The edge, p.29
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       The Edge, p.29

           Leslie Lee
about what happened on the Bridge. We figured you were on the X's side."

  They hit the door and ran after the security team.

  "What's happening?" Mak asked.

  "Suth died in sick bay. Right now, I need people I can trust. The ship's in chaos. Nobody knows who's in charge."

  "What happened to Brahms?"

  "Accident is the official word." Jamaal swore vigorously. "P'leh'run told me you might've gone to see the thing that hit us."

  "We hit it," Mak corrected. "It's a rock but more."

  "Yeah, P'leh'run told me it felt weird."

  "Did he tell you that it moved?"

  Jamaal almost stopped. "It what?"

  "I was watching it. I don't think it knew I was there. And it moved a bit."

  "P'leh'run said it was just a rock."

  Mak shrugged. "Where are we going?"

  "We've got a safe area. We're still trying to decide who's who."

  "Let's go get Brenn."

  "We don't have enough men. They're holding him in the secure zone in sick bay right now and there's a crap load of Soldiers there."

  "If something happens to Brenn, then we're going to be zombified. If they've moved against Brahms, they'll do in Brenn next."

  Jamaal tightened his lips. "Team," he shouted. The security personnel halted. "Change of plans. We're going to Sick Bay."

  They turned the corner.

  "I'm going to call for more backup," the Security Chief said.

  "You really want to get into a firefight in Sick Bay?"

  "No, but if Brenn is that important?" his voice trailed off. "We haven't got the manpower to go up against the Soldiers."

  "What about Ives?"

  "I'd say that she's on our side. Whatever side that is. I heard she almost ended up in the brig when they occupied Sick Bay."

  "Can you contact her?"

  Jamaal flicked on his comm and muttered briefly into it. "They're not monitoring this frequency," he answered Mak's unspoken question.

  They skidded to a halt as the leading security woman held up her hand looking around a corner. Jamaal punched in some codes on a door. They hurried into some kind of a lab. Luckily, it was empty.

  "They've got Soldiers in the corridor, sir," the woman said. "Can't get close."

  Jamaal muttered into his comm again.

  Blue Box arranged themselves around the room. It would have looked random to the casual eye. Mak recognized it as a defensive posture. Nobody was sure of anything. Not even of the security detail.

  The wait was short. Ives bustled into the lab. She looked beat.

  "For heaven's sake, Jamaal, what the heck is happening? The ship looks like an armed camp. Mak, that was the shortest stint as captain I've ever seen." Ives plopped her small, round body onto a chair. Her feet didn't reach the ground.

  "Jesus, Ives, it's one big goddamned mess," Jamaal said.

  "We need Brenn," Mak interjected before Jamaal could start in.

  "Darn it, I had a feeling you'd say that." She kicked her feet furiously. "How in blue blazes can I fix anybody when there's armed Soldiers everywhere? We've got a lot of wounded, Jamaal, a lot. The X is hurt bad, real bad." She rubbed her face and slumped in the chair. "It's not going to be easy, you know. You thought you had a lot security before. Well, they just about quadrupled it. Don't know what the hell use it's gonna do."

  "More likely to keep people away from him," Mak said. "Think he's too hurt to take care of himself."

  "I'm afraid you're right about that. His vitals are very different than they were when he was in last time. I have him on some fluids and recuperatives to see if that helps him out. Speaking of which, when was the last time any of you had any food or rest?"

  Jerry smiled. "We're pilots. We don't need food and rest."

  Ranger scowled. "Speak for yourself, dude. I need some food."

  Ives reached into her voluminous pockets and pulled out candy bars and food packs. Jamaal made sure his team was fed before retrieving some of the food. Mak followed suit though he was starved.

  "You know they're looking for you," she said glaring at Mak. Then at the rest of Blue Box. "All of you."

  "We're popular kinda guys," Zin Zin said through a chocolate candy bar.

  K'hon waved a particularly large weapon. "I hope they find us."

  "I don't want any shooting in my hospital," she warned. "Can't you just leave him there?"

  "Without Brenn, we're all going to be zombified," Jamaal said. "That's what Mak thinks."

  "Zombified? You mean like what happened to Gold Ghost?"

  "More like what happened to the S'reh'du," said Mak. "Those guys look like they're the living dead. We need to get Brenn. Keep him safe and alive."

  "You're going to have to use force," she said helplessly. "I don't see any other way. And you're going to lose. Those guys are armed to the teeth. Plus, they have battle bots."

  "Who's leading them?" Mak asked.

  "Lieutenant or something. He looks scared. I don't think he wants to be there. Doesn't know what's going on but he's following orders. I asked him what the hell he was doing and he practically took my head off. You can tell that his orders make no sense to him. But make no mistake." Out came the wagging finger. "He's going to follow those orders no matter what."

  "They're going to kill Brenn." Mak said.

  "Not in my hospital they're not," she scoffed.

  "They might move him," Jamaal said. "Too many witnesses. Even those Soldiers might balk at murdering Brenn. Ives, do you know Brahms is dead?"

  "Oh, Jamaal, no." Ives leaped to her feet putting her hands to her mouth. "How?"

  "We don't know," he said grimly. "But it was on the Bridge. We haven't been able to question anybody yet."

  "Where's the body?"

  "We don't know."

  She slumped back into the chair, tears brimmed then overflowed.

  "You're saying they killed, murdered, Brahms. And if they're willing to do that, they're willing to murder Brenn right in front of me. Like hell they will. Not while I'm still breathing." She looked at people around her. "I don't want a firefight in the hospital, you understand?"

  "We're just going to have to grab him," Mak stated.

  "Without lighting 'em up?" Jamaal snorted. "We're going to have to cook and people are going to get burned."

  Clicking of weapons punctuated the silence. Mak felt helpless. Violence seemed like the only way.

  "Jerry," he said, surprising the Hellborne. "Help us out here."

  Jerry, shook his head and laughed, sounding like two bricks rubbing together.

  "I don't know, Boss," he said, shrugging. "What we need is to have them hand Brenn over to us."

  Jamaal looked at Mak like he was going to say something but Ives interrupted.

  "That's brilliant! Brilliant!" Ives shouted. She bounced up and hugged the Hellborne which brought a sheepish grin to his face. "You, sir, are just brilliant."

  "Looks like true love," K'hon scowled.

  Th'han'dra, Dakota, and Jerry wore scrubs over their flight suits. They pushed a stretcher into the mad house which used to be the hospital. Jamaal and the security team had already entered in ones and twos. Hopefully, they wouldn't be needed. The idea was nobody really knew any of the pilots. Jerry was safe. People thought the Hellborne all looked alike. Why people thought such crap completely baffled Mak. Dakota had hardly ever been to Sick Bay, plus, he was new. Th'han'dra, well, the team needed someone senior. Maybe the D'ha'ren all looked alike as well. So although recognition was possible, it was unlikely. They all hoped. Mak didn't think it a good sign seeing the word "hope" crop us so often in their plan.

  He monitored the comms with the rest of Blue Box and the security team. He chafed at not being in there himself. But his own notoriety worked against the theory of anonymity. Zin Zin had almost to be restrained from going with the party. But everyone knew Zin Zin.

  "Ives," Th'han'dra murmured into her comm. "We're in position."

  "Got it," came her soft

  Th'han'dra left her comm open so they could hear.

  "Alarms triggered," Th'han'dra murmured. Mak could just hear a small beeping in the background. "Ives is going in."

  "Wish we could get in there ourselves," Jerry muttered from within the hospital.

  "Screw you," K'hon snarled. "We're stuck out here. We don't know crap."

  They waited.

  "It's not working," Jamaal said into his comm.

  "Let's go," K'hon shouted, heading to the door with Zin Zin fast on his heels. Mak grabbed him by the shoulders and hung on. The D'ha'ren was strong, dragging Mak along.

  "Hold on, big guy," he said quietly. "Let it play out."

  "They're in trouble, dammit!" he growled, shrugging Mak off as easily as a speck of dust.

  "We gotta get in there, Boss," Zin Zin said, trying to struggle past him.

  He blocked her.

  "Patience, killer," he gasped out.

  She stopped. Then turned to face him.

  "What'd you call me?" Her voice was soft. It didn't need to be loud as everyone had frozen.

  K'hon almost crashed into the door, he was so startled. His eyes darted back and forth between Mak and Zin Zin.

  Her pupils darkened, enlarging as if consuming her eyes. Her face hardened, like a doll's. The bright little bubbly girl evaporated. Mak knew he was in trouble but tried to look nonchalant.

  "I said patience, sweetness," Mak said with all the innocence he could gather.

  The gun had become an extension of her arm. Her thoughts would become her action. And behind those blank eyes, her thoughts focused on him.

  Then, she looked at the door, took a deep breath and smiled. It was like the sun popping over the horizon suddenly, sending away a terrible darkness.

  "Come on big guy. The Boss is right." She went to sit back down. K'hon smirked at him when Zin Zin's back was turned. Raising his eyebrows, he silently mouthed

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