Valiant Page 38

’’Are you tired?’’

’’Yeah. I\m wiped.’’

He blinked. ’’Does wiped mean tired?’’

She nodded. ’’Slang isn\ your thing, is it?’’

’’I\m learning. I was raised around doctors, techs, and security guards. I\m afraid my vocabulary is limited to what they taught me. I didn\ get as much exposure to them as some of the other Species did. I was different.’’

She frowned. ’’Do you know how to read?’’

’’Yes. I learned after I was freed in the months we spent in hiding waiting for our home to be established.’’ He sat on the edge of the mattress. ’’Most of my kind were taught before then but I wasn\ slated for any interaction with humans. It was a waste of time according to them. They just wanted to keep me alive because I was so strong and closer to animal than most.’’

Tammy stared at him mutely. She was too shocked to even reply. Valiant looked a little sad as he gazed into her eyes.

’’How much do you know about New Species?’’

’’Just what I hear on TV and read sometimes in the newspapers. I know that some pharmaceutical company did illegal research on you guys and they finally got popped. I know they made you part human and part animal. That\s really about it except for how you guys have your own Homeland down south near Los Angeles and how you opened up this place recently.’’ She shrugged.

Valiant sighed. ’’We were altered with different animal DNA. Some more than others, such as myself. They made mistakes and I am one.’’ Anger tightened his expression as he regarded her, seeming to be waiting for a reaction.

Tammy stared into his exotic eyes. ’’A mistake? I don\ understand.’’

’’I\m different my animal traits are more dominant than my human ones.’’

She stared at his face, taking in his eyes, nose, mouth, and cheekbones. ’’You appear more New Species than most.’’

’’It\s not just how I appear. My instincts are stronger than most of my kind.’’

’’What does that mean?’’ She was glad she was sitting down, almost afraid to hear whatever he wanted to share with her.

’’I\m more animal than man. It\s the only way I can explain it. The testing facility \mistakes\ such as myself were trained to be aggressive, to fight and to take a lot of pain. We were regarded as expendable and therefore heavily abused by their drug research trials. They tested the most dangerous ones they make on us. We were useless for any other purpose.’’

She had one of those rare moments where she couldn\ form words. Valiant had a talent for making her speechless.

’’They performed a lot of drug research on most New Species. They expected huge profits from enhancement drugs to that would make soldiers and athletes stronger, faster and better. They trained them to show off what their drugs could do. They were valuable. The failures were not. They tried breeding experiments with me but decided after a few unsuccessful attempts that they didn\ wish to produce more of us.’’

’’Breeding experiments?’’ She got the question out but wasn\ sure she really wanted to hear the answer.

’’They brought some females to my cell to breed with me to see if I could impregnate them. The other males hadn\ produced results. Their testing failed with me as well.’’

Tammy tried hard to hide her horror. She knew she hadn\ done a good job of it when Valiant\s gaze dropped and his shoulders sagged. The sadness on his face tore at her heart. He hadn\ had a choice, had been horribly abused, had been a victim.

Valiant refused to look into Tammy\s pretty eyes any longer. The revulsion he saw hurt him deeply. He\d wanted to be honest with her by telling her everything about his life. His mate would need to know. It wouldn\ be fair to ask her to spend her life with him if he kept secrets. He stared at the blanket covering her lap.

’’We have heightened senses of smell, hearing, and our eyesight is better than most Species. We are stronger, faster, and even our intelligence was heightened in some cases. We are experimental prototypes that failed and in order to recoup their losses they even tried to turn us into perfect killing machines. They wanted to stamp out our humanity so we could be trained as pure animals that would follow their commands. It didn\ work out for them so well when we wouldn\ break. We fought them instead, killed them when given the chance and refused to do their bidding. They were still working on us when we were discovered and freed.’’

’’They tried to turn you into a killer?’’ She whispered the words.

He glanced up and stared at her. ’’Please don\ get that look in your eyes. I know how to fight and kill. It doesn\ mean that I\m some mindless slayer. They tried to salvage the failures by making us fighters mostly and since we were so impressive looking they believed we might turn a profit. They wanted me to be their...’’ He paused. ’’\Display\ New Species for the failures they wished to sell. I would not comply.’’

’’Display?’’

’’To sell us.’’ Valiant\s voice tightened. ’’Third-world countries, private armies for rich fanatics, or whoever was willing to pay a fortune for an animal that could talk and kill efficiently on command. Luckily for us, we never heeded orders well. We had too many flaws for them to actually put us up for sale.’’ He shrugged. ’’At least most of us. We now have found out that some of our women were sold.’’

Tammy stared at him in horror. ’’So some of your women are out there being forced to kill people?’’


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