Chapter One
    Frieda Wilkensen waited in the lobby of the recruiting centre.
    “Ms. Wilkensen, please, come this way.”
    She got to her feet and walked into the rear of the offices, following the man who looked nearly human. She didn’t know what instinct it was that told her he wasn’t human, but there was just something in the way he moved, like there was an extra bone in his spine.
    She jolted to a halt right after he did, and she avoided a collision by inches.
    He opened the door to a small conference room for her and waved her in. “The recruiter will be with you shortly.”
    She smiled and entered the room, taking a seat with her hands folded on the table.
    Freddy waited, motionless, until the door opened and the man who had shown her in entered with a tea tray with small cups.
    A creature of obvious alien origin walked in behind him and dismissed him.
    Freddy looked at the silver creature with huge black eyes, and she smiled. “Hello.”
    “Good afternoon, Ms. Wilkensen.”
    “Please. Call me Freddy.”
    “Freddy, I am Recruiter Norz.”
    She knew that was wrong, but she couldn’t say anything.
    “My arms are a little short. Would you pour?”
    “Oh. Of course.” She poured two cups of tea and handed the first to the recruiter.
    Freddy smiled. “I hadn’t expected you to like tea.”
    “Pouring hot water on leaves is a fairly universal practice. This tea is a specialty. I haven’t been able to use it on anyone, but you seem to have traits in common with a well-known but rare species.”
    Freddy sipped at the tea. It tasted like mint, tannic acid and blueberries. She giggled and inhaled the fragrance again before sipping. Now, the flavour was redolent with watermelon.
    Each sip was a different flavour until she got to the bottom of the cup.
    Freddy smiled and sat back, looking at the alien a few feet away. Suddenly, a human face was overlaid on top of Norz’s, and she laughed.
    “Something is funny?”
    “You are a human.” She could feel a relaxed smile on her lips. “It is very funny.”
    “Delphic. You are a Delphic. Well, one of your ancestors was. This must have been a world where a cache of them hid from those pursuing them as tools.”
    “Certainly. The Oracles were accurate and highly prized.”
    Freddy blinked. “Were?”
    “Yes, there have not been any seen in centuries. If your DNA had not flared with recognizable traces of alien genes, we would never have known. Now, what do you see when you look at me.”
    “You did a DNA test?”
    “Of course. It was in your application.”
    “Well, when I look at you, I see a woman with short blonde hair, dark eyes and a distracted smile as if you are in thousands of places at the same time.”
    Norz inclined his physical head. “Hundreds but thank you. You have confirmed the seer portion of your species markers.”
    Freddy smiled weakly, and she suddenly lunged forward, grabbing one of Norz’s hands.
    “You are not long for this body. You will seek your own freedom after years of service. You will be taken by light and darkness, embracing both.”
    Freddy’s head throbbed, and her throat was sore. “What just happened?”
    Norz blinked slowly and chuckled weakly. “I think the tea just kicked in.”
    Waving at her family, she said a final farewell at the launch site. They got smaller as the transport to the shuttle took her away from the main building.
    Freddy clutched her bag of belongings. Her photos and videos had been transferred to a data crystal so she was able to bring along her favourite ballet slippers and stuffed dragon. Sneed had been with her for years, and she was glad to take him along.
    The transport was going to be a little more complicated for her. She was going to be put into cold sleep at the lunar base and then mailed onward to her posting. There weren’t a lot of options. She had to be on a highly secured world where she could develop her talent naturally with the help of the tea

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