Haunting Blackie Page 23

Zorus answered. “I’m assuming Parlis was the one who circulated false information that the women are Earth spies. Some are under the impression that they have come here to verify our existence, then transmit the location of our planet directly to Earth battleships that are waiting to attack.”

“That isn’t accurate.” Blackie’s features darkened with anger.

“I’ve stated that,” Zorus replied. “Let’s go. We have a transport waiting and the Cyborg Council is in session.” He glanced at Eve. “I apologize that you won’t have time to relax before you address them. It was imperative to settle this matter once and for all, as quickly as possible. Our people are logical but fear is an emotion that can lead some to make errors of judgment. The council will make a ruling, share the findings with the public and put those worries to rest.”

Krell lifted his wife off her feet, shifted his hold to cradle her in his arms and shoved her at another cyborg. “Use my vehicle to take the scenic route in the opposite direction we’re traveling. I don’t want anyone to mistake her for one of those women. Give us at least an hour before you follow.”

“Damn it, Krell.” Cyan didn’t struggle as she was transferred into the strong arms of the other male. “I want to be there.”

“I want you and our son safe. This isn’t over yet. Parlis has a lot of supporters.”

“I’ll make certain she’s safe,” the male holding her promised.

The pregnant woman shot him a glare but wrapped her arm around the cyborg’s shoulder. “I can still fight. You might need me.”

“I’m more than aware of your abilities. Think of our child. We have this handled.”

“Fine. I want to hear about everything when I see you.” She waved to Danica and Eve. “I’ll see you soon. It’s going to be fine.”

Krell addressed the cyborg holding her. “Take her home and keep her there, Mavo. I don’t care if you have to secure her to the bed. She’s devious so don’t let her out of your sight until I return to relieve you.”

“Understood.”

Krell turned back around once his wife was out of sight. He glanced at Zorus. “I didn’t expect her to disregard my orders.”

The male sighed. “Females can be very illogical. Let this begin. Everything is in place?”

“You don’t mind some other guy carrying your wife off? And did you really just ask him to tie her to a bed? Wow,” Danica huffed. “I am so not liking things so far. Is that her other husband? What do you guys do? Keep her under lock and key to make sure she can’t escape?”

Krell narrowed his gaze, clearly irritated. “Mavo is her adoptive father. I’m her only husband and she’s not my prisoner.”

“Shut it.” Eve elbowed Danica in the side. “We have enough stress without you pissing someone off.”

“Fine,” Danica muttered.

“The trap is set.” Krell rested his hand on the sword handle. “The most dangerous part is transferring her to the chambers.”

“We still expect an attack?” Blackie glanced between the men.

“Yes.” Zorus didn’t hesitate. “We were unable to locate them.”

Eve stared at her mate. “An attack?” Blackie’s words sank in. “Did he say ‘her to the chambers’? You mean us. Locate who?”

Blackie hesitated. “Four of Parlis’ most trusted guards have gone missing. They will attempt to prevent us from reaching the council chambers.” He turned his head to address Gene. “Ready?”

“Yes.”

It happened so fast that all Eve could do was gasp. Gene pulled out a syringe and injected Danica in the arm. She snarled, turning toward him, alarmed. Her eyes rolled back and her body went limp. The big male grabbed her before she hit the ground. He lifted her gently into his arms, staring at Eve.

“She’s fine. It’s a strong sedative. I swear I will protect her with my life.”

Eve tried to lunge at him, outraged that her littermate had been drugged. Blackie grabbed her before she could reach Danica.

“Trust me,” he rasped against her ear. “Gene owns a small ship that is waiting on the other side of the Bridden. It will take them into orbit. She’ll be safer up there than on the surface.”

She twisted her head to glare at him. “You didn’t ask us.” The pain of betrayal hurt deeply. He wasn’t supposed to keep secrets from her.

“Her safety is paramount to you.” He held her tighter. “I wanted Gene to take you onto his ship but I knew you wouldn’t forgive me for allowing her to be the one in danger. I apologize for not sharing all the details of our plan but she would have resisted being taken away from your side.”

“We don’t have time for this,” Zorus interrupted. “It’s vital that one of you survive to show proof of your existence to the majority of the council and there is a forty-percent chance the attack will be successful since we’ve been unable to locate the missing men. Blackie is disconcerted enough over what needed to be done without your emotional outbursts, Eve. Be logical and see the soundness of this action.”

She didn’t look away from Blackie. Regret haunted his features and she wanted to believe he had her best interest at heart.

“She’ll be safer with Gene,” he swore. “You’re the one in danger.” He didn’t appear happy about it. “We need to let him take her. The longer we’re here, the easier it will be for Parlis’ men to target us.”

She relaxed against his body. “Okay. I trust you.” Please don’t let me down. She turned her head to stare at Gene. “Don’t let anything happen to Danica.”

“I’ll die before anyone gets close to her.” He turned and strode away with her in his arms. Two of the cyborgs trailed him.

“They will make sure he gets to the ship. Trusted men are guarding it,” Blackie whispered. “They’ll lift off without scrutiny.”

“They will,” Krell vouched. “We need to be on the move to keep our schedule.”

“Let’s get this show on the road then,” Eve bravely announced.

Blackie released her and offered his hand. “I’m sorry. It was a difficult decision but one that will keep Danica out of harm’s way.”

She squeezed his hand. “We’ll talk about this later.” It still hurt, even if she conceded that Danica never would have agreed to them being separated.

Four vehicles waited, all similar to square tanks with wheels. More armed cyborgs guarded them. Her eyebrows lifted but she didn’t say a word as her mate led her to one. He opened the door, allowing her to climb inside first. He pushed her over into the middle when he sat, taking the seat next to the door. Zorus took the position her other side.

“This is necessary?” She noticed the thick security glass on the windows. “Weapons grade?”

“Cyborgs are excellent strategic planners,” Krell stated from the driver’s seat. “This cuts out a lot of their options.”

“You mean taking me out by sniper?”

“Yes,” Blackie hissed, leaning closer and using his bulky body to shield her. He glanced in all directions, seeming to search for any threat. “These windows can also withstand a seven-scale blast.”

“They won’t be able to use anything stronger this close to the wall.” Zorus also kept his attention on the exterior. “It would cause damage and it is the only thing that keeps the native species from breaching our city, endangering other cyborgs. Explosives won’t be an option once we enter the gates. The structures where we live would be compromised.”

“You don’t think they’d do that?” She wasn’t so certain.

“It’s one thing for Parlis to attack you and the men assigned to your protection but he would never risk the lives of civilians. It isn’t logical.”

“Allowing my line to be killed by leaving us behind on Earth after helping cyborgs escape was rational?” She couldn’t resist asking.

Zorus glanced at her. “No. Treason is punishable by death. His guards are probably under the assumption that you are a spy from Earth intent on the destruction of our race. Your death would be acceptable to them but not at the cost of innocent cyborg lives.”

“I’m glad you think the bastard has some limitations on who he’d kill.” She curled against Blackie.

“I am aware of his flaws,” Zorus protested, facing the window to watch for threats. “I also know the guards he’s assigned to go after you. They have honor but they are taking orders from the wrong council member. Those tasks he assigned will have limitations due to their knowledge of what is acceptable.”

Eve lifted her head, watching through the front window as they approached two big gates. The walls were really high. “Cyborg City?”

“Yes.”

“Why did we land outside of it instead of inside the gates?”

“The open space within the walls is used for agriculture. We grow our own food.” Blackie tucked her closer.

Blackie scanned the trees, searching for anyone who might be concealed there. At any second the line of vehicles might be under attack. They were the most vulnerable as they approached the gates. A glint of light was the only warning before something hit the glass a foot from his face.

It held together but was damaged when the small explosive device blew up on impact. He twisted hard, shoving Eve under him. “Down!”

Her whimper tore at his heart and the urge to kill became so strong it took sheer willpower to stay in place. He’d have liked to dash from the vehicle to hunt whoever had just attempted to kill his mate.

The engine grew louder as their speed increased. Krell cursed from the front seat. “Hold on, we’re under heavy fire but the gates are opening,” he said as two of the vehicles moved into position on both sides of them to take the brunt of the attack.

The loud explosions hurt Blackie’s ears but he didn’t cover them. His arms were wrapped around Eve, holding her in a balled position under his torso. Her body seemed so fragile at that moment. Something hit the roof and detonated. Her scream was muffled. He glanced up, saw that the exterior hadn’t been breached. The vehicles protected them. Fury ate at him as he considered how tragic the outcome would have been if they hadn’t gone to such extreme measures to assure her safety.

“Parlis has lost his mind!” Zorus yelled. “Cyborgs will witness this attack from the buildings nearest the walls.”

“I don’t think he cares as long as she dies!” Krell shouted. “We’re clear!”

The explosions stopped and Blackie lifted his head, glad they’d passed through the gates. The streets, normally clear of civilians at such an early hour of the morning, quickly filled with stunned cyborgs as they rushed outside, their sleeping attire proof they had recently woken.

He lifted up, sitting in a way that gave him a line of sight out the damaged window but kept Eve pinned against the seat. “They believe the city is under attack.”

Zorus straightened too, peering out his side of the vehicle. “Most are looking up at the sky. Damn Parlis. He’ll cause a panic. They’ll believe an enemy ship has opened fire on the city.”

“Let me up,” Eve pleaded.

“Stay there,” Blackie ordered, gently pushing on her back. “It won’t be safe until we reach the council building.”

“Two more blocks,” Krell announced, slightly reducing the speed of the vehicle.

Blackie twisted his head, noticing only two other vehicles followed. “Where is the fourth?”

“It flipped,” Krell informed him. “A blast went off near the front wheel. I’m listening to communications. The two men survived and medical aid is being dispatched to them. Security is also broadcasting that the city isn’t under attack.” He paused. “They stated it was a disaster drill and have ordered everyone to return to their homes.”

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