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9780060525439

3RD WATCH MM

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780060525439

  • ISBN10:

    0060525436

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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Summary

The dramatic conclusion to the breathtaking saga of the children of Acorna and Aari.Khorii, the rebellious daughter of Acorna, the near-mythic heroine of her people, has tried to follow in her mother's footsteps in this time of plague and terror. But the pressure on the courageous young woman to succeed is tremendous, and the legacy she is expected to fulfill is overwhelming.The insidious enemy that has ravaged countless known worlds has left Khorii's illustrious parents too weak to oppose it. Now, as the deadly foe prepares to launch its devastating final assault, it falls to Acorna's children-Khorii and her newly discovered sister, Ariin-to halt the brutal attack once and for all. But victory may prove too difficult, elusive, and ultimately fragile-and even time itself may be conspiring against the daughters in their desperate battle to save their family . . . and their universe.

Excerpts

Third Watch
Acorna's Children

Chapter One

Now and Then

Now

Elviiz, with all of the time changes we've been through during our journey and the disappointment of not being able to get Mother and Father out of quarantine, we cannot sleep a wink. So we decided to go visit the LoiLoiKuans and see how they're settling in to their new home in our ocean with the sii-Linyaari. Please tell everyone so they won't worry. We'll be back before you know it.

Love,
Khorii, Ariin, and Khiindi, too. (You know how he is about fish.)

Khorii left the message on Elviiz's portable com—the one he needed now that he was fully organic and missing his critical android modifications.

Then, with the moons shining down on them, she and her twin walked down to the pearl-crested sea, Ariin carrying Khiindi.

"He'll walk if you want to put him down," Khorii told her twin. "We could stop to graze on the way. It would make our story more believable."

Ariin frowned. "He really does need to come with us, and he's so unpredictable."

Khiindi took matters into his own paws by hopping down, waving his tail as if beckoning them to graze. The girls assumed grazing posture and bent to taste the tantalizing grasses growing in the meadows sloping down to the sea. Their horns, a single shining gold one in the center of each of their foreheads, glowed softly in the silver moonlight.

When they were done, Khiindi dodged Ariin's questing hands and trotted ahead, just out of reach. The cat was not about to let the young Linyaari use his crono to spirit Khorii off to the distant past and get her into who knew what kind of trouble without him there to protect her. Nor, for that matter, was he going to miss a chance to escape the little kitty form into which he'd been frozen by his fellow shape shifters, all because of a very slight miscalculation during a mission with which they'd once entrusted him. If they insisted on continuing to hold their grudge, he would be better able to act freely back in the time before the monstrous Khleevi had destroyed the large time-traveling device. The buglike aliens wrecked everything they touched, and they had wreaked havoc not just with the time machine, but with the whole planet. The ecological damage had been repaired, but the time machine was no longer functional.

And, of course, the fish were lovely, too. The LoiLoiKuans saw the three of them approach. The younger ones, well trained by Khiindi back in the days when they were pool pupils, or poopuus, at the school on Maganos Moonbase, flipped a sleek, fat fish out of the water directly into his mouth. Good. Delicious. They had not forgotten the tribute due to their patron cat.

He barely had time to devour it and no time at all for a good wash and brushup before the twins stepped into the water. Khiindi jumped in after them. Makahomian Temple Cats, his lineage in more ways than one, did not mind a nice swim now and then. However, he remembered the first time he had met the aquatic dwellers, after suffering at the hands of that brat Marl Fidd, who had hurt him badly, then thrown him into the pool back at Maganos. The large brown LoiLoiKuans with their fused legs and flippered feet swam up to surround them. They were joined by their watery hosts, the sii-Linyaari, who were as indigenous to Vhiliinyar as anybody was.

Aari, the twins' father, had transplanted the sii-Linyaari to the current time from a previous one in which they were about to become extinct. They were not an attractive species, at least, not to anyone except others of their kind. They were examples of a failed attempt on the part of Khiindi's people, known to the Linyaari and the Ancestors as the Friends, to create the Linyaari race. Like Khorii and the rest of her race, the sii-Linyaari also had horns—many little ones growing all over their heads. Some had long, waving hair, some had none. They had fish tails instead of legs, and glistening scales, and spoke only in a bubble-accented thought-talk.

Although they had a reputation for being difficult and even hostile back in their original time, Khiindi figured it probably had a lot to do with their rejection by their parent creators. These days, they were quite happy to see him. If they knew that Khiindi was one of the Friends who had made them, they apparently thought his being a permanent pussycat was punishment enough because they were as friendly to him as they were to the girls and their new guests, the LoiLoiKuans.

"Greetings, everyone," Khorii said. "We thought you might like your waters freshened up a bit. Fancy a race to the island?"

All of the sea people were a bit overstimulated from the events of the previous day, when two tanks of LoiLoiKuans had been decanted into the surface-connected inland sea of Vhiliinyar. A nice sea race was apparently just their idea of a good time.

Popping bubbles and other expressions of assent rose from the water as bodies dipped, tails flipped, and the sea peoples left the twins and Khiindi wallowing in their wake.

"Now!" Ariin said. Khorii held on to her arm and took the liberty of grabbing Khiindi's tail. And suddenly, they were then.

Then

One moment they were in the water, the next they were inside a room bursting with fancy flowing robes framing a huge mirror and a chest brimming with jewels and cosmetics. Ariin looked around and nodded.

"Where are we?" Khorii asked.

"Akasa's wardrobe. That's where I found this," Ariin said, holding up her wrist to show off the crono, which dangled loosely on her small arm. "No more questions now. It's complicated. I need to get us back to an earlier time, before we were born."

"This is before I was born?" Khorii asked.

Third Watch
Acorna's Children
. Copyright © by Anne McCaffrey. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from Third Watch: Acorna's Children by Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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