The Burning Shadow (Origin 2) - Page 171

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“But it does. These powerful men, their families, and their companies have never had their rigid control of the world questioned. They may be flesh-and-blood humans, but to the everyday, average person, they were gods. Nothing could challenge their power. Not until the Luxen first arrived. Everything changed then.” Eaton lowered the bottle to his leg. “Suddenly there were these beings that could look human, could adapt rapidly, more advanced in nearly every way than a human, and were walking weapons. It takes no leap of logic to think that if the Luxen went unchecked, they’d eventually take over. Hell, things could possibly be better if that happened. Maybe the human race itself just doesn’t know better.”

“Possibly.” Luc paused. “Except for the murderous invading Luxen.”

“Yeah, except for them.” Eaton smirked, and I blinked. “These people founded Daedalus, placed it within the Department of Defense with the function of assimilating Luxen, but also to study them. You know the history of the Daedalus, so I won’t bore you with that.” His finger tapped on the bottle. “You just need to remember that they wanted to be able to create something better and stronger than the Luxen, something that could be controlled. They started with hybrids and made their way to Origins, but they didn’t stop there. They wanted to create something that could be programmed genetically, and as you know, Origins still had too much sense of … self for that to work.”

Luc inclined his head. “That we do.”

“Nancy just couldn’t let the Origin Project go. It was her pet,” he said, and Luc’s jaw immediately hardened.

I didn’t know who Nancy was and I made a mental note to ask about that later.

“Meanwhile others within the Daedalus were developing the Poseidon Project, messing around with the hive mentality the Luxen and Arum both have,” Eaton went on. “Their first success was in the nineties. That’s how far back this goes. It was a lot of trial and error, just like it was with the hybrids and Origins, but they had enough success to know that through the Trojans, they could gain real control. They just needed the right scenario for it all to come together.”

Luc seemed to figure it out before me. “The invasion?”

He nodded. “The Daedalus knew it was coming, had intercepted the communication between the Luxen here and those who hadn’t arrived yet. Plus, they worked with enough Arums to know that the Luxen, just like humans, were not all peaceful.”

“They knew it was coming. Why?” I breathed, horrified and sickened. “Why would they do that? So many people died.”

“And the herd was thinned out. Population is a real problem. Well, it was.” He sipped from his beer. “But it also served another purpose. The invasion created fear and then hostility.”

I thought about what Dee had said on TV, and then April. “And that’s why they continue to frame the Luxen for things they’re actually carrying out?”

He nodded once more.

“Because humans can’t go toe to toe with the Luxen.” Luc leaned back, thrusting a hand through his hair. “Luxens are outnumbered, but there’s more than enough on this planet to seize sizable control, maybe even complete control. Damn.” He shook his head. “They truly want to eradicate the Luxen, and they’re doing it by turning humans completely against them.”

“Not just the Luxen at this point. They want the hybrids and most of the Origins gone,” Eaton added. “They’re using fear and ignorance, which are the greatest and most powerful weapons of mass destruction ever created.”

Feeling a little dizzy, I turned halfway around as I tucked my hair back from my face. “This is what Mom meant, isn’t it? When she said that they let this happen but it got out of hand. She was talking about the invasion?”

“I imagine so,” he answered. “If they’re successful in eradicating the Luxen and the rest, then there’s nothing to stop the Trojans from taking power.”

“And what happens then?” I faced him.

“I imagine it will be pitched as a utopia. In reality, it will be something quite like a dystopia, but much worse.”

“But you aren’t hiding here with no purpose,” Luc reminded him. “This isn’t the only Zone brimming with Luxen ready to storm the gates. The Yard isn’t being used for play fighting. You guys are training and preparing.”

The Yard.

That was what the Yard was being used for.

“How much longer do you really think we’re safe here? It’s only a matter of time before we’re found out.”

“Then we fight,” Luc said, and I found myself nodding. “Isn’t that what most of us were bred for?”

Eaton’s faded blue eyes tracked over me. “I want to know what you know about your abilities—when they started. Everything.”

So we told him everything we knew about what was done to me, leaving nothing out. When I finished, I was exhausted even though Luc and I had shared the task.


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance
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