Chapter Thirty-Five: Glen
The first thing he noticed was the sound of the machine by his head. It was too loud, and too close. His eyes cracked, but he shut them immediately against the input he was receiving. Too much, too bright, too loud.
His mouth felt like cotton. He opened and shut his mouth a few times. He needed water. Where was—No, he knew where he was. He knew the sickbay by scent alone. At least his nose wasn’t being overloaded. Where was Saige? Was there a button he could press or something to summon a nurse?
His first attempt to move ended horribly. He lay panting while he tried to figure out how to call someone. He didn’t have to wait long, as he heard the door open and footsteps hurry to his side. A man’s voice spoke, startling him. He’d expected a woman.
“Can you see me okay? Is your vision impaired in any way?”
He hadn’t opened his eyes, so the question was stupid.
“Where is Saige?”
“She’s busy. I need you to help me out here, Mr. Mykel. Can you open your eyes?”
Mr. Mykel? What was that supposed to be?
“Commander Mykel. And I want to see her.”
“How about your hearing,” the nurse now asked, ignoring him.
“I’m not telling you anything—”
“You won’t be getting access to anyone if you don’t cooperate with us.”
“You have zero right to ban me from anything. I don’t care if you want to keep me here for observation, but I am still Commander and as such, I am demanding to see my student.”
He’d opened his eyes enough to see the man, and therefore saw when he threw his hands in the air and left. He’d have to make a note to have the man disciplined for his rudeness to a superior. But later. He had bigger fish to fry. And a girl to find.
Carter barged in soon after the nurse left.
“Why are you being so pig-headed?”
“It isn’t pig headed to make sure my student is okay.”
“Why can’t I see her?”
“Firstly, I don’t know why you’d want to, but also, she’s being contained at the moment.”
“Contained? Why? Did she hurt someone?”
“She didn’t hurt me. What are you talking about?”
Carter’s lips pressed together in a thin line.
“What are you talking about, Carter?”
“This is all her fault. So no, you cannot see her.”
He tried to sit up, but Carter rushed over and pushed him back with a firm hand on his chest.
“You’re not allowed to get up.”
“You’re going to bring Saige here, or I’m going to do whatever I please. And what I want is to go find her. So if I’m not supposed to be moving, you’d do well to get her here. Quickly.”
Carter just shook his head. “I can’t do that, and I can’t let you move either.”
“So what are you going to do? Knock me out? I’d like to see you try.”
“I don’t have to do that either. If you move, they’re going to hurt her.”
He stopped moving. “Excuse me?”
“This isn’t a game. They’re serious. The more you resist, the worse Saige will be treated.”
“Why would you let them—”
“You almost died because of her! And this entire situation... None of this would have happened if not for her. They want her dead. If I hadn’t convinced them otherwise, she would be six feet under already.”
They couldn’t do that. She’d done nothing wrong. What “situation” was Carter even talking about? He took a deep breath to steady himself before speaking again.
“Glen, you’ve been relieved of duty! You are no longer Commander.”
His mind went blank for a split second, then rebooted itself.
“I’m not in the mood for jokes.”
“Neither am I.”
“There’s no reason for me to be demoted.”
The man didn’t answer, but shook his head. Even he seemed at a loss of what to say.
“Where’s the Chief?”
The door opened and in came the man in question along with a doctor.
“What, were you just waiting for your cue? What is he talking about,” he snapped.
The Chief didn’t speak at first, but instead pulled up a chair and took a seat next to his bed.
“Before you explain,” Glen said, “I need some water before I start spitting sand.”
Chief Luther nodded to the doctor, who then left. The man took a seat beside the bed, and looked to Carter.
“Give us a minute.”
When his friend was gone, Chief Luther wasted no time.
“I know he told you. I knew he wouldn’t be able to resist blurting it out. The first thing I want you to know is that you were honorably discharged.”
“I shouldn’t have been discharged at all. Do you have any idea how the press will eat you alive because of this? After all I’ve done for you—”
His words slowed, and finally stopped. No one had called him by his first name, save Robert and Carter, in centuries. Even the chief.
“I don’t know how to tell you this. I know you wouldn’t have joined had you known. None of us would have—” He shook his head and punched the bed with a fist. “I wouldn’t have discovered the best soldier we’ve ever had.”
“I’m going to need you tell me what’s going on, sir. I’m not a fan of these guessing games.”
“I don’t know what that girl did to you on that beach—”
“I educated her on that field trip, and at the end, I had some sort of reaction. I don’t know what to.”
“To her. She did something to you and you aren’t telling us. I don’t know why.”
“Why would I lie? I’m the one being discharged here. I should be throwing everyone under the bus right now, shouldn’t I? But I’m not.”
“You’re a fool. I knew something would go wrong, but I hoped it would be minor. This... this is too big for me to contain. Too many people saw—”
“I won’t say. There are some things a man should find out for himself. Just watch the news and you’ll see for yourself.”
He stood. Glen grabbed his arm.
“I want you to tell me.”
“I don’t care. Watch it, then call me.”
“I guess I won’t find out then.”
Chief Luther smiled and shook his head.
“I guess you won’t. Hard head.”
Hours later he was starving and ignorant as ever. When the door opened, he was expecting the Chief to be there, still shaking his head and giving up. Instead, a small figure rushed in. At first he thought it was Saige, but immediately after he realized that wasn’t so. It was someone he hadn’t seen since Saige’s tussle with Fey.
“What are you—”
“I don’t have much time and neither does Saige. Shut up and listen to me, or I’ll go and help her myself.”
He stared at Eavan while she locked the door and overrode the security panel until it flashed red.
“You’ve only been discharged. Saige is on an execution list.”
She shoved him back when he moved to jump up in rage.
“She has a couple of days left. They won’t listen to reason, and I don’t blame them. Their best soldier was just turned into the thing they fear most. They’re terrified.”
“What are you talking about?”
Her bright blue eyes blinked once, twice, and she glanced back at the door. “They didn’t tell you?”
“I told the Chief I wanted him to tell me or I wouldn’t find out at all. I didn’t want the media to tell me.”
“You—no, they were supposed to—I don’t have time for this!”
But she still came forward and sat in the same spot the chief had occupied hours before.
“I... This isn’t something that should be thrown—”
“Why does everyone think I’m some delicate flower? I’m an assassin. I kill for a living. Just tell me what’s going on.”
She looked into his eyes as though searching for something. Whatever it was, she didn’t find it.
“Like I said, I don’t have time right now. Saige is in danger and I had to get to you before they shut down this wing. I’m going to find a way to work this out, but you have to pay attention. I’ll give you a signal and you’ll have ten minutes to get to Saige and another ten to get out before they realize what’s happening. Maybe more, maybe less, but bottom line is that you’d better haul it. In case you forgot, this is a base full of soldiers who, like you, were trained to kill first and ask questions later. And no one is fond of you right now. Your former status won’t get you anywhere on this planet.”
“Then where am I supposed to go?”
“I don’t know. Nor do I want to. If I get caught, I don’t want to be able to lead them to you.”
“Why are you helping us? What do you have to gain?”
She stood and tucked some hair behind her ear. His eyes flew to the area, then back to her face. She didn’t acknowledge his discovery, or her revelation. Her expression remained neutral.
“I lost family once, and it was my fault. I was ignorant, and afraid. I thought I was helping. But it just made everything worse, and then I had no one. I—” She looked at the door. Then she returned to his side and leaned in close.
“You’re going to find out, very soon, what the big deal is. Why you’re here in this bed now, and why they dropped you from your position like you were on fire, despite all you’ve done for them. And when you do, I want you to know that it isn’t the end of the world, because there are so many more scattered throughout the galaxy. And everything is changing. I see it. And tell Saige that family will always find her.”
He frowned. “What?”
“I have to go. Rest up, listen to them, and wait for my signal. Remember: ten minutes there and ten minutes out. Maybe. You’re the best, so you know how to deal if things go wrong. Just get her out of here. And yourself. None of that hero stuff. Both of you out.”
At the open door, she paused.
“And don’t kill anyone. They have enough anger as is without you giving them a reason to be upset. Reign it in, hotshot.”
Then she was gone. And he still had no answers. What else was new?