Draekon Abduction(2)

By: Lili Zander & Lee Savino


I’m not ready to give up.

I lift my chin. “I look forward to proving you wrong,” I say evenly.

He inclines his head in a nod. “So do I, Olivia.”





1





Olivia:


We’re less than a week out of Earth, and already, things are a complete, total disaster. Let’s count all the ways Roman’s assignment has gone wrong so far, shall we?

1. Go to Zoraht.

Sorry, boss. I appear to have crash-landed on a different planet altogether, one the Zorahn scientists accompanying us are referring to as the prison planet.

2. Stay out of trouble.

My left leg is badly broken. My left fibula, if I’m remembering my high-school biology lectures correctly. It tore open my flesh as it broke, and if I undo the bandage that Sofia wrapped around the wound, I know I’ll see the white gleam of bone.

On Earth, in a hospital, such a break would be fixable. But as far as I know, there are no medical facilities here. Even worse, the planet outside is hot and humid, ideal breeding grounds for all kinds of nasty bacteria. If I don’t get help, I could lose the leg.

Stay calm, Liv. Panicking isn’t going to help the situation.

3. Keep the other women safe.

Death toll so far: One. Janet Cane. Two, if we’re counting the dead alien, Mannix.

Missing and possibly dead: Four. Viola Lewis, Harper Boyd, Ryanna Dickson, and Sofia Menendez. Before I passed out, the women had been talking about setting out to find food and water. How long have they been gone? I can’t tell. My thoughts are cloudy, and every nerve ending in my body screams with agony.

Hang on. My brain slowly starts working. The four women had stuck me in my pod before they set out. I’m in stasis. I should be out like a light. What woke me up?

Then I hear it. Noises outside. Two male voices, harsh and guttural. There’s someone here. I can hear the hiss of the air seal breaking as a stasis pod door opens. “What’s going on?”

That’s Paige’s voice. She sounds nervous. “Are we on Zoraht?”

The voices growl something at her. Why can’t I understand them? I feel in my ear for the small golden disk that Hector Schultz had stuck in my ear, his eyes glued to my boobs the entire time. It’s not there. Shit. That’s not good.

I had my translator when I got into my stasis pod on Earth. Did I have it when we first crashed? Ignoring the waves of burning pain that radiate from my leg through my entire body, I search my memories. Yes. I did. Which means it must have fallen out somewhere in this pod.

It’s dark. I can’t see. I run my hands over the small chamber, groping for the gadget. There’s more activity now. Raiht’vi, the female scientist, is awake. She snarls something at the two men, her voice angry and fearful. One of them replies, his tone laced with contempt. What’s going on? My pulse races. The door to my pod can’t be opened from the inside. They have to let me out.

My finger closes over something cold and metallic. The translator. Heaving a sigh of relief, I insert it into my ear, barely registering the jolt of electricity it produces as it connects.

It does its magic. The guttural sounds resolve into words. “Of all the people I thought I’d see on the prison planet…” The man—alien—sounds coldly amused. “So Brunox finally revealed the existence of his daughter to the High Empire.”

Raiht’vi inhales sharply. “Who are you? How do you know who I am?”

The man chuckles. “I’m Draekon, Scientist. That’s all you need to know. Lio, search the ship. Grab everything that might be useful.”

Ooh. Alien intrigue. This is exactly the kind of stuff I’m supposed to be recording. I commit the conversation to memory—despite what Roman said about me not being his first choice for this mission, I scored in the ninety-ninth percentile in the agency’s memory tests. His words still rankle, and I’m determined to prove him wrong. I’m going to ace this mission, and when I get back home, the CIA’s best eggheads can figure out what the information I’ve collected means. Who the Draekons are, and why Raiht’vi seems so antagonistic toward them.

If I get back home.

More doors open, and the other women are removed from the stasis chamber. I hear expressions of dismay, probably when they realize there’s a giant, gaping hole in the ship. “Where are we?” one of them asks. That’s Bryce McFarland, if I’m not mistaken. The bed-and-breakfast owner from Vermont sounds less nervous that I’d have expected. Good for her.

“You are on the prison planet,” one of the aliens replies. “Specifically, you are in the Lowlands, and any day now, the rains will fall, and your ship will be flooded. We must get you to safety.”