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Cracked Control (Tales Of The Citadel #60)
Author:Viola Grace

Cracked Control (Tales Of The Citadel #60)

Viola Grace

Chapter One

Addy huddled in the back of her cage, and she hoped that she wasn’t picked for experimentation that day. She really wasn’t up to it.

“Hey! Addy. I am guessing it is nearly Christmas at home.” The prisoner from next door called out.

Kelly had been next to her on the shuttle that was approaching the jump ship, right before it was swallowed by a hole in space. Out of fifty human Volunteers on that vessel, there were only nine left alive.

Kelly had lost her sight after the third week, so her experience of the world was via other senses. If she said it was nearly Christmas, it was.

Addy sighed. “Happy holidays, Kelly.”

“Merry Christmas, Addy.”

Addy hated to ask, but she did anyway, “Kelly?”


“How long have we been here?”

“Six months, three days and five hours.”

“Do you think anyone is looking for us?”

Kelly’s voice had a smile in it. “Yes. They are looking. They are also very close.”

Hope flickered in Addy’s chest. “Do you think they have coffee?”

Kelly laughed, and Addy sat with her back against the wall that she shared with Kelly. It was the closest thing to a hug that they could manage.

Their laughter and smiles faded as they heard the footsteps in the hall. They were here for a subject, and Addy and Kelly were the only two in this section.

Addy held her breath as her door was swung open. The stun bolt knocked her to the floor, and she was dragged out of the cell and down the hall with her nerves screaming and her muscles jerking.

The two handlers hauled her about a kilometre, her toes dragging until they bled. She was just getting her limbs under her control again when they strapped her down.

Racks of coloured fluids, equipment that had application pads to electrocute, probes and scanners were all lined up.

She looked at the alien medics and researchers around her. “Gentlemen, shall we tango?”

The first injection hit, and the next six hours were her trying not to scream and focusing on time with family and her memories of home. The holidays were a good focus, and it was only when the decorated tree in her mind started to shimmy and buck that she came back to her body.

She opened her eyes and watched the displays tipping over, the vials and chemicals smashing. One of the men was screaming for someone to shut it down, but the riot of energy wouldn’t stop.

If Addy wasn’t strapped down, she would have fallen over. As it was, the exam table she was on was jittering across the floor.

A thunderous crack started outside, and the lab split down the centre. Three of her persecutors fell into the rift and everyone else ran.

Whatever world they were on was coming apart around them, and Addy was strapped to a fucking table!

Another wedge was carved out of the flooring, and she heard metal uncoupling in the walls as they heaved upward. Gas flew out of the walls, but it wasn’t properly directional. Addy coughed slightly but didn’t feel anything but mildly dizzy.

“Volunteer Hathaway?”

A voice came from behind her. She waved a hand like a flipper. “That’s me.”

“I am part of your rescue party. Kelly sent us to find you.”

Addy smiled and relaxed, while another fissure opened up in the room. The only solid floor was the piece she was resting on. “I am glad she’s safe. I don’t think you can get to me.”

“I can. Do you know the cause of the tremors?”

“No. Maybe they are on a fault line?”

The voice was soft. “No, they have activated a latent talent.”

“What is a talent?”

“You are. I know you have been sorely used, but I need to sedate you to stop the tremors. We need to escape, but the only way we can take off is if the ground is stable.” He paused. “Please.”

She thought about it. “So, Kelly sent you?”

“She did.”

“What colour are her eyes?”

“Black. She also has freckles across her nose.”

Addy sighed and leaned back. “Okay, do what you have to do. I will just take a little nap.”

She heard a weird, leathery sound and the heavy beating of wings. She turned her head as much as she could with her forehead strapped down, and she must have gone bonkers. A man with huge bat-like wings was leaning over her, his uniform would have done credit to any superhero of her imagining, and the slow lashing of his tail added to the image.

He held up a hypo spray and pressed it to her waist. The world grew fuzzy around her, and she faded into restful sleep as the ties were removed.

Rokar grabbed his unconscious bundle, and he flew back the way he had come. The shuttle was loaded with the damaged, surviving Terrans, and the one in his arm was out for hours.

The ground was still cracking and twisting, but he didn’t need to run. He flew to the ship and folded his wings as he ran inside. “I have her, lock it up.”

The ship shuddered and lifted off as one of the retrieval team locked the hatch.

The Terran named Kelly was sitting with a medic, and she turned her head. “Is she all right?”

“Yes, though they managed to trigger her.”

Kelly nodded, “Right. The earthquakes. I wondered how long it was going to be before something fired up. She is all right? Why isn’t she talking?”

“I needed to sedate her to stop the breaking of the room around her. She was close to tipping into a fissure.” He smiled tightly at the woman, though she couldn’t see him.

He caught the gaze of another one of the medics and carried his burden to the rear of the ship. The medical cryo pod was ready, and he placed the woman carefully in the embrace of the machine.

“She is sedated, will that be a problem?”

The ship rocked to the side, and the medic quickly closed the lid and activated the mechanism.

“She will be fine. It will keep her alive and her heart will beat once a day. Nothing to worry about.”

The ship’s shuddering ceased as Volunteer Hathaway stopped breathing.

Rokar looked at the young woman and saw the drawn features, the marks of torture and the surprisingly cute upturned nose.

Through his ear com, Rokar could hear the pilot frantically giving the warship that had escorted them instructions to take them on board and get the hell out of there. The planet was going to blow.

Kelly sat and gleaned information from around her. Addy was alive, but she was very cold. The man who had gone to get her when Kelly refused to leave without her moved like he had a leather coat on, but he smelled warm and wild.

“What is wrong with her?”

The man sat close to her while the medic worked on giving her injections to combat the vitamin deficiencies and massive dehydration that she was experiencing.

“Your friend is an activated talent. Her talent rose while we were landing, and it set a cataclysm in motion. The world you were on is tearing itself apart.”

“That isn’t possible.”