Taunting Krell Page 8

Zorus reeled back. “We didn’t want it this way. There were so few females. We needed to increase our numbers.”

“Yeah, and your creator said he needed to do research when he tortured your kind,” she spat, directing her anger at him. “Earth Government wanted people they could send on suicide missions that nobody would care or protest about when they died. That’s why they funded your creation. They deemed you expendable. You’re just like the man who made you.” She swept her angry gaze over each of them. “You’re more human than you thought. You’ve become the thing you hated most. Congratulations.”

Zorus shook his head in denial. “We don’t, I didn’t—”

Cyan cut him off, so angry she forgot to be careful of what she said. “Didn’t you? Do you know how terrified I was when I sneaked information to you? What I risked to save you?” She glared around the room. “I’m the reason you got away. I hacked my father’s computer to get the override codes to those shuttles you used to blast away from the surface. I hacked into those ships you stole in orbit to prevent them from opening fire on you the second you entered space and allowed you to board them so easily. I took a bullet to my chest because I refused to stop someone from getting control of the tarmac cannons to fire at you while you fled. I put those shuttles on the ground by screwing with the supply orders to make sure there were plenty available at the time of your escape. They busted into my office, demanding I unhook from the system, but I refused. I lasted long enough to send the system into reboot to give you those minutes to make it into space while I lay dying on a floor. I believed you were real people with the ability to have normal lives. To love who you wanted to be with, have that choice, and you’re telling me you shit all over the very reasons you wanted freedom so bad? Get out. I think I’m going to be sick.” The pain was so bad she knew she had only moments until unconsciousness or seizures overtook her. She had to regain control, steady her breathing and focus. Think before you speak!

Zorus paused by the door. “Clear the room.” He still appeared pale. Jazel hesitated. “Get out,” Zorus snarled. “All of you.”

The room emptied until only Cyan and Zorus remained. They watched each other. Cyan wished she could hobble out of bed and slap the jerk. He seemed shaken.

“We had to ensure our future survival. We are nothing similar to Earth Government.”

“Yeah, that’s the same bullshit your creator said when he explained how he could create a race of people to be abused and sent on death missions. He said it was to ensure the survival of humans.” Her chest ached from the sadness that overwhelmed her and made her pain seem tame in comparison. “You’ve made it a law to force women to be breeders? What is wrong with you? What is so different about you than them? You think about that long and hard. There’s always a good reason for the shitty things people do. It still doesn’t make it right, does it?”

“Are you really E—”

“Don’t!” she yelled, cutting him off before the agonizing pain hit. “Don’t say that name. It hurts me.”

He inched closer, his features softening as he examined her. He didn’t attempt to repeat the name she’d been born with.

“That girl dreamed about what kind of future she could give the cyborgs she loved so much by freeing all of them. It was the one meaningful thing she could do with her short life.” She paused, refusing to cry. “Get out. I meant what I said about how you should be ashamed.”

“It became about priorities.”

“It should have been about happiness and giving your people the rights they fought and died for when they rebelled. I swore I’d never kill a cyborg and I won’t. I promise you though if some ass**le tries to turn me into a breeder I will castrate him. I won’t become a baby machine. A woman fought for your kind once and she’d do it again.”

He watched her silently. “We’ve realized recently that we made mistakes.”

Her shoulders sagged. “Please just leave. I’m having a bad day. I discovered you survived, made total crap out of the freedom you’ve been given, and now once again the body I’ve been put into has another drawback. You wouldn’t try to force your laws on me if I were totally human. I don’t want anything to do with you if this is what you’ve become.”

“Our creator was brilliant if not mentally damaged in his logic.”

“Yeah.”

“He is deceased?”

“He passed eleven years ago. He planned to do this.” She patted her good leg. “Take on a newer, younger body, but he didn’t get the chance. He died too suddenly to reach his lab. He wanted to wait as long as possible to avoid losing his prestige but he also feared if the Government knew it was possible to trade out bodies they’d realize what he’d done for me. He had to choose to remain who he was or become someone new. He may have been a monster but he didn’t totally suck.”

“I’ll consider telling Mavo about you. A familiar face may comfort you, E—” He barely avoided saying her name.

“That name actually causes me intense pain. I’m Cyan now.” She met his stare. “I don’t want to hold on to anything from that life anymore. The one good thing she ever did has turned out to be a sad, horrible thing.”

His mouth opened but she held up her hand to silence him.

“Don’t. You can’t excuse what you’ve done. Don’t tell Mavo I’m here. I don’t want to cause him any more pain and I’m so angry that I’d say things that will shred him if he’s half the man he used to be. I shouldn’t have ever told any of you anything but seeing that tall, scarred cyborg made me stop protecting myself because I knew who he was. I hoped something from my past remained—a friend—but I don’t have any. Not here, not with your kind, and I just want to be alone. Lock me up and throw away the key. Just don’t think I’ll allow you to force me to make more cyborgs. It won’t happen.”

Zorus hesitated. “No male will force you. I’ll make sure of that.”

Cyan watched Zorus turn and leave her room. Her eyes closed and she sank back against the pillows of the bed. She fought the urge to curl up onto her side and have a good cry. The “history lesson” had left her with a migraine. At least Mavo had survived, they’d been friends, and she’d loved him. That had to be enough to make up for the horrors she’d uncovered. He might live in a screwed-up society but he had escaped from Earth.

* * * * *

Anger burned through Krell as he glared at Zorus, who had buzzed at his front door to request admittance. He stood in the open doorway to block the man from entering him home. “What do you want?”

“I came from Medical.”

“I don’t want to discuss that treacherous spy. I didn’t harm her leg. I admit I lost my temper when she mentioned Mavo’s name but she touched me first. It was unnerving and I couldn’t gauge her honesty for some reason until I realized she’s not human. I was careful not to cause real harm with my rough treatment of her. I judged her weight and height, and adjusted the force I used so I wouldn’t break any of her bones when I threw her. I made sure she’d land without severe damage. I only wanted to shake her up.”

“I’m not here about that.”

“What are you doing here? You’re off duty. You promised your female, Charlie, no business during your honeymoon.”

“Charlie understood when I explained after the council informed me of the female’s unknown origins. I wanted to see and speak to her myself. I did that and now I’m here.”

“Why? You have no reason to chew me out for the harsh treatment of the prisoner.”

“I need a favor.”

“No.” Krell tried to close the door.

Zorus struck his hand out, halting it. “I believe her.”

Shock rolled through Krell. “You’re growing soft and foolish. I am glad I’ve never experienced love if this is what it does. She’s a spy from Earth.”

“She raged at me after Jazel informed her she needed to conform to our laws. She said enough to make me believe she is Emily Pleva, Krell. Her father was a brilliant scientist. He somehow managed to give her a new body.”

“Impossible. Mavo talked nonstop about his precious human for years after we escaped. She was dying of an incurable disease that slowly ceased the functions of her body. I saw her from a distance a few times while on Earth. She was heavyset and I could tell she was tall despite her being dependent upon a device that moved her body while sitting. Also, she had to be hooked to machines. She had totally different coloring, the face isn’t the same, and she’d never have survived this long. She also wouldn’t appear so youthful, regardless of what Earth scientists can do to slow the aging process.”

“Edward Pleva created us. Why couldn’t he create a body for someone he loved when it would have been the most significant project of his career? She was his only child. I am aware of facts that you weren’t. I was part of the group who planned our escape and know how much his daughter did to help us. She’s the reason we are free now. If that is her, which I believe, we owe her.”

“I don’t.”

Zorus cocked his head. “Did Mavo ever tell you how he knew you’d been taken from the group before we rebelled or how he arrived to carry you out of that holding cell? Did you ever consider it lucky that the fire alarms began while the human guards were torturing you to death? I’m also friends with Mavo. He was with her when the alert on her system notified her that a cyborg had been taken to detention. She sent him after you and lured the guards away.” He paused. “Not only did she save your life but she gave you freedom as well.”

Krell took a deep breath. “Understood, but I don’t believe she’s really that human.”

“You’re the best interrogator we’ve ever had. That’s why I’ve come here. You owe Emily Pleva your life. There’s also the fact that you’re friends with Mavo.”

“What do you want?” Krell had a feeling he’d hate the answer.

“I don’t want to lock her up in a detention cell. We owe her more than that. I have not grown soft, Krell. I’m being logical. It’s possible that Edward Pleva could have somehow put his daughter into a new body. He did love her and we concluded she was his only weakness. You would have been convinced as I am that it’s possible if you’d heard her rage at the council and me over our breeding laws. I actually experienced shame.” He gave a small smile. “She made good points.”

“Earth Government must have figured exactly how we were able to escape and are using that information to plant her with us to spy. That is logical as well.” He paused, his mind working. “How would she know about our breeding laws? That’s proof of her treachery. When you were taken back to Earth they must have extracted information from you that you aren’t aware of.”

“I didn’t break. Coval made the point that she’s female, not human, and shouldn’t be detained in a holding cell. The council was visiting her and held the discussion in her room. Jazel explained our breeding laws to her and how she needed to join a family unit with two males. She’s physically able to breed. Since she’s alone, new, they expect her to be handed into one as soon as they decide who to give her to. She compared us to Earth Government.”

An uneasy feeling settled into the pit of Krell’s stomach. “You’re going to force her to join with males she doesn’t know and not give her a choice of which ones will be a part of her family unit? That’s harsh. She’s not human but she’s possibly some form of upgraded version of us. We wouldn’t do that to one of our own.”

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