Stardogs - Book Two
On the trail of slave traders Major Dan Griffin travels to Isram to rescue his aid and lover Meadow and to investigate rumors of a looming Holy War. He finds himself on a sexual journey and discovers a menace that could destroy a whole planet.
My name is Dan Griffin. I was born on Redsky, or Chantra, as the native population calls this planet. My home until ten years ago, when I was falsely accused of my brother-in-law's murder and sentenced to spend the rest of my life on the prison planets of the Terran Empire.
After spending five years on the most hostile planets in existence, my innocence was established, and the scientists of the Empire turned me into a super-soldier.
When the government of Redsky complained about problems with the indigenous population and imminent war with Isram, an independent country on Redsky, they sent me and four other soldiers to investigate.
Killic, big and bulky, his blue eyes as cold as a mountain lake.
Cherryh, tall, wide-shouldered, dark-skinned and good-looking.
Kelsey was short and stocky but as strong and fast as a desert-dragon.
Wu, one hundred centimeters tall, stocky, nearly fat with a round, smiling face. Harmless in appearance, until one looked into his cold black, slanted eyes.
Those men had joined me on this mission. Men I could trust with my life. They all had undergone the same treatment as I.
Lieutenant Meadow Rainseeker, my aide and lover, also accompanied me on this mission. Meadow, incidentally, is not human but a beautiful alien woman. Beautiful and deadly. She is also an Empath, which means she can read emotions as easily as others understand spoken words.
Solving the problems on Redsky was not the only thing on my agenda. I was determined to find the people responsible for taking away ten years of my life and bring them to justice.
The first thing I discovered was the fact that my wife, Lane, was married to another man. A man I hated. A man named Castor Margin, the mayor of Old Town, and a good friend of the Prime Minister, Sir Charles DePratt.
I met with the Prime Minister in Capital City where I confronted some of the people who sent me to prison. I found out I was not a welcome guest, but Lady Evana, the Prime Minister's wife, welcomed me with open arms and took me into her bedroom.
On the way back to Old Town, an attempt was made on my life, but Meadow and I managed to overcome the assassins and took the only survivor to the police station in Old Town, hoping to find out who was behind the assassination. However, Chief Slovinsky, another old friend of mine, set the man free.
It wasn't hard to see that nobody was happy about my presence back on Redsky and about what I might discover during my investigation. Inspector McClaren of Spaceport Security tried to intimidate me and asked me to close an eye and not look too closely if his name should pop up. A favor from one professional to another, as he called it.
I was not intimidated. I knew the man was deep into something and feared discovery. I didn't trust him, and neither did I trust his partner Sergeant Marc Cleaver. Something about that man didn't smell right.
I went to visit another old friend San Deloose. He and I, we went back a long time. He had been a friend of my father's and, after my parents were killed, he more or less took care of me until I could look after myself. He owned a small shop in the run-down part of Old Town buying and selling anything he could get his hands on, and he was not too concerned where it came from or who bought it. His ancestors had been among the first settlers a thousand years ago.
Many times he took me into the mountains to deal with the mountain-tribes, and when he went to jail for a year, he left me with the Stag-clan, whose young chief Threehorn took a liking to me.
Yet unknown assailants killed Threehorn and Garth, my brother-in-law. I was convicted of Garth's murder, after they found me lying across his dead body, the knife that killed him in my hand.
My troops and I came to Redsky in a small battle cruiser and brought with us Professor Goldblat, who introduced us to his brainchild D.I.D.A., Digital Intelligence Data Analyzer.
After they hooked me up to Dida, as the professor called it, I met the Artificial Intelligence inside and found out it was more than just a mass of computer chips and wires. Much more. The AI took on the persona of a beautiful woman, and I called her Angel.
Meadow and I decided to travel north to the Strathon Mountains. Our goal was to find out why thousands of native warriors were gathering there. My good friend Darl Mitas, now a member of the police force, and Lieutenant Niels DePratt, the son of the Prime Minister, accompanied us.
I didn't care for the man. Unfortunately, we had no choice but to let him come along.
We stopped at a ranch to buy Harsa, strong scaly beasts, bred for the harsh country we were about to enter.
The ranch belonged to an old friend, Ben Dar, who had died since I had last seen him. His daughter, Aleethy, ran the ranch now. She had been a little girl when I used to visit her father, but now she had grown into a beautiful young woman.
I have never been able to resist the allures of a beautiful woman. When Aleethy confessed that she had always been in love with me and invited me into her bed, I did not deny her request.
This did not lie well with Meadow. You can't hide anything from an Empath.