Talia whirled around to look at the General and then narrowed her eyes. “Where did you find that?”
“You don’t need to know that.”
She crossed the distance between them in two steps. “Where did you find it!” She slammed both hands on the table, breaking it into two pieces. “Where? Tell me!”
The guards were over there in record time and they trained their electrical weapons on her without saying a word. Leave it to the humans, the warrior thought, to do something so outrageously stupid and then get mad at her for wanting to know where they found the soldier. And what made things worse is that younger race didn’t have a clue what they had in their hands and how dangerous it truly would be.
“Sit down,” the General said.
“Don’t placate me! Where did you find it?”
“You can sit down or we’ll talk about this a few hours from now.”
From the tone of his voice, Talia could tell he wasn’t bluffing, which put her in a bad spot. To do nothing would be tantamount to allowing the humans to be destroyed by the Dragus. Yet, refuse to follow his commands and she’d be helpless to protect herself when it awoke.
Talk about a no-win scenario, she thought bitterly.
“Fine,” she said, “Where did you find it?”
“And what makes you think I’ll tell you? I don’t even know if you were the innocent party in the war you speak of.”
“Cheikra you guys are stupid! You’ve seen my memories and can’t figure out that my people were murdered? What is up with you guys? Does the human military make people stupid?”
“You just stated it started before you were born-created or whatever you call it-so how do you know the truth?”
Good question, Talia thought. Especially after what the politicians did to make us fight.
“If you reactivate that thing, I can promise you everyone in this facility will be dead in less than an hour.”
“We’re not going to activate it, just check it’s memories.”
“You don’t get it do you? It’ll kill you! It’s what it does! It’s all it does!”
“There’s no reasoning with it, no negotiating…it doesn’t care! Its programming is simple: destroy all biological life!”
“Don’t you think you’re being melodramatic?”
“Melodramatic? Are you fucking kidding me? Those things killed trillions of my people! They killed my sisters and me eleven times! Am I being dramatic? You’re Cheikra damn right I am!”
“If you don’t believe me that we know what we’re doing, then look at that TV screen.”
Talia looked at the monstrosity of the gurney and it took every bit of her self-control to keep from screaming. It proved impossible to tell where the machinery ended and the biological began. Cybernetics covered half the soldier’s face; replacing an eye, her nose and part of her mouth. The ugly dull gray contrasted against the blonde hair that framed the other side of her face. Parts of her body were covered in what remained of the red and black uniform of the Gahl Defense forces, and Talia forced herself to keep from looking away.
I can’t deny who she was, she thought as a tear started to slide down her cheek. My soldier deserves that.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered.
“About what?” The General asked.
“She was one of my soldiers,” Talia said. “That uniform…it was what the Gahl Defense Forces wore.”
“You had blue and silver though.”
“That was to separate us from the others. To allow the soldiers to find us.”
“So she was assimilated. Interesting…”
“No! It’s not fucking interesting!” Talia snapped. “One on fucking bit! That was one of my troops! Someone who trusted me to get her home safely and look at her! Look at her!”
She wanted to grab the General and shake him violently until some common sense sank it. What they were trying was insanity! Pure insanity! If that Dragus awakened, then even Talia would be hard pressed to escape the facility herself.
“Don’t do that,” Talia said as a technician plugged the computer into the drone. “It’ll take over your systems.”
“That’s an isolated system, just like we used on you.”
“It won’t make any difference.”
“General,” a technician said. “We’re ready to begin.”