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PSALM 26

A Psalm of David.

 

Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide.

Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

For Thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in Thy truth.

I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.

I have hated the congregation of evildoers; and will not sit with the wicked.

I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass Thine altar, O LORD:

That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Thy wondrous works.

LORD, I have loved the habitation of Thy house, and the place where Thine honour dwelleth.

Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men:

In whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes.

But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.

My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the LORD.

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Nocturne’s Reaping® : Prelude

Chapter 20

Lark had told Owen she didn’t want to see him for two days. Owen hadn’t thought to ask why she felt that way. Now, he wished he had. How important was it for him to stay away? Was it just that leave happened at that time, or was there some other reason? Certainly, he needed to talk with Lark as soon as possible. He wanted her thoughts on what Leader Monrage’s motivation could be for helping out with the probable coup. And what if it took awhile for Lark to figure out the reason? They might need those two days to iron everything out. Maybe he should go back to the ship and see whether he could run into Lark. Maybe then, he could suggest they meet up tomorrow night instead. Owen headed for the ship.

Owen made good time and managed to slip on to the ship before curfew. He used the hall where Lark’s room was located in order to get to the control room. That way he could pass by her door without arousing suspicion. As he headed down the hall, Owen could see that the door to Lark’s room was slightly ajar and was sliding in slowly. As he neared the door, he could see that it was dark inside. There was also no one in the doorway. Owen felt that was alarming. Owen swiftly went to the door and forcibly pushed it open the rest of the way with the palm of his hand.

Inside, Lark was standing opposite Leader Monrage. They were staring each other down. Suddenly, Monrage reached forward and grasped her arm; he wrenched it. But Lark didn’t react to it. She just kept staring at Monrage. Then, Lark’s eyes shifted toward Owen. For a moment, Owen hadn’t been sure that they had heard him enter and knew he was there. Now, though her eyes didn’t betray any emotion, it was clear to him that she wanted his help.

“You’re needed in the control room … Officer Twelve.” Owen stated.

“And who would need her in the control room during leave?” Leader Monrage demanded without looking at him.

“Jensen. He’s always here at night. He needs to shut down the system in order to run a diagnostic scan.” Owen replied. The scan had been done days ago. Owen hoped that Leader Monrage didn’t know that. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to do another. “You want us to be prepared for … whatever, don’t you?”

Leader Monrage released Lark. He laughed out loud.

“All right. Go handle your little problem, and we’ll take this up later.” Monrage said to Lark.

Lark kept her eyes turned away from Leader Monrage. She stared past Owen and toward the door. She then walked in the direction her eyes were pointing. Suddenly, Lark bent down and quickly scooped up Cinnamon; she pulled her to her chest. Finally, she walked out into the hall.

Owen could tell by the look in Lark’s eyes that she was very upset. Owen then looked over at Leader Monrage, who was smiling with a perverse look on his face. Owen just glared at him from underneath his eyebrows. Then, he turned and followed Lark out the door. He could feel Leader Monrage staring after him.

Owen spotted Lark not far ahead of him walking slowly toward the control room. It didn’t take long for Owen to catch up to her. Lark was almost staring straight ahead, but her eyes were slightly downcast. She was petting the cat rhythmically.

“Jensen didn’t ask for you.” Owen told her.

“I know. That was last week.” Lark stated in a monotone.

“Lark.”

Lark slid her eyes toward him.

“I can’t do this anymore.” Lark whispered. “I have to find a way out. Will you help me?”

“Yes.” Owen tried to give Lark a reassuring smile.

“After we start the diagnostic, we’ll go talk. I have to stay somewhere else tonight. I know it might make it harder to deal with things.”

“Doesn’t matter. I have something to tell you.” Owen returned.

“Good.” Lark said. “That’s good.”

Jensen was not only a navigator, but he also handled the computer maintenance. It was easier that way. After all, if the computer’s navigational system didn’t work it would be he that would face the brunt of Leader Monrage’s wrath. Oh well. It was a small price to pay. He would lose a few hours of sleep, but the quality of the sleep he did get was much improved. Of course, some days seemed less tedious than others. Jensen found it really depended on how the rest of the day went. Some days were more exciting. Working around the unique intricacies of space and going out on shore leave were his two favorite things to do. Days where he sat around waiting to be needed — those were the days that grated on Jensen.

So, when Officer Twelve walked into the room, face downcast and seemingly in a daze, his first thought was at least this was different. His second thought was one of concern.

“Don’t worry. She’ll be fine.” Owen said, shutting the door behind him.

“Of course.” Jensen replied.

Jensen wasn’t sure he liked the familiarity Owen seemed to show Officer Twelve. After all, she was the commanding officer on this ship. She was the leader when Leader Monrage wasn’t around. Still, to look at Officer Twelve now, even with the uniform, she looked like a lost, little girl. Officer Twelve sat in her commander’s chair and began to pet the cat on her lap. Suddenly, Officer Twelve looked up and made eye contact with him. Jensen was embarrassed to realize that he had been staring.

“Could you please run the diagnostics again? I have a feeling we’ll be taking off soon. The ship has to be at optimal performance.”

“Of course.” Jensen set to work.

Suddenly, there was a noise coming from the door. It seemed that someone was trying to open the door, but Owen had locked it. Lark turned around in her chair and watched the door until the knob stopped rattling. When it stopped, Lark allowed herself to breathe. She turned back around.

“I really appreciate you doing this, Jensen.” Lark told him.

“Of course, Officer. I’m glad you appreciate what I do. You know, I have to input all of the changing conditions within the range of a day’s travel: weather, climate, space debris. I wish other commanders would understand the importance of computer optimization.”

When Jensen looked up at Officer Twelve, she was staring off to the side. But then, she looked at him again.

“I’m counting on it to give us an edge.” Officer Twelve revealed.

“Of course.” Jensen smiled. “We’ll be the best in the fleet for sure. Heck, we may already be that.”

“I hope so.” Officer Twelve said.

“Well, the diagnostic scan has been started, but it may take awhile.”

“That’s fine.” Officer Twelve’s eyes wandered downward. Yet, the feeling that Jensen was still looking at her drew her attention back to him. Did he think she didn’t trust him? She grasped the arms of her chair with her hands.

“I’m going to stick around if that’s okay with you.” she told him.

“Sure. No problem.”

“Obviously you could do it without me.” she added.

Lark didn’t want to leave just then. She was afraid Leader Monrage would come in and stop the scan if she left. Maybe it was silly for Lark to think she could stand guard over the computer system. After all, she feared she had little ability to protect herself, which if Lark were honest with herself was the real reason she didn’t want to leave the room. She suspected Leader Monrage had been the one to try the knob earlier. Maybe if she waited long enough, Leader Monrage would lose interest in waiting around. That or he was looking for a key. Maybe she was just fooling herself to think she had any control.

“Do you really think we should stick around here?” Owen whispered to Lark. “We don’t really need the scan.”

Lark turned and looked at the door with trepidation.

“I guess you’re right.” Lark turned to Jensen. “Let me know whether … something interrupts the scan. We’ll make time for it tomorrow morning.”

Owen was surprised by how much of a daze Lark seemed to be in.

“Oh, okay.” Jensen returned. “But I think it’ll go through tonight. Still, it’s nice to have the support.”

Lark wished she could tell Jensen not to trust Leader Monrage. But why cause a problem for him if she didn’t have to? Having to be wary of Leader Monrage certainly didn’t make Lark’s life any easier. If Jensen was fortunate enough to be able to fly under Leader Monrage’s radar, why should Lark ruin that for him? Still, to have someone like Leader Monrage actively trying to undermine her but not have the ability to warn those she needed to depend on was problematic for Lark. Yet, she couldn’t hang out in the control room all night.

“All right.” Lark said. “We’ll leave Jensen to it.”

Owen nodded in disbelief. Lark scooped Cinnamon off her lap. She could tell by looking at Jensen one last time before she left that he was confused. He seemed to be perplexed about Lark’s behavior, but mostly he seemed confused about the dynamic between Lark and Owen. Lark had to admit she wasn’t exactly sure what her relationship with Owen was. Now, she’d have to consider how it would affect her crew. But there was time for that later. She had to deal with Leader Monrage first.

When Lark stepped foot into the hall, she stopped short and looked around her. All the dark spaces down the hall seemed ominous. She could almost feel Leader Monrage’s presence. Still, there was no sign of anyone being around. Owen came up behind her then.

“You ready?” he asked her.

“Yes.” she determined.

Leader Monrage didn’t appear again that night, but Lark kept an eye out for him anyway. She cast a look at her room door, which was now shut. In a way, it was more frightening like that. Was Leader Monrage in there, hiding in the closet waiting for her? She then looked straight ahead. It didn’t matter. She wouldn’t be going back there that night. She’d sleep on the street if she had to rather than go back there. Lark felt a sense of relief when she passed by the security guards. She was free — at least for a little while. She felt the wind on her face and was grateful for it. She remembered when the wind was hot, dry, and dusty on her face. It was hard to breathe then; it was easier now. But it wasn’t completely easy yet. It wouldn’t be, not until she was free of Leader Monrage. But how?

Lark and Owen came upon the church door. It was shut. At first, Lark was again concerned that it was locked. Fortunately, the fear was unwarranted. It opened slowly but smoothly.

Lark breathed out. She stepped inside, and Owen filed in behind her. Lark touched the edge of a pew with her hand. She could lie down on this bench and sleep there. After all, the pews were covered with cushions. If only she could stay there and shut out the bad things.

“So, are you going to tell me what happened?” Owen asked.

“You can imagine.” Lark said while looking off to the side.

“Yes, I probably can.”

“I have to break free. That’s why I’m here — to figure out a way. It felt safe besides.”

“Are you up for having a talk?” Owen put forth.

Lark gave him eye contact.

“Yes, I feel better now.” she told him.

Owen sighed. He was relieved.

“I did get some information out of that Mr. Marlock. You know, the one who works for Frederick. He let something slip. Seems there are other ships, possibly even a fleet. And they probably know what the plan is. I figure we aren’t privy to the information because it may leak out. That is why they’re not around; they don’t want there to be a chance anyone here will find out. From what I’ve been able to discover about Frederick Applegate’s family, I suspect a coup of some kind is about to be attempted. What I don’t know is what is in it for Leader Monrage. I thought maybe you could figure out that part. It would most likely be easier to destroy Leader Monrage’s payment in order to stop the transaction than to try to stop a whole coup once it’s in progress. I mean, whom could we tell? Would they even believe us? And could we trust them?”

“I agree.”

“Well, we have a lot of things to do.” Owen was animated. “I suggest I go pick us up something to eat. It’s going to be a long night.”

“Yes. That would be good. Though, we’ll probably need to eat on the front steps instead of in here.” Lark offered.

“Sure. As for the weather, it’s shaping up to be a nice night.”

Lark nodded.

“Take care of yourself. I’ll be right back.”

Lark could have gone with Owen, she supposed. But she was tired and really didn’t want to leave the church.

“I hope they won’t mind that you’re here, Cinnamon.” Lark said to her cat. “You’re going to have to behave yourself. I couldn’t leave you in the room; something would have happened to you.”

Lark decided she may as well sit down as she waited for Owen to return. She sat down in a back pew with the cat in her lap. She prayed. Then, she turned her thoughts to what Leader Monrage could possibly want from this situation. Maybe if Lark thought about it long enough, the answer would become clear.

 

Copyright © Jennifer Alice Chandler 2015

Nocturne’s Reaping® : Prelude

Chapter 19

Celeste had a lot of explaining to do to her future in-laws about the odd appearance of Leader Monrage and Officer Twelve. They made it clear that, though they were proud of Frederick’s business success, there was no need to invite people such as those to their parties. People such as those. That statement alone made it worth it. Suddenly, Celeste felt a jolt of relief and maybe even excitement. She hadn’t realized how much Lark’s re-emergence had bothered her.

Just when all of her and Frederick’s plans were about to pay off, Lark comes back almost like a harbinger of death. Frederick tried to console Celeste, but Lark’s return just seemed to be an indication that bad things were about to unfold for her. She had been so confident before, but after seeing Lark again that dissolved. Still, Frederick insisted Leader Monrage was the man to make their plan succeed. Thank goodness for that party, Celeste thought. Seeing Lark there — no one would believe Lark about the theft — that it was actually Frederick and she who had stolen the broach. So, how should Celeste play it if her future in-laws did find out about her connection to Lark? Maybe she’d say Lark took it upon herself to try to get them some money. Or, maybe Lark was just born bad.

Celeste laughed. No matter. As annoying as the past was to her now, it had been necessary to steal that broach. Celeste needed the money to lift her into a better standard of living. Frederick, meanwhile, needed to be out from underneath his father’s thumb. The idea of having Lark take the fall for it wasn’t planned, but Celeste had been spotted from a distance running back toward the house. True, she and Lark weren’t the same height or age. They didn’t even have the same hair color. Yet, Frederick saw to it that those types of questions wouldn’t be asked. Frederick had a friend who could help him, but that friend made it clear that someone would have to take the blame. Someone would have to pay — that was the only way Celeste could be free. Ironically, they used some of the proceeds from the broach to accomplish the right outcome at the hearing. Celeste would lie low, and the judge would just accept Lark’s plea. Of course, Celeste had been a little worried that if she didn’t go to the hearing Lark wouldn’t plead guilty, but she did.

And as it turned out, it was for the best. Celeste had nearly destroyed her own future to keep Lark around; Lark owed her something in return. Besides, if Celeste had been sent to the prison planet Lark would have ended up in the foster care system anyway. Celeste sighed. She doubted Lark would see it that way — because Lark was younger she was entitled.

But it didn’t matter now. Leader Monrage would manage Lark. He could probably even convince Lark there was little to be gained in exposing that she and Celeste were related. Celeste breathed.

“Hello, my lovely.” Frederick came up to her at the party. “You seem to be doing much better.”

“I am.” Celeste smiled.

“So, where did she go?”

“I saw her leave through the garden door a little while ago.” Celeste admitted.

“Well, I’ve got to talk with the mayor. Is that all right?”

“Sure. Of course.”

Celeste kissed his cheek. Then, Celeste got to thinking — why should she be afraid of Lark? Lark should be afraid of her. Celeste was the one with the power. Maybe Celeste should make sure Lark knew that. If Lark had left the grounds, it might mean that Lark finally got it. Celeste crossed over to the garden exit Lark left by. Celeste had watched Lark file out of the room from the corner of her eye. She hadn’t wanted to give Lark the satisfaction of knowing she was interested in what Lark was doing. Still, though Lark had walked out quickly it was not fast enough for Celeste.

When Celeste stepped onto the balcony, there was no one there. Lark must have found the gate, Celeste concluded, even though it was hard to see. Celeste headed there just to make sure. Funny, the latch was still secured from the inside. Could Lark have sneaked back into the house? Celeste put her hand on the latch and considered. She was about to leave and return to the party when she heard voices in the garden speaking words she couldn’t quite make out.

Curiosity overcame Celeste, and she lifted the latch. She walked carefully yet quickly toward the voices. By the time she got to the two people, they had stopped talking. In the clearing was her cousin Lark kissing an unknown man. Celeste stood frozen there wondering what to make of it. Who was this guy, and what did he have to do with Lark? Did Leader Monrage know about this? Celeste waited until they left before heading back to the house. Celeste didn’t want a confrontation after all. Celeste returned to the gate. She felt relief when she was able to relock the door. Immediately, Celeste ventured back into the party. She was intent on finding Leader Monrage. Unfortunately, Celeste didn’t see the striking man among the crowd. However, Celeste was able to find Frederick.

“Frederick, where is Leader Monrage?”

“He just left.”

“Oh.” Celeste uttered.

“What’s wrong?” Frederick asked her.

“I have to tell him something. It seems someone isn’t being completely honest with him. Where can I find him, do you think?”

“He’ll be here in three days. Can it wait until then?”

“So, that’s when it is. Yes, I suppose so. After all, even I don’t know what to make of it. Besides, I know you don’t want us seen with him again until …” Celeste stopped herself in time. “By the way, I know you did this thing tonight for me.”

“Yes, I’d do anything for you.”

“Yes, of course.” Celeste mentioned.

“I could send him a note if you want.”

“No, I don’t want to risk our plan. That’s what’s important. I’ll deal with the other soon enough.”

 

***

 

Lark headed for her room. As soon as she could, she tore off the uniform and threw it to the ground. Leader Monrage could control what she wore outside of these walls, but inside this room she could do what she pleased. But was it enough? And what would happen if he did try to control everything she did? Would she even be capable of stopping him?

When Lark sat on the bed, Cinnamon came up wanting to be petted. Lark petted her. Yet, Lark stared blankly out the window as though in a trance. Her mind alternated between the horrible experience of being with Leader Monrage and Celeste that night and the unexpected occurrence that happened with Owen afterward. It was almost too much to process.

And then, there was the fact that she’d given herself two days to figure out what was going on with Leader Monrage, Celeste, and Frederick. She’d chosen that date because she figured the soonest anything could happen was after leave was over. Also, it hadn’t escaped her notice that the following day everyone would be subjected to yet another roll call and another mandatory lockdown. It would seem that Leader Monrage was once again planning to meet with Frederick and Celeste. There was no way to know how much time was left before their plan was implemented. True, she could let Owen find out what he could, but what if he couldn’t find out anything by then? And what if he was discovered asking around and something happened to him? Lark realized that she cared whether something happened to him. She wrung her hands.

Lark then tried to piece together what little information she already had. Obviously, the need to have a new pilot and the fastest ship had something to do with the plan. There was a lot of secrecy involved in it as well. So, Owen was right; there was a large chance of illegality and danger. What was more, Leader Monrage was probably going to spring the plan on the crew at the last minute, so there wouldn’t be a chance the information would be leaked. That meant that once Lark came back from leave, she wouldn’t have another opportunity to change things.

In the end, even though Lark wanted to help retrieve information, she wondered how she could even manage it. Say there was information at her cousin’s mansion — would it be worth the risk to look for it? If someone saw her, Leader Monrage would go nuts, and Lark would probably be put into solitary confinement — if she even survived. That was assuming there was even anything written down. As paranoid as Leader Monrage was, that was doubtful.

It also seemed Owen would be the one most likely to find something out if there were any rumors circulating. Lark didn’t know why, but she had a feeling Owen may be good at finding out information. Then again, maybe she did know why; he did get a lot of information from her. Either way, it seemed as though she’d have to count on him. People were unlikely to disclose information to her, especially in this uniform. Who would talk with Lark about her boss?

 

***

 

Owen was an observer. That’s how he managed to survive so long in the barren hole that he grew up in. Sometimes the sporadic workings of the climate adapter on his home planet made it difficult to breathe. Those were the worst days, but the other days weren’t much better. There was always intrigue there and people pitted against one another. It didn’t take long for Owen to withdraw — to figure out what was really going on — to stay out of it when he could but take action when he had to. It was safer that way.

Still, as it turned out, being capable of blending into the background could be a useful skill to have at times. Owen touched his glass with his fingers. Lark obviously thought so. He’d been a little worried that she would freak out when he kissed her, but she hadn’t. Owen hadn’t anticipated having feelings for Lark, but there was a connection there. Originally, Owen had thought this position with Leader Monrage would last as long as it was going to, and then he’d move on. But now, he felt a certain investment in taking Lark out of this situation and off with him. Leaving her with that so-called man wasn’t an acceptable option for him. To be honest, and he wouldn’t admit this to Lark, but he was concerned that eventually Leader Monrage would try to force Lark into a personal relationship with him. Leader Monrage clearly enjoyed torturing her when he could. Owen thought Lark could feel that she was in danger with Leader Monrage, but she was trapped. Owen could sense the time was nearing; he didn’t know what Leader Monrage had been waiting for. Perhaps he was waiting until he didn’t need her anymore. Owen suspected it wasn’t that logical. He suspected Leader Monrage enjoyed the anticipation. Still, Owen sensed something bad was building, and it would probably happen after this plan of Leader Monrage’s occurred. Owen couldn’t let that happen. But right now he couldn’t think about that. He needed to get information about Leader Monrage’s plan, so that he could derail it.

Besides being able to talk with then kiss Lark, Owen had gotten something else out of that party. He was able to see that a person other than the three main players had access to the information that he sought. There was a man who seemed to be Leader Monrage’s contact at the house. Owen figured that the conspirators would have to have told him something about what they were doing in order to get his cooperation. And if he was around a lot, there was also a chance that he heard more than they even wanted him to. Still, if he was so trusted by those involved it could be hard to get the needed information out of him — hard but not impossible. The trick was to get him to say something he may not realize was important. Either way, he wasn’t going to get any information on the opposite side of the room. Owen took a sip of his drink. It was time to feel out where Mr. Marlock was coming from. Owen stood and headed toward the bar. He took a seat a few stools down; he allowed there to be a man between them. It would be better to listen to Marlock tell his story to someone else. However, if Owen had to engage Marlock in conversation it was important that he not make Marlock wary of him. Owen couldn’t let Marlock suspect that he came to the bar because Marlock was there.

Owen decided to play it as though he was distracted and stressed. He decided to ask for a club soda. He thought it would get Marlock’s attention. Sure enough, as the person between them stepped off, Owen could feel Marlock shooting him a curious glance. Owen then shot an annoyed look at Marlock, who looked away briefly. Still, moments later Marlock snickered, “What? Not old enough for even this place?”

The bartender picked up on the exchange. He apparently was curious, too. And as it turned out, it fit into Owen’s plan nicely.

“Hard day?” the bartender queried.

“I wish it were only that. Though, sometimes it does feel like one long day.” Owen replied.

The bartender was apparently not going to press, so Owen decided he had to risk being obvious and offer up some more information.

“I’m on call. Who knows how long it will last.”

“On call, huh? A doctor? You seem a bit young for that.”

“A pilot.”

“A pilot? Don’t you have a flight plan?” the bartender wondered.

Owen faked being uncomfortable.

“Usually. But no one tells me anything.”

It was obvious Mr. Marlock was listening in. That was a good sign; it meant he probably had an eavesdropping tendency. Now, how to get him to talk …

“So, I just sit around waiting. Someday I’m going to get my own ship. I’m sick of being someone’s lackey.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Owen could see Mr. Marlock shift.

“They’ll let you take the risks for them, and they’ll let you do all of their grunt work. Still, when it comes to the information you really need — the really important information that you need to have in order to do your job effectively — that they don’t trust you enough to give you.”

Owen could sense the tension coming from his right. He took the opportunity to look at the man.

“Of course, that guy doesn’t know what we’re talking about.” Owen said to the bartender in regard to Mr. Marlock. “He probably owns a fleet of ships.”

“Why would you say that?” Mr. Marlock demanded.

Owen had to continue to seem uninterested. Fortunately, he had a lot of experience with that.

“What I said seemed to bother you. I figured you don’t like to hear working-class men like me complain about their bosses.”

Mr. Marlock glared at Owen; he tapped his drink with his fingers.

“That one thing you said is true. I do think complaining is tedious. Plus, maybe there’s something wrong with you that you don’t know more.”

“So, you’re told everything by your employer?” Owen queried with a hint of disbelief.

Mr. Marlock said nothing but seemed to redden.

“I guess not.” Owen suggested smugly.

“Listen, I can say one thing at least; I’m told more than anyone else in my position. Can you say the same?”

Owen raised an eyebrow. It occurred to Owen that Mr. Marlock recognized him. That was interesting.

“And what is that supposed to mean?” Owen demanded coolly.

“It means you’re the only one of the pilots who hasn’t been told what you’re doing.”

Owen took a sip of his soda. He considered.

“Maybe you’re right.” he said. He took out some money and left it on the counter. “I can’t say it’s been nice talking with you.”

Owen strode out of the bar. He didn’t want to wait around for Mr. Marlock to realize what he’d said. So, there were other pilots. Not around here, though. But possibly nearby that hadn’t arrived yet? Maybe Monrage had ordered a fleet. The rest of the fleet — if there was one waiting in the wings — may have been told the score because they were too far away to leak the information. Perhaps they were even in Colony 9’s orbit right now. It made sense on some level. One ship couldn’t do much, but a fleet that had grown over the years could. Frederick was probably attempting a coup. Owen had seen enough coups where he was from to see the signs.

Also, Owen had learned earlier — before his conversation with Marlock — that Frederick’s family had power on this planet. The family pretty much ran the colony like a monarchy. Actually, it was during that conversation that Owen discovered where Marlock hung out after work. And from Lark’s past, Owen knew that Frederick had a history of taking what he wanted when he wanted it. Asking permission wasn’t one of Frederick Applegate’s favorite things to do to say the least.

Still, there was one major piece Owen didn’t know. Leader Monrage certainly would have demanded a payoff of some kind. Maybe Lark would have some idea what Monrage would consider worth his time and worth the risk.

 

Copyright © Jennifer Alice Chandler 2015

James 1

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Let the brother of low degree rejoice [Or, glory] in that he is exalted:

But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.

For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man:

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Do not err, my beloved brethren.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world (James 1: 1-27).

Acts 2

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded [Or, troubled in mind], because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,

Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

“AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THE LAST DAYS,” SAITH GOD, “I WILL POUR OUT OF MY SPIRIT UPON ALL FLESH: AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS:

“AND ON MY SERVANTS AND ON MY HANDMAIDENS I WILL POUR OUT IN THOSE DAYS OF MY SPIRIT; AND THEY SHALL PROPHESY:

“AND I WILL SHEW WONDERS IN HEAVEN ABOVE, AND SIGNS IN THE EARTH BENEATH; BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOUR OF SMOKE:

“THE SUN SHALL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS, AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THAT GREAT AND NOTABLE DAY OF THE LORD COME:

“AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS, THAT WHOSOEVER SHALL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED.”

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it.

For David speaketh concerning Him, “I FORESAW THE LORD ALWAYS BEFORE MY FACE, FOR HE IS ON MY RIGHT HAND, THAT I SHOULD NOT BE MOVED:

“THEREFORE DID MY HEART REJOICE, AND MY TONGUE WAS GLAD; MOREOVER ALSO MY FLESH SHALL REST IN HOPE:

“BECAUSE THOU WILT NOT LEAVE MY SOUL IN HELL, NEITHER WILT THOU SUFFER THINE HOLY ONE TO SEE CORRUPTION.

“THOU HAST MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; THOU SHALT MAKE ME FULL OF JOY WITH THY COUNTENANCE.”

Men and brethren, let me [Or, I may] freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in hell, neither His flesh did see corruption.

This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, “THE LORD SAID UNTO MY LORD, ‘SIT THOU ON MY RIGHT HAND,

“‘UNTIL I MAKE THY FOES THY FOOTSTOOL.’ ”

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house [Or, at home], did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved (Acts 2: 1-47).

Luke 5

And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon Him to hear the word of God, He stood by the lake of Gennesaret,

And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.

And He entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And He sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.

Now when He had left speaking, He said unto Simon, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.”

And Simon answering said unto Him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy word I will let down the net.

And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.

And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:

And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.”

And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed Him.

And it came to pass, when He was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought Him, saying, Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.

And He put forth His hand, and touched him, saying, “I will: be thou clean.” And immediately the leprosy departed from him.

And He charged him to “tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.”

But so much the more went there a fame abroad of Him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities.

And He withdrew Himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

And it came to pass on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before Him.

And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.

And when He saw their faith, He said unto him, “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.”

And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?

But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answering said unto them, “What reason ye in your hearts?

“Whether is easier, to say, ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee’; or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’?

“But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power upon earth to forgive sins,” (He said unto the sick of the palsy,) “I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.”

And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.

And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

And after these things He went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He said unto him, “Follow Me.”

And he left all, rose up, and followed Him.

And Levi made Him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.

But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against His disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?

And Jesus answering said unto them, “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.

“I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

And they said unto Him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but Thine eat and drink?

And He said unto them, “Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?

“But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.”

And He spake also a parable unto them; “No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.

“And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.

“But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.

“No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, ‘The old is better.’ ” (Luke 5: 1-39)

Zechariah 1

In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,

“The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers.

“Therefore say thou unto them, ‘Thus saith the LORD of hosts; “Turn ye unto Me,” saith the LORD of hosts, “and I will turn unto you,” saith the LORD of hosts.

“Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, ‘Thus saith the LORD of hosts; “Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings” ’: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto Me,” saith the LORD.

“Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?

“But My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, ‘Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath He dealt with us.’ ” ’ ”

Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,

I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled [Or, bay], and white.

Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be.

And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.

And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.

Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt Thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which Thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?

And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words.

So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; “I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.

“And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.”

Therefore thus saith the LORD; “I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: My house shall be built in it,” saith the LORD of hosts, “and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.”

Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; “My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.”

Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns.

And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.

And the LORD shewed me four carpenters.

Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it (Zechariah 1: 1-21).