I awoke with a scream inside a small, dimly lit room.
Panting and panicking, I looked around frantically.
The entire room was a sterile white, complete with a bed slab, a toilet and a sink. There were no windows. A single recessed lamp in the ceiling provided the only light.
Was this some kind of prison cell?
My body was stiff and achy and I let out a groan as I struggled to sit up. I rubbed the heel of my palm against my pounding forehead. When I felt a cool breeze slide down my back and ass, I reached back and tried to tug the hospital gown closed. I was still wearing the flimsy paper gown from the clinic, completely nude underneath. I reached under the front and scratched at the perpetual itch on my belly.
“Stupid aggressive DNA,” I muttered to myself.
I drew in a breath and flattened my hand against the soft mound of my stomach. The full extent of my situation hit me full force.
I had to get the hell out of here!
I jumped to my feet and rushed to the door. I tapped at the door controls, but not surprisingly, it was locked.
Starting to panic, I pounded on the door and smashed at the controls with my fists, yelling for help.
When the door suddenly opened, I jumped back with a startled gasp. I didn’t expect anyone to actually come. Before I could escape, the two Union Navy security officers grabbed my arms and escorted me down the hall.
“Let me go,” I grunted as I tried to pull free. They tightened their grip on me, but otherwise didn’t respond.
I appeared to be in a Union Research facility judging by the men in white uniforms and lab coats that wandered through the hallways. The “labbies” ignored me as if I wasn’t even there.
I was taken to a medical exam room and laid down on a table. One of the guards pulled a security strap across my chest and locked it into the other side of the table. He and the other guard stepped out of the room as two labbies proceeded to poke and prod me.
“You can’t keep me here,” I said. “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m an Earth citizen. I have rights!”
The labbies ignored me, continuing to run their damned scans. They scanned me over and over with several different hand-held instruments. But when one approached my stomach with a large gauge needle, my protective instincts kicked in. I smacked him hard with my leg, knocking the needle from his hand. The other moved to restrain me and I bit his forearm as hard as I could.
I quickly managed to undo the strap and I leapt from the exam table only to be stopped when the door opened and the two security guards rushed in. I screamed bloody murder as they dragged me back to the table.
“Hold him down,” one of the labbies shouted.
The security guards picked me up and slammed me on the table so hard it stole my breath. They held me down while one of the labbies came at me with a hypospray injector. I wasn’t going to let them violate me without a fight. I kicked and thrashed, but they were simply too strong for me.
The cold tip of the hypospray pressed against my neck. I felt the pinch on my skin as the device let out a quick hiss. Within seconds, I went numb and the fight drained out of me. As I slumped back onto the exam table, a single tear slid from the corner of my eye.
I closed my eyes and could only lay there while they violated and probed my body with their instruments.
When they finished, I was returned to my cell. A white fabric gown was tossed at me. This gown was made from a thicker cotton material and was thankfully closed in the back. I slipped the paper gown off and pulled on the new one. I wished I had some undies, and some socks would have been nice as well. The floor was cold.
A yawn overtook me. Completely and utterly exhausted, I slumped down onto the hard bed and fell into a restless sleep.
The examinations went on for days, despite my demands and later, pleas, for them to help me or let me go. I was never told what they wanted from me, nor under what charges was I being held.
The labbies referred to my baby as ‘the hybrid,’ speaking amongst themselves as if I wasn’t there. Being drugged, I could hear them, but couldn’t really move or react. I overheard them once talking about genetic splicing, which I thought was outlawed by Union law. There was something about the DNA resequencing properties that showed promise they said. I didn’t exactly know what they were doing, but I knew that it wasn’t good whatever it was.
I think it was the fourth day when they came for me.
But this time was different.
Instead of taking me to the lab, I was taken to a small conference room and pushed into one of the chairs that circled an oval-shaped table. The two security officers restrained my wrists with straps to the arms of the chair, then each of them stood at attention on each side of the doorway. Two high-ranking Union Navy officers entered the room followed by two Degans.
I let out a sigh of relief, nearly bursting into tears of gratitude. Bastian had sent someone for me!
The two Degans looked very official looking, wearing what appeared to be military uniforms. One was dark skinned with black fur, enormous in build, even larger than Bastian. The other looked older and had light brown fur, liberally sprinkled with gray. He appeared to eat and drink very well judging by the size of his belly. Judging from the extra adornments on his uniform, I assumed that he was the higher ranking officer.
My relief was short lived when I saw the way they looked at me. The elder brown-furred one made no attempt to hide his disdain and utter revulsion at me. He turned to the Navy officers. “We wish to speak with the boy in private.”
The Navy admiral shook his head. “I can’t agree to that.”
“The child he carries is a citizen of the Degan Federation. It is within our rights to take the boy, if we desire. I would hate to see our treaty with the Union tested over such a simple request.”
The Navy officers looked at each other and then reluctantly nodded to the Degans, then left the room. The security guards followed them and the door shut behind, leaving the room deathly quiet.
Before I could speak, the older brown-furred Degan stepped forward. “I am General Dansik of the Degan Global Armed Forces.”
“Do you know why I’m here?” I asked cautiously. “No one will tell me anything. I—”
“Where is Bastian Drago?”
I was taken aback. Why were they asking about Bastian? Wouldn’t they know better than I would? Did he not send them for me?
“I… I don’t know. Can you help me?”
He stepped forward, putting his hands on the table and he leaned into my face. The menace in his eyes told me everything. His visit had nothing to do with me or my situation and he was not interested in Bastian to catch up over tea and cookies.
“What did he tell you?”
I swallowed nervously as the dark-furred Degan moved around behind my back and circled me, eyeing me like I was dinner. “N-n-nothing,” I stammered, trying to look behind me to see what the other man was doing. I pulled at the straps holding my arms down, but they were secured tight.
General Dansik looked up past my shoulder. “Captain,” he said and jerked his head towards me.
The Degan captain pulled a small, round, silver device from his tunic pocket. He moved around behind me and I tried to jerk away from him, but he grabbed me by the throat and squeezed hard enough to hold me still. He pressed the device to the back of my neck at the base of my skull and let go when the device beeped.
An intense pain shot through me, electrifying my spinal cord and settling around my temples and forehead. I cried out and tears streamed down my face as I tugged at the arm restraints. “Please!” I begged, squeezing my hands into tight fists. I squeezed my eyes shut and gritted my teeth. “It hurts.”
“Where is Drago?” the general repeated.
An intense burst of pain pushed through my brain, compelling me to speak. “I don’t know!” I cried. “He left.”
He looked back at the captain. “Increase the level.”
The captain touched the device and the pain ramped up.
“I’ll ask again. Where is Drago?”
Every muscle in my body contracted. Pain I had never felt before drain every ounce of strength from my body.
“I don’t know,” I moaned as my head slumped forward. “Please. The baby,” I whispered hoarsely.
“Why is he here?”
I shook my head and managed to spit out the answer. “He said it was for work.”
“Where did he go?”
“I don’t know!” I choked out through my sobs. “He never came home. He left me! He left me…”
Tears and snot dripped from my face onto the front of my gown.
He continued to drill me with several more questions about Bastian. What he was doing, what we did together, what we talked about. The pain never let up and it only increased the longer the session went on. I felt compelled to answer every one of their questions truthfully, which was always that I didn’t know anything.
Just when I thought I was going to pass out from the pain, the device sent an intense shock through me. I screamed until I was hoarse. My muscles released and contracted and then my bladder emptied as I convulsed.
“He’s telling the truth,” the captain said from behind me. “He doesn’t know anything.”
“Drago is smarter than we give him credit for,” the general mumbled.
The device was yanked from my neck. I gasped and slumped forward in exhaustion as the pain started to subside. I would have fallen to the floor if not for the bindings on my arms that kept me tied to the now urine-soaked chair.
“We could take him with us. For leverage,” the dark one said.
“No. That would be… hmph… uncivilized. Besides, I can’t stand the thought of it running around with that… half-breed… inside it,” he grimaced disgustedly and then waved his hand dismissively. “Let the Humans have it for their experiments.”
“Too bad. I would have liked to have played with him. Maybe find out what made him so special to Drago.” He reached a finger towards my cheek and I managed to snatch my head away with the last of my strength. He laughed at me as he reached down and hefted the distinct bulge between his legs.
“Don’t be foul,” the general said as he turned up his nose at me.
The two Degans left the room and I vaguely registered my limp, battered body being dragged back to my cell, tears and snot streaming down my face all the while.
I was unceremoniously tossed into the cell and I crumpled on the floor and passed out in my own filth.
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