Carnage equalled Marauders in the Zael system. No such creature existed around Hyneria and what Zeke saw next had never been seen by Hynerian eyes.

Sitting in front of the baby Zael with John’s words of dispair ringing in his ears, the purplish vultures of the subsystem swooped into sight.

Zeke sat helpless. Unknown emotions flooded his being. No words could describe the horror of what he saw next.

Back on Command, Rogers monitored Zeke’s vitals. All numbers spiked to personal highs. And then, as if by exhaustion, each number started dropping. Slowly at first, then faster and faster. 210, 190, 170, 130, 80, 40. Zeke’s heart rate dropped. 40 beats per minute was a new personal low.

Rogers sensed movement. Turning, and snapping to attention, he greeted Ji.

“Captain,” smiled Ji, “bring our Zeke home and have him report to my quarters. We have much to discuss.”

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