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Opis ebooka Krac’s Firebrand - S.E. Smith

It was a terrifying experience when insurgents targeted Gracie Jones-Jefe and her family, but Gracie knows their enemies won’t live long after this attack. Section K Replication Alluthan Clone, or Krac as he is now called, is a cold-blooded killer, just as he was designed to be, but since descendants of the Freedom Five rescued him from a secret facility, he has devoted his life to protecting the family, and now he’s coming for whoever kidnapped Violet Jefe, Gracie’s daughter. Captain “Skeeter” Lulu Belle Mann lives a life of freedom drifting from Spaceport to Spaceport in her short haul freighter looking for unusual treasures to add to her collection of mismatched prizes, and on the Pyrus Space Station, she finds two treasures she has to have! One is the new navigation module she desperately needs and the other is the most heart-melting, curly-haired little girl with big green eyes. Never one to be denied what she really wants, Skeeter buys the first and steals the second. When sources lead Krac to the Lulu Belle, a freighter that is bright pink, of all colors, he finds a woman who fires his blood almost as much as she draws it, and security so laughable that he has to wonder…what exactly is going on here? Internationally acclaimed S.E. Smith presents a new action-packed story full of romance and adventure. Brimming with her signature humor, vivid landscapes, and beloved characters, this book is sure to be another fan favorite! Main Content: 187 (6x9) pages, 59,991 words

Opinie o ebooku Krac’s Firebrand - S.E. Smith

Fragment ebooka Krac’s Firebrand - S.E. Smith

Krac’s Firebrand

Zion Warriors Book 2

S.E. Smith

Contents

Acknowledgments

Copyright

Synopsis

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

5. Zion Home World:

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

8. Banshore Spaceport

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

26. Pyrus Spaceport: Lower Level

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Synopsis of A Warrior’s Heart

Sample of Ha’ven’s Song

Additional Books and Information

About the Author

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank my husband Steve for believing in me and being proud enough of me to give me the courage to follow my dream. I would also like to give a special thank you to my sister and best friend Linda, who not only encouraged me to write but who also read the manuscript. Also to my other friends who believe in me: Julie, Jackie, Lisa, Sally, Elizabeth (Beth), Laurelle, and Narelle. The girls that keep me going!

And a special thanks to Paul Heitsch, David Brenin, Samantha Cook, Suzanne Elise Freeman, and PJ Ochlan—the awesome voices behind my audiobooks!

—S. E. Smith

Montana Publishing

Science Fiction Romance

KRAC’S FIREBRAND: ZION WARRIORS BOOK 2

Copyright © 2014 by S. E. Smith

First E-Book Published March 2014

Cover Design by Melody Simmons

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission from the author.

All characters, places, and events in this book are fictitious or have been used fictitiously, and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, actual events, locales, or organizations are strictly coincidental.

Short Summary: Section K Replication Alluthan Clone, or Krac as he is now called, has a past drenched in blood and a singular purpose: protecting the descendants of the Freedom Five. When Gracie’s daughter is kidnapped, sources lead Krac to a ridiculously pink ship called the Lulu Belle, and he finds more than he expects…. This adventure is as hilarious as it is dramatic. S.E. Smith has done it again!

ISBN: 978-1-942562-63-4 (paperback)

ISBN: 978-1-942562-26-9 (eBook)

Published in the United States by Montana Publishing.

{1. Science Fiction Romance. – Fiction. 2. Science Fiction – Fiction. 3. Romance – Fiction.}

www.montanapublishinghouse.com

Synopsis

It was a terrifying experience when insurgents targeted Gracie Jones-Jefe and her family, but Gracie knows their enemies won’t live long after this attack. Section K Replication Alluthan Clone, or Krac as he is now called, is a cold-blooded killer, just as he was designed to be, but since descendants of the Freedom Five rescued him from a secret facility, he has devoted his life to protecting the family, and now he’s coming for whoever kidnapped Violet Jefe, Gracie’s daughter.

Captain “Skeeter” Lulu Belle Mann lives a life of freedom drifting from Spaceport to Spaceport in her short haul freighter looking for unusual treasures to add to her collection of mismatched prizes, and on the Pyrus Space Station, she finds two treasures she has to have! One is the new navigation module she desperately needs and the other is the most heart-melting, curly-haired little girl with big green eyes. Never one to be denied what she really wants, Skeeter buys the first and steals the second.

When sources lead Krac to the Lulu Belle, a freighter that is bright pink, of all colors, he finds a woman who fires his blood almost as much as she draws it, and security so laughable that he has to wonder…what exactly is going on here?

Internationally acclaimed S.E. Smith presents a new action-packed story full of romance and adventure. Brimming with her signature humor, vivid landscapes, and beloved characters, this book is sure to be another fan favorite!

Main Content: 187 (6x9) pages, 59,991 words

Chapter One

Only a sliver of the moon shone, casting a faint light in the early morning hours. It gave the assassins who moved in the shadows an extra advantage, not that they needed it. They were here on a mission and before the night was over a large number of people would be dead if they had their way.

That had been an argument the two men moving through the isolated encampment had earlier before deciding it was the only way to deter another attack on those they were trying to protect. While one wanted to get in and get out, the other wanted to send a clear message before he left. No one messed with the descendants of the Freedom Five and lived, no one.

The guard never saw the two menacing figures that moved in the darkness behind him. One shadow separated from the other. A moment later, the guard dropped to the floor, dead. In the blink of an eye, the shadow had disappeared again.

The focus of their mission was close, and both could feel it. They were there to retrieve a member of the ruling family of Earth that had been kidnapped. Anastasia Miller was the direct descendent of Chance and Violet Miller.

Chance had been one of the original members of the Freedom Five, a rebel group that had fought against the Alluthans, an alien race that used up the resources of a world before moving on. His wife, Violet, had been the sister of Gracie Jones, the lone female of the group. Gracie had given up everything she knew in order to save Earth from the aliens who had captured her family and sent her into hiding. She had broken the computer language of the Alluthans. In the end, she sacrificed herself to save the Earth. That sacrifice earned her the title Mother of Freedom back on Earth.

Gracie had used one of the Alluthan’s own supply ships to travel to the Alluthan Mothership where she uploaded a virus she had programmed. The virus disabled the shields protecting the alien invaders and shut down the links to their power and communications systems around the globe.

With the shields, power, and communications destroyed, the remaining rebel forces on Earth attacked with everything they had, defeating the suddenly defenseless Alluthan armies. Gracie had also programmed the Mothership to self-destruct. Everything was going according to plan until the Mothership turned toward the Earth, following Gracie as she desperately tried to return home.

Gracie realized that an impact by an object as large as the Mothership could destroy the Earth. Understanding there was no other way, she turned the supply ship in a desperate attempt to lead the Mothership away before it exploded. What she had not expected, or known until three years later, was that the explosion during the transition into hyperspace had not only destroyed the Mothership, it had thrown her over eight hundred years into the future. She was rescued by Grand Admiral Kordon Jefe’s warship, the Conqueror, when signals from the damaged supply ship matched those of an unknown species that was attacking the outer colonies of the Confederation. Kordon had been tasked with finding the cause and eliminating it. Instead, he had found Gracie.

After the war, researchers spent centuries studying the aliens that had invaded their world. They eventually discovered the Alluthans could not naturally reproduce. Instead, they used a cloning system with organic material covering a rare metal skeletal system that flexed and grew depending on the information it was given. Implants were inserted into the brains of the young that developed. Each were linked and controlled through nanotechnology.

The Alluthans had captured humans and experimented on them as a desperate attempt to replace the organic material that made up their outer body. Additional findings suggested they were also experimenting with human tissue as a means for cloning additional Alluthans, as their own DNA was corrupted. It was later learned that a few human researchers continued the experiments despite it being illegal to use the few Alluthans that had been captured and neutralized before they could terminate themselves.

Now, there was a new threat to Earth, this time from within. A small group of reformists, led by an unknown leader, was trying to take control of Earth by controlling or destroying the descendants of the Freedom Five who made up the majority of the council that governed the Earth.

What those who threatened them did not know was that the descendants had a very powerful and deadly adversary on their side. An adversary who would do anything to keep them safe. An adversary that was made from the monsters of their past.

Section K Replication Alluthan Clone, or Krac as he was now called, slipped back into the shadows. He paused for a brief second so he could connect with the electronic console that operated the doors. Laying his hand on the panel, he focused as he connected to the computer systems inside the encampment. Within seconds, he had taken control of it and located the information they needed.

“I found her,” Krac murmured to his companion. “She is being held two floors down, last room on the left.”

“You know you freak me out whenever you do that, don’t you?” the other male replied under his breath. “I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.”

Krac ignored the softly spoken remark. “There are eight guards between here and there. Four on the first floor. One by the doors, two in a small room to the left and one at the other end leading to the second floor. There are four additional men on the same floor as Anastasia. One at the foot of the stairs and two standing outside the room where she is being held. There is one male in the room with her. You take out the one at the foot of the stairs. I will dispense with the two by the door. When I unlock the door to her cell, I will take out the male while you release her. According to the information I have downloaded, we have less than eight minutes before additional forces arrive,” Krac said calmly.

“Shit! We better get moving. Just don’t fuck this up,” Rorrak Jefe muttered harshly. “We need the female alive. She holds the vote that can change the rest of the Earth council’s minds. If she dies, the descendants of the Freedom Five will lose their majority on the council.”

“She will not die,” Krac responded emotionlessly. “Follow me.”

Rorrak bit back a curse. He knew the huge gray bastard would do everything in his power to save Anastasia Miller. She had been the one to save Krac in the first place. Rorrak hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting this particular council member yet, but he had heard stories of the ‘steely bitch’ that was known to cut through the long list of bureaucracy to get what she wanted done.

Rorrak knew very little about Krac’s relationship with the council other than he was a deadly adversary when any of them were threatened. He had crossed paths with him on occasion over the past several years. Both of them had worked undercover to solve the disappearance of shipments of weapons, research scientists, and most recently, the systematic attacks on the Earth’s council.

He knew Krac was only partially human, had been developed in a secret lab, and that he owed his life to Anastasia Miller. One thing he did know for sure about the hybrid clone was that he was deadly in any situation. Right now, Rorrak was thankful for that, as it would have been impossible to get the councilwoman out alive otherwise.

He paused at the top of the stairway leading down, waiting for the signal from Krac. He nodded once when Krac glanced at him. A shiver of apprehension went down his spine when he saw the two curved blades in the other man’s hands.

Yes, Rorrak thought with a cynical curve to his lips. If I have to go into a fight, I’d rather have Krac’s cold, emotionless back covering mine than face the heartless bastard.

Krac ignored Rorrak and focused on the mission. In truth, he couldn’t care less what the Zion Warrior thought or did. He would have preferred to come alone. It was only because of Anastasia’s family’s wish that the Zion agent accompany him that he had allowed the man on the special starship Anastasia had commissioned for him.

It didn’t hurt that he was also very familiar with the Jefe family. Rorrak’s older brother, Kordon, was now a lead councilman on Zion and was mated to Gracie Jones, a living member of the original Freedom Five. He had been skeptical of the claim that Gracie was the Gracie Jones until he abducted her during a previous mission. If being in her presence hadn’t convinced him, the DNA scan he did proved she was a direct relation to Anastasia.

Krac felt the strange wave of heat that always washed through him when he thought of Gracie. He had kidnapped the unusual human female a little over three years before in an attempt to draw out the leader of the reformists. At the time, Anastasia thought that Altren Proctor might have been the one trying to assassinate other members of the council, specifically those who could claim a bloodline to the Freedom Five.

Krac knew immediately the human male was too weak to have organized the numerous attempts. The former councilman was just greedy. He had paid a handsome sum of credits to Krac to kidnap Gracie. Proctor had hoped to use Gracie to take control of Earth by returning the Mother of Freedom to the planet and claiming her as his mate. That plan failed miserably when another assassin Proctor hired killed the councilman as he, Rorrak, and Kordon Jefe closed in on them.

Now, as he moved down the narrow winding staircase after Rorrak, his mind ran through all the information that he had downloaded. He frowned when he came to a file that was encrypted. He made a mental note to come back to it before focusing on the task at hand when they rounded the last section of the stairs.

The guard standing at the bottom turned and glanced over his shoulder. His eyes widened briefly when he realized those coming down the stairs were not part of the security team. His mouth opened, but no sound escaped as Rorrak’s blade found its mark. The man’s eyes dropped to his chest and his hands wound around the sharp blade before he fell to the stone floor.

Krac moved smoothly down the steps and into the side room while Rorrak headed down the long, narrow corridor toward the other guard who was rising up out of the chair he had been sitting in.

“How much longer are we gonna be in this hole?” a scarred-faced man sitting at the table grumbled. “We were supposed to have moved out yesterday.”

“The female is being difficult,” the other man replied, sitting back in his seat and studying the tablet in his hand. “Move four spaces to the left, sling blade left to right,” he muttered.

“Damn it,” scarred-face cursed when the character on his tablet disintegrated. “That was my second most powerful beast.”

“You should have seen it coming,” the other man laughed hoarsely, tipping his head back, and swallowing deeply from the flask he held in his other hand. “That is one hundred credits you owe me now.”

“He won’t be paying you,” Krac said calmly as he ran his blade across the scarred-faced man’s neck. He ignored the head that fell in the opposite direction of the body as it separated. “I want information and you are going to give it to me before I kill you.”

The thin figure of the male surged from his seat, tossing the flask to one side as he drew a pistol from his waist. His scream of agony was cut short by Krac’s fingers tightening around his throat. The arm with the pistol now lay on the floor.

Krac slowly walked forward, holding the paling male up off the ground until he had him pinned against the far wall. He made sure the male got a good look at him. He wanted the male to know that death had come for him and it was in the form of a creature more dangerous than he had ever seen before.

“Who is your leader?” Krac asked coldly.

“I…,” the male gurgled as his eyes began to dim. “What… are...?”

Krac pulled the male forward before slamming him back against the wall. The sound of the man’s head cracking against the uneven stone echoed loudly in the quietness of the room. The glazed eyes faded to blankness.

“Word of advice, Krac,” Rorrak’s dry voice sounded behind him. “If you want information, you have to leave your informant in one piece and not smash his head first.”

Krac grunted in disgust as he dropped the male to the floor and turned with a glare. “Most species, especially the humans, are too fragile.”

Rorrak looked at the bloody curved blade still clenched in Krac’s left hand. He shook his head and chuckled. Not even a Zion warrior would be able to survive such a wound.

“Not all of us are made up of living metal,” Rorrak replied dryly. “We have less than five minutes before more company arrives. I’d like to at least rescue the ‘Princess’ before they arrive.”

Krac nodded. “Is your warship close?”

“Yes,” Rorrak bit out. “But, we still have a fight on our hands.”

“You keep Anastasia Miller safe,” Krac instructed as he headed toward the door leading down to the second level. “I’ll take care of everything else.”

Rorrak shrugged. “Fine with me. I just hope I don’t have to carry her ass. You know how Earth women are.”

Krac’s eyebrow rose at the comment. Yes, he did know what most human women were like and preferred to avoid them, as they were weepy, fragile, and weak. He had only met two human females that gave him pause to think that they were not ordinary to the human female species: Gracie Jones and Anastasia Miller. Both of those human females confused him, as neither behaved like those he had met while on Earth.

“Just protect her,” Krac replied. “I will kill you if she gets hurt.”

“Well, that changes everything,” Rorrak muttered darkly under his breath as Krac palmed the door panel and disappeared down the second set of stairs. “I guess I’ll just carry her ass then.”

Chapter Two

“Tower, this is the Lulu Belle coming in to repair bay A4,” Captain “Skeeter” Lulu Belle Mann announced cheerfully. “I need clearance of all incoming traffic. Oh, and you’d better put the bumpers out, boys, my thrusters are being a pain in the bunny butt right now. Frog! How are you doing on the repairs, sweetheart?”

“Two minutes, Skeeter! I need at least two more minutes!” the voice behind her frantically yelled.

Skeeter ignored the coarse curses coming over the system from the tower. She was used to them by now. She didn’t know if it was protocol for all Spaceport Towers to use such language. She’d have to ask Bulldog, her adopted father, the next time she talked to him. She was still learning all the technical talk since he let her take over as Captain of the Lulu Belle. So far, it seemed to be the norm at all the Spaceports she had delivered to.

“Captain, I have the rear thrusters working,” the high-pitched voice of her co-pilot responded. “And my name is Froget, not Frog! How many times do I have to tell you that?” the green, yellow, and black creature growled as he jumped into the chair next to her.

Skeeter laughed in delight at the slightly exasperated tone of her new co-pilot. She had picked up the medium-sized amphibian creature on the Gallus Spaceport at the last minute. She didn’t care what he said his name was, he looked just like the frogs in the picture vidcoms that Bulldog had given her as a child.

She had fallen in love with Frog’s big eyes and long, sticky tongue. He could pick things off the wall from almost ten feet away! It was the coolest thing she had ever seen, well, until he got stuck that one time. He still hadn’t forgiven her for that. How was she supposed to know that the antique paper she had picked up and hung from the ceiling was stickier than his tongue? She loved how it curled around like a streamer and she thought all the little black flying creatures on it were neat.

The only disappointment she had discovered about her new friend and co-pilot was that he didn’t turn into a handsome prince when she had kissed him one night. Skeeter sighed heavily when she remembered her disappointment. She had been sure he would change as he had looked like all the frogs in the old books. Instead, he had shuddered and made her promise to never try to kiss him again.

“Thanks, Froget,” Skeeter replied. “Tower, never mind about the bumpers. Frog got the rear thrusters working so I’ll come in backwards.”

“Lulu Belle, this is Tower One, please hold formation while traffic is cleared from the area,” a warm voice replied.

“Oh dear, sorry about that,” Skeeter whispered as she turned her short-range, class IV Trident freighter at the last minute so that she could back in between two larger long-range ships that were docked in the repair bays next to the one she had been given. The sound of metal on metal echoed through the small freighter briefly as it scraped the side of one of the larger ships as she tucked herself between them. “Tower, never mind about clearing the traffic. I was able to dock.”

“Confirmed. Locks have been engaged, Lulu Belle, and the connection duct has sealed to the rear access door,” the Tower replied. “Welcome to Newport Space Station. I’ll warn everyone you have arrived.”

“Thank you, Artamis,” Skeeter replied warmly. “How is Tila doing?”

“Her hair is almost back to normal since your last visit. I like it blue, by the way, so please leave it that way. I’ll warn my mate you have docked and will be stopping by to visit. Oh, and Skeeter,” Artemis, the Tower controller replied with a hint of laughter in his voice. “Governor Erosa asks that you try to avoid Level 2 while you are here.”

“You know it wasn’t my fault that Bulldog went nuts!” Skeeter complained as she went through the procedure of shutting down the engines. “Lucas should have known better than to try to hire me to deal with illegal transport. I could have been in trouble with the Confederation if it hadn’t been for Daddy telling me what Lucas was up to. How is he by the way?”

“Lucas just got out of rehab,” Artemis replied dryly. “They had a hard time re-growing his missing fingers. A very unusual problem considering his species.”

Skeeter winced. Lucas was an Octoply. A species that had four arms, four legs, and a dozen fingers on each hand. Her dad, Bulldog, had removed four of them on each hand when he found out Lucas had tried to use Skeeter for some unauthorized ‘deliveries’. Granted, Lucas had offered her a lot of credits to do it, but she could have been in big trouble if the Confederation boarded her small freighter.

It would have been her first run for him and her most profitable since she took over the Lulu Belle. When she had shared her new contract with Bulldog, she had been surprised when he had calmly informed her that it had been cancelled at the last minute.

Skeeter later learned that her dad had paid a visit to Lucas. By the time he got done, Level 2 had been pretty much destroyed. She grimaced again when she thought of how many fingers the Octoply would’ve had to regrow.

Skeeter turned when Frog jumped down out of his seat with a loud curse. She blinked when he peered out of the portside window, then glared back at her again. She knew from the tight look around his mouth that he was upset about something she did – again. It was the fly paper look all over again.

Sighing heavily, she turned in her chair and crossed her arms across her generous chest. “Okay, what now?” she asked belligerently.

“You don’t know?” Frog asked in disbelief. “Didn’t you hear the sound of metal scraping? You know, that loud, I-hit-something sound?”

Skeeter shrugged and dropped her hands to the well-worn arms of the captain’s chair. “It wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t as loud as the last time. I’m not very good at backing up. Besides, it couldn’t have been all that terrible. None of the alarms went off this time.”

Froget Horntip looked at the pale human female pouting back at him. He had joined her crew at the last minute as a favor to her adoptive father. What the enormous Razor-tooth Triterian saw in the fragile creature biting her lower lip and looking for all the world like she didn’t have a clue why he was so upset with her, Froget would never know. There was no way he would ever question Bulldog about his decision, though. Bulldog had a reputation of slashing, mutilating and digesting those who did.

Instead, he glanced once more at the large Confederation warship docked in the repair bay next to them. It now had a long…, Forget grimaced as his eyes moved over the mark,… a very, very long pink scrape down the side. He would have to fix it before the female decided she would. He shuddered as he remembered Bulldog’s dire warning if anything happened to his precious but very stubborn daughter.

‘Protect her, don’t let any men near her, and for Goddesses’ sake, don’t let her out into space. The girl doesn’t have a single ounce of survival instinct in her body. She lives life to the fullest. I love her the way she is. Make sure she stays that way, Froget, or else.’

‘How do you…?’ Froget remembered starting to say before the look in Bulldog’s eyes turned them to a burning red. ‘Life… fullest… no men, no space, protect at all cost… got it.’

‘Good,’ Bulldog had grinned, showing off row after row of sharp teeth. ‘The last bodyguard I sent didn’t.’

Froget had looked at the clear, liquid-filled cylinder behind Bulldog and turned a very pale green at the lifeless floating body in the tank. With a sharp nod, Froget had hurried out of Bulldog’s towering office. For once, he wished he had chosen a different profession than bodyguard for a living. He had a feeling he might not have a very long life expectancy in his new position.

Chapter Three

Krac nodded to Rorrak as he pulled the curved blade out of the body of the second man standing outside the door to the room holding Anastasia Miller. He silently counted to three as his hands tightened around the bloody blades. In the back of his mind, he had already mapped out the room and was calculating the probable location of the remaining male.

Raising his left foot, he kicked the door open and surged through before it had a chance to hit the floor. Twisting, he froze in mid-turn as a figure stepped out from the wall next to where the door once stood and held a laser pistol firmly against Rorrak’s temple. The cold fury burning in the depths of the blue eyes staring at him caused him to raise an eyebrow.

“Don’t kill him. He’s with me. He thinks you are going to want him to carry your ass out of here,” Krac said in a calm voice.

“Like that will ever happen,” Anastasia retorted with a roll of her eyes. She dropped her arm to her side. “Who the hell are you?”

Rorrak muttered a silent curse as he released a deep breath. His eyes swept over the blood staining the back of the body on the floor before he turned to glare at the female who had taken him by surprise. Brilliant blue ones stared back at him. Another curse, this one not so silent, escaped him when he felt an uncomfortable jolt in his chest. The overwhelming urge to run like hell and knowing he couldn’t held him paralyzed.

“Is he slow or something?” Anastasia asked sarcastically. “I know he can speak from his muttered curse but that doesn’t mean much, so can my parrot, but the damn bird still picks on the cats.”

“I am not slow,” Rorrak growled in a low voice. “You are hurt,” he snarled as his eyes roamed over her face before his eyes darkened dangerously on her torn shirt. “How bad?”

Anastasia’s eyebrow rose at the huge Zion warrior’s tone. “Not as bad as that asshole. Now, if we can shelve the twenty questions for later, I’d like to get out of this shithole.”

“We have company,” Krac replied, tilting his head to the side. “They have found the bodies upstairs.”

“Damn it all to hell,” Anastasia muttered. “Is there another way out of here?”

“Yes, down the far end and to the right. There is another set of stairs leading up. It should take you close to my starship. Rorrak, take Anastasia and go. I will kill the others,” Krac ordered.

“How will you get back to the Conqueror?” Rorrak asked.

“I’ll use the transport that just arrived. Don’t damage my starship. I’m partial to the modifications I made to it,” Krac ordered. “Now go.”

Krac walked out of the room. He knew Rorrak would protect Anastasia, not that she wasn’t capable of holding her own against most adversaries. The mistake the mercenary in the other room made was being alone with the human female. Krac had witnessed Anastasia in action before and had trained with her.

He wanted information before he left and he couldn’t get it with Rorrak and Anastasia here. There were times when it was best that he was alone. There were things about the Alluthans that had been hidden in their DNA and the genetic information encoded in the implants that the humans had never found. There was a reason the Alluthans used a link to control those within their forces. The humans would never really know just how lucky they were to have Gracie Jones on their side.

Krac took the stairs leading to the upper floor two at a time. He burst out of the entrance, startling the four men standing near it. The curved blades in his hands found their mark as the bodies fell. His eyes swept the long corridor, stopping on one peculiar male who was giving orders. That was the male he wanted.

He turned as several males fired their laser pistols at him. His hands arched, turning the blades flat so the short energy bursts ricocheted off them. Three men fell. The two remaining men began backing up, firing continuously at him.

Krac’s eyes narrowed as they backed toward the staircase leading up. He couldn’t take a chance on the man he wanted escaping. With a flick of his wrist, he sent one of the blades through the air into the chest of the mercenary next to his main target. The force of the throw impaled the man into the stone wall as the tip of the blade cut deep.

He pulled a smaller knife from the sheath in his boot and threw it next. The scream of his target as it sank deep into his right thigh echoed loudly in the long, narrow passageway. Krac walked slowly to where the man half lay, half crawled up the stone stairs.

He reached over and jerked the blade out of the man, ignoring him as he fell to the floor. Using the tip of his boot, he caught the fallen laser pistol and sent it flying against the wall. He bent over the fallen human male, grabbing the man’s left wrist when he tried to bring his own blade around to stab him in the throat.

Krac shook his head as he felt the bite of the blade against his cheek instead. With a soft tsk, he broke the man’s wrist. He ignored the choked, agonized cry. There would be much more before he was done.

Raising his hand to his cheek, he wiped some of the seeping blood onto his fingers before wiping it along the man’s temple. Soon, he would have the information he wanted. He focused, watching in satisfaction as the man paled. Within seconds, there was no evidence of the cut that had marred his cheek just moments before.

“You have information I want,” Krac said calmly. “Information that you will tell me.”

“Go to hell,” the human male spit out.

Krac’s eyes gleamed dangerously as he gazed at the defiant eyes glaring back at him. Satisfaction coursed through him that he alone had the ability to draw out the information that he wanted. With a swift command, the nano-bots in the blood he had spread across the human’s temple reacted to his command. They seeped through the male’s pores and into his blood stream. Their destination, the male’s brain.

“I was born there,” Krac responded as he saw sweat begin to bead on the man’s brow. “What is your name?”

The man’s mouth tightened before his eyes glazed with pain. “Adders Weston.”

“Who do you work for?” Krac asked.

“None… none… The New Order,” Weston groaned, raising his good hand to his head. “Stop. Please, stop.”

Krac’s lips curved upward. “Tell me how you were able to kidnap Anastasia Miller.”

“I….” Blood began to seep from Weston’s nose as he fought against the probes searching for information. “Hinders told her about Gracie Jones. He promised to take her to meet her.”

“Who is Hinders?” Krac pressed. “Is he in charge?”

“One of Miller’s new bodyguards. He was here, with Miller. Dead,” he choked out in a hoarse voice. “Probably dead if you are here.”

“How did you know about Gracie Jones?” Krac bit out as he downloaded the flashing images rushing through Weston’s brain.

“Orders came down… from the source. Don’t know who. The orders come in encrypted. We were told to capture her,” Weston moaned, pressing his fingers into his eyes. “Orders came down to capture Gracie Jones and return her to Earth.”

Krac’s mouth tightened. “Why?”

“New Order. For the New Order. To gain control. Wanted information… that Jones has. Don’t know anything else. Oh God, make it stop!” Weston cried out, pulling at his hair. “Make the pain stop!”

Krac sent a silent command to the nano-bots he released into Weston. He had the images he needed, but they were disjointed. It would take days to piece the fragments together. One piece that came to him was the key to decipher the encrypted code he downloaded earlier. Perhaps there was additional information in the message.

With a single thought, he ordered the nano-bots to self-destruct in Weston’s brain. The miniature explosions shredded the thick brain matter in seconds. Krac pulled his small dagger from the thigh of the dead male and stood up. His brain quickly inserted the key into the message and translated it.

A cold rage built inside as the order formed in his mind. It was time to pay Kordon Jefe a visit. Gracie was in danger once again.

Chapter Four

“What in the hell happened to the side of your warship?” Krac asked as he walked into the conference room off the bridge. “And where is Anastasia Miller?” he added when he noticed the absence of the human female.

Grand Admiral Bran Markus grimaced as muffled chuckles echoed around the room. Cooraan, the Conqueror’s Chief Engineer, Captain Leila Toolas, the Chief Medical officer, Lazarus, the new Security Officer, and Rorrak all sat around the table. Instead, his sharp gaze swept over the male who worked specifically with Anastasia Miller’s elite security team in conjunction with Rorrak Jefe’s team which worked for the head council on Paulus.

“She is resting,” Toolas explained. “I gave her a mild sedative despite her protests. She needed rest in order to heal.”

“How badly was she injured?” Krac asked with a frown.

“Superficial wounds mostly,” Toolas replied lightly, looking over at Rorrak when he sat forward. “She will be fine.”

“Was she raped?” Rorrak asked harshly.

Toolas stared into the dark, flashing eyes and shivered. Both this male and the one that just walked in frightened her even though she knew they would never harm her. Both males held an air of barely controlled restraint. She sat back in her chair when the huge gray male took a step closer when she didn’t answer right away.

Shaking her head, she quickly gave them what information she could without violating patient-healer confidentiality. She breathed a sigh when the new male finally sat down in the chair across from her. When she was finished, she quickly stood and excused herself.

Krac watched as the older female walked out the door. He turned and looked at Rorrak first. He had begun piecing the images from Weston together and he wasn’t liking what he was seeing.

“You have to stay with Anastasia Miller and protect her,” Krac stated. “The plot to kill the members on the council is larger than we originally thought. They want to use her and they want Gracie Jones for some reason. They think she has information they need.”

Rorrak scowled as did the other men sitting around the table. “What information?” he demanded. “Kordon needs to be informed.”

“I will be heading there. The Conqueror needs to return to Earth with Anastasia. She has to be there for the vote next week. All of you must make sure that she is kept safe,” Krac said, shooting each male at the table a look that warned them if they failed. “I will meet with your brother and Gracie. The human did not know what information the leader was wanting from her, just that she held information that would help them.”

“We will head there immediately,” Bran said quietly. “Cooraan, make sure we are running at full capacity. Lazarus, I want you and Rorrak to meet with Ms. Miller and find out everything you can about her abduction. I want names, positions, diagrams of the Parliament building, everything. When are you leaving for Zion?” he asked as he turned back to Krac.

“As soon as my ship is ready,” Krac responded. “A crew is preparing it now. So, what happened to yours? You do know you have a long pink line down the side, don’t you?”