Chapter 24: Communication

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” … And then, out of nowhere, all of Quin’s people showed up and scared away the gang. Can you believe that?” Addy was saying. “Everyone was swarming the ship!”

Cyrus let out a laugh of disbelief. Even through the console speaker in the wall, he could hear the excitement in Addy’s voice and it made him grin to himself as he lay on his back in bed, arms folded under his head. They’d been on the call for nearly an hour as she recalled the latest chain of events on the Beacon.

“Gods, that sounds terrifying,” Cyrus said. “Is everyone okay?”

“Everyone’s fine. Well, except Finn. He has a concussion but he says he’s okay to fly the ship.” Addy laughed. “Should I be worried?”

“I’m — sure it’ll be fine. Where are you headed anyway?”

“On our way to Relara. We’ve got another job with that Callahan guy. How about the Dionysian? What’s going on over there?”

Cyrus scratched his messy hair. “Heck if I know. Fiear’s been locked in the bridge for the past day or two planning something. Called us all to a meeting later to talk about it. Pretty sure we’re going after more Society ships or strongholds or somethings though. He’s been rather bent on this revenge idea lately.”

“That sounds dangerous.”

“Probably, but what else is new,” Cyrus agreed.

He waited for Addy’s familiar ringing laugh to fill the line, but it never came. Instead, silence descended between them so long, he thought the call had been disconnected.

“Hey, ah, you there?”

“Oh — yeah. Sorry.” Addy’s voice sounded small.

“Everything alright? You don’t have to worry about me, you know. I’ll be fine.”

“Oh — no, it’s not that.” She sounded surprised. “I know you’ll be fine.”

“…Oh. Yeah. Right.” Of course she wasn’t stewing with worry about him; what was he thinking? He added quickly, “Sorry. What’s up then? You okay?”

“I’m fine. I just got some bad news the other day.” Cyrus felt himself tense, and Addy went on, “So … turns out … I can’t talk to my dad regularly anymore. He’s still on Satieri, you know, and the Society is tracking him and now he’s pretty sure they’re monitoring his calls.”

“Monitoring calls?” A concerned frown creased his brow. “Sounds right up their alley.”

“If there’s no way to safely communicate, I just can’t call him at all. I don’t want to put anyone on the Beacon in danger, you know? Or the Dionysian, for that matter. It just sucks. Not being able to talk with your family.”

Cyrus’ mind flashed to his own parents. He hadn’t even said goodbye before he fled Satieri, and now, with their two sons Society fugitives, they were sure to be long dead. He would have given anything to talk to them again, but it was too late. Addy’s father, though, was at least still alive. But she couldn’t see him or speak with him. Who knew when it would be too late for her too?

“Yeah,” he muttered at last. “Yeah, it really does.”

“We used to talk once a week. Now it could be months, until … ” A heavy pause filled the line, until Addy sighed. “Hey, sorry to bring the the mood down. Tell me something happy, please?”

Caught off guard, Cyrus quickly racked his brain. “Well. I read an article this morning about a dog that saved a baby from a burning building on Ellegy?”

Addy laughed. “Perfect.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

After hours and hours of toiling in the bridge, picking apart every detail of his plan, Fiearius was ready to share his findings.

When Leta, Dez and Cyrus filed inside, all of them looking curious, he wasted no time in getting started. He brought up a map on the console screen. “I’ve been looking over records the past few days. I think I’ve finally found our next target.”

Leta and Cyrus looked surprised. Naturally, Dez looked disbelieving. He crossed his arms, eyes shifting. “Are we not going after the Tarinian shipping routes I suggested?”

Fiearius pointed at him with a smirk. “That was a good plan. But this is better. And a lot less risky. Blackwater,” he presented proudly. “Heard of it?”

“It’s an underground base somewhere near the edge of the span,” said Dez, frowning. “A major staging ground for the Carthian border skirmishes.”

Fiearius grinned. “Precisely.”

“Wait, a base? A secret underground base?” Cyrus looked immediately stricken. “How is that–what–Less risky? How is this not risky?”

“That’s where the plan comes in.” He tapped on the console, bringing up a set of building schematics. The three of them stepped closer to the screen.

“See, the base is buried beneath and within a mountain. If you look here, you’ll see there are only three ways in and out. These two hatches.” He prodded the screen with his index finger. “And the hangar.”

“No, there’s four,” Cyrus cut in suddenly. “This.” He pointed to a small mark at the base of the image. “It’s–it looks like a vent.”

“It sure is,” said Fiearius proudly. “And that, is our way in.” Cyrus looked rather horrified, so Fiearius explained, “This is the only way. The other entrances will be secured. Alarms, cameras, locking mechanisms. No way we’re getting in there. Not without clearing them from the inside first.”

Leta looked notably less startled than Cyrus. She laid her fingers across her lips, a portrait of thought. “So someone gets in through the vent, takes care of the entrances and lets the others in the front door?”

“Two someones actually,” Fiearius corrected. “Two people go in through the vent. We’ll need to get both doors open at once. Catch ‘em off guard and flank ‘em.”

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