Taru kept her breathing slow and low to make him think she was asleep. In truth, she was well-rested. Worse, she needed to stretch her legs. Take a look around this base to see what it had readily at-hand. Memorize where things were located.

When the door closed, and she didn’t sense him remaining inside the room, she opened her eyes. Sitting up, she stared at the portal with a sense of regret. She didn’t need to be a mind reader to know what might be going through his head. Kirby had paid good cred to bring her here. That much she knew from what her seller had told her, and then after overhearing her captors talk about what they’d demanded in payment to ship fifteen females to the mining colony.

The image of him emerging from the bedroom after his shower floated in her mind’s eye. His jumpsuit hung around his waist, his upper torso bared as he strode in to join her. His skin glowed from the massaging spray, and she’d been taken aback by the sight of his wide chest and well-defined muscles. She hadn’t expected to discover he was built like a male Gyra warrior, and the thought of his initial intent on bringing her here resurfaced.

She knew what would be expected of her when she arrived. At best, she’d become a sex slave to the whims of her owner. Although that probability disgusted her, she kept reminding herself she’d do what she must to survive in order to find a way off the moon where she could hopefully contact one of her ships and be rescued.

That had initially been her plan. However, it was the off-hand remark from one of her captors, right before she was sealed inside the container, when they believed she was unconscious, that worried her.

“Those miners got some serious creds on ‘em. Hell, if they can cough up thirty-six thousand apiece without blinking an eye, who knows what they could be sitting on? They don’t go nowhere. They’re pretty much tied to that rock they’re drilling on. Betcha if we took a good look, we’d find enough lying around to put us in the clear for several solar years.”

“How are we going to get a look around? You know that place has to be well-guarded. For shit sake, they’re drilling argasstium! That alone means they gotta have the armament to defend the place in case someone tries to attack!”

There was the sound of a snort. “Don’t worry. I got it taken care of. They ain’t gonna know what hit ‘em until it’s too late. Trust me on this. Those miners are done for. And by the time the drilling company sends someone over to find out why they’re not answering their comm or producing any ore, ain’t a single one of ‘em is gonna be left alive.”

Taru stared at the door. She’d been sealed inside her container before she was able to hear anything else being said, but she knew why those men had spoken so blatantly in front of her. They believed they had complete impunity. She was Gyra. Therefore, these New Terran miners wouldn’t believe a word of what she told them, even if she discovered their intent.

What enraged her more was knowing that whatever those men had planned, the loss of life was minimal to them. Including those of the females they shipped over there.

“We are being used for something, but for what?” she murmured.

The thought of Kirby dying flashed through her mind, and she immediately felt a deep sense of regret. Those other miners meant nothing to her. Even though none of them had treated her with anger, or raised a fist to her, they still regarded her as the enemy.

“But not Kirby,” she emphasized. “He has protected me. He has stood up for me.”

But he is the enemy!

She couldn’t argue that. “If I tell him what I know, he will believe me.”

You know that for certain?

“Yes. I do. But if he tells the others, chances are they will not.”

But what if they do believe him? What if they fortify themselves, and are able to ward off whatever those men had planned? You know where you will end up. Right where you are now. A sex slave to a New Terran. A plaything. A vessel for his enjoyment. Nothing more.

The vision of his physique flashed again before her.

“I cannot believe that,” she argued with herself. “Maybe those men will allow me to roam this base as a way of showing their gratitude.” As soon as she said the words, Taru automatically shook off that idea. “Kirby would. Those men would not.”

Another possibility came to her. “What if I go ahead and let Kirby take me physically? And then I let him know about what those men are planning? And he offers me my freedom after they are defeated?”

You know he will not let you go after you have proven how valuable you are to them!

All her arguments had substance. All her propositions were as ethereal as smoke. Yet there remained the one single question.

“Do I tell him what I heard?”

The image of Kirby lying still, his lifeblood flowing out of him as he struggled to take his last breath, filled her with an anxiety she’d never felt before.

Crawling off the bed, she left the room to confront him.