Blown up, healed and grafted were things Lee never expected to see in her medical records. Waking up after a terrorist attack, she finds her father has signed her over to the Volunteer Project as long as they can keep her alive.
Grafts, implants and slow regeneration are now her life, and she is assigned to the Guardian emergency response dispatch. Having no base, they travel from world to world and do whatever needs to be done from rescues, small incursions, to escorting treaty brides.
Lukar has worked alone for quite some time, but the scientists at the Guardian Project assured him that he and Lee were a good match. He had no idea how right they were.
The blast played in her mind as she woke. She put her hands up in front of her face and nothing happened. No blast. No hands.
Adora Lee Kellner opened her eyes and looked around. She was in a medical facility; her body was no longer wracked with pain, but she wasn’t able to move. “What?”
A man in a red tunic with bright blue-green skin and a wicked smile came forward. “Welcome to the land of the conscious, Lee Kellner.”
“Where am I?” The last thing she remembered was seeing her father next to a man with silver skin and huge black eyes.
“You are at the Guardian Research Station in the Nyal Imperium. We are building you a framework that will help you regenerate a close approximation of your original limbs.”
He got a sympathetic look to his strange features. “Your limbs were lost in an explosion, as was a good portion of your upper torso and one eye. We are rebuilding you with the intention of your skills being used as a Guardian or peacekeeper. You are going to be one of the most heavily armed beings in the Imperium.”
She blinked. “I can feel my arms.”
“We are in the process of grafting the bases to you. Once they have integrated with your nervous system, you will have the full range of movement you previously enjoyed.”
She was feeling panic welling inside her. She fought to move limbs that weren’t there.
“Breathe deep. Exhale. Breathe. Exhale.” He came and touched her neck.
She relaxed and did as he suggested. When she finished her surge of panic, he touched her forehead, brushing at her hair. To her shock, she could see every pore in his palm and down to the microscopic level. “What is happening to my vision?”
“Your eye was destroyed; we used available technology to rebuild it; we had to remove the other one to match your vision, but they have your original colour and responses.”
She swallowed, and with effort, she managed to reset her eyes.
“I understand that this will be difficult for you, Lee Kellner. We will have counsellors for you, and your father has a com unit. You may speak with him along sealed frequencies.”
“My father knows where I am?”
The doctor stroked her cheek. “He is the one who ran to the Recruiter and signed you over to the Imperium before your people unplugged you. He saved your life.”
She smiled weakly. “That sounds like him. When can I speak with him?”
“When we get your limbs working properly. You are in the harness right now, but we have to wait until the attachment and regeneration units are confirmed before we seal you up. You will have to return here every six months for adjustments to the limbs, but in four years, you will have a new set of arms and legs.”
Lee had to ask. “How are you so good at Terran physiology?”
“We have five pilots and bonded ships under our belts, so to speak. We have given them sight, the ability to walk, healed devastating scars and other adaptations. They gave us their bodies, and we gave them the ability to live as they wished to.”
“Are they here?”
“They are on their rounds. One at a time will come in for maintenance for either themselves or the ships.”
“Could I meet them when they come in?” The idea of meeting one of the first wave of Terrans was tempting. It might help her for what was to come.