Wren has been a caretaker for all her adult life. The offer to take up a new life in the stars comes as part of her career comes to a sad end.
They ask her to change her DNA, she does. They ask her to engage in combat training, she does. They ask her to channel the new talent that roars through her bloodstream, she focuses. If they had asked her if she was willing to mate with a stranger, she would have considered it.
Drovin has been waiting for the day when his mate would arrive on his world. He knows what she looks like and who she is, but her personality is a mystery. Binding them together before she arrived was his idea, but it might have been an incorrect impulse when she can find all of his weaknesses in an instant.
“How do you think they are handling it?” Wren smiled as she tugged her bag more firmly onto her shoulder.
Norz shrugged. “I do not care. Emily’s soul is in the stone that we have given you, as per her directions. She will head to the Citadel after two years and join a psychometric reference program. She has a lot of wisdom to give, and it will be fun to hear of her interaction with races she had never imagined.”
Wren laughed. “She imagined them. The stories I read to her were science fiction romances. Her mind was filled with images she wanted to verify.”
She watched the Ontex blink in surprise.
“Well, in that case, you are clear on what you need to do?”
Wren nodded. “Check in, head to medical and get the process underway. They will give me the language flash when I get there, and then, they drop me into the tank to start my enhancement.”
He smiled and then asked. “You are still all right with the alterations to your DNA?”
She shrugged. “Sure. I am not doing anything interesting with it anyway.”
“Excellent. We have sent another female to the same world, but she doesn’t have your enhancements. Her talents lie in another area, and she was sent there directly after her basic training.”
Wren nodded. “And my training begins when I get out of the tank.”
“Correct. That is the point when you will need to gain control and that is where they will help you.” He sighed in relief. “Well, it has been a pleasure observing and meeting you. I wish you well and much success in this new step of your life.”
Wren smiled. “Thank you for all your help.”
“Thank Emily. She was a strong supporter of the Volunteer Program when we first arrived here. Her mind was keen even in her last weeks of life. Here she is.”
Wren took the box with Emily’s soul stone in it. Her friend had worn it for the last six weeks, and it embodied a copy of her mind and a portion of her soul. It was an amazing item and her family was never to know about it. Emily was coming with Wren on her adventure for the first two years of her new experience, and then, she was going to boss folks around in an educational program.
She waved a final farewell to Norz and headed to the shuttle. She smiled at a few other Terrans on the shuttle and sat back in her seat. Her heart pounded as they left Earth and her old life fell away beneath her. It was a new start with a new set of possibilities, and her life as a caretaker was about to take on a completely new dimension.
The enhancement to her mind and body was going to be achieved via genetic alteration and alien DNA. Her system would be tailored to her new environment and the job that she would be doing.
It was a daunting thought, but when they arrived, she followed the signs to medical and checked herself in, ignoring the looks from the other Volunteers as she diverted herself down a corridor.
The doctor smiled. “Miss Silverberg?”
She nodded. “Call me Wren.”
“Wren then. Are you aware of the details of this procedure?”
“I will be injected and then placed in a tank while my body and mind go through a transformation process. The species I am being blended with is a good match for me, so there should be minimal side effects beyond the intensity of the change itself.”
He smiled. “Correct. The W’lyn are a blended race, but both species have relationships with your own. We just need to give you the language flash and an educational link and we can begin.”
She nodded and took the flat screen from him, tapping it to begin the download of languages into her mind. The educational link was a bit more involved, and when it had been inserted into her skull, she lay for the initial scans and the baselines for her pre-alteration records.
It was time to get the party started.
Wren has always been a caretaker. And when her latest charge dies, she decides to take her desire to care for others into space. But first changes in her DNA are necessary. When she learns her changes were specific to one male, will she regret the choices made? Can Drovin convince the Terran should be his, to give romance and a future with him a chance?
Mandate by Viola Grace is twelfth in the Terran Times Second Wave series. I enjoyed this addition to this series. Wren may appear to be a total pushover, but in actuality she was quite a strong female character. I loved that once again Ms. Grace elevated something as simple as caring for others to a level that is akin to superpowers. Wren’s gift took great fortitude. She helped make life easier for others in a way that was fulfilling to her and them. I thought Ms. Grace did a wonderful job of showing its importance even as she showed the strength necessary to do for others. I also loved learning more about Drovin. He wasn’t mentioned much prior to this story but silently strong fit him perfectly. He didn’t expect a mate but wasn’t ashamed to fight for one once the opportunity presented itself. He already cared for the Terran that could be his and allowed time for her to reach the same level of commitment to him. I loved that he was patient even as he stacked the deck.
I thought Ms. Grace gave us a wonderfully sweet romance, and I enjoyed both the story and the characters. I am hopeful that the remaining Guardians in this little group are equally successful in finding their happily ever after.
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