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Cyborg Seduction(5)

By:Grace Goodwin

And they could afford a lot.

And all I had to do was bring them the truth about the prison colony. The contaminated flesh of our warriors. The truth about what was happening to our military personnel.

Captain Brooks had served his country well, then volunteered to go into space as a Coalition fighter and battle the mysterious enemy no one had ever seen. The Hive. Rumors and conspiracy theories were everywhere. But these creatures were supposed to be terrifying beings straight out of Star Trek. Monsters so scary that the governments of Earth had agreed to the Coalition demand for brides and warriors to protect us from a Hive invasion.

A lot of people didn’t believe the Hive existed. That the whole thing was a government conspiracy, a cover-up, a way to sacrifice people to some strange alien force without raising alarm. Some thought our volunteers were nothing more than cattle being led to slaughter. The information shared on the news networks was vague. No pictures of these Hive were ever shared. They were just bad guys in space, far away, mythical things that could never hurt us. But that seemed to be just what the governments wanted us to know. People in power argued that if the truth of what was outside of our atmosphere, beyond our moon and the reaches of our space shuttles was shared, there would be pandemonium. Riots. Chaos in the streets.

They wanted to the truth to remain hidden, it seemed, for our own good.

I didn’t care about any of that. I cared about Wyatt and my mom. If someone was willing to pay me money to get the truth, then I’d go. I wasn’t interested in the truth. I didn’t care about conspiracy theories or cover-ups. I was interested in the money this assignment would pay. The surgery Wyatt needed that this money would cover. I cared about healing my son.

And if I failed? Well, there was a price to be paid. They would hurt him. They would kill my mother and torture my boy. Those small details something they’d chosen not to share with me until the very end, of course.

But I believed the threat. Something in Mrs. Brooks’ fanatical gaze sent a shiver down my spine. She’d lost both of her sons and, apparently, her mind and sense of human decency. Too late to turn back now. The only thing I could focus on was getting back home to Wyatt, who was probably asleep under his Power Rangers comforter with a stuffed tiger named Roar snuggled under his sweet, innocent little chin at this very moment.

Space aliens weren’t my biggest fear. Wyatt not being able to walk normally, not grow, be forced to watch from the sidelines as the other boys run and play? That would break his little heart, and my baby hurting was not acceptable. Not to me.

And the threats made against him? I couldn’t bare to think about that. I simply would not fail.

I startled as the crate shifted under me and I realized it was moving, swinging a bit as if being lifted and carried through the air on the end of a crane.

Everything was happening exactly as they’d told me it would.

Two days on board the freighter, arrival at the Colony. We’d landed a few hours ago, the rumble of the ship’s engines nearly rattling my teeth out of my head as we’d landed. A slight jolt when it made contact with the planet’s surface. And now, a few hours later, I was being off-loaded, stacked in their new storage facilities. I was packed in with a shipment of seeds from the Salvard Global Seed Vault. I’d been staring at their logo for so long, I could draw it in my sleep.

Apparently, the Colony was working to terraform their new planet to make it more appealing. They were bringing in plants native to every Coalition home world. I’d been sleeping next to thirty-foot tall maple, elm and locust trees. Also in the hold were spruce and drought resistant shrubs of every variety. Huge trees, too big to send via their precious transport technology.

We were headed to Base 3, where the Governor had, according to my sources, recently been mated through the Interstellar Brides Program to a woman from Earth. All of this was for her, his devotion—or obsession, depending on who told the story—was so complete that he was creating an Earth garden just for her. I would be able to sneak onto the planet because of some woman named Rachel that I’d never met.

The ways onto the planet were limited. No one from Earth was allowed unless he or she was a Coalition fighter or a bride. I wasn’t the military type. I’d never even held a gun before. The other option was to volunteer for the Interstellar Brides Program, but I didn’t meet their requirements. I had Wyatt. I was a mother. Besides, I had zero interest in being a mate of a space alien, or in leaving Earth.

No. I just wanted to get the damn story and get home. And so I was being drop shipped with a bunch of Earth trees as if by FedEx.

How this was possible on a prison planet, I wasn’t sure. But then, that was the reason for my assignment. To discover the truth about The Colony. To expose it. To get word back to Earth about what was really going on here. The shipment really was of trees and shrubs, flowers and bulbs. There weren’t military-grade arms hidden away. I’d had two long travel days to have proof of that. So was the shipment really because a governor on the planet loved his Earth mate? If that was the case, why had I been dressed in armor and warned to avoid detection at all costs? This damn suit of armor recorded everything, every heartbeat and blink of my eye, every second of activity, everything I heard or saw. If it so dangerous on the prison planet, why the trees?