Vasic hadn’t previously considered the idea of choosing to have sex out of doors. His body decided it liked the idea. “And now?”

“I’ve come up with a few tricks,” Judd told him. “But I learned the thing that works best from another Tk in the 9 range.”

“Who?” As far as Vasic was aware, of the high-Gradient telekinetics in the Net, only Judd and Kaleb had broken conditioning.

“Think about it.”

Vasic knew or knew of every other strong Tk in the world. Considering Judd and Krychek, he realized the unknown Tk had to be isolated in some way, in a situation that encouraged a fracture in his Silence . . . or that conditioning had been problematic from the start.

“Stefan.” The Gradient 9.7 Tk was on permanent duty in the deep sea station Alaris. “He’s been very careful.”

“He’s one of us.”

“Yes.” Stefan had been shifted out of Arrow training as a result of a psychological issue that made him no less valuable as a telekinetic and no less trustworthy. In the past five years, he’d assisted in the defection of a number of Arrows by helping to fake their deaths. “What’s Stefan’s solution to the problem?”

“You have to teach your brain to handle sexual stimuli,” Judd told him. “Under Silence, we were taught to maintain strict discipline even under severe duress, including torture. However, none of us were taught how to handle pleasure, especially the extreme pleasure of true intimate contact.”

“There was no need.” The dissonance would’ve crippled them before it ever got this far.

“Exactly. It means we have a blind spot—it also means we don’t have any bad habits or training to overcome.”

The latter, Vasic realized, was extremely important. “No need to split our attention in order to fight previous programming.”

A nod from Judd. “Right now, in the absence of any other instruction, your mind reverts to the most instinctive aspect of your ability. For most Tks, it’d be random destruction.” The other man shot him a quick, amused glance. “You’re unique, but the same principles apply.”

“I could train my brain to go only to certain locations.” Such as from one bed to another. “It’s not the best solution, but better than ending up on ice or on rocks.”

“There’s another option.” Judd pushed back strands of hair that had fallen across his forehead. “Your core ability is still Tk, so you should be able to teach yourself not to ’port at all in that situation. Neither Stefan nor I,” he continued, “are able to maintain control while sharing skin privileges with our mates. Perhaps if we’d been taught so since childhood—”

“I doubt that would alter the situation,” Vasic interrupted to say. “True intimacy demands we lower our barriers.”

“Yes.” The single word held a staggering depth of emotion. “So, because we can’t curb the surge of telekinetic power,” he said, “we’ve learned to redirect it in a specific way.”

“Into water?” Vasic guessed, seeing where Judd was going.

“Yes. Stefan’s surrounded by the sea and even his strength won’t do more than cause a ripple or two.” The other man paused to watch a pack of wolves lope across the clearing below. “I do the same by filling in the bath with water. It’s steam by the end.” A grin and a shrug. “Not to say I don’t still lose it now and then, but it’s a hell of a lot better than before. I figure the more practice I get”—laughter in his eyes now, at a training regime that was clearly no hardship—“the better I’ll become at handling the energy surge.”

Vasic considered the genius of the idea. “Stefan’s solution utilizes the same training protocols and pathways as Silence, but with positive reinforcement”—sexual pleasure—“instead of negative.” Using what had been forged in pain and torture for a far more beautiful end.

“It does take time, so you might be traveling for some time yet,” Judd added. “And your instinctive ’porting ability may make things more difficult, but I think you have the mental strength and the psychic discipline to be successful.”

Vasic thought it over. “To begin, I’ll set my brain on a loop of isolated locations.” Going bed to bed might be impossible this quickly, and even using one or two of his favorite remote locations would require meticulous care, but Stefan’s inspired plan had given him an idea as to how to do it—not to build something new, but to use what was already there.

“I’ll utilize one of the data memorization techniques we were taught,” he said, thinking it through, “hook it into the same system that allows my senses to continue to function even if I have to sleep in the field.” Both skills were basic building blocks of an Arrow’s training.

Judd nodded slowly. “Yes, that should work. Tell me if it does?”

“Of course.” It might be an option that could assist another Arrow down the line. “Is Stefan safe?” As the most isolated of them all, the other man had little access to help if he needed it quickly.

“Yes, but perhaps you should visit Alaris, speak to him. With the situation in the Net changing as fast as it is, he should know we have his back if something goes wrong.”

“I’ll go after this.” Due to an inexplicable quirk of teleportation, teleporters didn’t suffer any ill-effects from the huge changes in pressure involved in ’porting to the ocean floor and back up. Copyright 2016 - 2023