Draekon Destiny:Exiled to the Prison Planet(6)

By: Lili Zander & Lee Savino


It’s from the planet of Kraush.

Luddux,

You don’t know me. I am Gravin, a healer in Kraush. Last week, a woman, Sola’vi gave birth to a baby girl, Mar’vi. Unfortunately, the birth was not easy, and the mother died.

But before she did, she named you as the father of her child, and she gave us this identity, our only way to reach you.

You have a daughter, Luddux. Your baby is with us, but we cannot keep her here long. If you do not claim her in two months, we must send her away.





I have a daughter?

I remember Sola’vi. We’d met in Zydna four months ago. She was making her way to Kraush to head up a research station there. I’d been on shore leave. I’d bought the first round of drinks, and she’d bought the second, and one thing had led to another.

I didn’t know she was pregnant with my child. She had four months to tell me. We’d parted on pleasant terms, and we’d exchanged contact information. I’d given her, not just my official registered identity, the one issued by the High Empire, but also my private one, the one hidden in the deep recesses of the ThoughtVaults, out of sight of the authorities. Why didn’t she?

It’s too late for questions. Sola is dead, and I am a father.

“Finally, the line’s moving.” The healer behind me heaves a sigh of relief. “It’s taken long enough.”

I need to get to Kraush as quickly as possible. I’ll need a ship, or maybe I can talk the captain into taking a job that takes us to that densely-populated world. And then what? I can’t be a smuggler anymore. Captain Plyke’s ship is no place to raise a child. I’ll have to find something else to do.

A smile grows on my face. A little baby girl. My child.

As soon as I’m done with the Testing, I’ll head back to the spaceport. Find the captain, explain what I’ve discovered, and make a plan on what to do next.

“Next,” a bored-looking scientist calls out. I enter the chamber and stick out my forearm.

Twenty-three times I’ve stood there, the gold-tipped needle against my flesh. Twenty-three times it’s pierced my skin, and the tester has flashed green.

This time, the only time it matters, it flashes crimson.

“No,” I shout out, desperate and pleading, as they drag me away. “You don’t understand. I just found out I have a daughter.”

They don’t care. They never do. I am Draekon, and Draekons are exiled. I will spend the rest of my life on the prison planet.

Mar’vi will grow up thinking that her father never came for her. For the rest of her life, my daughter will believe that I never cared enough to claim her.





PRESENT…


Mar’vi will never know how much I cared. I have no way of contacting her, no way of explaining.

I’ve failed her.

But I don’t have to fail Felicity.

For the first time in weeks, resolve stiffens my spine. I’m not done trying to fix things. I will try to heal the wound I caused my mate, even if it takes me the rest of my life.

There are too many distractions here, but we’re going back to our camp. The place where we first kissed, where we first lay together, where I fell in love with her.

I will win her back.





4





Felicity





PRESENT…


I’ve flown on dragon-back twice. The first time, when Liorax and Zunix brought us to the Draekon camp, and the second time, when we left it. That time, I’d flown on Lud’s back. Part of me had marveled at the brilliant blue of his scales, the same intense sapphire blue as his eyes. The other part of me had been heartbroken about what I’d discovered about my mates, shattered at learning that I was never very important to them.

I haven’t talked to them about it. It’s the same reason I don’t try to explain myself to the other women. What’s the point? Nothing’s going to change the reality of the situation. It’s easier to pretend to be unaffected by it.

Xan stalks out when I start crying. Once upon a time, just three months ago, he’d have put his arm around me, asked me what’s wrong. Not anymore. Now, when I cry, the only response he has is impatience.

I wipe away the tears and finish packing. Everything I own in the world, I put into my suitcase. A collection of faded t-shirts from my old life in Maine, and the half-dozen brightly colorful tops I’ve acquired on the prison planet. There’s not much there. I own twelve tops, four panties, two bras, two pairs of jeans, and four black pants.

I rest my palm on my still-flat belly. If I am pregnant, if this isn’t a scare, then the pants won’t fit for long. Harper’s only a few weeks pregnant. She can’t be more than two months along, but she’s already showing. Evidently, Zorahn women have shorter gestation periods than humans. Nobody knows how long it’s going to be before her baby is born, and what that child will look like.

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