Kiiki has spent ten years in the Dome, the first to be dumped there when she was fourteen. Now, the Citadel is offering her a chance to get out and she is not hesitating. Her family will keep, she needs out NOW.
Harken is a cloud-formed Nishan and Kiiki’s new partner. How can she trust a man who can choose any shape he wishes on a world where they want her to use her power talent for hours a day?
Her attraction to her strange companion grows with his appreciation of her skills. By the end of the assignment, she is incomplete without him, and he is obsessed with protecting her. Her injuries have occurred because of the nature of her talent, and there is nothing more frustrating than a protector who cannot protect his charge from herself.
“Kiiki Waythorp, please report to the entryway.” It was more polite than most summons.
Kiiki looked to all her friends, the only family she had had on a daily basis for ten years. “I suppose that this means goodbye for now.”
Togger was shocked. “You are a Waythorp, and they still locked you up?”
Kiiki lit her body with the glow that the stars gave her. “Do you think that this could be covered up for long? Even with their influence, my parents could only arrange a second visit every year under the guise of an assessment.”
Her suit chirped a reminder. “Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, but I have an appointment to keep. I will return when I can.”
Urik cocked his head, “You want to return?”
Kiiki nodded, “For better or worse, this is my home. I just want to feel the light on my skin once again.”
She left the council hall without a backward glance. Her goodbyes had already been said, tears shed. There was nothing left but the future and a brighter possibility.
The path to the only entry into the Dome was well worn by folks pacing back and forth in an effort to calm them with the only contact with the rest of Resicor.
Kiiki heard her suit chirp again and pressed the button for the door. It scanned her hand and opened to allow her in.
The airlock was just as she remembered it—snug, hostile and filled with armed men. Even her visits with family were done under the fully armed escort that kept her in their sights.
Three new figures were waiting next to her parents.
“Mama, Papa. How are you this fine evening?”
Her parents rushed forward, ignoring the audible clicks of weapons.
Kiiki let tears fall as she stood in her family’s embrace.
Her mother whispered frantically. “They suspect that you have broken free of the suit, so we pulled every string we could to get you off Resicor. Go with these folk from the Citadel and live a good and happy life.”
Kiiki stood straight and brushed at her cheeks. “I will make you proud.”
Her mother caressed her cheek, and her father held her shoulder. As one, they spoke, “You already have.”
Kiiki smiled at their touch and the touch in her mind that mimicked the physical. There were downsides to having two telepaths as parents, but there was a freedom in always living an honest life. If you didn’t have to hide anything, you were fine. Concealing information was like sending up a flare.
Their position in local government and as a respectable family had been called into question with a daughter who flew, but a few well-placed bribes and she had been sent to the Dome with little fanfare. Her parents were upstanding citizens, and ten years ago, there had been no off-world option. Now, things were different.
The information flooded into Kiiki’s mind as well as the location to nine different credit accounts she could access if she needed to. It was the only gift they could give her as they sent her on her way. They might never see her again, but if she touched those accounts, they would know she was well and living on her own.
One of the Citadel personnel stepped forward. His voice boomed in the quiet room. “Kiiki, please come with us. We have a launch window.”
She nodded, gripped each of her parents in turn and followed the folk with the swaying robes out into the moonlight. She didn’t need to say goodbye—she would be back as soon as she could arrange it.