Authors: Viola Grace
Tags: #science fiction opera, #erotic Romance
Bex trains the best fighters in the arena, but when she is handed over to a champion, she has to fix a man who isn’t broken.
Bex has been training female fighters for years. She can craft any woman into a champion, but then, they are taken from her.
Her techniques catch the attention of the male side of the arena, and she is pressed into service training a man who is a champion that no longer has enthusiasm for the fight.
Ajaru has fought for years and enjoys his status as champion, but he wants more. He wants a life, a wife, a child, a home and normality. His lack of ambition to climb the champion ranks has gotten the attention of the fight master and he is assigned to a new trainer. Bex.
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2014 Viola Grace
Cover art by Martine Jardin
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A Terran Times Tale
Bex watched the match from behind the scenes, analyzing Crowly’s moves and making notes. A trainer could only do so much good before the trainee had to fly on their own.
Crowly took a few brutal slices to the forearms, but since she had four spares, it only made her angrier.
A roar of disbelief from the crowd celebrated Crowly’s win. Six month earlier, Crowly had been a chronic loser that only won when she was unable to control her emotions. Now, she was a calculating fighter that used her speed as an advantage and who showed off excellent gymnastic skills in the ring. She was a fighter worth watching.
Trainer Kalfo came to watch the match with her. “You have done wonders with her.”
“It has taken a great deal of effort. She is stubborn.”
“I hear you have a meeting with the matron.” Kalfo spoke softly.
Bex nodded. “I do. Now, in fact.”
She turned away from her fighter being finally cheered in the arena and headed for the offices. The matron was not a patient woman; in fact, Bex had a lot of doubts about her being female at all.
Lithe and nearly featureless, the matron of the Garlov Arena sat behind her desk.
“Your skills as a trainer have gained notice. Over the last three years, all eight of your charges have made it into the top-ten rankings. Those kind of results get noticed.”
“Thank you, Matron.”
“Oh, it wasn’t me who noticed. The men’s side has a champion who has recently begun to slip in the rankings. They have tried everything, but he just won’t budge. You are an option that they haven’t tried yet.”
Bex was confused. “Matron?”
“You are going to be assigned to work with the champion, so gather your things. The transfer is immediate. Go.”
Bex blinked. “But Crowly needs more work. She was still dropping her shoulder during the first half.”
“Her next trainer is on the way up from the lower league. It will be a learning experience for both of them. Crowly became champion with this win, so it will be up to her to keep that title.”
Bex leaned forward. “But—”
“But nothing. You are reassigned. Now go and pack. The transfer guard will be there within the hour.” The matron returned her attention to the computer in front of her.
Bex was dismissed.
She sat in her room with her two bags next to her. This was the one part of being in the imperium that she hated. Her life was never in her own hands, but it was what she had chosen. In leaving earth, she had agreed to go where the Alliance felt she would best serve the purposes of her species. The first two thousand Volunteers were fodder for testing to destruction.
The trade of a hundred humans into Nyal space had been a quiet exchange, but Bex had to admit that she felt at home in the confines of the arena. She had met dozens of species, seen hundreds more, but she had the wall of organization to back herself against.
With an anchor point behind her, Bex knew what the rules were and how to use them to her advantage. Unfortunately, those rules also kept her obeying the organization that she was now part of. If they wanted her to switch to the men’s side, she would go.
The chime at the door brought her mind out of its trip through the logic of why she should go along peacefully. It was a struggle every time she was forced into a new direction.
She got to her feet and opened the door. Two internal transport guards were waiting for her. “I will get my bags.”
She returned and picked them up, joining the guards in the hallway. The room was as empty now as when she had moved in, as if there was nothing left to prove that she had existed at all.
They began the walk down the hall with a steady march that sent the blockages in their path to the side. No one got in the way of transport guards. They were neurotoxic.
The route was not leading directly to the men’s area. “Where are we headed?”
One of the guards looked at her through four of its nine eyes. “You need to have your hormones shut down before you enter the men’s training area. A disguise is also an option.”
Bex nodded and walked to the medical centre with the guards.
The doctors explained the procedures that they had lined up. They would stop her cycle, colour her blue and dye her blonde hair orange. All changes were reversible if she ever left the arena.
The bluing would need to be refreshed every six months. It constricted her pores and minimized the amount of oil that her skin produced. She would need to compensate for that with lotions and oils.
Bex signed off on the procedures using her full name and thumbprint.
Beatrice Alexandra Unger – Trainer Bex of Terra.
The moment she confirmed her acceptance of the risks, the doctors went into active mode and began the procedures that would render her basically sexless for the duration of her time with the champion.
Bex would love to say that the procedure was painless, but she was always honest with herself, even if the answer sucked. It took seven days to recover from the changes, and she was indeed bright blue when they were done with her.
She looked at the trainer suit they brought to her and shook her head. “I am not wearing that.”
The medical attendant shifted from side to side. “It is traditional to wear the colours of the champion.”
“Not until he starts winning again. Bring me a blank suit in a dark leather pattern.” She sat with a sheet covering her until a blank suit could be found. The suit was an insult to the gladiator she was about to train, but there was nothing like treating him like a new recruit to get a man’s attention.
She used ties from her luggage to put her hair up in a long ponytail and waited for her escort. It was time to get back to work.
Bex was brought to the master’s office, and she stood in front of him, watching him assess her. She waited with all the patience at her command for him to speak.
“You are late, Trainer Bex.”
“I had to make a stop in medical, Fight Master.”
He had been a champion, decades earlier. The thick muscle of his body still moved easily and the scars were worn with pride. Bex made a mental note not to get within reach of his wicked horns or the tusks jutting from his khaki jaw.
The fight master polarized the plexi of his office walls and activated a screen behind him. “Ajaru Dolax is your fighter. He has gradually been losing points in each fight until he barely wins. We have worked on his diet, his training, his women; every change shows a slight increase and then a reduction to his status. We need a drastic change, and with your record for working with the unique talents of your fighter, you came to our attention as an option. Perhaps you are even the final option before retirement.”
“I will do my best.” She inclined her head sharply.
“Was there a problem with your fighter’s colours?”
She smiled. “Ajaru and I are beginning from the base level. How much time do I have?”
“Nine days until his next fight. I want him to work as hard as he can to win. He has the potential to become Grand Champion. I want to see him drive to that level.”
“Understood. I will find out why he is holding back and take steps to correct it. Shall I report any useful information to you?”
The fight master rose to his feet and loomed over her. “You had better, Trainer Bex, or I will use your body to make a new doorway.”
Bex swallowed and leaned back. “Understood, Master.”
He sat back down with a thud. “The guards will take you down to the pits. He is scheduled to be working out today.”
Bex gave a half-bow and left the master’s office. It was time to meet her fighter.
Ajaru was working out on one of the machines but his heart wasn’t in it. Bex could see that much from fifteen feet away.
He was moving his muscles, but he wasn’t
. There was no way that he should only have been gleaming lightly with that weight load.
Bex walked up to him and waited for a moment, watching his body move. It was a damned good thing that they had cut down on her hormones, because otherwise, she would have been in extreme danger of flirting her ass off.
He paused and settled the machine. “I don’t have anything to sign an autograph.”
“Good. I don’t want one. I am your new trainer.”
His deep blue eyes widened. His entire body was shades of navy except for his eyes. His eyes were the purest deep blue with pinpoint yellow star-shaped pupils. “You are a woman.”
“More or less. Now, come with me to the workout yard. I want to see you move.”
He got up, but he was moving along under sheer surprise.
Bex was willing to work with surprise.
At his side, Bex noted that he was twice her size, easily. His blue-black skin gleamed in the light of day and he picked up two swords, rotating them once before entering the sparring grid.
The light projection formed and a gong sounded. Ajaru moved through paces easily, dodging, weaving and twisting as the unit increased the level of difficulty.
Bex knew immediately what Ajaru’s problem was, and it had nothing to do with training. It wasn’t something that she could solve, and it meant that she was going to lose a cushy spot as a trainer.
When Ajaru’s opponent flickered out, the fighter turned to her. “Well?”
“Is there somewhere we can speak?”
“Of course. Come to my quarters.”
He returned the blades to the rack and led the way through the training centre, into the personal quarters of the champions.
The space allocated to Ajaru was incredible. He gestured for her to take a seat, and he poured two glasses of water for them.
“So, in your humble opinion, what is my problem?”
Bex toasted him with the water. “You are bored out of your fucking mind. You are winning the fights with the least amount of effort possible and using the least amount of energy for each activity outside the ring.”
Ajaru raised a dark eyebrow, and his eyes were amused. “Bravo. You have an eye for detail.”
“Yes, I just don’t know how to improve your points’ ratings. You are already maxed out on what can be given to you as a champion.”
“What I want can’t be given to a champion. I want a woman of my own for life. I want a mate.” He leaned back and put his arm along the edge of the couch he was sitting on.
She narrowed her eyes and cocked her head. “Fine. I will see what I can do to get you a mate. I am assuming that you will also need a home for you and her to live in while you are off between engagements.”
He leaned forward suddenly. “You will help me?”
“I will. If all you need is a toehold on the future, I will put it into play for you. What do your kind need to find your mates?”
He blinked. “Uh, wow. All right. I need a woman with a good body, curves, tall is preferable. Final connection will be made on the scent level as it is for most of the male fighters. It is why we fight in the first place. Too many males at close range and we fight. Now, we just get paid for it.”