Wil’s puzzled look remained frozen as she touched his temple and he remembered. The day they had been brought to the lab for the first procedures, there had been a medical technician with a special instrument.
“They put a chip in your head, so a signal can be sent out, killing you instantly.” They had made it sound like it was for protection, his as well as others. Why had he forgotten?
“He hasn’t any chip.”
“But all us super soldiers got that, didn’t we?”
“I’m not exactly like one of you,” Emory said, sidling into the room. Penny nodded at him as he sat on a chair near the bed. “I’m a special case.”
“Why?” Wil found it almost infuriating that this little, weasely man was special, somehow superior to him.
“I’m the chaff,” he said softly, his face clouding.
“He doesn’t know, Randy,” Penny said gently, putting a hand on his shoulder.
“They did some more experiments, stuff you guys don’t know about. When they had you under, they took samples of sperm and ova.” A glance up at Penny got an encouraging nod. “I’m the by product of one of their in vitro experiments. They wanted to make super soldiers from scratch. I was a failed experiment. I’m what’s left when super heroes mate!”
He was angry, hurt. A life of being shoved aside and told he wasn’t good enough had left him bitter.
“But it’s saved your life, Randy.” Penny interrupted him before he got too carried away. “That’s why he’s survived all these missions and everyone else died. She couldn’t control him. But he couldn’t hurt her until now.”
“There was a program, subliminal, running through her. As long as she was conscious, it made it impossible for him to protect us. But Ishanti knocked her out as they were getting in the car. Once she was unconscious, Emory could act. I about gave him a black eye though, until he explained.
Emory chuckled quietly, relaxing for the first time since Wil had met him. “I had to talk faster than I ever have in my life. Thought I was going to lose an eyeball or something.”
“Well, a ball of some kind, but I doubt it would have been your eye.” Wil looked up at Penny, his old smile back on his face. “Mind explaining that whole knee in the groin?”
“I had to get your attention, it seemed the best way.”
“Kind of harsh!”
“It worked, didn’t it?” Her tone softened, her eyes held his for a long moment.
Clearing his throat, Emory looked embarrassed and excused himself.
“Hey,” Wil called after him. “Thank you. I owe you my life, kid.”
Emory turned around and faced him, a soft smile playing at his lips. “And I owe mine to you.” In a rush he was gone.
Wil watched after him in puzzled silence, wondering what on earth he meant.
“Greyling has some explaining to do,” he sighed as he kissed Penny deeply, inhaling the fresh, clean smell of her hair and the spicy scent of her cologne.
“Don’t be hard on her,” Penny said, unbuttoning his shirt as she pushed him on the bed. “She tried to protect us.”
“I’ll take your word for it,” he kissed her. “But right now, I don’t want to talk.”
“Neither do I.”
“You know, Penny, I could fall hard for a girl like you.”
“Good.” She smiled, kissing him passionately as she shoved him down on the bed.