Holiday Abduction (Alien Abduction Book 6) (5 page)

BOOK: Holiday Abduction (Alien Abduction Book 6)
7.91Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads
Chapter Six

“It’s not stealing if you manage to point out flaws in a security network.” – How to justify your acquisition should the previous owner file a complaint.

What next involved them finding somewhere to hole up while Vhyl checked on the status of his vessel. It perturbed him that his enemy had tracked him to Earth. His fault for using a pod craft instead of more stealthy means.

Of more concern than the Gelabli attack was the fact Vhyl now had to worry about the state of his spacecraft. Even though his vessel’s cloaking was engaged, Mo might have located and sabotaged Vhyl’s ship—which would really irritate Vhyl, as he’d only recently acquired the wondrous craft—straight from the government facility where they’d developed it in the Lojica Galaxy, a place renowned for their wondrous inventions but unwillingness to share them.

Since Vhyl didn’t like their stance, he took it. In retaliation, they locked the vessel down, making him a prisoner on it until he agreed to their price tag—the annihilation of the solar system alongside them where their greatest competitors lived. While paying for something went against the mercenary way, destroying things didn’t. Hence he paid their price.

Then he returned to Lojica for a few more toys he coveted. He considered the flaws he uncovered in their security system payment of a sort for the items he acquired. If you asked him, he’d done them a favor, and as such, the objects he took were compensation for a job well done. Given he was pointing a gun at their president at the time, they agreed on his generous price.

“I must contact my ship and arrange for transportation for myself and the artifact off planet. Therefore, we need a secure location where we might rest, wait, and plan.”

“What’s wrong with where you are now?” she asked.

‘Now’ had a spring digging in his backside, spewed fumes that were probably toxic, and was about as subtle as a Lxroakian charging through a glass shop. “I’d prefer something a little more comfortable. Does your planet not have establishments that allow visitors the use of rooms for short stays?

“Yeah, we have hotels and motels.”

“Take us to one then. Preferably one in a civilized location. My enemy will have difficulty blending in, and despite his brazen attack at your farm, he won’t want to draw unwanted attention to himself.” Lest he bring the galactic police after him for breaking one of the council’s iron-clad rules about planets that didn’t belong to their consortium.

The rules revolving around uninitiated worlds, such as Earth, spanned several tomes of literature but boiled down to one simple phrase: Stay away from Earth.

“Book us a room, he says.” She snickered. “Good luck with that. I didn’t have time to grab my wallet. Without money, there isn’t a place in the world that will give us a room. The best I can do is park on the side of the road and hope the cops don’t cruise by and cite us for loitering.”

“I will handle any requests for finances. Just find us a hostelry.”

“If you insist.”

“I do.”

As she drove, the occasional passing vehicle illuminating her features, Vhyl wondered that he still traveled with the barbarian female. More than that, he’d saved her. First from the government agents who would have taken her. Then from the explosion of glass and Mo’s arrival. It would have astonished anyone who knew him that he hadn’t ditched her to escape on his own.

Frukx if I know why I’m still with her. Or why I keep defending her.

This type of protective instinct went against his usual morals. By all the moons he’d destroyed—because he did so like to play with weapons of mass destruction—he’d never before wondered what it would be like to have a permanent bedmate in his life and a partner to share his career of mayhem and acquisitions.

What happened to enjoying his solitary life where the most important thing was the acquisition of rare goods?

It was lonely.

The revelation came to him suddenly and unexpectedly.

I’m lonely.
The endless units of time where he did nothing but attempt to find something, anything to dull the boredom of travel. The moments when he accomplished something great and had no one but his mother to brag to.

Staring at Jilly’s profile, he wondered what it would be like to keep her by his side, to have her welcome him after an exhilarating heist. To have her aid him in nefarious plots.

Insane. Where did these crazy ideas come from?

It must be the oxygen levels of this planet rendering me irrational.
What else to explain it? He barely knew the female.
Other than the facts that she is fearless, outspoken, and tastes delicious.

As the sun crested the horizon, Jilly pulled into a parking lot dotted with vehicles. A large sign flashed overhead, the A in Vacancies dark, but the meaning still quite clear.

“Now what, oh noticeable purple one?” she asked.

“Time to disguise myself and acquire the use of a room.” Flashing her a smile, Vhyl tapped his wristband. With only a slight shimmer, he adopted a human glamour that would withstand close scrutiny, just not touch.

“Amazing,” she murmured. “But I still don’t know how you figure you’ll get a key without a credit card or cash.”

“Such doubt. You’ll see.” Vhyl wasn’t a master of acquisition for nothing.

In short order, he returned, bearing not only a key, but also an armful of culinary items to feed them both. Given his knowledge of this world, he was made to understand—to his dismay—that Earthlings had yet to manage proper food replication via a machine.

Utter barbarians. Growing their food and killing animals for consumption? That was something a warrior only did out of necessity. Civilized mercenaries and acquisition experts relied on technology to properly feed them.

Jilly was looking away from him when he emerged from the registration office, fingers tapping on the round thing she called a steering wheel, which, if he recalled his history lessons correctly, was something his kind had used on extremely early propulsion vehicles.

Shudder.

He much preferred the accuracy of a computer than relying on organic reflexes to guide him at high speeds.

He clambered into the truck, which even he had to admit had a certain rugged appeal. “The attendant placed us on the second floor at the far end,” he told her.

“Second floor? Shouldn’t we have taken the first for a quick escape?”

“Height is always an advantage,” he informed her. “Much harder for assailants to surround when they must climb.”

“Good to know. I’ll store that with my other bits of useless knowledge I’ll never use again.”

It took him a moment to grasp she jested, and to his surprise, he laughed. “Don’t be so sure. Given your attitude, I am surprised you’ve led a strife-free life thus far.”

“There is nothing wrong with my attitude.”

“I didn’t say I didn’t appreciate your rapier wit. But, where I come from, a female with a saucy mouth like yours would definitely get in trouble.”

Unless he was around.
I’d kill anyone who laid a hand on her. And enjoy it.

“Well then, I guess it’s a good thing I’m not a part of your world.”

Not really. It surprised him to realize he’d probably miss their lively discourses once he departed.

“Ensure you park the vehicle facing outward in case we should require a hasty departure.”

“What’s wrong? Worried your coffin might not make it back in time to pick you up?”

Actually, yes. While he’d managed—despite the jostling of the truck—to ping his craft in orbit behind the moon, his transport carrier hadn’t fared as well.

“My surface pod lost contact with my craft upon its return approach to your home.”

“Jelly dude shot it down, did he?”

“No, it seems your military aerial defense intercepted it. I had to initiate a self-destruct sequence, lest it fall into their less-than-ready hands.”

“No alien technology for us?”

“Your planet is on a non-tampering list.”

“And yet here you are, tampering.”

“Acquiring. There is a difference.”

“So yours is sanctioned?”

“Of course not,” he replied, unable to completely mask his indignation. “Perish the thought. My activities are completely illegal and punishable by death.”

She regarded him with curiosity. “So why do it then?”

“What is life without a little danger?” His smile might have been a tad rakish. He did so find pleasure in breaking the law. But it seemed, in this instance, she found merit in his reaction because she returned his grin and laughed.

The sound, husky and genuine, thrilled him. He wanted to hear it again, but not out here in the open. “Let us get inside where we are less noticeable.”

With his wrist monitor scanning the environs and his eyes also taking in the scenery, they made it to the second floor—using stairs of all things—and found their room, the first door, which Vhyl bypassed.

“What are you doing?” Jilly inquired. “I thought you said we had the end unit.”

“We do. Which, if any enemies follow and question the attendant, is the first place they’ll look. Hence why I stole this key while the clerk was otherwise occupied.” A subtle suggestion to look away while Vhyl swapped the keys with a vacant one four doors away. Close enough to keep an eye on their supposed room but far enough to give them time and space to plot an escape if required.

He ushered them quickly inside.

The interior of their quarters proved less than impressive. Two less-than-sizable beds covered in a green patterned fabric, a single chair with a slick, almost plastic covering, and a view screen bolted to a piece of furniture with drawers.

Ugly, but serviceable.

He dumped the contents of his haul on the bed. Jilly eyed the stash and shook her head. “Holy junk food, purple dude. Chips and candy bars. So much for healthy.”

“It was all the vending machine had.”

She wrinkled her nose. “I guess beggars can’t be choosers. It will be just like my good old college days when I used to live on chocolate bars and cola. With all that caffeine and sugar, at least I won’t have to worry about falling asleep.”

“You should take a moment to rest. We could be called upon to escape at any moment.”

“What’s with this ‘we’ stuff? You know, it occurs to me that most of my problems would disappear if I ditched you.”

Yes, they probably would, and yet, he found himself reluctant to let her go. He tried to rationalize this strange feeling. “Given your association with me, you are probably safer at the moment in my company. My enemy might think you useful as a bargaining chip.”

“Vile, is this your way of saying you care about me?”

“No. But they won’t know that and might kill you in order to make me cooperate.”

“Gee, don’t I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.”

“If it is of consolation, I would avenge your death.”

“Not feeling any better.”

“I know of something that would bring you great pleasure.” And yes, he grinned widely to make his innuendo clear.

A reddish hue invaded her cheeks. A sign of her lust or something else?

“I think I’ll pass.”

“A pity.”

“So, um, have you thought of a way to pay me for this?”

She plucked the artifact from a pocket and held it so it spun in the air. It glinted in the feeble light of a lamp, its low hum enticing, and yet, while he found the XiiX fascinating, it paled beside the woman who held it aloft. It confused him because for some reason he found himself questioning as to which was the greater prize—her or the XiiX?

Madness or the pollutants from her truck clouding his judgment?

The answer was clear. Or should be.

The XiiX was priceless.  One of a kind, hence the race to acquire it. Well, not so much a race anymore, as it was technically in his possession, but until he managed to lock it away with his other treasures, someone could still come along and steal it.

And, yeah, he didn’t see the irony in calling other collectors thieves. In his world, anyone who touched what was his was a thief.

And if they touch Jilly?

Then they would die. Because, more and more, he was beginning to think of her as his. Or at least worth keeping for a while to judge her worth.

If he bored of her, he could always kill or auction her off.

As if I’d let another own her.
The very thought filled him with a cold rage.

Mine.

His.

He couldn’t have said when he made the decision to kiss her again, or why. All he knew was one moment he was doubting his mental capacity, filled with a possessive need, and determined to touch her again.

He slanted his mouth over hers, and she tasted just as delicious as before. Perhaps even better. His arms wrapped around her, an embrace that tucked her against him, her shape, which he’d initially found so odd, fitting perfectly against his.

Given he’d set a perimeter defense—his wristband possessing a detection option that would inform him if it noticed weapons, certain distinct lifeforms or other out-of-place actions within a certain range—he felt rather safe in indulging. Then again, he would have indulged even without it.

BOOK: Holiday Abduction (Alien Abduction Book 6)
7.91Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Death in a Serene City by Edward Sklepowich
Revenant Eve by Sherwood Smith
The Best Medicine by Tracy Brogan
Battlecraft (2006) by Terral, Jack - Seals 03
The Original Curse by Sean Deveney
The Widow of Saunders Creek by Tracey Bateman