Cleo got a visit from a recruiter, but her parents told her that under no circumstances could she join the Volunteer Project. She was sitting in the project offices, trying to decline their offer when matters were taken out of her control.
Waking on the moon was bad enough, but waking in the confined space of a tank with everyone looking at her naked body made her furious. After nearly breaking through the heavy tank, she was given the rest of her adaptation while asleep.
Helbri has never heard of a Bride being this much trouble, but as her Familiar, he needs to watch her reactions and know her well enough to predict them. Staring at her is no hardship, but knowing that she is coming with him under duress is another matter.
Gaining her trust is going to take everything he has.
Cleo bit her nail and waited in the lobby of the Volunteer Centre. Several men and women came in and filled out the forms as well as donated a drop of blood for scanning. It was a long wait.
Several folks gasped, and Cleo looked up, seeing the Ontex recruiter that had come to her home the day before.
“Miss Rhodes, please, come this way.”
Cleo grabbed her purse and shuffled forward, wishing that she could just disappear. All gazes were on her, and it was not a comfortable feeling.
Recruiter Norz led her through the offices and into a boardroom in the back. When the door was closed and they were alone, Norz got her a glass of water.
“You look nervous, Ms. Rhodes.”
“Yes. I know. Look, I know that I said yes yesterday, but I told my parents, and they are not enthusiastic about my leaving. I think I am going to have to say no.” Cleo drank greedily from the glass of water.
She sat, and Norz sat across from her, his small silver hands folded on the table.
“Well, my father isn’t a fan of the Volunteer Project. He thinks that it is just a way to steal the best and brightest from the world. Even though the alien tech saved his life after his heart attack, he is convinced that the project will take more than it gives.”
Norz nodded. “Understandable. We would not have been able to provide anything to your people if the Volunteers had not left your world and joined the Alliance.”
She smiled. “Right. So, it isn’t a big deal if I stay, right? There are plenty of people to replace me.”
Norz laughed. “Well, I would love to say yes, but I am afraid that your parents are being informed of the situation as we speak.”
The world seemed a little blurry. “What?”
“Your presence has been demanded by the species I told you about. You will be going to Lrrko whether you like it or not.”
Cleo frowned. “What? I am not going.”
“I am afraid you are. Don’t hit your head on the desk.”
“What?” The world spun again, and she felt her forehead smack something hard.