Anyas clapped his hands. A servant approached and handed him a cup. Oddly, I saw him also palm a device that detached from the base, slipping it under the table. It was tiny, the many sides each having a different button. He pressed his finger to the top, and it emitted a hum. I twitched and winced.
“My apologies. Just ensuring we are secure now.” Anyas went from reclining in his chair to sitting upright. “Please remain seated, but you may move if you have need to shift or get comfortable. Now we can really discuss your odds.” The lazy tone of his voice was gone, and replacing it was the deeper, sharper voice I remembered. The intense stare as he locked gazes with Captain took me back to that day when we met.
This was the Elite I’d been too awed by to kill.
If I’d even been able to manage it. The way he’d moved his body….
“The scanners watching us will see a conversation where I draw you out and pretend to listen to your scheme. I extrapolated your plans from the data I swept from your ship and communications. I just had to wait until I had enough video and voice data in my holo generator system to mask our true conversation.”
“Our… what?” Deke growled.
“He is under surveillance, and our coming here is already known.” Danie voiced the information flatly. “And he’s now emitting some sort of signal that is hiding what we are truly saying and doing.”
Deke stiffened and pressed both hands against the table, but Captain locked a hand on his shoulder, holding him in his chair. “As long as we don’t move about too much and disrupt the holograms.”
Anyas inclined his head. “Correct. I knew you would quickly pick up on what was happening. Your approach here was discovered by more than just my monitors, and I’m afraid I could not hide your ship’s presence. The best I could do was to bring you to my home by pretending a willingness to listen to your plan and then activate my masking program.”
“Pretending? So you won’t help us?” I asked. Our odds just went from bad to fucking impossible. The Elites knew we were here. They knew we had Danie. My stomach churned, and I nearly threw up.
They’d take us out as soon as we tried to reach our ship and leave the system. Sooner, if we didn’t warn the ship; they might have already dispatched one of their own against us.
“He does plan to help us, which is why he is masking this conversation. That would be the only logical reason to do so,” Danie said.
“Are you?” I asked.
“Let me see…” Anyas raised one sculpted brow. “Stay here on this frozen ball of nothing where I was banished for not being willing to butcher a planet of beings for a few generation’s worth of genesis stones or get some revenge and have a chance of taking back my ancestral home from those thrice bedamned bastards?” He snorted and shook his head, his black hair whipping from side to side. “Oh no, you’re not leaving here without me.”
There was a collective release of tension in the room. Still, what he’d revealed troubled me. “But how will we escape without being caught? We were relying on the element of surprise.”
“Oh, we can still have that. The plan they hear will be very different from the one we actually shall accomplish. And they may be monitoring me, but I have my spies still among them. That shall come in very handy.” Anyas rubbed his hands together, smirking at Danie. “I believe I can increase those odds you touted.”
“Are you ready?” Anyas asked. “I don’t want to risk continuing the recording, but you must be prepared to play your parts. No slips, no deviations.”
Captain rubbed my leg under the table. I was tense, and he could feel it. He sent a wave of calm through the bond to me, and I felt the synthgar shift against my neck. I knew he wasn’t any happier than I was, and I needed him. But there was no way for him to give us what we both needed.
Not with the plan we were about to enact.
I reached down for his hand, lacing my fingers through his for a final squeeze. I leaned my head against his. “I love you,” I said one more time. Just in case.
He squeezed the back of my neck. “I love you too,” Captain said.
When he let go, I straightened, avoiding the other’s gazes. Danie still stared, and Anyas watched us with a curious expression. The guards around the room stared at us equally. I wanted to avoid the pity in Deke’s eyes the most.
He knew where I’d been. He’d found me in that tiny cell. Back then I was afraid of touching myself, much less anyone else. My existence was pure torture, not worth living but I’d never been granted the oblivion of death.
And I’d just agreed to go back into it.
Captain sucked in a breath. “Ready.”
Tapping the small device, the squeal assaulted my ears again. Before I could react, Anyas was back in his indolent pose.
“I’m shocked you think I would even consider your proposals seriously.” He grinned maliciously. “Why ever should I, when I can just capture you and use you as currency to regain my lost favor? Guards!” He waved his hand indolently. “Take them.”
We were grabbed and separated, fighting doing no good as Deke’s weapon had been rendered useless and the guards Anyas had instantly tranquilized Captain, Deke, and Freska as well as the others. Danie and I were the only ones left.
“Time to go home,” Anyas said. His smirk was evil. He was too good of an actor… but was he acting now or earlier?
Want more flash?