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Knowing Zip

Cynthia Sax

Abducted by the warrior of her dreams.

Zip is the last of his friends to find his female, the one being meant for him. He isn’t certain she exists until he hears her voice over a transmission. A self-proclaimed systems deity, he researches his curvy little human and discovers she dreams of being abducted by a big, strong warrior. Zip plans to make his female’s fantasies come true.

Ryssa wants one gift for her birthing planet rotation—to be captured by a warrior, preferably a tall, muscular cyborg with black hair, gray skin, and brilliant blue eyes. When Zip arrives on her planet, claiming to be her male, Ryssa assumes one of her friends has ordered the experience for her, and throws herself into the encounter, losing herself in Zip’s hot kisses, sensual touch, dominant embrace.

When the fantasy fades, will their love survive?

* * *

Knowing Zip is a short companion story in the Cyborg Sizzle series and is meant to be read after Seeking Vector.

It is also a BBW Cyborg SciFi Romance.





Knowing Zip

Published by Cynthia Sax at Smashwords

Copyright 2017 Cynthia Sax

Ebook design by Mark's Ebook Formatting

Cover Design by Amanda Kelsey at Razzle Dazzle Design

Discover more books by Cynthia Sax at her website

www.CynthiaSax.com

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this story are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

First edition: December 2017

For more information contact Cynthia Sax at

www.CynthiaSax.com





Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Afterword

Note to Readers

A New Addition to Earth Minor

About The Author





Chapter One

Some warriors would never find their females, the unique beings genetically compatible with them.

Zip wouldn’t be one of those warriors.

His female was out there, waiting for him somewhere in the universe. He would locate her, claim her, protect her.

Earth Minor’s solitary sun warmed Zip’s body armor-clad shoulders as he marched along a well-beaten path, patrolling the area he had been assigned to protect. Stones crunched under his big boots. Insects hummed. Leaves rustled.

Being a cyborg and a systems deity, capable of performing multiple tasks at once, Zip scanned Rebel and Humanoid Alliance systems as he walked, listening to snippets of conversations, hoping to hear the one voice that would make his body react.

His female’s.

He had searched the databases for four hundred and fifty-one planet rotations, operating at inhumanly fast speed, never slowing, never stopping.

He was determined to track her down.

Ahead of him, Vapor battled Green in a makeshift dirt ring. Vapor was a more advanced model, smaller, quicker, more strategic in his fighting. Green, a fellow D Model, relied on his brute strength.

He charged Vapor. Their bodies smacked together. Vapor flew across the ring, skidding along his back in the dirt. The K Model jumped to his feet and surged forward. His right fist plowed into Green’s face, shattering his nose. The warrior spat blood and counterattacked.

Vapor’s female, Green’s female, and their offspring, some natural, some war orphans, cheered and winced and hollered advice. They sat on rows of fallen tree trunks, the audience divided into teams.

When Zip found his female, he too, would have someone to cheer for him. He would have a being in the audience.

“You can fight me next, D Model.” Vapor called out to him as he passed the ring. The warrior continued to block Green’s punches, not missing a beat, the slap of fists against skin reverberating across the space.

“I’ll defeat you later, K Model.” Zip laughed. He had a female to find.

Both of the warriors paused in their fighting to frown at him.

They were worried about him. Zip heard their transmissions, saw their shared glances. He had been spending too much of each planet rotation alone and that was unlike cyborgs.

They didn’t know about his search. Uncertain of its success, he hadn’t shared that information with them.

Ka-Na is asking about you, Barrel transmitted mere moments later. Join us by the river.

His friend had planned that outing for his female and the offspring they’d claimed as theirs. It was a family event.

Zip didn’t belong at the river and he preferred to concentrate on the database scanning. I’ll see Ka-Na before she starts her rest cycle.

Zip stomped along the path. Butterflies flew upward, a cloud of brilliant yellow coloring the breeze. Vegetation swayed, bending walls of green positioned around him. Bees buzzed from flower to flower.

The planet was an oasis in a war-torn universe. He was free, was no longer under the Humanoid Alliance’s harsh control. His brethren, their females, offspring surrounded him, cared for him.

That should be all any warrior needed.

It wasn’t sufficient for him. He craved the type of love, the connection only his female could give him, yearned for offspring of his own, longed for a future shared with another being.

Having completed his perimeter check, Zip sat under a tree, leaned against the trunk, gazed unseeingly at the nature before him.

He wasn’t an aberration. There were other female-less warriors on Earth Minor. They were transient visitors, however, leaving for assignments on the Homeland and in the vast expanse of space.

Barrel and Green were his close friends. He’d miss them if he left. They were a part of him, his left and right hands, and Earth Minor was his home.

He had to locate his female. That was his number-one mission. Zip shut down all non-vital operations, redirecting that energy toward his search. The voices sped through his processors, racing faster and faster, a stream of chatter.

Vapor is boasting he can battle both of us at the same time and be victorious, Green transmitted. Shall we show the K Model he’s wrong?

Zip stifled his sigh. They were determined to include him in activities. I’m—

Planet rotation. Those two words caressed his processors, that snippet of a conversation stopping his words and hardening his cock.

You’re—what? Green prompted.

Zip’s circuits surged with excitement. Had he located his female? I can’t communicate at the moment.

You’re a cyborg. You can complete multiple tasks at—

He ended the transmission, severing his friend’s protest. Green, having found his female, would understand.

Zip backtracked the conversations he’d been monitoring, recovered the communication.

Had his female sent it? His heart pounded.

Battle had never scared him. He had been manufactured to fight, had confronted the specter of death again and again, always with a grin on his face. He loved it.

The possibility he was wrong about tracking down his female terrified him. It was everything he’d ever desired—love, companionship, a future.

Zip closed his eyes and played the footage. The image of a human female filled his processors, her beautiful countenance hitting him like a punch to his gut.

Her eyes were as blue as a clear Earth Minor sky. Her curly brown hair was streaked with blonde, like sun rays streaming over the bark of a tree. Her full cheeks and upturned nose were speckled with flicks of brown pigment, he believed the humans called the spots freckles. He wanted to kiss each one.

There wasn’t a sharp angle on this gorgeous being; her chin was rounded, her curves clad in a plain brown flight suit, generous. She was the perfect female for a large D Model cyborg like himself.

He wanted her more than he wanted anyone or anything else.

“Hi, Leesa.” Her voice coiled around him, intensifying his need. “Sorry about missing your communication. Don’t worry about my birthing planet rotation. You’re constructing domiciles for needy families, making your new world habitable. You can’t trek across galaxies for an event that happens every solar cycle.”

Her smile didn’t reach her eyes. There was a sadness in their depths Zip yearned to dissipate.

“I’ll likely go out for a fermented beverage with the females at work.” She summoned a more cheerful tone. “And hope for that abduction we always joked about.” Her laugh was shaky. “I’m still waiting for a big strong warrior to take me away from all this.” She spread her arms. “I don’t think he’s ever coming for me, but a female can dream, can’t she?”

Zip’s eyes widened. He was a big strong warrior. His female had been waiting for him to retrieve her.

“I love you, my friend.” His female touched the recording device. “I hope to see you soon…or not.” Her lips twitched. “If you don’t hear from me, you know the warrior came for me.” The communication ended.

Her warrior would come for her. Zip was determined to make her dream a reality.

The message had been sent the previous planet rotation from Ryssa Athy on Erinome V. His female’s name was Ryssa. He rolled it on his tongue. It suited her, beautiful with an underlying strength.

She was a credit processor at a beverage outlet. Those credits would soon be processed by someone else. Unable to stop gazing at her, Zip displayed her image, along with her specs.

According to the Humanoid Alliance databases, she would celebrate another solar cycle of living in twenty-three planet rotations. He could arrive within that duration.

Zip jumped to his booted feet. Some of the warriors had been manufactured on Erinome V. Vapor’s female had called that planet home for a duration. He would contact them, compile data on the terrain, culture, landing procedures, other information.

I require use of our ship, he transmitted to Barrel and Green.

Are we under attack? Alarm edged Barrel’s question.

I’ll start the engines. Green didn’t wait for a response. Vapor will ready his ship. Did you notify the other warriors?

There’s no need to notify the other warriors. Zip tried to calm the males. We’re not under attack. He stalked toward the ships. I require the ship for a personal mission.

You have undertaken a personal mission? Vapor joined the transmission. One that urgently requires one of our ships?

You’ve found your female. Barrel guessed correctly. You’re retrieving her.

The three males waited by the warship. Green and Vapor were covered with blood, their faces bruised, their noses flattened, their lips split open. Barrel was suspiciously wet, a puddle of water forming around him.

“She’s on Erinome V.” Zip shared, not attempting to conceal his joy.

He was now one of them. A big smile stretched across his face. He had a female to love, to protect.

“Erinome V is a Humanoid Alliance planet, a former site of a cyborg manufacturing compound.” Vapor grimaced. “That will make it a challenging retrieval.”

His female’s friend’s planet would have been easier to land upon. It was sparsely populated and not heavily monitored by the Humanoid Alliance.

Abducting Ryssa from Erinome V would be more complex.

But that mission was still achievable.

“When you contact the cyborg council, requesting authorization for the mission, request additional warriors.” Barrel advised.

“I must retrieve her immediately.” Zip wasn’t waiting for authorization or additional warriors. He opened their warship, lowering the ramp.

“Ask her to meet you on a less-monitored planet.” Green suggested.

“That isn’t possible.”

“Why isn’t it possible?” Vapor stepped in front of him, blocking his access to the ramp.

They wouldn’t like his answer. Zip dropped his gaze, his smile wavering. “She doesn’t know I’m retrieving her.”

“What?” The warriors stared at him.

They were cyborgs with a cyborg’s enhanced auditory system. They heard him. “I haven’t communicated with her.”

Their mouths dropped open.

“You’re retrieving her and you haven’t communicated with her.” Barrel was the first to recover. “Females don’t like to be surprised like that.”

“My female will like it.” She dreamed of being abducted. “Your female didn’t know you were retrieving her.”

“I had spoken with her.” His friend straightened. “She wanted to be retrieved.”

“My female wants to be retrieved also.” Zip didn’t perceive any significant difference between the two situations.

“You’ve found your female?”

He turned. Barrel’s and Green’s females stood behind him, their faces flushed, their heaving chests clad in body armor.

He would have to craft a protective garment for his female also.

That thought gave him pleasure.

“You are supposed to be guarding the offspring.” Barrel moved to his female’s side.

“Mira, Gap, Red, and the other warriors are doing that.” She lifted her chin. “We came to help you.”

“This is our home also.” Green’s female declared, her tone daring the warriors to argue with her. “We have the right to defend it.”

“Defending our home isn’t necessary.” Zip stopped any rebuke from the males. “Yes, I’ve found my female. I plan to retrieve her.”

“What’s her name?”

“Does she have any plants?”

“What is she like?”

“Has she ever eaten ancient Earth nourishment?”

The two females peppered him with questions, their faces bright with curiosity. They thought he had all the answers and he didn’t.

“He doesn’t know.” Barrel’s voice was dry. “He has never spoken with her.”

Barrel’s female blinked once, twice. “You should speak with her.”

“That’s what we told him.” Barrel’s expression was smug.

“You’re changing her entire lifespan.” Green’s female nodded. “You have to at least give her the illusion of choice.”

Fraggin’ hole. Zip clenched his jaw. All five of them disagreed with his plan. His friends wouldn’t allow him to leave the planet if he didn’t convince them the mission was viable. “She dreams of being abducted by a big, strong warrior.”

“And you plan to make her dreams come true.” Green’s female’s lips rounded. “That’s very romantic.”

“Very.” Barrel’s female’s head dipped. “Then you can’t communicate with her.”

“What about the illusion of choice?” Barrel frowned.

“She’s made this choice.” Barrel’s female patted the warrior’s chest.

“But he should give her control over the other decisions.” Green’s female added. “He should capitulate to her wishes, if at all possible.”

“And if she wants to leave me?” Zip’s jaw jutted. He wouldn’t agree to that.

“She won’t.” Green’s female reassured him. “You’re a wonderful being, so careful with all of our plants.”

“You’re a systems deity.” Barrel’s female chimed in. “And she’s your female. She’ll feel your connection.”

“We felt the connection to our males.” Green’s female gazed at her warrior, her face soft with caring. “It will be the same for her.”

Zip had felt the connection. His shoulders lowered. His female would also.

“And we’ll make her feel welcome.” Barrel’s female added. “We’ll stock the ship with an assortment of nourishment bars and beverages.”

“A couple of flowering plants to brighten your chambers.” Green’s female wrinkled her forehead. “Ixora coccinea or perhaps Pelargonium peltatum.”

“Mira will choose garments for her. The offspring will create images for the walls and—”

“I’m leaving this planet rotation.” He curbed the flow of ideas.

The females gazed at him, then at each other. Green’s female looked up at the sky. “The sun is still low on the horizon. We can make the preparations in a planet rotation.”

“I’m leaving right now.” Zip amended, not wanting to wait one more moment to see his female.

Barrel’s female pressed her lips together the way she always did when one of the offspring gave her the wrong answer. “She knows nothing about you, Zip, and she might not know anything about cyborgs, other than you’re manufactured to kill beings and the faulty view that you’re a machine. She’ll be scared. Any intelligent female will be. A decorated chamber will ease her fears.”

“Bad beings don’t grow plants.” Green’s female added, her tone certain.

Zip gritted his teeth. He questioned the logic about bad beings and plants and he saw no need for the preparations they proposed.

Ryssa was his female. She would sense their link, wouldn’t fear him.

But denying his friends’ females this task would damage them emotionally and he would never do that. “Make the preparations quickly.”

“Yay.” The females cheered. “We’ll recruit Mira.” They hooked their arms and rushed away to find Vapor’s female, leaving the males gazing after them.

Vapor shook his head as though to clear his processors. “You’ll require weapons.”

That, Zip agreed on. A warrior could never have too many weapons.

***

The sun rose the next planet rotation and Zip still hadn’t left Earth Minor. His ship was fully stocked, his databases were crammed with information about Erinome V and he had a plan to secure his female. With the assistance of his brethren, he had plotted his mission, increasing its probability of success.

Arsenal, one of the visiting K Models, had volunteered to accompany him. The warrior would stay with the ship while Zip retrieved his female. Arse was already inside the vessel, completing systems checks.

“We left a variety of garments in your chamber.” Vapor’s female held her warrior’s hand. “She should like one of them.”

She should. Zip’s lips twisted. He’d seen the stack of garments. It was high.

“The plants require very little care.” Green’s female had exchanged her body armor for a sundress, an ancient Earth garment. Green gazed at her as though she was the only being in the clearing.

“There’s an image from every offspring hanging on the walls.” Barrel’s female informed him. The offspring, in various stages of undress, bounced around them, chattering excitedly.

“Ka-Na.” The young Tau Cetian female, perched on Barrel’s shoulders, waved her hands in the air. Her name was the only word she was capable of saying.

But Zip heard the caring in her voice, saw the same emotion on all of their faces. They wanted him to be happy, were excited about welcoming Ryssa to their family.

“I’ll return soon.” His voice was gruff. “With my female.”

“We’ll be waiting here for you.” Vapor’s female’s eyes sported a suspicious sheen.

Fraggin’ hole. Once one female cried, they all would, and then the offspring would follow.

Zip stomped up the ramp, seeking to leave before that happened. Start the engines, he transmitted to Arse as he closed the ship’s doors.

Starting the engines, the warrior confirmed.

The floor tiles vibrated under Zip’s booted feet. He moved through the ship, entered the bridge. The K Model was at the helm.

“You want control of the ship?” Arse asked.

“You can have it.” Zip claimed one of the other seats.

“Because D Models can’t fly.” The warrior’s eyes glittered with emotion.

If he were any other male, Zip would label that emotion as humor but this was Arse. The male was one of the grimmest beings he had ever met.

“This D Model has a female to retrieve.” Zip grinned. His flying skills were adequate and his systems skills were unmatched.

“You’re a lucky bag of bolts.” Arse muttered. “You might want to wipe the goofy smile off your face when you retrieve her. Your teeth will reflect the light.”

“Frag you.” Zip noted that piece of advice.

The ship lifted off the ground. The trees around them bowed in the manufactured wind, the leaves fluttering wildly.

Arse was right. He was a lucky bag of bolts. In mere planet rotations, he’d meet his female, see her, touch her, speak with her.

While they traveled to Erinome V, he would help Arse search for his female. If there was a being for Zip, there might be a being for every warrior.

Silence stretched in the bridge. There was chatter over the transmission lines. Zip participated in some of the conversations, but none of them came from the K Model.

Zip knew very little about the warrior. “Why did you volunteer for this mission?”

“Because I’m disposable.” He shrugged. “And you’re not. You have beings who would miss you if you were killed.”

“Beings would miss you.” No cyborg was truly alone. “The warriors in your manufacturing batch—”

“The warriors I was closest to didn’t survive training.”

The Humanoid Alliance training had been brutal. Warriors were forced to kill the weak, the defective. Some of the inferior fighters were decommissioned by the humans, sliced and diced, ravaged for parts. “Since you’ve been freed—”

“I’ve moved from ship to ship.” Arse’s expression was blank, revealing nothing. “I add value but I’m interchangeable. If I died, I would be immediately replaced.” He met Zip’s gaze. There was emptiness in his humanlike eyes. “Even on this mission, I’m merely a being to stay with the ship. Anyone could do that.”

Zip had felt lonely but the K Model was truly emotionally isolated. He had no home, no close brethren, no offspring to decorate his chamber. “I’m relying on you to protect my female’s lifespan. Not Green, not Barrel, not any of the other warriors. You. And she isn’t interchangeable. I’ve searched for her for hundreds of planet rotations. She’s my future, my everything, and her safety is in your hands.”

Arse stared ahead of him at the main viewscreen. The ship was now in open space, the image of glittering stars against a backdrop of stars.

“I won’t fail you, D Model,” he finally said.

Zip wouldn’t allow Arse to fail him. He’d safeguard Ryssa with his lifespan.

His female merely didn’t know that yet.





Chapter Two

Thus far, Ryssa’s birthing planet rotation wasn’t anything to communicate about. After her shift, she exited the dusty, dimly lit working chambers at the back of the structure and positioned herself at the end of the long serving center, perching on a tall backless seat.

Her superior gave her a free container of fermented beverage. Ryssa nursed it for as long as she could, lingering at the beverage station, contributing to the conversations around her, accepting the well-wishes of her associates.

Males buzzed around her. Some were Humanoid Alliance warriors, temporarily assigned to Erinome V. None of them interested her, the males falling short of her fantasies. They were more fascinated with the scantily dressed servers than with her.

In her dreams, the warrior saw only her, wanted only her. She was the center of his world.

That warrior also had gray skin, black hair, and brilliant blue eyes, which communicated how unrealistic her dreams were. Cyborgs were considered by many to be cold, unthinking machines.

She had been fantasizing about them since she matured, a secret she hadn’t ever shared with anyone. Leesa, her best friend, was aware of her warrior obsession but thought that dream warrior was human.

No one knew she was a freak. Ryssa sighed.

Her superior, an older human male, appeared at her side. “The beverage center is busy.”

They needed the seat for credit-spending patrons. “I’m leaving.” Ryssa took a last sip of her beverage and slid to her booted feet.

She didn’t have extra credits to spend on beverage. The servers earned more than she did.

But she had a role. She should be grateful for that. With the Humanoid Alliance losing the war, credits were stretched tight for everyone.

Especially on Erinome V. She had applied for settler placements on unexplored planets, but not having the necessary experience, she’d been rejected. Leesa, being a structural engineer, had been accepted.

Watching her mom die from radiation sickness five solar cycles ago had been the toughest planet rotation of her lifespan. Waving goodbye to Leesa as her friend embarked on the grand adventure Ryssa had always wanted to experience had been the second toughest.

All of her friends had left Erinome V. She communicated with them regularly and they shared images of their exotic new worlds.

That was the closest she’d ever get to leaving the planet…unless her warrior finally appeared.

Ryssa smiled ruefully, moving through the crowd. Servers hugged her, wishing her a happy planet rotation. They were nice females, were genuine in their comments.

She exited the structure’s doors. The sun had set. The sky was dark. The air smelled of spilled engine fuel and uncleansed bodies.

“Happy celebration of your birthing, Ryssa.” Joet, the guardian at the entrance, crossed his big arms. The male was a big brother to every being at the beverage center. “Can I call you a transport?”

“Thanks, but I’ll walk for a while.” She trekked along the illuminated pathway, her heels striking the artificial stone.

There was very little natural anything on Erinome V, every space developed. Tall structures surrounded her, each one depressingly the same. Leesa would call their design uninspired.

The planet was crowded but the pathway was eerily empty. Residents took transports everywhere, the small ships whizzing past her.

She longed for a patch of vegetation, clean air, peace.

Ryssa stopped and stared up at the sky. Many of the lights in it moved, larger ships outnumbering the stationary stars. “Fantasy warrior, if you’re out there, you can take me away now. I’m ready.”

A rough hand covered her mouth. She screamed, the sound muffled by a male’s palm, as she was pulled backward, dragged between two structures.

“I’m ready also.” The voice in her right ear was low, deep, masculine.

Arousing. Her nipples tightened. Her pussy grew wet.

He was a stranger. She shouldn’t be reacting this way to him. Ryssa struggled, kicking her booted heels against his shins, punching his arms, trying to free herself.

“Be still, my female. You’ll damage yourself.” He restrained her easily, the strength in his form unparalleled. The male was tall and wide and there was no softness in him. “This is what you want, what you asked to receive for your birthing planet rotation.”

Her birthing planet rotation. Ryssa became still. How did he know that was this planet rotation and how did he know she wanted to be abducted?

She’d only shared that secret fantasy with Leesa, her best friend.

Oh. Ryssa’s eyes widened. This must be her gift. Leesa must have arranged this experience for her.

“You’re safe.” The warrior’s lips brushed over Ryssa’s earlobe and she trembled, the peculiar bubbling sensation on her skin arousing her. “I would die before damaging you.”

Hot damn. Leesa had fed this male some sexy lines.

“I have to do this.” He unwound two restraints from his forearm. “We’re on a Humanoid Alliance-controlled planet.” He bound her wrists quickly. She tried to pull her hands apart, couldn’t move them. He slipped the second strip of leather between her lips, fastening it behind her head. “If you make a noise and attract their attention, they’ll pursue us and I’ll have to kill them.”

Her male, her gift, had restrained and gagged her. Ryssa’s toes curled in her boots. Yes, please.

He turned her and she sucked in her breath. The male had black hair, gray skin, brilliant blue eyes. His fit form was clad in skintight black body armor. A D followed by numbers was inked on one cheek.

Her abductor-for-hire was the spitting image of her fantasy warrior. Ryssa’s chest grew tight with wanting while her brain spun. How had her friend known about her cyborg obsession? She was certain she hadn’t told anyone.

Leesa must have somehow figured it out. Ryssa stared at the male. He was standing before her, not a cyborg, but a human pretending to be a cyborg.

That was close enough for her and her sex-deprived body. She desired the warrior, would indulge every naughty dream she’d ever had about him.

“I’m abducting you now.” He bracketed her face with his rough hands.

He was abducting her now. She swallowed her laughter and nodded, his words reassuring her. A real abductor wouldn’t tell her that.

“You’re very brave.” The warrior lifted her off the ground and slung her over his shoulder. Ryssa wasn’t a small female. Yet he handled her as though she weighed nothing.

He ran, inhumanly fast. The buildings and lights blurred around her. She grasped his back, felt his muscles undulate under the body armor.

Ryssa’s adventure was manufactured, had been purchased by her friend, but her excitement was real. This was different. This was daring. This was out of the ordinary. Her warrior-for-hire might have a script. She didn’t know what would happen next.

Unable to contain her enthusiasm, she squirmed.

“Stay still.” Her abductor squeezed her ass hard. Pain and pleasure flowed over her. She pressed her thighs together.

His hand closed around her curves a second time and she moaned, the sound muffled by the gag. They’d fuck, his grasp on her ass communicated. She would be his in all ways.

Ryssa desired that. She wanted him to take her, dominate her, force her to do what they’d both enjoy.

Stars. She hoped the scene of that ravishment wasn’t far.

The warrior stopped abruptly. Had they arrived? Ryssa looked around her and silently sighed. Nope. They were standing on a landing site, a space not-at-all conducive to fucking.

There were ships to her left and to her right, their shadows falling over her. One of those vessels might be theirs for the planet rotation, part of the abduction package.

Her warrior lowered her. Her body rubbed along his. He was aroused; the bulge in his garment was pronounced, long and thick.

Ryssa’s mouth dried.

Her warrior shoved her behind him, the abruptness of the action making her frown. He backed up, forcing her to do the same until she was wedged between his back and the wall behind her.

She couldn’t see anything.

“It’s one of our ships.” A male voice cut through the silence.

“But what is it doing here?” Another male asked. “According to the system, this space is supposed to be free.”

“We have to communicate—”

“Don’t.” Skin slapped skin. “If we communicate this, we’ll be reminded of the proper procedure. We’ll be told not to use undue force with these rule breakers.”

“I do like using undue force.” The first male’s enthusiasm unsettled Ryssa. “The first casualty will be the monitoring device.” A shattering sound followed. “Now, it is our word against theirs.”

Her warrior extracted daggers from the sheaths on his body armor. His muscles flexed. His fit physique lowered.

The situation felt real, the air zinging with tension. But it could be part of the experience, scripted for her entertainment.

“Should we warn them we’re coming in?” the second male asked.

“No. I like it when they—”

Her warrior threw the daggers, the motion faster than Ryssa’s gaze could track. There was a stomach-churning gurgling noise and two heavy thumps.

They couldn’t be dead. Her heart raced. This was an orchestrated abduction.

Her warrior rushed forward and her view expanded. Two bodies lay on the pathway between the ships. A crimson pool expanded around the males.

Her warrior yanked his daggers out of their throats and wiped the blades on his body armor. The scent of death flavored the air, a mixture of blood and other bodily fluids.

No one would expend the effort to fake that aroma. The males were dead. Those were real corpses she was viewing.

Ryssa swayed. Her warrior sprinted back to her side, clasped her waist with one hand, cupped her chin with the other, lifting her gaze to his.

A heartwarming concern softened his eyes, a concern for her. She breathed in, breathed out, breathed in, breathed out, focusing on him, on his handsome face.

The terror gradually released her from its grip. Her legs firmed under her.

Her warrior lifted one of his eyebrows. She nodded, signaling she was okay.

He gently pressed his lips against her forehead. Her skin bubbled and fizzed. Her toes wiggled in her boots.

He scooped her into his arms and carried her into one of the ships, his stride long, his gait smooth. The ramp retracted and the doors closed behind them.

The engines rumbled to life. There must be more beings on board the vessel. Someone was operating it.

That someone wasn’t her warrior. He entered a large chamber. A sleeping support dominated the space.

In her fantasies, the warrior’s private chambers were decorated with weapons, axes, swords, guns displayed upon the walls.

In this warrior’s chambers, there were containers of flowers on every horizontal support. The wall panels were covered with crudely crafted, brightly colored images. Red blooms, green grass, smiling yellow suns surrounded her.

Much of the art featured a gray-skinned, black-haired, blue-eyed male. The male sometimes had children balanced on his shoulders or he swung a wooden sword or he looked at a screen. He always had a big grin on his face.

Her gaze returned to the warrior carrying her. His expression was currently more serious. He placed her carefully on a sleeping support.

“You’re safe, my female.” Her warrior freed her wrists. “No one will damage you here.”

He kissed the red marks on her skin. The fizzing sensation flowed up her arm, along her fingers.

He removed the makeshift gag, dragged his lips over her cheeks, and captured her mouth. She resisted for a moment. He was a stranger. He’d killed beings.

But those beings had been bad, the males talking about harming others with a worrisome glee. And he wasn’t a complete stranger. He knew Leesa.

She caved in to his persistence, opening to him. Her warrior didn’t hesitate, advancing, their tongues twining, tumbling, caressing. He tasted of metal, claimed her mouth as his territory, branded her flesh with heat.

Ryssa clung to his body armor-clad shoulders, leaning into him, her brain razed of everything except her warrior and her need. He was her birthing planet rotation gift, her every fantasy, and she was determined to enjoy him to its fullest.

He pulled back and inhaled deeply, his nostrils flaring. “You want me.” He drifted his fingertips down her neck, stopping at her flight suit.

“I want you.” Her voice was husky. “Rip it to pieces.” She yearned for him to take her hard and fast, like in her dreams.

Her warrior gripped the fabric and tugged, the tearing sound exciting Ryssa. He was big and strong, and in this moment, he was hers.

He shredded the garment, leaving her bare except for the boots on her feet. Cool air swept over her, the decrease in temperature combined with her arousal tightening her nipples.

He perused her slowly, thoroughly. She resisted the urge to cover herself, allowing him to look at her large breasts, rounded stomach, wide hips.

“Do you like what you see?” She swallowed her nerves and asked, requiring the reassurance.

“I very much like what I see.” A stimulating rumble rolled up his chest, his eyes gleaming with unabashed lust. “You’re all a warrior could ever want and more.”

“Then fuck me, warrior.” She spread her thighs, wanting him more than she’d ever wanted anything in her safe, uneventful lifespan. “Make me yours.”

“We’ll be breeding, not fucking.” He stripped off his body armor and boots, revealing more perfect gray skin, endless muscles, a huge hard cock. “And you are already mine.” The last piece of body armor fell to the floor. “Others call me Zip. You may call me your male.”

“Zip.” Ryssa tried out her warrior’s name. “I hope that doesn’t refer to your breeding speed.” Grinning, she reached for him, needing to touch that riveting gray skin of his.

“This first time will be fast.” He moved forward, brushing his legs along her inner thighs. “I want you too much.”

Proof of that wanting bumped against her and she trembled. This was happening. She would fuck the warrior of her dreams.

“The second time will be slow.” Ryssa dared to demand a follow-up fuck. Once wouldn’t be enough for her.

“The third time will be slow also.” He brushed the tip of his cock over her wet folds and she moaned, her delicate flesh bubbling, a thousand erotic pinches ratcheting her need skyward. “I will please you, my female.”

His determination made her smile. “I don’t doubt that you will.”

She flattened her fingers against his chest. There was no give in his form. He felt how she expected a cyborg to feel—a layer of muscle over an unrelenting metal frame.

No one would alter himself that much for an act. “You’re a cyborg.”

“I’m a cyborg.” He rubbed against her, wetting his shaft, teasing her clit with his rim.

The desire Ryssa was experiencing was real but nothing else seemed that way. She’d fantasized about a cyborg warrior for solar cycles and here he was, touching her, wanting her.

A stronger, more cautious female would push him away. She would talk with Zip before they fucked, uncover the truth about who he was and what he had planned for her.

But he was the male of her dreams and this was her birthing planet rotation, damn it. She deserved a gift.

She deserved him.

“If this is taking me hard and fast, breeding slowly might kill me.” Ryssa rocked, riding his cock. “I need you inside me, my male.”

A surge of energy lit his blue eyes. “I have waited my entire lifespan to hear those two words.” Stars. He had some great lines. “Thank you, my female.” He aligned his cock head with her pussy hole and drove deep.

Ryssa shrieked with surprise. One moment, she was empty. The next moment, she was almost impossibly full, her body stretched tight.

“Did I damage you, my female?” Zip froze in place.

That place was deep inside her.

“Need. A moment.” She squeaked. He was the largest she’d ever had. She required time to adjust to her warrior.

“I will give you a moment.” He started to withdraw.

“No.” She grabbed his hips, seeking to hold him in place. “Don’t move.”

Zip stopped his retreat. “I won’t move until you give the command.”

“Thank you.” Ryssa leaned forward, resting her forehead against his chest.

Zip ran his hands up and down her bare back, his palms appealingly rough. His cock pulsed inside her. He was warm and solid.

The sleeping support under her ass gyrated. The ship was moving. They were leaving the planet, the only planet she’d ever known.

She might never experience a liftoff again. But watching that event meant physically parting from her warrior and she didn’t want to do that.

Ever.

The force of that feeling scared her. “I have you for a limited duration only.” She couldn’t get attached to him.

“You have me forever.” His voice rang with truth.

Being obsessed with cyborgs, she’d researched them. Extensively. They couldn’t lie. She blinked. He truly believed she had him forever.

“You’re my female, the one being I was manufactured to bond with.” He shared information. “I scanned Humanoid Alliance databases for more than a solar cycle searching for you.”

She lifted her head, gazed up at him. “You’re not Leesa’s friend.”

Her mind whirled. He must have intercepted her communication with her friend.

“I’m not Leesa’s friend.” Zip confirmed. “I belong only to you.”

He was a complete stranger. She studied him, seeing her warrior in a new light. That revelation should have dampened her trust in him.

It didn’t.

He would die before damaging her. That was what he’d told her on the pathway. There was a connection between them, more than sex, more than physical. It hummed in the air around them.

And some part of her had always known he’d come for her. He was the warrior of her fantasies, bringing the adventure, the passion, perhaps even the love she sought.

She had been prepared to risk her life, settling an unpopulated new world. She’d take that same risk to be with her dream male.

“You belong only to me.” Ryssa touched his handsome face. “And I belong only to you.”

Their futures would now be linked.





Chapter Three

Zip was inside his female, the being he’d sought for solar cycles. She was wet, hot, tight. He gritted his teeth, fighting the urge to thrust, to give her all of him, to bind their bodies, hearts, souls forever.

This beautiful female was his and he wouldn’t damage her. He’d keep her safe, even from himself.

Even if it killed him.

He sank deeper and groaned. “My female.”

She gazed at him, her eyes darkened with desire…for him. That realization filled him with wonder, with awe, with gratitude.

He was no longer alone.

“You can move now, my male.” She gave him the permission he craved.

He pulled back to his rim. Her pussy lips dragged along his shaft, the most decadent of caresses. He thrust. She gasped and he swallowed a howl of happiness, the pleasure exceeding any he’d ever known.

“Did I damage you, my female?” He looked at her, concerned.

“Good. Damage.” Her voice was breezy, his brave little human’s skin flushed.

“Too good.” Zip pulled back and thrust, pulled back and thrust, flooding his form with waves of bliss. She clutched his shoulders and rose up to meet him, his equal, his everything.

Arse flew their ship toward Earth Minor, communicating their progress as they traveled across the universe, whizzing past hostile planets and enemy vessels. Other cyborgs chattered on the transmission lines, talking about battles and females and the Homeland.

Zip saw only Ryssa, her beautiful face glowing with her breeding efforts, her curls dampening, her eyes glowing.

Her lush lips parted as she panted. Beads of sweat glistened on her forehead and cheeks, making her sparkle. Her full breasts flattened against his chest, her entire body yielding to him.

He moved over her, their forms smacking together, her legs wrapped around his waist. The scent of their breeding flavored the air. Zip drew that delectable aroma into him with each breath, absorbing that part of her.

“My female.” His voice lowered with wanting.

“My male.” Her verbal claim warmed his heart.

Zip drove into her deeper, faster, reveling in their embrace. His muscles flexed. Pressure formed at the base of his simulated spine.

“Close.” She communicated what he was processing.

He had wanted her for too long, needed her too badly. Every thrust of his hips shredded his control more and more.

But he was determined to please her, to give her such satisfaction she would never request to be returned to her planet, to leave him.

The possibility she might wish to part from him filled Zip with a heart-wrenching desperation. He rounded his spine, skimming his lips over her neck, between her breasts, covering her with his nanocybotics, strengthening their connection.

“Too good.” She whimpered, echoing his earlier words. He sucked on her right breast, taking her taut nipple into his mouth. She shook, digging her fingernails into his shoulders, piercing his skin.

He savored the pain, the damage caused by his female’s pleasure while he bred with her, owning her pussy with his cock, adoring her curves with his lips, alternating between her breasts, showing them both the reverence they deserved.

“Zip. Yes. Oh, yes.” She squirmed under him, her eyes wild. “Can’t. Can’t.” Her pussy walls closed around his shaft, that snugness tearing at his restraint.

She wouldn’t last. He wouldn’t either. “Come for me, Ryssa.” He drove deep into her. “Come hard.” He swiveled his hips, grinding against her clit.

She screamed, bucking upward, clenching his cock, severing the last remnants of his willpower. He roared, arching his back, relaying his satisfaction to the ceiling above them.

Hot jets of cum shot from his tip, heady spurts of release. His female’s scream lengthened, thinned as she gyrated against him. He pinned her hips to the sleeping support, holding her still, ensuring she didn’t damage herself.

She twisted, trying to free herself. Zip poured himself into her. His processors flickered. His vision system went offline, his world turning dark. The most exquisite ecstasy surged through his circuits.

He gave himself to her until he had nothing left. She replaced every empty portion of him with joy. The link between them solidified, becoming a projectile-proof bond no being could sever.

Zip collapsed on top of his fragile female. She murmured a protest.

He rolled onto his back, taking her with him. She sprawled over his body, trembling, soft, his. He ran his palms over her, learning every dip and swell of her body, seeking to calm her.

Her breathing leveled. Her skin temperature decreased. She propped her chin on his chest and gazed at him, her eyes dazed with spent passion.

“Are you damaged, my female?” He perused her gorgeous face, looking for any sign of distress.

“My world is spinning.” Her smile eased his concerns. “That was…wow. I mean. Wow.”

“Yes, it was wow.” He agreed. That was the right word for it.

“I’m bubbling all over. Are those your nanocybotics?”

She had researched his kind, knew about nanocybotics. Zip beamed, pleased by that revelation.

“You are my female, the one being genetically meant for me.” He played with her curly blonde-streaked hair. “My nanocybotics will never fade inside you. You won’t age and they’ll repair any minor damage.”

He’d protect her from any major damage. Zip held her closer to him. He’d keep her safe.

“I’ll live forever.” Her smile widened. “Will I become a cyborg too?”

“No.” He laughed. “You will remain as you are.” She was more than human now but would never be a cyborg.

“Damn it.” Her disappointment was adorable. “Where are we going?”

“Our current destination is Earth Minor. It is situated in cyborg-controlled space. No one will damage you there.” His brethren would add an extra layer of security. “The systems are also highly advanced.” He had designed them. “There will be no delays when you communicate with Leesa and your other friends.”

He’d ensure those communications weren’t traced back to Earth Minor.

“What would happen if I didn’t want to go to Earth Minor?” His female raised her eyebrows. “You said you were abducting me.” She sat upright, straddling his hips. “Am I truly your prisoner?”

“You’re my female.” He frowned. “You’re not my prisoner.”

“Then I’m free?” She stood, and panic filled Zip. His female was leaving him. “I can return to Erinome V at any time?” She placed her hands on her hips. “You won’t stop me?”

His female wished to return to Erinome V. That didn’t mean she had to leave him.

Zip thought of Green, Barrel, Vapor, their females, the offspring. If he returned to Erinome V with Ryssa, he might never see them or his home again.

He would make that sacrifice for his female.

“If you wish to return to Erinome V, we will return to Erinome V.” Zip jumped to his feet, his bare soles slapping against the floor tiles. “It will be more difficult to protect you there but I will craft systems to assist us.”

“Us.” Her forehead furrowed with thought lines. “You’d stay with me on Erinome V?”

“I’m staying with you always.” He clasped her hands. “Wherever you are, I am.”

“Erinome V is a Humanoid Alliance-controlled planet.” The lines on her forehead deepened. “Since the rebellion, cyborgs aren’t welcome there. They could capture you, kill you.”

They’d do worse than kill him if he was caught. “I’ll take that risk.”

“You’ll take that risk...to be with me.” She glanced at the artwork decorating the wall panels. “Don’t you have friends on Earth Minor? Offspring?”

“Many of my brethren call Earth Minor home.” He had also but home was now wherever his female was. “Some have found their human females and produced offspring. Humanoid offspring were also orphaned during battle and we care for them as well.”

Zip looked at the art decorating the wall panels, his heart aching. Green and Barrel were his best friends. They’d fought together for most of their lifespans. To part with them permanently would create a hole in his soul.

We care for them.” His female repeated his words, following his gaze. “It would be hard to care for them from Erinome V.”

“I couldn’t communicate with them.” That would be too risky from a Humanoid Alliance-controlled planet. The enemy could trace the communication back to Earth Minor. “Others will care for the offspring.”

“You love them.” Her gaze returned to him, her eyes gleaming with emotion. “I hear that in your voice.”

Zip dipped his head, not denying that truth. He did love them.

“You’d stop communicating with the offspring, your friends, your brethren to be with me, a female you met this planet rotation.” She lifted her chin. “That’s how much you believe in me, in us.”

“Yes.” He held her gaze, not hiding what he felt. “You’re my female. I know that with 100.000 percent certainty.”

“That’s certain.” The edges of her lips quirked upward. “Tell me about Earth Minor, our new home.”

Zip blinked. Was his auditory system malfunctioning? “Our new home?”

“Yes, our new home,” she confirmed.

“But you wish to return to Erinome V.” He couldn’t follow her logic.

“Nah.” She waved her hands. “There’s nothing for me on Erinome V. I merely wanted to know I could return, that I had freedom. No one wants to be a prisoner.”

“Then we are traveling to Earth Minor?” He required verification, that news too good to be absorbed.

“We’re traveling to Earth Minor.” She confirmed. “Or wherever else you want to go. I don’t care.”

His female didn’t wish to return to Erinome V. She considered Earth Minor to be their new home. Joy detonated in Zip’s chest, blasting him with warmth. He would see Green, Barrel, Vapor, their females, the offspring again.

“I want to go to Earth Minor.” With her, his female. He grinned, happier than he’d ever been in his long, violence-filled lifespan. “And you are intelligent to value your freedom. It’s worth fighting for.”

Many of his brethren had died while trying to obtain their freedom. He would never take it away from his female.

She eyed him. “Yes, I suppose you would understand that more than most beings.” She slipped one of her hands into his and squeezed his fingers. “I want to hear all about your escape from the Humanoid Alliance also, but first, we should talk about Earth Minor. If I show up on your planet and know nothing about it, your friends will think I’m an uninformed idiot.”

She had known about nanocybotics. His female was no idiot. He chuckled. “My friends will love you.” As he already did.

“I am an uninformed idiot, unfortunately.” Ryssa shifted her weight from one foot to the other. Her hip brushed against his, that brief contact shooting straight to his already semi-hard cock. “I’ve never left Erinome V. Ever. And I was deemed unsuitable to settle upon unpopulated planets.”

“You are more than suitable to settle upon Earth Minor.” She was perfect for him. Zip guided his female toward the wall panels. “These images were created by the offspring. They aren’t all true representations of the planet.”

“You aren’t a giant male?” She laughed, that musical sound bubbling around him, increasing his happiness.

“I am large.” He drew himself upward, flexing his muscles. “But I’m not a giant male.” He tapped one of his fingertips against an image. “Earth Minor’s solitary sun doesn’t have a smiling face either.”

Her body shook with mirth and Zip made a silent vow to make her laugh every planet rotation during their forever. His female deserved joy.

And adventure.

“The sun is positioned at an ideal distance for humanoids.” He recalled the heat on his bare skin. “The sky is often blue. The vegetation is mostly green. There’s an ancient Earth plant called a potato that is delicious and can be prepared for nourishment in a variety of ways.”

His female leaned more and more into him as he described the planet. Zip hooked his right arm around her waist and answered her questions. He told her about the plants, the insects, the structures they’d constructed, and the beings on the planet, the males, females, offspring he loved.

“Leesa says her planet’s sky is the most delicate shade of pink.” Ryssa’s eyes softened with that relay of knowledge.

“The sky of Earth Minor has streaks of pink pigment at sunrise.” He wanted her to love the planet he’d claimed as his home.

“Ohhhh…” Her beautiful face lit up. “I’ve always dreamed of seeing a pink sky.”

“It doesn’t occur every planet rotation.” He cautioned, tempering any future disappointment. “From my personal observation, the sky is streaked with pink pigment during 10.326 percent of the sunrises.”

“Are you certain about that?” She bumped against him, her eyes sparkling. “I’d believe you if it were 10.3262 percent of the sunrises but the lack of that extra decimal point makes me question your accuracy.”

He grinned, enjoying her teasing. “It is 10.3261395—”

“Enough. Enough.” She held up her hands in mock surrender. “You’ve convinced me.”

They both gazed at the images the offspring had crafted.

“Is Leesa’s planet far from Earth Minor?” The yearning in her voice was unmistakable.

His female wanted to visit her friend.

“It is far from Earth Minor.” He didn’t lie to her. The voyage would take eleven planet rotations.

“It’s a big universe, isn’t it?” His female sighed. “Communicating with Leesa regularly will have to suffice.”

The sadness in her words pulled at Zip, propelling him to take action.

Arse, he transmitted. We’re making a stop.

He gave the warrior the coordinates from which Leesa, his female’s friend, had sent all of her communications.

That’s not cyborg-controlled space, D Model, Arse grumbled. You’re risking your female’s safety by making that stop.

I’m risking her happiness if we don’t make that stop. Zip looked at Ryssa. Her friend’s planet wasn’t very populated. The danger to her was minimal. When you locate your female, you’ll understand.

I don’t have a female. The warrior’s tone was bleak. Yours is my sole focus and you’re relying on me to protect her. Not Green, not Barrel, not any of the other warriors. Me. Zip’s early words to Arsenal returned to haunt him. That task will be more difficult with this stop.

It will be more difficult but not impossible. Zip wasn’t altering his decision. We’ll stay less than a planet rotation. Plot the course.

We’ll complete your task as quickly as possible and leave. The warrior ended the transmission.

“We won’t be able to spend a long duration with your friend.” Zip told his female. “Not on this visit.”

“Not on this visit?” She stared at him. “We’re visiting Leesa?”

He nodded.

“We’re traveling to my friend’s planet?” His female bounced, her joy worth any risks they were taking. “To see her? Face-to-face?”

“And to see the pink sky.” Zip couldn’t guarantee she’d see a pink sky on Earth Minor. “That is your dream.”

“I’m seeing my dream sky with my dream male.” His female pressed her lush curves against his muscle. “If I’m asleep, don’t wake me up.”

He held her close. “I’m awake.” He knew that with 100.000 percent certainty.

“Because cyborgs don’t sleep?” Ryssa tilted her face upward.

“Because I don’t have the processing power to imagine a female as beautiful as you are.” Zip lowered his head. “You have to be real.” He captured her lips with his.

He’d also promised her a second slower breeding.

He planned to make all of her dreams come true.





Chapter Four

Sixty-nine planet rotations and four stops later, they finally approached Earth Minor. The contents of their private chambers had been packed into containers. The wall panels were bare of images. The items they’d acquired were ready to be transferred to their permanent home.

Ryssa tidied her hair, her image displayed on one of their chamber’s viewscreens. She was no longer an uninformed idiot. She had traveled to other planets, had visited with her friend Leesa for three fun-filled planet rotations, had seen some of the universe.

That didn’t ease her anxiety over meeting Zip’s brethren, their females, the offspring. He loved those beings and she loved him, the cyborg warrior having captured her heart with his ready smile, sense of adventure, keen intelligence. She wanted his friends and family to like her.

“You look beautiful.” Zip wrapped his arms around her, his chest to her back. He wore his black body armor. She wore a blue flight suit.

“You’re just saying that.” Ryssa gazed at their image in the viewscreen. She appeared tiny in front of him.

“I’m a cyborg. We don’t just say anything.” He turned her within the circle of his arms. His brilliant blue eyes glowed. “You’re the most gorgeous being I’ve ever seen.”

Zip bent his head and covered her lips with his. She opened to him. Their tongues danced, flesh sliding along flesh. He tasted of metal and male, thrillingly exotic yet all hers, beloved, desired.

He was her fantasy warrior, the being she’d been waiting her entire lifespan to meet, and the more planet rotations they spent together, the more she cared for him. She gripped his shoulders, savoring the muscles under the body armor.

Her lips hummed and the chamber spun around her. She rubbed against the ridge in his protective garment. They’d fucked earlier but she wanted him again.

Intensely.

“The next time we breed, it will be in our own structure.” Zip drew back.

“Will we breed fast or slow?” They excelled at both.

“That first time will be fast.” His low, deep voice wet her pussy.

“The first time?” She liked the sound of that.

“The first time.” Zip brushed his lips over hers once more, a teasing, tempting taste of a kiss. “Which won’t be now. We should head to the bridge.” He spun her to face the doors, placed a palm on the small of her back and pushed her forward. “Arse wants to show you something.”

“Is it his smile?” She walked through the ship they’d called home for the past sixty-nine planet rotations. “Because he owes me one of those.”

“You could be waiting for an endless duration for that repayment.” Zip followed her closely, protecting her from the rear, a barrier of heat and muscle no enemy could breach. “I’ve never seen Arse smile.”

“He came close when Leesa hugged him.” The grim warrior’s initial look of absolute terror when her friend had embraced him had made Ryssa laugh. She thought he might bolt, beating a hasty retreat, but he had stood still, tolerating the touching. “Toward the end of the hug, his lips lifted a tiny bit.”

Zip chuckled. “You might have to be content with that.”

They entered the bridge, the doors opening and then closing behind them. The space was Arsenal’s domain, the warrior standing in his semi-permanent position beside the captain’s chair.

“The image is on the main viewscreen,” he muttered, not turning around.

She gazed in that direction. Earth Minor’s solitary sun peeked behind the planet. Streams of light illuminated the surface and pierced the darkness of space.

Ryssa grasped Zip’s hand and squeezed his fingers, overcome with the beauty of the image, not having the words to express what she felt. The planet was blue and white, with splashes of green, a vivid contrast to the monochrome hues of Erinome V.

It was exotic and different, a world unlike any other she’d seen.

“Thank you for showing us this view, Arsenal.” Her voice was breezy, her chest tight with emotion. “It’s breathtaking.”

“It’s our new home.” Zip tucked her into his side.

This stunning world was her new home. She’d studied Earth Minor, learning about the planet and its inhabitants during their voyage, Zip relaying every pertinent detail to her, sharing images from the cyborg database.


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