Infinitum Government Code 22.214.171.1242: Genetic Experimentation Shall Be Strictly Forbidden
Decades ago the people of Coni genetically engineered a race meant to help them. Instead of perfectly crafted assistants, however, they wound up with the Draconis, who possess unexpected power and ability—and the ability to match with suitable individuals and exponentially increase their magics. But matching cannot be predicted, prevented, or undone, and they are matching with people all across the Infinitum Government...
Some think the Draconis should be annihilated. Some think they should be an independent race and given their own home. The most powerful minds in the Infinitum Government are fighting for one side or another, including murders, chancellors, spies, even prison guards. Others are using the debate to further their own ends, and they will stop at nothing to see those ends are reached...
Not so long ago, Elton had a near-perfect life: loving family, successful business, and the prestigious position of Jeweler Troiseme of Mars. But betrayal and murder destroyed that life forever and now he and his sister have no choice but to be swept off to a different planet in the hopes of building a new life and leaving their past behind them.
Before they settle into that new life, however, they decide to spend some time on Bangkok, the notorious planet of pleasure where they say all dreams come true...
“Hey, Cyan. What the hell is a Draconis?”
Cyan quirked a brow as he strode into the break room and dropped down on the small, battered couch against the far wall. His boots rang on the metal floors that were everywhere in rehab. “The dumb questions you ask, one would think you live in a closet.”
“Damn fucking near. A closet full of violent assholes.”
Cyan snorted. “You work on Rehab, Sean. You should know damn near every race in the IG. I know my training didn’t fail, therefore you’re an idiot.”
Sean rolled his eyes. “Fuck you. Unlike you, Cyan, some of us don’t think it’s fun to memorize all those dry texts you insist on reading. There is life outside rehab.”
“I prefer life in rehab,” Cyan said with a shrug.
He started to taunt Cyan more, but it turned into a soft curse as his in-lens fritzed, the information in the thin device shooting sparks of pain through his eye.
“Problem, Sean?” Cyan asked, looking at him in concern and some amusement.
“In-lens has had it,” Sean replied. Which could turn into a really nasty problem. He struggled not to panic. He’d known it was getting on, but pushed even though he knew the risks…so hard to get a new one, though. No help for it. He’d have to pop over to Mars at end of shift. “Guess that fucking hellcat in 9.1.2 nailed me harder than I thought.”
Cyan snickered. “Yeah, I prefer being nailed by hellcats in an entirely different way.”
“You and the rest of the stars,” said a warm, amused female voice. Both men turned to look at Tiffany, the systems analyst for the sector nine, wing two secluded network. In the dingy gray and black coloring of the break room, her Helior-red hair was a near blinding beacon. “At least you’re inoculated, Sean.”
“At least it was a hellcat and not a fucking Sardoran,” Cyan muttered.
“It’s not funny,” Cyan griped.
“That you seem to have some sort of ‘come and get me’ tattoo that only tentacle races can see? Yes, it is.”
Sean just snickered again.
Cyan kicked him.
“Okay, okay,” Sean said. He motioned to the file still in his lap, touching the screen to wake the datapad back up. “So what’s a Draconis?”
“Surprised you haven’t heard of them, actually,” Cyan said. “They’re causing quite the controversy in the IG right now. Genetically engineered race designed by the Coni. It’s a magics capable planet in the third Quad. Their magics are diverse, ranging from basic elementals to defensive magics, but not very powerful. They created the Draconis to be legal supplements to increase their power. It’s kinda cool what they did, actually.”
Tiffany looked up from her own datapad, in-lens flashing as she kept constant watch on her systems. “Yeah, they mate and increase their partner’s magics. So romantic!”
Cyan rolled his eyes. “Something like that.”
“Mate?” Sean asked, looking back down at the file. The words Mateless – Keep Isolated were typed in green, rather than black like the rest. It meant ‘fucking pay attention.’
“They bond and something in their make up sort of attaches to whomever they bond with and causes some sort of reaction that increases the magics of both Draconis and the person bonded. Most call that person a Draconis ‘mate’ though the term ‘match’ is also used since they can’t bond with just anyone. No one knows why Draconis match the way they do. Not even the Coni.”
Tiffany looked up again. “Part of the controversy surrounding them is that they should have only ever matched with Coni, but these days they’re matching with species all across the stars. It’s causing loads of problems.”
“Yeah,” Cyan agreed. “It would suck to be suddenly stuck with someone you never met and unable to separate – because with distance the magics fade. Can you imagine? Being a magics capable who suddenly can’t use his magics unless the Draconis he got stuck with was nearby?”
Sean frowned. “It can’t be that hard to live without magics. Humans have been doing it forever.”
“Spoken like a true human,” Cyan said lightly. “That’s what they’d tell you, Sean. Humans don’t have magics, so we can’t understand. I say lucky us, but that’s probably my human bias speaking.”
Tiffany shrugged. “It all evens out.”
“Debatable,” Cyan said.
Sean cut them off before they could start arguing again. He didn’t need to put up with yet another political debate. “This file says he’s been arrested for murder. Ouch. Killed his father.”
“Oh?” Cyan asked, leaning over to read the datapad for himself. “Huh. He’s only half Draconis. Half human. That should be interesting. Father was the human.”
“I wonder why he’s all the way here in 9.9. He only killed one guy. Fuck, the Klorin in 9.8.2 killed six people and he’s only got a life sentence.”
Cyan tapped the bright green letters Sean had read before. “Unmatched. That means he could possibly match with anyone magics capable in here. Lists his magics as being defensive, meaning he can probably heal, stuff like that. Still, if he has anything that could help him escape…”
“They would have collared him,” Sean said, grimacing at the thought of the magics-numbing collars, barely keeping from touching a hand to his throat.
“Yeah, but if he matched then his magics would quadruple in power.”
“Ah,” Sean said in comprehension. If that happened, his power would exceed the limits of the collar, which conceivably could allow the prisoner to escape. Not that he’d ever get off Rehab, not unless he had some truly impressive magics.
“So we’re on break after this shift,” Cyan said in an abrupt conversation shift. “Wanna take a jaunt somewhere?”
Sean thought a moment. “Sure. Got anywhere in mind?”
“Was thinking Bangkok, or we could rent a private ship and just cruise.”
“Or we could cruise leisurely to Bangkok and back,” Sean said with a grin. “Stars, I’ve been wanting a ship of my own forever. Just go wherever the hell whenever the hell I want. Got enough points for it, and a pilot license. Should get around to actually getting the ship.”
Cyan’s eyes began to gleam. “You should commission one. Get a sweet custom class with grade e materials. I bet you could even commission a Zero-caliber company to build it. Oh, man. Can you imagine? A gremlin built ship?”
“That would kick ass,” Sean said, matching his eagerness. “Zero companies have serious waiting lists, though. I probably wouldn’t get it for at least a term.” He grinned. “Would be worth the wait, though. Want to help me start designing it? We could cruise to Zero instead of Bangkok and look at the companies firsthand.”
Access to Zero, the ruling seat of the Infinitum Government, had highly restricted access. As rehab guards, though, they had access to certain areas – including the commercial districts and shipyards. “Yeah, we’ll get the clearance codes from the Captain before we leave.”
“Men,” Tiffany said in tolerant amusement. “If you’re not discussing your dicks, it’s weapons or starships.”
“Hey,” Cyan said defensively. “We have to know weapons. I’m wearing two dozen at the moment. It would be rather detrimental to my health if I grabbed a stinger instead of a painter when trying to put down a Traxen.”
Sean winced at the thought, lightly touching the long, sharp baton slung into its loop low on his left thigh, then the thicker baton set with a nozzle right beside it. Yeah, didn’t want to mix up those two, especially when a Traxen was involved. “Come to my house when we get out of here and we can start on the prelim work.”
“Cool,” Cyan said with a grin, right as their in-lens flared with an arrival alert. “Oh, hey. There’s our Draconis.”
Moving the break room door, Sean swiftly punched in the codes to let them out. No matter what, not a single door in rehab opened without proper codes. Even the locker room required codes for entering and leaving.
As the door slid open and he passed through, additional sensors scanned his in-lens and his blood for appropriate electronic and chemical keys. Behind him, Cyan was just as thoroughly checked.
Back in the main portion of rehab, they swiftly made their way down long halls, through rooms, ignoring the calls when they passed various cellblocks. The floors and stairs were all grated metal to make cleanup easier when things went sour with a prisoner.
They worked in sector nine, the hardest sector on Rehab – it was the sector reserved for the most dangerous adult male prisoners in the stars. Today they were assigned to wings eight and nine – nine being very small – and that meant all incoming prisoners for that section would be theirs to personally escort to his cell.
In this sector, things often went wrong. Men who committed murder and much worse had no compunctions against resisting arrest. It was only part of the reason rehab guards went through some of the most rigorous training in the Infinitum Government.
Finally they made their way through the maze-like halls, coming to a halt at the edge of Dock 5, where even now an Authority combat class ship was going through the last of its landing procedures.
“It’s about time you two showed up,” a man with a bald head and massive mustache barked. “McCracken. Noor. Where the fuck have you been?”
“Break, Captain Waters.” Cyan replied, unfazed. “We get those. We’re here on time.”
“Insubordination,” Waters muttered, but subsided. “Fall in.”
Obediently Cyan and Sean took their places at the edge of the dock as the ship opened and a ramp extended.
The prisoner file hadn’t included a picture and they’d moved on to talking about ships before Sean had thought to ask what Draconis looked like. Whatever he’d been picturing, it wasn’t anything like the handsome thing which was led from the ship, hands bound and a thick magics-damping collar around his neck. The deep blue uniforms worn by the IG soldiers escorting him only brought out the brilliance of his scales.
Sean realized he was staring, but could not help it. He was tall, dark green hair about shoulder length, messy looking. He was bare-chested, as most high class criminals were. The Draconis’s skin was human looking – a faint gold-brown to it, as though he had a tan. But over most of it, leaving only much of his torso, the back of his arms, and his hands bare, were rich green-gold scales They were beautiful, running down the backs of his arms, stopping just past his wrist. They covered most of his chest and all down his back, smaller scales curving along his cheekbones and brushing just below his green ey—
Pain shot through Sean’s head, and he dropped to his knees clutching his head in agony.
People started shouting all around him, and he briefly heard Cyan call his name, then hands grabbed him roughly and he was pressed up against something unbelievably hot.
Then just as suddenly the noise died. He jerked away from what he realized was someone holding him – and realized it was the prisoner…and they were in the ship. He reached for his stunner, thumbing it to the highest level.
“Sleep,” the Draconis said.