Jimra was raised to do her best, perform her duty and fight fire with her own body. When she becomes a citizen, she wants to join the fire office and finds that there is only one thing standing in her way…her own genes. Her mother got pregnant on a distant world by their Guardian, and Jimra has to face the fact that she isn’t welcome on her world, but she might be welcome on her father’s.
Learning that he had an adult daughter had to be difficult for him, but he welcomed her to the Citadel on Ypra and her new position as a specialist.
Huros was an ex-Negotiator with a talent for analysis when he lost emotional control in the healers’ offices and a specialist was called in to help calm him. With one touch, she changed their fates and linked them forever.
The homeowner ran up the street toward his house. The blaze was roaring and threatening to spread to the houses to either side.
Graftic fastened his gear and prepared to go into the blaze in search of the life signs that had been there just five minutes earlier when the drone had flown in. The drone had been destroyed, but it had identified the one spot where someone could still be alive.
Graftic and his team faced the blaze and moved forward with their dousers when the flames went inward.
In under twenty seconds, there was no sign of the fire and the wood and steel were not even smoking.
“What the hell is going on, Chief?”
“I don’t know. Clear the house but be on alert. This could be the start of an explosion. We don’t know what is going on.”
A little girl ran out with a smudged dolly clutched to her chest. The homeowner rushed forward and hugged her.
“I was only gone a minute. I swear.” He sobbed and held his child.
“Was there any one else in there?”
The little girl nodded. “Jimra came in. She made the fire go away, but I think it made her sick.”
The father looked wary. “Jimra was there?”
“She said that the fire shouldn’t have been there. She said the fire was wrong, and then, she ate it.”
Graftic nodded and headed into the building. He identified the part of the building that had been available to a possible survivor and entered the room.
A young woman was on her knees, and she had her arms wrapped around her midsection. When she heard Graftic, she whirled. “I can’t hold it much longer.”
She stared at him, and he saw fire in her eyes. It began to leak out and skittered down her arm. “I can’t hang onto the fire much longer. It wants out, but there is no safe place to put it.”
He blinked. “You can release it?”
“I have to. I have never pulled this much fire inside. I have nowhere to put it.” Fiery tears tracked down her cheeks.
“Can I wrap you up in a blanket and get you somewhere you can let the fire go?”
She nodded, and she huddled in a ball at his feet.
He flipped out a fire blanket and wrapped it around her; the heat of her body registered through the insulation of his suit. Graftic used the com to get a vehicle out front, and when he had settled Jimra in the back seat, he pulled the skimmer up and headed toward the nearest stand of rock.
“Take it easy, little one, we are almost there.”
She nodded from inside the bundle. “Good. I can feel the power going.”
He didn’t know if that was good or bad, so he just gunned the engine and landed on the rock with a thud.
He picked the young woman up and carried her to the flat plateau. He wasn’t sure what made him warn her, but he said, “I am going to take the blanket off now.”
She nodded, “When you take it off, put it over you so I won’t hurt you. The fire is just going to come out. He shouldn’t have made it.”
“Who shouldn’t have?”
“Tiska’s dad. He made the fire. I don’t know why, but he made the fire. I am going to explode now.” She stood and flipped the blanket toward him.
Graftic covered himself in the blanket, and the roar of the fire made him feel that he was inside a building rocketing into flames.
His suit protected him from the damage, but the burn that was coming off the young girl still sent him tumbling to the edge of the cliff. The roar continued for several minutes, and it was with great relief on his part that silence fell.