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WIP: Harvest Quest

I've had the idea of some of the people returning to Earth for a very long time. I've decided to post it as a work in progress so it might take several months for this little series of Another Life to be completed. I want to thank JL and Zillah for beta'ing this series. (click on their names to go to their wonderful stories).

Title: The Return Ch. 1

Characters: Joel/Teegan
Series: Another Life

Joel heaved a sigh of pleasure as he stepped in the entranceway. The humid heat engulfed him, slowly stopping his shivering. The winters on Tarvos were harsh and the growing pods were a welcome relief from the bitter cold. Setting down the basket he was carrying, he used his teeth to pull off the gloves he was wearing. Once his hands were free, Joel shrugged out of the heavy wool coat and stuffed the gloves in the pockets. He ran a hand down the soft wool as he hung the coat on a wooden peg. He was still amazed at what Gliese had given him.

Picking up the basket, Joel placed it on one of the work tables. Then he reached inside and removed the clay covered crystals. The bitter cold was due in large part to the lack of sun at this time of year. Tarvos was cast in darkness and shadow for over half of the year. The crystals were a phenomenon of Gliese. When wrapped in MXene clay, the crystals stored power. Once the clay was removed, the crystals glowed, emitting a soft, yet bright blue light. Leaving the clay on the table, Joel gently put the glowing lights in the basket and carried them back to the main growing unit.

Walking down the aisles, he placed the lights every few feet. The stones cast a comforting glow. The heat combined with the peaceful feeling that he was feeing through his link with Teegan gave Joel a sense of contentment he’d never experienced before. As he tended the plants growing, Joel felt Teegan’s energy humming throughout his own body.

The link was an inherent part of the warriors. Like Joel, the warrior race had come to Gliese to begin another life when their own planet had been ravaged by war. The warriors shared a special connection that allowed them to feel all of the senses of their bondmate. When Joel had fallen in love with Teegan, somehow the link had opened up to him even though he was from Earth. Joel didn’t understand it, but he’d come to crave the intimacy of the link. Sharing each other’s thoughts and feelings when making love was the most intense sensation he’d ever felt.

Pushing those thoughts to the back of his mind, Joel started tending the plants. The plants were in aqua troughs. The roots swayed in the slow flowing water. After picking off the dead leaves in one trough, Joel added a mixture of nutrients. He cautiously moved the stems to peer at the budding vegetables. Seeing the edibles was another thing Joel wouldn’t take for granted.

Earth had been dying for years before he was even born. The soil, dried out and exhausted’ couldn’t grow food to sustain its inhabitants. He’d studied agriculture in the hopes that he could find away to feed the people. Even if he only grew enough to feed his family. But that day had never come. He’d moved from the farm he’d grown up on to a large city where he and a small team tried hydroponic gardening. A giant earthquake had destroyed the city, the garden, and all the people. All the people except Joel. He’d been engulfed in a blue light that had transported him to Gliese, another planet. And another life.

Moving to the next trough, Joel felt a tremendous anger surge from Teegan’s link. Then he felt nothing at all. He didn’t hesitate but ran toward the entrance. Teegan was training this morning with a group of soldiers. His main contribution to the community was in agriculture but he still trained with the warriors once a month. He’d gone this morning to the practice fields while Joel had gone to tend the plants.

Joel could think of nothing except getting to Teegan. He grabbed his coat as he ran out the door. The buildings and people were a blur as he dashed through the village. He didn’t notice the fierce wind buffeting his face as he ran up the hill that the practice field stood on. He almost dropped to his knees from sheer relief when he saw Teegan standing before his squad leader, Lars.

As he walked up to them, he heard Teegan yell, “We would lose a battle if we followed your plan!”

Lars’ brows pulled down as he narrowed his eyes. His stance was pure warrior. His voice was crisp and steady as he said, “Winning the battle was not the purpose of this exercise.”

“Winning is always the purpose!”

Joel had had enough. Even though he wasn’t a warrior and had minimal training, he could not allow his mate to talk in such a disrespect way to a leader, a teacher, a warrior of higher rank. “Teegan. You should show deference for your squad leader. Apologize.”

“I won’t! He’s wrong! We would have lost! He’s being overly cautious because he lost his legs in battle!”

Before Joel could admonish him for his thoughtless words, Teegan’s regret and shame surged forth.

“Lars,” the repentant sub cried. “I’m sorry! I was angry and my mouth spoke words I know to be false.”

The only show of the hurt was the color draining from the big warrior’s face. “The purpose was to move as one. It was a lesson in trust and teamwork,” Lars explained calmly. He turned and looked Joel in the eye. “Your sub is like a ship without a rudder. He cannot find his path when he is in such turmoil. He needs his dominant to guide him.” Then Lars turned and walked away.

Joel observed Teegan as he watched his squad leader walk away. His sub’s shoulders were hunched with the weight of his shame. Teegan’s mind was opened, giving Joel a chance to link with him. He felt overwhelmed with remorse and regret. Suddenly, Teegan turned toward him.

“Please,” Teegan pleaded.

Joel knew exactly what Teegan was asking for. Something he’d neglected for both of them. Reaching his hand out, Joel simply said, “Come. We’ll take care of this now.”


You can read more of the characters of Gliese at the Another Life Blog.

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