Skiria has been funnelling files out of the capitol for years, hiding those who can pass for standard, talentless folks. Her telepathy got her a position in the government, but it also put her on their radar, and when they needed someone to fill a vacancy, she was hauled out of her apartment and given a promotion.
Tied down and given a sedentary position to keep Resicor from rising and claiming an Avatar, Skiria is slowly dying. When she finally succumbs, she is disposed of in the most direct fashion and swept off world for a mission that she doesn’t understand. All in a day’s work.
Skiria Linz sat at her desk and tried to keep her mind calm. She had felt one of the holders break last night, and she was on the roster for replacement. It was the least attractive option for her.
Skiria was dreading the possibility of having her mind mingled with any of the local holders. They would know that she had been siphoning talents off Resicor for the last four years.
She kept her head down and worked on processing the scanning information and census records. Guilt always struck her when she had to let an obvious talent go to assessment for interviews.
By the end of the day, she had processed the two that she had found and sent the sisters’ information up to assessment. The other four talents that she had located were subtle enough for her to sweep their scans under the radar, and she made a note to warn the individuals that their actions were being noticed.
She breathed a sigh of relief at the end of the day as she left work with her case at her side and her pass clipped to her lanyard.
Skiria passed through security and nodded at the guards that she recognized. Her path to the underground led her past the teashop where the attempted capture of a talent had failed just three weeks earlier.
The prickling across her mind told her she was still in the monitored zone, so she went inside the shop, got a cup of tea and headed back to the underground where agents had stepped up their observation dramatically in the last few weeks.
The tea was too hot to drink, but she held it, as she did every final day of the week. The underground was crowded but the hot tea got her the space she needed for privacy, as it did every week.
Skiria rocked with the train and got off at her stop. The monitoring prickles were fading now, but she didn’t trust it. Her focus kept the shield over her mind, thinking the rehearsed thoughts with the information from that afternoon’s workload.
Layering her mind was all that she could think of to conceal what she was really up to. Her talent for observation was on record, but the nine layers of her consciousness were her secret. Each layer swirled in a counterpoint to the one underneath to allow her plenty of time to defend against scanning.
Skiria walked home with the sensation of being watched. It wasn’t the first time and she doubted it would be the last. She needed a long, hot bath in the worst way.
Her senses slipped as she entered her apartment, the officers would never have passed her mental nets otherwise.
The captain was seated in her most comfortable chair. “Ah, Miss Linz, how nice that you are here on time.”
She blinked. “Of course I am. Why are you in my home?”
The captain stood up. “We are here to announce your new assignment. You have been promoted.”
Skiria swallowed. “I didn’t know that I was up for promotion.”
He smiled at her, and it was not a good smile. “This is your lucky day.”
She felt sick rising in her throat as the other officers surrounded her. Crap. She had been promoted.
Skiria has done what she can to protect the talents on Resicor. Although her ability is not physical it has doomed her to service, whether she wants to serve or not. But when a talent dies, she is given an unwanted promotion that leads to her death. With her rebirth can she handle the job required by the sentient planet?
Mind Strike by Viola Grace is thirty-fourth in the Tales of the Citadel series. While it can be read as a standalone the threads woven throughout will have more meaning if you have read of the other rescued Resicor talents. I enjoyed Skiria. She was so calm even when she had few choices. She did what was necessary even if it wasn’t necessarily the easiest. And Tyvor was a good match for her. He could protect her. And he understood and accepted her ability. He had a dry wit which I appreciated and enjoyed. While Ms. Grace made the focus of this story Skiria, she did not give her a weak male which I thoroughly appreciated. I loved the respect and humor that Ms. Grace wove throughout this tale. Tyvor allowed Skiria to do what was required but let her know that he would support her and her needs. Ms. Grace gave them time to learn to trust themselves and each other. This story allows us to see light at the end of Resicor’s tunnel and I can’t wait to see where Ms. Grace will take us next.
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