The Savage King(85)

By: Michelle M. Pillow

Was she babbling? Tori was pretty sure it sounded like she was babbling. Scientists didn't

babble. It wasn't appropriate. Her scowl deepened. Oh, why was he continuing to look at

her like that?

"Well, Dr. Elliot not technically with the HIA or ESC," Quinn said, lowering his jaw as he

leaned forward. "I'm H O R N Y and you're extremely pretty."

"H O...? Oh! Really!" Tori gasped, dismayed. She shook her head in disapproval.

"What? You're really so surprised? Can you really blame me, Dr. Elliot? You were staring

quite intently at--" Quinn began to motion down, acting as of their conversation was an

everyday topic.

Tori held up her hand and shook her head frantically to stop him. Taking a deep breath,

she centered her thoughts and made a silent promise to never drink the night before a big

assignment again. Surely that is why her heart was pounding so hard and why her limbs

were shaking. Swallowing, she forced her voice to rigid calmness. "Is there someone I

could talk to about gaining permission to search the cave systems that the biological

weapons were discovered in? The HIA has requested that I clear the cave and surrounding

area of any and all contamination threats."

Someone other than you, she thought, not caring if he saw her distaste for his lewdness.

Quinn's smile faded and to her surprise, he turned serious. "You think something else is up


"I'm honestly not sure. The recovered weapon appears to be intact and contains enough

chemical to wipe out at least five planets. From that bit of information, I would assume

there was only the one, unless the caves were being used as a storage unit of some kind,

which, given the political climate of your Kingdom, doesn't seem to be the assumption.

From what I understand, your father was fighting a war with..."

Tori stopped, realizing that she might be speaking too candidly. That's why she hated

being in political situations. Facts were facts and she was use to stating them, regardless of

their popularity. In her job facts were all that mattered. In politics, a person was supposed

to say things diplomatically, twisting the words into just the right phrase. It was a skill she

lacked. She looked up at the Prince. His face hadn't changed. She swallowed nervously.

He motioned his hand slightly for her to continue, not looking at all offended by her


Weakly, Tori said, "My checking would simply be a wise safety precaution for everyone

concerned, especially your people. It won't cost you a thing, if that's your concern. HIA is

taking care of my and the other scientists' salary."

Quinn nodded, a motion she hoped was agreement.

"My team has nearly gotten through with the palace inhabitants and so far everyone has

tested negative. I believe they're about finished." Tori looked at her clipboard and

pretended to scan through the data. This man unnerved her. She couldn't concentrate on

what she was saying to him. Was she repeating herself? Was he even listening? Did she tell

him yet that they were about done testing the palace inhabitants? She thought it, but did

she say it? Damn, he had the most brilliant blue eyes she'd ever seen in her life. Delicately

clearing her throat, she said, "But, we'd still like to do a thorough scan of the caves. There

is no point in us leaving anything behind."

Quinn seemed to contemplate her words. Tori lowered her voice and stepped closer. He

didn't move, except for those blue eyes. They followed her, keeping fixed on her face.

Getting excited, Tori forgot her nervousness as she admitted in a secretive whisper,

"There was also something else. I took the liberty of analyzing the strange dark mud on

the biological weapon's crate. I believe it's from your marshes, because I found some fresh

moss that leads me to believe it wasn't already on the crate when it was brought here.

Anyway, there was an extremely high level of what appears to be DTH12 compound,

which I'm sure isn't indigenous to this particular planet, being as your swamp soil is

classified as GR13H and not TDH14. What doesn't make sense is that DTH12 is primarily

found in the slime trail of northeastern yellow slugs on the planet of Fluk in the H ... what?

Are you laughing at me?"

Quinn was indeed chuckling. Shaking his head, he said, "Woman, I have no idea what you

just said."

Tori frowned. She should have known. Sarcastically, she drawled, "Your mud is neat and

I'd like to look at it."

Okay, maybe that was a tad too condescending. Quinn grimaced but didn't appear overly

offended. Lucky for her, because he might just be the man she had to impress.

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