Duncan MacKinnon stared at the computer screen and the beautiful red-head who stared back at him with perfectly lashed, emerald-green eyes. He’d looked at her image thousands of times and always came back to the same place. How could he destroy this woman’s life?
He closed the view screen and ran his hand through his shoulder length dark hair. The dark stubble on his face hinted at the full beard that would soon take its place.
He glanced up when his second-in-command, Lee Tadeo entered the room, a next-gen gun, tucked into the leather holster he kept strapped to his hips. His dark hair was neatly trimmed, his uniform perfectly pressed and his shoes polished to a shine. Nothing ever out of place, Duncan thought. His second in command was a by-the-books kind of guy.
This was going to be a hard sell.
“You look like hell, MacKinnon,” Lee told him, taking a more informal stance, yet still showing respect Duncan’s higher rank afforded him. They had been friends since childhood. Duncan respected Lee’s experience and expertise on the battlefield and he knew Lee felt the same about him. Still, what he was going to ask his friend to do would be treason if they were caught.
Duncan gestured to the chair opposite him and poured each of them a shot of whiskey, pushing one glass toward his friend. Picking up his own glass, he tossed the contents back in one swallow and poured himself another.
Lee watched him with the interest of a cat who’d found a mouse and was trying to decide what to do.
“I mean it, Duncan. You look like you haven’t slept.”
“I haven’t,” he replied, buttoning the white shirt he hadn’t bothered to change out of the night before. Wrinkled pants bore evidence of the fact he’d gotten very little sleep.
Pouring one more shot, he faced his long-time friend. “I’ve found a way to defeat Hawkins.”
Lee sat up straighter in his chair, setting the empty whiskey glass on Duncan’s large mahogany table. He raised one eyebrow and motioned for his friend to continue.
“Harrison found a way to stabilize the wormhole long enough to send a ship through.” Duncan watched Lee, trying to gauge his friend’s reaction. If he’d misjudged his loyalty Duncan would find himself on the wrong end of a gun.
Lee pushed himself out of the chair and began to pace, concern etched in his face.
Duncan continued, “I’ve verified her genetic DNA. She’s the one we’re looking for.” He didn’t need to tell Lee who the woman was. He’d been with Duncan the night they first hatched the idea of going back in time to find someone genetically gifted with magic who could give them the edge they would need in their war against tyranny. They had tossed around a lot of ideas that night, but the plan never moved to execution because of one thing: wormholes were unstable at best and difficult to find.
Until last month when one of Duncan’s men stumbled upon a wormhole while planning an interstellar mission to explore an uncharted area of space. While wormholes were notorious for appearing and disappearing all the time, this one was different. This latest find was nearly twice as large as previous wormholes . . . and it was only months away (as opposed to years).
This was their chance. But he’d need an army to back him. He’d also need a second officer he could trust. And he’d need a handler to safeguard the woman and teach her to use her skills. Assuming they made it back alive.
These weren’t jobs that were readily available in the 23rd century and the New World Order, where genetic engineering and design ensured any undesirable traits (including magic) were kept from the genetic pool.
“You’re asking me to join you in this crusade? How many men do you have to fight your war, Duncan? I came here today out of respect to our friendship, but you are fighting a losing battle. You know that as well as I.”
“Damnu, Lee! This is what we’ve trained for. Our Templar oath will demand nothing less.” His voice was clipped and harsher than he intended. “It wouldna matter if we have an army of one or 10,000. We need tae act now. We willna get a chance like this again.” His brogue was becoming more pronounced with his heightened emotions.
Lee looked his friend in the eyes. “What about the woman?”
“What about her?” Duncan replied.
Lee arched one eyebrow at his friend. In truth, Duncan didn’t want to think about her and what he was about to do. Her life would never be the same. She’d be forced into sequestration so as not to contaminate the timeline.
And there was a good chance she wouldn’t survive the travel back to their time. It was a chance he was willing to take. After all, this woman meant nothing to him, but was everything to their cause. . .
To read more about Duncan MacKinnon’s mission to save 23rd century earth, get your copy of Dark Awakening, the first book in the Dark World trilogy.
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