Chapter 25: Elena
We stand around the console, staring at the blinking light like cavemen to fire.
“Should we answer?” I suggest.
Without a word, Damien taps a button, accepting the hail.
“Hello? Is anyone there?” A collected voice on the other end speaks.
Ethan, Damien, and I look at each other.
I hold down the talk button “Unidentified vessel, this is Chief Technician Prydwen. We have had a catastrophic casualty on board this vessel. We request aid. Can you assist?”
There’s a silence.
“…What kind of casualty?” A less formal voice speaks.
There are more glances to each other.
“Biological. The ship should be considered hostile with the exception of those of us who have survived,” I explain. “Do you require medical assistance?” the other voice asks basically.
“You’re in luck. We happen to be a traveling medical vessel. We can help,” the voice says with a cheerier tone.
A wave of relief washes over us as we trade smiles of hope.
“What is that you need from us, medical vessel?” I ask with enthusiasm.
“All we need is someone to bring your docking bay out of lock-down. We can handle the rest,”
“Roger that. It may take some time. Are you able to stand by until then?”
“Affirmative. We’ll wait as long as we need to in order to help those in need,”
“Thank you. We’ll contact you as soon as you’re clear,” Silence follows, providing all the confirmation needed.
“So, what’s this about help?” Dante says with a yawn as he follows behind Ethan who has woken him up.
“It’s a medical vessel. They said they want to help,” I elaborate.
“That’s great!” Dante perks up.
“Small problem though. We need to get to the docking bay and take it out of lock-down,” Ethan says, giving the bad news.
Dante puts his hands on his hips and sighs.
“Shit. Only way to do that is manually from the console…in the docking bay,”
Damien checks his ammo, ensures his sights are aligned and turns towards us.
“Who’s going with me?” He asks with determination.
“Did any of you properly verify this ship is what they say they are?” Lauren’s voice calls from behind.
“How long have you been there?” Dante asks.
“Doesn’t matter. You all know this is pirate space, correct? We’re a disabled station ripe for the picking,”
“It’s a medical vessel,” Ethan states.
“That disappoints me. Someone of your status Ethan should know to properly vet the credentials of any unknown ship in open space,” She says shaking her head.
“What matters…is that they’re a way off this place. I don’t care who they are. They have a ship that works. If it requires their blood to board it, so be it,” Damien says as he starts for the entrance.
The group passes looks to each other.
Lauren shrugs “Well…he isn’t wrong,” she says as she takes a seat at one of the tables.
Dante exits his quarters with his own rifle and follows behind Damien. Ethan jogs to the armory, taking up a firearm as well.
“Ethan…” I say with a hushed voice.
He stops, looking at me with confusion in his expression.
I step closer “Are you sure you can...?” I present the question.
The look on his face turns to a slight offense “I’ll be fine Elena. I’m not out of commission yet,” He places a hand on my shoulder “Don’t lose faith in me,” He says before moving with purpose to catch up to Dante and Damien who have already exited the security center.
“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Lauren says to me, her legs crossed in the chair as she sips a cup of tea.
“What do you mean?” I question as I take a seat next to her on the opposite side of the table.
“I don’t think he quite realizes what you’re really about,”
“If you don’t mind, I’ll pass on this heart to heart, Lauren,” I dismiss her.
She chuckles “Who said this was a heart to heart? It’s me telling you that you’re an idiot for getting involved with him considering what you are,”
“And what is that, exactly?”
Lauren smiles “Do you honestly think you’re the first one to come after me?” I raise an eyebrow in questioning.
“Oh,” She leans forward, resting her arms on the table “They didn’t tell you? That’s lovely. I think it was…three Raven agents before you came,” Lauren says, counting on her fingers for effect.
“That’s not true,”
“How would you know? Here’s the problem with compartmentalizing information. You only get a piece of it. It keeps the enemy from learning everything and keeps control over you. I must say, you were the best one yet. I had no idea you were one. Until your little stunt to save Dante happened. They were textbook movements the other ones attempted before being taken and spaced in the middle of nowhere,”
Her words cause my blood to boil. I clench my jaw and ball a fist.
“You weren’t wrong when you spoke the words you did to me. But don’t think that you are even in the slightest a better person than I am. You people fight in the name of good and use evil methods to get there,” She criticizes.
“It’s no different than you,” I retort.
“Oh, but it’s quite different. I don’t proclaim goodness in anything I do. I do what I want to push the limits of science. The limits of humanity. For myself. I have money and power. Charting the unknown is what I have left to gain. Raven agents…manipulate, lie, steal, cheat, and murder people to reach their target. And then you sit on your high horse thinking you’re the solution to the Galaxy when you’re really part of the problem. And those things that you do are not unlike that of how you’re manipulating the Blake right now,”
I stand up, slamming my hands in the table “I am not! Just…shut up! Shut up!” I exclaim.
She narrows her eyes, giving me a smirk.
“Then tell me…what is it? Do you like him? Last I checked, Raven agents were taught not to have feelings. Other than the ones they fake for their own gain that is,”
I look at the floor, my lip quivering as I attempt to stifle the tears. How is she of all people cutting so deep into me? What right does she think she have?
I slowly sit down, focusing only on the smooth white surface of the round table.
“You don’t know what I had been through…what they rescued me from,” I say timidly through a shaky voice.
Lauren looks at me with intention “You’d be surprised at just how much I do understand,” I lock eyes with her for a moment, searching for the answer she wants me to see behind them.
The realization strikes me.
“You…were one of us…”
She laughs “Thank goodness, no. But that’s not to say they didn’t offer me a job. All I said was I was that I understand more than you know. I won’t get into detail as to how exactly that is,”
“Then why are we even having this conversation, Lauren?”
“To remind you of what you are. And that sooner or later, he’s going to learn the same thing,”
“Why do you care so much about this. You hate him,”
“I don’t hate anyone. What I hate is stupidity. And those who parade themselves as intelligent when all they do is lack just that. The Blake was a liability but…I must admit after all of this…” Lauren stares down, a thoughtful twinkle in her eyes “Perhaps…just maybe…I’ve grown a soft spot for him,” She looks into my eyes, seriousness dressing her face once more “And if I have to change then you damn well have to follow suit. Besides, what do you think will happen if he’s still having those fits of rage when he learns the truth of your initial intentions with him?”
I look away from Lauren. The disappointment in myself growing within me. My face scrunches as I feel the tears creep into my eyes once again.
“Do you think…the outcome will be any different…by telling him now than later?” I ask through sobs.
She shrugs “Most likely not. But think of what’ll happen if you decide to build a life with him on the foundation of a lie…if I can manage to cure him, I mean,”
I look at her perplexed “I thought you said you could?”
She shakes her head “I said I was confident I could. But I’m confident in everything I do,”
“So you lied?”
“I did not…lie. I am confident that I can. But this is science Elena. Nothing is ever absolute in it until it is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt,”
I resign myself to silence, knowing that she’s correct.
Lauren looks towards the window “Hm…seems they’ve gotten the bay open,”
My vision snaps to what her eyes are laid upon. A small stream of light shines through an opening in the station as the ship begins to dock, sliding closed as it enters fully.