Legacy Chapter 12

Updated on August 21, 2018
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Evelyn has published 3 novels, Justice Lost, Rescue, and Spark into Flame, and 2 scifi/fantasy short stories in magazines.

Chapter 12

I stirred. Sparks of pain shot through my limbs. I opened my eyes. Rhyth was standing in front of me, cradling his gun. Two of his soldiers stood beside him. I was sitting on a chair, disguised as a pile of rubble, and ropes bound my arms to the armrests. Beneath the numbness from the medpatch, my head throbbed dully.

“What did you tell Violet?” said Rhyth.

“Nothing.”

“What were you going to tell her?”

I wanted to ask her if Glory had rescued Peri, and if they’d found a cure for Mom. I wanted to find out if Dad was still angry, and if Blade was okay from the lightning attack. But if I said any of these things, Rhyth would find out I was Jet. I was in enough trouble as it was.

“Did you know about our plans before you came?”

I shook my head.

“What was your mission here? Why did you come to spy on us?”

“I’m not a spy.”

“Liar! You were talking to Violet March. She’s a spy.”

“She’s my friend. I thought she could help me, since you were attacking me.”

“He is Nobility,” said Sym. She was sitting near the fire, a guard holding a gun to her head. “It makes sense he’d know her.”

“I told you to stay out of this!”

“He’s injured. He needs rest. Let him go.”

Rhyth turned toward her. “And what if he is a spy? He’ll tell the Marches about our plans. I can’t let him go.”

“What if he’s telling the truth and he came to find Echo? Maybe you don’t care about finding our brother, but if he knows Violet, and the Marches find out what you did to him, they’ll tear us apart. They might even throw us into the Abyss. Do you want that, Rhyth? Or have you thought any of this out?”

“I am committed to the revolution. No matter what happens, I’m not backing down. I’ve got to see this through to the end, so we can be free.”

“I want to be free, too. But hurting someone innocent—someone who wanted to help us—isn’t the answer.”

“If he’s a friend of the Marches, he’s not innocent.” He turned back to me. “What was your mission here?”

“I told you, I’m not a spy.” That was true. Except I had thought about telling Dad about what Rhyth was doing….It wasn’t true that I’d come in order to find Echo, but now that I knew about his disappearance, I wanted to find him.

“So you just happen to know Violet March, and you just happen to be an expert at stealth tech. And you just happen to stumble on us as we’re planning revolution. Those are too many coincidences.” He grabbed my chin and looked into my eyes. His eyes were brown with gold flecks, with the intense gaze of a fanatic.

I wished desperately I had been able to turn the sensor block off, so the Ms could find me. But then, it might turn off on its own if the com continued to degrade…

“I want you to tell me the truth. Tell me how much you know about us. What kind of spy you are. What your plans are for us. If you don’t…I have methods to make you talk.”

He laid his gun down, and lightning crackled over his fingertips. I struggled, but the ropes were bound tight.

With a swift slash, a lance of electric current slammed into my chest. A sharp zap of pain.

“Please, don’t hurt him!” said Sym. “He doesn’t know anything. If he was a spy, he would never talk. You know how they train the intel corps. They’re elite. They don’t break under torture.”

“That might just be a myth they’ve propagated. Even elite have their breaking point. I just have to find it.”

“What’s the point of interrogating him? He’s not going anywhere. This is just wasting time.”

“That’s where you’re wrong, Symphony. There is a lot we can learn from him about their defenses, their capabilities. Ways we can use him, if we can just find a way to break him open. For instance—” he slid his hand into his pocket and drew out my com— “I need to find out if you really are who you say you are. If you’d just give me the code to your com, I could learn the truth.”

If he broke into my com files, he’d find out I was Jet. He’d also find out if the com degraded to the point that my holomask vanished. If the sensor block degraded first, then the Ms would come and I’d be safe—from Rhyth, anyway. If the holomask degraded first, and it took as long before the sensor block degraded as it had since the invisibility program had…I’d be in a lot of trouble.

“I wanted to fix the com so I could keep investigating Echo’s disappearance without the Ms stopping me, like they did before. As soon as the sensor block degrades, Ms will come. Unless I repair it.”

“Then fix it.”

“I don’t have any motivation to do that. I can just wait you out. The Ms will find you, and they’ll see what you’ve been doing to me, and they’ll fly you to Ember himself for judgment.”

Fear flashed across his face. Then he said, “I’ll make you repair it.”

“I might not be a spy, but I’ll hold out long enough for them to find me. It won’t take much longer. I’ll tell Ember all about you. Unless….”

“What?”

“Unless you let me go. I don’t care about your rebellion.” That was true. Rhythm seemed rather deluded to think he could go against us with a small band of teens. It was likely Dad knew about it—or if he didn’t, it didn’t matter, because these people were stuck in Quarantine, and there was no way out. I didn’t need more to prove myself to Dad, either—at least, as long as Glory was able to get Peri out. If anyone could, she could—and she cared about me, and about Mom. “I won’t tell Ember about it. I’ll go home with Sym, and I’ll find Echo. And you will never lay a hand on me again.” I sat up as straight as I could, being bound, and though pain squirmed in my stomach, I felt like I had a real chance for my bluff to work.

“How do I know you won’t tell?”

“I’m a Goldstorm. We keep our word.” Silently, I substituted “March” for Goldstorm. Because it was true. At least, as long as we remained true to who we were. I was a little shaky about where Dad stood now…since he’d lashed out at Blade of all people….

Rhyth sighed. “I suppose I don’t have a choice.” He narrowed his eyes. “If you’re telling the truth about the com degrading.”

“Do you want to risk it? Who knows how long we have. It might already be too late. The Ms could land here any minute—”

“All right!” He scrambled for the ropes that bound me and yanked them away. “But if you betray me, no matter what happens, I will hunt you down and kill you.”

“You’ve been in Warzone too long,” said Sym. “Even without Flicker, you’ve buried yourself in a fantasy world, and you don’t know fiction from reality.”

He whirled on her. “If you weren’t my sister….” Lightning crackled over his hands.

“That’s not the reason. You’ve attacked me plenty of times. You just finally learned that you can’t beat me.” She smiled.

Rhyth turned his back to her and handed me the com. I dove into its core and frantically fiddled with the sensor block and the holomask, moving them to the safest place I could find and then deleting more nonessential programs so the com would have the leeway to repair itself, if possible.

Sym strode over to me and helped me to my feet. “Let’s get out of here. I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t want to help us find Echo anymore.” She glared at her brother.

When we stepped out into the hallway, which wasn’t plastered with Warzone graphics, I breathed a sigh of relief. Aches writhed through my muscles and pangs shot through my head and arm, but the medpatch still probably had a few hours left, thankfully.

And now, Sym was taking me to a safe place, away from all this craziness, and I could call Glory and Vy at my leisure, and find out if they’d found a cure, and I could take the sensor block off. If Peri had been rescued, I would stay and wait until Dad cooled off. If he hadn’t, I might have to go find him myself. If they found a cure, there would be no reason to stay. Except….I needed to help find Echo. I had to go see Mom (and Sabra…) but I also needed to help the Savannahs have their happy ending, too.

I hoped the rest of the Savannahs didn’t get in trouble for Rhythm’s recklessness. It would be horrible to get into Quarantine for something they didn’t do, and then be unable to get out because of something one of them did inside of it. I’d talk to Dad; tell him that the Savannahs were innocent. Even Rhyth hadn’t done much except tie me up and strike me with lightning…and threaten me with torture….

We made our way down the hallway to the elevator.

“Just ten more floors to go, and we’ll be free of this place,” said Sym. “I’ve never stayed at a Festival later than midnight. Even normal ones get out of hand by then. And this one…well, it’s not normal. It’s like something’s gotten into the air…something worse than Flicker.”

“I wonder….”

“What?” She stepped into the elevator and tapped the Ground button.

“Just….” It seemed everything had fallen apart since Mom’s madness. And without Dad….Glory was doing her best to hold things together, but Mag City needed its Sovereign. Even with things on autopilot—it all started to degrade. Like the spirit of the Sovereign held everything together, and when he or she fell apart, so did the world. I couldn’t very well tell Sym that though. “I’ve heard rumors….” I stopped. I didn’t want to spread rumors about our family. Besides the fact it was forbidden to reveal any deep weakness, I didn’t want anyone to know about Mom’s madness, expose her to public scrutiny. Although Sym seemed like someone I could trust. But I couldn’t reveal to her who I was. “Never mind.”

She looked at me strangely, then shrugged.

Floor 2—floor 1—

My heart fluttered. Ah! To escape this place! To be free…. At least, as free as I could be, without functioning wings.

The elevator door slid open and we stepped out.

Into chaos.

© 2018 Evelyn

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