Authors: Viola Grace
Tags: #science fiction, #erotic romance, #Fantasy
Seeing the key factor in dangerous situations takes a weird turn when she is suddenly pointing at herself.
Jianne has survived despite being in the wrong place at the right time. With one injured eye replaced with a cybernetic enhancement, she lives her life in solitude, hidden from the very Guardians that she dispatches to help their world.
A new batch of Guardians brings a surprising blend of talents and one man who wants her for what she doesn’t do.
Cowl’s race can lock people in their tracks with just a flash of skin. Jianne’s mix of mechanical and physical sight allows her to see him and not fall under his thrall. His talent will not mesmerize her, but his charm, grace and persistence will soon have her under his spell and into his bed.
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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 © 2013 Viola Grace
Cover art by Martine Jardin
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A Terran Times Tale
Jianne Theevin put her headset on as the Guardians of Cadar took off to attend to a bank robbery two cities over.
“This is Dispatch online. Confirm contact.” She brought up the screens that were linked to the bodysuits the Guardians wore.
She could see what they saw and hopefully see the factor that would enable them to bring a swift end to the conflict.
Jianne grinned. “Thank you. Local cameras are up. You are going into a hot situation. There are hostages, the local constabulary suffered a devastating explosion, and there are wounded in triage situations that can’t be moved until the weapons fire is over. Go in, drop the attackers and get those peacekeepers to safety.”
Echo chuckled. “Fine. Find us the magic spot, and we will go to it.”
“Only if you keep Rock from taking my live feed into the lav again. There are some things a girl doesn’t need to see before she has her morning caf.” She shuddered at the memory of the tri-split penis that had filled her screens.
Rock chortled. “You should have looked away.”
“Oh, you are funny. Land on the building with the blue triangle.” She snorted. The laugh was that she wore a cybernetic implant where her right eye should have been. She couldn’t look away when the feed was being sent directly to her brain.
A fistfight with a Yinshin noblewoman had sent her to Janial. Her instinct to choose the right place at the wrong time sent her into a prison riot, and her eye had been the casualty.
She didn’t regret it. Blocking the clawed strike had saved the life of a timid young thing who was released the next day. That young woman was the daughter of the governor of Cadar.
The people of Cadar were soft and pale pink, their hair resembled candyfloss. Their temperaments were placid, but they lived on a rich world, which made them targets for more aggressive races. The Guardians were here to offer them a measure of defense.
After the injury at Janial, she had been released and given all the treatment that the Nyal Imperium could offer. Her eye had been replaced with a cybernetic enhancement, and she had been offered this prime position as dispatcher for the Cadar Guardians. Despite the Guardians being on a rotation, she was given Cadar citizenship and allowed to anchor herself to the world in any way she saw fit.
Jianne chose to make herself useful, and she kept a private residence, whose location was unknown even to the Guardians. The walls of her home were lined with monitors, and she had routes into all of the Cadar surveillance cameras around the globe. It brought a new spectrum to working from home.
Whistling silently to herself, she checked and double-checked the feeds while the Guardians settled on the building she had pointed out.
“Dispatch, have you identified the factor?”
Jianne looked through her feeds, and when one person began to glow brightly, she nodded, though no one could see her. “A woman in a blue work dress. Keep her alive and this will all end well.”
She could hear Echo looking through the data. “What about the child or the pregnant female?”
Jianne was firm. “The woman in the blue dress. Save her and this all goes smoothly. Let her die and everything goes to hell.”
Cyber cleared her throat. “Understood, Dispatch. Keep us posted for any shifts in the factor.”
“Will do, Guardians. Go get them.”
Jianne watched the battle from the safety of her home. It was kind of sad. This was the final assignment that these Guardians would execute on Cadar. The new Guardians would be arriving in two days.
The woman in blue was extricated safely, and once she was safe, Echo reflected all weaponry back on the hostage takers. They dropped to the ground one at a time.
Jianne breathed a sigh of relief when everyone was accounted for and her people were on their way back to their home.
“This is Dispatch. File your reports when you arrive, and it has been a pleasure working with you.”
Rock chuckled. “I still want to meet you in person, Dispatch.”
“It still isn’t going to happen, Rock. I have seen you cock. I don’t want any part of that thing.”
Laughter rippled along the lines and one by one, the Guardians logged off her frequency. When her head was silent again, she rubbed at her right eye and sighed. She could always see the wrong place at the right time, so why did today’s events seem a little too easy?
There was something about the heist that didn’t seem right, so she set about crunching the data stream to find the pieces of information that she missed.
It was going to take her most of the day, but her going-away presents had already been delivered to the Guardians, so she had plenty of time to work on this problem.
If someone had told her ten years ago that she would end up as a cyborg on an alien world, she would have called them crazy, but here she was, surfing the data stream with nothing more than the flick of her eyelid.
She started her examination of the screens from the day before and slowly let them move forward. There. Someone had moved the cameras to give her the optimum angles and had deactivated two essential monitor cameras for two minutes at the close of business the day before. She took in their features and did a scan and search.
Once she read the names and the rap sheets, she got a distinctly unpleasant feeling. Dorth and Nejan Sokek, famed for capturing rare talents for use in criminal enterprises. As she continued to look into the events of the day, she got quite a shock. Something had been coursing back along the data stream to watch her, and she hadn’t even noticed.
Why would anyone watch her? Jianne was strictly dispatch. Nothing she did couldn’t be done by someone else with the right training and a high tolerance for penis jokes.
“Of course, they could want internal information on the Guardians.” Jianne muttered to herself and put a private call in to Cyber.
“What can I do for you, Dispatch?” Cyber’s voice was pleasant. The Guardian specialised in designing rapid-response programming, and it made her an asset in the field.
“I need a firewall with as many layers you can come up with, as fast as you can.”
“What is up, Dispatch?” There was concern in her voice.
“As far as I can tell, someone is trying to hack me. So, unless you want your preference for leather undergarments to become public knowledge, it is in your best interest to assist me in this matter.”
Cyber laughed. “Not a problem. I will get right on it. Where do you want me to send it?”
“Put it on a crystal and leave it in the Guardian habitat. I will have someone retrieve it.” Jianne’s instincts told her that there was no danger of her being hacked today.
Cyber seemed to catch onto the secrecy. “I will leave it in my quarters, top drawer of my desk.”
“Excellent. Thank you so much, Cyber. I am getting a weird feeling about this.”
“I will get right on it before I have my going-away party.”
Cyber asked, “Why did we never meet you, Dispatch?”
Jianne smiled. “Because I can’t bear to lose the people I care about, so I couldn’t care about you. It is a failing that I have always had. I am sorry but that is it.”
“Too bad. I think we could have been friends.”
Jianne closed her eyes and smiled sadly. “I am pretty sure we could have been. Have a good time on Teelik.”
“As soon as I get this done for you.”
“Thanks again, Cyber.”
“Any time, Dispatch.”
Jianne felt the call disconnect, and she sat back and rubbed her neck. She had more data feeds to run through to make sure that this was an isolated incident and that meant more caf. The poor man’s version of alien coffee didn’t satisfy her like the real thing did, but until another world cultivated the coffee bean, she was stuck.
The new Guardians arrived early and took lodgings in the city under their private names. Jianne blinked as she ran through the files. All men. That was rather unusual.
Flare, Cowl, Twist and Roil were the new Cadar Guardians, and they had the standard three-year contract with the planet.
The period where the old guard left and the new came in was always tricky. Those who had criminal intent often tried to make their move during this precise time, which is why it was rarely publicised. This transfer had been kept silent, and if all went well, the new Guardians would appear at their first job with confidence and an air of control. That was Jianne’s job. Not only did Jianne manipulate the media feeds to show the Guardians in the best light after a battle, but also she tipped the media off when it came to seeing the Guardians becoming part of the community.
For the sake of the Guardians, she really hoped that their first assignment was a natural disaster. PR was always easier during a natural disaster.
Cowl was the commander, and his hidden features were going to have young women all over Cadar swooning with imagination. Flare had the ability to dazzle his prey with a lightshow, Twist was a shapeshifter and Roil distorted space sending enemies end over end. All in all, it was a fairly aggressive bunch, but their service records showed an attention to their responsibilities that eased Jianne’s mind.
It was traditional for her to stay and man her com unit until the new Guardians contacted her, but she needed that software patch and that meant heading into the Guardian stronghold. It would only take a few minutes, and what could possibly happen in a few minutes?
Her private tunnel led her directly under the heart of the Guardians’ home. While the old guard had taken off, the new ones had not yet moved in. She should have a window of opportunity to get the crystal.
Her master code opened the hidden panel, and she slipped into the hallway behind the bedrooms. Cyber’s room was on her left, and she eased into it, trying to stay out of the way of the cameras. She could remove herself from the scans later, but it was a lot of work.
It felt strange to see the room stripped of all the personal touches that Cyber had brought in, but steeling herself, Jianne pushed aside the nostalgic side of her thoughts, and she reached into the desk to find the crystal.
Her fingers closed around it, and she sighed. The small scrap of paper under it surprised her. Jianne lifted it and blinked.
Take care of yourself, Dispatch. There is a hunter in the wind, and he is looking for you.
Jianne blinked at the cryptic note. She tucked it into her top and moved carefully back to the hatch as silently as she had entered. The sound of a landing shuttle made her jump, and she fumbled the code, reset it and tried again.
Footfalls were getting closer, and she started sweating as the door popped open in time to let her hide from the incoming Guardians. She hoped that they didn’t hear the door click as she disappeared into the underground tunnel, but her heart was pounding so loud in her ears that she couldn’t tell how close they were when she closed the trap.