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Changeling: Book Three Of The Seeder Saga

Changeling: Book Three Of The Seeder Saga

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Changeling: Book Three Of The Seeder Saga

Length:
206 pages
2 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 9, 2015
ISBN:
9781311202420
Format:
Book

Description

Lizzie is kidnapped from Earth by a handsome stranger, only to find out her father was from another planet, and embroiled in a plot that threatens mankind all over the galaxy. She’s thrown together with Indar, a member of the Seeder Corps, and together they’re going to have to figure out a mystery that spans time and space – that is, if they can keep their hands off each other long enough to do so. Along the way, they’ll meet up with Miri, Raine, and their men – all of whom prove valuable in solving an intergalactic puzzle. This book contains strong sexual content and is not suitable for readers under 17.

Publisher:
Released:
Feb 9, 2015
ISBN:
9781311202420
Format:
Book

About the author

Britt DeLaney lives and writes near Philadelphia. In her spare time she watches too much Netflix, eats too many Pop-Tarts, and is currently writing her ass off.


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Changeling - Britt DeLaney

Changeling

Book Three of the Seeder Saga

Britt DeLaney

Copyright 2015 Britt DeLaney

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This e-Book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Acknowledgments

I'd like to thank all my readers, who've waited so patiently to revisit the friends we made in books one and two. Your support has kept me going – thank you!

Also, special thanks to Colleen Clarke of Mystique Book Designs for my amazing cover art.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Guild Command

Chapter 2: Puzzled

Chapter 3: The Meeting

Chapter 4: In Transit

Chapter 5: Acclimation

Chapter 6: Sparring

Chapter 7: The Pull

Chapter 8: On The Surface

Chapter 9: Inevitable

Chapter 10: Details

Chapter 11: Approached

Chapter 12: Caught Up

Chapter 13: Unexpected

Chapter 14: Recovery

Chapter 15: Found

Chapter 16: Falenua

Chapter 17: Surprised

Chapter 18: Connection

Chapter 19: Revealed

Chapter 20: Decisions

Chapter 21: Wanted

Chapter 22: Arrested

Chapter 23: Uncovered

Chapter 24: Origins

Chapter 25: Reunion

Chapter 26: Home

Chapter 27: In The River Valley

About the Author

Chapter 1

Guild Command

The woman's face was frozen in a tableau that would have been comical in other circumstances; eyes wide, lips drawn back, tongue protruding.

Indar wasn't laughing.

The woman was dead.

Meerna was dead, and it was quite probably his fault.

Indar carefully closed her lids over her open eyes, then mumbled an apology as he pulled her arm across her body and placed her finger on the keypad in front of the monitor screen.

Sorry Meerna.

The screen beeped once, and then brightened to life. Indar placed Meerna's hand gently back across her chest, then pulled up her chair and went to work. His fingers flew over the keys, his eyes scanning the files as he pulled them up. He worked quickly; well aware that it wasn't in his best interest to be here when Meerna's body was found.

He glanced back over at the woman's body, his jaw tight and his eyes darkening with anger. Parmet had done this, or one of his agents. And he'd just missed the bastard.

Meerna had tried to warn him. She told him someone had been accessing his records, particularly those related to the incident on Ryndio and a select few of his Seeder missions.

But why?

He keyed in a sequence of file numbers, pulling them up simultaneously, looking for the connection. Other than their ties to him, he wasn't really seeing much. He doubled back, pulling up the logs of Meerna's final file searches, and found himself getting even more confused. Whoever they were, they had been viewing logs from his mission to Orn, and cross-referencing them with notes and research from…

He pushed back from the desk with an indrawn breath.

Pieces of the puzzle were beginning to fall into place, but he still didn't have the whole picture.

He put his hands on the touchpad again, fingers racing over the keys as he rerouted security protocols and found what he was looking for. They'd pulled up map data from somewhere in quadrant 668-23.

It had to be Parmet, but again, there was the question of why. That sector of space was in a gray zone – limited ship-to-ship contact permitted and indigenous contact limited to the Seeder corps. Right now, there was nothing going on in that quad, but a new seeding was due to commence within the next few Guild Standard months. They must have known that the Seeders were in a lull and decided to make his move.

He was obviously on the trail of something, and the more Indar tracked that trail, the more alarmed he grew. He had a feeling in his gut that this was bigger than Parmet, bigger than a polluted river on a faraway planet, and bigger than a man who left a legacy shrouded in secrets.

One thing was abundantly clear, however; he needed to get to Earth, and he needed to find answers. He opened his comm unit, pressing a sequence on the touch screen. A man's face appeared.

Yes?

Rax, we need to get underway. We've had to push the seeding ahead of schedule. I've got a very large census project that just got shoved into my lap.

On the screen, Indar could see Rax roll his eyes. Census? he asked, his face making a painful expression.

I know. It's a pain in the ass. So we have to get the seeding done now. We'll be looping out as soon as I get back to the ship.

I'll get us ready. How's Meerna? Rax gave him a knowing grin.

Wasn't able to get ahold of her, Indar said. I'd move on to my first alternate, but we've got a schedule to rearrange. He forced a smile and Rax gave a chuckle.

The sacrifices we make, right?

Indar's eyes shifted over to where Meerna's body lay. Right, he said.

Chapter 2

Puzzled

You can skip the follow-up report, you know. Guild Command doesn't even read the files, anyway.

Indar looked up from his display screen at his assistant – the only indication that he had, in fact, been listening. He raised his brows before looking back down again.

His assistant shook his head good naturedly.

You always were one for protocol, his assistant sighed.

Follow up is important, Rax, Indar said, not looking up, Especially when we're talking about potential colonization of a verdant world versus a re-form.

I know, I know. Rax logged out of his comm panel. I just get bored waiting around for you while you're off grid. All this follow-up takes an eternity.

And that, my friend, is why you're not going to be here. I've arranged for a rendezvous with Azmor and his crew. Indar explained. He contacted me to tell me they're in the area and he's getting ready to loop over to Bakuj for a supply run. Why don't you try messaging that girl? What was her name? Beulah?

Beylat. And are you serious? Rax's eyes lit up.

The Guild wants us to run some genetic sample panels, in conjunction with the latest triangulated census from the colonial applicants. Indar answered absently, his fingers flying over the keypad on the screen before him. It's going to be deadly boring stuff. Why make you suffer along?

Rax let out a whoop. She's got a sister, you know, he said. Older by a few years, but just as good-looking.

Indar looked up from his monitor again. Oh, really?

You know how those Bakujian girls are…

Indar smiled slightly. If I finish up early, I'll think about it.

You do that. In the meantime, I need to pack. That last cycle was endless.

It's a long trip, Indar agreed. I'll probably be down on the surface by the time they get here. I'll comm in when I can.

Have an uneventful follow-up, Rax said. And enjoy your endless strings of data.

He passed through the bulkhead door, closing it softly behind him, and Indar's attention returned to his screen. He studied the sequences of the genes before him, but they weren't making sense.

None of this was making sense.

He increased the magnification, selecting the next sample, and pulling up the sequencing numbers. He cross-referenced, highlighting variations from the six other samples he'd collected when he was in the water-treatment facility on Ryndio.

What the hell was going on?

The machines that had been put into use on the planet by an unscrupulous bastard named Parmet were supposed to be harvesting Braziara spores – an organic form of mold that was found only in fresh water and only on planets with exactly the right conditions to enable their growth. Not many fit the bill, and Braziara spores resisted growth in laboratory settings. It had been theorized that this was due to magnetic fields and gravitational fluctuations that were inherent in nature but very hard to duplicate in a clinical setting.

The spores could be used to treat a multitude of diseases and viruses simply because of their incredible adaptability. They could be genetically fused with all sorts of hosts and amplify the qualities present, and on some occasions, augment those qualities with interesting and targeted variations. The spores were worth a fortune, when harvested and stored properly.

And that was why Ryndio was such a puzzle.

Parmet had been mining the spores, but to date, not much had been moved off-planet. The bulk of the harvest had been kept on-site, and from the data files Indar was able to copy before Parmet wiped the system, it appeared he was conducting experiments on local wildlife.

Animal trials. But for what? Results from the scans he'd done on the animals were inconclusive, and the spore shipments that had been sent off-planet weren't being processed at any Guild-approved facility that Indar could find. In fact, the last shipment left the planet with Parmet. Rax had been trying to access the genome matrix in the Seeder archive to cross-reference further, but comm links with Guild command were spotty right now, especially with a filtered signal.

Indar pushed back in his chair, folding his arms behind his head and letting out a long, exasperated breath. Finally, he leaned forward, typing a designation into the comm panel, and waited while the system put the call through.

A few moments later, a man's face appeared on his monitor.

Indar. The man gave him a nod and a smile. Good to hear from you.

Ajan - sorry for the delay, Indar apologized. Our comm signal is fluctuating out here. Rax tells me we've hit a solar pocket. You may lose me mid-way through this.

I'll get right to the point then, Ajan answered.

Is that Indar? A woman's face appeared next to Ajan's on the screen.

Indar smiled. Hello Rain. You look well. I understand congratulations are in order.

I'd show her off, but she's sleeping, Rain replied with a smile of her own. We've named her Sound of the Wind, but I think Howling Wind might have been more appropriate.

Ajan shrugged. She quiets right down for me.

Rain rolled her eyes and gave her husband a look before turning back to the screen. We've managed to get the testing done that you were asking for – well, most of it, anyway.

And?

The spores have definitely infiltrated the soil and transferred into the local plant life to some degree, she answered. Blood tests show exposure levels in all inhabitants of the river valley, and a good deal of exposure in the mountain city as well.

It wouldn’t be as prevalent in the mountain city, since some of their diet is brought in from off-world. Look for that percentage to climb now that trade has been re-established with the river valley, Indar said. What about the local wildlife?

Exposure there, as well, Ajan replied. But we have seen a few resistant species. So far, we're not seeing any short-range effects beyond the presence of the spores.

Is the data compiled? Indar asked.

They're working it now, Rain said. I'll be contacting you to transfer as soon as we get it together.

Indar nodded. Good. I'll be planet-side for a while, so I may not be able to answer immediately. I'll comm you back as soon as I can do it unobserved.

Maybe our daughter will be awake by then, Ajan smiled.

And hopefully not screaming, Rain added.

I don't know what you're talking about, Ajan replied, smirking at his wife. Like I said, I don't have –

The transmission cut out abruptly, and Indar's smile faded as he replayed the conversation in his head.

The spores were being used to alter an ecosystem, but with no noticeable effect. At least, not anything immediately observable. Long-term effects were an entirely different matter, and that required all the data he could get his hands on, not just from the tests Ajan and Rain were supervising, but from the original re-forming of the planet and all the colonization logs. Nearly two hundred solar cycles of information to wade through. He needed the Seeder matrix and archive for that.

But first, he had to take care of the other urgent matter. He needed to get to Earth.

Chapter 3

The Meeting

Hello?

A voice broke through the music in her headphones, along with a knock. Lizzie glanced up from her computer monitor and her eyes widened slightly. She didn't get many visitors to begin with, and this late at night, there shouldn't be anyone around but the occasional lab student.

Whoever he was, he certainly wasn't a student. She would have remembered that face. And those incredibly blue eyes.

Yes? she finally managed to answer him, pulling the earbuds out of her ears and running a self-conscious hand through her long, chestnut hair. Can I help you?

I hope so. I'm a former colleague of Dr. Collins, he said.

Lizzie looked at him politely. You knew my father?

Yes, he assisted me with a paper some years ago, before he retired. I was told he'd recently passed away. My condolences.

Thank you. Now, how can I help you, Dr…?

Indar. He stepped into

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