Mayden Morningside is a Reader who works with contracts and lives a quiet life until her old recruiter from Terra comes asking her to join the Sector Guard. She will have her body changed to match her partner’s, a strange but necessary practice when one’s partner is a dragon. Harusk is a sleeper, a dragon who chose to preserve his genes through a prolonged hibernation. Waking to find out his perfect match needs a little tinkering is surprising, but his first meetings with her captivate him beyond all of his preconceptions. Not bad for a woman in a tank who can’t even curse at the pain of the transformation process.
The shuttle pilot carefully did not touch her as he escorted her out of the small ship.
“Thank you, Nef. Where to next?”
“You are expected in medical. Please follow me.” He didn’t offer to carry her bag, so she knew immediately that the young Azon had met a reader or two before.
Medical was bustling but organized. A physician met her at the door, showed her where to stow her baggage and her clothing, then led her to a series of injections that left her dopey for the insertion into a tank to allow for the remainder of the treatment to take place. It would take weeks for her transformation to conclude and the IV of fluids to deliver their altered genetic payload.
Mayden was well aware of the reason they put her in the tank, not only was she insulated from contact, but they couldn’t hear her screaming as the pain of her organs realigning took her over. The sedatives kept flowing, but she went through a world of blackouts and agony.
Time ceased to have meaning, but the waves of pain finally receded and Mayden became aware of the steady throb of the engines as it matched her heartbeat. The visitors in front of her took on a steady wave. The doctors, medical assistants and a variety of attendants gave way to military personnel and a woman with rainbow hair who used a scanner on her from head to toe.
The woman was wearing a bodysuit with a tool belt attached and had a concerned expression on her face until the doctor spoke to her in depth. The man beside her seemed to be a male Selna, but Mayden had never seen one before.
There was another visitor in the shadows just beyond her range of vision. She could feel him more than see him, but she knew he was there. He came to visit every night when the crew was at the lightest population. A strange sort of music played in her head whenever he was near, but she was peculiarly grateful for the company.
Even when she couldn’t see him, the faint song rang through her mind, lulling her into a relaxed state as she hung in the oxygenated fluid.