“I have lived, seen God’s hand through a life time, and all was for the best.”—Robert Browning—


Zormna clung to Officer K’ren’s pant leg hiding her face in his knees. She would not look at the tall red-haired man in the crisp white military uniform he was trying to present her to.

The middle-aged military leader in white sighed as he looked over her tiny timid frame. “Of course I’ll take her in. That’s the law with orphans if she has no family. But I can’t promise to keep her in the Patrol once she grows up, no matter her personal connection to you.”

Officer K’ren rested his hand on little Zormna’s head to comfort her. “Can you at least try?”

The man shook his head. “That’s all up to her. Though we take all orphans in—like I said—bringing her directly to me doesn’t mean I’ll give her special treatment.”

Then he touched the control panel on his desk to call the second in command to his office.

Desperate, Officer K’ren blurted out, “But she is the daughter of Branz and Malia Clendar!”

The military leader quickly pressed mute on the machine. He looked up at the police officer then down at the little girl, his mouth popping open. “Whom did you say?”

“She is also the niece of my partner, Javer Clendar—Branz’s brother. You know whom I mean.” He paused for it to sink in. Then K’ren added, “So you know why I had to come to you directly.”

The military leader stared over his desk at the trembling little girl with fiery hair. She peeked once at him, still clinging miserably to the police officer’s leg. The girl had had the same big green eyes and cleft chin as her father, though her cherubic dimples came from her mother. Their deaths the year before had been tragic new. Her tears now had to be for her uncle—as she would have no reason to come if he were still alive.

“I promised Javer that I would take her directly to you in case something ever happened to him,” Officer K’ren continued, his own grief clear on his face. “And something has.”

The military man nodded, still gazing at the child.

“She is the last of the Clendars of that line, Kevin.” K’ren rubbed Zormna’s hair comfortingly, but she just clung tighter.

Rising from his seat, cautiously watching her, the Kevin walked around to the other side of the desk. He crouched down so he could be eye level with the girl. “Hi, there. Do you know who I am?”

Zormna shook her head, still clinging to Officer K’ren’s knees.

“I’m the Kevin. I lead the entire Surface Patrol,” he said. “I am a friend of your father’s. I knew and protected his secret. And the secret of your mother.”

Her wide eyes stared, but she did not trust him. Her entire body was shaking—though she had not cried out loud once.

However, this wasn’t anything new. Most orphans were intimidated by him. Of course, this child was too terrified to care. And she had good reason. She knew her family was being hunted. But most other new orphans sobbed for their mothers and fathers when taken to the Patrol, some wailing. Her silence was unusual. But then, she was an unusual case.

Tarrns often were.

“How would you like to be a Surface Patrol officer?” the Kevin asked. He nudged her with his finger.

She scooted away from him.

“No,” she sobbed—the first time she spoke since she heard from Officer K’ren that her uncle had been shot somewhere down in the undercity during a routine patrol. “I want to be a police officer like my uncle.”

“A police officer?” The Kevin broke into a surprised laugh. His eyes sparkled as he stood up. Cheeky kid. “That’s a lofty goal for such a timid child. Why do you want that?”

Still clutching Officer K’ren’s pant leg with one hand, she faced the tall man, squaring her shoulders. “I promised my daddy I’d be a police officer and protect the people.”

The Kevin drew in a quick breath. He glanced at Officer K’ren.

The man


Verlag: BookRix GmbH & Co. KG

Tag der Veröffentlichung: 21.06.2015
ISBN: 978-3-7438-5729-2

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“I have lived, seen God’s hand through a life time, and all was for the best.”—Robert Browning—

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