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Queen's Gambit                       By: Danae Conrad

A solitary shadow moved restlessly in the cellblock. Pacing back and forth, it would pause a moment as if listening for someone. Suddenly, it stopped completely and ran to the electricly guarded door which threw it to the ground with a shower of sparks.

Friends. She sensed the presence of friends in the building. She choked back a cry of hope, knowing that rescue from the outside was impossible. She sat in dejected dispair on the cell floor - she didn't even attempt to contact Iffley. They had confiscated her amulet until she agreed to help them and she felt helpless and alone.

Pushing up the sleeves on her green jumpsuit, she stood and concentrated on the force field. The field produced another shower of sparks as her body flung into it. Her strength was nearing an exhaustion point. Isolation of r days had taken its toll on her; repeated escape attempts had drained her hope.

"Now maybe you will listen to sense." He signalled the guards to bring her out of the cell. "You were always the more stubborn."

Arriving in the brightly lit office, Adena quietly enjoyed the first sunlight she'd seen in days. A throat cleared behind her and she turned to face...him.

"Your friends have created quite a nuisance on the lower prison levels. I decided to keep you in my line of sight. Incidentally, have you lost this?" He dangled the precious amulet in front of her.

"No, it was taken from me," she corrected. She lunged for his knees to knock him off balance, but he deftly stepped away. She clutched empty air.

"Really, you are being extremely stubborn." He pulled her roughly to her feet and scowled. "We have been over this several times. You do a few favors for me, and I'll give you the amulet. Fair trade."

"Funny you should put it that way after your promise to me?" With his request, something had clicked in the back of her mind.

"My promise," he said somewhat uncomfortably.

Adena looked up sharply; her suspicions were confirmed. "Yes, your promise to me. The one time you swore that the kingdoms, the keys, the power, could plunge into the abyss, as long..."

"...as you had the amulet." He finished with a breath of relief.

"Wrong!" She wrenched from his grasp and spun to face him. "You trecherous thief! You wouldn't give up even when death tried to take you. Blue and I willing took our spirits, but you had the gall to fill his body with your spirit and seize that of his wife, forcing her to return to hers. Only you - Taft! only you, would dare. "

His eyes narrowed and he positively growled his response, "So you know, what does it matter? I still possess your amulet."

"Which only I can control." She spoke with quiet triumph at her newfound hope. "I joined my soul to Blue's in marriage, but his soul has departed his world so therefore I am unmarried. You have no power over me."

he slapped her across the face. She flew at him, her eyes tightly closed so that she couldn't see the damage that she was inflicting. Taft/Archie threw his arms across his face for protection. Adena's hands found the amulet and pulled; it flowed easily to its mistress' hands. Throwing him away from her, she opened her eyes slowly. He was backing towards his desk, reaching for a hidden weapon with a blood-scratched hand.

"The one thing you couldn't know Taft. Blue swore he throwaway everything he owned to save me, protect me of keep me with him." She stopped and flushed slightly, but quickly regained her control. "He told me the first night of our marriage - no one but us could have known."

Taft/Archie stared wildly at her with pain-crazed eyes. She saw that her nails had found their mark well.

His face was scratched and... she turned to open the door. A pain ripped through her leg; she smelt the acrid, poignant smoke of a firearm. He was laughing at her "No one will ever have you again!"

She ran through the now-opened door, her leg in painful agony. She heard announcements over the speaker --"ESCAPED PRISONER. REPEAT. ESCAPED PRISONER. HEAVILY ARMED. KILL HER IF SHE CAN'T BE TAKEN ALIVE." The words pounded in her head as she found the stairs and bolted down two flights. She ran back into the hall almost into the arms of a GuardSwolsk. Screaming, Adena frantically backpedalled and found a small air duct at floor level. She blasted away the door with the amulet's power and pushed past the burning metal.

She crawled until she reached an intersection. Not knowing where to go, she leaned against the wall and cried. Pulling on final reserves of strength, she tried contacting the Alarians, who were speeding from Earth. Thinking she had failed, she then signalled her Danaes to meet her outside the offices. The large amount of power she had used was allowing the guards to home in on her. Panic took hold again and she blindly picked another passageway.

Suddenly, she smelt sweet, spring air and saw the delicate grasses pushing through the earth. A delicate blue hoof pawed the turf as a Danae whinnied a troubled neigh. She pushed out of the duct and pulled herself to the Danae's back. It lifted off immeadiately and after it was safely out of sight, Taft's guards converged on the escape site too late.

The Danae flew without his mistress' guidance for she had long since reached unconsciousness, but he knew where she wanted to go.

*********************************************************

On the Scimitar, the youthful Iffley stared blankly off into space. he felt thankful to have found his friend as well Campuria's conversion to her rightful self. But, he felt like a failure. He had abandoned Adena; he hadn't even tried to save her.

Dion watched Iffley's absorbed agony. She too hurt for her friend's life. They had been fiends for so long; they had shared so much. Now she wouldn't be here to share the happiness of Dion's new existance. Iffley gasped in pain and Dion wince with the same. The crew stood shocked and confused. "Turn around," he whispered through clenched teeth. "Turn around before it's too late!"

The crew quickly hit reverse engines and began to journey back to Earth. Iffley pushed away his medical officer and told him to prepare for a bigger job. he took his place by the viewscreen, trying to urge the ship further with his thoughts. Done came to stand by him.

"It is she. We may be too late." Iffley nodded grimly in response.

*********************************************************

Adena now awoke on the grassy slopes of Furanose near a familiar waterfall. The Danae stood patiently over her. Weakly she sat up to stroke the animal's velvety face.

"Waterfall," she spoke softly to the steed. "They will be coming for me. You must not allow them to take me and we can't outride them." The horse pulled back with a startled sound. "As you carried my lord in life, you must take his lady to him in death." She paused and choked on her tears. Then she spoke to the winds, "Beloved don't consider it selfish. Consider it an expedient to a fated end. I can't hold any longer..." She looked again to the Danae. "When the time comes, you will know what to do. Do it swiftly - then lead your herd to the winds." She collapsed in utter exhaustion, with a salty blue tear falling to her face from above.

A noise caused the horse to stop to its feet. The night had fallen and still his mistress slept. He heard footsteps and he prepared to defend her, when a familair voice called to him. "Cush, Waterfall. Leave her to me." Strong arms picked up the bruised and fallen Enchantress and carried her back to the shuttle, that had landed nearby the falls. It quickly lifted off and the Danae whinnied a farewell to the stars.

*********************************************************

Voices and shapes floated around her head. They seemed distant but familiar to her.

"She's been like this for three days now; can't you do something?"

"Will she ever recover is the question, Doctor."

"I would think so..."

The shapes began to solidify and the voices came from the shapes in the proper manner. Her eyes fluttered open and saw the stark Sickbay. Thinking that she had been recapture, she began to activate the amulet.

"Adena! it's me!" She stopped long enough to see her friend--

"Dion! You're back. I should have known." She embraced her comrade, scarcely taking note of the young man beside her - he seemed vaguely familiar.

"Adena," he spoke. "King took Queen -game over." He smiled and she raised an eyebrow in puzzlement.


 © 1984, 

K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft

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