We've talked about them for millennia. The Sons of Heaven came to Earth and lay with the Daughters of Man, spawning the heroes of old (or the monsters of old, depending on your mythos). They have been called angels. They have been called demons, the fallen, the devil... Somewhere behind the myths, there were men, winged men who came from the stars and took simple human women as mate. It is time for one modern human woman to discover who and what the Sons of Heaven were, and that discovery will change her life forever.
When Jannie Reynolds goes down the line into the deeper caverns in search of more artifacts depicting the winged god-man, she doesn't know a team member with a thirst for fame intends to cut her ropes. She doesn't know her life will be saved by alien technology or that she will stumble upon a five-thousand-year old winged alien in a stasis tube who doesn’t know his colony has been destroyed. And she certainly doesn’t know she's an alien crossbreed, as well.
Beldon stirred, his mind and body coming to functionality at a maddening pace. His link to the sensors cleared first. He searched for signs of battle and relaxed at no such input.
There were only two reasons for the priests to wake him. If they didn’t require his protection, they wished for him to evaluate one of the young and advise them on their progress toward suitable matches.
He sighed. So far, the breeding on this planet hadn’t produced a close enough match. Beldon was starting to doubt it ever would, though saying it would be paramount to treason.
The priests had woken him countless times, and he hadn’t found a match yet, close as they’d been. Still, he took solace in the soft bodies of those brought to him to be evaluated. The priests and the young expected it of him, and it was the least he’d earned.
How long has it been this time? How long since they’ve woken me? It might have been one generation, or it might have been ten. The longest so far had been ten.
The answer from the sensors sent his heart skittering. The bio tube suddenly felt too tight. He beat at the locks, shouting for the priests to manually release them. The wait for the computer was intolerable this time.
Too long. It’s been millennia. Sakkan! What went wrong?
Without a doubt, something or someone had forced them to seal the tube for so long. What would have caused such a choice?
It couldn’t have been battle. His bio tube was coded to wake him automatically for battle. He was, first and foremost, left here as protector to their seeded young.
They could have succumbed to disease; their first thought would have been to shield Beldon from it. They could have died in a cataclysm his bio tube had shielded him from.
Were they all dead? There was no answer from the tube, as if the systems were having problems understanding the question or identifying the answer.
Beldon cursed his shortsightedness in putting his bio tube under their sole control. He’d trusted the priests would wake him whenever it became necessary. In hindsight, that had been foolish.
What had woken him now? Was it a condition the priests had set? Was the bio tube breaking down? Surely, his Sakk brothers hadn’t waited nearly three millennia to search him out.
With that, he struck the locks again. What if they wouldn’t open? What if the bio tube was breaking down? Dying of dehydration wasn’t a pleasing thought.
Strange tonals reached him through the tube’s loosened seals. Beldon tapped at the translator circuitry, but he only succeeded in spurring sporadic translation.
“Wait...open...” An ancient curse followed.
Two of the locks snapped open. A cry of pain and a second curse identified the speaker as female.
Sakkan breathes! Where are the priests? Why was a female opening the tube?
He pleaded silently with the sensors, compiling all the data they could provide of the situation outside the bio tube. Whoever the female was, she was the only being within sensor range, which was highly unusual. There should have been hundreds of priests and young in range, if it was working properly. Even the basic sensors would cover the entire habitation areas of the temple, but Sakkan alone only knew what three thousand yans had done to the circuitry.
The final bit of information stopped him cold. The shields were down. If the generators were operational, only one of Sakk blood could open them, and there was only the unknown female in his proximity.
Was she one of the young? If so, where were the others? Was she human? If so, what was her purpose here?
Or were the generators broken and he defenseless? Or, defenseless with young to protect? Sakkan, not that.
Three more locks opened, and the computers took over, taking the last seven in a rush of air and the creak of untended pistons. The moment the opening was large enough, Beldon launched to the top, seeking the height advantage for possible battle.
She fell back with a cry of fear at the movement, her pale skin going summer cloud white at the sight of him. Her dark eyes scanned up and down his body, stopping at his extended wings. Her breathing went ragged, and she collapsed to the dirt floor, her eyes slipping shut.
Beldon laughed harshly at that. Humans and the young bred in the temple were frail creatures. More than once, the young brought to him had fainted in his presence. Even more amusing were the battle-hardened human soldiers who’d loosed their bladders when pitted against him in battle.
He dropped down beside her, sobering. On closer inspection, it seemed the female was injured. Her clothing was ripped and stained in dirt and blood. Her head was discolored along the temple and cheek, as if she’d been struck...or had struck something else with formidable force.
Certain that he had time to spend, Beldon assessed his surroundings, his heart sinking. The temple was all but indistinguishable from the caverns in which it had been built. Whatever calamity destroyed it had been long ago.
A scan for biological traces told him roughly what he’d expected it to. The remains of the priests were the stuff archeologists and treasure hunters dreamed of finding. They were dead. All of them were, male and female. Nothing Sakk had moved here for almost as long as he’d slept.
There’d been no active breeding measures since then. There’d been no reports to Sakk. Beldon wasn’t sure there was a home to return to.
What did that mean to him? Stranded on this alien world?
The female moved, a moan escaping her lips. Her shoulder-length hair feathers picked up red sand that nearly glowed against black curls.
Answers. I need answers she might have.