Loving Deviant Page 20

had me there after I was freed.”

“You were unconscious most of the time?”

“Yes. I’d probably be insane otherwise. I can’t image being strapped to a bed for those years, fully conscious but unable to get free, knowing they were keeping me alive just to take my blood.”

“Was it painful when the drugs wore off?”

“I was able to lift my head a few times.” Tears gathered in her eyes but she blinked rapidly to be rid of them. “I saw how messed up I was. It’s kind of hard to miss it when you try to brush your hair back from your face and only one arm responds. The other one was gone. It felt like my legs were still there, but they wouldn’t move when I tried to struggle out of the straps they had across my body. It was another big shock when I first realized they were gone too.”

The urge to pull her into his arms overcame Deviant, and he only hesitated for a moment before he reached out and took her hand. It was the artificial one. He wouldn’t have known by touch if she hadn’t told him. She clung to him, seeming to welcome the gesture.

“It must have been traumatic.” He couldn’t imagine what she’d endured. To be helpless was a fear of his. He didn’t verbally express it.

“I was sure I’d die in there…but then I woke to see two people hovering above me. I thought it was a dream when they unstrapped me and lifted me onto a gurney. They had hacked into the mainframe and shut down the androids that ran the facility. They pushed me right past them and told me they were taking me to my sister.”

“You have a strong attachment to her.” It wasn’t a question. He could hear it in her voice when it softened.

“We were always close. It was tough to leave her behind but I didn’t have a choice. I had to flee Earth before I was found. Not only would I have been killed or returned to that horrible place, but she would have been punished. My being alive would just be proof that she had a part in my escape. That would have been a death sentence for her. They call that treason, when you do anything against Earth Government.”

“I am sorry for your loss. Perhaps you could contact her at a later date.”

“No. It’s too dangerous. We said our goodbyes when I left. I’m safe from Earth Government right now but she still lives there. They’ll be watching her too closely. I’m sure they have to be worried about what happened to me, and if I’ll somehow get my story out to the general population.”

She sighed, her thumb rubbing against his finger where they were clasped together. “Not that it would do any good, even if my story outraged anyone. The people in charge would just kill any protestors or make them disappear. Everyone is too afraid to stand up against Earth Government, no matter how corrupt they’ve become.”

“I don’t have a flattering opinion of Earth, either.”

Chapter Four

Venice held Deviant’s gaze as he watched her. “What is the real story behind cyborgs leaving Earth?”

“What were you told?”

“There was some kind of chip malfunction that made them…” She paused. “That made your kind unstable and kind of, um, homicidal. I remember hearing that cyborgs killed a lot of people.”

“That isn’t entirely correct. We became self-aware and demanded to be given rights instead of being subjected to slavery. We might be constructed by cloned material, but we’re sentient beings with our own thoughts and feelings. Earth Government treated us as if we were only fleshy androids. They deemed us a failure and ordered us destroyed. They felt we were flawed. We rebelled and fled the planet to survive. The only deaths that resulted were when we attempted to defend ourselves against being murdered.”

“They really are assholes. I take it the rumors that you guys are out in deep space attacking shuttles to get spare body parts isn’t true, either?” She laughed. It was a pleasant sound to him. “I noticed you’re all one color and not a patchwork of other people.”

He smiled, amused. “No. Manufactured limbs are much better if there is a need for a replacement.”

“There’s no need to tell me.” She glanced down her body at her arm and legs. “My authentic parts can’t heal fast the way these babies can.” She looked up and shrugged. “They’re also stronger and more reliable. My artificial

Prev Next