“Protect Kal!” A familiar voice commanded.
With a stolen glance, Charlie confirmed it was Laken, who rallied the Kalmar warriors to tear down any enemy that neared her and Kal. She switched her attention to the black ship that had risen higher.
“Focus, Charlie,” Kal released a growl, but it was not directed at her human, “or more of our people will die.”
Charlie widened her eyes at the mental picture of hundreds of bodies. Kal was right. They could use and channel the Spirit of Kalatas to save lives. Even now, she felt how much stronger the god spirit was when they combined their efforts. She clenched her teeth and zeroed in on the Sworne starship. Endless amounts of dark matter rolled like waves toward the ship, lifting and shoving it skyward. Then the winds returned, throwing them under the bottom of the ship.
Kal started to chuckle, then it turned into a rumble. “That’s it.” She placed her hands on Charlie’s shoulders, connecting them finally. The link between their spirits had been sloppy earlier, but it tightened and solidified until there was no beginning and no end. The Spirit of Kalatas flowed freely, spilling forth and slamming into the Sworne ship, which shuddered.
With greater strength, Charlie and Kal lifted the ship higher into the sky. Smaller ships started buzzing around in the air, chasing after the main ship. Despite the Sworne ship’s massive size, it became lighter and couldn’t resist the power of Kalatas. The ship’s engines started, but it was too late. The Spirit of Kalatas had lashed itself around the vessel.
“We’re almost there!” Kal roared just as the Spirit of Kalatas surged with a powerful pulse. A blast of invisible power fired skyward, hurling through the atmosphere toward the belly of the ship. To Charlie, it felt like someone opened the lever on a firehouse and released an endless geyser of water. It jerked her back into Kal’s firm body. Within a few heartbeats, Charlie’s knees weakened from the sheer rawness of calling on the god spirit. Her eyes started to roll upward until Kal snapped at her.
“Focus! Focus on the ship!”
Charlie was stubborn and fought off her body’s desire to crumble. Her attention sharpened on the Sworne ship that had come here to harm her, to fight her people, and to take control of Kander. Gritting her teeth, she cried out, “Joh!” Kal’s howl matched hers as they sent another surge of the Spirit of Kalatas hurtling into the ship’s hull side. A large boom echoed through the atmosphere, and then the great horn went silent. Metal groaned louder as the god spirit pounded into the ship with unmeasured force, moving and shoving it upward into the upper atmosphere. The view of the spinning spaceship had shrunk to a tiny point in the sky; then it was gone. Charlie’s reserves were empty, and she started to slip toward the snowy ground.
Kal hooked Charlie’s waist, turned her, and held onto her with one arm. She retrieved her tablet and hailed Blade Perras. “Do you have a lock on the ship?”
“Almost, Kal,” Blade Perras replied, his voice raspy. “How many blasts?”
“Hit the ship on the hull side. One shot with half strength,” Kal ordered in growly voice.
“Locked on the target,” Blade Perras reported.
Charlie shook her head, ridding some of the fogginess. Her body still trembled, but so did Kal’s frame. Calling on the god spirit had drained them both, but Kal had better stamina. The wind around them had died down to a soft breeze again. The Kalmar warriors were beating back the Sworne, who were fleeing to tinier shuttles that had come back to collect their soldiers for the retreat.
“Fire at it!” Kal tapped something on the tablet, causing its screen to flicker. She lowered her arm so Charlie could see the imagery from outer space. The lit up Sworne ship was no longer spinning after gaining control with its hull thrusters. But then the screen went bright white.
“Firing!” Blade Perras announced through the comms.
Charlie held her breath and waited for the screen to clear. Overhead, a flash billowed in the sky then faded away. Once the ion blast ended, the Sworne ship’s side was emitting a bright glow from the heat of the ion blast. Lights on it flickered, then a section of it shut off, indicating the ship had lost partial power. With a smirk, Charlie couldn’t ignore the swell of satisfaction in her chest. You fucking bastards deserve that and so much more!
“Report,” Kal ordered.
Blade Perras was running scans and said, “The ship took medium damage, Kal. They appear to have lost twenty-two percent electrical power. One engine appears to be shut down from the lack of heat signatures.”
Kal rumbled and said, “Good. Keep the ion beam ready to fire again. If it looks like they’re going to retaliate, then fire at will.”
Lowering the tablet, Kal peered down at Charlie and frowned at her. She released her human, then wiped something from under Charlie’s nose. Blood was smeared across her thumb, making her growl low. “I pushed you too hard.”
“I’m okay,” Charlie argued, then pulled away from Kal. Kalmar and a few Libs were starting to notice their closeness. Her knees shook, but Kal held her forearm to steady her a little longer.
Kal was about to speak, but Blade Perras hailed her on the comms. “Go ahead, Blade.”
“The Sworne ship is requesting a video call with you.”
Kal huffed, then said, “Stand by.” She glanced at Charlie and asked, “Are you okay?”
“Ja.” Charlie nudged the tablet closer to Kal and said, “Take the call.” She separated them, then knelt down next to Kaden, who was licking her injured paw. For a moment, she tuned out the conversation between Kal and the Sworne and looked over the battlefield around them. There were no Sworne soldiers in their immediate area. Most had fled in the direction of the small transport vessels that were taking Sworne soldiers back to the main ship in Kander’s orbit. The Kalmar warriors were gathering themselves, helping the injured ones. A few injured humans passed them, heading toward the village. As people moved, motionless bodies lay resting in the bloody and dirty snow. Charlie closed her eyes and leaned her head against Kaden’s neck. After a moment, Kal’s conversation filtered into her consciousness. It was better than counting the bodies around them.
“You entered Kander airspace unauthorized,” Kal said in English. Her voice was deep and growly, leaving no room for arguments. “You first used a sound cannon to harm my people, then landed in on my planet and began an assault. These are acts of war!“
“We became aware that Earthlings were on your planet and wished to assist with their removal,” someone replied from the tablet’s connection. From the tone, Charlie deduced it was a male Sworne who spoke with great authority.