Struggle is futile. I struggle anyway. I twist against the ropes that bind my wrists and ankles to the hard wood chair and try to find some leverage to get free. A raucous laugh fills the corridor, no doubt laughing at me. The men that observe my abduction only grin.
Aren’t they a load of help, I grumble.
Garrett’s presence is abruptly bright in my mind; an orange tie-dye of anxiety that paints my perception as his words sound in my head, just as clearly as if he were sitting next to me. What’s going on?
Nothing I can’t handle, I assert, setting my jaw. “Chad Rack! You let me go this instant!”
Chad looks over his shoulder, his mischievous smile only broadening. “Oh, but she sure can throw those orders around, can’t she fellas?”
I sag in the chair with a defeated groan. This is what I get for engaging in a prank war with Rangers. King help me.
Chad procures a tin foil crown and perches it on my head. “All hail the Lady of the Rangers!”
The Rangers watch the spectacle with amusement. A few raise their tankards. Even Garrett joins in the mirth, his silent laughter rippling over my skin like the pop of a million bubbles.
My cheeks burns from the heat of their unwanted attention. Just you . . . you shut up! I grouse, my good humor gone. “Chad, King help you, but when I get out of this you are in trouble!”
Chad bends over, still laughing, and asks in my ear, “And who says you’re ever gonna get outta there, Ranger-Lady?”
My mouth opens to shoot off some witty reply when the chair jerks unexpectedly. It’s just one short jerk, but the words catch in my throat. My eyes widen, taking in the rope slowly lifting my chair to the pinnacle of the tallest building in the station. Bound only by my wrists and ankles, I nearly spill out of the tilting, swinging seat. Locking my arms, I try to push my body into the back of the chair but every jerk makes the task more difficult until one jolt upwards proves to be too much. I lose my grip, my body falling forward in an awkward, disjointed movement. My scream punctuates the abrupt stop. Hanging from my four appendages, I’m arched away from the strangely tilted chair. My right arm is twisted strangely, out of its socket.
Everyone below become strangely quiet. Expression range from shocked to outright horror.
“Corporal Rack!” A voice booms from below us. “You get Mrs. Evans onto solid ground immediately!”
The chair jerks, throwing me. Pain shoots through my body like knives. It jerks again and I have to bite my lip to keep the screams from escaping.
“Sir . . .” Chad begins.
“Dobbs,” a voice interrupts. The name is an order.
Fire licks around the chair and then someone is above me, balanced on the angled back of the chair. I don’t know how he manages to keep his balance, but he cuts away the ropes and snags me around my waist just before we fall. It takes an eternity of space-eating seconds for his flame to wrap around us and relocate us to the safe ground again.
Spread-eagle with relief, I mutter, “Thanks, Jared.”
“Yep.” That’s his only response.
With a grit of teeth, I throw my shoulder back into its socket and swallow the scream. A garbled whimper still escapes. Above me, Major Hartley reams every Ranger in sight for their antics. Still laying on the ground at his feet, I pat his leg reassuringly. “Don’t be too hard on ‘em, sir. They kinda forget.”
“Forget what?” He demands, his volume still piercingly loud.
“That I’m not a Ranger,” I admit, pushing myself up from the ground. “I’m going for my run.”
Jared frowns at me, “You need to get to a medic.”
I roll my sore shoulders and chuckle weakly. “I am the medic.” Then, ignoring the stares, I lope off towards the perimeter of the base.
My life has fallen into a routine: I eat, I heal, I run, I sleep. It’s like the beat of a metronome: wait-wait-wait-wait. Wait for another attack. Wait for the wounded to drag themselves through the station gates. Wait for Garrett. And while I wait, I watch. Climbing to the top of the exterior wall, I start my run. This base is perched close to the summit of a mountain, nestled among the rocks as if the King himself carved these walls from the mountain granite. From up here I can see our enemy: the Dominion army. They’re so close, I can watch their movements: ant-like men bustling to and fro between tents, PB units and toy-like vehicles.
|Russell Crowe||as Garrett|
|Amy Adams||as Sarah|
|Jeremy Irons||as the General|
|Simon Pegg||as Nichols|
|Shemar Moore||as Brady|