Thank you for the valuable tips! I have edited this accordingly.
Any/All comments greatly appreciated!!!
Seventeen years ago, MISTER UNIVERSAL murdered the incumbent monarch and declared himself king of the five major galaxies. Now, he is a beloved emperor, whose reign is threatened only by the Watchers, super-powered guardians who still owe loyalty to the old Queen. Most of the Watchers are still in hiding, but, in an act of rebellion, one of the Queen’s sons uses his telepathy skills to coach CECILY, a shy, pushover colonial girl with ties to the old royal family.
In the present day, eighteen-year-old Cecily knows she has always heard voices no one else could, but her sister’s apparent suicide leaves her deaf to their warning, allowing Mister Universal to kidnap her easily. Through Watcher traitors, Mister Universal has learnt of Cecily’s ties to existing Watchers, and has planned her public, painful execution as both a lesson to rebels and a means to crush the remaining Watchers’ spirit. But his plan falls flat when Cecily recognises her sister as the executioner and causes a scene, allowing a rescue party to intervene.
After the botched execution, Cecily struggles with the sudden manifestation of her Watcher powers, as well as the betrayal of her sister and key Watcher members. In a turn of events, Mister Universal is secretly arrested and revealed as the old Queen’s murderer. Cecily is sent to interrogate him, but loses control, killing the former king instead. Public opinion easily turns against her as her sister, who has been named heir to the throne, now brands Cecily as a murderer. Cecily falls into hiding, lying and stealing to get by, but is found by another one of the Queen’s sons, who convinces her to undergo proper Watcher training under a different name.
In the epilogue, Cecily, now “Sophie”, is training as a healing Watcher in a popular tourist spot. It is revealed that Mister Universal is still alive.
18-year-old reclusive, book-loving CECILY DARTLEY receives the opportunity of a lifetime when she is offered a summer internship with a world-class publishing company. Her enthusiasm turns to dismay, however, when she discovers she is being followed home. She attempts to defend herself, but is distracted by the scoundrel GHOST, a possible hallucination whose voice comes from inside Cecily’s head, rather than out.
Upon arriving home, Cecily finds her younger sister PIPPA dead, a suicide note clenched in her fist. While mourning over Pippa’s body, Cecily is confronted by her stalker, MISTER UNIVERSAL, who whisks her off to an airbase thousands of light-years from Earth. He reveals his identity as King of the Universe and leader of the Watchers, a group of superpowered beings who obtain their Skills through extreme pain-based rituals. Mister Universal discloses that the Watchers haven’t been faithful to him in years, and demands Cecily tell him the location of the last remaining group of renegade Watchers. Cecily protests, telling him she’s never heard of the Watchers, but the man grows irate with her “lies” and locks her in his office. While inside, Cecily hallucinates Pippa dressed as an angel, but faints before she can speak with her.
When Cecily awakens, she is greeted by DR WILLOWBY, a kind, quirky woman who fills in the gaps left by Mister Universal’s story. Their chat is cut short by the arrival of the sadistic BRUTA KREUHLER and her lecherous brother FATHER KARL, who drag Cecily away for a public whipping due to “insubordination”. As Bruta is preparing the whip, one of the Watcher trainess, FEENIE, clues Cecily into the gory process of the typical public punishment. Fearing the worst, Cecily flees the whipping post, but is lead by Pippa’s voice to an isolated corridor where Mister Universal is punishing Dr Willowby for the kindness she showed Cecily earlier. Cecily is almost caught by Mister Universal, but the crisis is averted by a timely rescue by SHAMIR, a handsome boy with bright blue eyes for whom Cecily feels an instant attraction.
Shamir takes Cecily to the airbase library, where she encounters the real-life Ghost, a sickly Watcher trainee named KIP who reveals himself as her twin brother and the son of the previous Queen, who was murdered by power-hungry Mister Universal. Kip and older brother THADDEUS have a long-standing feud with Shamir, which comes to a head as they try to explain the precarity of Cecily’s situation. As a Watcher with telepathy Skills, Kip is able to project his voice into the heads of others; however, Cecily’s presence makes his powers stronger. Mister Universal fears the power twin Watchers wield; consequently, he has scheduled Cecily’s execution for the next day.
After a night of plotting and planning, Cecily encounters Dr Willowby in the library. Dr Willowby discloses that she has been trying to teach herself Healing Skills instead of the Chaos Skills she trained with, as she would like to create and repair than to destroy. Cecily draws parallels between this and Kip’s training, and wonders if book-learning might replace the pain-driven rituals Watchers currently use for training.
The next day, the inhabitants of Beta-Two-Two are taken to the capital city of Plutonia for Cecily’s execution. Thaddeus’ plan to bribe the executioner goes awry when the executioner is revealed to be a healthy, vengeful Pippa, who reveals she taught herself a forbidden Skill using books in their mother’s room. Shamir saves Cecily once again by jumping on the stage to cause a diversion, and they escape to an abandoned barn on the outskirts of the planet. Thaddeus warns Cecily that Shamir is untrustworthy, but the two share a kiss outside the barn as Kip and Thaddeus argue strategy within.
Romantic interludes are interrupted by the arrival of Bruta, Father Karl, Mister Universal, and Pippa, who clash with the Watcher trainees and Doctor Willowby. Feenie accidentally injures Pippa, and Shamir rushes to her side, revealing that all of his encounters with Cecily had been a charade orchestrated by Mister Universal. Devastated, Cecily and the other trainees escape into the surrounding woods, but a betrayal from Thaddeus causes Cecily and Feenie to be captured by Plutonian guards.
Back on Beta-Two-Two, Cecily and Feenie are tortured by the Kreuhler siblings under the guise of “interrogation” regarding the whereabouts of the other Watcher trainees. In the ensuing scuffle, Feenie sacrifices herself to save Cecily from one of Bruta Kreuhler’s particularly dangerous weapons. A mourning Cecily is once again dragged away by Mister Universal to his office, where the Bishop of a nearby galaxy has arrived to purchase Cecily as a slave. Before the deal is sealed, however, Thaddeus and Kip burst into the room, revealing the survival of the previous Queen, and proclaiming Mister Universal a fraud, usurper, and murderer. He is incarcerated, but the Kreuhlers escape.
Believing the returned Queen to be under the influence of Mister Universal, Cecily visits him in his chamber, where he taunts her with information about Feenie, Dr Willowby, Father Karl, and her parents. Enraged, Cecily kills him with the first manifestation of her unstable Skill. Finding herself branded a murderer, Cecily flees Beta-Two-Two with Kip’s help, returning to Plutonia in disguise. While here, she is publically denounced by both her mother and Thaddeus, and a reward is placed on her head. Cecily resists the urge to retaliate, and finds redemption when she channels her energy to heal Pippa’s infected shoulder. That night, she is visited by Thaddeus, who offers her a second chance at a new life on a different planet, where she can learn to be a Healing Watcher.
In the epilogue, Cecily, now “Sophie”, has joined with a band of eclectic Watcher trainees at various stages of Healing Skills on the idyllic planet of Varainmo.