Legends of Amacia: Mysteries of Tiamat

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The Impossible Rescue

“I’m a Lynxian from the eighth planet of a trinary system on the far side of the galaxy called Kaitia,” Selina purred. “Why don’t you show them where I come from, Dan?”

Dan nodded and opened his satchel, pulling out a small device. He tinkered with it for a moment, and then sat it on the coffee table in the center of the living room. The device hummed and a light shined out of it into the air, turning the living room into a strange theater. The light formed an orb that suddenly showed a three dimensional representation of Selina’s place of origin that seemed to fill the room: a trinary star system with fourteen planets and several asteroid fields. Dan touched the eighth planet and it zoomed in to an orbital view of the planet. It was a lush, ringed world nearly seven times the size of Earth with vast forest, plains, and immense oceans. Immense cities were scattered across the planet, gleaming like jewels and colossal spaceports floated in orbit. The planet had two distinctly different sets of rings: one over the northern latitudes and one just south of the equator. The northern set of rings was narrower than the southern ring set, stretching from five thousand miles of the planet surface out one hundred thousand miles...approximately a quarter of the way to the innermost of eight moons in orbit around the planet. The southern ring set started thirty thousand miles from the planet and stretched five hundred thousand miles to the orbit of the innermost moon. Each moon showed signs of being inhabited with great spaceports and cities on them. The planet revolved around what appeared to be two of the three stars. One was a blue giant with approximately twenty solar masses and the other appeared to be a massive black hole with a significant accretion disk around it that the blue giant fed. A vast orbital platform ringed the black hole at the edge of its accretion disk. Well out beyond the fourteenth planet orbited the third star: brilliant white star of about eight solar masses. All of this hung in the foreground of a vast, stunningly beautiful star cloud with abundant nebulae. Selina looked at the eighth planet and sighed. “Kaitia,” she said softly with some emotion.

Everyone gazed at the astonishing vista the little device projected. Harry and Mary were thunderstruck by the immensity and beauty of the holographic image before them. Hannibal happened to notice Selina’s reaction to the image so he edged over to her. “Are you all right?” he asked. “I know that look well because I have had it many times myself.” Selina looked at him with a troubled look and a slight tear in her eye. “You miss it, don’t you?” Hannibal inquired sympathetically.

Selina nodded yes while trying to compose herself. “Yes, I do. I miss it terribly. But I know I can’t go back,” she purred softly.

Hannibal sighed as he put an arm around her. “I know. I know,” he murmured, consoling her. She responded by grasping his hand, which sat on her shoulder.

Harry noticed the interaction between Selina and Hannibal. Mary remained lost in the stunning hologram of Kaitia as Dan stood stoically, waiting patiently. After overhearing the last bit of conversation between them, Harry walked over to Hannibal and Selina. “What do you mean she can’t go back?” he asked.

“She can’t go back because Kaitia doesn’t exist anymore,” Hannibal declared. “The blue giant you see here went supernova and vaporized the entire system.”

“Supernova…how do you know that?” Harry asked with a mix of amazement and disbelief.

“I know that because I rescued Selina from a disabled starship that was just about to be vaporized by that supernova,” Hannibal stated. “Apparently, they didn’t know that the star wasn’t going to blow until a few hours before it exploded. Only a small portion of the population escaped. The star sent out an EMP pulse just an hour before it collapsed and fried every piece of hardware in their solar system. Her ship was adrift between Kaitia and Corriah, the ninth planet, when I just happened to open the portal to her ship. To this day, I believe that finding her ship was God-incident.” Hannibal paused as he sat down on the couch with Selina. Mary quickly retrieved a chair for Dan before sitting next to Selina. Dan sat down in the chair while Harry settled in his recliner. Once everyone sat down, Hannibal shared the rescue of Selina in detail.

Hannibal stood in a metal corridor twenty feet wide by fifteen feet high inside a starship with the swirling ring of the portal open from Tiamat behind him. Red lights flashed and a klaxon wailed as the smell of smoke, burning wiring, and flesh drifted through the passageway. Hannibal stared in disbelief, seeing several bodies of bipedal feline aliens in uniforms burned to death lying strewn about like so much trash. The dead alien cats looked almost human except for the scorched fur and pointed ears. Wires and conduits hung everywhere, sparking and sizzling. “Oh my god,” Hannibal whispered. “We really aren’t alone. Intelligent life does exist elsewhere in this universe.” He looked at the first cat, seeing its face and chest burned to a cinder. A few feet away two more cats lay face down with one of them having a large beam rammed through his back. The second cat was pinned under a partially collapsed ceiling.

Hannibal edged towards the pair and saw movement from the second cat, followed by a gurgling cry. Rushing forward, Hannibal pushed a large piece of debris off the cat. When he uncovered the cat, Hannibal noticed the cat’s torso twisted in an unnatural position along with the legs and hips being pulverized. The creature’s blood pulsed out of the compound fractures in its legs. The cat looked up at Hannibal with surprise as he leaned down, taking the feline by the hand. “It’s okay. I’m a friend. What happened here?” Hannibal asked.

The cat choked, coughing up blood. He held Hannibal’s hand tightly, trying to speak, but succumbed to his injuries with a grateful look on his face. Tears welled up in Hannibal’s eyes as he closed the cat’s eyes. “Fly to your rest, my feline friend. Even cats like you have a place in the Lord’s house,” he declared. Rising to his feet, Hannibal took off to the left, following his instincts. He came to an intersection in the corridors and found a sign that shocked him greatly; a sign labeled in English, pointing the way to the Bridge, Infirmary, and Engineering decks. “Holy shit,” Hannibal breathed. “Why do these aliens have English as their written language?”

A rumble from the aft decks and a prick in his mind sent Hannibal rushing in the direction of the bridge. He dodged fallen conduits, live wires, partial ceiling collapses, and the bodies of dozens of alien cats killed in what appeared to be a catastrophic failure of their ship. In minutes, Hannibal reached the bridge and pried the doors open. He looked around, seeing the computers on fire and the ceiling collapsed in several locations. The emergency lights were on, and the computers not damaged flickered as the power fluctuated. The captain of the ship remained in the captain’s chair, impaled by a large piece of conduit driven through the chest that stuck out of the back of his chair, his blood draining down the pipe. The navigator’s station and helm in the middle of the bridge smoldered with both the navigator and helmsman burned to a crisp in their seats when their consoles exploded in their faces. By some amazing coincidence, the cracked view screen remained on, showing the planet Kaitia burning and the blue giant sun swelling and fluctuating wildly. Colossal flares erupted from the sun’s surface every few seconds. Hannibal stared in awe at the screen until a moan attracted his attention.

Following the sound, Hannibal quickly noticed a beautiful feline woman in a scorched uniform lying to the left of the wrecked helm. She had deep bluish-green eyes and dark brown hair tied up in a ponytail. Her left arm hung limply at her side as blood dribbled down her face from a nasty bump on the head. The feline woman’s eyes were glazed with a far look in them. A gasp escaped Hannibal’s lips as he felt his heart skip a beat. Chills raced down his spine. “Oh my god,” he whispered, utterly smitten of the feline woman and feeling that he somehow knew her.

Hannibal stared at her for almost a minute until she gathered her wits from the terrible hit on her head. When it registered that Hannibal stood there staring at her, she called out weakly in English, “Who’re you? What’re you doing here? If you’re not going to help us, then you’d better abandon ship before it’s too late.”

Hannibal snapped out of his daze and rushed to her assistance. He knelt down at her side, helping her sit up. “How do you know my language?” he asked with great astonishment and worry for her.

“I’d ask the same thing of you,” the cat woman retorted. “What are you? I’ve never seen your species before. Yet you seem strangely familiar to me. What’s your name?”

“I am Hannibal,” Hannibal stated, “and I’m a human. What’s your name, and what’s going on here? Where is this place?”

“My name is Selina Milineus,” the cat woman replied, “and you’re on board the starship Interceptor inside the core of the Kaitian Empire’s home system, which is being obliterated as I speak. Our blue sun is going supernova right now. Our ship was wrecked by the EMP surge from the initial detonation. We’re now adrift, and await our decimation by the main shock wave. You have come to this place to die, human. Look at the screen and see the death of our blue sun and civilization.”

Selina pointed to the screen and Hannibal watched in both fascination and terror. The blue sun puffed one last time and went dark. The stellar material started falling inwards, swirling to the center like water going down a drain. Just before it went completely dark, the blue sun flashed and Hannibal turned away from the screen, covering Selina physically to shield her while covering his eyes with his arm. Selina gasped in astonishment as the light from the screen became so bright she could see Hannibal’s internal organs and bone structure just before the screen shorted out with a shower of sparks. Only when the bridge itself became translucent in the flash allowing her to see outside the ship did Selina realize the main detonation was upon them. She tried to hide her eyes with her good arm, but the flash was so intense it still blinded her.

“It’s over,” Selina wailed. “We’re done! That shockwave will be here in five minutes! I might as well die here with my people! I cannot even see my doom coming now.”

Hannibal blinked and rubbed his eyes until the flash blindness wore off twenty seconds later. He squatted down beside Selina and looked into her blinded eyes. “If you want to live to see tomorrow then come with me,” he ordered, holding out his hand. “I can get you to safety, but we must leave now.”

“How?” Selina balked. “There’s no way off this doomed ship! Even if we could, there’s just no way to get away from the explosion in time. We’re just too close. Besides, the flash blinded me. I can’t see a thing.”

“You must trust me,” Hannibal insisted. “I can save you, but only if you trust me. Please, don’t throw your life away.” He gently touched her on the cheek as he looked into her eyes, seeing the blindness on her.

Selina turned her face to Hannibal’s voice and held his hand to her cheek when she felt him touch her. The darkness in her eyes lightened to the point she could see his shape, but nothing more. Something inside her connected with Hannibal, eliciting a smile. “Yes, I trust you,” she replied softly. “But we must take my father with us. He was knocked out when the EMP hit the ship and shorted out the science station along with the rest of the computers on the bridge. I’m not leaving him here to die.”

“Where is he?” Hannibal asked. By memory, Selina pointed across the wrecked bridge to the science station where a burned seven-foot feline man lay unconscious. “I’ll be right back,” Hannibal declared. Rushing to the cat, Hannibal checked the cat’s vitals, finding a pulse and breath. “Good, he’s still alive,” Hannibal said. “You two may be the only survivors of this. I saw no one else alive on my way up here. Now let’s get out of this deathtrap.” He grabbed the giant cat in a firefighter’s carry, slowly rising to his feet with a groan. Walking back to Selina, he asked, “Can you walk?” Hannibal offered Selina his hand.

Selina saw the motion of his hand and blindly groped for it with her good hand. Hannibal reached out and grabbed her hand. When she felt his strong grip and pull, Selina struggled to her feet. “I’ll sure as hell walk out of here, blind or not, if you have a way off this ship,” she stated. “But we must hurry. The shockwave will be here in three minutes.”

“Follow me,” Hannibal said, leading her by the hand off the bridge. In less than two minutes, they reached the portal. By now, much of Selina’s vision had returned. Her close up vision remained blurry, but beyond ten feet, her vision had cleared. Selina stared in wonder at the gateway to the unknown swirling in the bulkhead of the Interceptor just twelve feet away. The ship suddenly shuddered violently as the temperature spiked to intolerable levels in seconds. “Time’s up, Selina,” Hannibal barked. “Get through the portal now!” Selina hesitated until Hannibal physically shoved her through the gate, following quickly behind her. Once in the portal chamber in Tiamat, Hannibal sat Selina’s burned father down on the platform and turned to the portal swirling fifteen feet away. Selina stared in wonder at the miracle gateway that saved her and her father. “It’s okay. We’re safe now,” Hannibal murmured, putting his hand gently on her shoulder as they watched the ship disintegrate in the shockwave that for some strange reason didn’t penetrate the portal’s gateway. Once the ship was gone, they saw the main supernova shockwave plow into Kaitia, completely demolishing it in less than a minute. Hannibal stared in numbed wonder as the star collapsed into a black hole before his eyes. “Oh my Lord have mercy,” he breathed. “No one will ever believe this! I’m the first human to see a black hole form from a supernova and live to tell about it.”

A tormented wail erupted from Selina as she saw her home vanish in a shockwave of super-heated plasma and its remnants spiraling towards a gaping black abyss that replaced the blue sun. Hannibal tore himself away from the destruction of an entire civilization and turned to Selina. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her gently as she bawled in grief-stricken agony. “It’s all gone!” she wailed. “All of it! There’s nothing left! Why? Why did this have to happen?”

“I don’t know why,” Hannibal whispered as he stroked her back gently. “But the Lord is merciful. He directed me to open the portal to your ship at this time with this machine to save you and your father. That has to account for something. You’re still alive, as is your father. As long as you and your father live, your species and civilization will endure.”

“But I’m all alone now!” Selina sobbed. “I have no one.”

“That’s not true,” Hannibal replied. “You’re not alone. You have your dad. You have my friends and me. We will be your friends, if you let us so you’re not alone.” He kissed her gently on the cheek. Her eyes grew wide with surprise. Seconds later, her eyes rolled back in her head and she passed out in Hannibal’s arms. He promptly took her to get medical assistance for the broken arm and concussion.

Hannibal glanced at Selina with a warm smile as he finished the account of Selina’s rescue two years before. He held her hand while she sat next to him on the couch. “To this day, I don’t know why I opened the portal to her ship at that critical time. But I do know that my life changed forever that fateful day I plucked Selina and her father from oblivion,” Hannibal declared, his face beaming. “I found something more precious than all the treasures of the entire universe.”

“What’s that?” Mary asked.

“Why do you ask that, Mary?” Harry chided. “Isn’t it obvious? Hannibal found his kindred spirit when he found Selina. Isn’t that right, Hannibal?”

Hannibal chuckled, letting go of Selina’s hand. “I can’t hide anything from you, can I Harry?” he chimed.

“Not when it’s this obvious,” Harry answered, laughing. “It’s as plain as the nose on your ugly face. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that you have feelings for this enchanting goddess of a cat from another planet. Hell, even I’m attracted to her.”

Mary pouted and snapped, “Harry! I’m sitting right here!”

“I’m sorry, Mary,” Harry apologized. “But it’s true. Selina is drop-dead gorgeous. Admit it.”

“I must admit she’s very beautiful,” Mary answered. “You won’t steal Harry from me, will you Selina?”

“Of course not,” Selina purred. “I can see your devotion to Harry. It’s very pleasant to see such loyalty. And Harry’s loyalty to you is beyond reproach. I couldn’t take him from you even if I wanted to, which I don’t. Besides, what I want is sitting right here next to me. This man saved my father and me from extinction and provided a place and a family for us. How could I not have feelings for him? I was smitten the moment I saw Hannibal. He was so strange and exotic in his military garb as he stared at me with his mouth hanging open.”

“And you were taken by her the moment you saw her, won’t you Hannibal?” Harry surmised. “Don’t deny it.”

“I’m not denying it,” Hannibal replied. “I’ve had a heart of ice and stone for many years. Not much gets through that hard shell. But when I saw Selina for the first time and in distress no less, for the first time in my miserable life, I felt my heart crumble and thaw. I’d been free of the demons for many years, but my heart had never truly healed and remained cold and stony. When I saw this feline angel, I can’t describe it. Her very presence melted my icy heart and got it to beat for the first time since I was a little boy. Life suddenly became much more bearable and worth living.”

“It’s okay to say it,” Mary said. “You need to say it. You love her, don’t you?”

Hannibal looked Selina in the eye and after a significant pause, declared, “I do. I love her more than you can know. I’d die for her.” Hannibal’s declaration stunned Selina.

“Do you really mean that?” Selina asked.

“I do,” Hannibal answered. “We’re meant to be together. I know it. But I’m not sure if it’s possible. We’re literally from different worlds.”

Selina hugged Hannibal affectionately after his declaration. “I’ve waited two years to hear you say that, Hannibal,” she beamed. “It makes no difference that we’re from different worlds. Harry is right. We’re kindred spirits that need each other. I need you as much as you need me. You have to let me in.”

“I’m afraid to,” Hannibal said softly with great regret. “You have no idea who or what I am. I am tainted by an evil so dark and vile that it has permanently scarred me. It haunts me constantly with remnants that continue to plague me. I don’t want you to get hurt.”

“Hannibal, does she know about your past?” Harry asked.

Before Hannibal could answer, Selina gazed into Hannibal’s eyes. “I do, Harry,” she answered, “and as he said, it isn’t pretty. It’s so heinous that words fail to do justice to the evil, pain, and horrors he has experienced. But I too have a past that is filled with as much darkness, pain, and heartache as he has.”

“But you weren’t a pawn by the Dark Powers as I was,” Hannibal declared. “You didn’t do the kind of evil I did. You haven’t committed the atrocities I have, or experienced the mind-crushing evil of the dark side. Your sensitive innocent soul treads dangerous ground by getting too close to me.”

“I’ll be the judge of that,” Selina retorted. “But I’ll not force you into something before you’re ready. You have terrible trust issues that continue plague your mind and heart. I hope to one day show you that you can let me in.”

Hannibal sighed deeply. “To be honest, you got in, Selina,” he admitted. “And that’s what scares me. I’m an open book before you. You have ways of seeing things I try to hide from you and everyone, including myself. Because of that, being around you both delights and torments me. You have a power that allows you to see my deepest, darkest secrets; a power that lets you see my hidden past…a past I try to blot out of my mind and heart because of the pain it holds.”

“You mustn’t hide or blot out your past, Hannibal,” Selina said softly. “It’ll only cause you more grief. I know this better than most people do. I tried to blot out parts of my life that caused me great grief, but by doing it, I unleashed even more heartache and grief on myself. Only when I accepted that part and released that pain did I discover how even the most horrendous events can become a positive influence. You must do the same. Accept your dark past, but don’t let it rule you and you’ll find the peace I did. You turned from your evil ways. Everyone knows this; and now you walk a new path of light and life. That path, which began in the darkness, led you into the light and to me on the demolished bridge of the Interceptor. You claim the Lord that led you there to rescue my dad and me. If that’s the case, then why is it so difficult to accept that maybe the Lord wants us to be together? The Lord always has a purpose in what He does, even if we don’t understand it. All I’m saying is that I want to walk with you on the path of light and life as your kindred spirit and friend. I want to be with you. Is that too much to ask?”

Hannibal smiled, shaking his head. “Your logic has once again stumped me, Selina,” he murmured.

“She’s right and you know it,” Mary declared. “Selina obviously loves you very much, Hannibal; much more than you’ll ever know. She wants to be part of your life, despite your dark past. This is your chance to have something precious that’s been denied you for a lifetime by those devils. Happiness is within your grasp. Don’t throw it away out of fear of who you were. You’re no longer that monster. You did say rescuing Selina changed your life forever.”

“It did,” Hannibal agreed. “More than I’d like to admit. I love her. I’ve never been able to say that about anyone else, not in this respect.”

“I think you know it,” Selina murmured. “Just as I was smitten when I first saw you, so were you when you saw me. And when we spoke to each other and understood one another that sealed the deal for me anyway. What’re the odds of two completely different species separated by over eighty-five thousand light-years developing the same language independently of each other? It seems to me that the Lord is wonderful in His doings.”

“Eighty-five thousand light-years,” Harry mouthed the words in great amazement, trying to comprehend what he just heard. “This star system is eighty-five thousand light-years away? Wow! That’s really out there! I can’t even fathom that kind of distance!”

“Yes, it is,” Hannibal answered. “It’s literally on the other side of the galaxy from us, which means the light from that supernova won’t reach Earth for another eighty-five thousand years. You, I, and all of our descendants will be nothing but dust when the light from that explosion gets here, if it reaches us at all. That’s what astounds me about the portal. I marvel that a piece of technology created before the Flood could perform such a feat and reach such mind-boggling distances. But I’m glad it did.”

“I can see that,” Mary chimed. “I’m glad you were able to save Selina, Hannibal. I’ve noticed a marked change in your temperament over the last couple of years for the better. Now I understand why. This feline angel you saved from the grave has done something for you no one else could. She’s given you a reason beyond your work to live. It’s a good to see you like this.”

Hannibal’s eyes grew wide as once again Mary touched his soul with her words. “Oh Mary,” he said humbly. “You’ve once again stripped away the veneer, revealing the truth of my soul. Thank you for pointing out the obvious.” Hannibal looked Selina in the eye, saying, “Selina has indeed given me a new reason to live beyond my work. She and her father have given me a family to replace the one I lost long ago. Thank you, princess.”

“It’s the least we could do for saving us from extinction,” Selina replied warmly. “I just wish you’d let me in so I could do more.”

“Maybe in time,” Hannibal murmured. “I’m much like a clam. It takes time for me to open up.”

“I know,” Selina murmured. “That’s why I’m being patient. You’ll open up when you’re ready. That’s what my father keeps telling me.”

“Speaking of your father, what happened to him after Hannibal rescued you two?” Harry asked.

“He’s alive and is helping out with the research at the Temple,” Hannibal said. “It just so happens that he was one of the top researchers of their planet as is Selina. Like father, like daughter I guess.” Selina smiled slightly at the mention of her father.

“What’s his name?” Mary asked.

“Nathanael,” Selina answered. “He’s all that I have left from our world.”

“But you aren’t alone,” Hannibal reminded her. “You have us. As I said, I’ve considered you and your father family since that day. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you. And now, Harry and Mary are part of your family too because I’m part of their family, sort of. We’re all family here.”

“Thank you,” Selina purred. “It’s strange though. Here, my father and I are from a civilization far more advanced than yours are, yet the God you serve and the God I believe in seem to be the same God. It’s almost as if He arranged our rescue in order to serve Him here on this little planet. I do believe though that’s why our civilization was wiped out. You see, the vast majority of the population of my civilization had other ideas about our God. Mainly, it was they just didn’t believe that He had anything to do with anything. He was just a figment of the imagination. They believed in their own strength and prowess in making and doing things. In the end, most of the population of my world perished because of their unbelief. A handful of prophets had warned us of the pending supernova, but they were either ignored or brutally silenced by our governments. It was our people’s unwillingness to believe those prophets that caused our civilization to die with our blue sun. At least that’s what I believe.”

“You know Selina. This is uncanny. What you’re describing is almost exactly the way things are here on this planet,” Hannibal observed.

“I know,” Selina returned. “I’ve noticed that. From what my father and I have learned about your planet in the short time we’ve been here, the attitudes and opinions are almost identical to those on my planet. As we had on our planet, your people have a multitude of religions here with only one giving the great Father and creator of all things the due, respect, and worship He rightly deserves. And just as it was on my planet, that group is very small and is persecuted here as well. Our God truly does reign and He proved it by bringing you and me together under those extraordinary circumstances. It humbles me every time I think that.”

“Me too,” Hannibal agreed.

“How far did your civilization reach into space?” Harry asked Selina.

“Our immediate reach extended some twelve hundred light-years in every direction,” Selina answered, “however we had an extended reach of more than two thousand light-years. Much of that extended reach was still being explored when my planet was destroyed.”

“Then you had vessels capable of faster-than-light travel,” Harry surmised.

“Yes, we’ve had that technology for nearly five thousand of your years,” she informed. “In fact, we were on the verge of a revolution in propulsion that would have made intergalactic travel possible just before the supernova. Unfortunately, much of that research was destroyed along with Kaitia.”

“You mean to say that your people were on the verge of another quantum leap in technology that would have allowed you not only access to this side of the galaxy, but to other galaxies as well?” Hannibal queried.

“Yes,” Selina answered. “We were on the verge of actually being able to fold space; however, that technology now no longer exists. All of that research was being done on Kaitia under the highest of security. The prototype was merely weeks away from being completed. The blue sun went with virtually no warning so those who were involved had no time to get it away to safety.”

“Maybe the Lord didn’t want your people to have that technology yet,” Hannibal suggested.

“It’s possible,” Selina admitted. “I’m not denying that at all. Our people were just as arrogant and deceitful as you humans are. Maybe the Lord didn’t want us to spread that arrogance and deceit to other galaxies.”

“Could be,” Hannibal murmured.

“Selina, how old are you?” Mary asked.

“In Earth years, I’m two hundred and fifty years old,” Selina declared. “In Kaitian years however, I’m thirty-two. You see, not only was the rotational period of Kaitia different, but the yearly orbit is different as well. A day on my planet was thirty of your hours and our year was equal to almost eight of your years. Kaitia orbited at approximately where your planet Saturn does in relation to your sun. Because our blue sun was much bigger than yours, our habitable range was at that distance.”

“Wow. This all so much,” Mary commented. “And yet, seeing you here now, I have this incredible sense of déjà vu. It’s like I’ve known you all my life even though I’ve never met you before today.”

“I don’t know about such things, but I do know one thing,” Selina replied. “You remind me so much of my sister that it’s uncanny. Even though I’ve never met you before, I love you much as I did my sister. It’s strange. I’ve never had this kind of feeling before.”

“Me too, Selina; me too,” Mary replied, smiling warmly.

“I don’t think we need the hologram anymore, Dan,” Hannibal said. Dan nodded and picked up the hologram generator, pushing a button cutting it off.

Selina shifted position slightly on the sofa, leaned back, and purred softly. “Harry, this sofa is really soft,” she complimented. “We don’t have such things back at the Temple.”

“Thank you, Selina,” Harry answered. “It isn’t much, but it’ll do in a pinch.”

Hannibal leaned back as well, putting his arm around Selina and then said, “All right. I see you’ve been patient, Dan. What did you wanted to tell me?”

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