Jenna and Kirsten staggered back as Argus yanked them away from Sester and jumped on the startled man, straddling him. It might have been a suggestive pose except for the menacing snarl on Argus's face and the sharp, business end of a blade pressed against Sester's throat.
Sester was momentarily stunned and he knew that he really should have been reacting like the others but the highly improbable situations he had been finding himself in made him say with an amused smile, "Not you too?"
Jenna did not find this amusing at all and shouted, "Argus! What are you doing?"
The Wolf pressed the blade upwards and Sester pulled his head back. Kirsten screamed in fear, "No!" And grabbed his knife arm, desperately trying to pull it away from Sester's throat.
The creature shook her off with a negligent shrug which sent her flying backwards. Jenna grabbed her before she fell.
The Wolf fixed them both with fierce eyes that seemed to glow amber in the ship's light. A low guttural warning rumbled in his chest and his lips pulled back in a snarl.
They took a few faltering steps back.
"Wolf! Don’t hurt whoever it is." Avon's calm voice called from the top of the flight deck steps.
The Wolf put its face close to Sester's and snarled, "No."
It did not like this human. Sester still had the smell of its mate on his body and the scent of the other two females.
The women mouthed to each other, Wolf?
Jenna said, "It's me, Avon. And Kirsten and Sester."
"Ah. That explains it." A mischievous smile curled Avon's lips. "Wolf, go ahead."
Kirsten shouted, "Avon!"
Jenna said, "Avon, you're not serious?"
"Do I look as if I'm joking?" Avon came down the steps slowly.
Kirsten pleaded, "Please, Avon."
He came in measured steps towards the voices but didn't say anything.
The Wolf exhaled with pleasure and pressed the knife harder into Sester's neck. With a quick movement, he slid it across his throat. Jenna stood shocked as Kirsten reached forward desperately to grab at his hand but it was too late.
Sester clutched at his neck, shock and fear on his face, expecting the warm blood to come gushing out. Then there was mystification as he felt along his suspiciously dry neck.
With a disgruntled look, Sester realized that the Wolf, Argus or whatever this man was, had used the flat of the blade. There was no cut. He had panicked for nothing.
The Wolf stepped back, wiping the blade on his thigh.
Sester looked at Avon. "You knew he wasn't going to kill me?"
Avon cocked his head and a roguish smile played at the corner of his lips. "Did I?"
The Wolf laughed in an exhale and said, "Fun."
Avon smirked. He was getting to like this creature. Definite possibilities there. "Yes, it was." But for now more urgent matters were pressing. "Jenna, I need you to operate the teleport."
"Why? Are you going to leave the ship?" She was not pleased that they had all been the target of a very bad joke.
A brief smile passed across Avon's face. "Unfortunately, not." Then he became serious. "We have to rescue Cally from the Thaarn.
Jenna took a startled step back. "Cally? Where is she and who is the Thaarn?"
Avon remembered that Jenna had not been with them during the last Thaarn incident. "There's no time to explain. The Thaarn has been manipulating everyone on the ship."
Sester sat up abruptly. "Everyone?" That explained a great deal.
Avon faced him. "I have a device that will stop him."
[On the Thaarn's ship, the creature who called itself a god, was frantically adjusting his controls to get a closer look at the device.]
Avon held out his hand and the Wolf came over. "Side wall." The Wolf guided him forward until Avon located the panel he needed and knelt down beside it.
"Once I connect this to the ship's systems it should take care of the Thaarn." He pushed a depressed catch and it slid open with a slight swish. "I need you to transport the Wolf over to the Thaarn's ship."
[The Thaarn checked his ship's systems. His anti-detector screen was still fully operational. He scoffed at Avon's presumption. The man must have forgotten that the ship was invisible. Most likely because he couldn't see. Well, Avon was going to be very surprised.]
Avon felt inside the mass of wires and circuits and pulled out two optical cables. He began splicing them together with his device.
Jenna had come up behind to watch while Kirsten was sitting beside Sester with a concerned look on her face.
Sester placed his hand on hers. "I'm fine."
"You're not hurt?"
His mouth curled wryly, "Just my pride."
Jenna suddenly stared at the screen where the admiral's ship was docked. She went to her flight station and checked the navigation screen. "Zen, scan 360 orbital. Locate all ships within medium scanner range."
After a few seconds, Zen reported, "Eight Federation ships within medium scanner range."
For a moment, Jenna was startled until she remembered they were the Admiral's ships. "That can't be. Scan again."
There was a pause and before Zen could respond, Avon said, "There are only eight ships."
Jenna whirled to face him, suspicion in her eyes. "There's something you haven't told us."
Avon stared at her with sightless eyes. It was amazing how he could produce the same intense effect even blind. He bent down to his task again and made the final connection. "I've been busy."
"Your mouth hasn't," retorted Jenna.
"Would you like to do this?"
Jenna looked away from his challenging stare even though Avon couldn't possibly see her.
Zen said, "Scanner readings indicate eight Federation ships."
"Thank you, Zen," said Jenna. She muttered to herself, "If only some other people were just as informative."
Avon straightened up. "Kirsten. I need you to operate this device."
Kirsten came over, somewhat wary of this man who had so casually played with Sester before. "What do you want me to do?"
"Hold this." Avon held the small rectangular device towards her.
It was much lighter than she expected as her hand took it carefully, avoiding the wires and other pieces that jutted out in various places, giving it an unfinished look.
He told her, "When I give the signal, push this power indicator all the way up." His sensitive fingers touched the sliding bar. "And press this button." He touched the round red button. "When the device is fully charged, this will blink. Do you understand?"
Kirsten studied the controls he had indicated. "It sounds easy."
"Your part." Avon said to the Wolf, "My flight station. Front." The creature led him to his seat. Avon sat down, touched the side of the panel briefly to position himself and his fingers quickly began dancing over the controls.
"Zen, I am going to manually enter a set of instructions. When I indicate, you will execute them."
He turned to the creature. "Wolf."
"Arr?" the Wolf asked. It had been watching everything with great interest but it wanted to do something.
"It's time to fight."
"Grrr-rrr," it growled with enthusiasm.
"I thought you would say that. Jenna is going to send you to the enemy's ship. I want you to find Cally and put a bracelet on her."
Jenna asked, "Avon, does this creature know what Cally looks like?"
"You have a point."
The Wolf nodded its head. "One knows."
"Are you remembering Argus's memories?" Avon asked.
The Wolf shook its head. "One smells her on..."
Avon was quick to interrupt, "Yes, well. You should have no difficulty in locating her."
The creature's mouth opened in a smile. "No."
Kirsten asked, "I don't understand. How…"
Sester had a knowing smile, "Wolves have a keen sense of smell. He must be able to smell Cally's scent on Av…"
Avon turned to give him a sightless glare even as the Wolf growled in warning.
Sester chuckled. "I'll tell you later."
Avon said, "If we are quite finished, we need to save Cally."
The psychostrategist managed to look ashamed, "Sorry."
Jenna did not have a confident look. "Avon, aren't you forgetting something? How can we teleport to a ship we can't see?"
"You'll see it when you need to. Take Wolf with you and give him two bracelets."
"You're asking me to trust you?"
"I'm asking you to trust your eyes."
Jenna said, "Alright. I hope this works, for Cally's sake."
There was just the barest of pauses, then Avon said in a voice that had tightened, "It will."