Tulip's Ghost - Book two of the Torian Warriors series.

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Chapter Twenty-Three

An ice cold chill ran down Korom’s spine as he watched the massive Garamore ship glow brighter and brighter. This was it. They would all have to watch their home world burn, knowing that millions of people still trapped on the ground had no way of escape.

For a second, Korom tried to calculate how many innocent children he and Lorzarian could mist to the ship before the weapon was fired, but his brother’s next words killed that hope.

“It’s too late. The weapon is charging up. We can’t even take our mist form to plant the explosives. Forgive me,” The last was a faint whisper.

Korom turned to him, only to find a look of utter pain and defeat in his brother’s eyes.

With numb legs, Korom went to Tulip and pulled his sobbing mate into his arms. Tulip held onto him as her small body trembled and sobs wracked her frame.

He bent to place a soft kiss to her head, trying to comfort her in the only way he could.

“I can’t believe this,” She whispered, “This can’t be happening. All those people…”

He pulled her closer, feeling his own eyes begin to sting. His home; the planet he grew up on. The people that took in a strange infant and raised him as one of their own was about to be destroyed.

“My Lord,” Keel said, his voice flat and somber, “They are almost at full power. Thirty seconds until they fire.”

Raising his head up to the screen, Korom watched numbly as the almost blinding glow of the Garamore ship blocked out everything else.

“I have failed,” He heard his king whisper. Turning, Korom found Bor standing on the command platform, his arms hanging down at his sides and wet tear tracks running down his face. He’d never seen his king cry. Not as children. Not even when his father passed. But now, thick droplets of tears dripped from his chin as they all stared at the main view screen.

Suddenly, almost completely blocked by the white glow of the enemy ship, an explosion tore at the side of the Garamore ship. A few seconds later, another one hit, then another.

“What is that?” Keel asked, trying to clear up the image so they could make sense of what was going on.

Korom gave Tulip one last kiss on the head, and moved with Bor to the front of the bridge.

On the main view screen, they watched with wide eyes as the Garamore ship began to fade, the bright glow easing enough to see what was going on.

To their horror, they saw what was happening.

“No!” Bor bellowed, his face going pale and his eyes blazing a bright green.

The king was about to run forward to give the command to stop what was happening, but Korom grabbed his arm and pulled him back.

“What are you doing?” Bor roared at him, turning that blazing gaze on Korom.

“Easy, brother,” Korom said, the lump in his throat making it hard to speak, “They are doing what needs to be done. They are saving their planet and their families.”

“What’s going on?” Tulip asked, her soft voice breaking Bor’s glare.

Korom pulled her into his arms and held her tight. He needed her comfort in that moment. He needed something to hold him together.

Bending down, Korom whispered in her ear, “Torian battleships are crashing themselves into the side of the enemy vessel. They are using themselves as a weapon to save their planet.”

Tulip’s hands flew up to her mouth as a horrified gasp escaped her lips.

“Oh my God,” She breathed, her body shivering as she stared at the screen.

Another Torian battleship slammed into the side of the Garamore vessel, causing a massive explosion that tore a hole in the rusted metal big enough for a large shuttle to pass through. The glow around the ship was almost completely gone now, only a faint shimmer showed on the view screen.

Korom turned to Lorzarian, “Can we mist now?”

Lorzarian’s eyes were wide and his face pale as he took in what was happening around them. He swallowed hard, a dry click sounding in the silent room, then nodded.

“Yes. The weapon is almost completely powered down.”

With a final kiss on Tulip’s soft lips, he turned to Bor and said, “Tell the rest of the ships to stand down. Lorzarian and I will go finish these bastards off.”

Bor nodded, a look of utter misery on his face.

With one last look at his mate’s beautiful blue eyes, Korom misted and rushed through the ship, collecting the explosives Tulip had made. Once he had everything, he and Lorzarian took their solid form in the landing bay.

“Try to place as many of the explosives around the weapon as you can. I have a feeling that if the weapon becomes unstable it will tear the rest of the ship apart.”

Lorzarian nodded. “Korom,” He said, waiting for him to turn and meet his eyes.

“Yes?”

“I wish we had had a life together… the way brothers are meant to. I hope… I hope, maybe, one day… well… maybe we can at least be friends.”

Korom’s heart squeezed at the males words. Going over to him, he reached out his arm and waited for Lorzarian to accept it. When the other male gripped him in a firm warrior’s grasp, Korom said, “I was an asshole, as my mate would say. Forgive me. It will not be like that anymore. But friends or not, you are my blood. My brother. Always.”

Lorzarian nodded, his eyes glinting for a moment, before he cleared his throat and stepped back.

“Very well. Let us kill these bastards so we can go home.”

With one last deep breath, Korom allowed his mist to fly free. He grabbed the crate with the explosives in them and shot out of the loading bay, heading through the holes in the rusted Garamore ship.

As Korom’s mist form seeped into the disgusting ship, he could feel the force of the planet killing weapon trying to push his other form back. It was like fighting a strong wind but Korom refused to fail.

He never wanted to feel the way he did on the bridge when he thought his home was lost. No matter what it took, he was going to succeed in this mission.

Fighting with the invisible force that tried to keep him back, Korom pushed his mist harder and harder towards what felt like the source of the power. He could feel the energy of the weapon at the center of the ship. It was almost completely powered down, but even so, it was far too powerful for one race to have. This weapon had to be torn apart so completely that no one would ever be able to make another one.

No one knew where it had come from or how the Garamore’s had gotten their filthy hands on it. It would have to be investigated at a later time. For now, he had a job to do.

Moving carefully around the halls of the ship, Korom managed to avoid all the panicked Garamore soldiers that ran up and down the halls, screaming and shouting orders to each other in a panic. As he moved closer to the weapon, Korom noticed that all the inhabitants of this ship were male. He didn’t see a single female or child anywhere. Perhaps they couldn’t breed anymore? Maybe all their females died out? Whatever the reason, it brought him a small amount of peace knowing that he wouldn’t be killing any innocents.

Finally, after fighting harder than he ever had before with the invisible force trying to hold him back, he reached a massive, solid looking set of blast doors. They stood slightly open, a faint glow coming through the crack. The power he felt from the other side confirmed to Korom that this was the weapon.

Before he went into the room, Korom moved around the circular hallway that ran all the way around the large room, placing the explosive devices into the small, high up vents he found in the walls. Once he was satisfied, he moved back to the partially open door and peered in. The room was a huge open space, similar to a landing bay. It had high, metal ceilings, with solid metal walls and flooring. In the center hung a strange looking, almost organic machine of some kind, with pipes and tubes running out of it in every direction. A few Garamore males were frantically working at consoles to the right, shouting that the machine had to be realigned before they could power it up again. If they did that, he and Lorzarian would be trapped when the ship blew. Without being able to take their mist form, the destruction of the ship would kill them both.

No, he thought. He wasn’t going to think of that. They would plant the explosives and get out in plenty of time. They had to.

But as Korom pushed and fought with the invisible force that held him back, he just couldn’t get past the barrier created by the energy weapon.

Pulling back, he took a second to think. He had to get the explosives into that room. By the look of the blast doors and the heavy, thick walls around the room, there was a chance the weapon would survive even if the rest of the ship was destroyed. It was a risk Korom was not willing to take.

Knowing what he had to do, Korom eased the last five explosives on the ground silently before he settled his mist and began to pull himself back into his solid state. It was the only way to get into that room. The only way to end this.

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