Kay’li Fieran, daughter of Scout Captain Ian Fieran and Miranda Riallon, grows up among the Scouts. She learns her strengths and weaknesses, loyalty and honor, how to be keep going despite pain and loss – and she learns that sometimes the bad guys win. She grows up to carry on the legacy of the heroic family that established the Scout Corps, but the greatest adventure of her life still waits for her, back home on Chorillan, where her childhood friend has become a Wildling.
; April 2005
205 pages; ISBN 9781587494963Read online
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Kay'li wrinkled her nose against the smell of mu cos crammed into a mesh wire cage. She wondered if the sickly sweet stink was what her father called the smell of fear. If she was crowded in a cage in a dirty corner of a laboratory, she knew she would be afraid. And angry.
She sat in the shadowy storage room at the back of the laboratory building, full of dismantled equipment, refuse and captive mu cos. The door into the laboratory sat ajar, letting a hand's width of bluish light into the storage room. Kay'li hid under a tarpaulin draped table. She heard people moving around, but couldn't decide how close they were to the door.
A mu co screamed in the next room. The mu cos in the cage shrieked and tumbled in a frenzy, biting and struggling, tearing at each other.
Kay'li scrambled to the gap in the door. She wished she had the knife Droban gave her for her birthday. Her fists clenched as she watched.
A mu co lay on an equipment cart, held flat by three thick straps. It screamed twice more, weaker with each cry. Two men in lab coats stood at either end of the cart, in profile. One held an injection gun over the mu co's head. They looked bored.
Captain Jaklyn had explained the process. A needle injected a receptor crystal into the brain. The crystal expanded, growing organic crystal tendrils through the brain without destroying tissue or interfering with its functions, when implanted properly. According to the Estal'es'cai's scientist, the men controlling the mu cos weren't doing it properly. The animals would eventually die of brain damage.
Kay'li closed her eyes and consciously slowed her breathing. She had to think clearly and logically. It hurt, but she knew she could not save that particular mu co. She couldn’t stop the scientists and she would be caught.
But she could help the other mu-cos.