Authors: Viola Grace
Tags: #Adult, #Dragon, #Erotic Romance, #Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Space Opera
Altered to search contracts, Jill is set on a path that takes her through alien politics and into the arms of a dragon.
Jill leaves Earth with a focus on starting a life where her genetic background was determined by her DNA and not her appearance. After allowing implants in her skull, she makes her way to the Great Archive of the Alliance and is installed as one of their archivists.
Looking through ancient contracts on request fills her days until the moment a pregnant woman comes through the door and everything changes.
Rimash is Jill’s escort and bodyguard, protecting her against those who would capture and profit from the information of the Archive. When the client places a burden on them that neither expected, Rimash steps in to protect the archivist against those who would part her from her new phase in life.
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2015 Viola Grace
Cover art by Martine Jardin
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Terran Times Second Wave
Jill flipped her covers back and got out of bed. Before the sheets were cold, she had made the bed and done a full recon on the room to determine if she had left anything behind. She hadn’t.
Ten minutes later, she closed the door to her apartment for the last time.
She called her parents from the car. “Well, I am nearly there.”
Her father’s voice was strong, “Don’t forget to drive the alternate route.”
“Yes, Dad.” She flexed her hand with the cast on it. “I am driving a different car as well. No one knows I am here.”
“Good girl. We love you and wish you all the best.”
Jill smiled as her parents spoke that last part in unison. “All right. I am on my way. Love you, too.”
She hung up her cell phone and turned the tracking off before shutting it down. One attempt on her life was enough for her lifetime. She wasn’t going to let them track her this time.
Jill had checked her car for explosives and made her face at the fact that it had become a habit.
She backed out of her spot and headed for the street. Once she made it to the highway, she would be in the clear.
She drove out of the parking garage and saw the vehicle that was tailing her. This was what she had been studying for. Her joining the Volunteers was a matter of some debate. A number of citizens were determined to keep her from leaving as a representative of Earth.
She was a third-generation citizen, and while her country and city were willing to accept her taxes, the good people in her neighbourhood were determined that she not represent them. They were so determined that they had tried to blow her car up, but her mother had thrown the timing off when the cat escaped. The cat had come running for Jillema, and she had left her car, scooping it up to return it to her waiting parent. She kicked the car door shut and took three steps toward her mom’s house when the car exploded.
Her position in front of the car had saved her, but her arm had been broken in three places. The explosion had made the news, and it was assumed that she would be unable to fly because of her injury. Two days later, she was behind the wheel and heading for the launch site.
The recruiter had offered to drive her to the launch site himself, but she had refused. Her grandparents had fought their way out of a war-torn area, her parents had fought prejudice with humour and gentleness, and she was going to emigrate once again, fighting for a new start. She had intelligence and the support of folk who had adapted to their new country and ignored the rejection that cropped up with the flickers of those who wanted to keep others in a separate social standing instead of melting in.
Jill was going to change the way the bigots thought of her family, but first, she had to lose the truck following her.
She had looked into defensive and aggressive driving while she was in the hospital. She slowed down as a light became yellow and then gunned it, racing through the freshly red light.
When the truck behind her ran the red, nearly colliding with cross-traffic, she had confirmation that she wasn’t crazy. She was being hunted.
Her vehicle was a new old car, nearly as old as she was. Her family had located it for her, and she had paid cash, while registering it under her cousin’s name. He had a chunk of her signing bonus in case she generated any tickets on her way to her destiny. Destiny could be messy.
Her driving became erratic. Steering with one hand sucked.
It took her two towns, four U-turns and a short sojourn up a one way street the wrong way, but she lost her pursuers until she was on the final approach to the launch site.
Cars blocked the highway on the last piece of public property before the launch site. She couldn’t ram her way through it, and the curb was too high to go around them. She had come too far just to give up.
She parked a few hundred yards from the blockade and left her car. If she couldn’t drive, she was going to walk.
Jill walked toward the gathered vehicles and their inhabitants.
She heard the racial slurs when she was still fifty feet away. Each one stung her skin, but she kept walking. She was a minority at home; she would be a minority in space. This was just the path to the status quo, and like many paths, it was not going to be attractive.
When the first man made his move, she lifted her cast to defend herself.
An engine roared, and behind the blockade, a vehicle appeared out of thin air. It rolled forward, and the humans scrambled out of the way.
The cars blocking the road were pushed aside and a huge vehicle plowed up to her and stopped an inch from her.
The door opened, and Recruiter Norz emerged from the vehicle. “Volunteer Ahamad, please come with us. You are expected.”
“Thank you, Recruiter.”
At this point, courage took a back seat to the better idea of just getting off world.
She slid into the back seat and closed the door. The vehicle backed up through the hole it had made in the vehicles and turned around, driving at dizzying speed to the launch site.
“How long were you watching?” She settled her cast on her lap.
Recruiter Norz blinked slowly. “Oh, we have been there for two hours. We were waiting for them to begin…I think you call it, tailgating?”
“Murder and barbeque, what a lovely combination.”
Jill liked that Norz didn’t try to tell her that her life wasn’t at stake.
“Perhaps including you in the press release was a tactical error.” Norz sighed.
“No, I am glad you did. It was a proud moment for my family. We had a party and everything.” She lifted her arm. “This has been the only dark moment.”
“You handled it very well, considering what your local law enforcement attempted.”
Jill sighed. Local sheriffs had attempted to arrest her for illegal disposal of a vehicle and littering. Anything to keep her from succeeding where the son of the sheriff had failed. After some news coverage, the state police had stepped in, and she had gone home two days after she was nearly blown up.
“So, my arm won’t be a problem?”
“No, we will change your cast out for something more travel friendly. You will be sent to medical while you get your language and briefing uploads. Are you sure that you are willing to go with the implant?”
She nodded. “I am positive. You are sure that there is no record of it that my parents would see? They would be upset to know that I had something jacked into my skull.”
“Nothing is mentioned. The note was removed from the contract filed with the human authorities. It is in the Alliance archive only.”
“Good. I was not sure how to tell them about it, but I really need that access to information.”
“Of course, you do. You will do well with the Contract Archives. They have been looking for a new archivist for two years. All governments run on contracts.”
Jill nodded with a small smile. The shuttle that would take her away from everything she had known loomed in front of her, but first, she needed a little medical attention. Once she was cleared to fly, it was time to get one of her family members up where few humans had gone before.
She carried her pride as a Terran, a citizen and a woman into space with her. Her genes had made her what she was, and what she was was a Terran Volunteer.
She touched the back of her head where the battery was nestled inside her skull. The link to her temporal lobe was contained as well. Nothing showed externally. Inside her head was another matter.
Every second of every day, she now could access all the contract details of the Alliance Archive. It was hard-wired into her mind.
The means to gain her daily uploads was a fine network of wiring that ran through her ocular nerves. That was the part that would have freaked her mother out. Tampering with her eyes was something her parents would not have approved of. They loved her eyes.
At no point in her teenage years did she ever imagine that she would become walking Wi-Fi, but now, that was exactly what she was. She could call on any old contract and scan in any new one with just a flick of her eyes.
Her language download had taken most of the time. The oldest of the Alliance records had been handwritten on old methods of recording. Their scans were in her database, but she had needed the languages to decode them. Some of them were still not easy, but she managed to decode and decipher what she needed.
Listing the terms as spoken had taken another few weeks of speech lessons. Many languages were not pronounced as they appeared in the database. She had to listen to the current speech patterns and use logic to work her way back.
Jill spent time alone and with a tutor, but she got most of her practice on the flight away from Lunar Base on her way to the Great Archive.
Never in her wildest imagination had she thought of some of the items that had been contracted for—everything from weather patterns, friendships, right of access and sexual favours, to weddings and usage rights for the genetics of animals. Each contract had to be signed by both parties and witnessed. Some were signed with blood, other ocular scans, and she had access to the database that would let her know if something was an actual match to the contract. She was becoming part of the actual archive, an annex in living form.
“Archive Ahamad, we are nearing the Great Archive. Are you ready?”
She ran her hands over the soft dress and checked on the placement of the headpiece of rank that she had been given. It felt like she was dressing for a wedding, but this was apparently how she was supposed to look for a position dealing with petitioners who sought clarification on an old contract.
She could not imagine there being a line for that kind of service, but she had been told that there would be plenty of work for her. With the expense of the surgeries they had put her through, she was pretty sure that they had designed her for a particularly useful purpose.
“I am ready.”
“They are sending a shuttle to bring you in through their security.”
“Thank you.” She grabbed her bag and slipped it over her shoulder.
“Bay three. Your escort will meet you there.”
She put her palm on the door of her quarters and took a steadying breath. Training time was over; it was show time.
She left her quarters and made her way through the halls to the shuttle bay. She walked at the steady pace that she had been taught. It was fast enough to make her look like she had somewhere to go so no one would stop her and slow enough to maintain decorum. She mentally hummed the song that gave her the right gait. It was a trick that she had been taught during her orientation, in between her brain surgeries. It had been part training and part therapy to make sure she still had physical control.