Finn couldn’t quite wrap his head around what he was hearing. He’d always suspected Corra of working with the Conduit in her absence, but he’d never imagined it in this form. The thought of her as someone’s slave, even for a short time, even for a good cause, made him sick to his stomach.
“I’ve tried to persuade her into work a little less dangerous,” Raisa went on, “But she’s insistent. And she’s good at it. With her help the last few years, we’ve freed more people than I ever thought possible. But–as long as she’s out there undercover, she’s out of reach. That’s why I can’t help you. I can’t contact her anymore than you can.”
Defeated and stunned, Finn took a few steps backwards and fell back onto the couch. Fortunately, Cai took over for him. “But she must be in contact right now. We know she was on Tarin, alone, just a few days ago.”
Raisa just shrugged. “I don’t know what she does or how she moves around,” she admitted. “All I know is if she was out of her cover, she would contact me.”
“Well when was the last time you spoke to her?” Cai pressed.
“A month or so ago.” Raisa looked over at her desk curiously. “She did…she did mention a name.”
And like that, Finn snapped back to attention. “What? What name?”
Hurriedly, Raisa crossed to her desk and started typing on her own console, searching for a message. Finn launched from his seat and huddled behind her shoulder to watch. And then, finally, there it was.
“I’m sending some frees–,” he read out of the message. “A new lead–Ranson Lars.” Finn read it again. “Ranson Lars…”
It meant nothing.
“Who’s that?” asked Cai.
“Rich ship manufacturer out of Ellegy,” Raisa answered. “Uses allies in most of his factories. ‘Getting people off the streets and into jobs’ he says.” She scoffed indignantly.
“You think she’s in one of those factories then?” asked Finn.
“Perhaps, but I doubt it. Her strategies in the past kept her close to the owner, not brushing along the bottom where she could be stomped out too easily.”
“So we find this Lars guy, we find Corra,” concluded Cai.
Raisa looked back at him. “No guarantees…But if it could save her…It’s worth a shot.”
After his talk with Raisa, Finn knew what he had to do. The path ahead was clear when he returned to the Beacon in the Conduit’s hangar (fortunately not pursued by angry guards this time). He’d find this man Corra had supposedly sold herself to and he’d warn her about whatever it was she had stolen and, if she allowed it, he’d help her finish her mission so she wouldn’t have to even falsely ‘belong’ to someone for one more day.
Unfortunately, to do that, he was likely going to need some help. After hearing the entire exchange, Cai seemed to be on his side at least. That was one. And Daelen wouldn’t be hard to convince with Cai’s support. But there was still one last member of the Beacon’s Unofficial Leadership Committee whose support he needed desperately.
Dragging his feet, Finn forced himself upstairs to the bridge. It was quiet and empty save for Alyx, who sat at one of the consoles, poring over a map and typing into a keypad at the same time. Doing her dutiful tasks as navigator, nay, interim captain, he thought with a pang of guilt — as she always did.
With more confidence than he felt, he said, “Hey, Alyx,” as though they hadn’t been on strict non-speaking terms for the past few days and in fact this was the most casual of conversations. “Can I talk to you?”
Alyx spared him a short, cool once-over. Then she bent her head over the screen again and said nothing. Right, the cold shoulder. After what he’d said to her, he knew he deserved it.
“Stop a second, would ya?” he sighed, crossing the room to stand beside her. “I’d like to apologize.”
Expressionless, Alyx looked up at him. “Oh really?” she asked, venom in her tone. “About time.”
“It’s overdue,” Finn agreed, wincing. “I’m sorry, alright?”
Alyx regarded him for a moment and then leaned back in her chair, crossing her arms over her chest. “Sorry for what?” she asked patiently. She had the upper hand and hell, she knew it.
Finn drew a deep breath. “I’m sorry I dismissed you. I’m sorry I said you’re not in charge of the ship when we all know you practically are.”