First draft is finally done! It’s about time Krijero stopped fighting us all. Here is his first meeting with Gelan and Wynhod:
They approached the far back corner of the office space, nearing a desk that was remarkable for its messiness. Six different vids floated over the flat surface that was littered with the remains of snacks and drinks, three handhelds – two of which looked smashed beyond repair, a scattering of plug-ins, power amplifiers, at least six portable coms along with the desk model, and a still pic of an older clan.
The man sitting at the desk was no less untidy. His shock of shoulder-length black hair looked clean, but it was a mess of cowlicks that hid most of his face. Bright blue-purple eyes peered past the tumble of hair at the vids in front of him, and his fingers moved easily over the keyboard as he inputted information. His gray tunic was cut well enough that Wynhod could discern the lanky frame beneath it, but it was wrinkled and recently stained, probably from a breakfast mishap. Wynhod couldn’t believe the man’s clanmates had allowed him out of their home looking such a wreck.
Gelan stopped by the man’s desk. “Dr. Krijero?”
The guy had been too intent on his work and Gelan and Wynhod too quiet on their approach. The psych jumped in surprise, one hand skidding across the desk to send food containers, plug-ins, and the one intact handheld to the floor. As the handheld computer hit the ground with a thud, the psych yelled in frustration.
“Shit! Tell me I didn’t break another one of these things.”
A man sitting at a nearby desk chuckled, shaking his head. “Supervisor said if you did, it was coming out of your pay.”
“I know. Damn it.”
He picked up the handheld, fussing with it until it came on with an obedient click. He blew out a relieved breath, making the strands of hair in his face drift outward to show pouty lips. “Good. It still works.”
The other psych snorted. “For now. You’re a disaster, Krijero. No way it will last the week.”
The gleam of white teeth appeared behind that mass of hair. “Are we wagering, Jomik?”
“Bottle of leshella.”
“You’re on.” Krijero finally stopped bantering with the other man to blink up at Gelan and Wynhod. He shook his hair back for an instant, and Wynhod looked into a very handsome face. A sweet face, remarkably innocent of guile, the gentle openness an instant giveaway that Dr. Krijero was one of Kalquor’s Imdiko breed.
Wynhod swallowed. Then Krijero’s hair fell forward again, hiding the right half of that lovely face, lessening the effect somewhat.
The psych looked at them with confusion. “Oh, hello. Did you want something?”
Gelan was staring at Krijero, his brows drawing together as he regarded the Imdiko. It made Wynhod wonder if his partner had been as caught off guard by the good looks of the red-hot mess of a man in front of them.
Sounding bemused, Gelan answered, “You’re the psych working my case. Delir.”
The one eye not covered by hair widened, and a delighted smile appeared. “Oh, yeah. What a great case that one is. No witnesses, no real evidence. Pure brain candy,” Krijero enthused.
Wynhod felt Gelan stiffen next to him. The Dramok’s arms crossed over his chest. His voice low with anger, Gelan said, “Deadly ‘brain candy’, Imdiko. A lot of people have been killed, including my former partner.”
“Yeah, that was awful. Sorry about that.”
Krijero’s tone sounded flippant, and he seemed to realize it right away. His face reddened, and he stammered, “Oh, that didn’t come out right at all. I really am sorry about your partner. The Delir shit is completely bad news.”
A laugh sounded behind Wynhod. He and a now fuming Gelan turned to the man who’d made the bet with Krijero, the one identified as Jomik. He smiled indulgently at the Imdiko.
“Krijero, shut it down before these two kick your ass.” With the voice of diplomacy, Jomik told them, “Don’t mind him, Investigator, Enforcer. He doesn’t mean any harm. Krijero is as smart as they come, but the stupidest things come out of his mouth. He’s got the tact of a hungry zibger.”
Wynhod looked at the Imdiko again to see Krijero scowl at Jomik. “Don’t make excuses for me.” With an embarrassed grimace, he told Gelan, “I sincerely apologize. Now let’s talk about your case.”
Gelan raised an eyebrow at the swift shift from apology to business. Wynhod felt every bit as flummoxed by the behavior of this odd Imdiko.
Release date possibly May