When the Children Cry, part III

By Seema

Odo had never felt comfortable with Worf. As the changeling followed the Klingon through the rapidly darkening forest, Odo reflected that of everyone on Deep Space Nine, it was with Worf he should share the greatest affinity. After all, they were both outsiders, trying desperately to fit and often failing at the endeavor.

But somehow, Worf's stiffness coupled with Odo's reticence had made the men merely passing acquaintances. Odo did have a certain respect for the Klingon and it was a respect that was returned in full.

Worf paused briefly, checking his tricorder.

"No sign of them," Worf said gruffly. "We must keep looking."

Odo did not ask Worf how he was feeling; he knew the Klingon would not appreciate the question.

"Commander," Odo said. "Have you thought of what these White Rose people might want?"

"They are terrorists. What they want is irrelevant."

"Even if they have your daughter?'

Worf turned to meet Odo's eyes, his gaze steady and unwavering.

"Even if they have Daria."

For a moment, Odo wondered if he had misjudged Worf - as an officer, as a husband, a father and more importantly, as a man. But then the Klingon turned away and by the slump of his shoulders, Odo realized that Worf had just expressed the hardest five words of his life.

"I talked to Kira about the White Rose," Odo said. "She says they are even more determined than the Maquis.
They will do anything to keep Bajor for Bajorans."

"We cannot surrender to terrorists, otherwise they will keep using such tactics. It is not honorable."

And by the finality in Worf's words, Odo knew that he would get no further with him.


Daria felt all itchy and discombobulated inside. Her stomach was churning and her head hurt. She didn't get sick often, but when she was sick, she liked sleeping in her parents' bed while her father read to her.

This woman, Alysia, was not nice. She had brought them to this place without asking them. Daria knew that her parents would be angry with her.

She didn't like this place and she wanted to go home.

"The transport must have affected them more than we thought," Alysia said in a low voice to a man sitting at a rough-hewn table. The man - he had introduced himself as Arel - looked over at Daria, who was sitting on a chair, her knees tucked to her chin. Yoshi was in the corner, sleeping.

"You know young children are not supposed to transport," Arel argued. "I doubt the little girl has ever experienced a transporter before."

Daria wanted to contradict him, tell him hotly that yes, she had transported before. It had only been once and only because she had insisted on traveling the same way her parents did. She remembered being scooped up by her father and being held securely in his arms as her mother activated the transporter beam. They hadn't transported far; merely from Ops to the Promenade. Still it had been an exciting experience for Daria and she had told all of her friends about the transporter beam. Daria had been very popular in school that day.

Daria wanted Yoshi to wake up. She wanted him to tell these people that they wanted to go home.
She was feeling very lonely without Yoshi and she didn't like these people.

Just wait until her father got here, Daria thought angrily, pressing her little lips together. Then these people would be very sorry they had ever brought her here.


Kira entered Sisko's office and one look at the Captain's face told the Colonel everything she needed to know.

"What do they want?" Kira asked.

"They haven't said," Sisko said.

"That scares me," Kira said. "They have admitted to taking the children. Why not just come out and say what they want?"

"It leaves a possibility that I'm not willing to face," Sisko admitted. He got up from his chair and paced the length of his office. "There are other Starfleet captains who refuse to allow children under their command. I always believed in family, even when the war was turning against us. And now I wonder if I was wrong."

"I doubt the O'Briens or Dax and Worf would blame you for this," Kira said firmly. "Have you heard anything from the search party?"

"I talked to Odo. It looks as if the children were transported off the planet, though there is no sign of transporter activity. It could only mean one thing."

Kira's eyes met Sisko's in comprehension making the link Sisko wanted her to.

"What can you tell me about the White Rose?" Sisko asked.

"Not much, really," Kira sighed. "The group was formed maybe five or six years ago, a more renegade off-shoot of the Maquis. In fact, the one of the founders of the White Rose is a man named Carel Bock, and he thought the Maquis weren't doing enough to ensure Bajor's freedom and so he formed the White Rose. Carel's second in command is someone we're all familiar with, a Ro Laren."

"Ro," Sisko said pensively. "Now that's a name I haven't heard in a long time."

Kira nodded, "After leaving the Maquis, she ended up with Carel, but I haven't heard about either of them in a long time."

Sisko raised an eyebrow in surprise, "Why?"

"The White Rose is fairly quiet. In fact, I haven't heard about them in years," Kira frowned. "But my friend, Lora Riata, might know what they have been up to lately. You remember Lora; we were in the Shakaar cell together."
"You think she knows?"

Kira nodded, "The last time I talked to Lora, she said that she was involved with someone and I'm fairly certain he is a member of the White Rose. It wouldn't surprise me; Lora has never really lost touch with members of the resistance and the dull life doesn't suit her. She wasn't a member of the Maquis, but she always seemed to know what they were up to. If anyone would know what the White Rose was up to, Lora would know."

Sisko contemplated for a moment, turning his back to Kira.

"You think it's the same group who have been beaming in and out of this station?" she asked.

"Could be."

At that moment, an ensign's voice came over the comlink, "Captain, a priority one message from Admiral Fleming for you."

"Put her through," Sisko said. The face of Milly Fleming filled the tiny viewscreen on Sisko's desk.

"I received your message," Fleming said. "About the abductions of Kirayoshi O'Brien and Daria Rozhenko."


"I have passed it on to Starfleet Command."


"I'm not sure what we can do, Captain. Your recommendation was to halt the peace treaty until we secured the return of the children. I'm afraid it wasn't a suggestion that Starfleet Command could honor."

"Are you saying that Starfleet is willing to disregard the lives of these children?" Sisko demanded.

In the background, Kira bit her lip. She had a fondness for both missing children, but especially for Yoshi - whom she had carried, nurtured and finally given birth to.

"I'm just saying that in the interests of the greater good, it is Starfleet's desire to go ahead with the peace treaty."

"Despite the children?" Kira asked, her voice strained.

Milly Fleming's eyes widened as she noticed Kira in the background.

"This treaty has been many years in the planning," Fleming said. "We cannot give into terrorists."

"You do understand these are the children of Starfleet officers," Sisko said.

"I do and I wish you would pass my sympathy on to the O'Briens and also to Commanders Worf and Dax in this very difficult time."

"Sympathy?" Sisko scoffed. "And that's all you have to say?"

"I wish I could do more, Captain," Fleming raised her hands in a conciliatory gesture.

"Please," Kira took a step forward. "You must do something."

"There is nothing I can do," Fleming answered. "Fleming out."

The screen went blank briefly and then was replaced by the blue Federation symbol. Sisko glared at it.

"Sir," Kira said urgently. "You can't let them just forget about the children."

"I have no intention of doing that," Sisko replied. "You say your friend Lora might know about the White Rose?"

"A little bit, yes."

"Can you locate her?"

Kira nodded, "There is a bar she likes to frequent. She is there almost every night. I'm sure I can find her. We're still friends and I know she trusts me. Hopefully, I can get the information we need from her."

"Keep me posted."

"Aye sir."


They had given up the search. The children were not on Bajor. The parents knew this with a clear certainty.
Bashir watched both couples, feeling the silent anguish emitting from both sets of parents. Miles and Keiko were seated together, their hands clasped tightly together. Their heads were tipped towards each other and they spoke in soft, barely discernable voices. In the back of the runabout, Jadzia had fallen asleep, her head resting on Worf's leg. Worf's hand rested lightly on Jadzia's shoulder, but his gaze was focused straight ahead.

Bashir shook his head as he went to talk to Odo.

"I am concerned about the effects of the transporter on the children," Bashir said quietly.

"Have you ever studied the effects of ionic phase transporting on small children?" Odo replied.

"No," Bashir shook his head. "But it is not recommended for children under the age of ten to transport in general. Transporting wreaks havoc on one's molecular structure and for a child, it is especially detrimental as the child is still growing, developing. I strongly recommend that parents not expose their children to transporters until at least age twelve or thirteen."

"That's a little extreme, isn't it?"

Bashir nodded, "Perhaps, but it's always better to err on the side of caution, isn't it?"

"Perhaps," Odo said. He turned back to look at the O'Briens. "Are they okay?"

"Yes," Bashir nodded. "I think they are. They have always been able to talk to each other and support each other."

"Do you think we will get the children back?"

"You know the Captain will do everything he can."

"That didn't answer my question."

"I know that."

The two men lapsed into silence as Deep Space Nine appeared in the viewscreen.

"I'm sure Sisko has a plan," Bashir said optimistically. "I'm sure he must."


Kira Nerys had always prided herself on her extensive network of contacts on Bajor. Some contacts were from her resistance days, others were childhood and family friends and still others were newer friends.

Among her new friends was the newly-elected Kai. Arin had been a vedek that Kira Nerys had been able to respect. Arin's gentleness and fairness was in direct contrast to Kai Winn who had preceded him. As a spiritual leader, Arin was perfect in every way.

"I need your help, Kai," Kira said now as she stood in the great amphitheater, watching the Kai walk slowly around, watering the plants which were slowly taking over the once proud structure.

"What is it?"

"The White Rose. They have taken two of our children."

"The White Rose?" Kai Arin's dark eyes met Kira's. "Tell me more."

Reassured, Kira launched into everything she knew about the White Rose. She was heartened by the Kai's apparent concern for Yoshi and Daria.

"I need some help," Kira said. "And I think it would help me if you could publicly support the treaty with Cardassia. We have to show these terrorists that we won't back down."

"And what happens with the children?"

"That's a chance we would have to take."

"You think that they would release the children if we tell them that we won't break the treaty?"

"I'm counting on it."

"Tell me, Nerys, are the children alive?"

"We don't know."

The Kai sighed. He sat down on a bench and indicated that Kira should sit next to him.

"The way of the White Rose is not the way of the Prophets," he said gently. "The children should not suffer for the sins of their fathers."

"Will you help me?"

"I will endorse this treaty as you and in addition, I will publicly appeal for the children's release. I will do that tonight."

"Thank you!" Kira exclaimed in relief. "Thank you. I appreciate it."

The Kai reached over and gently grasped Kira's ear.

"You are welcome, Nerys."


Her next stop took her to a small bar in the center of town. The entrance was dark and dismal; inside, soft lights illuminated the tiny room, casting long shadows against the walls. It didn't take but a minute for Nerys to spot her friend huddled at a table, pushed up against the wall.

"Hello Lora," Kira said as she swung into the seat opposite Lora Riata. Lora lifted her weary head to meet
Kira's eyes.

"You're here about the children, aren't you?" Lora asked quietly. Kira nodded.

"Have you heard anything?" Kira asked.

"Just that the two Starfleet children were taken. I don't know by whom or where they are. My source didn't tell me that much."

Kira did not press for the name of Lora's source; their friendship was based on trust and Kira knew better then to question Lora's information.

"Have you had any dealings with the White Rose?" Kira asked.

A waiter paused by their table, but Kira shook her head. Lora returned her empty glass with a request for more of the same.

"You know my connection to that group," Lora said. She smiled to herself, a little half-smile tinged with irony.

Kira knew that smile well, had seen it many times before. The smile that held so much meaning rather than humor and Lora often used the expression as a self-reproach.

"I suspected as much," Kira offered a grin back.

Lora Riata looked over her shoulder and Kira immediately sensed the other woman's tension.

"Is something the matter?" Kira asked.

"I didn't think it would be like this," Lora said frankly. "Remember when we were in the resistance and there was that one time when Shakaar wanted to trust Golun Coms? Even though we knew what Golun Coms was to Dukat, even though we knew we ran the risk of betrayal, we still wanted to trust and believe in Golun."

"I remember," Kira answered slowly. She recalled the spineless little Bajoran man, Golun Coms, who had owned the bank in a tiny town called Rolane. It was well known throughout Rolane and the surrounding communities that Golun had ties to the Cardassians and more specifically, a direction connection with Gul Dukat. Yet, there was a time when Golun had approached the Shakaar cell, pledging his help. The thought of Golun's money and support had been intoxicating; the Shakaar cell had been intrigued. It had been Shakaar's decision to trust Golun and accept the man's help. In the end though, Golun betrayed the cell and the Cardassians executed three of the cell's members, including Lora Riata's husband.

"We knew who he was and what he was," Lora said. "But still we went ahead. It's the same thing with the White Rose. Yes, Nerys, I won't lie. I've had dealings with them and I want to say that I liked the people I dealt with. Sometimes there are things that are unavoidable, but we cannot forget that behind that polite facade, there is something more sinister and dread."

"What are you saying?" Kira asked.

"I'm saying that the White Rose is what it is. Nothing more, nothing less. This war of sorts that they are waging, I did not think it would extend to children, yet I don't know how I could have avoided that sad truth. Even now, I find myself too deeply entrenched and I want to escape, but I can't. I'm trapped and there's nothing I can do."

"Can you put me in touch with someone from the White Rose?"

"I can try," Lora replied. "It won't be easy. They have all but disappeared in the last few months. There has been a re-emergence of sorts in the last week or so since the treaty was announced, but mostly they have been low-key. I don't know why, but I have a feeling that they are planning something. Something big and terrible."

"Do you know where they are?"

"No. They switch locations more often than we did," Lora shook her head. "I will do what I can, Nerys. That I can promise. Beyond that, nothing more. My connection is one based on the heart and not on anything else. And I will tell you frankly, Nerys, that he would abandon me for the White Rose and he would do it willingly. His loyalty is first to them and then to Bajor and finally there is me. I cannot change it nor would I wish to, because it would take away from who he is. I accept him for that, Nerys, however that makes me look or feel. Can you understand that?"

Kira covered her friend's hand with her own, "I thank you for your honesty, Riata."

Lora's eyes took on a faraway look, "I'd like to think that there is still some sanity here, that there is still something to hold on to. And I could not deny you this request, Nerys. Not when the children are involved. That is too much to bear."

For who? Kira wanted to ask, but could not bring herself to.

Kira rose, "I will be here, staying at the Camilea Hotel for the next two days. Thank you for agreeing to see me."

Lora shrugged, "You are welcome. I will do what I can to convince him, Nerys, but I do not even know when I will
see him next. So please, be patient. I will do what I can do."

Kira left the bar, thinking about her conversation with Lora Riata. It seemed curiously disjointed and she wondered if Lora had not said everything she could have. There was information missing and Kira was determined to have it. She could not return to the O'Briens and Worf and Dax without something concrete.


Worf stirred; the spot next to him was empty. He got out of bed, and headed into the living room where he found Jadzia curled up on the sofa, Daria's favorite stuffed animal in her arms. She turned her face up to him.

"I'm sorry," she whispered. "I could not sleep. I was just thinking..."

Worf sat down next to her, putting his arm around her shoulders. She leaned back into that strong embrace. He debated whether he should tell her what Sisko had told him about Admiral Fleming's response and then decided not to. The bad news could wait until morning.

"Do you think she is okay?" Jadzia asked.

Worf had no response; instead, he held her tighter.


The knock on the door woke Kira. Her eyes flew open and she pulled on her robe and staggered to the door.

"Yes?" she called.

"Lora Riata sent me."

Kira opened the door. A young man dressed entirely in black stood in front of her. He looked vaguely familiar. Kira squinted and then finally, gestured for him to enter. As he stepped out of the shadows, Kira realized where she had seen him before.

"You are the waiter from the bar," Kira said in comprehension.

"Yes," he answered shortly. "I'm Yaroc."

Kira pulled her robe tighter around her as she indicated the only chair in the room. He took it while she sat on the bed, her hands still clenching her robe closed.

"Computer, lights, dim please," she said.

Yaroc seemed unperturbed by her request for lights, so Kira deduced that he was simply a messenger.

"You have something for me?" she asked.

"You asked about the children," he said shortly. "I can tell you that they are alive."

Kira let out a sigh of relief as the tension flew out of her muscles.

"The little boy is very sick," Yaroc continued. "I believe the transport didn't agree with him. Ionic phase transport, as you know, is extremely dangerous."

Anger bubbled within Kira as she fought hard to restrain herself from scratching the man's eyes out.

"Does he have a doctor?" Kira asked.

"No," Yaroc admitted. "It is too risky."

"Yoshi must have a doctor!" Kira exclaimed. She got up from her chair and walked to the window. She placed her hands on the sill, gazing out at the rugged landscape spread out in front of her. "Transport induced illness can be fatal. You must arrange for a doctor. Even our own doctor from Deep Space Nine -"

"That is not acceptable," Yaroc said. "We will do as we deem necessary and we will not take risks."

Kira bit her lip.

"And the girl?" she asked. "Daria?"

"Refuses to eat," Yaroc said. "She sits with the boy and talks to him. He cannot hear her, but she will not talk to anyone else."

"Please," Kira said. "You have to allow a doctor to come in."

"It is not my decision."

"Then whose decision is it? Can I talk to him? Or her? Or anyone who can make a decision concerning those children!" Kira's voice rose in fury. She pressed a hand to her mouth, trying to calm herself down. Her eyes met the calm serenity in Yaroc's eyes and she felt suddenly afraid.

"What do you want?" Kira asked softly.

"The fifth proviso of the treaty," Yaroc said. "It is not acceptable. Ceding land to the Cardassians after all we have been through is not acceptable. You, of all people, should understand that."

"The Cardassians asked for Derenda and we had to agree. It was the price of peace, this compromise. Don't you think Derenda is a small price to pay for peace?" Kira asked earnestly. "Besides, Derenda is a wasteland and only has value as a penal colony. A penal colony Cardassia has agreed to build for Bajor."

"You are wrong, Colonel," Yaroc said, a hardened edge to his tone. "Recently, perengium was discovered on Derenda. These valuable deposits could lead to profitable trade alliances with the Vulcans and the Ferengi. It could strengthen the economy of Bajor and increase the standard of living for all Bajorans and instead, you bequeath it all to the Cardassians? No, we insist that the fifth proviso be omitted from all further discussions."

"What if we don't?" Kira asked defiantly. "What if it is decided that it is necessary, for the treaty to go forward, that we allow the Cardassians to take Derenda."

"You do what is necessary for the Federation, Colonel," Yaroc said softly in that same terrible voice. "And we will do what is necessary for Bajor."

He turned to leave and then he paused for a moment, his fingers stroking his chin thoughtfully.

"You know, after everything Lora Riata told me about you," he said. "I thought you were different. I thought you truly cared for Bajor. She was misled but I'm not. I see you as you are. You may have dreams of your glory days in the Resistance, but it's the collaborator I see now."

"What are you saying?" Kira demanded. "That I don't care about Bajor? That's a lie!"

"You do not see Bajor and the Federation as mutually exclusive. You see them as the same. It is not that way, Colonel, and until you separate the two, you can never truly be for Bajor as we are."

And with that, Yaroc disappeared into the darkness.


Odo met Kira at the airlock and one look at her face told him everything he needed to know. She waited until they had reached Odo's office and then she revealed to him her conversations with the Kai, Lora and finally with Yaroc.

"Do you think I'm wrong for supporting this treaty?" she asked Odo. Odo shook his head, concerning crossing his rough features.

"You have always wanted what was best for Bajor. This treaty does not change that. It's just that the priorities have changed. This land, this Derenda doesn't mean as much as peace."

"Exactly!" Kira nodded. "I tried to tell myself during the shuttle flight, but I haven't been successful. It's so hard to convince oneself of one's motives for anything."

"You have been nothing less than sincere in everything you do," Odo pointed out. "And you have always held Bajor's best interests close to your heart. That doesn't change, Nerys. You are still being faithful to what you hold

"He called me a collaborator."

"But does that make you one? Just because some terrorist calls you one?"

"He is right, in a way. I do sometimes think of the Federation before I think of Bajor. I never thought that that was
wrong before."

"And it's still not wrong, Nerys," Odo said earnestly. "You've always done the right thing. Don't doubt yourself now."

"I'm not doubting myself," Kira said and then she allowed herself a slight smile. "I'm doing it again, right?"

"Yes," Odo nodded. He reached over and covered her hand with his. "Nerys, don't trouble yourself too much.
We must focus on one thing and one thing alone: the safe return of Yoshi and Daria. Can you do that, Nerys?"

"Of course I can. I love them both dearly, you know that. I would do anything for them."

"But something else is bothering you? What is it, Nerys?"

"You want to know the worst part of it?" Kira asked softly. "I wanted so much for Lora to help me. To give me more, to lead me to the children and she didn't. I can't help but feel angry about that, feel angry that she did not live up to my expectations of what a friend should do."

"Do you have proof of her membership?" Odo asked. "That she is truly a member of this organization?"

"No, not really. Just that she knows Yaroc. That's all, but it's enough."

"You went to Lora looking for the information. You knew she must have some information but you didn't know
how much information."

Kira sighed, "Maybe I'm wrong to judge her."

"It's because she didn't give you what you wanted," Odo said gently. "You wanted more concrete answers and she could give you a beginning, but not the end. Do you know how she feels about the situation?"

"No. I think she feels guilty but I can't help but feel betrayed. Riata and I were in the Resistance together. We fought together and we helped each other. And now this? I thought I would get more from her, not this frustration."

"She's helping you in the only way she knows how. She sent Yaroc to you, didn't she?"

"It's not the same," Kira said stubbornly. "She should have done more."

"Why don't you appeal to Lora for the release of the children?"

"I don't think she has that kind of power. I think she is a peripheral player in this scheme. Even this Yaroc is on the edge of this whole thing. We have to find the key players, but I don't know how. I've exhausted my contacts. Lora was my last hope."

"What are you going to tell Sisko?"

"Everything," Kira sighed. "He isn't going to like it, but I have to tell him."


The adults were angry. Daria could not understand what they were saying, but she could tell by the tone of the voices. Her parents fought a lot, but they never sounded like this. Their voices made her head hurt. She wondered what they were yelling about. It must be very important.

Daria covered her ears and curled closer to Yoshi, her little hand lying on his hip. Maybe when she woke up, her parents would be here and this would be over.


Arel paced, his face contorted and purple. The others watched him, waiting for his anger to dissipate. Only a roughly hewn wooden table separated Arel from the others.

"I'm sorry, Arel," Yaroc said. "I thought some reassurance would be necessary."

Arel whirled on his comrade, "You gave the woman too much information. Now she knows who you are. What if
she had you followed?"

"I can assure you that Nerys did no such thing," Lora said quietly. The soft light bounced off her face, creating a pattern of shadows and light across her features. "I asked Yaroc to help her. She needed to know what happened to the children. Yaroc agreed to talk to her. That's all."

"And what does this mean? Just because you sleep with her doesn't mean she is one of us!" Arel told Yaroc. Yaroc flinched visibly and Lora's head drooped.

"Please, Arel," Alysia said. "What is done is done."

"Nerys is a friend. A good friend. We all know what she did as part of the Shakaar cell. That she fought for Bajor's freedom. No one believes in Bajor more than the Colonel," Lora said stubbornly. "She deserved at least that much, to know why the children were taken."

"We owe her nothing!" Arel exclaimed. "She has turned her back on Bajor by agreeing to this treaty. Giving the Cardassians even a millimeter of Bajoran land means that we have capitulated to the aggressors. No, I will not stand for a sign of weakness. The treaty must be broken."

"She refused," Yaroc said.

"Refused?" Alysia asked, her voice trembling. "She refused?"

"She believes this treaty is good for Bajor," Yaroc said. "What she means is that it is good for the Federation. To her, it's all the same. She has lost touch of what it means to be Bajoran."

"That's not fair!" Lora burst out. "Nerys is just as Bajoran as the rest of us! More than most, if I might add!"

"Quiet!" Arel shouted at Lora. "You forget your place, Riata. We suffer that you be here."

"Don't talk to her like that," Yaroc said evenly. "Riata means well, Arel. She cares for the children. You can trust her not to betray us."

"Can we?" Arel whirled around to face his comrade. "You brought this woman here, Yaroc."

Lora stood, "I should leave."

"No," Alysia held out a hand. "Don't, dear. He is just upset. Arel, you must calm down. There is not much we can do at this moment."

Arel stopped pacing and looked at the trio facing him. Beyond them, he could see the two small children curled up on the bed. For a moment, the words seemed lost to him.

"Did she ask for anything else?" Arel asked hoarsely.

"She asked for a doctor for the boy," Yaroc said. "I think we should comply. It is the least we can do."

"It is too much of a risk," Alysia said.

"You are a mother," Lora said. "Would you not want some reassurance? That your child was well taken care of? The transport could not have been good for either child."

Arel placed a hand on Alysia's arm and he shook his head, a disapproving expression crossing his already angry face.

"This is not about Alysia," he said sternly. "This is about you asking Yaroc to meet with the Colonel. You are not one of us, Lora. It is only because of your involvement with Yaroc that we accept you. Do not presume to know what we would want or need."

"Is that all?" Lora asked softly. "That's all you have to say? Yaroc?"

Yaroc took a step towards Arel and then stepped back. He shook his head, almost in dismay. Lora glared at him and then she turned on her heel and left the room. Alysia let out her breath in a heavy sigh.

"We cannot stay here," Arel said determinedly. "We must move. Immediately."

"Where?" Alysia demanded.


"Calen?" Alysia gasped, thinking of the dank dark caves one kilometer below surface. "We can't, Arel. No, that's impossible."

"They will not find us there," Arel said.

"We cannot risk using the transporters again on the children," Alysia said. She looked at Yaroc pleadingly.

"Alysia is right," Yaroc said slowly. "The boy is already severely ill from using the transporter that one time. We cannot risk it."

"The children are of no consequence to us any more," Arel said. "Prepare to move. We will leave in an hour."

Go to Part IV

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