Welcome to week #2 of the SFR Brigade’s Summer Cafe!
It’s time for a main course, and a bit of weird science is on the menu this week.
In Hathor Legacy: Burn (book 2 of the Hathor Legacy series) there’s more background about how the Guardians developed their PSI abilities. There’s speculation that a virus released during the terraforming of Hathor was the cause of the mutation. Not only that, but there’s also disagreement over the origin of the Guardians. Did Joachim, the creator of the organization do it for benevolent reasons, or was it a power grab?
In this scene, the heroine, Nadira has survived an ambush and has been separated from her partner, Jonathan. While she’s recuperating at the home of a member of the Kasema (another group with PSI abilities) she’s drawn into dinner conversation, and deeper into the controversy.
Here’s an excerpt:
Weary, in spite of her nap, Nadira headed downstairs to find out what was going on. She heard a deep, male voice that sounded familiar, yet she couldn’t identify who it was.
Taking her time to descend the spiral stairs, when she reached the lower level, she paused to watch the scene at the dining table. Varyn was there, and so were Maji, Azure, and Elder Lange. They were deep in conversation, passing plates of food among them as they talked.
Aromas of cooked meats, spicy vegetables, and sweet sauces filled her nose and her mouth began to water. She’d forgotten to eat anything today, and now her stomach was reminding her that she’d missed a couple of meals since breakfast.
“Elder Lange,” she said, as she approached them. “I didn’t know you were coming.”
Lange was seated at the end of the table. He jumped up and greeted her by pressing his cheek against hers. “How are you doing?”
“Much better.” She was glad to see him. Lange had been one of the friendlier Elders she’d met the Gathering.
Azure and Varyn were sitting across from each other. Nadira sat next to Varyn. “I’ve rested enough, I think.” She took a cup from the middle of the table and reached for the ceramic pitcher next to it. “What’s in here?”
“Fruit wine,” Varyn replied. “But it doesn’t get you drunk.”
“Too bad.” Nadira filled her cup. “Getting drunk might not be a bad idea right now.”
“We were discussing Dakar,” Azure said, as she speared a piece of meat with her fork. “Lange met me over there. We saw him and he’s very ill.”
“Worse than that,” Lange added. “He doesn’t see anything wrong with retaining Mikal, even after Elder Azure told him what he did to you. I couldn’t believe it. Things are worse than I thought.”
“He looks terrible. I’m surprised he could sit long enough to speak to us.” Azure said. “But he refuses to make a statement about the fires or Varyn’s account of what happened to her.”
“Do you believe me now?” Maji asked. “You’ve put your trust in a man who doesn’t deserve it. He’s like his father in every way.”
“I disagree, Maji.” Azure put down her utensil. “Dakar stepped in when his father died. He put aside his own desires.”
Maji made a sound that sounded like a cross between a laugh and a cough. “Joachim groomed him to take over. He didn’t have any desires to put aside. You make it sound like he sacrificed himself.”
“Well, his sister Jen wanted to work for Novacorp. Joachim wanted to force her to be a Guardian,” Lange said. “She had to wait for him to die before she could do what she wanted.”
“How could she be a Guardian with no abilities?” Maji asked “That’s absurd.”
“He must’ve thought she’d develop them.” Lange poured wine into his cup. “But it never happened.”
“Enough gossip,” Azure picked up her fork and pushed food around on her plate. “Dakar has been selfless. He’s only wanted the best for us.”
“Are you serious? After you saw him today and he still didn’t take any action?” Maji shook her head. “His own assistant attacked Nadira and Dakar did nothing? And you still have faith in him?”
Azure kept her eyes on her plate, her lips tight.
“I’m concerned,” Lange began. “Dakar kept saying the company was going to replace us with people they’ve been experimenting on. I have to say, I’m starting to doubt that anything like that is in the works. He’s being paranoid.”
“Like his father was before he died,” Maji said.
“What do you mean?” Nadira asked.
“Joachim read thoughts, but he didn’t guard himself. He ended up picking up other people’s energies and losing himself in their experiences. By the end of his life, he was losing his grip on reality. He had to be locked away. Fortunately his heart gave out and he died before he could inflict more damage.” Maji glanced at Azure as she popped a bite-sized vegetable into her mouth.
“That is the Kasema version of events,” Azure said.
“And is the Guardian version different?” Nadira asked, as she looked from one of the women to the other.