A Chapter

That foolish, foolish girl! I try my best to heal her and it's obvious that she doesn't understand how serious this is. Olivia and I are giving it our best but I've seen this sort of thing before.

"It's okay," she says. "You get some sleep." Her concern is touching but it's really too late for that. I explain that it might get infected again, but she doesn't listen. I want to scream at her. Don't you understand???? my mind shouts, but she can't hear me.

Though worried, I manage to doze off. I wake up after about two hours, my energy partially but not completely restored. Groaning, I search my bag for my back-up supply of energy bars, the ones that I always keep there. My hand closes on them: there are five.

"Olivia, take these," I say, holding two of them out to her. We'd better save the last one for later. We might need it. She thanks me but I hardly hear, too intent on consuming my two bars as fast as possible. Almost immediately my energy returns, and it feels great. I'd almost forgotten what it was like to be full power.

Gabby -- is that her name? she never told me -- is sitting with the vampire. Given that her arm is seriously injured - more than she realises - I'm not sure that is a good idea. Olivia and I stand up and make our way over to her. She looks up.

"Sorry to interrupt, but this is serious," I say. "Gabby, if you don't get your arm completely healed you are going to die." She looks at me, uncomprehending.

"What?"

"The blade must have been infected. I've seen this before. It's a form of poison, and the antidote can only be found in one place. It kills within a week, usually, and though I got rid of the current infection it's still there, lurking below the skin." My voice is harsh but it's necessary. She has to understand. Gabby gulps. "And the poison is only found in one place too. Our home planet. Which means that at some point your blade must have touched a Carrier - someone with the poison in their bloodstream."

"Oh my God!" she says, almost fainting. I hate the phrase but I guess it's justified now. "That man -"

"What man?" I say firmly. "What are you talking about?"

"A man was killed near where I live, and ..." she trails off. "And they used this blade. My blade. I never realised..." I feel sick. One of my people is dead, and as they are not at Home, they will not be lamented and mourned as is proper, but forgotten. "Help me, Mai!" she says, her eyes wide with fear.

"There's only one way we can do that," says Olivia. "We've got to take you to our home planet. You're going to travel through space."

The End

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