“Do you think the searchers will see Kayo?” Arr asked in a low voice. We were once again following Klaid with Cracker and Gathus bringing up the rear.
“Sure,” Jake said, as he adjusted his hold on me in his arms. I sucked in my breath as fire shot across my back. Jake looked at me sympathetically, as if it was his fault I was hurting. “I just hope they don’t shoot first.”
Arr nodded toward Klaid. “He is insane,” he stated flatly.
“You don’t know the half of it,” Jake said. “They’re tube spawn. There was a government project years ago called OmniCron. Some crazy scientists thought they would try crossbreeding alien and human DNA to make beings that would not naturally exist. I’m sure it was some stupid idea to build a super soldier. Instead they ended up with psychos like these, an iiadtsu that can’t fly or speak, a bronkai that has a set of useless arms and an Xyron that is just a blood thirsty maniac, all twisted in mind and body.
“They were discarded at a very young age into the hands of an orphanage built for normal kids. When they proved too difficult to handle they were thrown into prison and left to learn all the hard facts about life on the far side of the law.
“These three saved two guards overcome by smoke during a prison fire. Their government origins were not public record, so they looked like they had been imprisoned wrongfully in the first place. They were released to roam the Verse at large. They needed some way to vent, an outlet for their rage. They took up mercenary work.
“I don’t know how many jobs they did before I met them, but I knew I couldn’t let them do anymore.”
Jake adjusted my weight in his arms again. He must have been exhausted. He almost dropped me. Arr reached out with both hands to keep his partner and me from falling. We crushed his injured hand between us. He folded up like an umbrella and fell to his knees in pain.
“Put me down,” I told Jake. I have been obsessed with my own injuries for the last two days. Arr’s arm was black and blue to his elbow. His hand was swollen to twice its size. It must have been extremely painful and he had said nothing, even kept it hidden from us.
“Put me down,” I repeated. As soon as my feet hit the ground I puked from the wave of pain that overwhelmed me.
Klaid had stopped. Not to benefit us, I was sure. He was reveling in Jake’s pain at seeing his partner suffering. We three were huddled together. There wasn’t anything we could do for his hand. We needed a good doctor with an advanced knitter to heal the bones. Unlike the two inch strips Klaid had carved out of my back for his lunch, the healing would have to wait.
The Xyron came back to us. Gathus was taking the opportunity to get a drink from a water pouch. Klaid snapped his fingers at the iiadtsu and Gathus brought over the pouch. He handed it to Jake. Jake started to hand it to me.
“No,” Klaid said. He pulled his blaster and held it to my head. “You drink,” he ordered Jake. “Just you.”
Jake started to pour it on the ground in front of him in defiance. We all heard Klaid’s blaster whine to a charge. “Don’t,” the Xyron said. “I don’t much care if she lives or dies. I am getting kind of hungry.” He smiled and his forked tongue slipped out to run over his fangs. “Drink!” he repeated.
Jake took a good sized gulp and handed it back to Gathus.
“Good boy,” Klaid said condescendingly. “Now move.” He yanked on my collar and brought me to my feet. “NOW!”
Jake slung me back into his arms and he stumbled on.