Lanimer Return to Zevus Mar

Aledan Series Book 7

Thirty years after the Tregan invasion that killed his parents, Lanimer Dakov’s recurring dreams seem to be calling him back to Zevus Mar. Because he was a telepathic psion, his parents made their friend Hankura Narcaza Lanimer’s Guardian in case something happened to them. They took him to Oltarin to live with them, along with his Zevians governess and the Tregans who rescued them.

After Val’kara Clinic on Zevus Mar offers him a position as a doctor, he receives a holographic message from the young Trakellisan human hybrid named Evalee. From the moment she saw his holographic acceptance message, she knew she wanted him. Knowing that he is telepathic, she realizes he will sense her attraction as soon as they meet. Evalee decides honesty is the best course of action, and she sends him a private message explaining the situation.

Lanimer is immediately taken with her and assures her they will work it out when he arrives. During the six-month space journey to Zevus Mar, they communicate and fall in love before they even meet in person. While their relationship is everything they hoped it would be, political unrest mars their daily life and could end in tragedy. Will they be able to prevent this?

Chapter One

“Are we ready?” Father asked tightly, fingering the blaster in the holster at his hip and glancing at my mothers.
“I should change,” said Nalina, my governess.
“There’s no time. The Tregans could be here any minute. We can get you something else to wear when we get there.” My father snapped at her like he was mad. I didn’t know why he was hurrying or why he and my mothers had blasters on their hips.
My mothers were both frightened. Even though I am a telepath, the things I saw in their minds seemed like a holovid. They didn’t want to leave, but they were scared to stay.
Spaceships landing, and soldiers with long guns pouring out of them; shooting people. This was another vision I saw in my father’s mind. He was afraid they would come to our house and angry the Federation wasn’t stopping them so we didn’t have to leave our home.
Our hovercraft was too far away from our underground house. My father parked it by the barn. We would have to run if the soldiers come. Father picked me up like I was still a baby and carried me even though I was a big boy and could walk on my own.
It didn’t matter because it was already too late when we left the house. The Tregans started shooting as soon as we were all outside. My mothers and father shot back, but the Tregans killed them one after another. I screamed as I felt their pain and fear, and their last thought was they loved me. They told Nalina to take me to a man named Hankura Narcaza. I saw him in their minds.
When Father fell, Nalina screamed and picked me up, running as fast as she could for the hovercraft. Someone was still shooting. Nalina couldn’t shoot back because she needed both arms to carry me. Crying, she pushed me into the hovercraft and got in behind me. I was sobbing.
“Nalina. We can’t go without them. We have to make them get up so they can come, too.”
Barely four years old, I did not yet understand death.
“No, sweetheart, they can’t get up. They are dead. They will never get up again.
“Who will take care of me?” I sobbed.
“Oh, baby, I will take care of you until we can find the man your father told you to find.”
“He said Hankura, but I don’t know who that is,” I cried.
“I’m not sure yet. I will have to look him up on the AI network when I can get access again.” She held me in her arms, rocking me and stroking my hair, weeping softly as reality was settling in. It all happened in a few minutes; three lives were gone, and my only family was gone. Their bodies were left lying on the ground, a memory that haunted me in my nightmares.
Our hovercraft was damaged during our escape and it stopped running in the middle of the desert. Nalina couldn’t make it start again. We had to walk, but it was so hot and we had no water. We walked and walked until Nalina fell down and wouldn’t get up.
I hoped that she would get up again after she rested, but she didn’t. I felt like I would burn up under the hot sun. Then a big dark shadow blocked out the sun. He was the biggest man I had ever seen. I knew he was a Tregan soldier nearly seven feet tall, a genetically engineered human made to fight for the Tregan Empire. They were a totalitarian regime trying to take over Federation territory.
I thought he came to kill us, but he gave us water and helped us instead. He carried Nalina to the next agricomplex, a manmade oasis.
His name was Orin Hart. He was a good Tregan who saved us and cared for us until the invasion ended. He apologized that he couldn’t save my parents, but he didn’t just leave them laying on the ground where they died. He buried them and made grave markers for them. Still, it didn’t erase my memory of them lying on the ground.
Orin and Nalina fell in love, and they became my new family. We were happy until some construction workers came to rebuild the house where we settled. One of them shot Orin because he was a Tregan. When I told their boss he was a good Tregan, they called Hankura and Chelle to save him.
I liked them because they saved Orin, but I didn’t want to live with them.
“Why can’t I stay with you and Orin?” I asked as I walked with Nalina to the office in the infirmary section of the construction residence.
“Because your father arranged for Hankura Narcaza to become your guardian if anything happened to him,” Nalina replied.
“But he seems like he’s mad all the time. Do I have to go in by myself?”
“Yes. Give him a chance, Lanimer. He’s been through a lot worse than we have. Your father trusted him to care for you because he is a psion like you,” Nalina told me. “I promise he won’t hurt you.”
By then, we had reached the office where my new guardian was waiting to meet me for the first time. Every time I saw him around the barracks, he looked grumpy, and I didn’t think he even liked me.
Hankura was taller than my father and had dark hair. Nalina knocked on the doorframe to alert him we were there, but I could tell he knew. He turned from the window and tried to smile at me, but he was sad inside.
“Hello, Lanimer. I’m sorry about your mothers and father—that we have to meet because they are dead. Your father was a dear friend, and I looked forward to seeing him again when we got to Zevus Mar a few months ago. It was already too late then. I lost so many friends in the Tregan invasion, and those who weren’t killed were hurt badly. When I could finally help them get free, we had all suffered.”
“I saw my mothers and father get shot when we were trying to go to a safer place.”
“I know, Lanimer. That was a terrible thing to happen. I saw too many of my friends killed, but there was nothing either of us could have done,” he told me. “Your father wanted me to be your guardian because Aledus, where your grandparents live, is no place for psions like us.”
“But why can’t we all stay here?”
“Because it is a constant reminder of all the bad things that happened here,” Hankura said evenly. “Do you really want to go back to the place where your family died?”
I didn’t know what to say. I still dreamed about that day, only to wake up and remember my father and mothers were really dead. Feeling Hankura’s profound sorrow about my parents and all his friends who died made me realize he really wanted me to have a good life because he loved my parents like family. I was all he had left of them. Finally, I shook my head.
“Nalina said she and Orin are coming, too. For sure?”
Hankura nodded, and I believed him.
“Nalina, Orin, and you will come with Casir’s company because my spaceship only has room for two people.” He paused. “You know Orin is a Tregan, even though he saved you and Nalina?”
“The guy shot him because he didn’t know Orin is good.”
“Yes, and he almost died. If he stays here, other people the bad Tregans hurt might try to kill him again,” he said. “Most importantly, we want you to come with us. Your father was my dear friend, and I want to be your friend, too.”
“Okay, I can be your friend.” It really didn’t matter if I stayed on Zevus Mar with my parents dead. They would still be dead no matter where I went, and I didn’t want Orin to get shot again.
Nalina cried every day because she was so scared he was going to die. But Hankura and his wife Chelle and Casir fixed him; I thought going to that planet Oltarin was as good as any place.
When we landed at the starport on Oltarin, it didn’t look much different from Zevus Mar’s deserts. But that was just the landing place. Hankura took us high in the mountain forest, where we stayed in temporary housing until Casir’s construction crew built them a huge log home.
They planned to start a farm that Orin would manage, and we had our flat in the big house. Nalina cared for their baby Jamerin and me while Hankura and Chelle worked as physicians.
Lush green forests surrounded the farm where we played as children and trails where we rode horses when Jamerin and Lara got old enough. I was four years older than Jamerin and six years older than Lara. I looked out for them.
I really missed them when they went to Velran for Jamerin because his dawning went awry. We had a good childhood, and I was happy growing up on Oltarin. We all completed our primary studies early and studied medicine. They went as far as Tech Five just because Jamerin was a psychokinetic healer who, unlike his mother, could heal without a telepathic connection. After Lara reached Tech Five, she switched over to veterinary medicine. Their brother, Calan, and I went on to become full-fledged physicians.
Jamerin never practiced as a Med Tech or went on to become a physician. He had learned the physiology he needed to perfect his psychokinetic healing technique. When he and Parei found a place they liked, they would stay a while, but it seemed like the stars always called them back.
As an adult, I thought about building a home of my own, but I’d started having the nightmare of the day my parents died again. Time and distance had dulled the pain in my waking hours but not in the dream. The pain and fear came back in full force until I woke up in a cold sweat, trembling.
Then I would remember the idyllic months I lived at that abandoned agri-complex with Nalina and Orin. This time, I got out of bed and went out to the porch attached to our flat. The moons and the stars were breathtaking, with little light on the ground to block their light.
Looking out into the night, I realized Zevus Mar was calling me back. I owned the agricomplex that belonged to my family, where my parents were buried. That’s when I knew I was going back.

Chapter Two

(Evalee Mascho)
I knew I was in trouble when his hologram appeared before my desk. I hadn’t had time for a love life in a year and a half since I took this job. We were a physician short with two clinics to run. I usually picked up a couple extra shifts a week. I took emergency house calls when no one else was available.
This guy was gorgeous, and his articulate manner was riveting as he listed his credentials. As he talked about his reasons for coming to Zevus Mar, I couldn’t take my eyes off him. For some reason, I was spellbound by him, mesmerized.
“I was born on Aledus, but I am a psion, and so was my mother. After I was born, my father moved us to Zevus Mar to an agri-complex, a short flit from Elran. My parents died in the Tregan invasion, and the man chosen to be my guardian took me to Oltarin on the far side of Federation space. Our farm was held in trust for me until I was old enough to decide what to do with it.
“Now I have decided; I’m coming to settle there and either set up a medical practice or join an established one on Zevus Mar.”
Our candidate’s credentials were impeccable. My fellow Med-Techs and acting Chief Physician have already approved. None of them had ever worked with a psion before, and no one was as sexy as this guy.
He seemed to be looking right into my eyes as he spoke passionately about his experience. A shiver of sexual awareness rippled through my body, and he was a psion. My face heated as I realized I could not hide my attraction to him.
I sighed to myself as his presentation finished. I’d barely had time to take matters into my own hands with one of my toys or get cozy enough with someone to copulate. We have plenty of good-looking, sexy guys here to enjoy. But I want someone who made me feel like Lanimer did, as he seemed to look straight into my soul.
There was something more penetrating in his gaze than I had seen in any other man.
None of them were psions. Lanimer was. I drew in a couple of breaths, letting them out slowly. I couldn’t vote against him just because he was a telepath—because it would only take him seconds to know I wanted to fuck him. Then again, maybe when I meet him in person, he won’t be as alluring as he seems now.
He’s fully qualified and the first applicant we’ve had in a year. Physicians who want to come to Zevus Mar are few and far between. Barely inside Federation space, the stigma of the Tregan invasion thirty years before had slowed the colony’s growth to a trickle except for my people.
I was born here. A purple-skinned Trakellisan with pointed ears, my father is one of the most handsome males I know. Mother is Zevian, a full-blooded human with light brown skin. I am neither blue nor brown. I ended up with golden amber eyes, ice-blue hair, lavender skin, pointed ears, and no tail. Full-blooded Trakellisans have prehensile tails.
Human men have called my looks exotic, even beautiful, but I haven’t met one I wanted around permanently. There are enough Trakellisan human pairings on Zevus Mar, but not everyone accepts them. Trakellisans came to this world to escape their planet’s failing ecological system caused by the Tregans.
But I doubt Lanimer has ever seen anyone like me. My father’s people settled here after the Federation drove the Tregans out. The attraction I felt might not be mutual, or maybe I would feel different after meeting him in person. So let him come. We need the help.

“I’m leaving,” I said when we were all seated for our weekly meal together.
No one said anything for half a minute. My surrogate parents, Nalina and Orin, and my guardians, Hankura and Chelle, all looked at me in askance.
Finally, Hankura said, “Well, you are an adult; you have been for some time. What are your plans?”
He might well have said it was about time. After all, I was thirty-four years old, still living at home. The only reason I hadn’t left was that I hadn’t decided what to do with my life besides medicine. I’d worked at the Blue Summit Clinic for the last ten years. I loved working there and living in the Cerulean Mountains of Oltarin, but I hadn’t found a mate.
I’d been feeling the call of the desert and my home on Zevus Mar.
“I’m accepting a job through the Elran Clinic on Zevus Mar. A species called the Trakellisans settled there after the Tregans ruined their planet. I will run the clinic in the Trakellisan city of Val’kara.”
The look on their faces told me they weren’t expecting that. And even though I wasn’t reading their minds, I sensed they had mixed feelings about it. I sure couldn’t blame them. Zevus Mar was a hellhole when they were there as prisoners of the Tregans. It happened within weeks of my parents’ deaths, a time with painful memories for all of us.
“What made you decide this?” Chelle asked, frowning.
“I’ve been dreaming about Zevus Mar for a while now. Something seems to be calling me back there. I can’t even explain it. It’s nothing like the connection between you and Hankura, but a strong feeling I must go back.”
“When will you leave?” asked Hankura.
“I just got the offer this morning, and I wanted to tell you before I send my formal acceptance,” I told them. “Nalina and Orin are the only ones who know besides you. I can get a passenger freighter to Rintalis and connect with Sential Trader to Zevus Mar.”
“That’s great,” Chelle said with a smile. “It’s a shame they don’t get to Oltarin anymore. We haven’t seen them in over ten years.”
“Now that Jamerin has given up tramping and settled on Aledus, I wish I’d decided sooner to make the trip with Parei and him. But Otian and Rona are good people. I remember the stories you told us.”
“We’re all going to miss you,” Hankura said. “I know your parents would be proud of the man you’ve become.”
“We lost a lot of friends to the Tregans,” said Chelle, “but we gained you, Orin, and Nalina.”
She smiled with tears in her eyes, and I felt a lump in my throat. We all knew we would probably never see each other again after I left. I loved these people and had already shed tears over that realization.
Orin and Nalina became my parents, while Hankura and Chelle were akin to a doting aunt and uncle. I’d had a great childhood on Oltarin with them and their biological children. Still, it never erased the devastation of leaving my parents lying on the ground. Time and distance reduced the acute mourning phase. I have had so many wonderful memories since then.
At thirty-four, I still hadn’t found the right woman to share my life. I think I resisted because I felt the pull to go back to Zevus Mar. Although they were buried on our agricomplex, the planet didn’t kill my parents; men did.
Then there was Evalee, a stunning Trakellisan human crossbreed. Despite the harsh desert climate, it became a haven for Trakellisan refugees fleeing the demise of their planet.
There was something about Evalee that intrigued me. After the acting chief physician sent a holographic message to offer me the position, I received a message from her. She introduced herself and said that the decision to offer me the job was unanimous, and they were all looking forward to meeting me.
I planned to take the position before I received her hologram. I’d replayed it a few times to study every nuance of her demeanor.
“Hello, Lanimer. This is not an official notification; Chief Yaroman has already sent it to you. This message is from me. The other techs and I all voted for the chief to hire you. I’ve gone back and forth on whether I should contact you, but seeing as you are a psion, you will know as soon as we meet.”
She looked away from the camera for a few seconds. When she looked back, her cheeks had gone from lavender to blue. “As soon as I saw your message and looked into your eyes, I felt a wave of yearning. That’s never happened to me before. I nearly panicked when I realized there was no way I could hide it from you. I am an empath, so I know how this works. I want you to know upfront so it won’t hang between us and get in the way of working together.”
“Goddess, I’m not even sure I should send this, but if it’s a problem for you, I can ask Chief Yarroman to transfer me from the Val’Kara Clinic so we have as little contact as possible. I am an alien hybrid; some humans want nothing to do with us, so I understand. I don’t want to be a reason for you to turn down the job. We desperately need another physician here.”

The Trakellisans had migrated to Zevus Mar by the millions. The planet could easily support the increase in population. However, the increasing refugee population stretched medical services thin.
Even 30 years after the Tregans were driven from the planet, attracting medical professionals to the backwater planet was not easy. Yet, the exact location made it ideal for the Trakellisans to resettle because it was not far from their planet of origin.
Because the journey from Oltarin was long and tedious, we would have plenty of time to exchange correspondence and get to know each other before we met in person. As soon as I finished reviewing her message, I did an AI search on Trakellis.
The Trakellisans had a tribal culture with democratic leanings. Each tribe had a village and a say in how their world was governed. They valued individual rights and freedoms and individuals for their skills and abilities.
The Trakellisans were not space-faring on their own, but a space-faring race discovered their planet was rich in precious minerals. They built the spaceport and set up mining operations much like those on Zevus Mar. Even though they received a fraction of what the minerals were worth, the Trakellisans were happy with their share of the proceeds.
The mining didn’t interfere with their way of life until the Tregans invaded to steal their mineral wealth. Evalee’s people rebelled, but the Tregans overran them with robotic soldiers and killed many. The Tregans didn’t want or need the Trakellisan people there, so they set in motion an ecological time bomb to destroy life on the planet and make in uninhabitable. The Trakellisans had no choice but to flee.
Now, several million live on Zevus Mar.

Lanimer, Return to Zevus Mar will be in Kindle Unlimited on May 29, 2024