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Authors: Tracy St. John

Tags: #dominationsubmission, #erotica aliens, #clans of kalquor, #kalquor, #erotica bdsm, #tracy st john, #futuristic erotica, #science fiction erotica, #erotica, #menage

Alien Refuge (4 page)

BOOK: Alien Refuge
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Chapter 2

The end of the day found Jol at home in the kitchen with his clanmates. Three times a week, they gave their house staff the day off. That meant cooking for themselves, a task the trio enjoyed.

The room was massive, as befitting a colony governor who might have cause to entertain visitors and dignitaries. Banks of prep tables, ovens, coolers, and kitchen tools spanned an area as large as Iris Jenson’s entire home. Yet the three men worked close together, preferring close companionship after being apart all day.

Jol found himself relaxing into the sociable quiet as he fed chunks of seasoned beef and pork into the grinder. He was in charge of the main dish tonight, a meat pie. A Native American Earther named Quinn who lived at the far edge of the colony had given them the recipe, along with instructions on how to make the corn soup Ospar was preparing and the fried bread Rivek mixed dough for. Quinn practiced a traditional belief system remarkably similar to the Kalquorian Book of Life’s philosophies. He was one of the few Earthers who wasn’t guarded around Kalquorians. He indulged in long discussions with Jol’s Imdiko, who happened to be the head priest for Haven’s Temple of Life.

Thinking about Earthers made Jol reflect on his afternoon. Saving the boy Thomas from being run down had been on the edge of his consciousness all evening. Thomas and Iris Jenson. A most captivating pair. Two people he hadn’t been able to put out of his mind no matter how many distractions had demanded his attention since leaving their home. Thomas, with his big brown eyes that riveted with such precise attention on whatever claimed his fancy. Iris, her ocean blue eyes swimming with tears that came far too easily as she watched her son.

His tone mild, Jol said, “You will be receiving a complaint from Governor Hoover tomorrow, Ospar.”

Standing on Jol’s left, the Dramok snorted. “I receive complaints from him every day, my Nobek.”

Jol smiled. Earther Governor Hoover was Kalquorian Governor Ospar’s least favorite part of his job. The uneasy mix of an Earther colony within the Kalquorian Empire had the two leaders at each others’ throats more often than not. Hoover was always insisting on less Kalquorian influence over the Earthers, even when such would be detrimental to his people.

Ospar unleashed a theatrical sigh as he measured spices to go into the soup. “What will be his particular issue this time?”

“I had an Earther’s shuttle impounded and his permit to pilot revoked. The fool nearly ran down a child.”

He sensed both his clanmates pause in their work. Ospar turned to him. “A child?”

Jol switched off the meat grinder and regarded his clanmate of 26 years. Ospar’s handsome face was missing its easy smile, the smile that so often disarmed opponents during his long political career. Ospar not wearing his charming expression was always a bad sign. It usually meant he was only moments from finding someone to throw across the room.

A flicker of anger warmed Jol’s chest, thinking about the afternoon’s close call. “A six-year-old boy. One with sensory impairments that led to him being in the middle of a travel lane. The area is clearly marked to all traffic that a child with a disability lives there. The offender was driving his shuttle too fast with all warning devices disabled.”

Ospar’s bright purple eyes narrowed, his wide nostrils flared, and his square jaw tightened. “Did you happen to pound some sense into the offender’s head while you were at it?”

“I thought for the cause of peace between the colonists and ourselves that it was best to refrain.”

The Dramok grimaced. It never failed to amuse Jol that a man whose career hinged on compromise had to be reminded often to do so. But in this instance, Ospar’s instinct to squash bad men could be excused, what with a child involved.

“Pity. But a wise decision,” Ospar finally said, clearly hating his own words. He raked a hand through his shoulder-length black hair.

To Jol’s right, their Imdiko spoke up. His mild tone betrayed none of the concern he no doubt felt. “Where were the child’s parents?”

“There is only the mother. Iris Jenson.” Jol was profoundly aware of how his mouth formed the woman’s name. He saw again her tear-bright blue eyes, her pretty but too worried face, the strands of golden hair escaping from its messy ponytail and the woven brown cap on her head. He swallowed, wondering what she was doing at this moment.

He made himself meet Rivek’s sharp eyes, eyes that were usually soft and warm. His Imdiko’s strong, chiseled features were framed by braids twisted into the forward part of his ankle-length hair. Even out of his long temple robes, any Kalquorian would know instantly they were speaking to a priest. What they wouldn’t realize was they were dealing with a man who was every bit as dangerous as most Nobeks. Fortunately, Rivek didn’t have to display that side too often. For the most part, he was a gentle Imdiko whose very presence could calm most agitated minds.

Jol told him, “She was present and looking out for her son, but unable to retrieve Thomas in time. It was no fault of hers.”

“I’m sure she was appropriately grateful for your help.” Ospar’s sarcasm came out with little bite. They were all used to Earthers, particularly women, keeping as much distance as possible between themselves and Kalquorian men.

“She thanked me profusely.”

“Really?” That brought back Ospar’s smile as he returned to his cooking. It made him look boyish, even younger than Rivek who was ten years his junior. “Sometimes they surprise me.”

Jol thought of Iris. How she’d run with all she had to get to Thomas, no doubt knowing she’d be too late to save him. The terrible knowledge in her eyes, the tiny gloved hands reaching desperately from too far away. Then later staunchly defending the boy’s abilities, insisting Jol know how talented and intelligent he was. The Nobek wondered at the stubborn strength she showed despite how difficult her situation seemed. How vulnerable she looked on the surface.

He made a hash with the ground meat and pressed it into the pie crust he’d prepared earlier. It was several minutes before he brought the subject up again. “They need help,” he said.

Ospar raised an eyebrow. “The mother and boy? Did she ask for your assistance?”

“I offered her a boundary protector. She seemed grateful to have it, for the child’s sake.” Now here came the part his Dramok would not like so much. “Her snow blower is inoperable, and the heating system in her home is about to quit.” The sound of impending failure when the shelter’s heat had kicked on had been obvious to Jol during his visit.

Ospar pursed his lips. His duties and the hostility Earthers regularly showed Haven’s supervising Kalquorians were obviously much on his mind. It had been necessary to let the colonists govern themselves as much as possible, or Haven would barely be populated right now. Too much Kalquorian interference would hamper the growing numbers clamoring to settle there.

After a few seconds’ consideration, Ospar said, “We have to be cautious with such things, especially when an Earther female is involved. I would not worry overmuch with the snow blower unless it becomes a safety issue.”

Rivek folded his arms over his chest, unconcerned with the flour smearing all over his loose brown tunic. He spoke as he usually did, with quiet, measured tones. “The heating problem must be addressed immediately, however. If it fails in the middle of the night, they could freeze.”

“I think it will hold up for a few days. Maybe a week, perhaps. Not much longer though,” Jol said.

Ospar nibbled his lower lip. “Her funds are not adequate for her to have one of her own people repair it?”

Jol felt a stab of sympathy for his Dramok. No doubt Ospar wanted to let the Nobek charge in and put everything to rights for a needing family. Having to tread so carefully around Earthers was a huge challenge for the take-charge governor.

Jol told him, “The child’s difficulties make it hard for Matara Iris to do more than sustain them at their present level. From what I saw, I sincerely doubt she has the ability or goods to trade for the heater repair.”

That was true. Her boots had been worn and not at all good enough for Haven’s frequent winter snows and ice. Her coat was patched and not an insulated garment, forcing her to wear many layers of clothes to stay warm. The cuff of one of her gloves had been fraying. Little Thomas had been wearing much better clothing than his parent. Iris had obviously put her meager funds into his wellbeing, forsaking her own.

The Earther government was very much about people taking charge of their own welfare, even when it meant those least able to care for themselves went without. Only their church offered any kind of additional help, and rumor had it that institution was stretched thin these days. Who could settle on Haven was decided by Ospar, and he opted to bring in those who were in the most desperate need. Unfortunately, those people didn’t always possess the skill and know-how when it came to farming or animal husbandry. The worst fights between governors Ospar and Hoover these days was over guaranteeing that those whose crops failed would still be fed.

Ospar would never allow anyone to go hungry on his watch, even if it meant dipping into the colony’s stores that were meant for sale off-planet. Hoover insisted that charity would only make people lazy and dependent. “Coddle them and they’ll take advantage until they get everything, stealing from those of us who don’t mind doing the work,” he’d shouted only yesterday, his jowled face the usual red it turned when he was around Ospar.

“Starve them, and your fat Earther ass will be the only one left on Haven,” Ospar had yelled back.

Jol had been standing at Ospar’s side, as he always was when Hoover showed up. It had taken all his willpower to not burst out in laughter. Hoover wasn’t precisely fat, but the man missed no meals either. It had been a funny though admittedly childish insult.

At least Iris was farming enough to feed herself and her child. It guaranteed she didn’t have to go begging to a tightfisted Earther governor who lived in more fear of losing a few cuts of meat than seeing the hungry face of a little boy.

His thoughts full of Iris and Thomas, Jol put his prepared meat pie into one of the vast kitchen’s heating units. An instant later, Ospar’s soup went into another one. On the Earther-style stove, Rivek began dropping his flat discs of bread into hot oil. They were perfectly in sync as always, but then they had been clanmates a long time.

Jol didn’t bother trying to convince his Dramok with more arguments over the Jensons’ plight. He knew Ospar would give him the go ahead to fix their home’s heating system. Just as Ospar no doubt knew Jol would also repair the snow blower despite the order not to.

Ospar’s glare was only window dressing. “I will not have a Matara and child endangered, even if they don’t want our help. Fix their heating at your earliest convenience, but be as discreet as possible. We don’t want the E.I.K. targeting them.”

Jol nodded. “Of course.”

Ospar knew better than to remind Jol to be cautious. However, the Dramok’s greatest failing was his heavy-handed way of running things, whether it be governance of a colony or his clan. For the most part, Jol had learned to overlook that quirk, especially when it didn’t happen in front of people outside their little group. As Rivek often reminded him, forgiveness was its own test of strength, one worthy of a warrior Nobek.

Besides, Jol looked forward to the opportunity to see Iris and Thomas again, to perhaps learn more about them. If he got into an argument over Ospar’s imperious nature, his Dramok might see fit to send someone else in to do the needed repairs.

Jol felt a near compulsion to speak once more with the pretty Matara who wore sadness like a dark cloak. He didn’t know why he was so fascinated with her and the boy, but it was one of many questions he wanted answered about the pair.

As they waited for their food to finish cooking, Ospar changed the subject. “Is all ready for Councilman Maf’s visit?”

Damn it. Jol had been so caught up in the Jensons’ issues that he’d let slip important updates Ospar needed. He switched gears quickly. “His quarters and household help are prepared. I have yet to receive an itinerary from your aide, however.”

Ospar nodded. “Mention it to Borl first thing tomorrow. That is, unless you are attending to the Matara’s heating emergency right away?”

Another flash of Iris’ haunted face appeared before Jol’s imagination. He tried to make her go away with little success. “I would like to see to that as soon as possible, though I do have a security meeting with my force as soon as I walk in the door.”

“Then I will speak to Borl about it. You’ll have that itinerary within the first hour.” Ospar’s grin reappeared. “I take it your sweep, other than snatching Earther children from death, was a nice getaway from the office today?”

BOOK: Alien Refuge
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