Lillibeth enjoyed being Base Command of a listening post on Ikanni, the home of a branch of dark elves of Admar. When the death of the local politician sends the inhabitants of the base fleeing to the stars, Lilli is left to make sure that they all manage to leave intact before the locals arrive. Locked in her quarters, she tries to remain calm, but the strangers infesting the base are getting closer with every moment.
Moving his people to the newly abandoned Alliance base was a serious matter. Orriko felt the obligation of stepping into his father’s shoes but his predecessor’s fondness for the base was still a mystery. When he finds that one member of staff is still on the base he decides to seek her out and meeting the human woman is more of a shock to his system than he could have anticipated.
Dark elves, disembodied advanced species and one befuddled human woman take a world by storm.
“The Ikanni leader is dying in our medical bay, and he was the only person on this world who welcomed us. His readings are not good, and he will probably be gone by dawn.”
“What does that mean?”
“The Ikanni have psychic resonance with their families. The moment that he is dead, an army will be over our gates, declaring this a sacred burial site. We have hours to get the hell out of here. I need your help to get the evacuation moving.”
The captain still looked stunned.
“Now, Captain Worling. We need every minute to scrub the computers and load all the equipment.”
She left him, and when his voice announced the evacuation over the intercom, she sighed in relief. It took him a while to get moving, but once he did, he was unstoppable.
Lilli followed Alvar’s orders and got herself a nice dinner, the last hot meal she would have for a while. She was going to be the last person off Ikanni, but there wasn’t any transport left for her, only an ejection pod. The problem with the pod was that she needed a direct shot to the orbital station or she would end up floating indefinitely in space.
Lilli grabbed ration packs and hoarded them in her quarters. She had the command computer in her rooms, and she could hole up for several weeks if she had to, waiting for her window to escape.
Now that she was prepared and she had three routes to and from medical planned, she returned to her friend.
Alvar’s eyes opened as she began to idly braid his hair. “You are fascinated by that stuff, aren’t you?”
She grinned. “It is like liquid snow. It reminds me of home.”
His smile was slow, and he looked exhausted. “Are you evacuating?”
She nodded. “We are. The first full transport already left.” She kept braiding his hair into a smooth column that reached his thigh.
“Good. It will not be long now, and the moment the connection is broken between myself and my people, they will be over your walls and swarming the base.”
“It’s okay, Alvar. I know what your people can do. They won’t go over the walls, they will go through them.”
He smiled. “I knew you would notice that.”
“I spend a lot of time staring out at the landscape. The fact that your folk could pop in and out of the foothills without walking anywhere was not lost on me.”
Alvar started laughing, and he wheezed softly as the laughter died. “You are going to kill me before it is my proper time.”
Lilli authorized lift off of two more shuttles. “You will go when you want to and nothing that I say will hurry you along.”
He grinned. “You have a strong spirit.”
“Some folks say I am bossy.”
“They don’t know you—don’t see you like I do. Remember, I am giving you a gift, it just may not appear to be one at first.” He smiled and relaxed for a moment.
Lilli pulled out her sketchbook and drew his picture, not as he was now but as he had been the first time she had met him five years earlier. A few fat tears dropped on the page as she drew, but she kept going until the last ship had departed, leaving her alone on Ikanni.
She pulled a chair to his side and held his hand while his breath grew shallow. When he opened his eyes and smiled, she knew he wasn’t seeing her.
He exhaled the word, “Danara,” and he didn’t breathe again.
With tears streaming down her face, Lilli folded his arms over his chest with his braid cascading over them. She closed his eyes and drew a sheet up over him to his crossed arms.
She tore off the image of him and propped it up near the head of the bed and left him in medical. The Ikanni were coming, and she needed to get to a place that they had not been before if she were to survive.