately. I plan to use the first Leviathans to test for a way to speed up gestation. I have Leviathan experts investigating how Leviathans produce energy to see if we can provide them with a more efficient food source."

"Excellent. Keep me informed of any important developments, Bialar."

"Of course."

When he arrived on Talyn, he directed the gunship to take them back to the base before he collapsed on his bed. As he drifted off to sleep, he thought that this was one of the most pleasurable ways he had used anyone.


Over the course of the next half cycle, Crais would report to Grayza every twenty to thirty days, even if there wasn't anything of substance to report. While he was on her ship, she would confide in him. She had even begun to ask advice on tracking Leviathans. He could be of little use in that respect. After all, he had been unable to successful track and capture them himself. He would not have helped her in this regard anyway. He did tell her how resourceful the Moyans could be, and how odd it seemed to him that such an odd assortment of disparate beings could work together.

She had passed on his reports, and was now giving him credit for his research. He had been asked to send a deposition to High Command explaining his behavior. The fact that Scorpius had been the one who had removed him from command and led to his temporary defection had helped to mitigate circumstances. Especially when he claimed he was trying to protect the hybrid Leviathan project since it was proving to be so successful. There had been hints that if the project was successful, he could expect a promotion.

Now that it was nearly time for the birth of the first hybrid, he was quite anxious. Kaya was being monitored closely. She and her pilot had been very cooperative, and Crais had to give a lot of credit to Talyn.

Dekan entered his quarters. "Captain, I have a message."

"Is Kaya in labor?"

"No, sir." Dekan handed a report to his captain and walked out of the room.

Crais read through the report and was shocked by what he saw. Grayza had been removed from command. Braca had declared her a traitor. Dropping the report to his desk, he leaned back in his chair and tried to determine his next course of action. He could easily prove that Braca had overstepped his bounds.

He pondered his choices. His name was well enough known at High Command, and his project was about to achieve a major milestone, that he no longer needed her assistance. There were stories about officers who had supported a colleague who had run afoul of the rules and had gone down as well. On the other hand, he knew the power she wielded with the heppel gland. If he did not support her and she was later acquitted of wrongdoing, it would not reflect favorably upon him.

What are you going to do? asked Talyn.

I have not yet decided. This will require considerable thought. Unfortunately, he had to make his decision soon.


Grayza paced her cell, considering her options. When she had heard that not only was Scorpius alive, but onboard her ship, she had been livid. The guards had sedated her. She realized that Braca was in league with the half-breed, and had been all along. She had to find a way to prove that they were both traitors.

As soon as they returned to Peacekeeper territory, there would be a full investigation and she had no doubt that she would be acquitted of any wrongdoing. After all, she had powerful connections, something that Braca could not say. And he had made a serious mistake allying himself with the half-breed again.

"It's time," announced a very smug Braca. "You will pay for what you have done."

"How little you know about what has really been happening. Do you think I've been telling you everything?"

"I don't have time to listen to your lies. You can share them with High Command."

"I will share the truth with High Command. You have made a serious mistake," she replied smugly. The guards moved in to fasten restraints on her wrists. "These will not be necessary. I will go peacefully."

"I'm sure you are familiar with General Order Seventeen, section four, paragraph akan regarding prisoner transfers. Take her away."

She scowled at him as the guards led her past him. She would not forget his treachery. The Scarran forces had been in such disarray at Katratzi that they would not have noticed Peacekeeper forces attacking. Instead, Braca had been a fool and had prevented the attacking, choosing instead to retreat.

When she arrived at the base for her trial, she noticed there was a large crowd assembled. She held her head high as they led her through the crowd. After all, she had done nothing wrong; Braca was nothing more than a fool. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Crais. Was knowledge of her arrest that widespread, or had Braca gloated to his former captain? She suspected it was the latter.

Due to her status, she was not taken to a holding cell, but directly to Grand Chancellor Maryk's office.

"What are you doing restrained?" he asked.

"Captain Braca has been quite overzealous, Chancellor," she replied simply.

"Remove the restraints and leave us," he ordered.

The guards hesitated for only a microt before doing as the Chancellor ordered and quickly retreating.

He crossed the room and rubbed her wrists. "I received his report on why you were arrested, but it didn't seem to make sense to me."

She smiled wryly. "Of course the situation didn't make sense to Braca. He was not important enough to know the entire plan." Touching him casually on his face, she started to bring him under her control with an application of heppel oil.

"And you did not succeed?"

"He interfered. And not just by failing to press our advantage and attacking. Fortunately, the Scarrans did not get the wormhole information from Crichton, either. For now, we are at an impasse. Unfortunately, tensions will now be high, even though there is still officially a truce. Had we pressed our advantage and attacked, we could have prevented survivors from leaving Katratzi."

"How very unfortunate," he whispered as he leaned closer to her.

She let him nuzzle against her neck. It was so easy to control him, but she was not at all attracted to him. He was merely a means to an end, and she had been manipulating him for cycles, even guiding him to his current position. "It is. We will need to be cautious, keep an eye on the Scarrans. You will need to keep me close. I understand them as no one else does."

"Yes, you have a great deal of experience with them, don't you?" He started to grope her. "It may be difficult to ignore recent events though, given the failure of your expedition to produce anything."

He was showing resistance, something she had not expected. Obviously, his advisors had already discussed her case with him and told him that he had to move cautiously to keep the integrity of his office in tact. Plying him with more heppel oil, she said, "I have been considering something. It has been quite a few cycles since I was on the breeding roster. This would be the perfect time for me to contribute to the gene pool again, especially since I think I have found the perfect partner." Little did Maryk realize that she was not referring to him.

"Do you?"

She was pleased that he sounded sentimental. "I do. I can easily arrange with the med techs to have a pregnancy established."

"Once we have cleared your name. We will hold the hearing tomorrow. I have reviewed the evidence. Nothing there condemns you of any wrongdoing."

"As I suspected." She ran her hands along his body. "Once this is over, we will put this plan into motion. Now, have you arranged quarters for me? I fear that I have not rested much the last several days."

"Of course." Maryk straightened his uniform and called for his adjutant to escort her to quarters.

Grayza smiled triumphantly once she was alone. As she had expected, Maryk had rather quickly taken her side. After all, who was Braca? Nobody. She had brokered a truce with the Scarrans and restarted the hybrid Leviathan project. Braca was choosing to align himself with the infernal half-breed and would pay for his duplicity. He was far too easily manipulated and she would ensure that he would be placed in a position where he could do no further damage once she reasserted her control.

It was late in the sleep cycle when she heard her door open. She was instantly on alert.

"Mele-on, it's me," came a deep baritone from the darkness.

"Bialar? What are you doing here?"

"Your guard had…business elsewhere, and I wanted to see you. How are you?"

"Braca told you?"

He settled on the bed next to her. "He did. I came here to make my report to the Grand Chancellor…and to see if you needed assistance."

She leaned closer to him, touched by his concern. "That is very thoughtful but unnecessary. I have explained the situation to the Chancellor and there will be a hearing tomorrow."

"That's excellent news."

She wavered on whether or not to tell him about her plan. The fact that he had come to her persuaded her that she should. Though she would not tell him the entire truth. "One of the conditions of my release will be that I am placed on the breeding roster. My status affords me some privileges, as does his…"

Crais pulled back, momentarily shocked. "So, he intends to use you."

"That is what he intends, not what I intend. Once I am pardoned, I will convince him to let me inspect the hybrid project one last time. After all, the birth of the first offspring is imminent, is it not?"

"It is."

She placed her hand on his cheek. "Once there, we will create our own offspring, though I will let him believe it is his. He will keep me close and I will find my opportunity. He is too weak to lead our people to victory over the Scarrans."

Crais could not hold back the sly grin. "That is an excellent plan. I will eagerly await your arrival. I am afraid I cannot stay long lest I be discovered." After kissing her deeply, he slipped back out of her room.


As Crais walked back to Talyn, he couldn't hold back the euphoric feeling. He had long known that Maryk was not worthy to lead the Peacekeepers, but he had never been able to devise a way to get rid of the man. He just couldn't get close enough. Now, Grayza was willing, even eager, to do it for him. And the best part was that she thought she was doing it to advance her career. She was convinced that she still had him under her control.

He would let her believe that until the very end. He was sure that he had fathered several children, but he had never been allowed to know any of them. That was about to change. She would bear him a child. His euphoria dipped as he wondered what the heppel oil might do to the child. Well, he would learn the answer to that soon enough.

As long as she proved useful, and listened to his advice, he would keep her close. After all, her heppel oil had many uses. She could keep the Council in check. With her help, he would become the first conscript to rise to Grand Chancellor.

A/N: Well, that's all for now, folks. I do have something that could be considered filler fic for this one that I'm working on. It will be a Talyn POV story that is more of a companion piece to this one. :) Look for "Coming of Age", which will also be posted here, at least the first chapter if I decide to make this more than one chapter.