Inside Out Page 76

“I’m not amused. You should be offering your assistance to find this scrub. Remember your history, Doctor. Cooperation saves lives.”

“Why should I cooperate? I don’t have a child for you to hold over me anymore. You’ve seen to that.”

Interesting. It explained why Lamont hated the LC so much.

“I’m sure I can find another you care for. Your intern perhaps? How long can she survive with a burst appendix?”

“Get out.” Lamont’s icy voice sliced as sharp as a scalpel.

“I’ve hit a nerve. Kiana, you’re way too caring of others. No one will miss a few of them. We have plenty more below.”

I wasn’t sure of Lamont’s reply because my thoughts reeled over Karla calling the doctor Kiana. But I was sure there had to be more than one person named Kiana in the upper levels. The lower levels had a number of scrubs with the same name. Plus the coincidence would be too great.

Of course the clues all added up. The doctor’s queasy expression when I named the spy during the first Force of Sheep meeting. Her pointed glance with Riley’s father. The fact she was a friend of Jacob’s from their training days. But the odds I would be the one climbing around the pipes and getting involved in the search for Gateway and that I would find Riley were huge. Unless…

It wasn’t a coincidence. Domotor had sought me out, claiming my reputation as Queen of the Pipes drew his notice. It had been a setup from the start.

I had lost track of Karla and the doctor. The room remained quiet and I risked a peek. No one. I waited and soon enough Lamont entered. Her flushed face and tight grimace softened once she saw me.

“Karla and her cops are gone. How long have you been awake?”

I pulled the mask from my mouth and sat. “Long enough, Kiana. Were you going to rat us all out at once or wait until I’d healed enough for Vinco to have fresh skin to gouge?” Wrapping the sheet around me, I tried to slide from the table.

She blocked my way, pushing me back. “Oh, no, you don’t.”

“You can’t stop me.” I struggled to sit up.

Kiana jabbed me with a needle. “Yes, I can stop you.”

Liquid fire coursed through my veins, erasing all desire to fight. I wilted and dropped into oblivion.

I knew I hated examination tables for a reason. When I woke from my drug-induced sleep, I was strapped to the table and unable to move. A few of the cuts on my body pulsed with pain, but otherwise I felt all right. For now.

Voices murmured in the infirmary, and I wondered if I should call for help. Knowing my luck, it would be Karla and Vinco so I kept my mouth shut.

I turned my head at the sound of footsteps and was shocked by Riley’s arrival. He looked ill at ease, tugging his shirt and glancing everywhere but at me. I closed my eyes to keep from crying. How many times have I been wrong? You would think I’d cease to be surprised.

“Ella, are you all right?” he asked.

“My name is Trella. My friends…” I swallowed. Yes, I had friends, damn it. “Call me Trell. How long have you been planning this?”

“Ah…She just contacted us. Doctor Lamont said she needed us to help you understand. Understand what?” he asked.

My eyes flew open and I gaped at him.

He gasped. “Is it about your eyes?”

“What’s wrong with my eyes?”

“They’re blue.”

Alarmed, I asked “What the hell is going on?”

“I don’t know!”

“He is owed an explanation, too,” Jacob said as he entered the room with Doctor…Kiana following.

“So why isn’t he strapped to a table?” Sarcasm rendered my voice sharp.

“Because he isn’t full of new stitches,” she said.

“What did you do to my eyes?” I demanded.

“I returned them to their original color to help disguise you. Riley said you might be an upper sibling. Since the reversal drops worked, you must be.”

“Why would you bother? Is it going to make you feel better when you betray us?” I asked.

“Dad, what’s going on?”

Riley’s father sighed. “You both know about the Force of Ten and Domotor. What you don’t know is exactly how the group was betrayed nearly eighteen hundred weeks ago.”

“Nolan…my mate…” A hitch interrupted the doctor’s words before she continued. “Nolan grew too confident. He had discovered the information about Gateway and Outside and was putting it into protected files when the Travas found out. He was…arrested and tortured but refused to name anyone else as an accomplice even when the Travas threatened me and our daughter.”

I turned my head to stare at the wall, bracing for the rest of the story.

“I wasn’t so strong. Lieutenant Commander Karla, who was an ambitious lieutenant back then, merely threatened to recycle my daughter and I blabbed. Told her about Domotor and agreed to spy for them to keep my mate and daughter alive. When the arrests were made, they…”

Silence. Then Jacob picked up the story. “Karla didn’t keep her bargain. Father and child were recycled as well as three others. Riley, you should know Domotor named me as a member, but your mother convinced the Travas she’d used my port and was working alone.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Riley asked.

“She made me promise to keep you safe and to not put crazy ideas into your head. Ramla didn’t want you to know.” He huffed in tired amusement. “She knew any more attempts by the uppers would fail. Yet look at what has happened from a chance encounter.”

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