Yllin has been raised in privilege and has never felt like it was the right life for her. She honed her skills for sonar as a waitress at a busy restaurant and jumped at the chance to apply for a position in Citadel Ohkhan.
Her acceptance is a delightful surprise that isn’t enjoyed by her family. With reluctance, they give her their blessing and she sets out to be the best Citadel Novice she could be.
Her first assignment as a Specialist lands her in an archaeological dig in an ancient buried city. She throws herself into the day-to-day routine and wishes for something more exciting. Unfortunately, she gets it.
Specialist Nearing was her flight instructor and is now her pilot. Despite his urge to fly free, he finds himself drawn to her over and over. His mother really needs to stop assigning them together.
Yllin Gerocard flexed her fingers and waited for her turn at the testing unit. The Citadel was holding trials for those who thought they might have a talent suitable for working in the stars.
Yllin rubbed her hands on her leathers and she waited. Waiting was not her strong suit, but she tried to keep herself calm while name after name was called and those around her were taken in ahead of her.
Many of those applying had psychic talents or thought they did. Yllin had to wait for the Citadel Master who was interviewing physical and sensory talents.
Yllin breathed deep and drummed her fingers silently on her knees. When she heard, “Yllin Gerocard?” she jumped out of her seat and was at the man’s side in an instant.
He towered over her, and the scarlet of his skin glowed brightly. His eyes were far narrower than any person of her acquaintance, but then, she hadn’t met an alien before.
He looked down at her with surprise. “Yllin?”
She smiled nervously. “That’s me.”
He inclined his head and extended his hand. “I am Combat Master Wercor. Please come with me to the testing ground, and we will see what you can do.”
She gripped his hand in hers, and he was surprised at her grip. That much was obvious.
“May I ask what you do for a living?” He released her hand and escorted her through one of the halls in the city centre.
“I am a waitress. I serve food.”
“You have quite the grip.”
She chuckled. “It goes with the job. I get charged for breakage, so I try not to drop things.”
The testing ground was located in the convention centre, and the maze of structures was designed to keep her from getting around with any sort of speed.
Master Wercor stopped at a red line on the floor. “Yllin, I want you to go through the maze and pick up three of the nine orbs hidden in the warehouse. You have an hour.”
“That is it?”
He went to a counter and pulled out a narrow box. “Nearly. You need to wear these sensors on your forehead. They won’t interfere with your talent, but they will tell us what is going on when you use it.”
She nodded and settled them on her skin. One on each temple and one in the centre of her forehead.
He set his tablet and smiled. “When you are ready, I will start the clock.”
Yllin lifted her head and she said, “Now.”
The pulse went from her mind through the facility, reached the edge of her range and returned to her. She ran for the furthest orb of the three, and she had to tip over part of the maze to get to it. It was buried under the wall. Holding it in her hand, she ran toward the second, left, right and left again.
She had to lie on the floor and reach behind the podium, but she found the second orb. The shiny gold ball just fit in her left hand as she ran to the third and final orb. The six in the far reaches of the space were unnecessary. She just needed the third orb.
The third orb was hidden under carpet, so she flicked her knife open and knelt, digging a hole in the turf-style carpet that was thrown in front of the start line. The orb popped out, and she caught it between her left arm and her chest while she put her knife back in her boot.
Yllin gathered the prizes and walked back to the line. “Anything else?”