Authors: Viola Grace
Tags: #romance, #science fiction, #Space Opera
A woman with electric skills is rescued from torture by a man who stops time.
Gwiette is hauled out of her home in the middle of the night and taken off world, turning her into a power supply for a lab or something else she could not see. Her power is painfully stripped from her until a man with shadows in his eyes comes in to rescue her.
Nyral has lived more than his share of time, but he knows that Gwiette is part of his timeline the moment he sees her. Her rescue is his job, but watching over her recovery is his pleasure. He will be in her life and she in his. His instincts are never wrong.
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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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Tales of the Citadel Book 32
Tears were not doing her any good. Gwiette Lonkastil was pinned to the wall by manacles, and the sporadic pull drew her excess charge from her body and sent it into the power plant.
They had come for her two days before her appointment at the investigation centre. Gwiette jerked as the power surged out of her again. Two days would have gotten her to safety, and the resistance had promised to have a substitute in place to take her interview for her, leaving her family free and clear.
That wasn’t what had happened. They had come for her in the night, rousted her family out of bed and hauled her into the street in her nightgown, their hands covered with rubber gloves. Her younger sister had stared at her in shock as she was pulled to her feet and forced to stumble barefoot down the road into the collection transport. The eeriest part was that not one of those who entered her home said a thing.
She stiffened against the surge of power leaving her body again. This was going to be a short future. Her body wouldn’t last long at this rate.
* * * *
Lafeil Lonkastil entered the teashop and looked for the woman with the blue hair. She smiled nervously and ordered. “A Lemial Spice tea, please.”
The woman with blue hair nodded. “I will have to bring it out to you. Take this number to booth six and wait. I will deliver your tea in five minutes.”
Lafeil nodded and took the order number, placing it carefully on the edge of booth six’s table. Now, she had to wait to be contacted by the resistance.
She waited for the five minutes, looking around at the government agents who entered and left the shop with regularity.
When the woman brought the tea, she sat across from Lafeil. “What can I do for you?”
“My sister was scheduled for an interview tomorrow. They took her last evening. I don’t know where she is or how to get in touch with her.”
The clerk blinked and her features got a little blurry for a moment. “What do you mean, they took her?”
“They came to our house, hauled us out into the street and took her away in her nightgown.” She looked around and was surprised that there was no guard coming to sweep her away.
“Don’t worry. Our booths are lined to avoid psychic residue spill over. As long as you keep your voice conversational, you are fine.” The woman asked, “Did they say where they were taking her?”
Lafeil shook her head. “They didn’t say anything; they just took her. I don’t know what to do or who to tell.”
“Thank you for passing along this information. It will be acted on.” The server nodded and gave her a short smile, returning to the counter without another word.
Lafeil blinked at the woman and quietly got out of the booth, leaving the teahouse without looking back. She needed to find some help for her sister, and if the resistance wouldn’t do it, she would.
* * * *
Gwiette felt her heart tripping in her chest, and she twisted against the binders that had replaced the cuffs. Her body was suspended in a netting of wires and tubes. She jerked and jolted every time her charge dispersed, but the cuffs no longer wore at her skin. Two weeks of twitching had worn on her nerves. She would sleep a few minutes at a time, but it wasn’t enough. It was never enough.
Her body was powering a research station. The energy she produced was pulled out of her as soon as it reached a set level, discharging the power and leaving her exhausted. Gwiette thought she would have gone crazy by now, but she was wide awake and watching the news reports that they left on. It was the exposure to exterior information that was keeping her conscious.
The news occasionally showed the pro-talent protests that were held near the capitol. Gwiette was sure that she could see her sister in the throng, holding a sign with scrolling printing.
Where is Gwiette?
were the words on the sign.
Gwiette watched the vid for glimpses of her sister. No one came to see her; the tubes fed her and the suit cleaned her. She was alone in the chamber with the exception of the cameras that recorded her day and night. She was free to watch the screen and nothing else.
She wondered if you could feel yourself going insane or if it just happened one day. She had the terrible feeling that she was going to find out.
* * * *
Hyde couldn’t believe what she had found out. This was the first blatant case of the recruiters sending a talent off world. Gwiette was beyond her touch, but not beyond the Citadel. The key was in finding out if the Citadel was willing to enter a Raider facility to steal their power supply.
The records of the sedation units that had hauled the energy talent off world were in accessible data packs that her current form had access to. Infiltrating the records office had been easy enough, but this was going to be the last time. Her own departure from Resicor was necessary. There were too many blood samples from diverted talents that had turned into the unformed plasma that ran in her veins.
Hyde had been able to find the records relating to her case and the measures that were being taken to find her. She was going to have to leave before things were completely ratified. The rest of the resistance was going to have to carry on without her.
She closed the terminal and got to her feet, walking through the offices of the records department with the blank expression favoured by the woman whose form she was borrowing. Her person was out for a little afternoon’s entertainment with her boyfriend. She wouldn’t be back for two hours.
Hyde walked through all the checkpoints and out onto the sidewalk. She kept her mind blank and pleasant, and when she noticed her body double coming toward her, she altered her features. Hyde kept her calm walk past her body double, and she ignored the look of surprise at the matching clothing.
Hyde headed for the underground, stepping on the first train carriage without hesitation. Once on and moving through the train, she subtly shifted her hair colour and removed her jacket, turning it inside out with casual moves. She also lowered her height by two inches so that when she stepped out of the last carriage, she didn’t resemble the woman who had stepped on it at the first train carriage.
She shifted three more times, found clothing stashes and changed twice more before returning to her workplace, a block from the records offices.
She would get the location to the proper channels and hope for the best. There was nothing else to do, after all. The population of Resicor didn’t have access to spacecraft or she would try to rescue Gwiette.
They would just have to wait and hope that the timing was right. Hyde was waiting for her own extraction on the night of the eclipse. It couldn’t come soon enough.
* * * *
Gwiette fought to keep herself entertained when she wasn’t trying to blank her mind. It was becoming more difficult to focus with every passing day, but she tried.
She watched the newscasts again and looked for her family in the throngs depicted. To her shock, she went from watching the news to being in company. A dark figure eased out of the shadows and walked to stand in front of her. His eyes swirled with shadows and his skin had a distinct ruby tint. He was wearing a cloak that swung around him in a peculiarly slow motion.
Gwiette had no sooner laid eyes on the man than everything went dark.
Comfortable cushions surrounded her, and there was no set of implants jacked into her skin. Something was different.
Gwiette sat up and looked around. She was in a medical facility of some kind, but it was lined with thick bands of metal. She was back in prison.
As she moved, she felt pressure on her limbs, and it was most definitely the suit she was wearing. Looking down, she gasped at the peculiar animal print. The colour was feminine, but the print was one she had never seen before. Her hands were encased in gloves of a contrasting colour, as were her feet.
She was wearing a bodysuit, and she had no idea how she had gotten into it.
A smiling face appeared in the plexi door and beckoned to her.
To her amazement, she got to her feet and the door opened easily. She wasn’t a prisoner anymore.
The man with flat feline features grinned and beckoned her to come into the main medical centre.
“Hello. You must be disoriented. This is Sector Guard Base Morganti. I am Dr. Nywyn, and we took pains to make you comfortable during your healing.”
He nodded. “The physicians at your facility weren’t that careful with your health. It is amazing, considering what they were doing with you.”
She shivered and walked to stand next to the stranger. “What exactly were they doing with me?”
“They were using you to power a weapons array. It was a clever design, but you were obviously not the intended occupant of that harness. The life support was an afterthought.”
Gwiette swallowed hard. “How did I get here?”
The physician showed her to a seat on an exam bed. He ran a hand scanner over her from a safe distance. “For that answer, you will have to talk with my wife.”
When he finished with the scans, he gestured for her to follow him, and then, she did just that.
Relay was a pleasant woman whose features were surrounded by a band of metal that framed her face and held her hair back.
“Please, Gwiette Lonkastil
, have a seat.” Gwiette settled in the chair that was pointed out to her.
Dr. Nywyn disappeared with a grin and a nod.
“You know my name?”
“We do. There was an arrangement to take you from the surface, but their movement to take you early and get you off world caught us by surprise.” The woman smiled sheepishly. “I am Relay by the way. I am the commander of Sector Guard Base Morganti.”
“Pleased to meet you, I suppose.”
Relay inclined her head. “Pleased to meet you as well. Do you know what was happening to you?”
“I was having my charge removed along power lines. I am guessing I was a charging station for something.”
“You were. As the good doctor may have mentioned, you were charging a defensive shield. One of our agents slipped past the shielding and removed you from your prison. If you like, you can see the recording of your retrieval.”
Gwiette felt her lips quirked for the first time in weeks. “Retrieval, not rescue?”
“We were always going to get you out. When someone calls for help, we come running, and your need was definitely greater than most.”
“You said there was a record?”
“Yes, when Stop goes on a mission, he records everything so we can get a clear look at what was going on when he entered the space.”
Relay flicked a switch, dimming the light and cutting out the daylight from the ceiling panel. An image projected out of the table and against the wall.
The first thing Gwiette saw was the sparking of energy around the interior of some sort of cabin with a console. It was a vehicle.
She watched the recording as the cameraman landed on the base, locked into a tunnel, and then, she followed along as the person with the recorder made his way through halls where no one was moving.
It became apparent that he was seeing a moment in time and that moment didn’t change.