Haunting Blackie Page 6

“Is that an artificial phallus?”

Gene’s deep-voiced question jolted Blackie from his stunned stupor as he dropped the nonthreatening object and aimed his weapon at the woman. She held a second one as if it were a weapon, waving it back and forth. Part of him wanted to laugh, the sight so absurd it seemed impossible.

“Drop the…” Gene hesitated. “It is a fake—”

“I’m aware,” Blackie muttered. “We won’t harm you.”

“Right.” The green gaze of the woman narrowed and her lips parted. As he watched, her canines grew into razor-sharp points.

“What the hell? Do you see her teeth?” Gene stumbled back a step.

Blackie couldn’t help but gape at the sight of those sharp, fanglike canines. He’d never seen that before.

“The better to bite you with, you mangy mutts.”

The woman threw the other artificial penis, landing a direct hit on Gene’s mask as she launched forward with her hands clawed. The fact that she had unusually long, pointed fingernails registered before Blackie pulled the trigger of his weapon.

The electrical charge struck the woman in the stomach, doubled her over and she crashed to her knees in a huddle. The fact that she remained awake was curious. Most Earthlings would have been rendered unconscious. The voltage wasn’t high enough to kill but it would shock their systems to the point of passing out.

“No!” the other woman yelled and jumped over her fallen crewmember. She landed in a crouch, putting her body between them. Blonde hair was a wild mass of ringlets that blanketed the floor around her hands, covering most of her face. Her head snapped up, her lips parted and fangs extended. A blue gaze locked on Blackie as a deep growl resonated from her.

He froze. Her hair had grown much longer, those sharp teeth were new, but it was her. He’d never forget that face as long as he lived.

“It can’t be.” The words ripped from his throat.

She launched toward him and all he could do was toss the weapon aside. It crashed to the floor an instant before her small body hit his torso. She didn’t weigh much but he was off balance. Pain tore into his ribs as something pierced his suit and he twisted as they fell.

He landed on top of her hard and realized what he’d done. Years of training had made sure she took the impact with the floor. The air was forced from her lungs as she hissed.

The pain in her features as he stared at her face inches from his own made an emotion close to grief sweep through him until he couldn’t breathe either. Tears filled her eyes and her pale skin changed color.

She couldn’t breathe. He was crushing her.

More pain dug into his side and he jerked his head down, saw one of her hands clawed there and knew she drew more blood. She was pinned under him, starving for oxygen, but she still intended to inflict as much damage to him as possible.

He shifted his weight enough that she could fill her lungs. It was a mistake. An animalistic snarl came out of her cute little mouth and the fangs flashed as she threw her head forward.

He roared in pain when she bit through his suit into his shoulder. She ripped at his flesh and he reacted. She refused to stop fighting and couldn’t see his face because of the face mask attached to his helmet.

He winced inwardly as his fist tagged her jawline. It snapped her head to the side. Agony washed through his shoulder as more damage was done when her fangs were ripped away but she went still under him. Her eyes rolled up into her head before they closed when she blacked out.

“What are they?” Gene’s normally calm voice sounded harsh, probably due to adrenaline or perhaps fear. “Should I kill it? It’s recovering.”

“Don’t!” Blackie yelled. “Do not kill her.”

A red mark from his fist formed on the pale skin of the woman under him. She breathed—the rise and fall of her br**sts barely concealed inside the tight half shirt was testament to that. Seeing so much of her revealed was something he couldn’t look away from. Those rounded mounds were as tempting as he remembered. It irritated him when blood rushed to his dick.

“Are they pirates? They are mutants and she bit you. Did you see those teeth? Those fingernails? Did you hear them? That woman who attacked you tried to eat your flesh.” Gene talked fast, panicked.

“Do not kill her,” Blackie ordered again. “Restrain her. Gently.”

“What are they?”

Blackie studied the features of the woman under him. “Uncertain, but I’m going to find out.” He twisted his head to study the other one.

She glared at him from where she still huddled on the floor and he identified rage shining within those green eyes. Her arms hugged her middle where he’d shot her with the weapon. A soft growl passed her parted lips and she flashed sharp teeth once more.

“Get up,” she demanded in a harsh tone.

Blackie rolled off the unconscious woman, into a kneeling position, and glared at the furious woman. “Don’t give me orders.”

“I was talking to her.” Her gaze drifted to the other woman, fear creeping into her eyes.

Blackie frowned. “Don’t move or he’ll shoot you again. It hurts, doesn’t it?”

“Did you kill her?” The woman snarled the words, her voice deeper than it should be. Her expression hinted at her rage as well.

“No. I knocked her out.” Her relief was evident but his answer didn’t put her at ease.

“Get away from her. I’ll kill you if you try to touch her again. I’ll kill all of you.”

The throbbing in his side and shoulder made moving painful but he rose to his feet. “You’re going to answer my questions and not cause any harm.” He reached up, tore the mask away and watched the woman’s expression when she saw his face.

She paled enough that he worried she’d faint. Her legs gave way and her ass hit the floor when she collapsed. Her fangs suddenly shrank until only an even line of upper teeth showed. Her fingernails seemed to slide back until they appeared normal length.

“Amazing,” Gene whispered.

Blackie was impressed as well.

“You’re a cyborg,” she said then glanced at Gene.

“He’s one too.” Blackie frowned. “Look at me. What is your name?”

It took her a few breaths to respond as she focused on him. “Danica.”

“What are you?” Gene pointed his weapon at her.

“Lower it,” Blackie demanded.

Gene shook his head. “Did you see that? What are they? That’s not normal. They appear human but do you think they are some alien species we haven’t encountered before?”

“Lower your weapon now!” Blackie reached out and gripped his friend’s arm, forcing it down.

“We thought you were all dead,” Danica whispered, almost to herself.

“Who is we? What are you?” Blackie glanced at the woman at his feet. “More importantly, why are you with Hellfire? That’s her, isn’t it?” He glanced back, watching for a reaction from the woman.

Gene loudly sucked in air, obviously surprised. His shielded face swung his way. “Hellfire? As in, the one who rescued you on Earth?”

Blackie nodded. “I never forgot her face.” He glared at Danica. “Talk. How is she here? Why is she alive after all these years and still young? What are you?”

The woman slowly rose to her feet, glancing between them. She gave her attention to Blackie but stunned him when she lowered her head, locking her hands behind her back.

“We’re at your service.” She peered up at him through her lashes. “We’re canine units.”

He digested that information, his mind blank.

“What is a canine unit?” Gene asked, sounding baffled.

He could relate to Gene’s confusion. He planned to interrogate her but she spoke before he could.

“You’ve never heard of us? They have been splicing DNA and enhancing genetics for years. Yours, ours. Who knows what else Earth Government has done? I thought you would know that.”

“No.” Blackie’s heart hammered, it was sinking in that Hellfire was alive and actually sprawled within a foot of him.

Danica’s shoulders straightened. “We were created under the same government sanction that voted in your cyborg line. We were…altered…using cloned canine genetic material.” She swallowed. “You are work units. We are canine units. You have increased strength, speed and cybernetic capabilities while we were given canine properties. Enhanced sense of smell, tracking skill and…” Her voice trailed off. “How could you have never heard of us?” Anger lines creased her forehead. “How is that possible? Our units worked together to free cyborgs.”

“You grow fangs and claws?” Gene reached up and removed his face mask, revealing his astonishment when he turned his stunned gaze on Blackie. “Canine units? Did you know about them?”

He shook his head, glancing down at Hellfire. She remained unconscious, the mark on her face redder and more defined. “No.”

“Son of a bitch!” Danica drew their attention when she threw back her head and howled in rage.

The unexpected, animalistic sound startled both of them. Blackie’s eyebrows shot up while Gene’s mouth fell open as both of them watched her.

Her fierce green gaze pinned Gene where he stood. “We risked our lives to save yours. Our kind died in great numbers while freeing as many of you as we could from the detention centers. Eve and I are the last of our line.” Her hands fisted at her sides. “And you have never heard of us? Is this a f**king joke? It’s not funny!”

A vibration buzzed at his hip and it reminded Blackie that the Bridden awaited word of their search for survivors. He snatched his communicator from his belt and lifted it. He pressed his thumb on the side button to activate it.

“Report,” Fleet demanded.

“We have two survivors.” He didn’t know what else to say at that moment. His mind struggled to make sense of the things he’d learned.

“The women?”

“Yes. They aren’t exactly human,” he blurted.

“What does that mean? It’s an Earth freighter.”

He hesitated, carefully forming his words. “They are canine units. Have you ever heard that term before?”

The silence stretched over the open line.

A sick feeling settled in Blackie’s gut as he stared at Gene, guessing his friend suffered the same suspicion he did. Fleet would ask questions unless he already knew the answers.

“Get back here with them. I’m contacting the council immediately. Fleet out.” The communication was cut.

“He knows,” Gene mumbled. “The council must have known too. The council hid that information from us,” he said firmly, anger darkening his features.

Rage sprang to life inside Blackie as he glared at Danica. “What do you mean, you died to buy us time?”

“The cyborgs behind the mission asked us to create a distraction to give them more time to escape. We took our orders from the cyborgs. We formed an alliance and we were willing to die to protect you.”

“Which mission?” Blackie demanded.

“Our mission designation was known as call signal 895589.”

“You’re the only two who survived? Are you sure?” Gene took a cautious step closer to her, apprehensive of what she could do. “How can you possibly be certain of that?”

Danica stared back at him. “We know. There weren’t many of us created and we watched them die. Earth Government destroyed the bodies of our dead in front of us just so they could witness our grief.” Her voice broke and tears filled her eyes. “We carry our emotions too close to the surface to hide. It’s in our nature. Eve begged for my life when the survivors were captured. She and I were created in succession. They spared me. All those women died either in battle or were executed in front of us.”

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