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Authors: Viola Grace

Tags: #Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance


BOOK: WashedUp
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Washed Up

Safi has been a pilot for years, never expecting to end her days on an interdicted planet, but blowing out her engines and lawn-darting into the ocean set her fate. She wakes and is told that her body will not last long enough to allow her to survive to a rescue, but there is an option. She can find a husband and join the underwater colony with a full transformation to water breathing, or she can die in under a week. For a woman whose prime personality trait is survival, it isn't too much of a choice.

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Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.

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.

Washed Up

Copyright © 2011 Viola Grace

Cover art by Martine Jardin

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.

Published by eXtasy Books

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Washed Up

A Trapezium Exclusive


Viola Grace

"Damn, damn, damn!" Safi tried to keep control of her ship while it lawn-darted toward the surface.

Every distress call, beacon and flare she had put out had been ignored by the inhabitants of the world below. Her sensors told her that there were living sentient beings below, but they had no interest in speaking to her.

The satellites blared a warning that the planet was interdicted by the Coalition, not for visitation. Safi didn't care, her engines were blown and the freighter that she was controlling was heading to the watery surface whether she wanted to or not.

She hissed and sent a final message to whomever was listening. "This is Safi Morgan, captain of the Blue Dove. I have a full cargo hold for the people of Maskin and am out of control. My engines have failed and I am heading for the following coordinates. Please alert the Coalition as to my crash."

She streamed the information of the projected crash site through the com unit and unbuckled her harness. No matter what she did now, she would still be nose deep in the ocean. Her only chance was to buy herself some time in an escape pod.

Lurching through the falling ship was not easy, but her hands hauled her along using the guide rails until she reached the pod room. As quickly as she could, she scuttled into the pod, buckled herself in and hooked up her life support. The mask clamped tightly over her face and a trickle of air caressed her lips.

She had time to take three deep breaths before her ship struck the ocean and came apart around her.

The scream of metal tearing as it plunged into the deep would remain with her forever. The pod ejected automatically and Safi tasted blood as she was flapped about like a rag doll.

When her pod stilled, the only sound she heard was her breathing for three full minutes until the sides of her escape vehicle started to collapse on her.

Instead of floating to the surface like it should, it seemed that her pod was carrying her into the depths. She cursed the day she agreed to transport decorative plants to Maskin and let the black of unconsciousness take her.

The next period of time was a welter of pain, endless pairs of dark eyes and a low dark voice murmuring for her to hold on.

The moment that she sat up and gasped, her lungs protested. She was under water and there was no air in her lungs.

"Miss, be still. You have endured quite a bit of trauma. You can breathe. We installed some temporary organs that will help you survive in our fair city." The man was middle-aged as Safi's eyes measured it.

"Where am I? How can I hear you?" She blinked when she realized that he hadn't spoken out loud.

"That is one of the organs we installed, a psi lobe for your brain. It gives you instant understanding." He looked as if he wanted to say something else, but his attention was demanded from the doorway. "Please excuse me."

Safi sat up and examined her hands for signs of surgery.

They had put her in a filmy green bodysuit, its pattern was marked with swirls of blue but it hugged her faithfully. A second skin. She couldn't find any obvious damage to her flesh but if he was a competent physician, he would have sealed the wounds he made.

Her body moved easily through the water, her arms felt slight resistance but not what she had been expecting. She moved slowly off the medical table she was lying on and stabilized herself before taking a few steps.

Her body floated up slightly and she ended up rotating in place.

A low chuckle got her attention. "You need to push with your arms and kick with your feet."

She turned her head and her body kept going, pressing her up against the new arrival. He was younger than the other man, but had the same greenish skin and dark hair. His smile was also a pleasant greeting to this peculiar world.

"Where am I?" Her mouth moved but her thoughts propelled her question.

"The underwater city of Nasfron. Has the doctor explained your situation?"

She shook her head, her hair frothing in a cloud around her. "No. I am a little fuzzy on anything beyond the surgery."

He wrapped an arm around her waist and floated her gently toward the opening, speaking to her all the while. "You are a guest of our people and implants are present in your body that allow you withstand the pressure as well as breathe in our environment. The psychic speech gland is one of those additions."

"The doctor said as much."

He frowned at her with a touch of pity in his eyes. "What he didn't mention is that while the changes would normally allow you to remain here for a few months until a rescue vessel was authorized to retrieve you, the damage to your body was too extreme and it is having a rejection reaction to our implants."

They floated through a city of people either wearing bodysuits similar to hers or completely naked. They swam or rode a peculiar beast with four fins, a long tail and an elegant neck. No one gave them more than a first glance.

She focussed on what he had said. "That sounds bad."

"It is. As you will soon find out, it has repercussions that will affect you quite deeply."

"You can't tell me that and then tell me I have to wait." She wanted to stomp her foot, but as there were no solid surfaces near her she simply settled for scowling.

He made a sound in her mind that created the effect of a deep sigh. "Your body is rejecting the implants. You can't survive here as a normal human. You will be given another option, but it will be difficult for you."

Safi didn't have a chance to ask another question. They floated into a huge coral structure and a elder, more sombre, version of her companion was waiting for them in a private garden.

The man looked up from his study of a waxy tablet and smiled a welcome. "Captain Saffron Morgan, I presume."

Her companion released her so she tried to float closer under her own power and managed an awkward bow. "You have me at a disadvantage, sir."

"I am Charon, lord of this underwater world. Or at least of this altered-genetic settlement. Next to you is my son, Ajax. You are here because your ship crashed."

She rubbed her forehead. "I remember that part."

"What you don't remember is that you were so near death due to the crushing of your pod, that when our surgeries to help you survive were enacted, your immune system was so compromised that your body attacked the implants."

She was getting a very uneasy feeling. Charon had an exceptionally straight face.

"Your body will die within the week. We have sent a signal to the Coalition, but they won't be here for over a month."

She swallowed, tasting the seawater. "What are my options?"

Charon came forward and patted her hand. "The same as the rest of us. You can either die, or you can fight for your life."

She wished that she could sit down and he must have seen it on her face.

"Come here and we will speak in the gardens. It is a much more soothing environment."

He took her hand and steered her through an archway at the back of his office and into the gardens. Ajax remained behind, leaving her some privacy to get her death sentence.

"My people are an experiment in survival. We were created by being altered volunteers selected based on our suitability."

"What does that have to do with me?"

"We have an option that will allow you to live, but it will involve you being fairly aggressive." He gave her a solemn look. "Are you willing to do what it takes?"

"It depends." She measured her words in her mind before forming her sentences. "I will not hurt someone to save myself."

The smile he gave her was beatific. "Exactly what I wanted to hear. You have to find a husband and become part of our colony."

She blinked in shock. "What?"

"The only way we are allowed to make permanent changes in your body is for you to have a social position here. To do that, you need to take a husband."

"I don't…I mean…I have never…I am a pilot!" Her mental voice ended in a whine and she winced.

"And we have no need of pilots, but we do have need of women. Based on the physician's reports you have at least three days of health to find your match. Ajax will assist you in meeting as many men as you can."

She frowned and looked to the archway where Ajax lurked. "He will be my pimp?"

"He will be your guard. At no time will you be left alone with one of the men in case he decides to take advantage of you. Ajax will protect you."

She felt a little uneasy. "Are you sure that I will be in danger?"

"You are a stranger here. We want to make sure that you can find a place in our society to keep. To do that, Ajax will make sure that you are introduced to men who are acceptable and who will not abuse your introduction to our society."

She sighed and smiled when it transferred to the psychic plane. "Better safe than stupid?"


Ajax entered the gardens and caressed a sea anemone that trembled at the light touch. "You know what is going on?"

"I have three days to find a husband or I am going to die."

He winced. "That sums it up. I have a few candidates in mind. Do you want to begin now?"

She lifted her chin and met his dark gaze. "I am running out of time. I can go as long as you can."

A peculiar expression flickered in his eyes. "I will hold you to that. I am known for my stamina."

Charon was looking at them with a horrified amusement. He waved them off and turned to enjoy his garden view.

Safi couldn't stop her blush but she straightened her shoulders and floated toward the archway that they had entered by. Ajax wrapped his arm around her waist again and took charge of their travel.

"The first male for you to meet is Bron. He works in construction and has a lovely home. All he needs is a wife and he has expressed an interest in meeting you."

"So, they all knew I was here and what was coming? How long was I out?"

"Over ten days. When I pulled your pod from the wreckage, the medical centre was standing by, but you were still injured beyond anything they had seen before. Your survival was something that the whole colony was interested in and as such a number of suitors have expressed an interest in your hand. All you need to do is to choose one."

"This seems too easy. What is the catch?"

"This is a lifetime mating. We don't divorce here. Instability is far too dangerous in our kind of colony."

"Why are you interdicted anyway? As my ship started blazing to the surface I heard the beacons." They were swimming out of the centre of the city and toward the less populated areas surrounding it.

The light in the inhabited areas was coming from a surprisingly bright lichen. It was gathered in huge braziers and cast a glow that lasted for dozens of metres in all directions.

"We are an introduced species. The splices were the first experiment in multi-DNA creatures, we are one of the later examples. As a blended species, we can't be allowed to mingle on other worlds, nor can we have constant contamination by visitors."

"It makes sense, I suppose. I had never even heard of this world until I crashed on it. You are a fairly well-guarded secret."

"We know. It is why it will take months for an authorized pick up for you. They are hoping that you die first." He kicked his legs and they changed direction, the water swirling heavily against them, pulling them along.

"Did we just catch a bus?"

"A current. They surround our city. You can catch a current to almost anywhere if you have the strength to leave it when you reach your destination."

BOOK: WashedUp
4.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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