Binding Moonlight

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 25 (v.1) - Chapter 25

Submitted: January 19, 2019

Reads: 9

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Submitted: January 19, 2019

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“For the last time, no!” Nrekeeka belted a holster around her hips as she spoke to her sister.

“Why not?” Shelsea demanded.

Clenching her fists, Nrekeeka stopped and looked Shelsea in the eye. “How many times do I have to tell you it's too dangerous? You're not even healthy yet, and you expect to be able to hold your own against a madman? You can barely walk to the edge of the lot without feeling weak! Is that a sufficient enough reason? Does it explain why I don't want to give you a gun and ask you to come with us?”

“I'm sure there's something I can do.” Shelsea crossed her arms and leaned her weight on one leg.

“Yeah, you can watch the house.”

The girl let out a huff and screwed up her face. “You're so unfair!”

Nrekeeka's brows knit together and her lips parted. A rush of air escaped her throat as she tried to speak. “Unfair?” she finally managed to say. “How am I being unfair? This isn't a game, Shelsea. There is a very high chance someone could get seriously hurt or killed, and yet by telling you to stay here where you'll be safe I'm being unfair? Please, explain your logic to me.” She narrowed her eyes at the girl, shifting her weight onto one leg and putting her hand on her hip.

Shelsea sneered at Nrekeeka before stomping toward the door. Tobi was on his way in as she was leaving, and she ran face first into him, stumbling backward. He grabbed her arms to steady her, her eyes lighting up when they met his.

“Tobi, I—”

Raising one hand, he cut her off. “Whatever it is Shelsea, I'm gonna say no.”

“But, Tobi!”

Narrowing his eyes ever so slightly, he stared down at her. “I already know what you're going to ask, and I'm willing to bet Nrekeeka already told you no. I'm going to agree with her, and the answer is not going to change.”

Shelsea let out a disgruntled exclamation and shoved her way past Tobi.

Shaking his head, Tobi joined Nrekeeka by the gun cabinet. “She's almost as stubborn as you.”

Nrekeeka's eyes shifted to him briefly, glaring at him from under her eyebrows.

Tobi rolled his eyes to accompany his dramatic sigh. “Oh, come on 'Keeks. Just tell me what you were really doing yesterday, and I'll get off your back.” As he spoke, he keyed in his code to the cabinet.

“I already told you what I did.”

“Yeah, and I know you're lying to me. Why is it so hard to tell me the truth all of a sudden?” he asked her, setting pistols on the table.

Nrekeeka scoffed. “If you already know, why should I have to tell you?”

Closing the cabinet, Tobi exhaled slowly, turning toward the woman. He raised his hands and shrugged. “You don't want to tell me? Fine. I'll back down. It's not like you did anything stupid, right?”

“I swear Tobi, some days you behave more like a babysitter than my best friend,” she told him, eyes downcast.

The pair stood in silence. Tobi's chest tightened as he watched Nrekeeka, and he found himself unable to speak. She looked like she was waiting for him to refute her words, give her an excuse, but his jaw seized up and he couldn't open his mouth. When he didn't answer, her ears drooped, and she grabbed a pistol off the table.

“I'll see you upstairs,” she mumbled, dropping the weapon into her holster.

Tobi watched her leave before turning and kicking the wall. “Idiot,” he told himself, clenching his fists. But she was right. “Tobi Nexarius, you are a moron. A clingy, hopeless moron.” Flattening his hands on his workbench, he put his weight on his arms and let his head hang. Taking a few calming breaths, he eventually straightened up and continued working. He couldn't afford to dwell. There was a lot to do and very little time to get it done.

 

***

 

Just after five AM, everyone gathered outside. Despite the early hour, the sounds of the city floated on the cool breeze. Sirens and sporadic gunfire echoed in the distance and the air pressed down on them.

“He never said anything about time, so I figured the earlier the better,” Tobi told the group as he tossed a bag into the trunk of his car.

Max nodded. “Robyn never was good at getting up early. Hopefully, it applies today as well, and we get there before him.”

“Here's hoping. But it's not like he's gonna have an army waiting for us even if he does get there first,” said Theo.

Ekie scowled.

“You shouldn't underestimate him. He may have back up, he may not, but he's dangerous either way,” replied Max. “He's manipulative, and charming, and can talk circles around almost anyone.”

“We aren't going to give him the chance,” Nrekeeka said to the group. “We have three people with genetic skill abnormalities and we're going to use this to our advantage.”

Theo raised his hand. “I hope I don't have to use mine.”

“I don't know if anyone will be able to. I'm pretty certain I could feel some sort of electro-field on the PAF grounds.” Leaning against his car, Tobi crossed his arms and licked his lips.

“Why didn't you say anything before?” Nrekeeka's calm tone contrasted with her dark glare.

Tipping his head back to face the sky, Tobi let his arms fall to his sides. “Honestly Nrekeeka? I forgot about it, okay? I was a little preoccupied.”

Theo and Adonis exchanged an uneasy glance.

“All hope is not lost, guys,” Gabe chimed in, hands spread wide. “If a regular dude like yerself could feel the field, it means it ain't workin' right. I've spent enough time skulking around in places I shouldn't ta know. Plus my high school had them installed ta cut down on accidents. And pranks.” The man flashed them a sheepish smirk. “We could find the emitters and disable 'em, but I think it would just be easier ta work around 'em.”

Tobi gestured toward Gabe. “See, Nrekeeka? It'll be fine.”

“Let's just go. I want to get this over with.” Nrekeeka clenched her jaw and got into Tobi's car.

“You heard the lady. Let's get this show on the road.”

“Tobi, could I talk to you for a minute?” Theo asked as the others dispersed among the two parked vehicles.

“Yeah, sure.”

As the pair moved out of earshot of the others, Theo's eyes flicked toward Tobi and away a few times before he actually held the other man's gaze.

“What's bugging you, kid?” Tobi asked lightly.

“You're calling 'Keeka by her full name,” answered Theo.

“Yeah? And?”

Theo's chest rose and fell with a deep breath. “You almost never call her by her full name. I know I haven't known either of you very long, but I'm pretty good at picking up on this stuff. At least, I think I am.”

Tobi tipped his head down for a moment before his eyes settled back on Theo. “We're just having a disagreement, and I'm trying to give her some space. It's nothing.”

“Is it going to affect your work?” Theo asked.

Smacking his lips, Tobi shook his head. “No, I think we're okay.”

Theo studied Tobi's golden eyes as he frowned. Eventually, he nodded.

“Can we go now?”

“Yeah.”

Returning to the car, the men got in and Tobi started the vehicle. No one spoke.

Glancing in the rear-view mirror as he pulled his car above the buildings, Tobi briefly made eye contact with Theo and then Adonis. He realized Theo always sat a little closer to Adonis than necessary, most likely so he could feel the heat Adonis gave off due to his pyro genetic abilities. He decided to tuck the little tidbit of information away for later so he could tease the younger teen.

Turning his attention back to the city, Tobi struggled to relax. He knew everyone was tense, especially Nrekeeka, but he worried this was going to change their relationship. And not for the better. She didn't forgive and forget like he did.

Gritting his teeth, he accelerated well past the speed limit and turned the car toward the city limits.

 

***

 

It proved difficult to find a path to the facility where the cars wouldn't be in plain view. The compound sat on a large section of land, surrounded by open fields. He hoped the tall grasses growing in the field provided some cover as he lowered his car as close to the ground as he dared. The darkness would help as well, as long as they kept their lights off.

After parking, they got out and started double-checking their equipment. Tobi studied each face and silently apologized to them. They all wore serious, or in some cases scared, expressions. It was his and Nrekeeka's fault they were in this situation. Of course, if he said this to them they would most likely give him the same response he had received from Theo. Robyn would be doing this even if they hadn't gotten involved.

Tobi gave himself a mental shake before nodding to his team. “Okay guys, let's head in,” he whispered. Staying low, he led the team around the outer wall and under the boom barrier. The prickle of the malfunctioning dampeners irritated his skin as soon as they were inside the compound. In the back of his mind, it seemed like they were playing out a bad action movie, except the stakes were very real. As they moved from the cover of one building to the next, Tobi kept an eye on the open grounds. There were seven of them, and it was not easy to conceal so many people.

“Gabe, can you go up there and see what's going on?” Tobi asked, pointing to a lookout tower on the far side of the base. He peeked around the corner of the building they were hiding behind and saw light, but no other sign of Robyn.

With a quick salute, Gabe closed his eyes, focusing. The dampeners put a strain on him but didn't stop him from teleporting. A soft, deep thump accompanied the inexplicable smoke filling the space Gabe previously occupied.

While they waited, the group remained silent. The beating of Tobi's heart was too loud in his ears and he swore everyone else could hear it, and his breathing, though he was trying to stifle the sound.

“Nrekeeka,” he whispered, “when we see Robyn, no matter how badly you want to, don't antagonize him. We don't want him to set off his virus prematurely.”

The woman shot him a glare. “I'm not stupid.”

Tobi opened his mouth, caught the warning on Theo's face, and closed it again. He clenched his jaw and glowered at a patch of scrub grass peeking through the broken concrete. Checking his watch, he focused his attention on worrying about Gabe.

“He's taking too long,” Max said, her bright eyes quivering.

A crash and muffled shout came from where the light originated. Max gasped, glancing at Tobi. He tightened his grip on his weapon, motioned for the others to wait and was just about to move when Gabe popped in before him.

“Don't worry, it wasn't me,” he said, crouching next to Max.

“What happened?” Nrekeeka asked, putting her hand on Tobi's leg to stop him.

Gabe shrugged. “Looked like they were getting everything set up. They had the same idea as us, to get an early start. Robyn's got a couple flunkies with him. Might be military. One of 'em knocked over a big canister and Robyn freaked on him.”

“Must have been the viral containment unit. I don't know much about what he was doing with the virus since I was just the computer girl, but he said it would be airborne and needed something to contain the gas,” commented Max.

“Well, there's no pointing sitting here waiting for something to happen,” said Nrekeeka. “Let's just go.”

Tobi grabbed Nrekeeka's arm. “You can't just run over there, 'Keeka. You're going to get yourself killed.”

The woman wrenched her arm free and stepped away from Tobi. “Stop talking to me like I'm an idiot.”

“Nrekeeka, calm down,” Theo whispered. “Please, we won't get anywhere with you two fighting. This isn't just about you anymore. We're all in this together,” he told them, motioning to Max, Ekie, Adonis, and Gabe.

Nrekeeka held Theo's gaze for a moment before looking over his shoulder at Tobi. She sighed through her nose, shrugging. “Fine. Tobi, lead the way I guess.”

Nodding, Tobi moved past Theo and Nrekeeka to peek around the corner of the concrete building. A small, flat building stood a few paces ahead and to the left of where they were now. The building was only about eight feet wide, certainly not big enough to conceal all seven of them at once. It appeared to be the last bit of cover between them and Robyn, however.

“Shit,” he breathed.

“What?” asked Adonis.

“There's nowhere for all of us to hide past here,” he answered.

“Then we don't really have a choice, do we? We still have the element of surprise, right?” Max asked.

“Not for much longer.”

“I could always pop in on 'em, cause a little ruckus?” suggested Gabe.

“It's probably our best option. If I wasn't afraid of something blowing up by accident, I'd ask Adonis to set a couple fires,” Tobi answered. He tapped his weapon against his leg. “Okay. Give us a good distraction, Gabe. Be careful.”

With a lopsided grin, Gabe raised one hand in a mock, two-finger salute. “You got it, boss.”


© Copyright 2019 Kristin Kuffner. All rights reserved.

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