Tuesday, December 04, 2007
For over twenty years the planet of Cimirion has experienced devastating climatic changes that have turned it from a planet of four seasons to one of perpetual winter. The Cimirion High Command has sent an advance team of Runners to the duel-sun planet of Solarion to scout for possible relocation.
Kara Zaire’s talents as a Visionary—a psychic who can hear energy patterns as musical notes— have placed her on the advance team to determine how well Cimirions will adapt to the constant summer heat of Solarion. That task would be accomplished easier if only Team Leader Jonah Cash would quit treating her like an unwanted commodity. But sometimes there is a heat behind his gaze that makes her feel as if he could burn her as sure as any sun.
Jonah Cash has led many missions for the Runners, but none as desperate as that of Solarion. He’s leery of the Visionary’s talent, especially when a strange force field blocks her from reading the planet’s energy. He’s willing to put up with her hocus-pocus talent if it means a successful relocation. He just never expected for the mystic to cause him to see visions of his own and her beauty to heat his blood to the boiling point.
“Quit hugging trees and get your ass moving.”
Kara ground her back teeth together, causing her injured cheek to smart. She picked up her pace. The man had about as much tact as a rampaging glacial bear. “Yes, sir.”
The team stood at the base of a small hill in a semi-circle. They all looked over at her as if she were some loathsome tagalong on their vacation getaway. She’d been on many missions as a visionary, but she’d never come across such clear contempt from those she worked with. Of course they were all hand selected by Cash so most likely were his regular crew. She, being the outsider, had to prove her worth, and so far the planet couldn’t or wouldn’t cooperate with her.
If Cash continued to undermine her legitimacy for being on the team, she’d file a formal complaint with the HC. This mission meant the survival of their people, and having a team leader who thwarted her efforts to find a suitable planet for relocation could not be tolerated on any level.
“We’re going to split up into three two-person teams.” Cash pointed to the northern end of the plains. “Lowe and Dylan. Head north. Christo and Ramsey. East. Visionary, you’re with me.” He adjusted the volume on his earpiece. “Keep in constant radio contact. If you find anything of interest flag it and we’ll investigate at length tomorrow. We meet at the ship before the second sun sets.”
The rest of the team dispersed in their designated directions. Kara watched while Cash pulled out his canteen and took a quick mouthful of water. He swished it around his cheeks before swallowing.
“What have you found so far?” He replaced the canteen in the strap on his belt and rested his hands on his hips as if in preemptive challenge to what her answer might be.
“If I were blindfolded and brought to this planet, I would think it had died a long time ago.”
A deep frown pulled his dark brows into a V. His startling blue eyes were hidden behind a pair of wraparound sunshades that did nothing but reflect Kara’s image back to her. “What do you mean?”
“I mean I can’t hear anything. The only reason I know the suns are shining is because I can feel their heat. But they’re as silent as space itself.”
He let out a string of creative expletives and turned away. “Why didn’t you tell me this before I sent the others off into the plains?”
“Why didn’t you ask for my professional assessment before making that decision, sir?”
He shook his head and picked up the pace. “Doesn’t make much difference, I guess. This is a fool’s errand.”
Reluctantly, Kara had to agree with that assessment. The thought of relocating to a planet she couldn’t hear disturbed her more than she wanted to admit. But one thing was for certain: their civilization could no longer continue to survive on Cimirion.
Worldwide climatic changes had covered the planet in an icy crust in only a few short decades. Scientists couldn’t pinpoint the exact reason for the sudden shift in mean temperatures, but all agreed it appeared to be getting worse every season.
Seasons. They’d had nothing but perpetual winter for the past twenty years. Kara could barely remember the springs and summers of her childhood. Looking around her, she wondered what the HC had been thinking to want to take an entire population from a world of arctic blasts and hypothermia to one of perpetual summer and heat stroke.
Kara lengthened her stride as she caught up to Cash. She hung back a few steps just to admire the view. She might not like him as a team leader, but all that arrogance sure came in a tight, hard package. Briefly an image of spreading protective oil over his entire body flooded her mind and brought her up short. Just how long had she been without a man?
The heat had to be getting to her. Normally, the tall, dark and arrogant type didn’t thrill her in the least. However, Cash hid something, she was almost sure of it. In addition to discovering why the planet hadn’t spoken to her yet, she also wanted to uncover some of her sexy and untouchable team leader’s secrets. The prospect of which would be truly fascinating.
Posted by Kathleen Scott/MK Mancos at 2:37 PM