Chapter 20, Part 1
Cassie circled the building where Sam was frantically waving his arms at her. She signaled to Declan and went in for the landing. She landed with a smooth hop which she’d started to perfect since she and Declan had started early morning flight training.
“What’s wrong?” she asked. Sam was never this flustered.
“It’s Mariah. She called me…”
“I know. Shut up. We’ve got to go talk to Santos right now.”
Cassie followed close on Sam’s heels as he tore back down the stairs and out the building. Declan met them on the ground outside.
“What’s going on?” he asked.
“Just come on!” Cassie replied, afraid to waste any time.
They barged into the command building, interrupting Captain Santos’ first cup of coffee. He paused with the cup halfway to his mouth.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“It’s Mariah, sir, I got a phone call from her a few minutes ago,” Sam began. The coffee cup slammed back onto the table, its contents sloshing over the sides to stain the desk unnoticed.
“Every single detail,” Captain Santos ordered, pointing them to the chairs in front of his desk.
Through great effort of will, Cassie kept her mouth shut while Sam retold their conversation. Or she did, until Sam mentioned Mariah’s companion and the electrical pulses.
“She’s with the Freak?” she shouted.
“Who?” Captain Santos asked. “No, tell me when Sam’s done.”
When Santos finally had all the information he needed, he picked up his phone and began making calls. Sam and Cassie took that as a cue to leave, and Declan shut the door behind them.
“Did she sound okay?” Cassie asked.
“Yeah, she did,” Sam said. “Even a little different.”
“She say anything about what happened?”
“No, other than Amelli was the one that took her.”
“Who’s this Amelli fellow?” Declan broke in.
Sam and Cassie exchanged a glance, deciding that they could finally trust him.
“We’ll tell you on the way. We need to tell Caleb and Abby,” Cassie said.
Fifteen minutes later, the kitchen was the scene of absolute chaos as they finished delivering the news. Josh finally put fingers to his mouth and loosed a piercing whistle. An instant hush followed. Cassie nodded her thanks.
“Okay, I’m sure Captain Santos will tell us as soon as they have something. Until then, breakfast and work out,” she said.
“Why can’t they just send Josh to go grab her and come back?” Caleb asked.
“They don’t know where they are right now, buddy,” Josh said. “Besides, it sounded like Amelli might be in pursuit, so they’ll need some intel before sending anyone in.”
“Sounds very official,” Declan smirked a little.
“So you’d just charge off, trying to be the hero then?” Josh asked, a hard tension in his voice.
“No,” Declan’s reply took them all by surprise. “I didn’t sign up to be a pretend superhero.” His face twisted into a smile. “You can’t really save anyone.”
The younger kids stared after him as he pushed out of the kitchen.
“Hey,” Cassie regained their attention. “As soon as Captain Santos gives us an update, we should start planning a welcome party for Mariah and…her friend.” They hadn’t told Caleb and Abby that Mariah was traveling in the company of the man who had attacked her and caused a major traffic accident.
Caleb and Abby were quite taken with the idea and started planning a party that mostly featured every form of ice cream under the sun. Cassie was all right with that. It would keep their mind off waiting and what had just happened with Declan. She didn’t need them asking questions until she tried to talk with Declan.
She grabbed a box of cereal and dumped its contents into a bowl with more vigor than was strictly necessary. Sam was by her side handing her the jug off milk.
“Hey, it’ll work out, right?” he said.
“Well we do have the Army on our side.” Cassie attempted a smile.
“She’ll be ok. I know it’s hard to believe, but Kyle said he’d take care of her, and I believed him.”
Cassie sighed. It was a little difficult to trust her adopted sister’s life to a guy who’d chased her down and injured her a few months ago. Guess they’d just have to wait and see what would happen. And she hated waiting.