Category Archives: Part 2

Chapter 42: Garden Party

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“Never thought I’d be able to convince ya to go on a date with me,” said Finn as he held out his arm for Leta to take. But Leta completely ignored the gesture, and instead brushed past him and strode into the elegant garden party as if she’d gone alone.

“This couldn’t be less of a date,” she muttered, snorting. She adjusted the straps of her short dark dress and took a deep breath as she melted into the sea of people crowding the cobblestone garden. “I’m only doing this for Corra.”

“Hey, so am I,” said Finn, though without much conviction, as Leta had already started beelining past the fountains and toward the bar without him. But Finn spoke the truth: he’d agreed to take this job only for Corra’s sake. Something about her sad puppy-dog eyes made him feel weak and guilty. So he’d carefully sidestepped any correspondence with Callahan (who was furious, demanding to know why his cargo had not yet been delivered) and took up Corra’s good cause: attending this fancy-ass garden party only to sneak the enslaved allies out of it. Continue reading

Chapter 41: The Conduit

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“Oh, getting off the estate was real easy,” Cai was saying to his captive audience in the bridge. He leaned back in his seat and regaled the group with how he’d earned his freedom as the Beacon sailed smoothly towards the supposed coordinates of the Conduit. After 24 hours on the ship, the man Corra had found half-naked and mostly starved on the streets of Genisi was starting to look more like a person and less like a gutter rat. Most of that day, he’d spent glued to Corra who one might think had practically adopted the man with the amount of attention she gave him. But even she, it seemed, was new to this story.

“We picked the lock on our quarters and just ran out,” he went on. “That was the simple part. It was getting off Ellegy that proved a challenge. As it turns out,” he laughed, “there aren’t many ships willing to take on escaped allies who don’t have two credits to rub together.”

Alyx leaned forward eagerly, her chin in her hands.  “So what’d you do?”

Cai grinned. “Snuck aboard. We split up and stowed away, me and the four other allies. We figured we’d have a better shot of not getting caught if we each got on different ships.” Continue reading

Chapter 40: Freedom

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Callahan was completely unlikeable, Finn thought to himself with some amusement as he sat across from the man’s desk. Completely unlikeable, and for so many reasons: like how he spoke minimally in their business conversation and mostly kept his eyes on the tablet in his hands. Or how he scoffed and sneered when he saw homeless people asking for money in the streets. Or how he always spoke in a lofty, oily voice. Of course, Finn found that his most unlikeable trait was his disgusting treatment of Corra. He’d decided that Corra was a subservient ally and there was no changing his mind about it.

But for better or worse, Corra was not present in this meeting. She’d informed him brightly that morning that she had better places to be and considering Callahan’s attitude toward her, Finn shrugged his compliance. He’d do this one alone.

“So,” he said briskly, breaking the minute of awkward silence. He hoped to bring Callahan’s attention off the screen in his hands. “We’re delivering another ship for you, then.” Continue reading

Chapter 39: Leaving the Dionysian

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With a snarl, Fiearius slammed both his palms against the rickety metal door and marched into the cramped bedroom without a word of hello or warning. Inside, Dez sat on the edge of his bed, leaning on his knees as he read from a book. He looked up in surprise, opening his mouth to speak. But Fiearius, burning with rage, had no interest in what he wanted to say.

“You need to leave,” he heard himself growl.

Dez blinked at him slowly. “Excuse me?”

Leave,” Fiearius snapped, pointing out the door. “Leave. Now. Get off my ship before I force you off.”

Carefully, Dez put his book aside and stood up to his feet. “Am I entitled to ask why?” Continue reading

Chapter 38: The Truth

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In the wake of his confession, heavy, angry silence descended over the bridge. It felt like the shaky aftermath of a bomb explosion. Fiearius did not know what to say next. He desperately willed Cyrus to say something — anything. But Cyrus simply sat back in the co-pilot’s seat and glared through mistrusting eyes for a full minute. Fiearius folded his arms and tried to wait.

“Cyr — ” he started to plead, but Cyrus cut him off.

“Let me get this straight,” he muttered sharply. Fiearius went quiet, feeling almost impressed: he’d never heard Cyrus sound so nasty. “You were on some Society-made drug when you worked for them. But your wife told you it was dangerous so you quit. But then…after the ordeal on Satieri last year, you took it up again? Because Dez told you it would counter the effects of ARC?”

It was an oversimplification, but Fiearius had to agree. “Right,” he muttered tiredly. He leaned back against the wall, folding his arms in defeat. “Pretty much.” Continue reading

Chapter 37: Treatment

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Even Cyrus couldn’t deny how good it felt to walk up the ramp and return to the Dionysian. After his week on Vescent and the long night he’d spent with Addy on the Beacon, it felt like he hadn’t been back in these dim halls in ages. He hadn’t wanted to leave Addy this morning, but now that he was here, he felt his spirits lift. Everything was back to normal, at last. He was home.

As he strode through the empty cargo bay, he looked around for Fiearius, whom he’d barely had enough time to say three words to since their reunion. Leta’s condition had been more dire and Cyrus himself had been rather distracted. But now, he found himself missing his brother and feeling an urge to catch up on what had happened over the last week. He weaved through the hallways, checking the crew lounge, the kitchen, the dining hall and he was just leaving the empty bridge, assuming his sibling must still be asleep in his quarters (it wouldn’t be that surprising…) when Fiearius passed right by him in the hallway without a word. Continue reading

Chapter 36: Inevitable

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“So just to make this clear,” Daelen was saying, his gaze fixed on the tablet in his hands where he’d been taking notes, “You remember being told to enter the room. And you remember waking up in it. But nothing in between at all? You’re sure?”

“I really don’t remember anything,” said Leta, lifting one shoulder and dropping it in defeat as she slumped on the exam bench. At her side, Fiearius pressed his hand to her back and hovered close by, as if he were weary of losing sight of her again.

The hours following the return from Vescent were a blur of chaos. Leta remembered screaming her lungs out at Fiearius, coming to her senses, and then collapsing into his embrace. She’d shakily exchanged hugs with Corra, Finn, Amora, Daelen, even Maya … and then Fiearius had taken her gently by the arm and steered her away from the chattering crew and toward the infirmary. At first, everyone had followed them downstairs — until Fiearius barked at them to get the hell out and slammed the door. Continue reading

Chapter 35: Riot and Relief

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Icy sweat covered the back of Leta’s neck as she hazarded forward in line. She had no idea what she was even in line for, only that it was essential clearance for Society agents. Her mind was a fog of panic, but she tried to invisibly assess the situation: the border patrol clearly believed she was still a loyal Society employee. They believed she was one of them. For now. It was her single, lonely advantage that could evaporate any second.

And it was only because of the librera tattooed on her arm. She had no other safe identity, nothing else to shield her from who she was. What would happen when she reached the end of the line? Up ahead, a security guard was ushering agents along until they disappeared behind a long, white screen. What was it for? And was he going to ask for her identification? Continue reading

Chapter 34: Escape Plan

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“It’s just a matter of getting the timing right,” Cyrus said, pointing at the timetable he’d posted to the wall of Delia’s guest bedroom. It was scribbled with his notes and calculations that he’d spent the entire week writing.

A full week had past since they’d arrived on Vescent. A full week of pacing across Delia’s apartment, tearing his hair out, staring out the windows, making note of every ship they saw land and take off from the city docks a few miles away …

Only now did Cyrus feel he was making any sort of progress on escaping. Continue reading

Chapter 33: The Message

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Begin Forwarded Message:

With heavy heart I call to thee

From the orb of endless sea

Where oceans sprawl both far and wide

And each street bears its watchful eyes.

But fear not for me nor companion mine

For open arms of friends we find.

To you, though, no one can compare

I’m yours, forever, always, I swear.

Without you I am frail, my dear,

But I am not ensnared by fear.

Yes our time may pass and flow

But we’ll meet again, of this, I know.

For now, the road between us goes

And upon it fourteen lilies grow.

I am a part of twelve, but one day, true,

I will make my way right back to you.

Fiearius stared at the message on the screen, feeling no more confident about it than the first time he’d read it. So he read it again. And again. He found himself more confused than relieved. Continue reading