“Tell me, Nadia, is this the first time he’s fed from you?” Morton asked, sounding as curious as a child. “Did it only take this one time? We believed it would take no more than twice.”
“Fed from you?” Grayson spat with disgust.
I refused to answer, attempting to reach out to Luc again, finding nothing but the barren space filling with unending, unchecked power, and I remembered what Luc had said after he’d done it before.
It would change me.
“Please tell me,” Morton said.
I would become far worse.
“I must know.”
I would be something to truly fear.
“You see,” he persisted. “We have this bet going at the office—”
“You son of a bitch,” I snapped. The Source sparked inside me, fueled only by the rage pounding there me. “You don’t matter. At all.”
Morton laughed softly. “Oh, I matter,” he admonished. “You know who else does? Luc. That’s all we’ve needed. That’s why you were special. He wouldn’t do what he just did for anyone but you. After all, he would do anything for you.”
Luc slowly lowered his flaming arms.
“No one, not even that traitor general or the outdated Sons of Liberty, truly understood what the Poseidon Project was designed to do, why it was in conjunction with the Origins. Eaton should’ve known the sergeant wouldn’t have showed him all his cards.”
But Eaton had suspected there was more. So had Blake. We just hadn’t listened.
“For those a little slow on the uptake. Daemon, I’m talking about you.” He glanced at the furious, immobile Luxen. “The Andromeda serum didn’t create Trojans. All it did was create an updated, state-of-the-art hybrid. One with the abilities of the Luxen and Arum, coded to answer to the Daedalus, and minus that pesky sense of self Origins and earlier hybrids have. They are just fine-tuned and perfected versions of an earlier, no-longer-necessary model.” He paused, eyeing me coolly. “All except you. We’d hoped that when April used the Cassio Wave, you’d activate and then Luc would eventually feed from you in an attempt to weaken and control you, but you are somewhat defective, as it appears. The sergeant is very interested in discovering why you still have such a sense of self.”
Ignoring what he’d meant as an insult but was actually a compliment, I tried again to reach Luc.
“You see, the Daedalus only had two choices when it came to Luc. With his power, we either had to kill him or find a way to control him, to use him. Nancy Husher had always insisted that killing him would’ve been too much of a waste, that we just needed a way to control him. It’s a shame she’s no longer alive to see how right she was.”
“Shit,” muttered Grayson, the next to truly get what was going down. Trusting that he wasn’t going to do anything stupid, I gave him back his ability to move. Grayson showed no acknowledgment of it happening.
“The new hybrids are powerful, and they will become one of the most advanced armies man has ever seen, but he is…” Morton looked at Luc then with an expression that was part awe. “But he is the weapon of mass destruction. One simple show of his strength and he will end wars before they can even begin. There will be no resistance. There will be no opposition. Not when the world sees what he can do with just a snap of his fingers. He is the Trojan.”
“If that’s the case, then why do you even need the new hybrids?” Daemon demanded, and I eased off him. He, too, proved that he was just as smart and showed no sign that he could now move. “Why create the flu and mutate half the damn population if Luc is the ultimate weapon?”
Luc tilted his head at those words. My heart skipped. He was listening. He was aware, but was it him in there? That cold, apathetic Luc who wouldn’t make silly jokes and talk about raising a farm of llamas? Or was it something else entirely different?
Something even he feared?
“Mutate the population?” Morton laughed again, catching my attention. “Who told you that? None of the humans who are infected with this flu will survive without our intervention, and we have already chosen who we will save.”
As if they were gods.
“The rest will all eventually self-destruct, most likely taking out a few people with them. That’s an unfortunate consequence, but it will create further chaos—”
“And hatred for the Luxen, because you convinced everyone else that we were making them sick,” Daemon filled in the rest.
“Exactly,” Morton confirmed.
Dear God, all those people who were bound to become sick? They wouldn’t even mutate, and I wasn’t sure which was worse, but they were all innocent. Billions of innocent people were going to die.
“If there’s no need for your army of Hybrids 2.0, then why do you have them?” Grayson demanded.