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Source:Old Bones
Attribution
Author Jennifer Harding

Old Bones is a short story by Jennifer Harding.

Old BonesEdit

by Jennifer Harding

The beach was cold this time of year, the gray waves sliding over the pebbles and sand. Roan stood at the edge of the waves. He didn't turn when the Johnson approached, didn't speak; just watched the ill-tempered waves splash gray sludge over the rocks.

"Roan, I presume?" The Johnson broke the silence. Roan nodded. "You come well recommended. I have an extraction, needs to be done quietly, this week. Are you interested?"

"What's the corp?" Roan asked, still not looking at the Johnson. Cami had scanned the man, and Delta had assensed him, before he stepped onto the beach. No cyberware, no magic, no interesting weapons.

"Academic, actually. No corporate affiliations at all."

"Mm-hm." And I'm a choir boy. "Willing?"

The Johnson laughed softly. "There'll be no complaints from him," he replied. "I know your standard fee. I'll add 20% for the necessity of speed. Is that satisfactory?"

Roan nodded. He sent account information to the Johnson, then waited quietly. A few seconds later, he heard a "nuyen's good," in his ear. Roan turned, scanned the man with flat gray cybereyes. Elven, blond, wearing an expensive long coat and shoes that would be ruined by the beach sludge. Idiot.

"Well, Mr. Johnson. Looks like we can do business. Who's the target?"

The elf smiled, as if at a private joke. "He's the Kennewick Man." Should I know that name? Roan sent to Cami. I'm on it, she replied. "He's at the University of Washington," Mr. Johnson continued, with that smug smile.

"A professor?" Roan asked. "A student?" He was missing something here.

Ah — Roan? Cami interrupted. Not a who. A what. Roan frowned at the data that burst onto his AR. "You want us to extract a skeleton?"

"Yes, that's it exactly." The Johnson flashed a perfectly white smile. "You have my number. Call when you've secured him. Oh, and do be gentle. He's a delicate sort." With those final words, the elf turned and walked away.

Roan stood on the beach, bemused.

Well, Cami said into his 'link, At least this one won't whine.

They met back at Roan's doss. Delta shared a place with a half dozen other orks and had no privacy. Cami refused to let them in her place, not since Delta and a small drone had a 'misunderstanding' a few months back. Roan lived alone, in a two-room apartment on the edge of Redmond. The building barely missed being a slum. Still, the neighbors kept to themselves and the roaches didn't eat too much.

"What do you have for us, Cami?" Roan asked.

Cami tapped long fingers on her commlink. Her gold cybereyes focused on him.

"Not much," she replied. "Looks like a lot of the records were lost in the Crash. It's a skeleton, found in 1996, supposedly about 8,500 years old. I found some references that it was moved in '21 to a storage facility, attached to the Burke museum up at the U."

"Damn, Roan. I thought we did extractions," Delta complained. Delta was a big man, even for an ork. The neon blue nanotattoos running up his skull were a startling contrast to his midnight-black skin. "We gonna be thieves now?"

"You had me turn down our last two offers," Roan reminded him. "We keep doing that, biz will dry up."

"We agreed to do willing extractions," Delta replied, defensive.

Cami rolled her eyes at him. "And you figure this guy's gonna care where he's parked?" she asked. Roan knew she was in her mid-twenties, but Cami looked a decade older. She'd been clean for about two years now. The drugs had left her face and body scarred, but they'd spared her mind. Which was more than most addicts could claim.

"Enough," Roan snapped. "We took the money, we do the job. Cami, go hack the storage place. Delta, do a fly-by."

They both slouched down, closed their eyes. Delta was back in five minutes.

"Building's warded. Ton of people in the area, too. No real astral security, but I saw a handful of other people in astral-and they saw me. Students, I figure," the ork reported. Roan sighed, running his hands through his buzz-cut hair. Hopefully Cami would have better news. Knowing she liked to take her time, he sent Delta out for food. Roan stretched out his long legs on the couch and flicked on the trid.

A few hours later, the human woman sat up, stretched. Roan muted the trid and put down his takeout. She shook her head at him.

"You're not gonna like this," she said. "Place doesn't have much security—cameras, a couple of guards, maglock doors. The Matrix system is soft as butter."

"So what's the problem?" Delta asked.

"Place is crawling with students. They're everywhere. It's like a horror trid," she said, shuddering. Delta snorted.

"No, seriously. Apparently there's some big push to check all the inventory, put RFID tags on everything. They're updating their computer records at the same time. They've got hordes of college kids doing most of the work. Place closes at 9, doors get locked, and campus security checks on it every few hours. Kids come back at 8 the next morning."

"Still don't see the problem," Delta interrupted. Cami glared at him. He glared back. "Unless you're afraid of a couple of overweight campus sec guys."

"The problem is, the Kennewick Man isn't listed in the inventory. I found the info showing it was transferred, along with a bunch of other stuff, in '21. But it got mislabeled or something—the inventory code it had links to a stuffed bird. A bunch of stuff is like that. Things got even more screwed up after the Crash. That's why they're re-doing the system.

"If we want to find the damn thing, we're going to have to go look through the whole place, item by item. It'll take hours. Days. Years." Cami waved her skinny arms melodramatically.

"Well, how many skeletons can there possibly be?" Roan asked, pragmatic.

"Place was a dumping ground for a lot of the museums that closed down when the NAN took over. I'd guess, maybe a hundred? There's lots of rooms, different climate controls, and they all lock up at 9 sharp. They've got old, hard-wired alarms on 'em, too. Pain in the ass," she muttered.

"How secure is it during the day?" Roan asked, thinking.

"Looks like the students are checked coming in and going out. No bags, no backpacks, no bulky coats. Not much other than that. Who'd want to steal a bunch of birds nests and plant collections?"

"Other than us?" Delta asked, dryly. Cami shrugged.

"So we go in during the day. Take a few days to search the place. When we find it, we go in at night, take it out quickly," Roan said. "You can fake a student ID, can't you?"

"Well, yeah. But, Roan? None of us really have the—ah—preppy college look. Y'know?" Cami pointed out.

"Well, fuck," Roan muttered. "Delta, you know dozens of teenagers," he said, hopeful. Cami and Delta looked at each other, then back at him.

"You want preppy, not ganger." Cami laughed. "But Roan, you want someone else to go in, look around? You know someone who'd blend just fine," she pointed out.

"Well, fuck," he said, with more feeling.

Doc Holly's 'office' was further in Redmond. She had a great deal going with the Crimson Crush: they kept things quiet around her office, she patched them up free of charge. There were rumors she had an even better deal going with a group of ghouls in the area.

A couple of orks wearing red synth-leather jackets patted him down outside the door. Inside, the front room was exactly as he remembered: scarred plastic chairs, peeling paint on the walls, chipped linoleum floors. Someone had tacked up a poster of a puppy on one wall. The smell of bleach was just a little stronger than the smell of vomit. An ork woman sat in one chair, twitching, her eyes dull and unfocused. Another woman was slowly mopping up something red in front of the desk. Roan ignored them both. He leaned against a wall and watched the door at the back.

After about twenty minutes, an ork came out of the door. He had a white bandage across his face and over one ear His shirt was covered in blood.

"Try and keep it dry, Taz. I'll take out the stitches in a week." Holly's voice followed the ork into the waiting room. Roan felt his stomach clench. He pushed away from the wall and walked into the back.

The doctor was stripping off her latex gloves. She looked up when he shut the door behind him, and raised one eyebrow.

"Roan," she said in her quiet, upper-class voice. It was not a voice that belonged in the Redmond Barrens. That had been one of their arguments—one of many. "I don't see any blood. Pity."

"Looking good, Doc," he replied. She was, too, damn it. That smooth, youthful face, with its sexy overbite, her shining brown hair in a stylish cut. Not quite pretty, but sexy as hell. It pissed him off, seeing her in this place. No matter that her heart was as black as coal, or that she traded the dead for drugs. She still looked too fresh, too sweet, to be living in this squalor. Even elves aged, grew worn and scarred, spending enough time on the streets. Not Holly, though. Her sins hadn't caught up with her. Yet.

"Are you sick, Roan?" she asked, moving to put away her supplies. "Catch some horrible intestinal disease?"

"No," he replied.

"Pity. So what do you want, then?" She was looking down at some blood-coated metal things. Roan put his hand on her arm to move her away from the scalpels and blades. Just in case.

"I need a favor, Holly. Something easy," he said. They were the same height—although, like many elves, she was slender, delicate looking. She looked at his hand on her arm and frowned.

"So you've come about your work? Accidentally shoot a client?"

"No, not this time." Roan explained what he needed. Holly listened, then sighed.

"It'll cost you, Roan. I'll do it, for a price," she said. "You know what I want." He looked at her. Her hands were steady, her blue eyes clear. In that moment, he hated himself. Hated her.

He nodded.

"Then I'll see you in the morning," she said, and turned her back on him. He stared at her for another moment, then left. And if he slammed the door on the way out, well, who could blame him?

"Doc's ready," Cami announced, slipping into the back of their van. Roan and Delta were drinking coffee, watching the AR feed that Cami had rigged on the doctor. She picked up a cup, sipped, and nearly spit out the coffee. "Damn it, Delta, why'd you buy the cheap soy crap?" She looked over at Roan, but he was concentrating on the data streaming in through his 'link. Cami sighed. It was going to be a long day.

They spent all day parked in a pay-by-the-hour lot a few blocks away from the storage facility. Roan concentrated on the live feed Holly was sending, watching as her graceful hands opened one long plastic crate after another.

By five o'clock, she'd checked over forty skeletons. None had matched up with the details Cami had provided.

"I'm heading out, Cami," the doctor said into her commlink. "Do you want me to come back in the morning?"

"Shit, Roan," Cami said, cutting the 'link to the doctor. "You should take her to dinner or something." Roan glanced over at her, his expression cold. "Or not," Cami muttered.

"Yeah, Doc," she sent back to Holly. "That'd be fine. I'll meet up with you in the same place." Cami slid another glance at Roan.

They went through the same routine the next day. Roan sat, unspeaking, during the entire day. Cami and Delta bickered. They'd done this routine before.

On the third day, around 10 a.m., Holly signaled them with her 'link.

"I think I've found your friend," she said. She reached one finger out, traced the line of the skull, ran her finger along the smooth teeth. "How much are they paying you for this fellow?" she murmured.

"Not enough," Cami replied cheerfully. "Got a positive ID there?" Holly turned her head and focused down on the tag around the skeleton's femur. It was yellow with age. In their AR, they could all see the printing: 'Kennewick, WA, 1996, Army Corps of Engineers.'

"Hallelujah," Delta muttered. Cami marked the location and noted the inventory number scribbled on the outside of the plastic crate.

"Thanks, Doc," Cami said, still cheerful.

"Roan, I'll expect payment tomorrow," Holly replied. Delta and Cami exchanged glances.

"Fine." Roan replied.

Roan made arrangements with the Johnson to meet back at the beach at 2 a.m. By midnight, they'd slipped into the storage facility. Cami was right: security was a joke. She hacked the main doors to get them inside. Roan cut through the hard-wired alarm on room 7B-3. They grabbed the crate and left. In and out, under five minutes.

And for once, their 'client' didn't say a word.

Roan drove their pickup into the little parking lot, right at two o'clock. A large van was waiting, engine running, in the middle. Roan parked facing the road, the beach just a few meters away from the back of the truck. He nodded to Delta. The ork closed his eyes, slouched for a second, then straightened up again.

"It's our Mr. J," he said. "Looks eager. He's alone."

Roan nodded. "OK, let's do it." Stepping out of the pickup, he moved around to the back and flipped down the tailgate. The Johnson stepped out of the van and walked up to him.

"Roan," the elf said. In the dark, his teeth flashed white. "You're prompt." Roan pulled the crate to the end and popped it open. The Johnson was an elf, so Roan didn't bother with a flashlight.

"Hope this is the right guy," Roan said as the elf stared at the skeleton. "Your description was... vague."

The elf smiled. "Oh, yes. This is definitely the right one," he said, satisfied. "I see your reputation is well deserved—" Roan leaned over to snap the case closed. Something rushed through the space where his head had been a moment before and slammed into the back of the truck. Roan straightened, turned, and felt something punch his shoulder.

He fell back, using the momentum to grab the Johnson. The elf screamed, but Roan just rolled with him, under the truck. A bullet spat rocks up two centimeters from his face. Roan rolled again, further back.

"Cami?" he shouted in his 'link, in his mind.

"On it," came the reply, ice cold in his ear. He heard the ratchet of a shotgun from the cab of the truck and muted his ears for a second. The truck shook above him. Roan pulled his Predator from the holster, scanned the parking lot. Boulders tumbled at the edge, leading down to the beach. The road was empty.

"Damn it, where are they?" he asked. At the same time, he saw a burst of light as a figure, wrapped in flames, fell screaming from the rocks down to the beach. Score one for Delta. Roan switched his eyes to thermal and focused on the rocks. Was there another person down there? Another spat of bullets hit the truck's cab. The Johnson was whimpering now. Roan ignored him—the bullets told him where to look. He sighted, aimed, fired. Hit. His target jerked and then flew back, punched by a slug from Cami's Remington 990.

Tires squealed beside the truck. He rolled again, aimed. A van stopped, the front doors flying open. He could only see legs.

"Shit," he muttered, then fired another shot. Blood and bone spewed out as a man fell to the ground, one leg ripped apart. More bullets hit the pavement in front of him. Roan felt something burn across one cheek. Someone inside the van burst into flames. Roan saw a thin face, screaming, before the flames washed over it. He heard glass shatter above him. Cami grunted over their 'link.

Roan slid out from under the truck, belly-crawled forward. He could see a man using the front of the van for cover. There was a loud explosion on the beach as ammo cooked off a human torch.

The man by the van glanced over, just for a moment. Roan took advantage and put two clean shots into his face.

He dropped. The screaming from the van was inhuman.

"Oh, for god's sake, Delta. Finish him off," Cami muttered in their 'links. Roan cautiously stood. His shoulder felt like it was on fire and something warm was trickling down his cheek. He'd live.

"Cami, you OK?" Roan asked. His hacker looked out of the truck's shattered back window. Blood covered most of her face, drenched the side of her armored jacket.

"Damn window. Bullet-proof glass my ass," she said, spitting out a mouthful of blood and glass. "Somebody shut that fucker up!" she shouted.

Roan turned, moved over to the van. He fired once and the screaming stopped. He slid the door of the van closed—just in case there was any ammo on the body, ready to cook.

"How 'bout you, Delta?" Roan asked, leaning over the man he'd shot in the leg. The guy was moaning, his eyes wide and glassy with shock. Roan put a bullet between them.

"Hell, I ducked," Delta replied, peering out the back window. "That all of 'em?"

"Fix Cami up," Roan replied, walking over to the rocks and looking down at the burning body on the sand. "Two down over here." He looked down at the body laying across the boulders, the one Cami had shot, and then back to the van, to the two men bleeding on the pavement. There wasn't much left of either face, but enough to know.

"Elves," he muttered. Roan stalked over to the truck. He reached underneath and hauled out the Johnson by the front of his shirt.

"You trying to screw us?" he shouted, shaking the man. Something wet and warm oozed over his hands where they held up the Johnson.

"Party lights," Cami said. Roan looked out and saw the sparkling lights winding their way up the dark beach road. Lone Star. He looked down at the glassy eyes of their Johnson.

"Motherfucker," he said, with feeling.

Two hours later, Delta slept, exhausted, while Roan paced the living room of their safehouse. His shoulder ached like hell, but he couldn't ask Delta for help. Patching up Cami had taken everything out of the ork. The skeleton sat in its crate in the spare room.

"You think the Johnson turned?" Cami asked as she scrubbed at the blood drying on her jacket.

"No," Roan replied. "They shot him, too."

"Why the hell would someone want a bunch of old bones?" she asked. Roan looked at her, at the blood streaking her blonde hair, soaking through her shirt. He'd screwed up. Someone had messed with his team. Now he wanted to know why.

"I gotta make a call," he said.

Roan had met Elijah a few years back. They'd shared a bottle of ouzo one night in a seedy hell-hole of a bar. For a brainy dirt-digger, the man could drink.

He made the call, connected. A middle-aged human looked out at him, brown hair tied back into a stubby ponytail. From the distorted view, Roan guessed Elijah was looking down into a handheld 'link.

"Roan," Elijah said, after staring for a moment. "Hell. As pretty as ever, I see. The blood's a nice touch."

Roan raised his hand to his cheek. Grimaced. "Yeah, well." He shrugged it off. "I've got something here, right up your alley."

"Yeah?" Elijah asked. In the background, Roan could hear the screams of tropical birds. Roan transmitted a burst of data, including a picture of the skeleton Cami had uploaded for him.

"You heard of the Kennewick Man?" Roan asked.

Elijah whistled. "My God. I'd heard it was lost. And no photos of the thing lying around, of course, otherwise... Hell, it's what, 8,500 years old, right?" he said, excited.

"So says the intel," Roan replied, shrugging.

"How much did you get paid for this?" Elijah asked, still staring at the picture.

"Not enough." Roan sighed. "Not nearly enough."

Elijah promised to call back in a few hours. Roan told Cami to get some sleep. He double-checked all the alarms, then popped a couple of painkillers and bunked down himself. Cami woke him up in the morning. She and Delta had the morning news on the trid.

"What?" Roan asked, walking into the living room. He rolled his shoulder, once, wincing at the pain. Delta still looked tired, though—maybe later he'd ask... He stopped in front of the trid. A live news feed was on, showing a building in flames. His building. People stood gawking on the sidewalk. No fire crews yet—the news moved faster than public services.

"Pack," he spit out.

"But, Roan, how'd they know—?" Cami asked. Roan cut his eyes to her.

"Now, Cami," he said.

Delta was carrying the crate into the garage when someone triggered one of the proximity alarms. Roan ducked against a wall, drew his gun. Cami leaned out of the kitchen and silently mouthed, 'elf'. Then she turned and ran after Delta. Roan heard a window break. He sprinted after his team. Delta and Cami were in the truck. She pointed to the garage door as Roan jumped behind the wheel. He shook his head, grinning violently. He gunned the truck forward, bursting through the plastic garage door. Roan caught a glimpse of a startled elf, then felt a satisfying thump as the elf disappeared from sight. A few bullets pinged off the side of the truck as he skidded down the street. Air whistled in the glassless window behind them.

"Delta, check for tails," he said, making another wide turn. In the back, the crate slid, crashing against one side of the pickup bed. Cami was holding on desperately to her door.

"Roan, you're gonna have drones on you in a second," she said, closing her eyes as he took a quick left and swerved through the cross traffic.

"Clear on astral," Delta reported.

Cami opened her eyes, saw another intersection, and closed them again. "Gray van, behind us," she said through clenched teeth. "It's running lights, too."

Delta looked back, grinned. A gust of wind, swirling leaves and trash, streaked by. The gray van swerved a little, fighting the wind, then T-boned a red sedan.

"Not anymore," he said, satisfied.

Roan slowed down and took the next turn at a legal speed. He wound his way through the side streets. The houses gave way to shops and apartments. Many of the shops were boarded up or burnt out. Apartments they passed were decorated with graffiti and had broken, empty windows. The road grew rough, pitted with potholes and chunks of concrete. Roan shifted the truck into four-wheel drive.

"Where the hell we goin', Roan?" Cami asked, finally. She eyed the red-jacketed orks who stood on the street corners, smoking, watching.

"I want to ask that slitch how much she sold us out for," he said. He pulled up to a row of shops, all but one abandoned.

"You two go 'round back. I'll go in front," he said, pulse hammering. He pulled out his gun, holding it loose at his side as he walked up to the door. Her sentinels were missing. When he pushed open the door, Roan realized why.

Inside, the scent of blood, and thicker things, was heavy enough to make him gag. Two orks in Crush colors lay on the floor. Blood pooled black over the dirty linoleum. A human woman and an old ork man slumped in chairs. Blood had sprayed the walls behind them.

Roan jerked his gun up, then lowered it, hand shaking, as Delta came through the exam room door. Cami followed, her shotgun over her shoulder. She shook her head.

Roan turned and slammed a fist through the wall. White plaster sprayed out, like bone through flesh. Silent, he went back outside and got into the truck.

He drove, still silent, until they came to a seedy looking motel. The kind with automated check-in and rooms by the hour.

"Cami," he said, curt.

She leaned back and closed her eyes. A few minutes later, she pointed. "Room 17," she said. Roan drove the truck up to the parking spot numbered 17 and got out. Delta touched Cami on the shoulder, then got out to grab the crate.

Elijah called first.

"Find of the century, Roan. I can't wait to see it myself," he said.

"Things are a little hot here, Elijah. I'm not keeping the damn thing for you," Roan snapped back.

"Yeah, yeah. You used to like a little action," he said, grinning. "No doubt, once word gets out about this, in—shall we say—certain circles, I think you'll be fine. No point going after you, when the secret's out, right?" Elijah chuckled. Roan glared. "Ahem. I've been in touch with some associates who'll be happy to take it off your hands. They're broke, like always, so they can't offer any compensation. But they'll broadcast photos, get documentation out in the right places. You keep your head down for a few days and things should cool off just fine."

"Perfect," Roan said. "Give me a time and a place."

"Midnight, tonight," Elijah said. He sent an address. "Take it in the back. Two guys'll be waiting. Probably weeping tears of joy. I wish I could be there."

"You want to tell me why anyone cares a flying fuck about these bones?" Roan asked.

"Hell, Roan, isn't it obvious? Just look at—" Roan's commlink flashed an incoming call. Holly's number.

"Great," Roan said and disconnected Elijah. "CAMI!" he shouted. "Trace this call!" And he answered.

Holly looked out at him. Her pretty blue eyes were overly bright, a dark bruise showing clearly against her pale cheek. Her lips, those sexy lips, were bleeding. Her shirt was torn, and she was holding it together with shaking hands. Roan clenched his fists.

"I'm sorry, Roan," she said. Her voice trembled. She glanced up, away from the vid-camera, and shuddered. "I thought... " Her eyes flicked away again, then back. Roan knew that look. Someone—maybe Holly herself—had pumped drugs into her pretty veins.

"I thought they were bringing... bringing what you promised."

"S'okay, Holly," he said, softly. The rage was burning through him, hot and bright. She covered her face, covered it with those elegant, shivering hands. The picture went dark.

"Bring us the Kennewick Man," said a mechanical voice. "Midnight, tonight. We'll give you back your pretty doctor. We might even leave her alone, until then." The voice laughed. Roan bit back an oath. "We'll call you at ten 'til midnight. Be waiting near the beach—just like last night. We'll tell you where to meet us then, somewhere nearby. You'll want to drive fast. If you're late, we may just have to entertain ourselves with your lady." The connection terminated.

Roan swung around, pinning Cami with wild eyes.

"Tell me you traced it," he said. She took a step back, holding her hands up. Roan realized he had his Predator in his hand. He stared down at it, then collapsed on the edge of the bed.

Delta bundled them up, got everyone in the truck and back on the road. It was late when he finally pulled to a stop in an empty parking lot.

Sitting in the truck, hunched against the cold and the dark, Cami and Delta watched Roan.

"You know, Elijah's right," Cami finally spoke. "Once this gets out—whatever the hell 'this' is—they won't be hunting us down."

"They'll kill her," Roan said, quietly. He looked at his team. Pleading. "They'll kill her, after they—" he stopped. Cami put her hand on his shoulder.

"Roan, we go to the meet, they'll kill us too," she pointed out. "They'll be waiting, ready. We're walking into a trap and we know it. They know it. You think we can take them down? Three of us, against... how many?" Roan looked over at Delta. The ork shifted, uncomfortable.

"I agree with Cami," he said. "Look, Roan, she's your lady. Or was. But—hell. We go there, they'll have the drop on us. We take it to this Elijah guy's friends, they put out the word, and the heat's off us."

Roan looked at them. Cami, fresh pink scars decorating her face. Delta, his glossy black skin sweating, even in the cold. He'd been working with Delta for over two years, Cami for just under. They were his team. His job was to keep them safe, keep them alive. In the shadows, you stuck by your team. Friends and family just slowed you down. Made you weak.

And Holly sure as hell made him weak.

"Roan, you say the word," Delta said. "I'm with you, either way." The ork glared at Cami. She sighed.

"Yeah, yeah. Me too. Hell, we'll hurt 'em some, make them scream like little girls," she said, punching him on the shoulder. "But we better go. 'Bout an hour, either way. And it's almost eleven o'clock."

Roan looked at both of them again. There wasn't any place in a runner's life for friends, family. For love. Wasn't that why he'd slammed the door on Holly in the first place? Because watching her pump her veins full of drugs was killing him, just as it would eventually kill her? Because worrying about her took his mind off the job?

And if he wanted to kill himself over her, how could he drag his team into it? Cami, Delta. They had his back, they'd go down with him. They trusted him to make the right decision, just like he always had. But what was right? Sacrifice Holly, let her be tortured, or take his team into a certain trap? A choice—wasn't it always about a choice? Only this time, only one choice would leave him alive. Did he want to live with guilt, or die with it? Roan pushed Delta over, slid behind the wheel of the truck. Shifted the truck into gear. Pulled back out onto the road.

"Where we goin'?" Cami asked.

"To do the right thing," he replied, and drove into the night.

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