the slow death that her people were giving him.
would come between them.
pistol was lifted to her temple. She took a deep breath and nodded. She
understood what he was saying, understood and would comply. She had no idea who
it was that had her, so she would play along until she could be free.
frowned. He was in pain; it was clear from how he was gasping for air but there
was something more. He wasn’t breathing as an Imarian would, three sharp
intakes of breath and one exhale.
She felt ill because she suddenly knew that she wasn’t being held by someone
that was on the island and had no idea who she was. She was being held by one
of the Craegin that her people had kidnapped and had been torturing.
really don’t want to do this,” she told the man. “I’m more trouble than I am
worth. Ask anyone. I’m seriously not a good person to take hostage.”
of choices here.” His voice was low, but she could hear the underlying growl
that gave it a certain rough quality. “One way or another you are my ticket out
of this hellish place. So you can either help me willingly, or I start to break
bones. Nothing important, but I know the ones that will cause you immeasurable
pain while still allowing you to function enough to get me free. The choice is
up to you. What will it be?”
things, but able to withstand pain was not one of them. She just nodded. “What
do you need?” She would get him to where he needed to be in order to get free.
Then she would run as far and fast as she could.
need you to guide me to the ship bay here. Preferably to one of your crawlers.
Then you and I are going to leave on that ship, and get me to a place where I
can contact one of my own vessels to pick me up. If you behave yourself, don’t try anything to alert anyone, and
generally do not make yourself an annoyance to me I might let you go free.
Depends on how bad my mood is by that point.” She felt him shift slightly, his
arm slowly letting go of her neck.
“We’re going to take the path of least
resistance. No guards, as few cameras as possible, and you are not going to let
anyone know anything is amiss in any way. I have zero problem shooting a woman,
but I’d rather not have to drag you around at my heels to break free of here.”
voice. “Then the best way to go will be back the way that I came.” She had
already killed a guard. This had to be her punishment. She knew it. She had
killed one of her own people so this was the spirits’ way of punishing her. She
was going to be this Craegin’s shield to get free of her people. “I have a
crawler. I came over from one of our other worlds.”
into her lower back, right on her spine. At that range he’d never miss, and if
she wasn’t dead she’d definitely be paralyzed. “How many guards between here
and the bay?” he asked. He’d given her a nudge to get her moving, but a hand on
her arm slowed her pace. Adira couldn’t see much of him beyond the one arm down
at his side. But she did notice he seemed to be limping, even dragging one of
his legs slightly.
problem.” The physician in her wanted to heal him. She wanted to reach out and
find out what was wrong, but the prudent part of her kicked in and she knew
that would be just plain dumb. She did, however, slow down. She ensured that
she kept a pace that would keep them moving, but wouldn’t push him too far. She
didn’t know what to expect of this Craegin, especially since the female captive
had so easily sold out her people.
going to have to contend with once we’re past the holding areas?” The pressure
of the weapon on her spine eased a little. She knew it was still there, but he
wasn’t digging it in any longer. He might be injured, but she didn’t think for
one moment he wasn’t aware of everything around him.
could wheel the body out and dispose of it. Why hadn’t she thought to reenable
them? “I had disabled them,” she told him. “I had been so caught up in my own
mind that I forgot to reenable them,” she added honestly. “My crawler is the
one closest to the exit doors as well, so there shouldn’t be anyone in the bays
that will see us as that side is blocked from view by my crawler.”
came up to her arm, pulling her to a stop. “Shh,” he hissed. The pressure of
the weapon was back for a moment as the sound of boots on the tiled hall could
be heard. They faded a few minutes later, and he released her arm. “Go.”
about his touch. It was odd. She didn’t focus on it, though. Instead, she
concentrated on getting through this alive.
stopped a few times by the rather large male that held a weapon at her head,
and finally they were before the bay doors. “When we enter we need to be fast.
Get on my crawler. I need to make a call to the booth. There is audio as well
as visual so you will have to stand far to the left behind a console and have
to trust me. I really don’t want to die, so I will get you out of here.” She
would have somehow gotten him free anyway because she didn’t believe in the
tortures her people were inflicting upon this male.
tight. “Say or do the wrong thing when you talk to them and you won’t live long
enough to make another mistake. If need be I can fly this thing out of here,
but I’d really rather not have to do it with your blood all over the console.”
He gave a light but firm squeeze of her arm, then let go. “Move,” he said under
pace would allow to her crawler. The medical insignia on the side denoted it to
be the head of their Medical Ministry, her. Her hand to the panel at the side
had the doors sliding open and engines starting. She explained, “I’m still a
doctor. My crafts need to be able to go the moment I get in, just in case of an
hard hand landed on her shoulder as soon as they stepped into the crawler. She
could see the weapon out of her periphery as it was sweeping around the space.
He was ensuring they were alone in the small craft. The hand eased and gave her
the smallest of pushes toward the cockpit as the doors sealed behind them with
a hiss of air.
strapped in. Looking back at the male, she viewed him for the first time. He
was large and impressive, handsome even. He was also severely injured. “Stand
just to the left there,” she told him as she pointed to a console. “Now,
please. They are beeping to get through.” She adjusted herself slightly, and
when he was hidden pulled up the view screen. “Sorry that took so long,
gentlemen. I had to take another call. I have an emergency on Talaxia five. I
need clearance to scuttle quickly.”
the inside of her cockpit. “Likely a good thing you’re getting out of here now,
Doc. Sounds like there’s an escapee in one of the wards. No clue how the freak
got loose, but he’s extremely dangerous. He’s killed three of our men already,
the spirits only know what he’d do to a woman,” he said. The hangar bay doors
began to open. “You are clear for departure. Head straight out, and stay in the
lane until you clear the beacons. Safe journeys.”
really killed three men? Or was the man she killed one of those? She closed off
the view screen, then looked back. “You might want to hold on to something.”
She began to move her crawler into place and took off as quickly as she
typically would in any emergency situation.
planet and she looked to him once more. “Where are we headed?” She knew that he
had said to a planet where his people could pick him up, but she had no idea
hidden behind, the Craegin male came forward. He leaned over the console to
input some coordinates. “There,” he said. “Set the autopilot, and then we’re
going to check the rest of this crawler over.” There wasn’t a whole lot left to
check, except for the kitchenette, a tiny medical bay, the small sleeping
quarters, and the bathing room that approximated to less than a closet amount
of space. Crawlers were meant for short runs, not for comfort. Beyond that
there was a storage area, but it wasn’t accessible from inside, only from the
exterior of the craft.
in once more to type something else in. A quick glance showed he’d just locked
down the entire panel. Without the code he’d entered she couldn’t call out, or
fly the craft. Which meant she had to keep him alive if she wanted to survive
this. “Stay here,” he ordered. Now that she couldn’t alert anyone to the fact
she was a hostage, he likely felt secure in leaving her in the space. A hard
look from his bright gray eyes under the heavy fall of badly tangled black
hair, and he turned to leave the cockpit.
through the spaces, being taller than the average Imarian male. She noticed he
was also broader, more heavily muscled than an Imarian. Not that she should be
noticing anything about him, but it was hard not to when he seemed to take up
so much of the space around her.
you should let me have a look at your injuries.” She should just let him bleed
to death, but with him having locked her out of her own ship that would end
very badly for her. “It’s beneficial to me for you to survive. The least I can
do is tend to your injuries. I am a medical doctor, allow me to assist you.”
he continued away from her. He disappeared from view a couple of times,
checking out the additional spaces afforded on the craft. Finally he reappeared
from the sleeping quarters and signaled her toward him.
she asked as she looked up into his gray eyes. They were actually rather
beautiful and ringed with a bright green that captured her interest. Adira
shook her head. No, not her interest, something else. “I have a full medical
bay. It’s very small but it has everything that we could offer. I could close
your wounds and do a scan of your leg to find out what’s wrong with it. If you
will let me?” She couldn’t push him to do as she asked, but she itched to
ensure that he was okay.
when they did it,” he said. No, it was more of a snarl, given the curl of his lip.
“Inside. You’re going to sit on the edge of the bunk and not move while I clean
up. I need to get the blood off of me so I can evaluate the exact amount of
damage your colleagues inflicted.”
isn’t a good time to tell you this.” She settled on the bunk and watched him as
he moved. “And please don’t shoot me for telling you this truth.” She was
chewing her lower lip as she watched him and gasped at the injuries that he
wore. “By the stars, how can you even be mobile?” Gone was what she was going
to tell him about the Craegin female. Instead her medical training kicked in
and she wanted to heal.
dropped the coat and shirt he’d removed to the floor. “Sheer will to not die in
an Imarian testing facility. It’s amazing what the body and mind can do when
the goals are so simple. Do not move,” he warned again. He took the pistol, and
one other she hadn’t realized he had, and set them inside the shower—up high so
they wouldn’t get wet, and where he could easily reach them but she couldn’t.
He turned on the water and dropped his pants. No warning, no closing the small
sliding door, nothing. Down they went, and a moment later his ass disappeared
behind the sliding pane of the enclosement.
gone suddenly dry and her mind went places that an Imarian held captive by a
Craegin should never go. He was stunning. His height was massive, over two
meters tall, easily, and his build was thick but it was the markings on his
body that captured her attention. Well, that and the musculature and his ass.
By the mother, his ass was impressive. “I’m sorry that you were taken,” she
told him honestly. “There was a Craegin female that was held there as well.” Please
don’t let them be related, she prayed.
loud enough for her to hear. “She was the one feeding your people information
about us. Once I’m back I’ll be ensuring that anything we’d done prior is never
done the same again. I will not allow our people to be easy prey for you sick
frown and tilt of her head. “Yes, she has been feeding my people information
for years, from what I surmised. They are sick.” She mumbled that last part.
She didn’t protest on the sick freaks comment,
because he had that right. Sadly. Her people weren’t supposed to ever take
prisoners of war and abuse them as this man had been abused. “She watched. She
took glee in telling me that when they did their first procedure on you she was
able to watch. I’m so sorry.” Her people had a lot to answer for, but not every
being who was Imarian was a sick freak, as he had stated.
place. They figure since we’re all going to die they don’t need to watch their
words.” She watched him tip his head back, his face into the spray. He was tall
enough that his shoulders, neck, and head were above the partition. The water
shut off a moment later, and he shook his head before slicking his hair back
from his face. He locked eyes with her as he pushed the partition aside and
stepped out to collect a towel.
before she turned her face from him. He was…there weren’t words to describe the
perfection of this man. Even with the injuries that he had sustained he was
impressive. Her gaze had gone straight to his cock and she had to bite her lip
at the memory of that brief glance. He was soft, but his shaft hung low and was
thick. He was very large, all over, and he made her heart do things that no
Imarian had ever made her do before.
sounded, and she shot him a look to see he’d collected the laser pistols. The
towel was wrapped around his waist, barely covering everything of importance.
He was peering into the mirror on the wall, twisting this way and that to get a
look at all the damage done. His back was a mass of bruises, as were his legs
and arms. His chest had some bruising, but older from the colors she could see.
Fresh nicks and cuts were all over his body. The leg he’d been favoring,
though, looked the worst. His leg looked as if there was a heavy bruise that
was practically fully black from his knee up to somewhere under the towel. She
cringed at the sight. The pain that he was in had to be terrible. She hurt for
the man. Obviously someone had repeatedly struck that leg.
least? I know you have no reason at all to trust me, with what they did to you,
but I need you to understand that it’s hurting me to see you hurting,
especially since I can do something about it.” She wanted to help him. He could
think all that he wanted about her people, but seeing him injured was hurting
her. She had never hurt before like this. It was as if she could feel his pain.
look. She could practically see him thinking through all the options,
considering every angle, and coming to a decision. With a small jerk of his
head he gave her permission. “I need something to wear. This towel is not
exactly comfortable over the wounds inflicted on a certain part of my anatomy.
I need pants at the very least, but a shirt wouldn’t be amiss either.”
will fit you.” She pointed to the drawer to his left. “There should be one in
there. It might be a bit short on you but the male who wore it was rather
overweight, so it should fit across your chest. I hope.” She winced and chewed
her lip again. “I’m so sorry.” She seemed to continue to say that to him, but
there weren’t enough words to tell him just how horrified she was that her
people had done this to him.
Imarian, so you may as well quit spouting them,” he said coldly with his eyes
narrowed. Digging through the drawer, he pulled out pants and slipped them on.
They were definitely short, only coming down to the top of his calves. He was a
lot taller than the average Imarian, and definitely taller than her coworker.
The shirt he pulled on after dropping the towel to the floor. It was definitely
tight, but he seemed to have no loss of movement. “Good enough,” he muttered.
medical bay. There’s a handheld scanner there and I can check to ensure that
they didn’t break the bone. If they have, then I can put you into an air cast
to help ease the pain.” Cocking her head to the side, she asked, “Are you going
to be okay if I get up and go get medical ready for you?”
“We’ll go together,” he said. He picked up one of the laser pistols and quickly
took it apart, dropping the parts, except for the power source, into the
disposal unit. He picked up the other one, but kept it down at his leg as he
waved her out into the corridor.
Craegin and toward medical bay. Looking over her shoulder she saw him following
slowly behind her. Once that was done she pulled down supplies. “If you will
have a seat on the bay bed there? I will scan you from head to toe. I would
feel much better knowing that you are at least mostly healed before you go to
before moving to the bed. Easing up on it slowly, he let out a hissing breath.
Not that his face showed any of his discomfort, though. Once he was laying down
she moved closer to him and saw he still had one hell of a grip on the weapon.
reason at all to believe me but I will not hurt you,” she assured him. “It’s
not who I am. I’m a healer,” she told him quietly. “Oh this is not good.” She
paused the scan over his knee and bit her lower lip. “It looks as if they have
dislocated your knee. I can set it and that will ease much of your pain.”
move. Adira was going to take that as acceptance of the help she was offering.
He also didn’t shoot her, so that was a huge plus. “Apparently not all your healers have the same beliefs as you
believe that they did this. We have laws in place for a reason.” She was
muttering as she spoke to him. “No one is supposed to ever be subjected to the
pain and suffering that you were submitted to. For that I am so sorry. I want
to kill my people for doing this.” Especially in her facility. She was not
pleased at all.
believe her. “If you plan on fixing my leg, sooner would be appreciated. I’ll
need all the time possible to heal before we reach our destination. Especially
since it won’t be in friendly territory, for you.”
neutral planet?” she asked with a frown and sat back on her heels on the floor
in front of him. “Oh stars.” She was so totally screwed. She was never going to
live through this one. “Okay.” At least she could set his knee and help him
heal, that was what she could do.
he said. “There are only ones slightly less hostile than the others. The one
we’re aiming for is the least hostile around. But if your brethren weren’t so
determined to exterminate us we wouldn’t have this problem. Would we?” he asked
with a hard look at her.
didn’t say anything. Instead Adi worked on his leg, then passed him a medical
hypospray. “You should give this to yourself to help you with your healing.
It’s only vitamins, it shouldn’t harm you.”
moment, then tossed it aside. “No drugs, nothing from an Imarian. I’ve been
given more shots since my arrival than I have in my entire life. No more.
Especially something I didn’t load myself from supplies I trust. Fix my leg, or
move so I can get up.”
“It’s going to hurt,” she told him only a moment before she popped his knee
back into place. “So sorry,” she said once more and moved back. Standing, she
looked over him. “No drugs, then. Sorry I offered them to you.” Maybe she
should drug herself and be done with it.
was already so great he hadn’t felt what she’d done, or he was so well trained
he’d been able to hide the reaction. She had a feeling it might have been a
little of both. Easing to a sitting position, he swung his legs over the side
of the bed and slowly put weight onto his leg. “Better,” he muttered. “You
really shouldn’t be apologizing to anyone, especially your enemy. It leaves you
in a weakened position, more so than you currently are in.”