Billie first met the love of her life when she was working for the Alliance, but he transferred from her unit, and he was out of her life. Two years later, she is on an assignment to recruit more Enforcers of the Oefric species. Their instincts, shifting abilities and love of order make them ideal officers.
Arcros knew that he could not remain in the same unit as his Terran. He wouldn’t be able to control himself if she was near him and that was a dereliction of duty he was not going to court. Three years later, his people finally admit that he has already chosen his mate and he is allowed to send for her. The Alliance wants twenty warriors in exchange for the woman, and Arcros believes that he is getting the best part of that deal.
“You do not res`emble any Enforcer I have ever seen.”
Billie was eating at the captain’s table on the Heko Mor. She paused and looked at her dinner partner, a water-breathing emissary from a world whose name even Alliance Common could not manage.
“I look like at least five others that I am aware of, two males and three females of the Terran species.”
“Peculiar. Why do you put yourself in harm’s way?”
She blushed when she realized that other folk nearby were listening. “It isn’t what I want to do, it is what I was trained to do. Instinct drives me to help folk when they panic, and the result is that I am an Enforcer.”
The emissary inclined its head. “I can understand that. Instinct drives my kind to spawn and die in our ninety-third year. We do not have a choice. We do it, or we live knowing that we are incomplete. Our lives hold no meaning without passing our knowledge to the next generation.”
“So, you give your memories when you spawn?” It had gone from uncomfortable to fascinating in a moment.
“We do. Each generation is a true copy of the previous one. When my time comes, I will lay thirty eggs, and one will be my true inheritor, and the others who survive to adulthood will serve my people.” The gills fluttered at the emissary’s neck.
Billie smiled, not showing teeth. It was a skill she had learned in her years as an Enforcer. Many races took the baring of teeth as a threat display. “I wish you a good journey when your time comes.”
“Thank you. Why do you find yourself here this evening?”
Billie cocked her head while she contemplated her answer. “I have been sent on a recruiting assignment. It is not a comfortable thing for me, but it is my duty, and I will see it through.”
“Do you have a mate?”
More gazes from those at the captain’s table eyed her speculatively.
She cleared her throat. “I do not. It is not practical for an Enforcer to have a spouse. We travel extensively and are often in danger. It is not fair for our loved ones to wonder if we are coming home.”
The emissary accepted the answer and turned conversation to a more neutral topic.
Billie welcomed the discussion of the funding of the Sector Guard, counting the days until she could get off the Heko Mor and onto Chysan.
One could only stand so many formal dinners after all.