Fiearius stared at the girl for a long moment, a small crease between his brows and a harsh hint of judgment in his eyes. Finally, he agreed, “Fine, bring her. Corra, lock up the hatch, we’re in atmo in under 120 seconds or someone’s getting fired.”
As Corra hurried off, Fiearius turned on his heel and stormed away towards the bridge and Cyrus, cursing himself a thousand times over for fucking up this badly, returned down the ramp and, a little forcefully, in case she tried to make a run for it, took the young doctor’s arm.
“I’m so sorry about this,” he told her under his breath, not meeting her eyes as he led her up into the ship. “Please just play along and I swear I will figure this out and make it up to you later.”
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Kidnap, Leta realized in alarm, as the captain stalked off before her eyes and the young man’s hand closed around her upper arm to guide her up the ramp. Surely, that’s what this was, by all accounts. A kidnapping.
She should have ran and she knew it. Wrenched her arm free and dodged toward the hatch before it closed behind her. Yet, as her feet staggered to a standstill in the interior of the ship, she felt, in painfully equal measures, the impulse to burst into tears and burst into laughter. Bring her? Take her? Is that what he’d said?
“But I’m not allowed off planet,” she protested, laughing, though her laughter died rather quickly. “Like come with you? Are you nuts?”
Dazedly, she recognized, her presence was needed rather urgently. The captain’s wound — she couldn’t help but notice it, even with the chaos of the ramp — was wrought with raging infection. Now, feeling somewhat ill, she swept her eyes through what was, clearly, the cargo bay. The room resembled a bustling warehouse, with a half a dozen crew members shooting off in different directions. Preparing for an emergency departure. With her inside.
She was doing some very fast, very panicked thinking as she nearly stumbled over her feet beside Cyrus. How many times, thought Leta wildly, had she envisioned her departure off of Vescent? It certainly looked nothing like this. How many times had she hoped for it? Fought for it? It’d been two months since she was allowed near a registered departing vessel. Beneath her wall of shock, she’d found her heart was starting to pound in her chest as realization spread through her. This wasn’t a registered vessel.
This might have been the ticket she needed.
Standing there numbly, she moved her lips, but it was a moment before she found her voice. “How can we leave?” she asked suddenly, and then, with more strength than she actually felt, she demanded, “Won’t they follow? Where’re we going?”
As soon as she’d spoken, across the room, the captain halted, suddenly, at the top of the stairs. He turned on his heel and locked eyes with her as the bay fell into silence. Without breaking eye contact, he raised a brow and remarked, “This is why I didn’t want a doctor. They ask way too many questions.” He then smirked grimly and shouted to the room at large, “Wasn’t kidding about those two minutes. Move, people!”
With that, just as Leta furrowed her brow in immediate defense, she felt another tug at her arm. Apparently ignoring the captain’s orders, the same young man (the captain’s brother? Was that actually true?) drew her to the side and halted before her, his expression creasing in a wince. Now that she was able to look him fully in the face, he looked just as alarmed as she felt.
“Listen,” he sighed shakily, “I know you’re probably pretty confused right now and I will clear things up, honestly. But for the immediate moment, I think I need to make one thing very clear. At this current point in time, I really don’t care whether you’re, well…” His eyes moved hesitantly back toward the hatch, the Society banner still visible in the air. “One of them. Not right now. Doesn’t matter. But it is vitally important that under no circumstances do you mention it to Fiearius, whatsoever. He will kill you. No questions asked. He’ll kill you.”
“For now, don’t worry about treating him,” he continued, just as Leta opened her mouth in shock. “Once we get in the sky and things smooth out, you can do your thing, but until then, I strongly suggest you sit down and hold on,” he told her, a little less seriously, backing out of the alcove and making to turn towards the main wing of the ship. “Come on, I’ll show you to the passenger lounge.” Before he began to walk away, he paused to add, “Oh, by the way. I’m Cyrus. Welcome aboard the Dionysian.”