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August 30, 158392

Ikrobar Kingdom


“Anticipate where it is going, and squeeze your talons there,” Davis said, tossing the ball into the air again. “You lose sight of it just before it’s in range. Stop trying to move your body to keep your eyes on it.”

The Ren’mak twisted its torso down again, with it flying almost back straight perpendicular to the ground as it reached out its talons and grabbed the silver ball, squishing it slightly under the pressure, then flapping its wings hard to level itself out again.

“I will miss.”

“It takes practice, but many avians have learned this technique.”

“I cannot turn my talons up,” it said, switching the binary grasp to one foot only then flying a couple of meters forward and flicking it back towards the Director.

“You don’t have to. You simply push downward on top of the target like this,” the Human said, lightly tossing the ball in the air in front of him, then cupping his hand over top of it and pushing down towards the floor faster than the ball fell. When he brought his hand back up the ball was clenched in his outstretched fingers as if he had talons himself. “Tuck your legs then try.”

The Ren’mak continued to hover, pulling his scaly legs up underneath his light body, then Davis tossed the ball directly under him.

Both talons shot down, hitting the ball, but they didn’t clench right and instead deflected it sideways as one talon hooked in and ended up pushing it aside.

“Better,” Davis said, telekinetically pulled the ball back to him. “It takes a lot of failures to adjust your movements into success.”

“We know that well,” another voice said from the side of the chamber as the Neofan walked in.

“You never played catch with him?” Davis asked sarcastically.

“We worked on more important things,” Plausious said dismissively. “And we had no ball.”

Davis threw the ball again, with the Ren’mak smacking it down to the ground, failing to clench in time, but the Human just telekinetically picked it up and set to go again. “How much did you do before you went underground?”

“Little things,” Plausious said, walking up behind Davis. “Staying undetected was our primary concern. They would always come for us, and I only had so much Essence to use.”

“Is your head any better today?”

“It is not. I need answers, not rest.”

Davis threw the ball again, and this time the Ren’mak barely got his talons on the ball, with it slipping out of his first grasp, but it managed to quickly get it in a second before it could hit the floor.

“There,” he said, accepting the ball back as the Ren’mak flew it over to him then tossed it into his hands. “You can do it.”

“Not well.”

“Success is success. Better success comes with practice,” he said, throwing it again…but it curled through the air into Plausious’s hand.

The Reignor telepathically ordered the Ren’mak as he threw the ball high into the air in an arc, with the avian letting it reach the peak and start to come back down before it moved towards it and attacked…but it didn’t touch it. Rather it got close and then disintegrated it in a cloud of smoke and ash that billowed over the area of the room where they stood.

The air processors quickly started to remove the thick haze, leaving Davis standing there unable to see much aside from his Pefbar, though Plausious could still read his stunned expression.

“We practiced more practical things,” the Reignor said calmly.

“That was my ball,” Davis said deadpan, then looked towards the coughing Ren’mak that was flying up higher to get out of the ash. “How did he get Essence abilities?”

“The Neofan know how to trigger such things in others, and my absorption of the Hadarak command ability came with unforeseen revelations. I needed him to be able to defend himself, so I taught him.”

“I thought you already had safety from the Hadarak at that point.”

“I’m referring to future threats. Until we came here, he wouldn’t leave my side for a moment. But what I must do will be suicide for him if he cannot assist me, and I also would rather not be parted, so I made him into an asset.”

“The technology you asked for?” Davis guessed.

“He cannot use his own Essence sufficiently, nor do we have a million years to wait, so he must use mine.”

“Are you sure you don’t want help?”

Plausious shook his head. “The Neofan do not deserve to be part of your Star Force. They have not earned it, and while you could obviously make something of them, we have a greater responsibility. You have accomplished great things, Director, but there are some things you have barely scratched the surface of. The Neofan’s place is at your side, not under your command. It is time they lived up to their responsibilities, and I am going to make sure they do.”

“And why can’t that happen within Star Force?”

“You are beginning to see it with your Furyans. They cannot coexist with the rest of your society, thus you keep them isolated. It is the same with any advanced race, and the more advanced they become the more alien they are to the others and do not mesh well. You are having to rewrite your maturia system for the Furyans. Do you know why yet?”

“They needed challenges similar to what their parents had.”

“Then you have not seen it yet. Or perhaps you have and are mislabeling it. Superior races have additional requirements of them, and if they are not met, the weight of their superiority will crush the young and your civilization will implode. It is a common theme among the more advanced, and once you are on that level you cannot live at the slower pace of the lesser races…without consequences.”

“And yet the

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