Read Lyon's Pride Online

Authors: Anne McCaffrey

Lyon's Pride

Praise for the bestselling novels of
Anne McCaffrey's Tower and Hive series

THE ROWAN

“A well-told tale…McCaffrey's popularity is immense and justified.”

—
Booklist

DAMIA

“McCaffrey interweaves an engrossing romance with a coming-of-age story as she examines the issue of responsibility in a society where survival depends on the abilities of a gifted few.”

—
Publishers Weekly

“McCaffrey is in fine form…interesting…amusing…tempestuous.”

—
Locus

“[A] well-crafted universe…[
Damia
] both refines and extends characterizations, especially in interrelationships and the use of mental powers…a winning choice for the author's legion of fans.”

—
Booklist

DAMIA'S CHILDREN

“McCaffrey's fans won't be disappointed…hugely enjoyable…fascinating in its exploration of the brain's potential and untapped powers.”

—
The Calgary Sun

LYON'S PRIDE

“Another exciting episode in the thrilling epic of the Rowan…Read and enjoy!”

—
Romantic Times

THE TOWER AND THE HIVE

“McCaffrey maintains the high quality of characterization of humans and aliens alike, and, once again, she skillfully interweaves the plot threads, making it easy to follow the action on all fronts. A rousing conclusion to a most satisfying series.”

—
Booklist

Ace Books by Anne McCaffrey

The Tower and Hive Series

THE ROWAN

DAMIA

DAMIA'S CHILDREN

LYON'S PRIDE

THE TOWER AND THE HIVE

The Freedom Series

FREEDOM'S LANDING

FREEDOM'S CHOICE

FREEDOM'S CHALLENGE

FREEDOM'S RANSOM

LYON'S PRIDE

A
NNE
M
C
C
AFFREY

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) LLC

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014

USA • Canada • UK • Ireland • Australia • New Zealand • India • South Africa • China

penguin.com

A Penguin Random House Company

LYON'S PRIDE

An Ace Book / published by arrangement with the author

Copyright © 1994 by Anne McCaffrey.

Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

Ace Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group.

ACE and the "A" design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) LLC,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ISBN: 978-1-101-65956-4

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Ace/Putnam edition published 1994

Ace mass-market edition / February 1995

Cover art by Danny O'Leary

Cover design by Lesley Worrell.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

This book is dedicated to

MATTHEW HARGREAVES

for all the hard work, effort and time that he expended in nailing down an excellent bibliography of all the works by this grateful author

(except this one which wasn't written yet!)

Table of Contents

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

PROLOGUE

T
HE first incursion against the Nine Star League by the Hive entities occurs at Deneb, where Jeff Raven and the undeveloped Talents of his planet stave off a vicious attack by three alien scout ships orbiting Deneb IV. Calling for assistance from the Earth Federated Teleport and Telepath Prime, Peter Reidinger, Jeff Raven encounters the Rowan, Callisto's Prime. In a mind merge, two of the three invaders are destroyed and the third sent back, as a warning, to whence it had come.

Three years later the Mother Hive ship, a spherical leviathan, appears at Deneb heliopause. The Talents once again merge to defend the planet: the Rowan, pregnant with her second child, Cera, is the focus for the feminine minds which then immobilize the female Many Mind that governs the Hive ship. The male merge, with Jeff Raven as focus, then teleports the Hive ship into Deneb's primary.

Nineteen years later, while recuperating on Deneb,
Damia Gwyn-Raven, another T-1 Talent, and Afra Lyon, a Capellan T-2, have “dreams” which they realize are being implanted by the alien figures which appear in these dreams. Contact is made with these visitors, who call themselves the Mrdini. Through dreams the Mrdini explain that they have been defending themselves and their colony worlds against the incursions of the Hive for centuries. They had followed the Hive ship to Deneb and been fascinated by its destruction without loss of life on the part of the defenders. They offer an alliance.

In order to establish meaningful relationships, young 'Dinis are placed with Human children, in the sound belief that early exposure to another species facilitates understanding. Among those selected for this experiment are the children of Afra and Damia, now Tower Prime for Iota Aurigae, a mining world. Their eight children all have 'Dini pairs.

At sixteen, the eldest daughter, Laria, is sent to the 'Dini homeworld of Clarf to teach 'Dini Human language and to expand her own understanding of the adult vocabulary. At about this time, Mrdini scouts observe three Hive ships which separate before the 'Dini can catch up. But the ion trails left by the three are strong and can be followed on their disparate ways.

The Alliance of Mrdinis and Nine Star Leaguers decide on a four-pronged expedition. The first element of six ships is to backtrack to see if it cannot locate the elusive homeworld of the Hivers. The other three elements are to follow the Hive ships to their destinations, preferably to destroy them if at all possible before they can colonize another world by first sterilizing it of all existing life forms.

Isthian Lyon, Laria's brother, is seconded by FT&T to the AS
Vadim
to act as Prime with the tracking mission of six ships, four Human, two Mrdini. It is his job to improve
communications and relations between the Allies, and to receive supplies to keep the ships moving toward their objective. Thian has always been interested in naval matters so he is well suited by the assignment. Thian is accompanied by his 'Dini pair, Mrg and Dpl (Mur and Dip).

When the
Vadim
encounters a lifeless stationary derelict, it is identified as a Hive ship, though larger by another third than any previously encountered. It appears to have been destroyed by the heat of an expanding nova. Three escape pods seem to have been used, though others were destroyed
in situ.
An exploration detail of both 'Dini and Human is to examine the wreck. Encountering hostility from a crewman, Thian is nearly killed on the Hive ship, where he discovers undamaged Hiver eggs. These are sent to be studied by the Alliance xenobiologists. Recovering from his injury, Thian elects to continue with the Mrdini ship, the
KLTL
, as the Mrdinis insist on being certain that a nova has destroyed the Hive homeworld.

Two of the ships in Thian's element are required to start the derelict on its way to a point at which both Mrdini and Human specialists can examine it thoroughly. The remaining three ships decide to track down the three escape pods. It is essential to capture the pods, for just one queen is sufficient to establish a new colony.

While Thian continues with the
KLTL
on toward the site of the nova, the search for the three large ships, as well as the escape pods, continues. Attempts are also being made to reassemble from its shattered parts as much of the big Hive Sphere as is possible to reconstruct, in an effort to learn more about the enemy.

One of the escape pods, bearing a live queen, is discovered by the
Beijing
and captured, and is safely in tow behind the ship. Afra and his son Rojer are sent out to 'port the pod to the Heinlein Moon Station where it can be
safely examined in great detail. There is considerable debate and many factions: some wishing to summarily execute the queen, others wishing to approach her in an effort to establish communications with and knowledge of a species never before captured. The Mrdini are particularly against keeping the queen alive. Rojer, with his father acting as focus, easily transfers queen and pod.

Back on Earth, the captured queen pod is secured and placed under twenty-four hour survelliance. When she finally emerges, she is seen as a mantis-type creature, tenlimbed, and egg-heavy. Since no one has had much luck in incubating the eggs discovered on the derelict ship, it is decided to deposit these with her.

There is considerable objection to keeping the creature alive, but those who insist that knowing more about the enemy may be a deciding factor in a final victory over its incursions manage to win the argument. She is kept alive. Food of all varieties is supplied and she is seen to prefer vegetables or fruits. Her actions, when there are any, are monitored and shown to all interested.

Zara, the fourteen-year-old sister of Laria, Thian and Rojer, becomes emotionally involved with what she sees as the queen's dreadful plight and imprisonment. In a remarkable adventure, Zara arrives at the Observation Station and, distraught by the queen's condition, 'ports herself into the facility and realizes that the queen is freezing, being accustomed to a much hotter temperature in her parturitional stage. Zara's intercession saves the queen's life although, despite a hope that there has been some empathy between Human and Hiver, this bizarre incident is not repeated, nor can Zara explain why she acted as she did. Her parents realize with some regret that Zara is not Tower material, even though a Prime. Elizara, the T-1 medic for whom she was
named, and her great-grandmother Isthia decide she may have healing Talents.

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