Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Chapter 42: "Home"

She didn’t remember the chopper ride.  Or boarding the private shuttle.  She remembered Miles’ hand before both, and her hands felt light and empty for its absence now.  She also felt the gas mask’s absence, but pressure and weight on the back of her hand suggested she no longer needed it.  She opened her eye – eyes, now – although the left didn’t open much.

“Good.  She’s coming around.”  Alma Boyd said as she leaned towards Neith, who felt a now-foreign object slide into her ear. “Alright, she’s on.”

“Miss Cole.”  It wasn’t a question.  Abe Prescott’s voice stated in confidence: he had her attention now.  The IV line pulled a little near her wrist as Dr Boyd sat back down.

“She’s on.”

“You’ve exceeded our expectations.”  Prescott sounded happy, as always.

“He’s right, Neith.”  Boyd smiled.  Neith frowned.  She failed to see how her abduction could have spelled success on a Gain Trust assignment.  “They want you back.  They’re worried about you.  Don’t you see?  You told us they’d let you participate in a community event – you’ve been spending time at the school.  This is a small hiccup to them, because they want you back.  They want you.”

“They’ve even offered you a house!  You’ve truly outdone yourself!”

Neith hadn’t reported that.  How did they know about the house?

“It’s time for Phase 2.”  Neith looked to Boyd to clarify what Prescott was talking about.

“We’ll get her well first, Abe, of course.”  Boyd had in an earpiece too.

“Yes, of course.  And then you’ll be going back in.  You’ve flushed out the danger in their camp, and I’ve been assured there’s no further risk to you, or anyone else.  A note came from Jamin himself in one of your jacket pockets.  He was all apologies – said he felt terrible that they had been the ones to betray our trust; harm our people.  Jamin offered a gesture of goodwill.  They’ve agreed to Phase 2.  They’ll take in three 2K’s to start with.  So long as you are one of them.” 

“They want you.”  Boyd repeated.

Neith didn’t hesitate; “I want Grace.”

“Didn’t I tell you?”  Boyd looked up at the shuttle roof as she spoke to Prescott.

Prescott answered faster than she’d expected; “Of course.  If she wants to go, you can take her.”  That was too easy.  What was she missing?

“Who’s the third?”  Neith looked at Alma.  She smiled and waited for Prescott to answer.

His answer came, short and resolute; “My daughter.”