“Did you know? Is that why you kept me here?”
His eyes fluttered away from hers, unwilling to meet her stare.
“They were coming for you too. I couldn’t let them take you from me. Not before….”
“Not before we were together. Is that it?”
“I risked my life, my career for you!”
“I didn’t ask you to! I should have been with my friends! Will they experiment on them too?”
He nodded, closing his eyes.
“And me? They’ll take me too?”
“Yes, but it isn’t always like this. There’s something big they’re working on. I’ve never seen them this excited. There was a doctor here looking you all over. He was particularly interested in you and your friends for some secret project.”
He closed his eyes, not wanting to answer. Forcing himself, he spoke. “Some sort of super soldiers. They want special, exceptional people.”
“Why the dummies then? They hardly fit that category.”
“Werchan’s have a specific chromosome they can harvest. It’s necessary to the enhancement program. That’s all I know.”
That night, Lill went to bed early, skipping chow. She had no desire to be with the other recruits. She lay on her bunk, back to the room. As the others came in, they spoke in hushed tones as if she were one of the condemned. After lights out, they continued whispering between their bunks.
Lill had no stim pack to help her stay awake, but fear and adrenaline had the same effect. She wasn’t asleep when they came for her. Six of them surrounded her bunk and one moved forward to inject her with the sedative. As he leaned over, she wrested the medication away from him, injecting him instead. He fell heavily, a slow sigh escaping him.
The other five rushed her, but she took out three before the last two brought her down. Rather than succumbing quietly, she screamed and kicked, biting unprotected skin. Her mouth was covered in blood that wasn’t her own and both men were limping. They carried her out between them as she continued to writhe and fight.
“Took you long enough.” A man met them outside the barracks. He was dressed like an officer. “How hard is it to take down one little girl?”
The man holding Lill’s feet grunted as she kicked him again, connecting with something soft.
“Swear to God, girlie, I’ll rip you in half you kick me there again!” There was malice in his eyes.
Fighting like a hellcat, she bit the arm of the other man. Spitting blood and flesh at the officer, she delighted in seeing him wince.
“Gag the bitch,” he said calmly, wiping her spit and the man’s blood from his uniform with a handkerchief.
“Try, you scabrous, poxed excuse for a man. Can’t get a woman any other way? You’ve got to kidnap them? Or do you prefer boys? You’ve taken them too.”
The officer’s face became a death mask as he leaned over her. “Listen, you annoying little bitch.
If you weren’t so damn important to this project, I’d let them bleed you. Since that’s not an option, you will settle down and cooperate or I’ll personally see to it that any work that’s done on you is done without anesthetic. Considering some of that is drilling into your bones, you might want to consider cooperating.”
Lill quit fighting. This was a man not to be trifled with. As they passed Stevens’ quarters, a darker shadow joined them just out of the line of sight. Lill knew it was Tab Stevens, hunting the hunters.