Authors: Viola Grace
Tags: #Adult, #Romance, #Science Fiction, #Space Opera
Turning her body into chemical weapons was not an option she was given in school.
Abitika grew up with a talent for changing the way people think. When she used that talent on behalf of her sister, it gained her five years of confinement.
The Citadel has been checking Jrinka colony for years, and Abitika was one of the most promising sightings. They pry her out of her confinement and send her to Morganti in the nick of time.
Recovering from her incarceration, Bits is shocked to find out that her talent for pheromonal manipulation also extends to her mind.
Turnari is the only one willing to take the risk of training the new specialist and teaching her what her mind was capable of. They have a true meeting of the minds but they both want more.
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
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 © 2015 Viola Grace
Cover art by Martine Jardin
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
Published by eXtasy Books Inc or
Devine Destinies, an imprint of eXtasy Books Inc
Look for us online at:
www.eXtasybooks.com or www.devinedestinies.com
Tales of the Citadel Book 50
The Citadel recruiter looked down at her clipboard. There was a name unchecked.
“Matron, where is Abitika Kenharm?”
The matron winced and closed her eyes. “I am sure it is not necessary for you to see her.”
Recruiter Ambith raised her brows when she felt the push on her mind. “As you are trying to dissuade me; I am now certain. Yes, I do want to see her. She has not been checked in the last decade, and before that, she was showing signs of developing a talent.”
The matron nodded and went to the com unit. “Reeree, please locate and send in Bits.”
There was a pause on the other side of the call. “Are you sure?”
Recruiter Ambith sat down. “I am not leaving until I see her.”
It took twenty-six minutes before the door opened and a figure in an EVA suit walked in.
The figure walked over to Ambith, and it bowed. “Greetings, Recruiter.”
“Why are you in that suit?”
The reflective facemask turned toward her and then looked down. “It is my punishment, Ma’am.”
The matron looked like she would intervene, but she pressed her lips together.
“Take off your helmet.”
“It isn’t coded for me to release, Ma’am.”
“Matron, remove her helmet.”
The matron grimaced, but when Ambith applied her own mental pressure, she came over and released the helmet.
Abitika blinked at the light as her head was exposed. “Wow. That feels different.”
Ambith scowled. “How long have you been in that suit?”
Abitika looked at the matron and apparently did math in her head. “Two years, four months and six days.”
Recruiter Ambith cocked her head and analyzed the woman in front of her. There was power, but it was strangely arranged. “What is your talent, Abitika?”
Matron snarled, “She is dangerous. She nearly killed one member of the colony.”
Recruiter Ambith sighed. “Matron, get out. I will contact you when I have concluded my interview. Abitika, have a seat.”
The matron looked like she wanted to fight, but Ambith pushed her and the woman closed the door behind her.
* * * *
Bits took a seat and looked at the Citadel recruiter. “What would you like to know?”
Bits twisted her lips and then blurted, “My-sister-had-a-crush-on-a-guy-and-she-asked-me-to-make-him-love-her-so-I-did-and-then-he-went-out-and-tried-to-get-her-some-flowers-but-he-was-allergic-to-the-stingers-and-he-nearly-died-but-now-he-is-fine.”
She breathed in short bursts as she finished her story.
The recruiter blinked. “I see. The suit is your punishment?”
“It is. Since all of my biological products carry psychic control, they wrapped me up for a sentence of five years.”
“What do you mean your
“Any part of my body can be encoded with an emotion that can be transferred to my target.”
“How do you do the encoding?”
“I either think of an emotion that I have felt or I copy one from somewhere. In the case of Hesko and my sister, I used my sister’s canine. It loved her completely, so I copied its mental signature and put a drop of blood in Hesko’s morning tea. He went a little crazy after that.”
The recruiter nodded and took notes. “Are you willing to enter the Citadel?”
Bits wrinkled her nose. “Do I still have to wear the suit?”
“You might have to wear
suit. We will try and make it more comfortable.”
“If my parents say I can go, I will go.” She nodded.
“Have you concluded your schooling?”
“Yes. I am an apprentice to a carpenter now. It was the only trade I could work in in this suit.”
“Everything will be cleared up before we leave, but you are coming with me.”
Bits snorted. “Just have someone come and get me. In the meantime, can you put my helmet back on? I don’t want them to add time to my sentence.”
Bits sat still as the other woman put the helmet back on and snapped it in place.
The seals charged up and a crackling took place as it locked against Bits’ touch.
“Leave it to me, Abitika. I will manage the arrangements to get you off Jrinka and into the Citadel.”
Bits gave her a thumbs-up, and she left the room.
The matron scowled at her, but Bits ignored her and headed back to her master’s workshop. She had plenty more work to do before she was allowed to exchange the air in the suit through a filter.
Her punishment had been calculated. Each day, she was given enough atmosphere in the suit to get her through her scheduled tasks. If she wasn’t suffering from oxygen deprivation by the end of the day, they would know that she had cracked the suit.
“What did the matron want?” Master Weran glanced at her as she returned to her bench.
“The Citadel recruiter is here, and she had the matron remove my helmet. I am telling you in case it wasn’t on record.” Her suit also had a camera in it, but she never mentioned it. No one wanted to know that they were being watched.
“I will log it. How long was it off?”
“About five minutes? Not more than seven.”
Weran made a note and had one of the other apprentices sign it as witness. It confirmed that neither of them had physical contact with Bits while she was out of the suit.
The matron hated her. Hesko was her nephew, and in her eyes, the young man could do no wrong. The fact that he had seduced Bits’ sister and then dropped her didn’t matter. Tampering with him had given Bits an enemy for life.
The matron wouldn’t hesitate to haul her in front of the colony council.
In her mind, Bits pushed away the worries and focused on the work. She was crafting a jewel box that would have a clockwork inset at a later time. It was her apprentice project, and completing it properly would make her a journeyman.
The small box had plenty of drawers and inlays. She worked well into the night to finish her piece. Master Weran came into the workshop, and he saw her putting the final touches on it.
“Well done. I will examine it in the morning.” He took it from her and moved it into the safe. It had been something they had learned in her first few weeks as his apprentice. All of her work would be destroyed by morning if they didn’t hide it.
Bits nodded and put the decoy box onto her workstation. It would be obvious that she had been working all night and no one knew that Weran had been out except her. It would be assumed that she had been so tired that she forgot to put her work away.
Master Weran locked up the workshop, and he headed for bed.
With heavy steps and a distinct lack of breathable air in her suit, Bits headed for home.
Her vision was greying out as she stumbled across her threshold and up the stairs to the air-exchange station.
She heard her parents calling her through the roaring in her ears, but she crawled to the station and plugged into it. Nutrient injectors hit her and the cleaning cycle started. Her air was scrubbed and the status of her suit was recorded.
Her mother was in front of the station. “Why are you home so late?”
“I had to finish my apprentice project.” The air in the suit was still thin.
Her mother blinked. “Did you finish it?”
“I did. It gets judged tomorrow for proficiency.”
Her mother smiled. “Good girl. Well, if you are fine, I will see you in the morning.”
“Love you, Mom.” She turned her head and watched her mother disappear down the stairs.
If the Citadel took her, she would miss her parents, but they would be free of the stigma of having her in the home. Her sister had moved across the globe to avoid being associated, though it was her need that had started this entire mess.
Bits settled back to let her body and her suit recharge.
Master Weran looked at her workstation. “Good call on the decoy.”
The tiny shreds of wood that were left showed a great deal of rage.
Bits took out her brush and dustpan, clearing the shattered pieces.
Master Weran went to the safe and extracted her project. He took it to his station and examined it under magnification.
The other apprentices filed in, and still, Master Weran kept turning the small box in his fingers.
Bits got to work on one of the assembly pieces and tried not to think of what Weran was doing.
After an hour, he came over to her, and he nodded with a smile. “It has been entered into the colony records. You will be elevated to journeyman at the next guild meeting.”
She exhaled in the suit. “Thank you, Master Weran.”
He nodded and left her to her work.
Four days later, she was given her journeyman papers and she stepped out of the guildhall and into the custody of the Citadel.
Recruiter Ambith was at her side and protecting her from the gaze of the matron and others from Hesko’s family. He was fine. He lived at the edge of the continent and was doing very well for himself. He simply wasn’t comfortable being home anymore, and they blamed her.
They probably were not wrong.
She had said supervised goodbyes to her parents and hugged them without the suit before she had been forced to put it on again. Her mother’s expression when she saw how thin Bits was was heartbreaking. Her father had just looked angry.
She had lost about twenty-five percent of her body weight in the suit. She would have been dead far before she finished her sentence. It was a little fact that Bits had come to terms with, but she had done the crime and she had to take the punishment.
The suit covered her as she walked to the transport and got into the vehicle with Ambith. A last look at her home and she was on her way to the spaceport for a trip to the Citadel. It wasn’t funny, but she hoped her body could take the strain of the takeoff.
“Are you upset at having to leave?”
She shook her head. “No. I would have had to leave home anyway. I would be working in a shop half a world away and living a life that I never wanted. I wanted to be a seamstress and was all lined up for an apprenticeship, but then, this happened and this suit isn’t suitable for fine detail work.”
“Understandable. Your sister escaped unscathed?”
“Yes. She is engaged and immersing herself in her new life.”
“We are getting you out of that suit as soon as we can. You just might need it for part of the trip.”
“I have fourteen hours in here before I lose consciousness. I can stretch it a bit if I go to sleep.”
“That might be your best bet. We are sending you to Citadel Morganti. They have access to the best physicians and have a telepath as an administrator. He will keep an eye on you while you recover. Nothing can be done until then.”