I'd been so long in the place they had thrown me; I had almost forgotten the look of a kind face. I had filled the time going through all the training I'd had before I'd been put here. I would have joined the SQS. Been an active leader, a unique Queen who would have breached the divide that naturally came between leaders and followers. But something changed. I'd been betrayed. The guard who had been with me since birth was a double agent and I had been thrown here. They tried to get information from me about the SQS and when that failed, they used me as a kind of human battery, draining the life force from me to use for their own ends.
But that had all changed in a few moments. They had not long thrown in the device and I was lying on the floor, drained and exhausted. I could hear the guards shifting around in an agitated manner but dismissed it. They weren't disturbing me.
There was a soft skittering sound, barely louder than a breath and I sprang to my feet instantly. Smoke had filled my prison and two figures were dimly discernable. One grabbed me, carefully, in a way that would not hurt me.
"Don't worry," he whispered. "We work for your mom. She told us to help you."
A mixture of emotions blossomed out from my chest at once and my head span suddenly. I was being freed? I nodded to the stranger, obviously an SQS agent, to show that I understood. His partner moved beside us as we walked out, firearms going off all over. I felt the guy who had pulled me out flinch and release my arm as he was hit. Anger flared and I itched for a way to fight back. We ran together, him limping badly. When his friend noticed, I stood back a little, watching closely. I saw a flash of symbol on the uninjured one's arm and realised they were of the highest order. Very young for it, but evidently up to the challenge.
I caught the one who hadn't been injured looking at me and met his eyes. I saw my own fear reflected back at me, both in my reflection and deep in his eyes. Now I could see their faces, I could tell they were both very handsome; their muscles well-defined under their clothing and their faces had the features of trained agents who had not lost their compassion. I warmed to them instantly, knowing I was in the best possible hands.
We all descended out of the ventilation system-I declined the chance to show off-and landed in a corridor. Seconds later, the same guy I had just locked eyes with, had been yanked away by one of the guards. I melted into the shadows reflexively. I watched, shuddering helplessly as his friend battered against the door they had dragged him through, my heart twisting in sympathy for him. I knew what was going to happen. I knew that door.
When his friend-James- appeared again, I almost flinched in horror. I bit down on the cry that would have otherwise escaped. They had changed him. How could they? It was too cruel. And treason of the highest order. Then again, my own treatment had proved they were not above treason.
I watched in horror as James' friend slammed into the wall.
"No!" The cry tore out of me as he collapsed to the ground. James' gaze burned into me as he turned. I shuddered helplessly and attempted to run. In a few easy strides of inhuman speed, he'd grabbed me. The blows I landed on him made no difference, even though they would have at least winded a normal man. He dragged me back down an all-too-familiar corridor. My mind screamed in rejection of it. He was taking me back. To that hole. To be used. Drained. The closer we got, the harder I fought. Nothing seemed to touch him and he threw me back in. Literally. I slammed into the opposite wall, the sound echoing. I was badly winded, collapsing into the corner where the wall met the floor. I hated the weak whimper that escaped as it made the turned agent, James, smirk. I struggled to prop myself up on one arm, coughing as he slammed the door shut. I gave up, slumping to the floor again in defeat. I let myself drift to semi-consciousness.
When I came to, my back was throbbing viciously, but I got up regardless, sitting with my back against the cool metal wall. I leaned my head back and tried to think. There were two SQS agents here. One most likely dead or close to it. Another turned by the machines of the Government. There was little I could do trapped. The turned agent stood between me and any help I could be to the injured one. He was my best bet out of here. I breathed out, slowly and unsteadily. There were too many questions I wanted answers to. All of the questions about why I was here, what they were doing; and about the agents, who they were, how my mom was doing, what had been going on since I'd been put here. I missed my life bitterly despite all I had done to lock my feelings away; I'd been a prisoner for a very long time. I wanted to go home. And I had a chance, however slim.
A stealthy shuffling outside the door alerted me. By the weight of the tread, it had to be one of the agents. I flitted across the room to stand by the side of the door. If it was the turned agent, I wanted to be ready to do whatever I could to get past him. If not then it would just be easier for the agent to get me out if I was ready. I stood poised as the door inched open in apparent slow-motion.