Escaping through her workshop tunnel, Neva is less than impressed to find that her proposed partner was the one sent to rescue her and the Citadel staff.
She has managed to dodge her offered position in the Sector Guard for over two years and when Archer comes to save her, she knows that her time to think about it is over.
Archer is bewildered that a woman like Neva keeps turning him down. He’s ridiculously handsome, has an impressive talent and is a charming conversationalist. What more could a woman want?
Neva shooed her charges down into the emergency hatch. With a string tied to the door, she tugged it open as she lowered the hatch door and moved the rug to cover it. Peeking through the one-inch opening, she charged the strand with the brittleness of ice and jerked hard.
As it shattered, she lowered herself down into the underground tunnel and looked at the best and brightest that the Citadel had to offer. "Okay, ladies, we are going out that door and into the forest. Keep silent and calm and we will be fine."
Sterla tugged at the door and scowled. "Winder Neva, this door is sealed shut."
A cold chill ran through her, but Neva moved toward the door. Sure enough, a synthetic welding substance was trailed around the doorframe and firmly held the door in place. "Stand back. This will take some practicing."
She took a thread from the reels at her waist and tied a knot in one end. Focussing the sputtering talent that had cursed her her entire life, she started to spin the thread faster and faster, imbuing it with an acidic temperament and stepping forward. The whirling thread ate into the door, creating a hole that was large enough for them to crawl through.
She discharged the characteristics she had imbued into the thread, snapped the used area off and dropped it to the floor.
"Please come this way. I will seal the door behind us. Get to the other end of the tunnel and wait for me. I will be right behind you."
Geli looked up at her with solid black eyes. "Are you certain?"
"I am certain. I will be right there." She watched as the Citadel apprentices crawled through the hole, one by one. Her hands were busy while they escaped the noises of the Raider attack. Neva wove a web of threads rapidly, using the hooks she had had implanted in her nail beds. With the loose fabric bunched in one hand, she crawled through the hole she had made. She turned and fastened the web to the interior of the hole and charged it with an electric shock strong enough to stun any of the races who were known the frequent the Raider clans.
She walked down the tunnel and found her students waiting for her. "Thank you for following instructions. The Raider warning came out nine minutes ago. If they land and come for the weaving house, they will find the door open and no one in it. Whoever sealed the door will lead them to the trapdoor and from there, they will find that we have escaped. Now, we have to remain at liberty long enough for help to come."
Geli swallowed and her tongue flicked out rapidly. "Do you think they will come in time to keep us from being taken?"
"I have no idea, but I do know that we have to fight." She looked over her six students and smiled grimly. "Now, stand aside so I can blow the door. If they are waiting for us on the other side, this is going to hurt."