Authors: Viola Grace
Tags: #Adult, #Sweet Romance, #Science Fiction, #Space Opera, #Paranormal
She headed to the crowd and lined up four kids at a time, stretching her arms out as she nullified their weight and took flight. Since these flights were just for fun she kept them short and within an hour she was exhausted and the last of the crowd was standing for their turn. Cabbi and Makki stood patiently and she waved them to her, lifting off slowly and doing lazy loops in the sky.
When she saw a flash of lavender skin in the woods she stiffened and casually looped her way back to the school. Cabbi and Makki were excited and wanted to talk about it but Col went straight to Ysyr and whispered in his ear. The crowd gasped as he transformed into a huge feline and ran to the area she had directed him to.
Col retrieved her gun from the top of the school and she waited.
Cabbi came up behind her. “What is it?”
“This entire mess, our entire social order, has been run by a set of lavender skinned jerks who are too old for their own good. They want to create a new master species with themselves as the progenitors. Their time is over but they want ours.”
“Timing. Resicor had started pumping energy into her population but she hadn’t woken yet. It made us perfect targets without protection.”
“You mean that woman on the com earlier?”
“Trala Sheewah is the Avatar of Resicor. The world under our feet has put a bit of her own consciousness into Trala’s body so that she can speak to her people. We need a bit more guidance than we have been getting. Trala will help us find our way out into a more balanced society.”
“How do you know all this?”
Col remained on alert as she watched the edge of the trees. “I pay attention. Two hundred years ago or so, there was a raid that took a seer known as Urikara away from her family. She won’t tell her story but she did make an outline for steps needed to protect the people of Resicor as best possible.”
“She is still alive?”
“Yes. She is in a tank that leaves her body secure and lets her mind see what the currents of time offer her. It is a little creepy but she has watched over her family and they have survived until this date.”
Cabbi shuddered. “Would you have done that?”
“If I had a talent to see the future and wanted to steer the worlds to protect you and Makki, hell yes. When they arrested me I knew that I had no recourse. There was no future for me on Resicor, no future anywhere. I was proven wrong but that was Urikara working for the possibility of the new Avatar.”
A movement at the treeline had her bringing her weapon up. She lowered it when Ysyr came out and sprinted toward her.
She could interpret his motions. “They were there and when I saw them, they saw me, and they ran.”
He yawned and showed his teeth.
Makki was staring at him. “Can I touch him?”
Ysyr lowered his head.
“Yes, you can. Go ahead. He likes to be scratched between the eyes.”
Col watched her niece scratching her partner and she smiled, but her eyes were on the treeline at the edge of the community.
“You are never off duty, Col, are you?”
Cabbi was looking at her with intense concern.
“I am always watching for those who would prey on the weak. I was vulnerable once and someone took advantage of that. I try and make sure that it doesn’t happen to others.”
A Citadel specialist came up to her and asked, “We need to get the Raider ships moved, will you help?”
Cabbi snorted. “How is she supposed to help you move a ship?”
Col grinned and made sure there was someone to guard the citizens before she started toward the first of the vessels.
When she lifted the first ship she heard shouts of surprise and when she flew away with it applause followed her. Tears flowed to her eyes but her hands were busy so wiping them was not an option. Her hands were occupied lifting a short range attack shuttle. She could sniffle later.
The orb kept Envix apprised of the cleanup of the attack. The skies were clear, a space station was taking shape and the Kozue were on alert. The Vorwings had all disappeared before being arrested but folks with black starry eyes had been seen around the command decks right before the Vorwings left the picture so there seemed to be another organization in action.
When Trala began to stir he smiled. The glow came first, bright light in the darkness. She stretched and the suit she wore was tested as to containment. Her figure was outlined faithfully by the suit and he was more than willing to confirm every inch was modeled on her skin.
“Good day, Avatar. You are looking better.”
The hollows beneath her eyes were gone and the drawn look was gone from her skin. She and Resicor were one and they fed each other.
“Thank you, Envix. I need to return to my people. The lost ones.”
He took that to mean the population in the tubes. “Shall we go?”
“Yes, thank you. Were you watching me the whole time?”
“I was. I had nothing else to do. This is my duty and my pleasure.” He bowed low and kept the coils of shadow between them.
She walked through his shadows as if they weren’t there. With her head high she launched into the sky and streaked toward with hill that his aunt had been buried in. His adventure had begun with a search for one woman and had ended up with him being bound to another. Envix wasn’t complaining, he grinned as he flew in Trala’s wake. Keeping up with this woman would take some stamina. Good thing he had all the energy he needed for any task he chose to undertake.
Trala was definitely a worthy pursuit.
* * * *
The crowd of close to a thousand had created a camp on the hillside. Citadel staff were milling through the camp and helping those who were disoriented or in pain.
Trala set down and walked to the medical centre where Io was helping those who just woke up. She smiled at Io. “You are looking better.”
Io’s grey skin had brightened to a glossy silver.
“You are looking complete, Avatar.”
“I feel much more together in this moment. How many are left to wake?”
“The last round of seven are just beginning to stir. They will be conscious and able to make decisions in two hours or less if the healers assist.”
“I will be addressing the crowd as soon as they are all awake.”
“Of course, Avatar.”
“Have you made any decisions about where you want to be?”
Io smiled. “I have been offered a position teaching on Thoola. I used to be a teacher before my life took the turn it did. It would be good to go back to working with those who needed me to watch over them.”
“Would you like me to reinstate your talent? If I do, you can’t be healed by a contact healer, but you can’t be affected by an attack talent.”
Io laughed. “You have experience with talented young women then. I think I would like my body to remain in nulling form. Can you make it so that the talent is in my skin and body?”
Trala smiled and used what Resicor had taught her about how talents work and how to jam them. “If you ever need it, it is still here, but for now you are simply a walking null. Anything you touch will be shorted out.”
A swift touch to Io’s cheek and the lock on her energy was set with bands of Resicoran power.
Io relaxed. “That feels better. Not having it in me at all felt weird.”
Trala laughed. “I understand. It is part of you.”
She walked down the aisle of waking talents in their open canisters and she did what she did best, she let in the light.
They woke and sat up, confused and afraid. Citadel staff came in slowly and calmed the panic, easing the transition from sleep to waking.
Trala went outside and spoke to some of the lost ones. For the last two hundred years they were being stored in that cavern. Most remembered being captured and then nothing else. None of them had been told what year it currently was.
When medical released the last of the lost ones, Trala elevated and Resicor magnified her voice.
“Greetings to all of you and welcome back to the world you were taken from. For some of you, getting back to your families is all you can think about but that may not be possible. The year is 2916. We are in Maksu month on the twenty third day.”
She let them murmur and call out denials.
“I am not here to convince you. There will be shuttles and skimmers to take you back to your towns and cities. They will remain there until you declare that you will stay or go.”
“Why didn’t anyone come looking for us?”
A young woman wailed from the centre of the crowd.
“When were you taken?”
“I was arrested in 2895.”
“You were an arrested felon and your crime was a physical talent. There was nowhere to look because you were no longer a member of the society.
“That status has no officially changed. All talents, non-talents, and psychics are equal on this world. A census will be taken and the different segments will be represented in the council halls and prefectures.”
Trala waved away the plans for the future.
“Now, some of you have homes to go to, some have descendants to live with who will welcome you and others will find themselves alone. I am looking for three hundred and sixty volunteers to leave Resicor to take up new lives on other worlds.”
A surprised murmur went through the crowd.
“I do not expect any of you to volunteer now, but if you see what Resicor has become and do not care for it, there are worlds out there that Resicor is now linked to and they each require twelve of my people to become their people. No longer will we be dependent on rescue from the stars. There are thirty portals on Resicor now and each leads to a different world. No citizen is trapped here from this moment on. There will always be somewhere to go but it is up to us today to pay for the passages of the future.
“Give it some thought and know that you now have options. Options that no Resicoran has had before. The life you know, the life you want or the life you have never imagined.”
Trala descended back down to ground level and looked at the coiling shadows of Envix. He was in deep discussion with his aunt and the moment she reached out and touched his shoulder. For a moment, Trala saw the clearly cut features in dark pewter that were framed by onyx locks and brilliant silver eyes. The moment Io pulled her hand away the shadows swirled up and swallowed him once again. It didn’t matter. Trala had seen him and he was the promise that Resicor had given her ten years earlier.
The whispering in her mind had increased and she wasn’t able to sleep. Trala picked up her sketchbook and her hands moved without her controlling them.
The man’s face skated the fine edge between harsh and pretty. His cheeks were angular, his skin smooth and his eyes sparkled.
levered herself up in bed. “What is that?”
“A voice keeps saying that it is a partner promised. If I do what the voice wants, this will be my reward. He will be my reward and my companion.” Trala rubbed her nose and grimaced at the smudge.
Noma leaned back against her headboard. “Why do you need a companion? You have me.”
“I don’t know. I just know that the voice wants me to agree to keep myself open and this is what she is offering.”
“Yes. She says she is the soul of the world and she wants me to be her Avatar.”
Noma laughed and dove back beneath her covers. “Right, and the man in the portrait controls shadows like I do. And I will leave you one day. Thinking about all the things that are never going to happen are going to keep you up nights, Trala.”
Trala sighed and put her sketchbook away. “You are no fun.”
“Put your light out. They are doing local patrols.”
Noma sent shadows to coil over the window but it wasn’t needed, Trala dimmed her light and crawled into bed with the picture that wouldn’t leave her mind.
Envix turned toward her and there must have been something in her expression. He turned to help the talents separate by their home prefectures and towns. The Citadel shuttles landed and folks began loading them, hoping for a chance at home.
Trala wished them the best but this was not a battle she could fight for them. They were alive, they were whole and they were out of their time. They had to choose the future path that they wanted to walk.
She settled back and watched the separation of the folk who had woken in a new world and she rubbed her neck. Trala wasn’t sore but it was a familiar gesture. She wanted something familiar because her loss was just beginning to sink in.
Noma was gone. She was really gone.
Turning from her grief she inhaled sharply and got to her feet. She needed to talk to the Sector Guard and Citadel reps, there were a number of details to be hammered out and a new school to create.
It was time to get a handle on Resicor’s future.
Sorrow could wait, it would always be there, after all.
“I want to open a Citadel branch here on Resicor. I even have the facility ready to go.” Trala faced Relay and Turnari in the com displays.
Relay smiled. “I think that is a great idea. Turnari, can you spare instructors?”
Turnari snorted. “I think we have a few who would be willing to do a tour on Resicor. If you give them a place to live, they will come and teach your people.”
Trala smiled. “I think the old domed city is an appropriate spot. I have destroyed the generators and the low wall will be removed with all of its projectors. Those who want a place to practice their skills away from the cities will find plenty to occupy them, and much to learn.”
Relay smiled, “If you make it home, they will come and join in their new Citadel. Will your people be willing to leave and assist other worlds?”
Trala grinned. “If they are specialists, they will be. If they are not, they will simply do demonstrations at schools and towns to help our people gain an understanding of how useful the energy can be.”
Turnari nodded. “We will send you some of our best instructors, but the psychics need the opportunity to learn as well. Will you let them?”