Stealing Coal Page 26

“Unbelievable. He seriously never told you?” Disbelief widened the guy’s eyes.

“No.”

The scowl returned. “Have you ever heard of a three-scan lock bank?”

“No.”

“Your father had. There are two of them on Earth. That’s where all his money is stored.”

Jill was not sure what to say.

“Damn stupid bitch,” he hissed. “They use scans to access the account information. Instead of numbers or passwords or even identification cards, they use your DNA from a blood sample, a genetic scan of your hair, and a retinal scan of your eye.”

Confused, Jill just gawked at him.

“You’re coded into the account.”

Realization slowly dawned. “You mean―”

He cut her off. “To access it, you have to be alive. Dead or frozen blood is detected, rejected, and it won’t allow access. The same goes for your hair and retinal scans. It verifies you’re alive every damn time. Your father set up the account with a cap on how much can be withdrawn any given time.” He stepped closer but then halted, his hands gripping his h*ps so hard that his knuckles turned white. “It’s going to take me at least ten years of keeping you alive to use you to withdraw all of it.”

Horror gripped Jill. “You can have it all. I don’t want it. I just want you to let me go.”

“Never,” he ground out harshly. “At least not for the next ten years, sweetheart. After the account is drained I don’t give a damn what happens to you.”

This can’t be happening.

“Jim felt certain I’d fall in love and grow to care for you in that time.” The captain snorted. “Not damn likely but I will make a deal with you.”

Jill met his cold glare, feeling numb inside.

“I won’t beat the shit out of you every time you pull this kind of stunt if you behave and stop trying to escape. If you’re really good, I may even allow you to walk away from me at the end still breathing.”

Tears blinded her but she tried to blink them back. “Coal will come for me.” God, I hope so. Please, she silently pleaded.

“The cyborg?” Captain Varel turned his head, grinned at his men, and darted an amused look at each one of them. The amusement left his expression. “She thinks metal heads are intelligent.” He suddenly lunged, a hand fisting in Jill’s hair.

She cried out when he jerked her away from the bulkhead, spun her to face away from him, and his other arm wrapped around her waist. He held her in front of him. She didn’t fight. The pain of her hair being pulled by the tight grip he had on her kept her still.

“Watch how damn smart they are,” he whispered in her ear, his hot breath making her nauseous from the unwanted intimacy of his body pressed so close to hers.

His crew chuckled and some outright laughed. Varel took a deep breath before speaking.

“Rune? Clean the damn deck. It’s dirty.”

The android smiled. “Of course.” She turned and walked to a cabinet, opened it, and removed foam-cleanser canisters.

“She refuses to have sex with the men, will fight them off if they try to touch her, but they don’t need to,” he whispered.

Rune reached for the hem of her short dress, gripped it, and pulled it over her head. She placed her dress on a hook inside the cabinet and then turned, totally naked, to face them. Jill’s gaze traveled down the android’s perfectly formed na**d body. Rune started to spray down a section of the deck, grabbed a handful of towels, and then dropped to her hands and knees. She started to scrub the deck.

“She doesn’t want to get her clothes dirty. See how smart she is? She refuses to be a sex aid to men but she’s too stupid to know we get off on her all the time.” Varel jerked on Jill’s hair, forcing her head to turn. “See how easy it is to fool them? Your metal head believes what he’s told. Right now he thinks you’re happy with the man you were meant to be with. He’s never coming for you.”

One of the crew opened his pants, revealing that he didn’t wear underwear and that the sight of the anatomically correct android turned him on. His hand squeezed his stiff cock, slowly pumping his fist around it while he watched Rune on her hands and knees, moving back and forth.

“I’m going to puke,” Jill whispered, squeezing her eyes closed as another man unfastened his pants.

“Go ahead,” Varel laughed. “Rune will just spend more time wiggling that perfect, upturned ass for the men to jack off to. She does have a habit of spreading her knees to really scrub hard.” He suddenly moved, yanking Jill toward the door. “If you try to escape again, I will beat you. I just have to keep you alive, hair on your head for the scans, and make sure nothing happens to those pretty blue eyes of yours. Scans don’t give a shit if you’re in pain or bruised up.”

Chapter Thirteen

Coal woke with a vengeance. Rage and the pain from the blow to the back of his head had him snarling. Sky had hit him with something, knocked him out, so the Cutter would have more time to take Jill farther away from him. His muscles strained against the chains holding him to the same cargo table he’d been bound to when he’d first entered the Jenny.

“You will be fine,” Arm stated.

Coal’s head twisted to the side, spotting the android near the corner, and tried to push his mind to work through the foggy ache he experienced. “Come here.”

Arm came forward and stopped at the side of the table. With shrewd eyes, Coal stared up at the damaged face of Jill’s military droid.

“Do I still have access to you?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Release me now.”

“I have been ordered not to do that unless there was a medical reason.”

“My right arm hurts. I need to move it to alleviate the pain. I can’t do that chained down.”

Arm suddenly reached out, his strong fingers gripping the metal above Coal’s wrist, and snapped the links. Coal wanted to yell out in victory but managed to remain calm. He needed to act quickly before one of his cyborg brothers decided to check on him. Jill had been smarter by ordering the droid not to release him under any circumstance unless she’d given Arm a direct order. Of course, it helped that the defense model had outdated systems. A newer model would have never fallen for that ruse.

“My other arm and both legs need movement. I have cramps in them that hurt me severely,” he lied.

Arm freed him quickly. Coal stood and ordered Arm to turn around. The big droid spun to present Coal with its back. In seconds Coal opened his access panel. He disconnected the device that allowed data to be transmitted to the android without a direct connection to a terminal.

“Why have you shut down my receptors? Were they malfunctioning?”

“Yes.” Coal blew out a deep breath, relieved he had total control of Arm for the time being. “You were being hacked. Now it isn’t possible for someone to send you orders. You’re to only do what I tell you from now on. Disregard everyone else.”

“Understood.”

Coal closed the panel and headed for the weapons locker. “I need your help.”

“Understood.” Arm followed him. “What are my orders, Sir?”

“Is there a safeguard in case the shuttle is overtaken to regain control?”

Arm paused. “No, Sir.”

Frustration gripped Coal as he strapped on weapons. He needed to regain control of the Jenny. “You’re a defense droid. Are you skilled with nonlethal tactics to take out humans without causing permanent injury?”

“Affirmative.”

Coal turned, staring at the droid’s damaged face. “What is the quickest way to do that, causing the least injury?”

A mechanical whine sounded and part of Arm’s side slid open. “I am equipped with hostage bombs.”

“What are those?” Coal peered at the round green balls displayed in casing, in a row.

“Avarios gas, Sir.”

“I don’t know what that is.” Coal frowned.

“They explode on impact, the nonlethal gas fills a square radius of fifty feet, and once breathed in by life forms it makes them lose consciousness within seconds, Sir. The effects are harmless with only a ten percent chance of slight to severe injury caused by falls when they collapse from the effects of being subjected to the gas.”

“Do you carry any masks to prevent me from being affected or know of any onboard?”

“No, Sir.”

“How long does it take the gas to dissipate?”

“One minute and nine seconds, Sir.”

Coal took a deep breath, held it, and walked to the terminal that was located inside the door of the cargo hold that led inside the shuttle. He activated the onboard computer, guessing he didn’t have much time before someone noticed the breach. He read life signs on the shuttle. He turned, pulling air into his starving lungs, and knew how long he could hold his breath.

“There are two life forms in the mess hall and one in cabin three. Go locate them. When you find them I want you to toss one avarios-gas ball, wait one minute, then toss a second one. Keep them pinned down until they fall over. Are my orders clear?”

“Yes, Sir.” Arm paused. “There are six life forms aboard, including you, at my last scan. I cannot verify that number now that my receptors have malfunctioned.”

“Ignore the two sealed in the captain’s quarters. The councilman and the human are highly unlikely to leave that section of the ship, but if they do, gas them as well. Under no circumstances are you to kill anyone. Repeat the order.”

“Use only nonlethal gas to contain the life form threats.”

“Go. Return to me when it’s done.”

“Yes, Sir.” Arm spun around, moving fast for the doors.

Coal closed his eyes. He had no idea what the consequences of his actions for ordering the droid to attack fellow cyborgs would be, but whatever they were, he’d face it after he had Jill back in his arms. Grim determination stilled his inner turmoil over disobeying orders. He’d die for Jill.

* * * * *

Jill kicked out at Barney Varel, her bare foot impacting with his thigh, and pain shot through her toes. Without boots on it hurt when she nailed him. The man grunted but didn’t release her arm.

“Knock it off, you little hellion. You look like your mother but you act just like your father.”

“Let me go,” she twisted hard, attempting to free her wrist from the bruising grip he had on her.

“Put your damn thumb on the scanner.”

“You already tore a handful of my hair out, you bastard!”

“It was just a few strands. The bank is waiting for the second verification.” His hold tightened, drawing a cry of pain from her, and forced the electronic pad closer. “Do it or I swear I’ll knock out some of your teeth. I want access to that account.”

“Fine.” She ceased her struggles, jammed her thumb down on the pad, and winced when the needle pierced her skin to draw blood to take a DNA sample.

The scanner beeped to verify her identity. The captain released her wrist and lunged for her when she tried to spin away to put distance between them. His fingers dug into her hair at the base of her neck, fisting a handful of it, and shoved the scanner in front of her face. Her back ended up pressed against his torso.

“Look into the damn thing and don’t you dare blink. I’m really getting pissed off at you.”

“Screw you.”

“If you don’t stop fighting me, you will not enjoy the consequences. Remember your dear ex-husband? Your father told me what he did to you. Want a repeat?”

Jill went utterly still. He didn’t say it but he implied he’d rape her. Her eyes widened and she looked at the center of the pad, not blinking. She didn’t care about her father’s money but she hated Varel enough to try to take a stand against him getting a single credit though it wasn’t worth him hurting her that severely.

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