500 and 494

I sat in my cell folding and unfolding the hem of the blanket. I stood up and stretched and began pacing the room in restless agitation. Slumping against the breeze block wall I sighed.

I thought I was supposed to be a soldier. It had taken the board or 'our lords and masters' as I liked to think of them all of two seconds to decide to turn me into mommy to as many little mutantkins as possible when the DNA bank had blown up in their faces. They had turned me from a highly trained soldier into a "Prostitute!" I hissed and glared at the opposite wall kicking out angrily.

The bolt slid back and the door opened. I didn't get up from my position on the floor. He looked down at me. I stayed silent trying to burn a hole through the reinforced steel with my eyes. Hey, who knew what kind of goodies I had hidden in my gene code?

"I'm X5-494." He offered finally.

"And I'm your entertainment for the night?" I asked bitterly.

"It's just an order." He said.

"Way to make a girl feel special. I'm 500." I kept my eyes focussed on the door, in my head a sergeant yelled "EYES FRONT!" See? I am putting my training to good use.

"If I sit down next to you will you punch my lights out, babe?" he asked.

I recognised the common verbal usage. I'd taken the class myself. "Call me 'babe' one more time and I can't promise anything. I may not be able to keep my hands off you. But that's the mission objective isn't it?"

He chuckled and settled himself carefully next to me about an arms length away. "Afraid of me?" I asked.

"That's to leave space for the elephant in the room." That got a giggle from me and I snuck a look at my 'breeding partner' from underneath my thick lashes. Naturally he was attractive, all that mucking around with genes made all the X5s striking. He caught me looking and grinned. I noticed that his smile tugged one corner of his mouth up more than the other. He had expressive hazel eyes under strong brows, but I recognised the thinly veiled pain in them.

Killing wasn't easy. You killed a bit of yourself each time.

"I never understood that one." I said.

The guard peered through my door. "Aren't you two supposed to be a bit closer?" he asked smirking lewdly.

I sprang to my feet, over to the door in lightening speed. "Pervert." I hissed and tugged off my regulation shirt to cover up the gap in the metal effectively shutting off his free porn.

I tuned around furious to find 494 staring at me. "Oh come on! If all goes according the plan you'll be seeing a lot more." Any friendly feelings I might have been forming towards him had rapidly evaporated. "Let get this over with."

"How romantic." He said but pulled his shirt off anyway.

I stalked towards the cot and spat "Bite me." over my shoulder.

"As you wish."

494 was waiting in my cell when I came back from night training. "This place really isn't big on R 'n' R is it?" I sighed wringing my hair still damp from showering off the muck I had crawled through. Although I was uncomfortable with my solo missions I can't say I missed the relentless training. Freedom was addictive. Dangerously so.

"If you're tired you can just sleep you know."

"But… what about the 'mission'?" I asked putting in the inverted commas with my fingers.

"I won't tell." 494 said, winking. I looked longingly at my bed. "Go on, sweetheart!" he urged. I lay down letting my tense muscles relax and loosen. 494 sat down on the floor resting his head on my pillow and stretching his legs out in front of him. "Technically we are going to be sleeping together." He pointed out.

"Do I tire you out?" I joked trying to suppress a yawn. Unlike some of the members of my unit I did need about four hours a night to feel almost human. Maybe it was the feline DNA that made me enjoy my catnaps so much.

I shut my eyes and drifted off almost immediately but not before I felt a slight pressure on my forehead. Like someone had kissed me very gently.

I prowled my cell. It was just like the first night 494 had arrived but this time it was not anger that made me feel like crawling up the walls to relieve the tension coiled tightly in my muscles. I knew what this was. Damn it.

I was in heat.

The previous couple of times they had just locked me up and when I had finally finished gauging holes in the walls they slung me back in my cell to sleep the following exhaustion off.

But now all I could think about were broad shoulders… and strong arms… and hard muscle… and other, ahem… parts of the anatomy

The bolt slipped back and 494 entered just like any other night except this night instead of a few minutes of awkward conversation I just cried out, "About time!" and launched myself at him.

Credit to his enhanced reflexes he caught me quickly as I wrapped my legs around his waist. I ignored the guard's low whistle and hungrily met 494's lips with mine.

Can I just say right now; WOW!

I was pretty sure it wasn't just my crazy hormone levels that made me feel tingly all the way down to my toes. This guy could kiss!

He pulled back gasping for air. "What was that, angel?" I ignored him already fisting his shirt in my hands and trying to pull it over his head before I lost all patience and just ripped the damn thing right off. "Oh!" he said comprehension dawning in his eyes. "Oh."

"C'mon!" I moaned. In the back of my mind I was yelling "Have some pride woman! Where the hell is your self control?" but I quickly told my mind to shut up and stay in its own business.

494's eyes were already turning black and I could tell that my pheromones were setting off his own chemical overload due to his wacky feline DNA. I threw away any vestiges of self control. This was going to be fun…

494 smirked as I lay on my side my back plastered against his chest. In my cold, brutal world I had never felt so close to anyone. Emotionally I mean. 'Cause obviously we were very close physically.

"That felt real." I whispered.

"What do you mean?" he asked playing with a strand of my fiery hair.

I wormed a bit closer relishing the moments before he would return to his own barracks. "More than just a mission." I breathed.

"Yeah." He murmured into my curls.

The next night the bolt slid back as usual but 494 did not walk in. Another X5 walked in. "Who are you?" I asked.

"X5-673." He said standing to attention. Great, one of those blind followers who ate up propaganda like candy. I did what I was told, it was sorta 'do as you're told or die' thing. But it was obvious that this guy had never had an independent thought since he was mixed up in a test tube. "I'm your breeding partner."

"Where's 494?" I asked frowning.

"He's been reassigned." I quickly concealed the pain that I felt. It was stupid anyway, I told myself. Stupid to feel anything. What did I think? That Manticore were going to let us stay together? Date? Yeah right!

My new partner started taking off his belt and looked at me, shocked that I wasn't doing the same. This guy was clearly never going to get a solo mission, you needed to be able to think on your feet, make decisions. He wouldn't last a second without instructions. Manticore really screwed us over.

Suddenly fury thrummed through my veins. "No." I said before I could think it through.

"No?" the look on his face would have been comic if I wasn't risking a month in isolation.

"I… um… I think I may be pregnant already. I've been feeling a bit funny."

"We should alert someone!" he said almost tripping over his discarded shirt in his eagerness to get to the guard.

"No!" I said hurriedly. "I want to be sure first. So maybe you could just stay here until the guard comes?"

"I don't know." He said. Yeah, I get it, I thought, you don't know much.

"I can't risk the pregnancy! That was the mission objective." I said carefully.

"All right." He said and then proceeded to spend the next two hours standing in the corner of my cell. I couldn't sleep with him watching me! He was severely creepy.

The next week when the tests they made me take weekly came back negative I began to think again. This time I 'accidentally' kneed him in the crotch so that he spent most of his time in the foetal position on the floor and announced "Copulation successful." before he could get a word in edgewise in the morning. But I was running out of ideas fast.

Fortunately for me he didn't come the next night. Unfortunately it was because I was about to be burned to death. A swift kick to the door would have been useless if the bolt had been shut but the fates must have been smiling on me as it wasn't. I stumbled out into the choking smoke and ran full pelt down the hall. I passed doorways full of terrified faces, children's faces. "I'll be right back!" I called.

There was a guard hurrying towards the exit I punched him squarely in the face feeling soft bones give way under my knuckles. I grabbed his gun hating how comfortably my fingers wrapped around it. "STAND BACK!" I yelled aiming the gun at the lock the kids poured out. "Get into the woods and then run! Don't stop!" I called after them. I freed all the occupants of all the dormitories on the corridor and then ran for the fence myself. I leapt over it savouring the feeling of flying through the air for a few milliseconds before landing on the other side absorbing the impact expertly with my knees. Freedom.

"X5-500!" I stiffened and turned to see 673 behind me. I had been running all night and all day and most the tonight too.

"Look!" he pointed to the sky and I saw a bright light flashing above our heads weaving in and out of the billions of stars. "It's the signal. The rendezvous is about 20K from here. Let's go."

I scoffed. "Forget it! We're finally free! Like hell I'm going back!"

673 stood with his feet wide and bent slightly. "Come with me soldier." He said.

"Bite my ass freak boy. I'm not a soldier anymore." He rushed at me but I was ready for him I planted my foot firmly on his chest and pushed him to the ground. He struggled to his feet but I kicked his legs from under him and sent his sharply back to the leaf strewn floor. "I'd stay down if you want to make it to the rendezvous in one piece. I'm sure you'll want to look your best when the murder you. Mark my words they'll want to clean up their mess. That's us." Then I set off in the opposite direction.

I was free. For now…