They say I cannot change but they do not know me.

Celebrating 21 years of Farscape

Crais Chronicles Book I:

Immaculate Deception


The twin suns of the Peacekeeper home system were just breaking over the horizon of the planet Kordaen. Their golden light teased at the edges of buildings but brought little warmth. It was the first month of the cold season, a time for revelry and joy among Sebaceans. They would flock here from all over the planet and down from ships in orbit to take part in the celebration.

High Command Square was quickly becoming a morass of smells, sounds and sights. Dozens of food, drink and amusement kiosks were setting up to display their wares. Garish decorations were already strewn across every available surface. Musicians were practicing their art in a growing cacophony. The red, black and white standards of all resident Directorates and Divisions were being raised to the tops of masts. They fluttered and snapped with the freshening morning wind.

The spindly figure standing outside the main complex of High Command scrutinized the preparations silently. With his slick, black thermal regulator suit, he was as out of place as the carnival festivities in this megaplex of towering buildings. His wrinkled gray face, framed by the rubbery mask of his thermic cowl, was menacing with its complete lack of expression. The steely eyes missed nothing however, sharply darting as they took in the Square.

He did not feel joy or the need to revel. He was instead filled with a sense of foreboding and dread. His future in the Special Research Directorate could very well be decided today.

Scorpius knew instinctively that his proposal stood little chance with First Council. Despite the backing of SRD and the potential of wormhole technology in the coming war with the Scarrans and Nebari, he knew he would fail. His very existence doomed him to failure. Not Sebacean and not Scarran, he was some abominable fusion of the two.

The Peacekeeper military machine—despite its unwavering devotion to racial purity—allowed him to live. It kept him on like some reviled lab animal, giving one microt only to take back the next. Why had they allowed him to live? It was a question that haunted the empty arns of his nights as he lay awake filled with memories.

Memories of his mother and father--and make no mistake, they were memories, not stories he had been told—filled him with shame and rage. The curse of being half Scarran meant that he possessed certain psionic abilities. The worst of which, of course, was being aware of events even before his conception. Thoughts, emotions, reactions of his Sebacean mother and Scarran father poured into his mind unbidden. Hence most nights were spent in a futile search for dreamless sleep.

Admiral Neleu EL-Vashti had been quick to react when he discovered Scorpius' existence.

The official Peacekeeper line stated that only through racial purity could a cohesive military force be maintained. Scorpius often wondered if the edict was inspired by fear. It was a proven fact that Sebacean DNA was so malleable it allowed for easy conception with any number of alien species. Either way, it was a taboo subject, even among scientists. The laws against contact with unclassified aliens existed. To question was to risk punishment or worse.

He was immediately placed under the protection of Admiral EL-Vashti, commander of the armada served by his first benefactor, Captain Molayne. EL- Vashti personally petitioned First Council for his safety. What a unique opportunity to study their enemy, the Scarrans, he argued. As the hero of the recently ended Scarran Wars, he was a force to be reckoned with. In the end, First Council ordered SRD to take Scorpius for extensive research.

Despite his physical turmoil, in his forty cycles with SRD he came to realize he was an undeniable asset to defense research. Without his help, most advances in mutanagenic poisons, viral agents and mapping the neural patterns of multiple species would never have been possible.

Scorpius' rise to the higher echelons of the Directorate was due solely to this genius. Despite his loyalty and EL-Vashti's patronage he remained a pariah, even among his fellow scientists. They feared and loathed him far more than they could ever admire his work. He was tolerated for what he might achieve for the Peacekeepers, nothing more. This was a fact not lost on him.

The promise of sanction for his wormhole project had been assured at first. Then, his sources relayed information of another proposal from a decorated captain, the commander of an armada of prison ships. Scorpius' hope for recognition and acceptance began to fade with this news. He did not know Bialar Crais, but any pure Sebacean would stand a greater chance of selection by First Council over him. Peacekeeper narrow-mindedness demanded it.

When his sources discovered that his rival was a first-genner--a Sebacean whose family was not originally a member of the Peacekeeper military, had no formal House or name--his blood boiled. To be passed over for the lowest of the low was an insult he was sure he could not bear. Even House Jeema—his mother's—had long been on the Peacekeeper rolls. But, cruel fact though it was, Peacekeeper Houses were patrilineal. One's father made or broke who one was.

"Scorpius, they have called for you," his aide, Niem told him softly.

So caught up in his own thoughts, he hadn't sensed her approach. He turned to face the pale woman, giving her a nod and half-hearted smile. He glanced once more at the twin suns before entering the building.

As he strode into the main chamber, Niem at his side, a large entourage of commandos burst outward through First Council's doors. They cleared the way like an honor guard for the officer leaving his audience with the Council. Scorpius studied him coldly. He was darker than most Sebacean males, slightly shorter and stouter. His long hair was pulled into a queue in much the same way as Peacekeeper females wore theirs. Scorpius remembered Admiral EL-Vashti donning much the same queue. An uncommon affectation, to be sure.

The five rank bars on the cuff of his right sleeve indicated he was a captain. The fleet badge on his chest meant he was from the armada, a command carrier group called Mhultaan. So, smiled Scorpius bitterly, this was the much heralded Bialar Crais. He watched as the captain donned his garrison cap with a stiff flourish and straightened his impeccable uniform. A fop, but a popular one with High Command and First Council evidently, Scorpius seethed.

Their eyes met fleetingly. Scorpius' smile gave nothing away to his rival, but inside his Scarran half growled its fury. Crais dismissed him with one lifted eyebrow and harsh frown. He had immediately underestimated Scorpius, as did most Sebaceans. Crais' aides helped him into his bulky, red and black uniform great coat. After the last buckle was fastened he spun on his heel and left the building. The entire escort pivoted in unison to follow their captain, a precise display of military pomp.

Scorpius chuckled at the ludicrousness of it all.

"The competition," Niem said quietly as she stood only denches from his right arm, her customary position.

"Such as it is," he replied, smiling warmly at her.

She wasn't convinced by his false pluckiness and it showed.

"I know," he whispered, patting her affectionately on the shoulder. "We will do our best as always."

She nodded silently, following him in to face the First Council.

The chamber was smaller than he had expected and less formal. It seemed little more than a large conference room. A crescent shaped table dominated the dais at the rear of the room, around which the seven admirals of First Council sat. He looked up at them with a twinge of awe. This was the ruling body of the known universe. These seven Peacekeeper admirals had fought their way through innumerable wars, avoided the subterfuge and back stabbing inherent to the higher echelons of the service and now made decisions that effected trillions. They were legends in their own time.

The majority were members of the Founding Four families--those Sebacean Houses responsible for reestablishing the Peacekeeper Alliance centuries before after the Fall of Knowing. Sillu Menkena, Feylan Durka, Certh Rotharn, and even Vrakiish EL-Vashti, younger brother to Scorpius' unlikely savior.

Scorpius was saddened but not surprised by their disapproval. It swept down upon him like thorns ripping into sensitive skin. He knew there was precious little he might say to deflect their repugnance at his mere existence. He felt himself growing hotter and knew it would soon be time for Niem to change the cooling rod in his head. Nerves and the excitement of the day were making him overheat. He consciously took deeper breaths, trying to prolong the time before the cooling apparatus would burst forth from the side of his head. He would not give First Council the pleasure of seeing his one weakness.

"You may proceed, Scorpius," Admiral Sillu Menkena, the Council's Primary, advised him sternly. Her lean, scarred face telegraphed her emotions so well he had no need to extend his Scarran senses to scan her. Those cold, gray eyes told him she would squash him like an insect if given the chance.

"Thank you, venerable Council members," he smiled, bowing respectfully. He ignored the scalding wave of disgust pouring down upon him, turning instead to his presentation.

He signaled to Niem. She activated a holographic imager causing the likeness of a wormhole to coalesce in the center of the chamber. It bathed everyone and everything with an unnatural blue radiance. The image shifted, coiled and moved like a serpent.

"This is a wormhole," Scorpius began. "Simply stated, it is an artificially created passage that can bridge the distances of space. In effect, it folds these distances in much the same manner Leviathans do with their native starburst maneuver. However, unlike starburst, wormhole technology can be controlled. It would provide safe and rapid transit into any position we choose, thus cutting passage time from many solar days to a matter of microts.

“Additionally, there is the distinct possibility that it can serve another purpose. With the proper research, it can be used as a powerful weapon." Scorpius motioned to Niem and the image swiftly changed. A holographic planet formed in the center of the chamber.

"With the correct calculations, there is every possibility a wormhole could be caused to manifest in such a way that its proximity to a planet would prove cataclysmic."

As he spoke his words were illustrated with great force by the holographic image. A massive wormhole formed within the planet's orbit. Shortly afterward, the planet's shape began to deform, folding in on itself before collapsing all together. What remained of the planet splintered into billions of fragments as the wormhole shrank and disappeared. The murmurs of the Council members made Scorpius' expectations leap.

"Impressive, to be sure," said Admiral Menkena. "However, your presentation has one major recurring theme: research. Can this technology be implemented now should the fleet require it?"

"As with all scientific projects," Scorpius began only to be silenced by Menkena.

"Can it?" she barked. "This requires only one word from you: yes or no."

"I haven't yet succeeded in creating a wormhole, however…"

"Then we must take it your answer is no." Menkena continued, drowning out his calm, respectful voice.

"Given the proper facilities and time for research, the possibilities of this technology are limitless." Scorpius argued more insistently, still careful to pitch his voice in softer tones.

"Enough," Menkena shouted, her hand raised in an unmistakable signal demanding his silence. "Your proposal will be taken into consideration. You are dismissed."

"You must eat something, Scorpius," Niem chided as she held the small plate filled with tempting delicacies before him. "Depriving your most basic needs can only aggravate the thermic constancy problem."

He shook his head slightly, eyes focused somewhere in the middle distance outside. The large windows of the conference chamber afforded a panoramic view of the gathering revelers and festivities in High Command Square. His face was motionless, but his eyes darted, taking in everything in the carnival forming outside.

"At least drink this prowsa nectar," she insisted, holding the small glass of bright green liquid out to him.

Without looking at her, he extended his hand, taking the drink and downing it in a single gulp. He placed the emptied glass on the arm of his chair and waved her away with a minute flick of his hand. She bowed respectfully, gathering the glass and food tray before leaving him alone to his thoughts.

He hadn't spoken a word since his dismissal from First Council's chamber nearly twelve arns earlier. There was nothing to say. Obviously the delay in announcing their decision was gratuitous. Their reaction to his presentation told him all he needed to know. Crais' project, whatever it was, would be selected to receive the financial and manpower support of High Command.

Fools, Scorpius thought irately. Long range tacticians agreed that the threat of war from both the Scarrans and the Nebari was indeed real. However, best estimates predicted at least a three or four cycle delay before any actual aggression from either race. More than adequate time to finish his research and implement the wormhole technology.

Typical soldiers, thinking only of bigger guns. If his guess was correct, Crais' project would involve more formidable frag cannons on larger command carriers. Crais was a fleet soldier and a first-genner. What else could his limited brainpower imagine? First Council was no better. When all was said and done they were merely highborn, military-minded imbeciles.

The last time he felt this disgusted with Peacekeeper hierarchy, he was a young and bitter twenty cycles old. He took a leave of absence from SRD because he could not face another moment among his disdainful peers. Striking out into the Uncharted Territories without plan or purpose, he wasn't entirely sure what he was seeking. He was adrift outside the Peacekeeper world into which he'd been brutally accepted. The experience, he now knew, shaped his future in ways he could never have imagined at the time.

When his marauder was stranded on Geljesh VI, the planet's hot atmosphere nearly cost him his life. A serendipitous encounter with a beautiful young thief changed his existence forever. For once another being did not shrink from him in repulsion. Natira welcomed him into her arms and her bed with a passion previously unknown to him. She inspired emotions and desires he never realized existed within himself. Their relationship was an epiphany.

When her criminal past brought Peacekeeper justice down upon her head, Scorpius intervened, saving her life. In gratitude she introduced him to a brilliant diagnosan capable of solving his perilous thermic constancy predicament. Surgeon Tocot conceived and installed an ingenious cooling apparatus inside Scorpius' cranium, affording him a new freedom of existence.

For more than a cycle, Natira shared her bed and her life with him. In turn, Scorpius brought her along in his travels. With her vast network of connections, he made contacts that would prove invaluable later in his career with SRD. He mapped regions of what the Peacekeepers called the Uncharted Territories. He discovered resources and habitable planets and moons where staging bases could be erected.

When he was practically certain he would call the emotions he felt for her love, Natira betrayed him. In the Mantora system, it came down to a choice of continuing their lives together or joining the crew of a mercenary ship. Visions of limitless fortune danced before her eyes and Natira chose the latter. He had been filled with such rage he nearly murdered her in their bed, but stopped short. His life thus far had taught him the priceless gift of patience. Fate assured that a time and place would come for every eventuality. She would be repaid one day for her treachery.

Having lost his innocence, Scorpius returned to SRD with his wealth of information and resources. While it could not buy the friendship of his colleagues, they were far more appreciative of his abilities. The respect he gained was payment enough. Like everything else, he filed it in his repository of tools for building his future.

He heard the door to the chamber hiss as it opened again. Niem's soft footfalls approached and he finally tore himself from the carnival outside the windows. He crossed his arms over his chest and slowly turned his chair to face her.

"Their decision is in," Scorpius breathed, his voice little more than a whisper and his gaunt face a blank.

"Yes, Scorpius." Niem replied, head cocked to one side. Her expression was pained and told him his fears were justified. She bowed her head to hide her face as if sensing his thoughts, but it was too late.

"Captain Crais is the beneficiary of First Council's largesse." He said.

"Yes," she answered, gripping herself with her leather-clad arms as if she were cold.

"Not much of a surprise," he laughed bitterly.

"The research can continue. Must continue." Niem reasoned bending down onto one knee beside his chair. "Surely they see that."

He looked fondly into her beautiful face, one that had only ever regarded him with kindness. She was not a Sebacean. With gentle fingers he stroked her fine red hair.

"Without the financial and manpower support only First Council can apportion to SRD, we can take the project no further." He told her evenly.

"There must be other channels," she pressed. "Another way to proceed."

He smiled at her earnest devotion. Lacing long gloved fingers in front of his face he said, "I will find a way. It will be a very long road, but I will find a way."

"Has Captain Crais returned to the Mhultaan yet?" Scorpius asked Niem as they came out of the main building on to High Command Square. They crossed it with difficulty, dodging drunken Sebaceans in garish costumes. The air was thick with the aromas of decadent foods, fellip nectar, prowsa wine and rasklak.

"No." She replied, her long legs making it easy to keep up with his rapid strides. "Central Communications says he's still here on Kordaen. In fact, he's staying on for three solar days to attend the carnival festivities. He's even granted shore leave to his command staff and half his prowler and marauder divisions. Only a single rear battle squadron remains on duty."

"Perfect." Scorpius laughed derisively and shook his head.

Raucous music blasted around them as a line of half-naked dancers of both sexes snaked their way across the Square. Glittering confetti showered them and fireworks boomed overhead flaring red, blue, green and white in the twilight sky. The revelers gasped, cheered and applauded wildly. Scorpius shook his head in disgust at the ridiculous display. The Square would be hip deep in refuse and vomit by morning.

After much jostling and detouring, they came to the transit station. Forced to elbow through lines of arriving revelers, they made their way to the departure platform. Niem slid her ident chip into the terminal and keyed in the destination code for SRD's main complex. After a quarter of an arn, an automated shuttle car slid to a stop beside them.

Scorpius motioned for her to enter first. He followed, locking the portal behind him. They sat side by side, securing their restraining straps. With a nod from Scorpius, Niem pressed a button on the control console. The shuttle's engines roared to life, causing it to lurch forward. It shot upward suddenly before banking northward toward SRD.

"You're planning something," she said bluntly once the shuttle had leveled out and assumed a smooth flight path.

"My dear, you know me too well." He smiled slightly, clapping a hand lightly on her knee.

"Do I need to know what it is at this point?" she asked, turning to take in the setting suns over the frosty landscape.

"Suffice it to say it will involve revenge," he smiled.

If her species had the capacity for laughter, Scorpius knew she would have chuckled at that statement. Lacking it, Niem merely smiled and shook her head in understanding.

"Our first task will be to find out the details of Captain Crais' project." He explained and crossed his long legs comfortably. "Once we have that information, I will know better how to proceed."

"I should have no difficulty getting that information," she assured him, golden eyes narrowing.

"You are a treasure." He said tenderly. "How soon?"

"I'll get started on it the microt we reach SRD." She replied.

"Outstanding," He smiled before turning to a silent observation of the landscape flashing around them and the fall of night.

Scorpius shifted onto his side in bed, trying to find a more comfortable position. His quarters were pitch black, but his Scarran eyesight revealed everything in minute detail. He fought to keep his eyes closed and to think of nothing. It was a nearly impossible task.

Niem had put her information Techs to work the microt they returned to SRD. They were burrowing their way into First Council's sealed records; a delicate and dangerous mission. Espionage was the acceptable norm in Peacekeeper society. To get caught however, meant death, usually by slow torture. More than sufficient inspiration to be as careful as Sebaceanly possibly.

Waiting was a more arduous activity by far. Wondering if and when a squad of First Council's Elite Guard would burst into his chambers was nerve wracking. Still, the reward for success might very well be worth the risks. Once he knew the specifics of Crais' project, he could get to the task of sabotaging it. If the project failed, his chances of gaining First Council's sanction for his wormhole research were all but assured.

Rolling to his other side, he opened his eyes to focus on the chronometer on his bedside table. 32:00. It would be dawn in four arns. Still no word from Niem.

SRD had been blessedly quiet upon their return. Even his fellow scientists must have taken leave to join in the celebrations in the capital. He could just imagine the carousing, drinking and general nasty making that filled High Command Square throughout the night. Though he found the entire affair distasteful, it provided an exquisite cover for Niem's Techs. Who cared what a few lowly Techs might be up to when there was food, libations, and licentious revelry aplenty?

He thought of the elegant Captain Bialar Crais running amok, recreating with as many females as he could lay claim to before collapsing in a besotted heap. A last congratulatory celebration before leaving to carry out First Council's mandate. Good for him, smiled Scorpius darkly. Delicious was the gautuk hen stuffed and well basted before roasting.

The door signal chimed. He was sitting bolt upright in a microt and getting to his feet. Extending his senses he realized it was Niem outside his quarters. She was alone. Regaining his composure, he waved his hand over the lock sensor, opening the door.

"It's done, Scorpius," she sighed as she came inside.

He locked the door behind her and followed her to his desk. She placed the gray communiqué chip into his holoviewer. He offered her a chair and she sat down tiredly. He waved the illumination up half a level and engaged a jamming device to scramble any eavesdropping devices. At last he sat in the chair next to hers and tapped the on button. The red image shivered, wavered and spun before finally coalescing.

Scorpius shuttled quickly forward through the entire compilation of data, taking it all in. Returning to the beginning he slowly scanned each image at great length.

"What is it?" Niem asked, stifling a yawn.

"Fascinating," he muttered distractedly as he shifted back to an earlier image.

"Look at this," he said pointing at the multiple strands and coils. "This is Leviathan DNA."

"What?" Niem asked rubbing her right eye and forcing herself to be more alert. "How is that possible?"

"They are biomechanoids after all," he replied, his attention locked on the holoviewer. "Living ships. They aren't built so much as they are . . . created . . . by the Builders. Don't be fooled by their metal structures. Much of these beasts are living matter."

"But why study Leviathan DNA? What could he hope to gain?"

Scorpius shuttled the images forward rapidly until he found what he was looking for.

"Do you see this?" He asked. "This is an artificial catalyst. According to these notes, it is meant to act as a means of impregnating a Leviathan."

"That's a bit commonplace." She scoffed. "First Council would waste time and funding on this?"

"Ah, but the delightful part of this equation is in what the pregnancy would yield." He told her. "Look closely at the details of the artificial catalyst. See anything familiar."

"There is a great deal of Peacekeeper technology involved,"

"Exactly!" Scorpius interrupted. "This is brilliant. How a first-genner came up with this idea on his on is beyond my capacity to comprehend."

"What is it?"

"Simple, my dear," he told her with a grudging admiration. "Captain Crais is attempting to create a genetically engineered Leviathan offspring. More specifically, a Leviathan Gunship."

"If memory serves, this has been tried before." She said bluntly.

"Yes, but not with a catalyst as flawless as this," Scorpius said as he looked quickly through the images again. "It has failed numerous times before, ending in death. . . for all concerned."

Niem nodded her understanding. Failure in Peacekeeper society meant death. While many civilians questioned the severity of a death penalty for every crime, they could not fault the results. Everyone was highly motivated to do his or her job and do it well.

"Given the right Leviathan and circumstances, this will work." He said, his voice sibilant as he turned the holoviewer off with a resounding snap.

"What are you going to do about it?" Niem asked.

Silence surrounded them as he considered this. There were many avenues to choose from. Finding the perfect one would be a matter of time and patience. While he had little of the former, the latter was his strong suit.

"Do we have anyone in Leviathan Studies that can be trusted?" He asked after nearly quarter of an arn.

"I can look into it," Niem said without much enthusiasm.


"The Leviathan personnel are a peculiar lot," she answered with a grimace. "Cliquish, more suspicious than other scientific groups. Finding the right person will be difficult. Trusting them to commit sabotage. . .even more so."

Scorpius considered this silently for another few microts.

"Go over the personnel records of every top officer and Tech." He instructed as he rose and stretched his lanky frame. "Any irregularity, any questionable association, anything. . .find it and bring the information to me as soon as you can."

"With the festival going on for another two solar days, I should have unimpeded access," she said, standing up as well. She swayed slightly and Scorpius gripped her arm.

"When was the last time you slept?" He asked as he led her to the door.

"Three solar days ago," she admitted with some embarrassment.

"Rest, Niem." He told her gently. "Fatigue can lead to mistakes. We can't afford a single mistake in this endeavor."

"Understood," she said before slipping out of his quarters into the main hall of SRD's billet block.

Scorpius sat aboard his personal transport, studying the figure of the young Technical Lieutenant as it flashed to life on his holoviewer. Spine ramrod straight, face appropriately passive. Velorek was the perfect choice. His fit-reps painted him as a brilliant, if erratic and overly romantic, scientist. His affinity for the race of creatures who piloted Leviathans was legendary in SRD. As such, Crais was quick to snap him up for the project team he was assembling. Scorpius had been counting on it.

He sighed and shifted slowly in his chair as he watched one of his operatives enter the chamber where the young Lieutenant waited. Velorek snapped to attention as the Commander approached and greeted him. Scorpius increased the volume of the comm link as he watched the exchange.

"Commander Tolano Javio," the senior officer said crisply. "Thank you for agreeing to meet me on such short notice."

"Your message stated that it was of vital importance," Velorek replied easing into a parade rest stance.

"That it is, Lieutenant." Javio said, clapping a hand on Velorek's shoulder and leading him toward two nearby chairs.

Scorpius smiled darkly. Javio was a useful tool and an elegant choice for this mission. As dull and unimaginative man as ever existed in Peacekeeper ranks. He did as he was told, made no waves and seemed genuinely grateful for Scorpius' questionable largesse.

"Lieutenant, there's a lot of scuttlebutt going around about a project involving Leviathans," Javio said quietly.

"It's a security three velka matter, sir." Velorek was quick to retort. "I am not at liberty to discuss it."

"Understood, understood." Javio smiled genially, leaning closer and lowering his voice more. "But the word about the project is that it's, well, not natural. Some sort of freakish, criminal thing. Word is. . .no one wants any part of it."

Scorpius watched as Velorek's eyes narrowed. The younger man pulled away from Javio as if burned, but made no move to rise.

"I have nothing personal against Captain Crais," Javio continued softly, his voice almost apologetic. "He is a decorated hero after all, but. . ."

"But what?" Velorek asked, clearly uncomfortable with the direction the conversation was going.

"Well, he is a first-genner," Javio whispered, his tone conspiratorial. "They're not as given to respecting the natural order of things in Peacekeeper society as the rest of us, if you take my meaning."

"I'm not certain I do," Velorek replied, but Scorpius saw the doubt plainly on his face.

Javio rose stiffly then turned to say, "I think you do, Lieutenant."

Velorek stood up quickly, facing him with a pained expression on his face, "Sir?"

"You've got a good reputation, Lieutenant." Javio said with an almost fatherly smile. "Let your instincts guide you. You'll see what I've said is true."

Velorek's brow knitted tightly. He seemed about to speak, but instead bit his lip and remained silent.

"If the rumors about Captain Crais' plans for this project should prove to be true," Javio said gravely. "Well, I'm not suggesting insubordination by any means. Of course, you are the Leviathan expert. You'll know what should or should not be done in any event."

The two men stared at each other for several long microts before Javio clapped him sympathetically on the shoulder, squared his garrison cap on his balding head and left the room.

Scorpius watched the play of emotions on Velorek's face with a dark smile. He was well and truly snared. His compassion for Leviathans and Pilots would lead him like a ring through his nose into betraying Crais. Scorpius couldn't guess exactly what action Velorek would take to foul Crais' project, but the look on the young man's face spoke volumes. He turned off the holoviewer as Velorek left the chamber.

Nothing was left now but waiting and patience.