She watched Medic warily as the woman backed away. She turned to the guard and shouted, “We’re evacuating. Kerr wants everyone on board the shuttle. It’s here.”

The guard’s eyes slid to Lily and again she was surprised at the level of hatred that darkened his face. She swallowed thickly.

“What’s happening?” she asked softly, wincing as yet another blast rocketed through base.

Medic grabbed a large bag and snarled at her. “We’re under attack and will be lucky to make it out alive.” Her eyes filled with tears as her voice broke. “Jani is dead, there are so many dead, no thanks to you.”

Lily’s heart sank. Jani worked with Medic and had been so young.

She shook her head. “I’m so sorry, please you have to know—”

“Don’t you dare,” Medic interrupted roughly. “We all trusted you.” The tears were flowing freely now and she wiped them away impatiently. “I blame myself. I trusted you even when I knew something was up.” She glared at her. “We know, Lily Black. Kerr found your handheld. He worked for hours to break through the security codes and read all your notes. They detailed pretty much everything about this base and Kerr and the ruling family he belongs to.”

Lily opened her mouth to protest and then snapped it shut. What was the point? They’d never believe her.

Medic stomped back to the bed her eyes heavy with betrayal and pain. Lily would have done anything to wipe it away. “No one has every penetrated this base before. They’ve never even come close.”

The older woman glared down at her. “You led them here and for that you will pay.”

“Medic, we’ve got minutes.”

Karak shouted from the hall. Smoke was seeping into the room now, the grey clouds thick and noxious.

Medic turned to leave.

“You can’t leave me here,” Lily shouted as panic began to knock hard at her chest. She was having trouble breathing and the fire in her shoulder wasn’t helping the situation. “Kerr wouldn’t…” Her voice trailed off as Medic shook he head.

“Kerr ordered that I leave you restrained. He’s no time for a prisoner and will be lucky to make it off the planet alive.”

Lily sensed the woman’s indecision but it fled quickly as Karak shouted into the room.

“Medic!” Karak popped his head inside and tossed an oxygen helmet to the woman. His eyes passed over Lily and they held nothing but coldness, contempt.

Her heart felt crushed but she held her chin high and refused to look away from Karak. There was no way she’d show weakness. Seconds later they both disappeared leaving her alone in the infirmary, with only billowing smoke and the heat of fire for company.

The lump in her throat was massive and as she tried to make it go away the pain she felt, the betrayal she felt, was enough to knock her down. She’d done everything in her power to make sure Kerr survived the Serpentis and he thought nothing of her. He would leave her here to die.

He thought her a betrayer, but what the hell was he supposed to think? She had lied to him.

Lily exhaled. She couldn’t do this. Not now. She took a moment and composed herself. There was no way she could lose her cool, not if she wanted to live to see another day.

Not if she wanted to have a chance to prove her innocence.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Lily needed to find the cold place that existed inside of her. The one that was dark, lethal and could kill if need be. The one that would get her out of this fucking mess.

Long seconds passed and her eyes flew open as she took stock of the situation.

The fever lingered still but she could tell that the anti-serum had worked. Her body was still slick with sweat and as she ignored the pain in her shoulder and strained against her confines, she thought that just maybe she’d be able to wriggle out of them.

She concentrated on her right hand, yanked and pulled until tears of anger began to build. She could feel the rope burn as it started to move over her slippery skin, but her thumb joint and knuckles were too large.

“Fuck!” She shouted hoarsely, coughing as smoke continued to slither along the floor into the room.

She gave one final, massive heave and screamed as her hand slipped free. She ignored the pain and fresh blood that began to trickle from her wound and quickly untied her left.

As she jumped from the bed everything began to spin and she grabbed the mattress, breathing heavily until things began to settle. She had no time to wait and ran to the cabinet along the wall.

Medic’s helper was about the same size as Lily and two minutes later she was dressed. Her left arm was pretty much useless but she could move her right and that would have to be good enough.


Tags: Juliana Stone Black Opals Science Fiction
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