“Absolutely not,” Dad says, with a finality I haven’t heard before. “I will not allow you to take our children to Atlantis, where you kept my daughter captive for five months, and where their abilities are nullified by your technology.”
“Our baby Gabriella was extremely upset when Sky disappeared into a Dracan dome and lost her ability, and that was before she was born. I can’t imagine how we’d be able to calm her if she lost connection to all of them at once,” Wolf adds.
Both men are on their feet, while Thuban remains calmly seated. I’m impressed by his composure until I notice his eyes narrow and his scales darken slightly. He’s up to something.
When Sky alerted me that he’s in his human form, I wondered how he looks. He never changed to his human persona while my gift was suppressed, and now that it isn’t, I can only see his true Dracan form no matter what he does. I’ve learned to read the aliens’ moods by the shades in their scales, and his darker shade shows he doesn’t like being stood up to. I hope he can control his temper.
He turns to me. “Do you understand why we must meet in Atlantis? Triton and the Sea Dwellers will be an important factor in implementing the plan to save Terra. They cannot meet with us here.”
Marla speaks up, “Father, perhaps they would all understand if you explain what the plan is. The parents must also agree. Their stake in this is as great as ours.”
“My daughter is as wise as she is beautiful,” he says, his expression tender.
Marla appears as much an alien as her father to me, although she’s half-human on her mother’s side. Her children, on the other hand, are as human as Max. I wonder if the shapeshifting is something they grow into.
“Very well,” he continues, “We share your concerns, Wolf and Sequoia. Their gifts are needed to fix the artifacts, and nothing can be allowed to interfere. Allow me to assure you that Murphrid’s mother, Dr. Ashley Jenkins, has devised a way for each of your children to maintain their abilities while in our structures. It is a device small enough to be implanted, or it can be worn externally.
“Charles and Analiese, we did not treat your daughter as a prisoner, other than the fact that she had to remain with us for a time. We regret the pain her absence caused you. I hope you understand that we could not reveal her whereabouts to you for reasons we then considered to be valid. We have learned much about you since then.”
Wolf and Dad both sit, less angry but still not quite convinced.
“Please continue,” Dylan says. “Catastrophic weather is escalating in frequency and strength.”
Coral adds, “The same is true for seismic and volcanic activity. We’re running out of time.”
Thuban stands but quickly sits down as he realizes how crowded it is in the O’Connell living room. Sequoia disappears into the bedroom when she hears her baby stir. Lucaya and Donny have been in there with Marla’s twins since Thuban landed. I’m surprised at how quiet the children are. Lucaya must be keeping them occupied.
“The plan requires the cooperation of all sentient species inhabiting Terra who know the truth. As the largest undersea city, we will lead the ocean kings. Sea dwellers around the world will be ready to act when the time comes. Then the healing can begin.”
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