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Adrik’s lips thinned into a grim line as he glared at the “cargo” being loaded onto his ship.  He and his crew had intercepted a distress signal and upon boarding the damaged vessel, they’d initially assumed the ship was abandoned.  They’d been wrong. 


Eyes narrowing on the cage filled with humans, Adrik watched as his crew carefully maneuvered the cage into the hold of his ship, the Cressida.  The human hostages whimpered, and it wasn’t lost on him—or any of his crew—that the survivors were not only human but females.  All females.


It'd been a long time since any of his Titans had seen a female.  Worse, from studies done on their home planet of Cesca Sol, Adrik and his Second in Command, Kaze, knew that Titans were sexually compatible with human females.  A few Titans had even coupled with human females, resulting in hardy offspring that held all the power and intellect of Titans with the diplomacy of their human mothers.   


The thought of creating offspring had Adrik reaching down to adjust himself.  He too hadn’t had the pleasure of a supple female body for…  Gods, how long had it been?


One of the females started shouting, and it pulled Adrik from his thoughts.  His gaze slid from the female to Pitch. 

Pitch was a hardened Titan warrior.  They all were, but unlike the rest of them, Pitch had an aversion to humans.   Pitch had been captured and experimented on by human scientists.  Adrik and his team had defied orders and had flown to Earth to rescue their brother—who’d crash-landed on the occupied planet—and while Adrik and the crew of The Cressida had reclaimed Pitch with little resistance, it had taken a full lunar cycle and, in that time, Pitch had suffered.  His sense of smell had been permanently damaged, and he’d suffered several lesser injuries, but the ship medicus, Obadiah, had been able to repair those lesser wounds.  Obadiah was still working on restoring Pitch’s sense of smell, which was a highly valued trait in Titan warriors. 


Now, watching Pitch, Adrik could only guess at his emotions.  The black armor that covered each Titan warrior from head-to-toe left no sign of the Titan beneath.  The armor was form-fitting and clung to each Titan’s muscular physique.  Heavily armored plates covered the most vital parts of each warrior over top of flexible black mesh bodysuit that housed its own nanotechnology making the armor heat and cold resistant.  The Titans also each wore a balaclava that covered their entire face except for their eyes, which were hidden beneath tek visors that held the intelligence to connect each Titan to each other as well as to Tyrate, the brain of their ship.


Pitch made no sound as he placed a shoulder into the back end of the cage and pushed while Kaze pulled from the front, maneuvering the cage of females into The Cressida’s hold. 


“Obaida,” Adrik bit out.  “Replace Pitch.”


Pitch’s head swiveled to Adrik.  “It’s fine, Chief Commander.”  Pitch kept right on with his pushing, speaking through their teams’ comms which only each member of the team could hear through their visors.


With a sharp jerk of his chin, Adrik permitted Pitch to remain on task. 


The same female that had been shouting earlier started in again, and Adrik’s gaze sliced to her.  The words she was shouting while foreign, were clearly words of anger or displeasure.  The fury on her face was universally understood.  It made Adrik grin as he gave his full attention to his new…prisoners?  Guests?  He still wasn’t sure how to deal with the headache of their newly acquired “cargo”.  The female’s shouting continued, and Adrik decided she had to be the leader of the group of females.  The rest were on their hands and knees, cowering behind the one who was standing protectively in front of them shouting up a storm.  Her vociferousness and the quietness of the other females wasn’t the only difference.  The females, huddled behind the yelling one, had light-colored hair and pale skin.  Their lightly colored eyes darted fearfully from Titan to Titan, but the dark-haired, dark-eyed leader openly glared at Adrik’s crew.


He huffed a humorless sound.  If the brave female knew how deadly Titans were, she’d be cowering with her sisters.


“Kaze,” Adrik growled.  “Get the humans secured and then have Obaida check them one by one.  I don’t need disease brought onto this ship.”  He shot the dark-haired female one last look and then turned to exit the holding bay.  Stalking toward the command center, Adrik linked to Tyrate.  Tyrate was the name they’d given the virtual brain of the ship.


“Tyrate, release holds on the unnamed vessel and set a charge.  Once we’re clear, destroy the vessel.”


Tyrate responded in a robotic tone, “Yes, Chief Commander.”


Adrik also didn’t need anyone tracking the mystery ship they’d just disembarked and finding any evidence that The Cressida had been the one to remove the usable cargo.  There’d been food stores, medical supplies, a small cache of weapons, and, of course, the females.  It was the females that had him worried.  This far out from any habitable planet, human females were worth more creds than Adrik or any of his Titans would likely ever see in their life cycles.  The females were both a blessing and a curse.  If anyone found out The Cressida housed so many females, it’d make them a target for sure, even with their much-deserved reputation.  No one fucked with Titans.  Ever!  Not only could their bodies produce the armor covering them now, but they also had other abilities that set them apart from other species.  Rumors abounded about Titans and their abilities.  Adrik and his men let beings believe as they wished.  It only served to bolster their reputation and made them one of the most feared creatures in the solar system. That had him wondering what the human females thought of them.  Had they heard of Titans?  Did they know who held them?  So many questions needed answering, but they’d have to wait until after Obaida implanted translators into the human females.  Until then, Adrik would get his ship and his crew as far from the disabled vessel as they could.

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