The Terran Federation has charged Matt with murder and is seeking his extradition.
I tried to brush aside Jonas’s words, to show they didn’t affect me. After all, I was innocent. I mean, I did kill Sadie, but I acted in Michelle’s defense.
John, the odious Psi Corps office chief, claimed my wife was as good as dead unless I surrendered to him. My defense would all be so straightforward if the man had threatened her with a normal weapon. But he threatened Michelle with a deadly psychic who answered only to him. A deadly psychic whose true abilities were kept out of all official records.
In the end, my defense claim would come down to my word against the office chief. But the case would never come to trial. If I ever ended up in Federation custody, I’d vanish into Psi Corps and never be free again.
“The Council isn’t thinking of giving in to that asinine request, are they?” Michelle demanded, her omelette forgotten.
“If they are, it will probably be the last thing any of them does in office,” Dad said. “Nancy Martin came with us to file the complaint. Her response was quite…vociferous.”
“And extremely graphic,” Jonas added.
“She only said what the rest of us were thinking.” Dad jerked a thumb at Jonas. “While Nancy went for frothing-at-the-mouth rage, your father took a different approach. Do you have any idea just how menacing he can be when he goes all quiet and intense?”
Michelle’s eyes widened. “You pulled the ‘bad Dad’ routine on the ambassador?”
Jonas shrugged. “When you were growing up, it’s how I made sure you knew I meant what I said. I wanted the ambassador to understand that, as well.”
Fascinated, I tried imagining Jonas threatening the ambassador just with an expression—and had no trouble picturing it. Even after a year as his son-in-law, I found ‘menacing Jonas’ much easier to picture than ‘family man Jonas’.
“Yes, dear heart, that worked so well on Michelle,” Magda said.
Michelle grinned. “I’m sure it works well on people who don’t call him ‘Daddy’.”
The moment was broken when Rob burst into the kitchen—and came to an abrupt halt as Jonas leveled a blaster at his head. I barely even saw my father-in-law move.
Swallowing visibly, Rob said, “Uh, friend?”
The gun vanished as quickly as it appeared. Jonas gave Rob a hard stare. “Don’t do that again, Robert. Bursting in on us isn’t wise at the best of times. This morning is definitely not the best of times.”
“I understand, sir. I…wasn’t thinking.”
I suddenly realized Rob wasn’t his usual, impeccably turned-out self. He wore mismatched pants and shirt, no shoes, and his hair was mussed as if he just woke up. Michelle was even quicker on the uptake.
“You look like you just woke up, threw on whatever clothes were handy, and came straight here.” She patted the chair next to her. “Did you see something important in your dreams?”
Rob nodded as he sat. “Yeah. Is Cassie awake? She was dreaming about you, too.”
“How do you know that, Rob?” Mom asked.
“I don’t really understand it all, Mrs. Connaught.” Rob ran a hand through his hair, unconsciously trying to straighten it. “But I think I saw Cassie talking to Matt and Michelle in her dream.”
I felt my eyes widen. “Say what?”
Michelle interjected, “What my husband meant to say is, would you please explain what you mean? We didn’t think you could interact with people in your dreams.”
Rob gave Michelle a curious glance. “That’s what Matt said—only he didn’t use as many words.”
“No, it isn’t,” Michelle said.
“Whatever,” Rob shrugged. “Anyway, about Cassie-”
“What about me?” Cassie walked into the kitchen, her hair as tousled as Rob’s, rubbing sleep from her eyes.
“Rob dreamed you were dreaming and talking to Matt and Michelle,” Mom said. “At least, I think that’s what he told us.”
Rob smiled. “Yes, ma’am, that’s what I said.”
“Oh, good,” Cassie said, and then gave a big yawn. “Sorry, I was really deep in the dreams this time.”
“And you dreamed you talked to us?” Michelle asked. “And then Rob dreamed about your dream?”
Cassie cocked her head and gave Rob a look. He shrugged again. “I haven’t had time to explain everything yet. I just got here a couple of minutes ago.”
“Oh, okay.” Cassie took a seat and smiled at Michelle and me. “I didn’t dream I talked to you. I talked to you in my dream.”
I glanced at Michelle to see if this made any sense to her. She was glancing at me while biting her lip. We both turned back to Cassie and Michelle asked, “Isn’t that the same thing?”
“No,” Cassie said, rolling her eyes at us. “In my dream, I talked to the two of you. The real world, wide-awake two of you. In the future.”
Rob smiled and nodded. The rest of us found ourselves at a loss for words. Finally, Dad managed to find something to say.
Cassie tilted her head and gave it some thought. “I think it has something to do with what Matt did last night—sticking his and Michelle’s feelings inside my head. I think it made it possible for me to do more than just watch.”
“Okay, I guess that makes some kind of sense,” I said. “What did you tell us?”
“Not much. Really, you guys did most of the talking. I mean, you two were expecting to see me, so you knew what to say.”
A look of concern crossed Mom’s face. “Honey, why would Matt and Michelle expect you to talk to them from your dream?”
“Because I just told them I would,” Cassie said. “Jeez, Mom!”
“Of course…” Mom murmured, rubbing her temples. “It’s all so clear, now.”
“What did we tell you to tell us?” Michelle shook her head as soon as she finished asking the question. “God, I think I sprained my brain asking that question.”
“I’m supposed to tell you to go to earth. Today.”
“No, absolutely not!” Jonas said. “The Federation has filed criminal charges against Matt. You’re a good girl, Cassie, but I am not letting my daughter and son-in-law head straight into danger just because of something you dreamed.”
“I dreamed it, too, sir,” Rob said.
“I don’t care. There’s no way we can be sure this wasn’t just a regular dream,” Jonas replied. “Unless you can find a way to prove it-”
“I can,” Cassie said.
“How?” Jonas snapped the word out. From the look on his face, he instantly regretted his tone of voice. “I’m sorry, Cassie, I didn’t mean to sound so harsh.”
“It’s okay, I was expecting it. Michelle told me you’d react that way. And since they already knew everyone would doubt me, Matt told me how to convince him I really did talk to him.” Cassie turned to face me. “You remember when Michelle saved you from the gang outside the maglev station, right?”
I took Michelle’s hand. “Of course. It was one of the most terrifyingly wonderful nights of my life.”
“After you jumped into the car, your head ended up in Michelle’s lap with her bare stomach right in front of you.”
I felt goosebumps forming on my arm. “Yeah?”
“You’ve never told anyone—not even Michelle—but you almost buried your face in her belly and blew a raspberry.”
Michelle turned an incredulous look on me. “Is that true?”
I felt my cheeks turn red. “I think it’s more accurate to say I had an irrational temptation—which I resisted—to do that.”
“So, what does this mean, babe?” Michelle asked.
Pulling my wife into a hug, I said, “It means we’d better start packing.”
Why do our heroes have to go to earth? Find out more in Chapter 6, coming Friday.