Authors: Viola Grace
Tags: #romance, science fiction
Table of Contents
Wisdom comes at a cost, but if knowledge can be shared, it might not kill her.
Yavil suffers from an intellectual infection. Her mind absorbs every detail of everything she sees, and she can force understanding on her students when she goes into lecture mode. Her brainstorms have gotten the attention of the Alliance, and after she speaks with one of their representatives from Citadel Morganti, she is on her way to working as an educator to the best and brightest of talents.
Hosh is a first aid instructor assigned to Citadel Morganti, and when he listens to Yavil’s lecture on the local flora and clotting properties of minerals on Tebr, he is filled with complete understanding of the topic. This is a new experience for him, so he signs up for the entire series of lectures, and by the time they are complete, he knows more than just how to grow plants in a vacuum, he knows that Yavil is the group educator that the Sector Guard has been looking for.
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Power of Learning
Copyright © 2013 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.
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Power of Learning
Tales of the Citadel book 15
She looked at her class and had to admit that her students were definitely better looking now that she was allowing Alliance personnel into her courses.
Instructor Yavil Rikhana loved giving lectures on any topic, and since Tebr welcomed the Alliance but had a taboo against off-world broadcasts, anyone who wanted to listen to her dissect a topic had to come to her.
Yavil clicked the screen changer to display the next image, a pale woman in the arms of an Azon male with a child in her arms. “So, as we can clearly see, the Azon research into medical alteration of species into compatible mating partners has opened doors for races who were once teetering on the edge of extinction.
“Whether the changes are chemical, physical or psychic, a minor shift can be the difference between life and death for a dwindling species.
“The next lecture on limb grafting will begin tomorrow morning at four hours past dawn. Hydrate and dress accordingly.” She released her class and flicked the control on the lights.
The light gauze of her robes floated around her as she gathered her tools.
One of the students came up. “Instructor Rikhana?”
She blinked, few of her students ever bothered speaking to her after a lecture. He was a deep green with bright orange eyes, his hair and eyebrows an inky black. “Medic Ender, correct?”
He smiled. “Yes, Instructor. I would like to speak with you regarding an opportunity opening up in your field.”
She peeled her robe off, folded it and stuffed it in her bag. “I am meeting my siblings for tea. Join us.”
He swallowed and looked away as her daily clothing was exposed. His voice was lower than it had been. “That would be charming. Thank you.”
She stifled a laugh. The clothing on Tebr was minimal at the best of times. She was wearing a halter and briefs with light shielding on her forearms and calves. It had surprised her when one of the visiting students explained that the dress code on Tebr was a little spare in comparison to other planets. Hosh had been on the planet long enough to adopt the male dress of eighteen inches of sarong, and he seemed fairly comfortable with it.
The people of Tebr were photosensitive. Their bodies functioned best when sun was able to touch as much as possible. Complete nudity used to be the norm, but with the introduction of new species to the world, concessions had been made.
As they walked out of the lecture hall, the heavy jungle pressed in on them. The walkways were cleared every morning, but by afternoon, the trees regained some footing.
The café had a force field that kept the encroaching greenery at bay.
Yavil asked, “So, how are you enjoying Tebr?”
She selected a table with four chairs and took a seat, beckoning for a server before ordering a large pot of tea.
He shifted, almost invisible against the dark green of the jungle behind him. “I am adapting to the heat and enjoying your lectures. I have never been able to retain this much information before.”
Yavil opened her mouth to comment, but her siblings arrived and she had to make introductions. Her brother stood politely, and she introduced him. “Ardu, Yellan, this is Hosh Ender. Hosh, this is my brother and sister.”
She accepted the pot as the server brought it and poured four cups of hot tea for the group.
Hosh stood and bowed politely to the newcomers. “I am very pleased to meet Instructor Rikhana’s family.”
She laughed. “When I am not wearing the robes, you can call me Yavil.”
Hosh looked at them as a group, and she could see him forming the question.
Ardu and Yellan were the same powder blue as the rest of the Tebr, but for some reason, Yavil had come out in the chalk white of their ancestors. They were the only triplets in their generation.
Everyone asked the question that she could see in Hosh’s eyes. “Yes, they really are my siblings.”
Ardu grinned and sipped his tea. “She is one of the
Our parents didn’t know she was there until our mother went into contractions for a third time. She does not show up on any scan you can name. If you don’t see her in person, you would never believe she was there.”
Yellan smiled and flicked her hair over her shoulder. “It always confounds her students when they try to record her lectures and find out that their devices are blank.”
Yavil sipped at her tea and smiled as the server slid a platter of sandwiches and treats in front of them.
Hosh asked her, “Do you process light the same way that the other Tebr do?”
Ardu answered for her. “She does everything a Tebr should, she’s just the wrong colour.”
Yavil kicked him under the table. “He asked me.”
She turned to Hosh. “Yes, but I don’t need as much light as they do. My skin absorbs what it needs much more rapidly.”
Yellan smiled and toyed with her long blonde hair. “So, Hosh, what brings you to our little tea party?”
Hosh sat up straight. “Yavil, I have come to offer you a position in the Citadel Morganti. We need an educator who can deliver large-scale seminars and have each person come out with understanding of the topic. I have been to enough of your courses to realize that you are precisely what we need.”
“I am very flattered but—”
“Not so fast, Yavi.” Ardu cocked his head. “What are you offering her for her services?”
Hosh blinked, “As a Citadel instructor, Yavil will have access to the entire Alliance archive. She will get her room and board as well as a hefty stipend. Travelling the stars is also an option since her skill does not translate to recording.”
Yellan leaned forward and propped her chin on her hand. “What else will our sister receive?”
Hosh was serious, and he didn’t seem to see the way Yellan was batting her lashes and inhaling to press her breasts against the interior of her halter.
“She will have access to any of the courses offered at the Citadel, communication and interviews with the Sector Guard, opportunity to learn whatever takes her fancy.”
Yavil watched her siblings give each other long communicating looks. They were mind bound. Each of them was linked to the other, and they were currently in courtship with another pair of mind-bound twins. When a physical link was established, the mental link would transfer from sibling to mate, but with the Tebr, the courtship could last for years.
Ardu spoke. “Has Yavil told you about the brainstorms?”
Yavil hissed. “Yikes. Are you totally lacking in couth?”
Hosh leaned forward. “What is a brainstorm? Is it related to the Tebr links?”
Yavil slumped her shoulders. “That is the current guess. We don’t know what causes it, but my mind reaches out for new stimuli and continues until it has gained what it needs. Since I do not have a twin to link with, I am stuck with knowledge.”
“How often do they occur?” He looked at her like he was making notes in his head.
She drank some tea and pouted. “I haven’t had one for six months.”
Ardu leaned back. “She is due for one, and I believe that she has already pulled knowledge on every object and person here on Tebr. She needs a new life in the stars, more to see and perhaps someone to meet.”
Hosh inclined his head. “What do you mean?”
Yellan shook her hair. “Everyone on Tebr is a twin. If Yavi wants a mate, she will have to take an outsider. That will be awkward for everyone involved. We don’t have a social structure for singles with a mate. She will have her own but still be alone. That is not a thing we want for our sister.”
Yavil sighed. “I have three more weeks of lectures booked. Can the transfer to the Citadel wait until I complete the contract?”
Hosh smiled. “I will bring the Citadel contracts tomorrow morning, just fill in the date.”
She nodded and took one of the sandwiches. “Come on, folks, the food is getting warm and the tea is getting cold, neither of those is a good thing.”
Everyone took part in the snack while Yavil grappled with one shocking thing. She was going to have to wear clothing that covered everything all the time. This was going to be tough.
Her final course was on using plants as anti-coagulants, bandages, water sources and weapons. It was a full house, and her loyal attendees were front and centre, their faces blank as she spoke.
Nuvik, Akko, Lerm and Mahkinaw represented four very different species blends only possible within the confines of a space station. They were—like many of her students—medical professionals, but they attended lectures on everything from the history of scanning equipment to textiles of the l’nal.
As she concluded her seminar, she looked out at the vacuous faces absorbing everything she said. She sighed and clapped her hands together, ending the lecture. “This is the final lecture of the series that it has been my pleasure to bring to you. I thank you for making it a success and wish you joy in your future endeavours.”
They got up and filed out. Her loyal following inclined their heads and left the hall, their brains still absorbing what she had forced into them.
Talking people into a trance was a skill she had always had. As a child, it had gone unnoticed until she explained to her parents the logistics behind buying her a riding beast and the steps she was prepared to take to make it a reality. To the twins’ disgust, she got her beast, and it took her places where her knowledge expanded and the jungle rippled around her.
Yavil took her materials and files and put them away in her bag. She removed her light instructor robe and tucked it away. Hosh was waiting at the doorway and so was her family. “Are you ready?”
They had had weeks to get used to the idea, but she still sniffled and hugged her way through her parents and siblings, trying to gain a sense of dread for her future. There was nothing but excitement in her soul.
“I will be in contact with you. I will write.”
Her mother smiled. “That would be good. Take every opportunity to enjoy yourself and be everything that your mind pulls you into being. Take care, brainstorm.”
She nodded and left her family, following Hosh through the jungle in front of them.
She brushed away a tear, but her mind was busy cataloguing the plants they walked through.
“You will be able to contact them as soon as you settle in, Instructor Rikhana.” Hosh was being formal, possibly because she was crying.
“I know. I have just never left home for more than a few days before, and I am going to have to get used to covering up. It’s a trauma.” She smiled as he looked at her in surprise.
“I had not thought of that. Right, as soon as we get to the ship, uniforms for both of us.”