August 02, 2010

Assignment to Earth Chapter One

Jenna had to get her hands on that weapon. She had to…just to see; just to make sure.

Skylar’s attention was bent solely upon the breakfast dishes while Jenna stood at the kitchen door, her eyes fastened on the pistol in his holster. It couldn’t be—not here. What would a—she squashed the thought. She needed a closer look at that weapon.

Reaching a decision, she moved smoothly and silently across the room. With remarkable speed she lifted the gun from its resting place. He spun around and reached for it, flicking dishwater from his hands, but she was already retreating to the far end of the kitchen. She stopped to examine the gun half crouching over her prize to protect it, while keeping a wary eye on its owner.

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He picked up a dishtowel and dried his hands properly, his eyes never leaving her, his face unreadable.

Hefting the gun, she laid the barrel across her left palm. Her eyes widened as she gazed at the laser pistol in her hands. There was no chance of mistaking the design. He must be a Cavalier. No wonder he'd caught her attention; he was one of her people. But what was he doing here, of all places?

He could be a Klodfon spy a voice of caution echoed in the back of her mind, but for the moment she ignored it. She straightened and extended her right hand, holding the barrel at an angle that posed no threat to him yet allowed her to sight the pistol.

"May I have my weapon back?" He advanced a step in her direction; his voice was polite, yet firm.

Ignoring his query, she looked up at him and grinned, "The balance is wrong. But you're left-handed, aren't you?" Shifting the gun to her left hand and sighting again, she said, "That's much better."

"May I have my weapon back?" His voice was tight with control, although there had been a momentary flash of surprise in his eyes at her knowledge of the pistol’s balance.

Jenna’s grin widened. "Say ‘please’.”

His irritation was beginning to show. "Please." His blue eyes all but pinned her to the wall. Jenna shivered slightly.

"I only wanted to look at it. It's not exactly your basic .22." She handed it back to him, butt end first.

He slipped the firearm back into its holster without looking at it, and snapped the restraining strap. "Where did you learn so much about weapons?"

She returned his gaze, arranging her face in what she hoped was an innocent look as her conscience warned her again to be careful. This was neither the time nor the place for an extended discussion of laser pistols.

"I…ah…I've been around weapons all my life. My uncle insisted I learn about them so I wouldn't kill myself...or someone else." This was true enough. After the death of her parents, she'd been raised mostly on her uncle's Dragonstar. She had been around Cavaliers and their weapons most of her life.

She looked at his pistol again. She hadn't seen one since the Klodfons had taken hers away five years ago. There were still times she missed the weight of it on her leg, times when she missed her home so much it hurt.

She looked up to find Skylar’s eyes had remained on her. "I haven't seen one like that for a long time."

His brows skyrocketed and his eyes bored into hers, his reaction rapid and to the point. "You've seen another weapon like mine? Where? When?"

He was definitely a Cavalier and, to judge by the commanding tone, probably an officer. But who was he? Which side was he on, the Fellowship or the Dominion? The Klodfons had humans working for them, even a few renegade Cavaliers. The voice of caution came back. What would a Cavalier be doing here on this backwater planet? Be careful now, Jenna, she told herself. Be casual.

"Oh, it was a long time ago, about five years or so. Listen, I need to go help Aunt Hannah and they're waiting for you in the living room. Have a good time hunting." She turned quickly and left the room in silence, but not before she saw him take one step toward her, then stop, a puzzled look on his face.