“You’re going to remember to keep your eyes closed this time, right?”
Wyll sighed. “Yes.”
Meris knew she was aggravating him with all her worrying, but they just couldn’t afford any mistakes. “It took half an hour for your eyes to adjust after the flashcap. Zac, Leo and I will be too busy to help you if you blind yourself again.” She caught herself chewing on her lower lip and deliberately pressed her lips together to stop herself.
Wyll’s jaw clenched and unclenched. “Meris. This is a completely different situation. We’ve been over this with a fine-toothed comb; everything will be fine.” The young Tudoryan soldier was much more like a Sindrian, like Meris, when it came to keeping his face neutral.
She rubbed Ellias’ dogtags, now hanging around her neck, between her thumb and forefinger. It was virtually all she had left of him, her last connection to the man she was going to marry. “What if it isn’t?”
This time, the look Wyll gave her was more sympathetic. She still wasn’t used to seeing him out of his Stell-Ore security uniform, especially not masked by the helmet’s black face shield – Leo had lent them all some clothes – and was only just starting to notice the subtle shifts in his expression. “Don’t worry, we’ve got this down cold. Just concentrate on your part, and the rest will fall into place. Okay?”
She nodded, then went back to filling the metal container on the workbench before her with gunpowder. It had been nearly twenty-four hours since she and the others had barely escaped the Stell-Ore Security Compound with Alazar, but it already felt like a lifetime ago.
In a way, it was.
Leo knocked on the workshop door before entering, the slender Sendrassan man seemingly recovered from his near-death experience at Stell-Ore. He carried a large coil of rope, which he placed on the workbench. “You don’t have to knock, Leo, you own the place.”
Leo’s cheeks flushed. “I just didn’t want to interrupt.” His eyes shifted briefly toward Wyll, who was busy taking apart another set of bullets.
She followed his gaze. “It’s fine, Leo. We were just going over the plan.”
The Sendrassan rubbed his hand across his narrow chin. “Do you think I should shave before we go? I don’t want to look…”
“Like you fit in?” Wyll looked at Leo over his shoulder. “Medics and doctors always look like crap. We may be light years away from Earth, but our medical technology isn’t radically different yet, it still requires actual human beings taking care of other humans, and that means long hours.”
“Are you saying your sister always looks like crap?”
Surprisingly, he grinned at her. “Only most of the time.”
His vid-phone emitted a soft chime. He got it out of his pocket and frowned at the screen. “Speaking of…” He read silently a moment, then set the vid-phone down with a curse.
“What is it?” Leo echoed her question nearly simultaneously.
“Buzz from Myranda. She thinks she and Alazar may have been discovered. We need to get this ready ASAP.” He gathered up the gunpowder he’d taken out of the bullets and dumped it into the metal container. “Let’s go.”
Meris’ heart began racing. “It’s too early, there’ll be too many people.” Regardless, she put the lid on the container and tucked it under her arm.
Leo looped the rope over his shoulder and hurriedly grabbed his tablet and vid-phone, shoving them both into his pants pockets. “She’s right, Wyll, the place will be full. Someone could get hurt.”
Wyll shrugged, but Meris detected a hint of worry in his jade eyes. “At least they’ll be in the best place.”
Chapter 1 Chapter 3