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I watch Michael as he passes me with this tiny woman in his arms. She’s definitely no more than 5”3’. She looks like a rag doll in his arms. How the hell did she ever make it in here.

I follow behind Michael as Delaney watches our six. As Laci spots us, she turns leading us out the door. Moving as quickly and quietly as possible, we head toward the ex-fill in a straight line. We need the most direct route we can find. Nothing says direct like the front entrance. Michael comes over the comm.

“Eagle one clear a path. We’re coming to you.”

“Roger. That’s music to my ears,” Beck replies.

We never hear a thing only see the bodies as we pass them on our way to the van.

“All clear, heading to the rendezvous,” Beck says.

“See you there, brotha,” Delaney responds.

“Sun’s coming up. The next shift will be starting soon. We need to haul ass,” Laci points out.

Chavez and his team make it to the van the same time as we do, minus Beck, but only for a few short seconds. Once everyone is in, we make our way back to the hub. My eyes keep drifting to Michael as he clings to Echo, cleaning her face, never releasing her from his arms. The care he takes with her, I can’t help but feel resentment toward this woman. It’s shameful, and I hate myself for feeling this way. She’s been through something extremely traumatic, but all I can think is: why does he care so much? Glancing at Laci, I know I’m not alone. I have a comrade in my feelings. Laci won’t even look at Michael. She’s only looked out her window since we got into the van. It’s too dark for her to see anything, so I know it’s a distraction to keep from looking at Michael. My eyes drift from her to Michael again. This time, he’s watching me. Eyes, as blue as the Caribbean. There’s something in his eyes. Sadness, confusion, whatever it is, it’s obvious he cares deeply for this woman. Not able to take his gaze any longer, I find my own window to look out of just as the sun hits the horizon.

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