Duncan had reached the office of Chief Atlas and heard voices just inside. One of them belonged to Ronin, and he was in no hurry to tell him about his faux pas regarding the Kai/Kort admission to Indaya. In fact, he was apt to keep that little detail to himself, since he liked Indaya second to Ellie, and didn’t want to have to hurt or have Ronin hurt his back-burner girl. That would never do. He could barely make out the words that they were exchanging, something about knowing the Topsiders were being sent on a suicide mission from jump street, and how difficult it was for the Chief to convince the Prime Minister to let his entire Military unit go off in separate directions on the tiny chance of finding some piece of technology that would help.
Duncan didn’t understand politics in the slightest, but he had heard enough to know that he was eavesdropping on dirty politics and personal vendettas and as much as he hated Kai, he couldn’t believe his ears. He had every intention of signing up to be a Topsider out of the adventure, out of loyalty and wanting the glory, but now it was because he wanted answers and he knew the only way he would get the truth was if he was on the true inside. Being Ronin’s lackey paid well, but he wasn’t privy to much information beyond what piss poor details that Ronin decided to give them.
He had enough time to hurry away from the door and around the corner before Ronin emerged and ducked back to his little slice of Heaven that he reigned over in quadrant 1.
Duncan waited a few moments, steadied his breathing and knocked on the Chief’s door.
“Sir, I want to sign up to be a Topsider, Sir.”
A grin spread across the Chief’s face; he looked every bit the cat who ate the canary and Duncan smiled back, pretending to be both at ease and excited.
“Well son, have a seat, let’s get the paperwork started and your appointments arranged for your physical and fitness tests.”
Duncan took a seat and his mind raced with possibilities of what he was eventually going to find out.
“Kai, can’t we stay in our own rooms tonight? I don’t think that Ronin is going to come for me, not now. Not that he knows you’re here, and so close by.”
“I want to keep you safe, Ellie honey. I don’t want to leave your side.”
“That’s the thing, Kai. I love being with you and this new…dynamic that we’ve developed is…it’s great…but I need some time to adjust, to process.”
“Isn’t this what you’ve always wanted?” Kort’s face flushed and his green eyes, almost identical to Kai’s lit up with anger. “Didn’t you always want me to be your boyfriend and not just your best friend? I mean there are other girls, Ellie! Any other girl would be happy to have me! I’m a Topsider, after all, I lead them! I’m somebody!”
“And I’m nobody? Is that what you’re insinuating Kai? You haven’t been the same since you got back from this last mission and I tried to convince myself that it was shock, that you’d lost so many men that you couldn’t cope, but that’s not it. You’ve either changed a hell of a lot, or I never knew you at all, because my Kai wasn’t a gigantic ASSHOLE and that’s exactly how you’re behaving! I want to sleep in my own room tonight, ALONE. And I don’t want to be locked in. So help me if you lock me in one more room I’m going to the Chief myself and insisting he has you put on mental observation!”
Kort’s face contorted and he fought to bite his tongue. He didn’t have the same demeanor as his brother and his jealousy of Kai was getting the better of him. He couldn’t get what Ellie saw in Kai when they were essentially the same person.
At the risk of earning Ronin’s anger, to get her trust back he had to grant her what she wanted, otherwise, he’d blow the entire plan and Ronin would kill him AND Kai and that was not what Kort was aiming for.
Kort left her in silence, without another word and she slammed the door behind him, locking it from the inside.