Ivy could see the blue scythe that was the laser built into Vasic’s gauntlet, so she knew he was holding up under the dual physical and psychic attacks. However, there were a significant number of humans and Psy—infected, noninfected, it was hard to tell—spasming on the ground, hands over their ears and screams tearing the air as the minds around them went haywire.

Nonpredatory changelings caught in the chaos tried to fight, but they weren’t aggressive by nature, couldn’t stand against the manic fury incited by the infection. And with the number of residents who lived in the midrises, there were simply too many infected against too few defenders. Even the arrival of the eagles didn’t turn the tide.

Ivy saw victim after victim go down under pummeling fists and clawing hands while still others bled and collapsed from increasingly violent mental strikes.

“Terminal field!” It was a rasping scream.

Turning, Ivy and Sascha stared at Alice as she ran toward them. The scientist staggered halfway, as if hit by a telepathic blow, but didn’t stop. “Terminal field,” she gasped to Sascha after falling to her hands and knees beside them, her body heaving. “You have to initiate a terminal field.”

Sascha, eyes pure black with the agony of the dying who littered the street, cupped Alice’s face in her hands. “Tell me what that is.”

Alice drew in a jagged breath while Ivy continued to do what she could, even as the pressure in her brain built and built to a nauseating pounding behind her eyes.

“Alice.” Sascha fought the urge to shake the other woman, knowing that wouldn’t hurry the retrieval of Alice’s buried memories. “What is a terminal field?”

Gaze blank, Alice stared at her, but just when Sascha was about to give up and turn back to the chaos, the other woman said, “You can block psychic abilities on a mass scale.”

Sascha’s heart slammed against her ribs. Forcing herself to hold firm against the horror and pain slapping at her senses, she focused on Alice. This was critical, could directly impact the number of fatalities. “How?”

Hands fisted on her thighs and eyes glittering wet, Alice shook her head. “I don’t know. I can’t find that piece of memory.”

“Okay, okay.” Sascha touched her fingers to Alice’s cheek before shifting her attention to the fighting. “If I attempt to block everyone,” she said aloud, “it’ll negatively affect the defenders.”

So she’d have to narrow her focus, and do what? She wanted to scream at the unfairness of being told she had an ability that could save thousands of lives, then left to flounder without a road map as to how to activate it. Turning to Ivy to see if the younger empath had any ideas, she sucked in a breath, abdomen lurching.

Ivy’s face was a mask of blood.

Chapter 48

“IVY, STOP,” SASCHA said, using the same tone she used on recalcitrant juveniles in the pack. “Stop right now.” Panic beat in her—the other woman could easily stroke out, causing irrevocable damage to her brain. “Ivy.”

“There are too many, Sascha.” It came out thready. “I can’t stop, or they’ll swarm the defenders.”

Sascha grabbed Ivy’s shoulder, forced her physically around. “You stop right now, or I will telepath Vasic.”

“Not fair.” It came out mumbled, sluggish.

“Yes, well, you’re not exactly acting rationally.” She looked to Alice. “Can you get her to the medics?”

Nodding, the anthropologist rose to her feet with one of Ivy’s arms over her shoulders, her own around the empath’s waist, and staggered away. They were protected by Abbot and the Enforcement officers holding the line so the maddened couldn’t escape this pocket of insanity. Sascha watched long enough to make sure the two women were safe before returning to her task, automatically scanning for Lucas as she did so.

Her mate—claws out—was fighting beside a number of cops, taking out the more aggressive infected so the officers could get the uninfected and injured out. Vasic wasn’t visible, but since Ivy hadn’t raised the alarm, the teleporter must be safe.

“Terminal field,” she said to herself. “Terminal field. Figure it out.”

She tried every tactic in her arsenal, but all it got her was another bloody nose and a pounding in her ears that told her she’d soon be as bad as Ivy. “I am not giving up.” She refused to consign her daughter, any child, to a world overrun with vicious insanity.

That was when the Tk she’d chosen to focus on—on the theory his belligerence would make it easier to tell if what she was doing was working—looked straight at her . . . and teleported. Sascha hadn’t thought he was that strong, and maybe he wasn’t, but she was only twenty feet away and in plain sight. He was in front of her a second later, his hands shoving out as if to make her fly through the air to slam into the heavy- duty Enforcement combat vehicles. The impact would snap her spine.

Adrenaline took over. “Stop!” she yelled on the physical and psychic levels both. “You can’t do this!”

Blinking, he pushed out with his hands. Nothing. Staggered at her success, she almost fell victim to the meaty fist he swung at her face—except her mate was already there. Lucas took her would-be-assailant out with a clean punch to the jaw that left the Tk unconscious but alive.


“I’m fine.” Still on her knees, her heart a drum, she touched his calf. “Go, help the others.”

As Lucas returned to the fight, Sascha began to concentrate the terminal field on small, tight areas that didn’t weaken the defenders but eliminated the worst psychic threats. What she’d understood in that split second was that it wasn’t simply about telling an individual he couldn’t do something—it was about hitting his hidden emotional core to convince him he was incapable of the action.

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