‘Quintilian was captured by the Imperium. He must have been, since we swept the area where he was and found signs of a fight, but no body. Still trying to figure it out; word would be appreciated.’
I rubbed my temple. It wasn’t good news. Quintilian was another regional lead, two sectors over in the Borderworlds, but closer to the edge of Imperium territory than my area of influence. He’d been a friend of Korea’s from school and one of my closest allies in the upper echelons of the Resistance, especially when it came to trying to find her.
I closed my eyes, leaning back. I was with Renegade again, taking my turn on the watch. I’d been switching off with Sam and Conrad, but Kallyn had come to take a watch or two, a signal to me that she was getting ready to get more deeply involved in Resistance affairs.
I wasn’t sure whether that’d be a good thing or a bad thing.
A groan from the bed dragged me out of the quagmire of reports. Renegade had been drifting in and out of consciousness for the past few days, eyes dull with fever and barely responsive when we spoke to her. It hadn’t surprised me. I wasn’t quite sure what point the process had been interrupted at, but I knew that this was as close to normal as these things got. Her system was in a state of shock. Nothing was going to happen until that fever broke, and I knew it.
Part of me was silently thankful that Wil wasn’t around. I’d been able to taste his worry when he’d first brought me in on this, and it was disconcerting to say the least. Better he wasn’t here to keep right on worrying and distracting everyone around him.
The fever had finally broken the night before, but she hadn’t been awake since then.
Setting aside the palmtop where I’d been reading the reports, I leaned toward her, watching as Renegade lifted a hand to rub her eyes and groaned again, starting to roll and curl on her side. She noticed me a few seconds later, blinking blearily.
“Where am I?” she murmured, voice hoarse and heavy with confusion.
“Caldin,” I told her. I touched her shoulder as she started to sit up. “Careful, you’ve been mostly horizontal for a couple weeks except to get some food into you. Don’t sit up too fast. I don’t want you keeling over on me.”
She laughed weakly and let me help her sit up. She hunched over a little, staring at her hands, thin and pale against the gray coverlet. The engagement ring Wil had left on her finger sparkled in the room’s dim light and her gaze fastened on it for a moment. Her breath caught.
“I don’t know where that is,” she whispered. “I don’t know who I am. Who’re you?”
“Call me Luc,” I said. “I’m a doctor, and a friend. I’m here to help you.”
Her gaze slid sidelong to me, hazel eyes pinning me in place. She had one of those stares, one that could paralyze a man with a glance, a certain sort of intensity that could instill comfort or unease at her leisure. “Promise?”
One of her hands closed around mine and squeezed with a strength that surprised me. “Good,” she said in a ragged whisper. “Because I think I need it.”
Copyright 2011, Erin M. Klitzke