Chapter 14: Fools Rush In – part 5
Teague limped forward quickly but cautiously, holding his 9 mm pistol ready. Their luck was holding; they’d won three skirmishes since leaving the psych ward, and the bullet that had clipped his leg was their only injury. It hurt like hell, but didn’t slow him down.
Ashlynn’s mental voice whispered, Group of five 50 meters ahead. Three are shielded.
Acknowledged, Teague returned, projecting the thought to the family and their two rear guards. Since he didn’t see anything but the long, tiled corridor, the possible adversaries either hid behind an illusion or around a corner of an intersecting hallway.
They’d moved a few feet forward when Shane said, This is taking too long. We’re losing the element of surprise.
Teague agreed, but he didn’t see another alternative. Unless they left two people behind, he and Ashlynn couldn’t teleport them all at once, and he didn’t want to split up. So they pressed on.
Behind him someone whispered. Jake relayed to the group, Mom says that we need Ri. ‘Cause she looks like Gibson.
Incredulity pulsed from Lynn and Shane. Although Teague initially had the same reaction, Addison’s suggestion made sense. Ah. Use “Gibson” as a “we’re not rebels” signal, he said. But that will make our fellow rebels attack.
Another exchange of whispers carried to Teague’s ears. Not if we disguise her with a security uniform, Ashlynn suggested.
It might work, Teague mused. Considering they still had half of the north wing to cover, Addison’s ploy was worth a shot.
Teague held his hand up, signaling a halt. He put his back against the wall, keeping an eye on the corridor ahead as he talked. Let’s try it. I’ll take Murphy and Patrick to the detention area to get Ri. Ashlynn, can you teleport Addison, Shane, and Jake to the floor below the executive level? We’ll meet you there with Ri.
Ashlynn nodded her head. Okay. But I can’t take everyone at once.
Shane put one hand on her shoulder. Take me first. We’ll make sure it’s safe. Then you can get Jake and your mother.
The group nodded agreement, and Shane and Addison embraced. He kissed the top of her head, then moved to Ashlynn’s side. The girl took his hand, and they vanished.
Out of the corner of his eye Teague saw something move down the corridor. He whirled around to find two of his men leaning around a corner, taking aim with semi-automatic rifles. “Down!” he shouted as he dove to the ground.
Shots rang out, chewing up the walls and raining bits of plaster. Teague squeezed off three quick shots. One of the bullets hit home, crumpling one of the guards. As the uninjured one returned fire, Teague felt the tingle of an arriving teleporter.
Lynn, no! Teague rolled on to his side with his back against the wall and emptied the rest of his clip down the hall. Behind him he felt more than saw the burst of light materialize into Ashlynn. Teague glanced over his shoulder as he reloaded, and his jaw dropped.
A luminous oval hovered in front of Ashlynn, who snarled down the hall at the gunman. The oval’s pale light matched that radiating from Jake’s cupped hand. Three crumpled bits of lead lay at his sister’s feet.
Addison and Jake crawled on their stomachs to Ashlynn, each grabbing one of the girl’s ankles. “Lynn, now!” Addison barked. A moment later the three disappeared.
Teague looked back at Patrick and Murphy, who were already crawling toward him. When they grabbed hold of his feet, Teague teleported as well.
Addison couldn’t concentrate. She’d been able to focus on her breathing when held captive, but now, jammed in a custodial closet with her family, concentration escaped her. Not that her focusing would help them much with Daniel’s damned drugs in her bloodstream.
Shane inhaled sharply and tensed. Addison didn’t need psionics to know that his reaction was from Chairman Almeida trying again to gain control of Shane’s body. Addison tensed as well. “Love?” she whispered.
Shane nodded, giving her and their children a wan smile.
Addison’s stomach sank. She was all but useless, and Shane a hairsbreadth away from disappearing inside himself.
This sucks, Jake proclaimed, frowning impatiently at Addison and then Shane. We have to get him out of you!
I know, Jake, Shane returned dryly.
Out of habit Addison tried to reply telepathically, but couldn’t. After a brief huff of frustration she whispered, “Even if we could, what do we do with him?”
Good point, Ashlynn said. She kept her eyes on the door leading to the hallway. Addison presumed she’d been sensing ahead for anyone passing by.
Shane’s hand found Addison’s, which was a good sign. Let’s do something useful, he said. Jake raised a questioning eyebrow, just like his father did. Get the drugs out of your mother’s system.
How? Lynn asked.
Jake’s brow furrowed, then a smile spread across his face. Speed up her–your metabolism, Mom.
Shane nodded approvingly. That’s right. He raised his right hand to waist level, revealing his prism in his fist. After a moment it glowed and hummed, followed by Jake’s.
Addison didn’t feel anything at first. Then the air seemed to grow warmer, and sweat beaded on her forehead. Slowly the muzziness clouding her senses retreated. Before long her awareness of her children and Shane had returned. A tear of relief trailed down her cheek as her stomach growled. I’m famished, she told her family with a grin.
The light coming from her son’s and husband’s crystals winked out. Dinner’s on me, once we’re done here, Jake quipped, glancing up. A few feet above their heads was the executive level, fortified by security, a containment field, and whatever tricks the Chairmen had up their sleeves. The reminder soured their good mood.
Static electricity seemed to fill the air, warning Addison of Teague’s arrival. He materialized near the door, along with Patrick and Ri, whose Daniel face was considerably more bruised than when she’d seen her last. Hi–her right eye was nearly swollen shut, her lip was split, and blood splattered her security uniform.
Abruptly Addison realized that Teague’s and Patrick’s clothes were bloodstained as well. What happened?! Addison projected. Are you hurt?
Teague briefly smiled from Addison’s telepathic contact, then sobered. It’s Murphy’s blood.
She and her family nodded grimly.
Never mind that, Teague said, addressing them all. We have one shot at this. Ri–
Ri frowned. “Gibson,” she whispered.
Teague gulped, then continued. –Gibson, you’re going to get us into the executive level. The Chairmen think that Almeida looks like Shane– Ri opened her mouth to interrupt, but Teague kept talking. –so you, Shane, and I will escort our “prisoners” upstairs. We’re showing the Chairmen that the rebellion is no more. Understood?
Ri kept her voice down. “Yes.”
Excellent. Teague turned to Addison, Shane, and the kids. You all have your gear?
Addison nodded, tightening her grip on the small plastic bag that Ashlynn had given her. She was infinitely grateful that her children had had the foresight to bring two extra sets of “gear” to the psych ward in case fortune favored them. It had, and Addison prayed that it would continue.
Good. Teague addressed Ri next. We want to see Chairman Butler first if at all possible. Okay?
“Got it.” Ri’s whisper and expression oozed confidence with none of Daniel’s smugness. Addison almost wanted to keep her around. Thanks to their psychic conditioning, Ri’s take on Daniel was much better company than the real thing.
Jake and Lynn were practically bouncing with nervous energy. Let’s go already! Jake whined.
Addison sensed ahead with her mind. The corridor outside was empty at the moment. Clear, she reported.
Teague nodded at Patrick, who swung the door open. Blinking from the flood of bright light, Addison willed herself to advance into enemy territory.