There are multiple fine shards already embedded in her brain.
KEEPING HIS SILENCE while his partner worked with meticulous patience, Vasic didn’t move so as not to cause any inadvertent damage. Part of him knew he could’ve achieved the same aim using telekinesis, but he chose to ignore that voice in favor of feeling Ivy’s determination to live in the soft, warm air against his neck that was her breath.
“It’s done,” Aden said an hour later, pushing back his sweat-damp hair from his face. “You’ll need to shield her until she’s conscious and capable of doing it herself.”
“Prognosis?” Vasic would accept only one answer—no one this rare and vivid was meant to die.
Aden shook his head. “Hard to predict. If she wakes, she’ll have come through the worst of it. Whether she wakes will depend on her own internal strength.”
“Then she’ll live.” Ivy had come back once from far worse. She’d do it again.
This time Vasic did use Tk to lift her, not wanting to risk jarring her brain. Placing her gently on her bed, he found a washcloth and wiped away the blood on her face and her hands. Rabbit didn’t growl at him, simply watched until he was done, then jumped on the bed. Pulling a blanket over Ivy’s body, her skin cool to the touch when he checked her pulse, Vasic left her with her pet curled up beside her.
“Will there be any side effects?” he asked Aden once he was outside, the sight of Ivy’s deserted bowl of salad causing him inexplicable discomfort until he gave in and teleported it away.
Aden didn’t reiterate his earlier cautious prognosis. “Unless she reacts in an unforeseen fashion,” he said, “there should be none other than headaches caused by residual bruising. Those should pass within forty-eight hours.” A pause. “I should say no side effects beyond the obvious.”
Ivy’s E ability, Vasic thought, was now wide open. “We’ll need Sascha Duncan’s assistance earlier th—”
A scream tore through the compound.
“Go,” Aden said to him. “I’ll keep watch on Ivy.”
Vasic ’ported to the origin of the scream—the cabin belonging to the empath Lianne—but didn’t step inside. Stay at your posts, he ordered his team, and attempted to contact Cristabel, the Arrow assigned to Lianne.
Listening with all of his senses, he heard only the rasping, unsteady breath of someone who was badly injured. I’m entering the cabin, he told Aden automatically, all Arrows trained to alert backup if it was available.
Lianne lay slumped at the table where she’d been eating her dinner. Cristabel was on the floor, blood pooling below her shoulder and head, while an unknown male of medium height and slight build lay against the opposite wall. A small round hole indicative of a precision laser shot marred the center of his forehead, his eyes staring in death.
Lianne’s skin was clammy, but she didn’t seem in any imminent danger. Cristabel’s pulse, however, was thready at best. It was her breathing he’d heard, a faint rattling in her lungs that told him they could lose her. Aden, in here. He switched telepathic channels. Abbot, cover Ivy as well as your charge.
He continued to monitor Ivy on the telepathic level even as he gave those orders. Aden ran into the cabin the second after Abbot’s response. Aden took one look at Cristabel and said, “Clinic.”
Ready, Vasic took them directly to the private medical facility Aden had set up after it became clear that the Council medics’ orders included getting rid of “broken” or “under performing” members of the squad. All three of the highly trained staff at this clinic were alive because an Arrow hadn’t carried out an assassination order while making it appear otherwise. Each was blood-loyal to the squad.
Leaving Aden to supervise the medical procedures—because regardless of their trust in the staff, no Arrow would leave an injured comrade at the mercy of anyone who wasn’t a member of the squad—Vasic returned to Lianne’s cabin to find her stirring. He transferred her to the Arrow cabin, setting up a cot and putting her on it before she opened her eyes.
Then he turned on the light.
Blinking, she squinted as if it hurt her eyes. “Ray?”
“Who is Ray?” Vasic asked, not concerned with the ethics of interrogating her while she was disoriented. He needed to know how anyone, even a teleporter, had managed to get inside the compound and into her cabin.
Lianne curled into a fetal position on the camouflage green of the cot. “My cousin,” she said, her voice a little slurred. “Why is he here?”
That was the question.
Initiating a medical program on his gauntlet, he scanned the dazed empath and detected a mild concussion, possibly from having her head slammed against the top of the table where he’d found her. Sending Aden the data so his partner could evaluate her condition, Vasic waited for a reply to come in before he left to return to the scene. He’d record it later using his gauntlet in case a re-creation was necessary, and take blood samples, but his military-trained mind told him exactly what had happened.
That theory was confirmed when he stepped outside and made use of his connection with Judd to ask if the SnowDancer-DarkRiver satellite surveillance had picked up an extra body in the vicinity in the past hour.
“No. The last new entry came in with you a little earlier—I’m judging that from the speed of the ’port noted in the file.”
That would’ve been Aden. Hanging up without thanking Judd for the information because such was understood among members of the squad, he considered what he’d found in Lianne’s cabin. Ray had teleported directly inside, which meant he was either part of the rare telekinetic subset that could lock onto people as well as places, or he’d had an image file to use as a lock. Vasic’s bet was on an image leak. Teleporters who could lock onto people were extremely rare and Vasic knew—or knew of—most of them.