Honor Among Thieves
Part Three of Three
When the great bird streaked toward his face, Hawk ducked in surprise then darted forward to be stopped by another flurry of wings. Spinning around, he moved to the side and was halted. The bird’s wing tip caressed his cheek as it went by.
After several minutes of effort, Hawk stopped completely. The bird landed before him. “Very well, little cousin, I stand. What do you wish?” The bird watched him solemnly and fluttered its wings. “Silent are you, cousin? Perhaps a little fright will make you leave.” He picked up a rock and chucked it near the bird.
Something big careened into him knocking him backwards as the ground near where he’d been exploded outward. Seeing Tiber lying on top of him, the wind knocked out of her, Hawk grunted in surprise. Rock, dirt, and shrapnel started to hit.
Rolling over on her and shielding her body with his own, he waited. A second explosion went off in chain reaction to the first. A third.
“We’d better get out of here. The mercenaries will come soon.”
“I agree.” He stood and helped her to her feet.
“Follow me. Go where I go. I saw the perfect hiding place.”
As a rain of dirt and shrapnel poured around them, Tiber laughed and started to run. “I haven’t had so much fun in a long time.”
He kept pace with her and stayed directly behind her.
She jumped into a gully and slid into a hollowed-out area under a ledge. Hawk crawled in beside her and lay on his side, facing out into the gully. Tiber’s body lightly touched his back, her breath ruffling his neck feathers.
He pulled the energy pistol Tiber had given him from its holster and lay it within easy reach of his hand.
As he watched, the open air around their hiding place shimmered and darkened. “That will be enough camouflage,” she said. “The mercenaries cannot see us or hear us now. We’ll just wait them out in here.”
“The explosions sound general now.”
“I’m exploding the whole field with the help of my bird friend. They will think the field’s defective. They’ll go away soon enough.”
“Laughing in explosions. You are insane, Human.” Hawk chuckled.
“I like you, too, Bird.”
“Thank you once again. You have a habit of saving my life.”
“You’re welcome. Not a habit, a hobby. At least at home. Always happy to help here too. Keeping in practice. Long time no see.”
“I missed you too, Human."
“I didn’t know you cared,“ Tiber said flippantly.
“I did not know either until we parted,” Hawk said seriously. “I am alone.”
He listened to the explosions as they continued interminably. Occasionally the ground would shake and dirt around them would fall. Voices drifted near them. More explosions.
“I just exploded a few mines near some of our curious friends," Tiber said. "I think they’ll reconsider coming this way. We should be able to leave in another hour or so.”
The hour passed slowly. He grew uncomfortably aware that Tiber’s body pressed heavily against his.
She had always respected his private space, his distaste for being touched. “Human, Tiber, are you asleep?” No response. He spoke louder, “Tiber, wake up. Is it time to leave?” Nothing. Perhaps she had been hurt when she hit him and had not told him.
With great difficulty in the tiny space, he turned over. Her face was pale and relaxed in sleep or unconsciousness. He touched her cold face and neck but could not find her pulse then placed his ear canal under her left breast although he was uncertain what a human heart should sound like. It was beating with an odd, echoing sound. Exclaiming, he moved his head and listened again.
“Hawk, what are you doing?” Tiber’s voice sounded weak but amused.
Aware of their intimate closeness and his own suspicious actions, he blushed. “I listen to your heart. I could not wake you. I was concerned.” His voice rose in surprise, “You have two hearts!”
“I keep telling you I’m not human. Maybe now you’ll believe me. It’s much more efficient than Earth biology’s one heart and is a good back-up system.”
“Are you ill or injured?”
“No, just tired. I was concentrating on my bird friend. I can see through his eyes. It will be safe to leave soon. The guards are leaving.”
“Good, the pirates will leave the planet soon, and I must attack now. I run out of time.”
“I’m running out of time, too. Hawk, I came to tell you something.” She shifted slightly so they were face to face. “The pirate leader was wrong. Koori isn’t dead. She’s alive and well. No major injuries.”
“Alive! I believe you, yet I can not believe you.” He became silent in shock.
“It’s true. It’s safe to leave now. Go to her. She’s in our cave waiting for you. I’ll make sure we’re not followed. Go, swiftly.”
Hawk gave her a sudden, beautiful smile and caressed her face. “Thank you, my friend.”
“Among friends, Hawk.” Tiber leaned closer and kissed him gently on the lips. “You and Koori be happy always.”
Hawk slipped away from her and was gone.
“Goodbye, Hawk,” she said with finality.
This universe’s poison was now deep and fatal inside her after the long sojourn in this hole. The time that she had kept Hawk trapped here had been well worth her life. By the time he finished his reunion with Koori, the mercenaries should be safely gone. Tiber had little faith that even Koori could stop Hawk in his obsessive quest for revenge.
At least her death would do some good. Better this than to die lying alone in the Helios in this alien universe.
Leos had his orders too. He would take Hawk and Koori to the avian planet after her death, then he would find a way back to her universe so her family would know of her death and have her body to bury.
She struggled to her feet and began the slow trip back to the cave but doubted she’d have the strength to finish it.
Koori clung to Hawk in entreaty at the mouth of the cave. “Hawk, please do not leave me. Do not go after those killers. Leave them to the nova. I need you alive.”
“I must go now. If I do not, I will never have another chance. I want the leader of those men. I want the pleasure of killing him.” Fighting his need to stay with her, Hawk broke their embrace. “He ordered the murder of your family, Koori, and our people. He must pay for that.”
“Leave him to his god. My hatred is gone. Only my love for you remains. Stay with me.”
“I am decided. I will kill him.” Hawk began to move swiftly through the woods. He had gone several hundred yards when Koori’s distant, frightened voice calling his name stopped him.
Pulling out his energy weapon, he turned then sprinted back toward the cave. Near the hovercraft, Koori knelt by Tiber who sprawled unconscious on the ground. He crouched down beside them. “What is wrong with her?”
“This universe is poison to her. We must get her back to her ship, or she will die. I think she dies already.”
“I cannot help her. I must go now. I will return later.”
“Hawk, no, please, do not go. I cannot move her by myself. Stay and help me.”
Hawk’s gaze met Koori’s pleading eyes, then he studied Tiber’s pale face. Both spoke to his heart, but his hatred was greater. “I have to go. I must do this. I have to do this.” He stood up and turned to leave.
Contempt filled Koori’s voice. “Those humans may have killed our people, but you kill our people’s honor. She is our friend, and you let her die.”
Shocked by his mate’s words, Hawk stopped. Tiber had been right. His thirst for revenge would destroy him. He was preparing to act against his people’s honor and his own beliefs. Revenge had almost blinded him to everything he was.
He knelt and lifted Tiber. “Where is her ship?”
Tiber smiled softly as she studied Hawk and Koori who stood at the foot of her bed. Whenever they visited her sickbed, they were always close as if unable to be more than a few inches apart.
His arms wrapped gently and protectively around her, Hawk stood behind Koori. Happiness radiated from them both. Hawk said, “Leos told me the pirates are dead.”
Tiber blinked with surprise. “You didn’t watch?”
“No, my hatred and anger are gone. I leave them to their god.”
“You have much to live for now, Hawk. You are wise in this.” Tiber smiled again. “Leos will take you to Phoenix now. That’s the world your people live on.
“First though, I want to stop on another planet for another passenger. I can almost guarantee a very pleasant surprise waiting for you there. Then you and Koori can have your child among your own people.”
Koori looked up at Hawk, and he nodded in silent agreement. “We wish to remain with you. We want to help you find your way home. Then we will go to our new home.”
“Thank you. I may need your help. I will be on my feet again soon, but I can’t leave the ship for very long at a time.”
“What are your plans?” Hawk asked.
“Since you exist in both universes, others must as well. In my universe, I would seek out my Uncle Jame for help. I will do the same in this universe. I am hopeful for the first time. If anyone can find my way home, Jame can.”
“It is best you leave here,” Hawk said and smiled. “You are a bad influence on me. I grow embarrassingly fond of your human quarter.”
“We should go now, Hawk, and let her rest.”
Hawk squeezed his mate gently. “Very well.” He gave Tiber a very human wink and patted her below her knee. “Thank you, Human. Thank you for everything.”
What happens next? In HAWK, THE REST OF THE STORY Marilynn fills in the holes between her stories and looks into the future for Buck, Hawk, Wilma, and her own original characters. WARNING: This plot summary contains spoilers for the earlier stories.
The character Hawk and the Buck Rogers series are under exclusive copyright by MCA-Universal Television.