Touching Ice | Chapter 13 of 16

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Chapter Eleven

Fear had a taste and Megan didn’t enjoying it one bit as she swallowed it down. The

uniform Ice had put her in was black leather, similar to his own, only this one fit her

smaller frame. It had been specially made for her. She stood still, attempting to ignore

the heavy, uncomfortable weight of the shirt as they docked with the Star.

Ice’s hand brushed her hip and she looked up at him. “You appear frightened. Hide

your expressions.”

“I’m not you. I don’t have your control but I’ll try.”

He nodded. “Just stay at my side and if trouble breaks out get behind me and

return to the Rally. I’ll cover your exit.”

That’s what she feared most. Ice would end up fighting the Markus Models if

something went wrong. The bump when they connected to the other ship was slight

and it took everything inside Megan to move forward when the docking doors opened.

Nervousness over boarding a large A-class ship full of cyborgs made her heart pound

but Ice tugged her forward.

Cyborgs weren’t a threat to her any longer, according to Ice, and she believed him.

As they walked into a large cargo bay she nearly stumbled as dozens of cyborgs waited,

all shades of gray skin tones, wearing black leather uniforms matching Ice’s. A dark-

haired one moved forward, smiling, and held out his hand to Ice.

Ice didn’t just shake the other cyborg’s hand but instead embraced the man. “Flint,

it’s good to see you.”

“It’s good to see you as well. I miss your daily humor.” They released each other

and the cyborg, Flint, turned his attention on Megan. He ran his gaze down her and

then back up to her face, a dark eyebrow arching before he grinned at Ice. “What

happened to you swearing you’d never trust a human woman sleeping in your bed?”

Ice backed up. “I hadn’t met the right one yet. I thought you’d lost your senses

when I took yours from that shuttle we boarded.”

Flint chuckled. “She’s our expert?”

Ice turned and, with a jerk of his head, motioned Megan forward. “Megan, this is

my good friend, Flint. You’ll get to know him when we do more joint missions in the

future. The Star and the Rally usually travel together. I had taken the Rally crew for a

short vacation when Folion was destroyed. Once that happened we were forbidden to

return until you were assessed.”

She took a step closer and thrust out her hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Flint.” She

met his gaze as he took her hand, giving it a gentle shake, before releasing her quickly.


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“You as well. I read everything Ice wrote in his report about what information you

shared about these defense hybrids. Have you come up with a reason for why they

would contact us? How much danger is my ship in?”

“They are dangerous, unstable, and I’ll say it again. This is a mistake. You can’t

trust them. They are more advanced than anything you’ve ever come into contact with.

It’s been a long time since you were created and technology has changed drastically on

Earth.” She paused, glancing at Ice to see his frown, but turned her attention back on

the cyborg who obviously commanded the bigger ship. “They are organic on the

outside but under their cloned skin they are a classified metal that is damn near

impossible to destroy. They can hack your computer systems, take whatever

information they want, and probably even take control of your ship. They appear

human but don’t let that fool you. They are androids. Machines. They aren’t similar to

you in any way except they were created in part in a cloning lab.”

Flint stared at her, studying her face, and then sighed, giving his full attention to

Ice. “A few members of the council arrived just before you did.” He paused. “We’re

being graced with Councilman Zorus’ presence.” The large cyborg’s voice deepened

when he said the name. “He demanded to be present and speak to them himself. He is

insistent that we can broker a deal and is rambling on about how useful an ally they

will be.”

“Damn.” Ice was irritated. “Nothing good happens when he is around.”

“Exactly.” Flint gave a nod. “I have Mira locked in our room where she’s out of

sight and I put a few guards outside my quarters. I don’t trust that bastard since he

hates all humans.” He focused on Megan. “My wife would like to meet you, Megan.

Mira is from Earth. I’m afraid she may want to spend hours talking to you. I believe

she’s lonely for another woman to spend time with and I hope you will humor her.”

A human had married the big cyborg? It surprised her but she managed a nod.

“That sounds nice.”

“Good.” Flint turned, addressing the rows of cyborgs standing at attention. “I want

everyone prepared for the worst. You heard Ice’s female and read the report.” He

turned then, staring down at Megan. “If this goes bad, do you have any suggestions?

We’re prepared to attempt electrocution in case that flaw design wasn’t fixed.”

“Pray,” she said softly.

The dark-haired cyborg softly cursed. “Great.” He lifted his head, stared up at a

camera, and nodded. “They are docking.” He faced another door. “We’re boarding their

shuttle. If a fight takes place we are going to retreat and attack their ship. That is a

target we know how to deal with.”

Ice nodded and spoke softly. “You heard Flint. Keep linked to me and if this goes

bad undock and we’ll meet up at our preplanned destination. Do not wait for us to

return. We’ll stay aboard the Star.” He met Megan’s raised eyebrow. “I’m talking to the

Rally. We’re in constant communication.”


Touching Ice

Doors opened and Megan tensed, expecting the Markus Models to enter the large

cargo bay but instead she saw four cyborg males approaching but they weren’t wearing

black uniforms. Instead they wore red matching ones. Ice tensed.

“The council,” he whispered loud enough for Megan to hear. “Zorus is the one on

the far left.”

It stunned her that such a handsome man had such a black heart. He looked tall,

probably at least six foot four with dark-brown hair tied back in a tight ponytail. He had

thick, dark eyelashes that windowed a pair of sexy, dark-brown eyes that locked on her.

The rage she saw when their gazes met had her inching closer to Ice as the four council

members drew near. All cyborgs were beefy, strong men, but Zorus seemed particularly

thick muscled in his shoulders and upper arms.

“Ice.” Zorus glared at Megan. “That is what you risked your career on? She’s not

even attractive.”

Ice moved suddenly, putting his body in front of Megan, blocking her view of the

rude bastard who’d just insulted her. She knew Ice put himself between her and the

council members to protect her.

“Councilman Zorus.” Ice’s tone turned chilly. “She’s attractive. It’s your perspective

of humans that is disagreeable.”

“They can’t be trusted.”

Flint cleared his throat. “The shuttle has docked with us and the Markus Models are

waiting.” Something in his dark eyes flashed. “Why don’t you go first since you set up

this meeting, Councilman Zorus?” He waved his hand toward another door. “After

you, sir.”

Megan craned her head a little to peer around Ice and watched as Zorus shot Flint a

glare but he nodded. “They are going to be aid against the enemy.”

That had to be humans, Megan surmised. She stood there until Ice reached back,

offering her his arm. Her fingers gratefully curled around his forearm as he led her to

follow the four councilmen toward the waiting shuttle that held her biggest fear. The

doors opened and the cyborgs entered in pairs, with Zorus at the lead.

For some reason the councilmen stopped quickly inside and Megan thought she

heard one of them utter a harsh curse. They moved forward again and Ice’s arm tensed

under her fingers. She heard him mutter a four letter word and her gaze flew up to his.

He stared at something ahead of them to the left. She had tall men blocking her view

and didn’t see what captured their attention until they were almost in the center of the

small cargo hold.

Megan stared in horror at the far wall. One of the sex bots was naked, bound by her

wrists pulled above her head, dangling a few feet from the floor, and her hair was gone.

The now-bald bot blinked and as she turned her head to track the movement in the

room, Megan got to see the back of its head from a side view. The rear plate of her skull

was missing so her inner electronics were exposed. The bot’s lips moved but no sound

came out. At that point Megan saw the other damage that had been done to the bot. Her


Laurann Dohner

artificial skin had been cut open in places on her thighs and down one side by her hip to

expose her inner metal frame.

“Oh my God,” Megan gasped. “What did they do to her?” She took a step toward

the bot but Ice’s hand clamped down on her fingers, locking her to him, and kept her in


“Quiet,” he whispered. “Mask your expressions now. They come.”

She heard them before she could see them enter the room. She’d forgotten how

heavy the Markus Models were with their metal interior frames and the resulting

thumps their feet made on the cargo flooring as they drew closer. She had to inch away

from Ice a little to see around the cyborgs in front of her but she couldn’t go far since Ice

had her hand pinned on his arm with his fingers gripping her. Four androids walked

into the cargo area single file and then lined up side by side to face their visitors.

“Eerie,” a cyborg muttered behind Megan.

She knew what he meant. The androids were exact replicas made from the same

mold. If that wasn’t bad enough, they moved in synchronicity, each movement a mirror

as they silently studied the four cyborg council members. Their heads turned at the

same angles, their gazes locking on each male one at a time, and finally someone spoke.

The councilman stepped forward a few feet and halted. “I’m Zorus. You requested

asylum and we’re here to discuss the terms.” He glanced at the four artificially made

men. “Are there more than four of you? Who is in charge?”

“We all are in command,” they said in unison. “This is the number of our strength.”

“Shit,” another cyborg whispered from behind Megan. “So much for Zorus

thinking there are a bunch of models willing to stand up to Earth Government. I’m glad

there’s not more of them. It’s creepy the way they talk together.”

Megan understood that sentiment as well and the uneasiness his voice revealed.

The defense hybrids were hive minded, obviously linked together, and working as one

unit. They hadn’t been designed that way so it was something Megan surmised they’d

changed in their own programming. She had a feeling that the council members were

wishing they’d heeded her warning now as she watched Zorus take a step back from

his potential new allies. He cleared his throat but before he could speak again, they did.

“You brought programmer Megan Bellus with you. As one of our terms, we

demand the threat destroyed.”

Ice reacted first, before Megan’s stunned mind could translate that the machines

wanted her killed. He released her and a heartbeat later put his body directly in front of

hers. His hand reached for the weapon holstered to his belt and gripped it. A tall

cyborg, a bald one, suddenly brushed against Megan’s arm, stepping forward to her

side. Ice turned his head, met the cyborg’s gaze, and nodded.

“Get her out of here if this turns bad, Coal,” he whispered.

The big, bald cyborg nodded grimly and whispered back, “I’ll protect your female

with my life.”


Touching Ice

Ice faced forward and moved to the right, putting himself in full view of the

Markus Models. “We’re not going to kill Megan Bellus for you. Why would you ask

that of us? She’s my wife and she’s not a threat. We brought her with us because she’s

familiar with your kind. We wanted her expertise in our negotiations with you.”

The four Markus Models locked their chilly gazes on Ice. “Humans are expendable,

a threat to our existence, illogical, and we want her destroyed.”

Coal reached out, his arm going across Megan’s chest, and he gently pushed her

behind him. He reached for his weapon as well, gripped it by the handle but didn’t

withdraw it from the holster. He backed up a step and Megan moved with him, having

no other choice as the big cyborg pressed against her.

“I don’t trust humans myself.” Zorus stated. “She did form a family unit with a

cyborg though, which makes her part of our society.”

“We want the threat destroyed,” the models demanded.

Megan inched over a little to peer between the cyborgs in front of her. She saw

Zorus as he glanced back at her, their gazes meeting, and she saw his grim, suspicious

look before he faced the Markus Models again.

“Why is she a threat to you?”

They refused to answer. Megan’s mind went into overdrive. Why were they

considering her such a threat? She’d worked with them but besides that, the only way

she could possibly hurt them was if she used her programming codes but those had to

have been changed. It was standard policy to do that as well as fix the flaws when a

product was released from the testing stage for future use. Their codes would have

changed unless… Oh shit, she thought.

“Ice?” she whispered. She wished she were linked to him mentally the way some of

his men were so she could talk to him without the risk of being overheard.

Onyx moved to stand on the other side of her and leaned down. He pressed his lips

to her ear. “What? Tell me and he can hear you. He doesn’t want to move from his


Megan had to put her hand on his shoulder to lean in, nearly touching his ear with

her lips. “I don’t think Barcarintellus put them into production.”

Onyx frowned, turning his head to stare at her.

She tugged on him, bringing his ear down to whisper into it again. “I think they

may have escaped instead. That’s the only reason I’d be a threat. I know their weakness

and their shutdown codes. If they weren’t fixed, modified by the company, and cleared

for duty, those wouldn’t have been changed.”

Onyx straightened and his expression hardened. He said nothing but she saw Ice

nod ahead of them so he and Onyx were obviously silently communicating. Onyx

hunched down a little and met her eyes. He mouthed his words.

“What is the shutdown code?”


Laurann Dohner

She licked her lips, wetting them, and took his hand. She met his gaze. “Mercy,” she

mouthed back and looked down. She showed him four fingers, then two, then four, and

then one. She looked up. Onyx nodded. He understood.

“We request asylum with you,” the Markus Models stated loudly. “We wish to

integrate with your society and live with your people.” They paused. “How many

cyborgs survived? We would like an exact number.”

Warning bells were going off inside Megan. Why did they want that information? It

was an odd request.

Zorus hesitated. “We’d rather not give that information out.”

“It is a logical question,” the Markus Models stated louder. “We need to know the

exact numbers of surviving cyborgs and their exact location. We demand to know.”

Megan moved forward. Onyx grabbed at her arm but she jerked away and walked

to stand next to Ice. She stared at the models and saw that they noticed her movement

as all four of them turned their heads to stare at her. Ice reached out and put his hand

on her arm, gently tugging to pull her behind him. She jerked back, holding ground.

“Authorization beta-one-four-four-six. State your real mission. That’s a direct


“What are you doing?” Zorus hissed. “How dare you interrup―”

“We are going to exchange cyborgs for cash reward and then buy more models to

conform to our mission and save the rest of our brothers,” the Markus Models stated.

Megan’s heart nearly stopped as the shock tore through her. Her gaze jerked up to

stare at Ice. “We have about fifty seconds before they aren’t frozen by that command,”

she told everyone in the room.

“Shut them down,” Ice barked.

Megan nodded. “Authorization mercy-four-two-four-one.”

“They were setting a trap for us,” Zorus gasped, astonished. “They wanted us to

lead them to Garden and the rest of our people.”

“Megan stated it was a bad idea to meet with them in the first place.” Ice glared at

the councilman. “I put that in my report but you discounted her opinion because she’s


“I hate to break up the finger pointing,” Megan said loudly, “but just because I shut

them down doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way. I don’t know what kind of modifications

they made to themselves. They obviously somehow escaped the testing facility.

Barcarintellus didn’t change their authorization codes so that’s where they came from.”

“You shut them down.” Flint spoke. “Doesn’t that mean they will stay off until they

are turned back on?”

“Not necessarily. They are unstable and were always messing with their own

programming.” Megan stared up at Ice. “I say we fry them just to be sure. Since the

codes weren’t changed, nor were their flaws, they are still vulnerable to electrocution.”


Touching Ice

“No.” Zorus shook his head. “We could study them. We’ll take them to the Vontage

and use that ship to secure them while we bring a team of our best scientists from

Garden to run tests.”

Megan glared at the man. “Let me tell you something, sir―”

“Shut it up,” Zorus yelled, glaring at Ice. “I do not speak to humans. Silence her.”

“They escaped a high-security testing facility,” Megan spoke louder, unwilling to

be shut up by the rude cyborg. “They would have turned them off and the only way I

can figure they may have escaped is by bypassing that command somehow. You can bet

that the guards didn’t just allow them to walk out the doors. They―”

“I’ll shut it up myself permanently,” Zorus snarled, taking steps toward Megan.

Ice grabbed her, pulled her out of the advancing cyborg’s path, but then another

cyborg moved in his way as well. Zorus was blocked from getting closer to her. Ice

glanced down and shook his head at Megan, silently ordering to her not talk anymore.

She sealed her lips and kept them together.

Flint glared at the councilman. “They are dangerous. They lured us here to find out

our numbers and obviously planned to trick us into leading them to our home world.

We should end the threat now.”

“If we are destroying all threats to us then every human should be taken out as

well.” Zorus marched right up to Flint and glared at him. “I give the orders.”

“A human, my Megan, just saved us from making a fatal mistake to our future,” Ice

snarled. “These Markus Models should be destroyed. You refused to listen to her advice

before but you were wrong. If she thinks they pose a danger, we should listen to her.”

“I give the orders,” Zorus snapped. He looked away from Ice and glanced at a few

of the cyborgs around him. “You, you, you, and you. Come with me. We’re going to

pilot this shuttle to the Vontage.”

“Perhaps the human is correct.” One of the council members spoke.

“I refuse to listen to one of them.” Zorus turned and stormed toward the doors that

led to the interior of the shuttle they were on. “We’re not going to pass on an

opportunity to study the technology that Earth has come up with to make them. They

could be the next threat we face if Earth Government ever sends these things after us. I

want to know their weaknesses.”

Two of the council members nodded, following Zorus while one remained. He

sighed, glancing at the men around him. “You heard him. I believe it is a possibility that

we may face this threat in the future. We have a rare opportunity to study them.”

They were making a big, stupid mistake, Megan thought. She glanced up at Ice, seeing

the frustration on his face as he stared at Flint. Flint had a grim expression as he


“You heard their orders.” He paused. “We’ll warn the Vontage crew what is coming

their way. Steel will take every precaution.” Flint focused on Megan. “Will you share all


Laurann Dohner

your information with us so if this goes bad they can at least attempt to neutralize the


“Of course.” She turned and looked up at the sex bot still hanging. “Ice?”

“Yes, Megan?” He inched closer.

“Can you please get the bot down? Please? I can’t stand to see her that way. I think I

can fix what they did to her.”

Ice glanced at Onyx.

Onyx nodded. “I’ll cut it down and bring it aboard the Rally.”

“Thank you,” Megan whispered, looking away from the damaged bot. What had

been done to it was horrible. She didn’t know if she could fix it but she couldn’t stand to

see one that way. “What about the other bots?”

“Coal? Find the other eleven bots if they are still on the shuttle and transfer them to

the Rally quickly please, before they undock this shuttle from the Star. I figure you have

about half an hour while they assess if they booby-trapped the systems before

attempting to take control of it.”

“Of course.” Coal headed for the doors that the council and the four ordered

cyborgs had gone through.

Ice shook his head. “Let’s contact Steel now and warn him.” He held out his arm to

Megan. “He’ll want to talk to you, Megan. He’s going to want to know everything you

can tell him about those things, in case they somehow reboot since they are going to be

on his ship. He’s a good friend of ours and he’s also married to a human. He’s going to

be furious that not only is Zorus bringing danger aboard the Vontage but that he’d dare

go there in the first place. Zorus once attempted to prevent Steel from forming a family

unit with his female.”

“I really don’t like Zorus,” she muttered, wrapping her fingers around Ice’s arm,

allowing him to lead her back to the Star’s cargo bay.

He answered her by snorting. “No one likes him.”

They were walking toward the Rally’s docking door when a cyborg approached. Ice

turned to face him and his body tensed. “Darius.”

The cyborg’s attention wandered leisurely over Megan’s body. “Aren’t you afraid

you’ll break something so weak?”

“No.” Ice’s silvery-blue gaze narrowed dangerously. “Aren’t you afraid I’ll break

you for insulting the woman in my family unit?”

Megan glanced between Ice and the other cyborg, wondering what was going on.

The dislike between them was evident. Ice tugged her closer to his body and put his

arm around her.

“What do you want? Your father is aboard the Earth shuttle.”

“I’m aware. He linked with me and ordered me to find you to give you orders. You

turned off your link. Your female is ordered for duty to assist with his new project. He


Touching Ice

is expecting her on the Earth shuttle immediately so she’s on hand if there is a


“No,” Ice snarled. His arm dropped from around Megan’s waist and he stepped

forward, going nose to nose with the other cyborg. “She’s the female in a family unit

and I do not give my permission for her to be assigned to a dangerous mission.

Councilman Zorus has no right to do that.”

Darius took a step back and his dark eyebrows rose. “My father assumed you’d

take that stand. I am to remind you that your DNA is no longer needed on Garden, nor

is your female’s. We don’t want to contaminate our gene pool with your contributions

any longer.” He lowered his gaze, staring at Megan. “And she is just useless in general

unless a male needs sexual release.”

Ice took a threatening step toward the other cyborg and Megan saw rage on his

features. She grabbed his arm to stop him from hitting the jerk. If Zorus was his father

then Ice would probably get in trouble if he decked the rude cyborg.

“It’s okay,” she said quickly as Ice jerked his head to stare down at her. “He’s the

one not worth it.”

Ice stepped back and glared at the cyborg. Darius smiled coldly. “My father wants

her on the Earth shuttle now.”

“I go with her.”

Relief was instant for Megan. She didn’t want to be on the same shuttle with the

Markus Models without Ice.

Darius paused, obviously listening to a voice in his head. “My father said that is

acceptable. Proceed now.”

“We need clothes.”

“He said now.” Darius jerked his head and smiled coldly. “Right now.”

Ice glared at the other man and his hands fisted at his sides. Megan rubbed the arm

she still gripped. She wasn’t happy to be stuck in the heavy leather uniform for

however long it would take to reach the Vontage but she was too grateful to still be with

Ice to really allow it to bother her.

“What is his problem?” she whispered as they walked away.

Ice stopped walking and met her curious gaze. “He’s a completely sterile male in

my breeding pact. The drugs do not work on him. His female requested my DNA as her

donor for his child and the one for herself. It was successful both times and then she

called upon me for a third time. After each breeding session, she offered me a place in

their family unit but I refused. She already has two males in the family unit and he did

not like her wanting me to join their unit.”

Cyborgs do get jealous, she thought. “I understand.”

Ice nodded. “We do not get along. He is angry that three offspring in his family are

all from my DNA.”

“I got it.”


Laurann Dohner

Ice sighed. “Let’s go. Councilman Zorus can be an ass when he’s made to wait.”


Touching Ice


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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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