Eldon blinked and looked over at the scanner. “Four-four? Is that a name?”
“The last numbers of our code. It is as close to a name as we are allowed to have.” A faint smirk. “Even the True Men who are taken for soldiers.”
“So the True men are mentalists?”
“Barely. Enough to enforce obedience, to punish or reward us, if we are close enough.” The old Cy shrugged. “I am Five-zero.”
“Eldon. So are there stronger Mentalists?”
“Oh yes. Much stronger.” He hunched his shoulders. “I suspect you are like them.”
“Heh. Magically strong, you betcha. Controlling people and taking over worlds? Nope. Not my idea of fun at all.”
“How very odd. All I’ve seen since I was sixteen is violence and ambition. Men fighting for any scrap of power, prestige.” Five-zero looked over at the scanner. “Like Four-four. Poor fool thought a decade in the army and then he’d get promoted. But he just not magically strong enough. Dios! A good thing. He’s . . . a bad man.”
“Dang. Well, I’ve the third guy still bubbled. What’s he like?”
“A Roman. Half Roman bastard. Stubborn and independent. They have almost broken him. I hope he can recover, with no mentalists to control him.” Five-zero glanced at his arm. “Not that we can ever really recover.”
Eldon trotted across to the scanner and popped Four-four with another sleep spell. “He’s going to be a problem. But I think old Five-zero here is going to be a goldmine of information.”
The lady doctor was much less starched, with a fast developing bruise on one cheek, hair mussed, and her white lab coat missing a couple of buttons. She huffed out an irritated breath. “Or at least smart enough to not fight and get his arm ripped loose from his shoulder blade. This is fascinating, and horrible.”
Eldon nodded. “So, need help shifting him? Your next patient seems to be the cooperative sort.”
Five-zero walked up. Nodding. “I don’t exactly know what’s going on, but I’ve got this tiny bit of hope that I’ve escaped the Drei, and maybe you guys are an improvement.”
“Yeah . . .” Eldon search his memory for that itchy . . . “Did you said Dios? Habla Espaniol?”
Five-zero blinked. “Si? No por mucho tiempo. ¿Pero lo hablas aquí?”
Ernie looked over. “Es el segundo idioma más común por aquí.”
Then Four-four started acting up again, and they all pitched in to cart him off to a bed and handcuff him to it.
The doctor was frowning at them, at Five-Zero. “Are you Mexican? Or . . .”
He shook his head, “No . . .”
Lyle stepped in. “Where they are from is not something you need to know.”
She didn’t much like it but pointed at the scan bed. “Since you are cooperating, please lay down.” A scowl back at Lyle. “I’ll need his name, for the records.”
Eldon snickered. “I think Cinco Cero will work.”
She glared. “Even I know enough Spanish to know Five and Zero.”
The old Cy snickered. “I like it.” He sat on the scanner bed and swiveled to lie down.
The machines started moving, and a picture built up on a screen.
Long metal extensions from the arm, along the collar bone in front, and one with a joint to the shoulder blade in back.
The doctor leaned and poked at the screen. “Those must be the nerve connections, right there. Amazing! What that could do for spinal injuries . . . What was wrong with your arm? Accident or bone cancer, perhaps? Er . . .” she repeated that in poor Spanish, eliciting a snort.
“Nada. Cyborgs make Cyborgs.”
“Nothing!” The doctor swung and glared at Lyle. “I will report this hideous and very illegal human experimentation to the authorities!”
Lyle shook his head. “We are the authorities and we are all too aware. We would like all the information we can get on this . . . let’s call it a cult.”
The doctor glowered, then turned back to the scanner and this time brought in a different machine that concentrated on Cinco’s head.
Eldon got a bit queasy, looking at all the wires . . .
Inventoried his collection of bubbles. The third Cyborg he’d nabbed with Cinco, plus a bubble with the three that Horus had recognized.
On the other arm . . . Drat, he was out of sandwiches and sodas. The first aid kit—two gallon boxes of red wine, anointed with the good stuff—plus some regular bandages and shit. Oh, the Suburban, and it had plenty of other stuff in bubbles in side it.
He looked back at the Scanner, where Cinco was sitting up and looking at the screen, looking away.
“Well, ready for patient number three?” Eldon eyed the doctor, who winced.
“Please . . . tell me there aren’t many more of these . . . people.”
Cinco sighed, patted her shoulder. “No mas.”
He’s picking up English pretty quick. I wonder if it was spoken on one of the other worlds he’s been to?
“You’re a bad liar, mister Cero.” The doctor walked over to Eldon. “By all means, produce a Cyborg from nowhere.”
Since there was just the one Cyborg in this one, Eldon popped the bubble.
The Cy completed his step forward, rifle coming up.
“Freeze, Eight-seven!” Cinco marched up. “Drop the rifle, point your laser at the ground.”
Eight-seven slowly released the gun with his cyber hand and pointed it at the ground. He leaned a bit and set the rifle-laser-thing down carefully.
“Good.” Cinco grinned. “We are the prisoners of people . . . who seem to be a lot nicer than the Drei. So let’s be nice guests and cooperate fully with them.”
“Let’s take a stroll to the door so you can discharge that laser, so it’s safe to remove.” Eldon had a nasty suspicion that he was mangling the Latin, but the youngster at least looked at the door, and then back to Cinco.
“Yes. We are prisoners, but they are the enemies of the Drei.”
The youngster’s eye widened, and he headed for the door. Blasted the hell out of the poor dirt and helped get the laser off.
Then he turned gleaming eyes on them. “They are attacking my world, my empire, and MY Emperor! What can I do to help you?”