did they get the demolition charge?” The Director demanded.
handled that one himself. “It’s actually not that difficult
anymore. Those charges were under lock and key at their Outposts, for
exactly this reason. But we’ve been shuffling many
people in and out of here as fast as we can, in preparation
I thought you were on top of this.”
on top of the manifest.” Cora coughed, still a little short of
breath after the smoke. “But we’ve got people trying madly to
keep up with the schedule they’ve been handed. So a crate that
missed its proper boat gets loaded into the next sub wherever there’s
room? Usually it all shakes out when it arrives, but… Dad, this is
going to keep happening until we get a handle on this.”
rose. “Lieutenant Bridger, if you can get me a list of whoever’s
responsible for that, I’ll see to them.”
smart money says that whoever was responsible is dead already.”
Cora coughed, glowering.
Director softened, at the sight of his smoke-stained daughter. “I’m
told they had to physically restrain you from trying to help. This is
the second time you go running into the fire when you don’t have
to. Not sure I like this habit you’re forming.”
say, I don’t care for it, myself.”
home, try to get some rest.” The Director told her with a
long-suffering sigh. “The schedule for today is totally sunk. With
Gold Sector apparently under siege from the rest of the Ark-Hive-”
not even close to what-”
know it isn’t, but the Intersection was the main thoroughfare.
Stingray isn’t game to let any of the others stay open, so we’re
on standby until tomorrow at least. Go, take the day off. I’ll stay
in my office. If you’re going to have Tai come by, try and wait
until I’m not-”
winced. “He and I haven’t really… spoken, in a few days. Too
Director tried not to smile. He really did try. “That’s a shame.”
scowled at him and headed for the elevators again.
came back into her quarters and let out a hard sigh. It had been a
hard day, and Cora hadn’t even had her breakfast yet. "Ano?"
smiled a little. She had long suspected that Ano had a secret
romance. Being the Director's Domestic made it harder for her than
went to Ano's room and knocked discreetly. No answer. "Ano? I'm
coming in." She called ahead, and peeked around the hatch.
room was trashed. Cora gasped and pushed the door open fully, looking
around. Ano kept her room more neat and tidy than anywhere else in
their Quarters, but today it looked like a bomb had hit it. Cora went
looking. Ano's things were trashed. Not knocked over, broken.
Deliberately. Every drawer, every storage space. The room hadn't been
vandalized, it had been searched.
turned to stone. "Stingrays." She breathed, and turned on
Cora roared as she came off the elevator. She was marching toward
Commander Morgan's office, on the warpath.
is insane, Cora.
Some tiny, reasonable part of her brain shouted a warning. But the
rest of her wasn't listening. Ano was family. Her father had
retreated completely into his office when her mother died. Ano had
been the one to take care of her. For so long, Ano was practically...
practically her mother.
now Ano had been taken. By Morgan. Commander Morgan, who made people
disappear on a regular basis. Morgan, who thought himself so
untouchable. Morgan, who had personally killed her mother once
blood was boiling. She was ready to march in and murder him with her
bare hands, and may even have been the only person on the Ark-Hive
who could get away with it. The Director wouldn't have his own
daughter executed, or locked in the Quay. He might even thank her for
it. Her father...
right in the middle of the hallway, putting himself square in the
way. "Freeze." He told her firmly.
froze, obediently. The mere sight of her father putting a hand up had
derailed her temper. "Dad, get out of the way." She told
him. "If I stop to think about this, I might not go through with
it, and that man needs to have something stabbed right through the
black hole where his heart should be."
shifted left and right, keeping himself in the way. "No! Listen,
Cora. I’ve known Ano longer than you've been alive. If you think
this happened behind my back..."
froze, gaping up at him. "You gave the order!"
was quite convincing." The Director said tightly, looking
ancient. "And I took a lot of convincing, I assure you. But it’s
clear by now that there’s an organized resistance to Landfall, and
the Pirate Station is getting access from somewhere. The longer this
goes on, the more convinced Morgan becomes that it was someone highly
placed. Someone close to our family."
almost swallowed her tongue. The highly placed Aquan spy was herself.
know how it burns, kid." The Director said. "I loved Ano
too. But Morgan's evidence was nearly impossible to explain away.
Most of it, Ano had no alibi for."
was dying inside. She couldn't prove Ano innocent. Not without
getting herself caught. And with her, Tai, and Don, and everyone else
connected to all of them, which was most of the Aquan movement at
this point. "What color was the bag?!” She demanded finally.
alive." The Director told her. "For questioning." He
tried to offer her comfort. "She may be innocent, you know."
actually tried to reassure me." Cora confessed to Tai a few
hours later on the Memorial Ship, under her mother’s protective
wingspan. "He actually tried to convince me that it might be
okay, and maybe Ano's not a criminal mastermind like me."
looked sick. “I should have realized what would happen. This is my
fault. I’m sorry, Shells.”
Cora said firmly. “You were right. And I’m sorry I was so rough
on you about it. You were right to give them all the warning time you
head tilted. “What brought that on?”
father. He still wants to go to the surface. Hundreds of people
probably do, because however we’re used to the ocean floor, this
place is a death sentence for anyone below Green Sector. If I’d
spent any time below decks, I would know that.” She looked at Tai.
“You’ve spent plenty of time in Grey Sector. I’m Aquan because
I love Delphi, and I love the water. You’re Aquan because you’re
trying madly to give others like you a future.”
bit his lip. “I shouldn’t have given you grief. You’re Gold
Sector, and the Director’s Daughter. That wasn’t your choice.
Nobody should be blamed for where they were born. You have more skin
in the game than most, including me, and I shouldn’t have made you
feel guilty about it.”
looked out the Memorial Ship Windows. Circular Quay was visible. “I hate to
think what they might be doing to her in there. Brown Bags mean
questioning. But we’ve never gotten anyone back from the Quay.”
She hesitated. “Sooner or later, they’ll grill her enough to know
that she isn’t one of us. When they figure that out, they’ll
start hunting again. Commander Morgan has narrowed it down to my
family. It won’t be long until they figure it out.” She lead the
way over to the statue of her mother. “When they figure out it’s
me; I need you to promise me something. If I can’t get out in time…
I need you to have this.” She felt around the side of the statue,
until she felt the latch, and a hidden compartment fell away. Inside,
was a disk. “Take it. It’s the only visual record of what
happened on board this ship before it sank. My mother lived long
enough to record proof it was Morgan who killed her. There are only two copies. That
one, and the one on my TABB.”
bit his lip. “Cora, if they figure out it was you, your father will
look for an alternative. He’ll have to, to save your life and keep
his plans intact. There is one person who’s had access to your
quarters recently. Access that nobody’s ever had before.”
And… well, he’ll be right.” Tai confirmed. “So if they come
for me, I need you to have something too.” He lead her through the
submarine. “There’s one terminal where the Pirate Hacks can be
transmitted from. It was the one your mother used. I have a patch on
the feed from this Terminal. Took me weeks to code it in such a way
that it couldn’t be traced. But if they come for me, I’ll wipe my
TABB, eliminate all evidence… and this will be the last place
anyone can cast a Pirate Broadcast to the world.”
looked around the small room. “This is… this is the room where my
nodded. “That video you’re holding? She was in this room, trying
to make her broadcast. Morgan got to her before she could transmit.”
explains a few things.” Cora thought aloud. “She was looking
right into the camera when the video starts. I never knew what she
was doing.” She bit her lip. “What you said, about how the one
safe person in the world was me? I’m not so sure that’s true any
more.” She shivered. “Six months ago, I could see how this would
all play out. Six months ago, I thought it was all working. Now, I
can’t see it anymore. There are seven different ways this can go,
and for some reason, none of them are particularly happy endings.”
I’ll say this again…” Tai said gently. “You could do so much.
You could be the point where the entire human race will turn. But you
haven’t gotten into the game yet. Not completely. You run errands
for Don, and for your father; but they both know you could be running
the place inside a month if you wanted to.”
don’t want to.” Cora insisted. “I never wanted to be in charge.
I just wanted to make my way. My father doesn’t just want to leave
the ocean, he wants the last word. He wants to say he beat the ocean,
and got everyone out. He doesn’t understand that you can’t beat
the tides. Don, he’s head of the Aquans, and he hasn’t quite
realized yet that it’s not the same as commanding the Deeps.”
then there’s you, Heir to Either Throne, who understands that very
well.” Tai reminded her. “My first assignment as an Aquan? To
hide coral samples, and set them to grow. It was years ago, but those
samples will take decades longer than I’ll live. But when they’re
ready, they’ll be easy to cut and align into living spaces for us.
No power tools, almost no maintenance needed. It’ll outlive steel.
To be Aquan means to plan for a hundred years ahead. I look at you,
Shells; and I see a hundred years in a dozen different directions.”
smiled a bit. “I don’t know what that means, really. But I
appreciate the thought.” She sighed. “But after Ano, and the
attack on the Intersection, my father will respond the only way he
was quickly proven right. That same night, The Director made an
announcement that the Ark-Hive was to be locked down, with control
over the movements of its inhabitants being put under careful watch
of the Stingray Squads. Any citizen who had to travel on assignment
had to provide proof of clearance to do so. Leisure time was
curtailed, under pain of imprisonment and hard labor.
order kept the corridors and public areas empty and calm, but behind
closed doors, people were sealed in together, some of them crowded in
ways they hadn’t been since the aborted Recall. The Ark-Hive kept
simmering, with no way to boil over.
day later, the orders expanded, recalling all leadership from the
Outposts and Colonies, putting everywhere else in the Ocean under the
direct command of Commander Morgan’s Troops. Cora was secretly
glad. Some of those Outpost Leaders were Aquans, trying to keep a lid
Outpost declared publically that they would not recognize the
authority of the Stingray. Cameron outpost stopped transmitting a few
minutes later. After that, there was no more wrath looking for an
exit, only numb fear. Morgan had gone further than most scared,
unfocused people were willing to go.
resumed the next day. After being under Lockdown for the better part
of a week, crammed in their tiny cells, most people were ready to
return to a ridiculous work schedule, just to move about again.
had spent the time in her Room, working up schedules and resources.
Ano’s absence was like a gaping hole in the world, right where her
family should have been. Her father had spent most of his time in his
office. Delphi hovered outside her window. The Dolphin was intuitive
enough to know something bad was happening to his friends, but not
how or why.
Work included training and maintenance, so Tai and Nix were able to
get back out into the ocean regularly. They always swept up past Gold
Sector, just to see her. Then the Stingray craft started paying
attention to them as they drifted away from their allowed work route,
and Cora quickly had no more visitors.
felt guilty for feeling trapped. Nix’s family was crammed into a
space the size of her room, and she had one to herself, with most of
the walls transparent enough to feel like she was surrounded by
ocean. Cora was practically on vacation by Grey Sector standards.
dealt with the guilt by working obsessively on her tasks in Resource
Management. She had to admit she’d been letting some of them slide.
Don had managed to sneak one message to her, giving her a quick list
of what the Aquans had need of for their own plans, and Cora had
spent four days trying to trick the figures into saying what they
needed to say.
she was summoned to meet with her father.
Days To Landfall
spent four days doing paperwork, and my eyes want to fall out of my
head.” Cora began as she came into The Director’s office.
Schedule is back on. The unpleasantness at Cameron Outpost has cooled
the situation here dramatically.” The Director observed.
and a body count in the triple digits.” Cora said dryly. “You
want me to take over. Is there going to be anything left for me to
funny.” The Director said tightly. “And anyway, that’s not what
I called you here to talk about. It’s about Ano.”
felt her heart stop, and then speed up triple time. “What about
Director just looked at her. His face was drawn and his eyes dark.
did they call it? KTE? Killed Trying to Escape?” Cora scorned, hot
tears rolling slowly down her cheek. “She was what? About five foot
nothin’, arthritis in her joints? Ooh, yeah. Dangerous killer,
there. Better shoot to kill while she runs away.”
wasn’t listed as KTE.” The Director said patiently. “She
suffered heart failure during questioning.” He gave her a hard
look. “Cora, I know what you’re thinking, but I loved Ano too. I
was keeping a close eye on the way they treated her. But she wasn’t
a young woman, and she was about as scared as a person can be.”
all this, because someone found out your secrets.” Cora scorned.
“Tell me they don’t still think it was her.” She shut her mouth
as soon as she said it, too late to call the words back.
Director looked at her funny. “You’re so sure she wasn’t the
one? Cora, as much as I trusted Ano, Morgan came in with a list of
people who could have gotten access to the report about Weir
Syndrome. It’s a very short list, and most everyone on it has an
alibi. There were only three copies. One for my office, one for the
safe in my quarters, and one for Don. That and a few other
prerequisites mean that almost nobody even knew about the report.”
you figure it was Ano.” Cora said, madly trying to think of a way
to come back from the edge. “Because there was nobody else that
it. Nobody else ever had the opportunity.”
even knowing that, you’re still so certain that it wasn’t Ano.”
The Director said carefully. “And for the record, there are… one
or two other people who have become guests in our home recently.”
stared holes into him, searching for the answer. “Dad…” She
said hoarsely. “Why call me to your office for this? You could have
told me tonight. You could have come home and… Why call me down
here do this?”
Director just looked at his daughter sadly. “I really am sorry,
Cora. But you aren’t the first one to be lied to by the one they
love most… And yes. Ano has been cleared of suspicion, albeit
was already running.
was waiting when she got off the elevator in Green Sector. “Miss
Bridger. I’m sure you have your security pass to be-”
threw him against the wall and got right in his face. “Where is
he!?” Distantly, she could hear other Stingray’s running up
attack her. Touching a Stingray Lieutenant at
was punishable by thirty lashes. Cora turned and looked at them,
letting the other guards see who she was.
would have been comical if she wasn’t so scared. Three Stingray
guards, recognizing The Director’s Daughter and falling over
themselves to pretend they hadn’t actually noticed her.
turned back to Randall. “Where is he, Randall?”
wasn’t me.” Randall said, soft and sincere enough that Cora even
believed him. “Contrary to popular opinion, I’m able to do more
than the dirty work.”
scowled and ran to Tai’s quarters. His room was shared between two
single men. Tai’s roommate was having an affair with one of the
matched pairs from the last Graduation Ceremony, and was thus rarely
home. Cora hadn’t even met him, but there was no sign of him
either. There was no sign of anyone.
room had been tossed. The drawers were all pulled out, his clothes
scattered, what few possessions he had had been broken open as people
searched for things within. Cora noticed one thing. Neptune. Her
stuffed toy from so long ago. Tai had teased her about that, when
they were sealed in a decompression chamber together, months before.
She had given it to him. Sentimental value was rare, and she had
given it to him because she loved him so much… It had been cut
open, the stuffing pulled out; just in case he’d hidden any
was the contraband. A secret romance with the Director’s Daughter,
which everyone knew about. A few passcodes for a secret terminal,
that he had whispered to her, just in case…
was blood on the floor. Not enough to be fatal. Enough to know that
he hadn’t been taken gently. Cora turned away from the blood and
ran outside to the hallway. There was no such thing as free room.
Even the people who didn’t want to be there had to squeeze past to
get to the elevators, the stairwells...
happened?!” Cora shouted to them all. “Someone tell me! What
color was the bag?! When did they take him?! Someone answer me!”
would meet her eyes. Nobody even looked back. Cora cast about, trying
to figure out which one to run after first, pleading over and over,
trying to run in three directions at once, growing hysterical. “What
happened to Tai!? Is he alive?! PLEASE?!”
the hallway was already empty. Just her, and the shattered debris of
the man she loved.
didn’t know how long she sat there. She became aware that a few
Stingray guards passed her, pointedly not noticing her breakdown.
They took up position at opposite ends of the hallway. She realized
what that meant, just as her father rested a hand on her shoulder.
“It’s not like with Ano. We know Tai’s guilty.” He said
softly. “They found the software on his TABB in a hidden partition.
We have no idea where his actual antennae was, but… He was the
were so certain it wasn’t Ano. I didn’t tell Morgan that part, or
he’d think you knew and kept it secret.” The Director sighed. “I
can keep you out of it. As far as Morgan knows, Tai used your love
for him to get into my office and rifle my desk. It’s not a lie,
and it’ll keep you from being hauled away as his accomplice.”
that wouldn’t be so bad.” Cora said acidly. “Aren’t we all
one conversation away from Circular Quay?”
Director looked ancient. “I know I lost your respect when you found
out about the Weir Syndrome, Cora. Maybe even before that. But I
still choose to believe that you would have told me the truth. I
can’t protect you from heartache, or betrayal. But I can protect
you from Morgan. He has doubts about you. I don’t, if only because
of what happened to your mother.” He sighed. “Take the day off.
Come out swinging tomorrow.”
me, I will.
Cora thought to herself, seething. “Dad?” She called suddenly.
“Look in his room.”
Director blinked, and did so; going no further than the hatch. “Is
that Neptune? I haven’t seen that since your mother died.”
took one of his hands and pulled it to the left. She did the opposite
with his other hand. He was reaching from one end of the room to the
other, palms flat on opposite walls. The whole space was smaller than
was born in this room.” Cora said quietly. “His whole life, in a
space this size. Dad, there isn’t even a Porthole here. We never
knew the Surface was an option until five months ago. In Grey Sector,
the rooms are actually smaller. Whole generations, living in cells.”
know.” The Director said quietly. “I lived down here myself
through my apprenticeship training. My father summoned me back when
it was time for me to get started on my own Ascension. Three years, I
lived in a room like this.”
blinked. “I didn’t know that.”
Director nodded. “I swore that I’d do whatever it took to get all
these people up into the air, where the daylight meets the ocean. And
I won’t. But you will.”
same old promise.
Cora thought. The
same old slogan. My father is stuck in a feedback loop. Just like
Don. Just like Morgan.
was nobody she could talk to. Don? Way too dangerous. Any of the
other Aquans she knew would go to Don eventually. If Tai was alive,
his only hope was keeping his secret job hidden.
Tai was alive. Just thinking the words made Cora want to tear her
who else could she turn to? Her father? Morgan?
was only one person left.
was bouncing off the walls of The Hermit Shell as she somehow got the
whole story out to the one person who might talk to her without
telling anyone else. “Nobody will even tell me what happened!”
reached out and grabbed Cora by her lapels. “There’s a reason for
that, Cora. You’re a hero around here just now, but so’s Tai. If
he’s not above being Bagged, you think there’s anyone who’s
going to admit to The Director’s Daughter that they were in Tai’s
general vicinity at any point in their lives?”
hissed, feeling like someone was squeezing her lungs in a vice. Nix
was right, and she knew it. “Could… Could you ask around, then?”
was already moving. “I will. Stay here and cool down. If there’s
anything to be done for Tai, you need to be calm as the ocean.”
Days To Landfall
to sleep in the Hermit Shell was a mistake. Tai was the first one she
had invited there. Everything about it reminded her that he was in
terrible danger. Her room was no better. Her father was there, and
while he wouldn’t be cruel, she didn’t need any more reminders of
what divided her from her family. Usually, Ano was the one that ran
interference between the Bridger family when they were at odds, but
now she was gone too.
left only one option.
was thrilled when Cora slipped into the Moon Pool. “Cora! Missed
Cora! Swim now! Ride the Deeps!”
wiped her eyes and pulled on her facemask. She rested her forehead
against Delphi’s rubbery skin for a moment, grateful to be with the
one friend without an agenda or a secret. “I missed you, too.”
She said. “Let’s go for a swim.”
were smart. They were also intuitive. She didn’t need to tell
Delphi she was sad, or that she was scared, or that something was
wrong. The Dolphin knew it. He knew her too, and took her on a tour.
In and out of the Wildlife, scattering the clouds of fish. In and out
of the plantlife, close enough for her to reach out and touch.
Ocean had a calming influence on her, usually. But Cora didn’t want
to be calm yet. The Dolphins were all speed freaks, and that was what
she needed right now.
She told Delphi, and gripped the harness
tighter. The Dolphin chattered happily and swam
faster, tail slamming up and down, firing them across the hull of the
Ark-Hive like living torpedoes.
hadn’t made a trip like this in a while, and she embraced it. Her
brain was still spinning with everything that had happened, and the
adrenaline in her made her hyper-aware. She felt like she could feel
every drop of water in the ocean. It had been a few months, and the
area outside had changed. The Stingray Craft were closer. Far more
luminous fish gathered around the electrical towers, shining a light
that moved and waved in glorious patterns. The wreck of the Cousteau
was still fairly close, looking more and more like a skeleton as it
was stripped for parts…
beyond the illusion of a huge ship rotting away to bones, sat an ugly
square complex. Circular Quay. Put there so that every citizen of the
Ark-Hive, everyone leaving the Docking Bays, would see it any time
they looked out their windows. It was inevitable; a symbol of the
world they lived in, where the point of no return was never out of
pressure that had been building in Cora’s heart since Ano was taken
evaporated instantly. She was cool, she was calm, patient as the
ocean around her. She could see it all so clearly. All the things she
had never noticed, all the subtle power plays, all the secrets and
lies. She could suddenly see it like a great woven tapestry that had
been wrapped around her shoulders since she was a little girl.
Earther… Both sides of the Great Debate were suddenly so obviously
the same thing. We
all have the exact same dream. To get out of a damn cell and have a
great big beautiful world to explore. And we’re killing each other
over which big beautiful world we want.
thought made her want to laugh.
Father, you’re so blind! As blind as Don is! As blind as I have
always been. This is exactly what drove us all to the bottom of the
ocean in the first place! The ultimate flaw with the Aquan Dream is
that humans aren’t meant to be Aquatic. But the point of the Aquan
Dream is that nobody wants to live in a cage, and the ocean is better
had clung to Don this whole time because her father had seemed so
cold, but she finally saw that Don was the same. He saw Cora as a
piece in his game, exactly as her father did.
are they wrong?” She asked Delphi, knowing he had no clue what she
was talking about. “I’ve been a piece in their game, trying to
keep both my father figures from knowing I was conflicted. And the
only person who told me that I could be more was Tai. And as much as
I loved him, I didn’t believe him.”
left.” Delphi clicked.
nodded. “I know. I’m sorry.”
I don’t believe he will.” Cora sighed. She expected to cry, but
she didn’t. She was beyond that now. Settled on her perch above her
own room, she gazed at the Quay, laughing at her own foolishness. “A
hundred years in every direction.” She said to herself. “That’s
what Tai saw in me. I didn’t understand it at first, but I do now…
A pivot that the entire world will turn on. And I didn’t even try.”
turned to look at her. He didn’t say anything.
didn’t try.” Cora said, as though trying it out. She bit her lip
and grabbed the harness again. “The Memorial.”
star attraction of the Memorial Ship was her mother’s statue. At
the opposite side of the room, there was another such ‘altar’
with the inscription: “For
Those We Committed To The Deep.”
The names of all drowned crews were written there. But
not Tai. Tai, who had seawater in his veins, was denied his name on
the wall, because of me…
went to her mother. “I didn’t even try.” She said quietly. “You
know, mom… You always protected me from that part of Dad’s world.
I wonder sometimes what you wanted for me. I know you liked Tai.”
She shook her head. “Tai loved you too. I know you never wanted me
to be Director. But I also know you’d be ashamed of me for being
lead around by the nose for so long.”
mother’s face gave her nothing, carved from coral and marble. Her
face would never change.
glanced back at the plexi-glass wall, and the Quay, equally visible
from here. “I could have saved Tai and Ano. With my connections to
my father, to Don… With me already named as the next Director, I
could have made Ano safe and Tai bulletproof. But I let my dad make
those choices. I told myself it was because I didn’t want my
father’s job, but… It was because I didn’t want to get my hands
dirty. With my ties to my dad, I could have taken over the Aquans by
now. The Exodus? What a stupid idea. Five more months and I could
cancel anyone’s ticket to Landfall at will. But I didn’t even
try, because I counted on Don to do it clean, and I never asked how.”
swam slowly past the Memorial, visible through the ornate windows. It
wasn’t like a Dolphin had an easy to read expression, but she could
tell Delphi was worried about her.
was selfish, mom.” Cora admitted. “I could have gotten into this
a hundred different ways, and what did I do? I called for a vote.”
She almost laughed. “The Strawpolls I’m hearing says it’s a
fairly even split. The Exodus would split me and dad, Nix and her
father… And why? Because Dad wants everyone to go, and Don wants
everyone to stay, and I only asked to hear what everyone else wanted.
I had Tai, and I had the ocean, and that was all I cared about. Some
Director I would make, huh?”
scrubbed her face with her hands and checked her TABB. The jammers
would only keep her out of earshot for another few minutes.
told me, mom.” Cora said quietly. “He told me that you were the
first Pirate Hacker. You couldn’t sit around and do nothing. You
wouldn’t let someone else make the decision for you. And Davy Jones
forgive me, that was my entire strategy. I always planned to… do so
much, once it was all over. Now that I think about it, I think Don
was right. Maybe I just didn’t have teeth enough to make a move
that dad would disagree with. Not when I, or the people I loved would
have to deal with the fallout.” She shook her head. “It didn’t
work. They paid the price anyway.”
revelation was exploding in her head like a volcano. All the effort
she had put into going unnoticed by scary people hadn’t protected
her, or Tai, or Ano. She had lost them all, and she would spend her
life wondering if she could have saved them if she’d just been
brave enough to do anything, instead of letting Don make his own
plans for her to follow blindly.
wonder if the reason I’m even thinking about this now is because I
don’t have anyone left to lose…” She thought, looking at her
mother’s face. “Okay, that’s a lie.” She admitted. “I still
have Delphi, I still have Nix, and Alison, and… Hades, even Don and
Dad. I still can’t write them both off. They’re such a big part
of my life… But I can’t stay on the sidelines any more. Because
it’s clear that Dad’s agenda is a price I’m not willing to pay,
and it’s equally clear that Don was just telling me what I wanted
to hear. If I’m going to save either of them… I have to do it
myself.” She looked up at the Memorial. “Mom, I hope you’d
agree with me. I hope the woman who started shining a light in dark
places for all the ocean to see would understand. And if you wouldn’t
agree… I hope you’d at least forgive me. Because I can’t let
Don, or my father decide the future. And that means I have to.”
made, Cora went back to the Ark-Hive. She had work to do.
Note From The Author: I hope you're all enjoying The Ark-Hive, in its serialised format. if you'd rather not wait until the next chapter is published, you can head over to Amazon, and buy the whole book; in a complete ebook format.