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Before Dion could shimmer completely out, Adena leapt up to her feet and shouted, "Freeze, shadow!" The Ring augmented Adena's innate talents and Dion's shifting form was forced to obey. However, Adena could not bring her back into the room, so she grasped Dion's shoulders and commanded, "Resume!" She too shimmered out of sight with Dion.

They appeared on board the Act. Both women now had a grasp on the Amulet; Dion didn't have the talents to activate it and Adena was trying to get a more secure hold on it. Guards couldn't fire because Dion might be hit. The gems of the Amulet were charging with Adena's touch however; suddenly, the diamonds discharged sending bolts of laser out. A woman's scream brought Richard to the disturbance.

A smoking pile of charcoal stood at the victor's feet. "And if you know what's good for you, gentlemen, you'll stay back," said Adena, slipping her Key back on her neck. "She's dead, Richard; I'm sorry--she was my friend in times past--but I will not hesitate to send you to join her, if you try anything against me or Furanose ever again."

Richard had stooped over Dion's smouldering remains. By the time he had come up to pulverized Adena, she had already slipped out and was running down the hall of the Act. She stepped into an airlock in the corridor and slipped the door to lock. Then, concentrating through her Keys, she called for aid.

Hurry, thought Adena as she heard Richard trying to break into the airlock. Outside, zipping nimbly amongst the ships, a small foreign vessel was orienting on the Act's hull. It drew alongside the airlock and linked. The outer hull irised open and Adena quickly stepped out into Eve's ship. They disconnected and sped off towards Earth.

Right behind Adena's escape, Richard blasted into the airlock that was now open to the vacuum of space, because faulty wiring on the Act had failed to close it again. The vacuum pulled Richard neatly out of his ship into the Earth's atmosphere. He had no protective gear on and soon hurtled headlong toward the spinning planet below. His body reentered the closer layers of Earth's atmosphere and turned to cinders, killing him.

Adena and Eve shook their heads knowingly; someday, Richard and Dion's power craves would lead to their deaths. The Domain's fleet now had no leader to replace Richard and quickly retreated back to their home base. Eve piloted the ship towards Furanose, explaining to Adena her parent's return. As they sped towards a landing, a large raven flew in front of them.

in the animal's interests, Eve quickly pulled up throwing the shuttle's occupants to the side of the shuttle, shaken up completely. "Sorry, had to watch the birdie, you know."

They landed on the soft Furanose soil where Sir Pent and his wife stood angrily with Enad. "There she is!"

Eve stepped out and replied blithely, 'Yes. Adena needed my help, Father. My Belt oriented on her thoughts and led me to her."

"Just in time too," Adena added.

"Just in time for me to take her back home to be married."

"You found a suitable person for her," answered Adena caustically.

"Yes," responded Sir Pent, indicating Enad.

Eve got slightly green and shook her head violently in negation. Adena answered, "You have got to be kidding."

"Not in the least."

"Adena, they killed Bryant for being with me. They're serious."

"They killed...What fools are you? This is my territory and you have broken my laws. You will depart immediately."

"Not without my daughter."

"I'm old enough to take care of myself!" Eve screamed at her parents.

"That's right," agreed Adena.

"If you stand in my way I will kill you as well, with this," he said, pointing at the zim-zam gun.

"Oh," said Adena, who pointed her lasers at the gun that dissolved into a pool of molten metal. "Now do you challenge me?"

Eve was emboldened by this. "I won't go home; I like it here. I can make my own choices; I have my own power."

"Besides," Adena began, "I can hardly believe that you would expect your daughter to remain pure when her prospective isn't."

Siress Pent gasped, "Do you mean that his is not...." She blushed before completing her question.

"No, he has to children as a matter of fact; he is a notorious playboy in this area of the galaxy. Ask his father."

Enad had been getting progressively whiter. "Please, I..." he whimpered quietly.

Sir Pent would have none of this though. "You will return with us for punishment, Enad." He turned to his daughter and kissed each of her cheeks. 'Forgive me, my little girl, for trying this. You are free from qax guidance and control. Try to listen to..."

"Adena," Eve prompted.

"Adena. She will be a good guidance for you."

With that Sir Pent, his wife and Enad departed for the ships. They quickly left for the Pent's galaxy with Enad in custody for trying to putrify the royal bloodlines. They promised never to return to the Milky Way and seal up the white hole as they passed through. Eve would have to remain here forever, but she didn't care. She had all that she had ever wanted--good friends, her own home, adventure and freedom.

Now, Eve remembered Bryant's violent death. Adena comforted her friend as she began to cry. "How could they, Adena? He was innocent."

"Remember, Eve. Love and forgive always, " Adena responded sagely.

Eve nodded as she wiped the tears from her eyes. They returned to Odina in Eve's shuttle, which they stored for future use. First stop was the castle infirmary, where Adena had her back wounds bandaged. Eve noticed that the Vitamin D treatments had already diminished the ugly welts.

Eve and Adena spent the rest of the evening explaining the strange activities to Toltec. He was glad that it was over, angered that they had risked their lives. Eve was exhausted from the day, so excused herself to go to her room.

Adena then told Toltec about Bryant's death. "He was a good kid. It shouldn't have happened."

"But it did."

Toltec nodded grimly and asked, "How did your back hold up?"

"Fine, unbelievably."

"Those sunlamp treatments are giving you a good tan."

"They're for my back."

"I know."

Adena settled into the sofa cushions to read. Toltec reclined in front of the fire to work on political proposals. Eve was upstairs sleeping silently. All through the house it was quiet and peaceful; the threat abated to the nether worlds, Furanose reveled in serenity.

 © 1985, 

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

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