Authors: Lee-Ann Wallace
Tags: #Erotic Romance, #Science Fiction, #Adult
Of course he’d soothe the hurt and make her vibrate with pleasure while he had her delectable backside in front of him. She was built perfect, as far as he was concerned. Lithe legs led to sweetly rounded hips and a tiny little waist that he could probably span with his hands, then generous breasts that he wanted to pet and shape, his fingers teasing her nipples to tight points. She’d responded to him so sweetly that morning, just thinking about being buried in her tight sheath was making him hard and ready for her again.
Now he was stuck in a cell and, Ellie was in her Health Pod. All he could do was hope that it was healing her, doing what it was designed to do and saving her life. If she died, if the machine didn’t work, he didn’t know what he’d do. He’d be a walking husk, dried up and without a care as to what happened to him. In the space of time he’d spent with her, she’d come to mean a great deal to him. He couldn’t say that he loved her, but he knew it wouldn’t take much for him to lose his heart to her.
He wished he could be there for her when she came out of her machine. She’d be disorientated and wouldn’t know what had happened to him, although he expected she’d figure it out pretty quick. One of the things he found he liked about her most was her quick mind. She’d figured out that he’d had something to do with her colleague’s stolen research without him having to spell it out. Maybe she’d already suspected that he’d somehow been involved when he’d disappeared and not come back.
Stadden appeared in front of Manik’s cell. Manik needed to know that Ellie was alright. Stadden could send someone to check on her or he could go himself.
“Would you check on Ellie and make sure she’s healed?” Manik asked from where he was sitting on the bed, the slight hum of the energy field annoying, but not loud enough that he had to raise his voice.
“I was going to send out a signal notifying neighbouring galaxies that I had you, but I’ve decided to wait and see if your crew comes to rescue you. I’ll get far more credits if I have more of you, don’t you think?”
Stadden stared at him, almost willing him to rise to the bait he’d planted. Manik had no doubt that the crew would have no problems taking down Stadden and his security force. His crew was used to fighting for their lives, and Stadden, although he seemed fit and strong, had a safe, secure position as security on the science station.
“There’s a sizeable price being offered for the crew of the Fallen Star. You seem to have pissed off just about every authority between here and Merchon. You and your crew have been busy, haven’t you?”
Manik just stared at him. He had nothing to say about the happenings of the Fallen Star. It was none of Stadden’s business what they got up to. Stadden stared back at him, expectation on his face, but when it became obvious Manik wasn’t going to say anything, he turned to walk away.
“What about Ellie?”
Stadden turned and looked at him for a long moment, not saying anything before he silently walked off. Manik dropped his head back against the wall. He was in for a long wait, with nothing to think about but what was happening to Ellie and whether she was even still alive.
One minute, I was out, the next I was gasping to consciousness. A deep throbbing ache in my chest told me the Health Pod was still healing me. The gentle warmth radiating from the bottom of my device kept me at a comfortable temperature, and the soft white light that lit the interior stopped me from freaking out and wondering where I was.
“Please stay calm while Health Pod continues to heal you,” the voice of the AI that ran my device instructed me.
“Computer, how complete is healing?” I asked.
“Internal damage is ninety percent complete. External healing is seventy-five percent complete. Please remain still as Health Pod continues to heal you.”
That explained the pain I was feeling.
“Computer, how much time has elapsed since you were switched on?”
“Three hours and forty-three minutes have passed since Health Pod was activated.”
For the wounds to be only ninety percent healed after that much time told me how serious they had been. I could have asked the computer to list the damage my body had sustained, and it would give me an accurate medical run down of my injuries, but I didn’t really want to know.
All I needed to know was that I was stuck in the Health Pod for at least another hour. Once the internal damage was one hundred percent healed, I would be okay to get out. The external damage could be healed later. I was sure Manik would have regeneration units on his ship. He could finish my healing once we were on board.
“Computer, notify me when internal healing is complete.”
“Confirmed,” the female voice of the Health Pod responded.
As I lay there, emotions started to well up inside me. I was alive, and Manik had put me in my device to save my life, and my device had worked! I couldn’t help the excitement that pulsed through me.
Even without the nanites, my device would save lives. The time it took to heal serious wounds was cut almost in half because of the extra power I’d directed towards the regeneration capabilities. All the time I’d spent working on the coding for the AI and every part of the device that I’d enhanced had made a difference. If I could crack the secret to the nanites, the healing possibilities would be endless.
If I left all my research, I would have to start again. I knew what the nanites were capable of. I’d seen them in action. I felt like the key to unlocking them was at the tips of my fingers. A little more research, a little more time and maybe having someone else like Manik to talk to about them, someone to toss ideas around with, would help me finally understand how they worked.
Could I do what Manik had suggested and take copies of all my research with me? It would be stealing, and I’d never stolen anything before in my life. He had no problems with me taking it, and had in fact, demanded I do so. I’d be on a ship with pirates who made their living stealing. If I took my research with me and Cyakt Ralt found out, I’d be safe with them. Manik would protect me. I’d have the opportunity to sell the design of my device to people who would make it available to those who needed it, not just those who could afford it.
Thoughts about what to do whirled around in my mind as my Health Pod finished healing my internal injuries. The ache in my chest slowly subsided until only the pain of the skin-deep injuries remained, and I could live with that until we were on Manik’s ship and he could heal me.
The other thing in the forefront of my mind was what I was going to do about Prixy. I didn’t want to leave her behind. I hadn’t seen her that morning, so I didn’t know what had happened after she’d run out of my lab. I hoped she’d confronted Xerrax about their relationship and cleared everything up. If she chose to stay, well, I couldn’t force her to come with me, but I’d miss her terribly.
“Internal healing complete,” the computer told me.
Intent on getting out and making sure Manik was okay, I pushed the lid open and sat up.
There was no response. I looked around, but there was no sign of him. He wouldn’t have left, would he? Where would he go? He might have gone back to my quarters, but I didn’t think he’d risk being around the station where security would see him.
My heart sank as I realised it was possible Stadden had taken him. It was the only thing that made sense. Stadden would have him in a cell where I couldn’t get to him. I’d have to... My hand flew to my mouth at the crazy thought that filled my mind.
I’d have to break him out.
Could I even do that? How could I possibly get Stadden to let him go? We’d have to run, and I’d never be able to come back. I’d probably never be able to hold a research position again. Word would get out about what I’d done—the fact that I’d helped a wanted man escape, and that would be the end of my career.
But would that matter? If I took my research with me, I could build another Health Pod, I could work with Manik and the cyborg he had on his ship to finally crack the nanites, and I could sell the design to whoever would pay. There were sure to be companies that would pay for the right to build and sell my machine. Worlds that desperately needed them would line up for a way to heal their dying people.
I just had to come up with a plan and be ready. Looking around my lab, I saw that everything was as it had been when Stadden had come barging in. Climbing out of my device, I realised I had a lot to do to be ready, and maybe I’d need some help.
“Prixy, wake up,” I said as I shook her shoulder.
She was lying on her stomach, both arms shoved under her pillow.
I had my plan, I had my lab sorted and my research copied. All I had to do was gather my belongings, what little of them I had, and get Prixy’s agreement that she’d help me. She’d have to come with me, but that was something I wanted anyway. So as far as I was concerned, there was no problem. I just had to get her to agree.
She mumbled a response, but didn’t wake.
I shook her harder. “Come on, Prix, wake up!”
Her head came up off the pillow. She blinked at me and mumbled, “Wha?”
“I need your help. Stadden’s taken Manik prisoner because he figured out Manik’s a pirate and they stole Vrentis’ research. I’m going to break him out, but I need your help.”
She blinked sleepy eyes at me, but didn’t say anything. She looked like hell. Her hair was all over the place, like she’d been running her hands through it too many times. Her eyes were red and blurry and her cheeks were blotchy and pale.
“You look like shit,” I told her.
“Thank you for telling me something I already know,” she said.
There was something in her voice, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I thought I heard anger and impatience, but as she looked up at me, I could see misery in her eyes.
I sat down on the edge of her bed, forcing her to move over.
“What happened after you left my lab?”
She looked away and rubbed at her red eyes. Her hands fisted in the blanket when she dropped them back to her sides.
“I confronted Xerrax about being with Desgak and he admitted that he was bi-sexual.”
She sat up all of a sudden and I reared back to stop from being whacked in the head.
“Do you know what that bastard wanted?”
I shook my head at her, wide eyed.
“He wanted us to have a threesome! Said he’d fantasised about it, but didn’t know how to approach me. Can you believe that. A threesome!”
Unfortunately, I could imagine. And I believed Xerrax had been priming her and biding his time until she was so in love with him that she’d agree to give him just about anything, even if it broke her heart to do so. Not to mention what it would do to Desgak to have another person brought into the relationship.
“What did you say to him?” I looked at her sharply, “You did say
“Of course I said
I’m not having a threesome with anyone.”
She looked away from me for a long moment, her fingers twisting in the sheets. Her gaze finally came back to mine.
“I cried, Merty. I couldn’t help it. He’s broken something inside me, and I don’t know if it will ever be fixed. I feel so ashamed, though. I let him see how much he hurt me and now all I want to do is hit him.”
I’d rather see her angry at Xerrax than hurt and dejected. The bastard didn’t deserve her tears. He deserved a swift kick in the arse for leading her on and hurting her, but I doubted he’d get it.
I took one of her hands in mine. “Come with me, Prixy. You can start fresh on Manik’s ship. You never know. You might take a fancy to one of the crew.”
“I don’t know, Merty. How are you going to get to his ship, anyway? If Stadden has him, he’s in a cell.”
“I know. I have a plan, but I need your help. We have to be organised, Prixy and I’m sure we can get away, but if you help me, you won’t be able to stay. You’ll have no choice, but to come with us.”
Her eyes searched mine before I watched them slowly widen. “Did you say they were pirates?”
I nodded, trying hard not to smile at the shock I saw on her face. I’d decided while I was cleaning my lab and copying my research that I was going to view the fact that they were pirates as an adventure. Or maybe a misadventure, but it was exciting, and I wanted Prixy to join me.
“Come on, it’ll be fun. We’ve been stuck on this station for ages. It’s time we got out and saw more of the universe.”
“Fun! They’re pirates, Merty. It sounds more like it will be dangerous. Pirates aren’t the kind of men who take
for an answer.”
“We’ll be fine. Manik will protect us.”
Prixy’s eyes went serious all of a sudden, “No, Manik will protect
Merty, but I’ll be on my own with a bunch of pirates around me every minute of the day.”
My heart started to sink. I looked back at her, wanting to shake her and demand that she see it as the adventure I’d started to see it as, but she was right. She would be on her own. We’d both have to make a new life on Manik’s ship. I at least had my science to fall back on. I could work with Manik to recreate my Health Pod and continue my research on the nanites, but Prixy wouldn’t have anything.
“I can’t force you to come, Prixy, but I want you with me. We’ve been together a long time and I’d miss you like crazy if you didn’t come. We might not ever be able to come back and see you if you stay.”
Her fingers flexed in my hand as she looked back at me.
“What do I have if I stay here?” she asked. “Nothing. I have to see a man everyday who’s made a fool out of me and ripped my heart to pieces.”
A little sliver of excitement shot down my spine, “So you’ll come?”
Prixy nodded at me, but she didn’t look convinced.
“Yes. All right, what do we need to do?”
“Are you ready?” I asked Prixy from my position beside the entry door into our quarters.
“As I’ll ever be,” she replied as she walked up to join me.