The distant world of Haphez is located on the edge of populated space. The planet’s native superhuman race is feared and respected by neighboring civilizations. Their military and police forces are unmatched.
Lieutenant Aroska Tarbic is an agent with the revered Haphezian Special Police. He’s lost a lot in a short period of time; the other members of his squad were killed in a tragic accident, and his younger brother was wrongfully convicted and executed for a crime he didn’t commit. Just when Aroska thinks he’s starting to piece his life back together, he’s assigned to a joint task force with a special operations team. It seems like a unique opportunity, at least until he learns that his new commander is none other than Ziva Payvan, HSP’s finest operative… and the assassin who killed his brother.
Ziva is good at her job, a business that requires her to ignore her feelings and carry out her missions without question. She’s confident in her own abilities to complete the assignment, but Aroska is a wildcard. When their team stumbles across a young human during a routine investigation, they soon realize that the situation isn’t what it seems. The boy has unwittingly uncovered an age-old plot, one that could put the entire Haphezian race in jeopardy.
Now the lines between friend and foe have become blurred, and no one can be trusted. United by the imminent threat, Ziva and Aroska must set their differences aside in order to save their people… and maybe even each other.
All roads lead to… DAKITI
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An Excerpt from Dakiti…
“Lieutenant, come in. What can I do for you?” Emeri Arion rose from his desk and beckoned for Aroska to come closer. He’d been the prime director of HSP – ranking even higher than the other directors at the agency’s regional offices – since before Aroska had been employed there. He was generally well-liked and respected, despite the fact that he was rather reclusive and rarely ventured beyond the walls of his office. In spite of that, he knew all the operations agents by name and kept close tabs on all their major missions. As always, he was impeccably dressed in his HSP dress blues, and the two turquoise stripes that ran through his graying hair were combed perfectly into place.
Aroska politely declined when Emeri offered him a chair. He suddenly felt numb again, unsure how the director would respond to what he was about to say. There was a good chance he could lose his job or even be imprisoned because of what he knew, but if he chose to stay quiet, the only way to successfully avoid working with Payvan would be to resign anyway.
Might as well get on with it, he thought. He crossed his arms and took a step back from the director’s desk. “Ziva Payvan?”
A flicker of uncertainty flashed across Emeri’s teal eyes. “So you received your assignment.”
“She killed my brother.”
If Emeri was shocked, he concealed it well. He was completely silent for a long time, his mouth a straight line as he stared Aroska down. Finally, he cleared his throat and clasped his hands behind his back. “Lieutenant, you know as well as I do that the identity of the Cleaner assigned to carry out a death sentence is kept confidential. What makes you so sure it was Payvan?”
Aroska sighed and reluctantly explained how he had overheard the director’s conversation on the day of Soren’s murder, carefully avoiding the fact that he’d told Adin. Emeri stood with closed eyes, massaging his forehead for the duration of the story.
“Soren was innocent!” Aroska cried, recalling Adin’s warning about losing his temper. “I submitted the evidence that proved it!”
“Evidence you weren’t supposed to have,” Emeri said, voice quiet but firm. “You were benched from the investigation because of your relationship with the convict. On top of that, his grace period was up. You missed the deadline. A Cleaner could have struck at any time.”
“But HSP received my data before Soren was killed!”
“Yes we did, but—”
“So Payvan killed him even when she knew he was innocent! That shouka murdered my brother, and she tried to kill my father!”
“At ease, Tarbic,” Emeri snapped. “You don’t know as much as you think you do. She’s the most skilled operative HSP’s got.”
Aroska began to reply but was cut off when the office door burst open. The woman from the elevator stormed into the room, face contorted with frustration similar to what Aroska himself was feeling. She bristled and stopped dead in her tracks when she saw him there, silently regarding him with those striking red eyes. Her presence made his stomach churn, but now it wasn’t out of excitement as it had first been at the elevator. Thinking back on Adin’s reaction and taking her current behavior into consideration, he was beginning to wonder if she was… She isn’t, is she? The office fell totally silent as the two of them held eye contact.
“I’d appreciate it if you’d knock, Lieutenant,” Emeri finally said, unimpressed.
Aroska’s heart sank. I should have known. This powerful, attractive creature who had briefly distracted him from his troubles was also the ruthless monster responsible for the death of his brother. If not for the fact that he was paralyzed by rage, he would have lunged across the room and strangled her then and there, even with Emeri watching.
Maintaining her rigid posture, Payvan slowly began to move in a wide circle around them, looking Aroska up and down as she went. She was certainly solid, with strong arms and long, powerful legs. Her jet-black hair was pulled back into a tight braid, and she bore a long scar beside her left eye that Aroska somehow hadn’t noticed earlier. She finally shifted her penetrating gaze to Emeri, who was looking rather chagrined.
“Welcome home – I trust your missions were successful,” he said, adding a sharp nod in Aroska’s direction. He knows. “I’m sure you remember Lieutenant Tarbic.”
“I do,” she replied in a gravelly alto voice that sent chills down Aroska’s spine. She turned toward him again, though she was clearly still addressing Emeri. “I must say he looked better through my rifle scope,” she said, tracing invisible crosshairs through the air with her fingers.