Seducing Stag Page 5

He pressed the injector against her skin and she winced a little when it went off, a soft noise. It didn’t hurt but she felt a slight tap. The blood draw would leave a pin prick but very tiny. He returned the injector to the case, put it back inside the bag, and rose. “Have a good day.”

She jumped up before he left. “Wait!”

He hesitated and peered back at her. “I’m not supposed to talk to you outside of medical issues.”

“Why?”

“You’re Stag’s prisoner. You angered him.”

“What about my rights? I demand to talk to an authority.”

The cyborg faced her. “Stag is the authority on this vessel. He’s in charge.”

“My freighter was attacked, so how does that make me some kind of criminal? Are you saying I’m under arrest? For what? I’m registered.”

“Stag has taken possession of you.”

“I’m a person.”

“You’re an android. You have no rights.”

Her mouth fell open again. “You just ran a scan on me. You know I’m one hundred percent human.”

“I’m aware, but those are his orders. You’re to be treated as an android.”

“This is crazy.”

“Agreed.”

“So you know it’s wrong. Do something. Please.”

He gave her a pity look. “He won’t harm you. He gave the crew his word, and he would never lie.”

“He is if he’s saying I’m an android!”

“He wants to teach you a lesson, and to be frank, Stag isn’t one you want to anger. He has a temper. No one on this crew will go against his orders unless they feel he’s crossed a line into cruelty. He wouldn’t do that. I strongly suggest you apologize to him after he has time to reevaluate this situation.” He spun around and tapped the panel. The door opened and he was gone before she could stop him again.

“Damn it!” She wanted to stomp her foot. Were all cyborgs crazy? They must be. She crossed the room and tried to open the door but it wouldn’t respond.

She returned to the bed and sat down, then twisted and stretched out.

It had been a horrible day. Tears filled her eyes. She’d lost her crew, her ship, and her father. Now she was the prisoner of a malfunctioning cyborg. There were a lot of them, and they all seemed unaware of how many laws they were breaking by keeping her locked up. It wasn’t a mystery anymore why Earth had decommissioned their models, if her interaction with them so far had been any example of their behavior. They flat-out refused to take orders or be logical.

Grief set in and she cried for all she’d lost. She’d worry about her future later.

* * * * *

Stag glanced at the small monitor in front of him and grimaced. The Earther was curled into a ball on his bed, sobbing. Guilt surfaced. He’d forgotten in his anger that her father had died, and she had to have cared about her murdered crew. It was tempting to return to his quarters to talk to her but the Markus Models were close. Priorities were clear.

He turned off the security feed and addressed his crew.

“Prepare to detonate that ship.”

Hellion nodded. “Ready.”

The coms beeped and Stag reached out, turning them on. “Report.”

“I’ve checked over every crate transferred over. They haven’t been tampered with. The Markus Models either didn’t have time to attempt to reprogram them or were waiting until they picked them up later to do it. Not all of them would fit inside our hold. It’s probably why the Markus Models couldn’t transfer them into their shuttle.”

“How many units were left behind?”

“Twelve, and I removed their theft-tracking systems. We managed to store eight. I rigged the remaining crates with small explosives and am awaiting your order to detonate. They will be damaged too severely to be salvaged and the blasts will be contained inside the cargo hold.”

He trusted Veller’s competence. He would have made certain the remaining bots couldn’t be useful to the Markus Models. “Do that now. We’re clear. Thank you.” He cut coms.

“What are we going to do with the bots we brought aboard?” Kelis glanced at him.

Stag considered it. “Take them back home. I’m sure we’ll find a use for them.”

Hellion turned in his seat and grinned.

Stag shook his head. “I can’t see the council opening up a brothel on Garden. I was thinking they could be reprogrammed for agricultural use.”

Parqel chuckled. “Like Rune. Maybe she can teach the other sex bots to water plants naked as well. I know I’ve visited that section just for the view.”

Hellion grunted. “Great.” He swiveled his seat back. “Not all of us are in family units and have access to females.”

Stag made a mental note to plan a trip to a sector with a brothel soon for his single men. He didn’t voice that though. “Detonate the ship.”

They watched on the main viewer as the transport self-destructed on command. It decompressed in sections, lights flashing, then began to break apart.

“Move us out of the debris field, then deploy our trackers and get us out of here. We can’t fight off two shuttles. It would be pointless to try.”

Hellion touched his console, doing as he’d been ordered. Minutes passed. “Five trackers launched.” He paused. “I hope they work.”

“I do too. They are out of the debris path, correct?”

“Yes.”

“Good. We put a lot of time and effort went into shielding them. They should attach to any ship that comes within range, once activated. With luck, we’ll tag one of the models’ ships. Let’s go. Hellion, monitor us and turn them on once we’re at a safe distance.”

“You really think the Markus Models will return here once they read that transport has blown?”

“I do, Kelis.” Stag had considered it at length. “They’ll probably believe the woman activated the bomb and the cargo section possibly survived, or that some of crates managed to avoid destruction. They have an interest in the bots. I just wish we could have taken all of them. Any use they have for those models wouldn’t bode well for anyone.”

“They’d probably turn them into assassins. They seem to love to kill anything alive,” Hellion muttered.

Stag agreed.

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