David Knight has been plagued by dreams his entire life, only to have all memory of them vanish when he awakens. Now the dreams are coming with more frequency, and they seem to be drawing him to the Amazon.
A scientist with a PhD in ichthyology and a dedication to learning all he can about lungfish, whose existence dates back to the Devonian era, David is determined to see what the Amazon holds. His hopes seem about to be answered when Dr. Carlos Avila contacts him. It seems the Brazilian archeologist discovered the remains of a previously undiscovered species on a tributary of the Amazon, and he'd like nothing better than for David to join the expedition to see if more of the creature can be found.
Of course David leaps at the opportunity and flies to Pesadelo Bay to join the mismatched team. Once there, he discovers not only does Dr. Avila have his own agenda, but a former conquest as well as a friend who'd saved his life years before are part of the team and are engaged to be married.
Meanwhile, the need to sail up the Amazon to find what ... or who ... is calling him there has become more and more pressing, and David must decide which is the most important -- learning what Dr. Avila really is searching for, or finding the answer to his dreams?
I didn't usually dream twice in the same night, but this time I did. In this dream, I was once again a young boy, and as such had the reactions of a child.
The corridors of Dev'o's Honor dripped with moisture, and the lights dimmed and flickered periodically. I skipped along beside my captain and listened avidly as he told me of the creatures that lived on his home world, either swimming in the muddy-brown waters that covered three quarters of his planet or climbing the escarpments that soared into the ochre skies.
I listened -- until a crewmember sauntered over to join us, and when my captain smiled at him, I saw how much he cared about this man.
David, my captain said, not noticing my reaction. This is my chief engineer.
A flare of jealousy stabbed through me, and I scowled at the chief engineer. Hello. I greeted him grudgingly.
Terran. The chief engineer curled his lip at me and gave a dismissive nod.
The captain was my friend. I curled my own lip back at him, pleased when he seemed surprised. I'd seen my father regard someone who worked under him with similar distain. I found myself wishing the chief engineer would be one of the crew who never returned from a mission. And then I felt myself turn cold, shocked to my toes by this unspeakable wish. Never in my life had I been jealous -- it was unfamiliar emotion in my family.
I was so ashamed of myself that I drew my mental shield around my horrid thoughts, effectively closing out my friend and --
-- gasped as I woke up.
Or had I? Somehow, it seemed as if I were still wrapped in the dream, still on the battered ship, limping through space.
I could feel the captain's attempts to speak with me, and I rebuffed them. He was puzzled, and more than that, saddened.
Captain. His chief engineer demanded his attention.
What is it? He sounded impatient, but I couldn't permit myself to feel any sort of pleasure over that because he'd turned to face the man at his side. Not when something dangerous might be going on.
The chief engineer sent a triumphant look my way, although he was careful the captain didn't see.
I stiffened, tempted to stick my tongue out at the chief engineer. I wouldn't, though. That was childish, and I was a big boy. While the two men talked, I walked farther down the corridor, away from my friend and his ... friend.
The captain thought I was a good boy, but this revelation would demonstrate how very wrong he was if he ever learned of it, and that was something I couldn't let happen.
I sternly lectured myself on the proper behavior of friends, until I finally felt it was safe enough to reach out and touch his mind again.
David. What happened? The relief my friend accidentally projected was so great that I was filled with self-loathing, but again I shielded my emotions from him.
I'm sorry. I was distracted. Some problems gnawing on my mind.
My friend nodded, not questioning the fact there had been problems before, and I had never prevented him access to my thoughts.
The chief engineer snorted. We have more problems than this youngling could ever imagine.
My captain growled at him. And you have more tasks to see to than to tease him. Go follow my instructions.
The chief engineer stalked off, and although he'd closed his mind to me, I didn't need to distinguish what he was muttering under his breath to understand it wasn't complimentary to me.
My captain smiled and slid his arm around my shoulders. Let me show you the ship's felix. She just had a litter of kits. He urged me down the corridor.
It never occurred to me to ask why his chief engineer had interrupted us, something the man had never done before, and the captain didn't offer any reasons.
And I never considered it could be a two-way street -- if I could shut him out, then he could just as surely shut me out ...