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Silvano is Commander of the Cyborg ship Freedom. He feels responsible for his Cyborg crew and has spent the past century trying to keep them free of the Human Alliance. Humans represent everything Cyborgs hate, a plague upon the universe, destroying everything in their path. Before they fought for their freedom, Cyborgs were considered little more than expendable slaves.
Tessa and her twin sister Tara are abducted from Earth by aliens that resemble man-sized lizards to be used for breeding. They are rescued from the lizards by these strange, emotionless beings who claim to be Cyborgs. Tessa isn’t sure what to think about the stern commander but can’t deny she finds him as attractive as she does terrifying.
Things heat up between Tessa and Silvano when he is forced to use her to lead a traitor Cyborg away from his ship.
Excerpt from Prologue and Chapter One:
Confused, Tessa opened her eyes, immediately blinded by a bright white light. She couldn’t breathe in the muggy heat, the cloying, musky stench of snake almost suffocating her. She tried to move, sweat dripping down the sides of her face and between her breasts, but her body refused to cooperate. God, the lights, they hurt! She tried to move her head to the side, hoping like hell she wasn’t trapped in an operating room. Maybe the anesthesiologist had screwed up. It happened, right? But weren’t operating rooms supposed to be kept cold?
Shadows moved just out of sight. If only she could turn her head enough to look.
Help me! she screamed inside. Am I paralyzed?
A faint buzzing sound started up, like the buzz of a night light, but it soon grew in intensity and pitch, threatening to burst her eardrums. Tessa screamed again in her mind, sure her brain would explode if it got any worse. An icy coldness enveloped the back of her neck, followed by a jolt of electricity up her spine and into her head. Shocked, she gasped, barely holding onto consciousness.
The sound died out as the lights dimmed, and one of the elusive shadows leaned over her. Tessa couldn’t make sense of what she was seeing. The person, thing, must be wearing a mask, and not the cloth kind most doctors used. The face wasn’t quite human—or at least he didn’t have human skin. It looked more like a robot, no expression in the strange black eyes, pinpoints of light for pupils, the face covered with a shiny silver metal, the lips thin and stiff.
“Both females survived having the translator attached,” a robotic voice said. The mouth didn’t move if the voice came from the robot. “It may take up to an hour before the leads make full contact with their brains. Finding a planet with uncorrupted human females has proven to be most interesting. The Human Alliance will pay handsomely for access to this world.”
“Are they compatible for procreation with a Vesperian?” a cold voice asked. “We will take first pick of any potential breeders. The Alliance can have what we reject.”
Uncorrupted females? Compatible for procreation? Human Alliance? What the fuck? God, I’m having a nightmare. That must be it.
“Initial tests show they are compatible, but their bodies are fragile compared to a Vesperian female. Artificial insemination would be the safest route. These human females are not egg layers. It is doubtful they will survive the birth.”
“As long as the infant survives, I don’t care. Have two of the females, the Raiden and one of the humans, delivered to my quarters for breeding. The rest can be placed in stasis. We will use them to trap the Cyborgs. That should keep the Alliance happy.”
“Yes, Captain Etán. Both have already been given an injection to force ovulation. May I suggest you breed the Raiden female first. She is the stronger of the two and will hold up better under your initial lust. May I also suggest you refrain from biting the human when you ejaculate. There is a substantial risk of her developing a systemic infection which she may not survive.”
A deep growl was the only reply, causing goosebumps to break out over Tessa’s body. God help me, I just want to wake up!
“What shall we do with the two Cyborg females?” the robotic voice asked.
“What about them? They are sterile and of no use to me. Let them service my males until the Cyborg ship shows up to rescue them. Alert me when my two chosen females are prepared for breeding. I will be on the bridge dealing with the Human Alliance.”
“As you wish, Captain.”
Tessa wanted to scream, wanted to fight, wanted to run from this nightmare. She might be confused, but it didn’t take a genius to figure out they were talking about rape to try to impregnate them.
Another shadow leaned over her, blocking out the light. Tessa couldn’t breathe, her heart stuttering when she caught sight of the creature with the cold, raspy voice, the one talking about breeding her. Aliens! she cried out silently. I’ve been abducted by fucking aliens! And he plans to rape me.
He plans to impregnate me!
She would never survive it, and neither would any of the other women they took.
Silvano, Commander of the Cyborg ship Freedom, cursed as he watched the shuttle escape through an artificial rift in space. He could follow them easily enough, but it meant giving up the Vesperian ship he’d been tracking for nearly a week now, a ship he suspected carried two missing Cyborg females.
This particular ship was captained by a vicious Vesperian trafficker named Etán, a notoriously barbaric and sadistic male. Etán, as with many others like him, regularly abducted females from other species, keeping those they found suitable for procreation and selling the rest as potential breeders and sex slaves. If given a choice, Silvano knew he would rather take his chances at the auctions. Most females weren’t strong enough to survive insemination by a Vesperian. For those who did, if impregnated, they rarely survived the birth. Vesperian females laid eggs, and the fetus clawed and bit its way free of the shell. Females who carried a fetus in the womb suffered the same fate. Cyborg females were sterile. Normally, Vesperian didn’t bother with them.
So why would Etán take these two? It didn’t make sense.
“What are your orders, Commander?” Lieutenant Barrett asked. He’d been with Silvano for almost fifty years and could probably guess what his orders would be.
“Let them go. The recovery of our females takes priority.” They had scanned the escaping shuttle and knew they weren’t present. By the time he recovered his females and returned to Freedom, the artificial rift in space would be closed. Silvano knew it wouldn’t take Etán long to pirate another ship, and then he’d be back in business.
“How many were left alive on board the main ship?” Silvano asked, knowing Etán would have killed the crew and destroyed the androids before he escaped. He only hoped the bastard hadn’t bothered with the cargo.
“It’s strange, sir. Our two Cyborg females are being held in full stasis along with eleven human females.” Barrett paused. “There is also one human and one Raiden female being held in a separate quarters, probably used as breeders. They are both still alive.”
Silvano didn’t need to ask why Barrett thought it strange. Like Cyborgs, human females were always sterilized. Eggs were harvested from the strongest among them by Human Alliance scientists, then inseminated and the fetus grown in special vats. Eggs harvested from weak females were destroyed. Weaker males were also made sterile so they couldn’t breed.
Etán also had a Raiden female, a species notoriously difficult to impregnate outside their own kind. Why would he bother abducting one? Of course, the Raiden and the two Cyborg females tended to make strong sex slaves. Perhaps he’d meant to sell them. The humans remained a mystery, too easily broken for most species to bother with.
Barrett caught and held Silvano’s gaze, his expression blank. “Commander, the one human and the Raiden female are alive but severely damaged.”
Barrett nodded, his lips pressed tight together. “Yes, sir, both of them are.”
Silvano cursed. “How far along? Can the fetuses be aborted?”
“Unknown, Commander. Our Cyborg females were reported missing two weeks ago. I have no idea how long Etán’s been holding the humans or the Raiden. Mathis will need to perform tests once we get them aboard Freedom.”
“Very well, attach a beam to the Vesperian ship. Inform Mathis what you have learned and have him meet me in the transport room.” The pregnant females would need immediate medical attention. They would keep the others in stasis until ready to transport them to Freedom.
“Yes, Commander,” Barrett replied, opening a channel to medical.
As he’d guessed, Silvano found the crew of the Vesperian ship slaughtered. There were several hundred corpses throughout the ship, and five androids, two in medical, two in engineering, and one on the bridge. Predictably, all five had been stripped. Silvano turned to one of his guards. “Have the bots taken back to Freedom. We might be able to reconnect some of them.” Though he doubted it. Etán wouldn’t want anyone to know what he’d been up to. Where he’d been.
After arranging to have the females in stasis taken back to his ship, Silvano and Mathis, his head medic, worked their way to where the two pregnant females were being held. During times like this, Silvano wished he hadn’t disconnected his emotional dampener, aware of what he would likely find. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d viewed what a Vesperian male could do to a female. Etán tended to be even more vicious than most, often mangling the female’s neck and shoulders when he bit them during ejaculation. It wasn’t uncommon to also find them with a shattered pelvis.
Weapon in hand, Silvano stripped the lock on the door, stepping aside to allow his security detail to enter first.
“Clear, Commander,” one of the men called, his voice strained. “The females are alone.”
Two security men exited the small room to make room for Silvano, their expressions empty of emotion. Silvano entered, his gaze drawn toward a large sleeping platform across the room. He stared down at a petite female’s bruised back, finding her breathing too fast and shallow. Lying face-down on the bed, a pale cheek showed through long dark hair, damp with sweat. “Mathis!” Silvano barked. “Get in here.”
Mathis entered, setting his bag on the bed beside the damaged female.
On the floor beside the bed lay the naked Raiden, large portions of her covered in trademark black and lavender armored skin. There were vicious bite marks over her shoulders and breasts, though her hips appeared to be undamaged. The same couldn’t be said for the human. Frankly, Silvano wondered how she’d managed to survive.
Would she want to, though? He had his doubts.
Stoic, as usual, Mathis leaned over the bed and took readings on the human, shaking his head as he glanced up at Silvano. “She’s in deep shock, Commander. Hips crushed, right arm and several fingers broken, neck bruised. There are deep bite marks on both breasts, and her shoulders and upper arms are heavily clawed. It might be more humane to euthanize her here. Even if she survives the pregnancy, her mind will be left fractured after the abuse she suffered with Etán.”
Silvano sighed as he stared down at the female’s broken form, vowing to see the Vesperian captain dead. “How old?” he asked.
“I would guess her at eighteen or nineteen. No more than twenty.” Mathis frowned as he ran his scanner over her body a second time. “Strange, Commander. I will need to perform further tests on Freedom, but there is something . . . different about this one.”
“What do you mean?” Silvano asked through gritted teeth, even more furious to learn Etán had raped a mere child.
“As you know, Vesperian usually don’t bother with human females. Even if they haven’t been stripped of their eggs, most have cells so corrupted they would never be capable of carrying a healthy fetus to term. And even if they could, it is highly likely the fetus would be deformed.” He frowned, studying his scanner. “Oddly, except for her obvious injuries, this female appears completely healthy. I find no sign of the usual corrupted cells that plague humanity.”
“Can the fetus be removed without causing too much more damage?”
Mathis slid his instrument over her lower stomach. “Not possible, I’m afraid. The fetus is already burrowed deep. I would need to remove her womb to eliminate it. Future pregnancies would be impossible.”
“She will die when this one is born anyway, making it a moot point.”
“Not necessarily. We could take the fetus by cesarean when she reaches term instead of allowing it to claw its way free.”
Silvano rubbed at his eyes. What would the female want? If he allowed it to live, what would they do with a half-breed Vesperian? Even if she carried it to term, this female wouldn’t want a constant reminder of the abuse she had endured at Etán’s hands. And few other species would want to risk raising it. He should just euthanize her and be done with it. “Do what you can to make her comfortable,” he said gruffly, not sure why he cared. Humans couldn’t be trusted. No human. “We’ll decide what to do with her later.” Mathis gave the human an injection, and her breathing eased. He did the same for the Raiden. At least she could be returned to her people. Her fate, and the fate of the fetus, would be left in their hands. Silvano didn’t have a clue what he was going to do with all these humans, but he’d have to worry about it later. Right now, he needed to decide if anything useful could be salvaged from this ship. Their own ability to create stable rifts in space was far inferior to Vesperian. It would make space travel much more efficient if he could learn their secrets.