The Tempting of Fate
Aju arrived at SDS…Seven. For appearance sake, Meisha hired three security guards from a local mercenary group to tag along to keep her safe. She was there to attract attention and this was a good look. They entered SDS following at a discrete distance behind her. Her eyes scanned the patronage as she moved to the back of the club where the more private areas were arranged. The guard unhooked the elegantly braided leather rope to allow her and her associates admission to where several small shallow alcove type rooms were open to view the central dance floor, but up several stairs for an overview of the dance floor.
This area was reserved for the elite clientele and was the perfect vantage point to watch, to see and be seen. Covertly she watched those that watched her. She scanned with her mind those that were already there to get the lay of the land.
Music played in the background. It was the transition time just before the real party started. The DJ was still at work. The performers would arrive in a while. Each half hour the volume would increase. Each half hour more energy would flow through and mingle. More people would come in and begin their night ritual. There were three transitions to the evening. Dinner was offered from six until ten. At this time, the Flamenco dancers would entertain. From ten until one, the DJ would play music from around the world. Occasionally there would be a slow love song in French and then Moroccan belly dance music would play. At one in the morning, the talent would come in… and they were just as eclectic as the music that the DJ played. You never knew who was going to show up.
Aju made herself comfortable on a long lounge in the alcove area that had been reserved for this meeting. She laid her laptop on the table in front of her. The men took up positions around her, strategically placed. She had a casual, unconcerned air about her. Her eyes seemed to glance from one thing to the other but she was taking in the full scope of the nightclub. It was very upscale, patronized primarily by the wealthy and the local ‘in’ crowd, jet setters and their entourage. She estimated that the club was at around three quarter’s capacity, but soon would be packed. She acted as if she were checking the time as she made a quick scan looking for shields and select bio-signs. A glitch signaled that there was nothing… yet something. Somewhere close by something was shielded. The waiter came to take her drink order.
“I would like to see your wine list please.” As she placed her order, a man showed up quickly. He was just over six feet tall, nicely built and sported shoulder length medium brown hair. He was handsome in a sharp cruel sort of way.
“Let me get that for you, pretty Lady.” She drew in his scent but could only smell the expensive clothes, and pricey cologne. There was something about him that made her skin crawl, something sinister just under the surface. That sick prickly feeling shot up her spine. Danger was around him, or was he just dangerous? The first thing that popped into her mind was that he was probably the kind of guy who hit women and was into pain and twisted fantasies. Why that impression had come to her she did not know. But she had always followed her gut instinct and this time it was screaming at her to stay away. She checked her watch. It wavered. Aju became on guard.
“Thank you, no. I am waiting for someone. Good evening.” She formed and accentuated her words so he would be certain that it was an order. He tried again, stepping closer.
“You never know. You may be in for a wait. Do you mind some company?” Her glance said it all.
NO! GO!… His smile was smooth and sickeningly sweet.
“Can’t blame a man for trying.” Yes, actually she could. She checked her watch again. He reached for her hand. She moved away so he could not touch her, then her bodyguard stepped forward. His expression was an order to step away from the lady. As the unwanted visitor walked away, her eyes followed him. Her mind commented ‘He’s a womanizer and worse.’ The thought surprised her. Again, gut instinct. He was good looking, well built and nicely kept. These things were the perfect entrapment for many women. As her eyes followed him, they were suddenly stopped by a man that had just entered. She watched him as he moved to a booth that sat along the back wall directly across from her. His hands were shoved in his pockets and his posture spoke that he was not happy. Something was definitely bothering him. He sat alone in the darkened corner. This time, the scanner had registered substantially. He was dress casually. He wore crisp fashionable cargo pants, combat boots and a tee shirt. Over it, he wore a well-worn leather bomber jacket. His hair was cut very close to his head. She qualified it as a buzz cut. Her eyes flowed from table to table, booth to booth, just in case anyone was watching her she did not want them to see her eyes linger on any thing or any one person for too long.
Two other men entered and made their way to where he sat. He did not seem glad to see them. His posture spoke that he would really rather be alone. Something was on his mind. Something was making him uncomfortable. The men sat down, the waiter came to take their orders. She knew that they would order beer…in the bottles, some label with a long neck and even thought they would really rather drink out of the bottle they were going to request glasses. She knew that they would be served frosted. She drew her eyes away and scanned the room once more. She slid her finger behind her ear. It looked as it she were adjusting the post to her ruby earrings but she adjusted the volume of the listening device implanted in them and then turned her head slightly to aim her ear in their direction. She listened in.
“Lighten up. It’ll come to you sooner or later. Let’s just hope that it’s soon. Ol’Doc isn’t the kind a guy to have much patience. And you gotta know… he tends to make an example of slow learners. Trust me when I tell ya’ you don’t want to be someone he makes an example of.” The man didn’t answer. The other man slapped his back.
“Ah, come on Liam, you’ll get it. Just let go. It feels totally different when ya just let go.” Liam’s hands moved to this head. He ran them over the sever style cut.
“Yeah. I know. It was just a bad day. I felt tired a lot…I couldn’t keep my focus.”
“Yeah. That happens in the beginning. It’ll pass soon. Your body’ll get used to it. But still… you need to step up your pace. Like I said, Doc doesn’t have much patience.”
Aju stilled and listened carefully. There was a moment of silence as the men surveyed the patrons of the club. All eyes caught on her. She crossed her legs in their direction and watched the bar. She fiddled with her earring. She kept her chin tipped upwards. A haughty posture. She allowed her eyes to pan the room. Then she allowed her eyes to catch on the one that they had called Liam.
His slight smile waned even more before he glanced away. The other two smiled openly and tried to hold her attention. Her waiter arrived. Perfect timing. She drew her attention away to accept her order. She watched as the waiter uncorked the bottle, handing her the cork so that she could examine the bouquet. She sat back when he poured a small amount and swirled it in the glass before handing it to her. She took a sip, held it in her mouth for a moment rolling it over her palate.
They all watched as she nodded approval. The waiter filled the glass and left. She sipped the wine knowing that they watched so she did not look back. She was hoping that they would continue their conversation. She heard a groan of pain and glanced to see Liam holding his stomach, his face a mask of pain.
“Just take a breath man…it’ll pass. It’s just the tech taking hold. Just relax.”
That was all that she needed to hear. Her assumption was now made. These men were the physicians Dragoons. They were what she had hoped to avoid. She swirled the wine in her glass, watching the color and how the legs slid down the sides while deciding her next step, she remembered what Codan had spoken. He had suggested that they should try to capture one, and from there, watch the progress of the technology and discover exactly what it did to the person implanted with this technology. Maybe he was right. Jazadeem was infected with this technology. She had to wear a disrupter at all times. It was designed in the form of a bracelet and an anklet. It was a small electromagnetic burst device to keep the nanobots that were in her body disabled.
Maybe they should snag a dragoon as well. This one seemed to be having trouble adjusting to its affects. When she had first observed him, he seemed unhappy. Maybe she…maybe they, could even get some information from him regarding the physician. She glanced to her watch. The allotted time was almost up. Reza, Kane and Meisha would be joining her soon.
She would have to make contact with him before they came and was sure that she would be able to keep his attention while she went through the appropriate gestures as they made their show to whoever might be watching.
She took another sip and looked back to their table. He was watching his beer. The other two continued to glance in her direction during the course of their conversation. They were talking about her, making conjecture as to whom she might prefer. They were trying to decide which one of them would make a move.
She was about to remove all doubt and help them with their task. The music undulated in the background as people danced, moving to the music.
She would make this an unforgettable show. Slowly sitting her wine glass down, she opened her bag, slipped her hand inside, and pulled out her compact. She acted as if she briefly checked her image in the mirror but she tapped her finger into the powder that had been pressed firm…closed the compact and slid it back inside.
As she stood, she blew on her finger. Tiny particles floated into the air and came to rest on her. She knew the effects would only last about thirty to forty five seconds, just long enough to make her way across the room. She stood and began to walk towards them. They watched.
The Witch Ezsa-anue had made several potions for her before they had left Beddia. The one she had just used was the one Ezsa laughingly referred to as her ‘Alice in Wonderland’ spell. As Aju walked towards them, she began to move in slow motion. Liam looked up and saw. The crowd around her moved at a frantic pace, as she seemed to float towards them.
They watched as she moved with a seductive sway of her hips, the smooth gait of her step and the spellbinding way her hair looked almost like the undulation of the ocean. They were caught in her large, doe eyes and the lush ruby red of her lips. They watched as she made her way across the room. By the time she arrived at the table, the spell had moved away. Time slipped back into normal space. The man sitting next to Liam said.
“Oh baby…I am in love…I wanna have your babies.” The man that sat across from where Liam sat askded.
“And just what is it we can do for you? Name it…it’s yours” Smiling at them and then looking past them to the one that had not spoken and made her request.
“Excuse me, but can I talk you into a dance?” He looked surprised. The man opposite him started to stand.
“He’s got two left feet. But I’m happy to oblige.” She glanced to the DJ. He smiled and bobbed his head then the music changed to a slow beat. She turned back to level her eyes on Liam.
“Thank you, but I think your friend can handle a slow one.” She smiled at him and playfully cajoled.
“Make your friend here eat his words. Come on, I’ll take it slow and I promise that I won’t dip you.”
He smiled at that. She held her hand out to him. He started to scoot out causing his friend to step away to let him by. He was now looking down at the petite woman. She kept her attention focused on Liam. Once he had cleared the table, she turned to walk to the dance floor. He followed. She tried to reach out with her senses but did not dare to try to look into his mind. She remembered that when Hiro had examined Leeanan, he had found that within the matrix of the technology that had been implanted in her, one of these features was a device that would register each time a reader would scan her mind.
Aju was certain that this was so that the Sulkar would know if anyone was paying attention to her, or trying to discover something about her. She conjectured that if a dragoon had this technology, it just might set off an alarm inside them. It might even be used as a preemptive warning device.
As she left herself open to feel him, an odd and familiar sensation flowed over her. She studied it for a moment before she realized that Liam was feeling longing, mixed with regret. She knew the feeling and hated to acknowledge the fact that she longed for Reza and she regretted what Baj-rei, her King, had done. Even though she had wanted to keep her position as Azsusina… she wanted her bond with Reza.
She put her desire away. Now was not the time. She turned to reach for the man following her onto the dance floor and for a brief second something passed through his eyes. Uncertainty. She moved closed to place one hand on his shoulder and held the other for him to take. He was smiling at her sheepishly. As he took it, he asked,
“You looked like you could use rescuing and why not choose you?”
“Just asking.” He threw a glance to her bracelet and then eyed her attire before saying,
“You just look a little too upscale for a man like me.”
“And just what kind of man are you? What do you do for a living?”
“I was a pilot in the air force. After I got out, I put together an extreme adventure group. You know, guiding people through… extreme adventures.”
“What would you consider an extreme adventure?” She had had a few of her own.
“Well, it started out with white water rafting, usually class three and class four rapids. Then wilderness treks…survival training stuff. Then my friend and I bought some property and made an extreme obstacle course. We started advertising on the Net and before we knew it, we had people lining up. Little by little we added things.” He was being evasive. Not in a cunning or conniving sort of way, there was just something about it that he did not want to revisit.
“Like what sort of things?” He smiled. It didn’t quite reach his eyes.
“Hello, my name is Liam…and you are?” He was changing the subject and trying to be suave, which really didn’t seem to fit him. He was a ‘basic’ sort of guy… nothing fancy… nothing contrived. Looking up into his eyes and smiling she said,
“Hello, my name is Aju-Anye. It is nice to meet you Liam.” He was a good dancer. He kept it simple. She could feel from him that he was concerned about his hand being on her bare back. He was concerned about her thinking it was just a little too intimate. He liked the way her skin felt and his thoughts had brought with it a wave of longing. He was hiding something. She asked.
“And do you conduct your extreme adventures here…or in Scotland?” He had a decidedly Scottish brogue.
“No. We…my partner and I had a place in New Zealand. It was a place full of extreme adventures. I loved it there.”
“You used the words ‘had’ and ‘was’ these are words that express the past tense.” His eyes hit the floor and then began looking around. She was getting close to both the beginning and the end. Something had ended for him that caused something else began. Her gut instincts said that whatever it was, it wasn’t a good bargain. And if her suspicions were correct, this ‘Doc’ that they had referred to was indeed the physician and she was dancing with a Dragoon.
“My friend was killed. I gave it up.”
“I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to bring up bad memories for you. I was just hoping to get to know a little bit about you. Do you live here now?”
“Temporarily. I’m back in service. I don’t know exactly where I will be stationed after I’m done with my basic training.” Aju noticed that he had said he was…back in service…not, back in the service.
“What branch of service?” He tried to conjure a playful, mysterious look. He missed the mark.
“Her Majesties Secret Service” She could see that whatever it was he really wasn’t liking it. Smiling she joked with him.
“Well if you’re going to tell me about it, then it certainly isn’t a secret.” He chuckled. He was letting his guard down.
She heard a whisper to her mind. ‘Aju, we are here. Anytime you’re ready.’ It was Reza. His voice had been remarkably steady. She thought for sure if he saw her dancing with a man, he would begin his posturing.
She opened her mind to all three men so that they could see what had transpired. She quickly warned them to stay out of his mind and not try and read him. Reza, Kane and Meisha had given her the proper amount of time. Meisha called it the two hit minimum. Meaning that, at least two men should hit on her before they arrive. They were right on time. The song ended. Aju glanced to Reza and then back to Liam. She said.
“Look, I’m here on business and my clients have just arrived. This is just a preliminary meeting but I have to go do this. Maybe we could meet tomorrow for lunch?” For a fleeting second he looked hopeful.
“Why me?” He just could not make himself believe that someone like her would be interested in someone like him. She smiled and said.
“I like your hair cut…and that you didn’t step on my feet even once.” He liked her.
“Sure. Lunch is good. Where are you staying?” She knew that he could easily find out. As she turned to walk off the floor, she said.
“La Florida. Do you know where it is?” His eyebrows shot up.
“Sure. Everybody knows. Will I be able to get past your security?” She played her vixen look.
“I don’t know…will you?” He was smiling hopefully. What a sweetheart he was.
“I’ll be doin’ my best.” As he turned to walk away he glanced back to get a look at her and stopped to make a full turn. It was the first time that he really saw the back of her dress. He had come to a complete stop to watch. His eyes narrowed. Was her dress see through? Was he really seeing her thong? He realized quickly that he was staring…gaping actually, and pulled himself away.
As he did, he glanced to see her clients. Something in him froze. He recognized them somehow. She felt an undercurrent sweep the room. She continued to where the three men stood waiting. Reza was dressed formally wearing a black vintage style hacking jacket. It was belted from side to side only in the back. It accentuated the taper of his waist, drew attention to the muscular line of his body, and allowed everyone to see that he was strong, well defined and dangerous. His slacks fit him perfect and with each step muscles rippled like jungle cat on the prowl.
Kane was dressed in Armani and Meisha…blue jeans, and a white tee under an expensive black leather jacket. They were all gorgeous. She glanced to see the attention that they had drawn from the women in the club and noticed that almost every one of them was ogling the Varda men either openly or covertly.
She wondered for a moment how a woman would decide between them. Her eyes moved back to Reza. And although Kane and Meisha were both just yummy scrumptious breathtaking… Reza was the one that she would choose. She pulled her thoughts back to the situation at hand and proceeded to make all the right moves. If the three men were indeed dragoons and had recognized Reza, Kane and Meisha as Varda…then certainly they would do as she had done…and turn up the volume. They were all certain at this point that the conversation would be monitored. She spoke to their minds.
‘I believe them to be Dragoons. The one I was dancing with will be coming to Beddia with us. We will try and trap him.’ Reza said.
‘I brought several disrupters, both individual and remote. This is not the time however. Their guard just went up. We have been recognized.’ She was watching him, he was glancing around…getting the lay of the land. She began. She spoke aloud as she extended her hand in greeting.
“I am Aju-anye. I will need to see some ID. Please follow me to our table.” They followed her. Her bodyguards stepped forward and one ran a metal detector over and around each of the men in turn and then checked their ID’s. With that done, she opened her laptop and turned it towards them. One by one, they placed their thumb onto a pad. She turned it, typed something and waited.
Apparently, she saw what she needed as she then allowed the meeting to go forwards. She used her laptop that had been custom designed by Hiro and Aidan, to triangulate the position of the men she suspected of being Dragoons. She recorded their conversation. If they had technology in them that located the type of devise that she was using, they would assume that she was recording her meeting with these men. One of them took out a cell phone and punched auto dial. Her laptop captured the number. A woman answered. She sounded perfunctory…a very efficient secretary most probably…
After she had begun to speak, Reza’s heard her conjecture and spoke to her mind, to say,
‘Or she could be Dragoon as well. We cannot assume that this Physician only makes this of men. We must remember that Jazadeem has this technology in her.’ She was slowly nodding her agreement. The man from across the room held his cell phone up and towards where they sat, after a few moments he returned it to his watchful eyes. The other men leaned in to look. He had taken their picture.
Aju watched her laptop. It was now showing her what the other men were seeing. Her picture came up along with a detailed background. MIT graduate. Security specialist. High end…lethal response systems. She was wanted for questioning by Scotland Yard. She was suspected of designing security system that were ‘Lethal Response’ and illegal. She knew that they would be listening as she began to make her presentation to Reza, Kane and Meisha.
She called up the blueprints to their new facility and went carefully over the specifications. She did not disclose what she would be doing for them. She stated her price…Twenty five million wired to an offshore account before she would begin and twenty five million upon completion. It was agreed.
Now the Physician would know one of two things. The Varda were building a high security installation…or…they made an elaborate rouse to draw him out into the open. She was certain he would choose the later of the two.
The meeting lasted less than an hour. When it was over, Kane and Reza ordered drinks. Liam and one of his companions had left during the meeting. The one that stayed behind had moved to get closer. Reza noticed that the cell phone was still open and casually pointed in their direction.
Meisha had left the meeting at one time to go to the bar to get a beer… Long neck… no glass. Surprisingly once the meeting was over, Meisha asked her to dance. He slipped off his leather jacket just before he reached to take her hand and pulled her to stand. He was not going to take no for an answer.
She glanced to see Reza’s jaw jump as he gritted his teeth. Little brother had beaten him to the punch. As he led her by the hand out onto the dance floor, the rhythm began to pound. She was now standing in the middle of the dance floor and had no choice. She glanced to the DJ that was still bobbing his head, he grinned at her. They began to dance. Eyes turned to watch. She kept her eyes on Meisha… she wished he were Reza.
She glanced to see both men and women watching, and she wondered if they watched her or him. He was delicious looking. She wondered how it was possible, to look so elegant and expensive and still look like the member of a street gang. Maybe it was just the dangerous shadow that surrounded him that made it feel that way. He was smooth and sexy as he took her hand and led her through a series of steps, turns and twirls, occasionally pulling her close and doing a little bebop step.
She started to relax and then realized she was actually having fun. Something that was really quite alien to her. She was glad Liam had left and was hoping Reza would ask her to dance. Reza watched as Aju danced with his little brother.
Suddenly…to his eyes…his little brother was no longer…little. He was a grown man with grown man sensibilities and Reza wondered just how Meisha was viewing Aju. He felt himself stiffen. His eyes held on Aju as she did a little forward step and leaning into Meisha she shimmied. She…shimmied. She actually… shimmied.
His eyes widened. Was that the ‘evil step’? Where did she learn to dance like this? Meisha’s arm then slipped around her as he continued to guide her through the moves. Reza found his eyes had narrowed on them as he kept mumbling to himself that Meisha had better not dip her, not in that dress.
When the dance was over Kane and Reza stood. As they walked towards her, she saw that Reza held Meisha’s jacket. Meisha still had one arm wrapped around her. Why had she not stopped him? Why had she not simply said ‘no’ to the dance altogether? It now bothered her. Reza said.
“We will be taking our leave now. We will contact you tomorrow regarding your payment.” He handed Meisha his jacket. Kane bowed his head and said.
“It was very nice to finally meet you Ms. Anye. Your reputation has preceded you. It is nice to put a face to the name.” At that, he turned and walked towards the door. She stepped away from Meisha as he took his jacket and slipped it on. He grinned and said.
“Kiss, kiss. See ya’ tomorrow.” He winked as he walked away. Reza bowed slightly from the waist as his fingertips touched his heart. A gesture of respect…heart felt. His mind slipped into hers and he asked.
‘May we speak privately…later?’ This was not the Reza that she had come to know. Nor was it the Reza whose reputation had preceded him for years now. Whatever it was, it held importance for him. She accepted with a simple nod.
“Later then.” She held her hand out to shake hands with him. A business like gesture. She really just needed to feel his touch. Any touch. He took her hand, brought it to his lips and gave it a slow lingering kiss. Oddly, she felt relieved. His mind whispered to hers, ‘Call to me if you need me. Stay safe.’
He broke from the kiss, turned and left. She had to force herself not to watch him walk away.
Returning to her seat she scanned the crowd to once again find the dragoon that had stayed behind. He was now speaking with someone on the phone in conversation.
Her eyes panned over the crowd and caught on a man standing at the bar watching her. She recognized him. Quickly she reinforced the block to her mind as the Sulkar’s renegade shifter stood smiling at her. He made an obscene gesture with his tongue.
She wasted no time in reaching into her bag to activate the disruption device. Hiro had made it for her in the form of an anklet. She held onto it so that he could not see it. The small device would make it impossible for him to snag her the way he had done with Leeanan.
Leeanan had been surrounded by Reza’s guards when the shifter had come for her. And from amidst Reza’s guards he had stolen her in the blink of an eye. Aju realized that she could possibly be in trouble here. Then her blood turned cold as the man that had approached her earlier walked to the shifter and they began to speak as old friends.
The man looked to her, and then wagged his finger at her. A ‘shame on you’ sort of gesture. He then kissed the back of his own hand languidly, to mock, indicating that he had seen Reza kiss her hand… he had seen her accept this… something that she did not allow from him.
And a good thing that she had not. Sulkar excretions were addictive… instantly addictive. Sweat, saliva, semen…all addictive. She conjectured that this man was Mandusa, the Sulkar that had brutalized Leeanan. He was wearing his new skin… his new disguise. Her effort to kill him with the ring and the reader had failed. He had seen through it as the ploy that it was to end his life.
The thing that bothered her the most was that she had not bothered to recognize him when he had first approached her. She had barely even looked at him. If she had not been thinking about what Reza might think about another man kissing her hand, she would have recognized him immediately. Mandusa…Udan of the Sulkar was alive and well and partying at Seven Deadly Sins.
She feigned ignorance, allowing no trace of recognition to seep into her body language. It was the shifter that held her concern. The Sulkar did not have the skills that the shifter had, but relied on the shifter to do its bidding. She knew enough about Mandusa to know that if he had set his sights on her, he would do just about anything to get her.
Aidan and Sasha knew this first hand. Sasha still wore her disrupter day and night and even in the bath. She casually leaned forward to adjust the ankle strap on her high heels as she slipped on the disrupter. Her eyes drew back to the shifter as she examined his physical traits.
He was around six foot three and just about two hundred sinewy pounds. His long creamy colored hair fell to his waist and sported at least six war braids. His eyes were that of Nimm. Cobalt blue…just like Hiro’s.
She had begun to feel antsy, it was time to go and she had to get out of there without getting touched. She stood and picked up her laptop, and as she began to walk, the three mercenaries hired to keep her safe, followed. She saw that both Mandusa and the shifter had begun to move in the same direction. She quickened her pace. They converged on the door at the same time.
Mandusa reached out to her in an effort to touch her. The bodyguard was quick to grab his wrist and forced him back. The mercenary had worn gloves. Gloves meant no fingerprints. In their line of work, it was probably simple protocol. The shifter chuckled. Aju stopped. She turned to look at him…and then dared to ask.
“What is your name?” He wet his lips in a most exaggerated manner, and deliberately slow before answering. A show.
“Turic...and yours?” She drew in his scent. It stopped her. She drew it in again unable to comprehend what she was scenting. He was a Nimm and he had Varda Blood. She had to conjecture that he was a Nimm son of Beau-Dane. One of the Nimm that Vichon searched for even now. And if he were the son of Beau-Dane, then he would have absolutely no idea who he really was.
The Sulkar Queen had taken the memories of all twenty-six of the Nimm that she had bred to Beau-Dane before she had him killed. Aju triggered the control on the handle of her laptop and it quickly scanned him. She dared once again, and set the bait in the trap. She spoke to his mind.
‘I am next sister to you. But you would not know that, would you? Your Sulkar friend’s mother took your memories of your true birthright. And then she twisted you to be a creature of their bidding.’
She watched the expression on his face change from humor to sudden concentration on her words. His eyes narrowed on her as his mouth tightened. She pushed her luck as she continued to speak to his mind.
‘They use you to do their bidding…do they not? That is all that you are to them. They steal you from your bloodline…from your true people. They use you as a pawn in their game. Refuse to do as they ask and you will see the same punishment they gave your cousin of blood, Codan-rei.’ She allowed him to look into her mind to see the image of the shifter that he had always...only, known as...Obej.
It was the only name that Councilor Mandusa had ever called him by. She continued ‘He was lucky…we were able to remove the fail-safe kill device they had implanted in him before it could do its work. But he is still healing in the stasis of the Sanji. Have you ever asked yourself Turic...what is inside your body? When you are of no further use to them and become only a liability...will this same acid poison we found in your brother of blood...release into your system. Interesting question...is it not? Now step away. I will be leaving this place.’
The expression on his face was one of confusion as he automatically stepped back to allow her to pass, then he realized he was allowing her to slip away from him before he could discover what she was talking about. He stepped back up. She halted abruptly. He spoke to her mind.
‘You will tell me all. You will speak to me what you think that you know.’ She wondered if he was salvageable.
‘Not at this time nor in this place, and definitely NOT in the presence of our enemy.’ He seemed eager, it seemed important to him when he asked.
‘Where and when?’ Their eyes were still locked together. Everyone stood watching…waiting.
‘I will call to you Turic. I am sorry that this has come to you. Maybe there is still time for you. Keep yourself safe and do not let the Sulkar touch you.’
With that said, she turned and walked away. She realized that her heart was beating just a little faster. This seldom ever happened, and certainly never on neutral territory. She moved quickly to the Limo, slid into the back seat, and began to review the events of the night. She had discovered three dragoons. One of which she was having lunch with tomorrow. And she had every intention to kidnap him and take him back to Beddia for more careful examination. She had run into Mandusa…Udan, the Sulkar, in his new body. She was also certain that she had met a Nimm son of Beau-Dane. She had gotten lucky.
She had also been able to scan him, so now they had his ROV...his Rate of Vibration. She began to search her memory of the information that they had found inside Anok-Musadi regarding what had happened to the Nimm that had been taken prisoner…this had been an incredible find. Now if they could just get his memories back to him, they might just be able to save him. But Vichon had the Dicent crypt that held all of Turic’s memories. And no one knew where Vichon had gone. No one except her, that is.
When he had cleared the ship and had tossed out the tracking device so that his whereabouts could not be monitored...she had been busy scattering several more around the ship in strategic locations. She knew that he would search for a back up tracker...maybe even two. She provided them...and then some. She had however...kept this information to herself.
Over the years, she had come to recognize that the men of the bloodline of Varda had great difficulty keeping secrets from each other. They shared information, ideas, thoughts and feelings freely. She did not want what she knew of Vichon’s sojourns to ever be known by them...or him. She knew exactly where Vichon had gone...and who he had made contact with since the parting of their ways.
She was busy in thought trying to decide how to turn this new information and this situation to their benefit...while still trying to save the Nimm that was, for now...their enemy. A plan was forming inside her mind. Soon, she would have to tell Reza. Very soon. Even at the mention of his name, her heart began to pound a little faster. Strange sensations swirled through her body...and she like the way it felt. She glanced to see Turic. He stood watching the limo as it pulled silently away.
His mind was in a quiet riot over the words that she had spoken. She had given herself away. She was no ordinary woman. And she certainly was no security expert from this world. She had spoken to his mind... conversed with him expertly...and, had handled herself with caution and calm. His head had slowly begun to nod as he conjectured as to her true identity. ‘Next sister’. It kept echoing inside his head, bouncing off the walls as if unable to stop itself.
Udan had watched him watching her, his eyes darting from one to the other and then back again. His mind was busy trying to figure out what had just happened. He spoke to Turic as he took his arm.
“She was with the Varda. We have to find out more about her. Did you look into her mind? What did you see?” Turic was still busy rolling the words she had spoken around inside his head. She had said that she was next sister to him, implying that they were related. The name, Codan-rei, kept catching in his mind. Codan-rei was a name exclusive to the Varda. With her words ‘brother of blood’, she had implied…that he had Varda in him.
He had been raised to hate the Varda. This hatred was foremost in his mind…and in his memories. But this woman had implied that his memories of who he really was had been taken from him. He was suddenly angry. He was not certain at whom he was angry…he was just angry.
He realized then that the Councilor gripped his arm. He jerked his arm away. Then he covered with a smile. Turic knew that the councilor had no couth or decorum. He was a basal, vile man that understood only the most course disposition of nature. He had seen him do unspeakable things. Then he realized that he had helped the councilor do unspeakable things. Something turned over in his stomach. Something began to eat at him. As he searched his mind, he realized that he had no memories of being young, no memories of ever having been a child. Another sickening realization came to him…the woman had spoken the truth. Turic turned to the Councilor to say.
“Keep your fantasies of Sasha, Councilor. This one is mine.”