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I wake to hushed voices.  I'm feeling woozy, so I decide to keep my eyes closed and try to get a little more sleep.  There's an uncomfortable pain in my lower stomach, but I ignore it for now.

"The Academy is worried that we haven't been able to get any concrete evidence of the drug ring yet.  They're asking if we need backup."

I recognize Owen's voice and I strain to hear what's going on.  Maybe I'll finally get some answers about who they really are.

"I'm pretty sure that the TA is a part of it.  I've managed to ingratiate myself to him, so maybe I'll have more information soon."  Kota is whispering, but I think he's sitting right beside me, so I hear him just fine.

Sean's voice is barely more than a breath.  "Just make sure that you don't find yourself alone in a bad situation.  See if you can get one of the others in on it when you gain his confidence."

I'm starting to worry that these guys are into something dangerous.

Owen speaks again.  "We need to figure out how they're getting it on campus.  Someone is distributing them to the students.  Mr. Morgan, have the cameras caught anything?"

I hear a rustling, and a moment later, Victor whispers, "My program is looking for and flagging any interactions where two or more people's hands touch.  So far, I've caught a few idiots selling ADD medication, but since marijuana is legal here, there haven't even been any pot deals like we would have seen back home.  Mostly, it's just a bunch of teenagers holding hands."

North interjects in as quiet of a voice as he can pull off.  "That's bullshit.  Nowhere is that squeaky clean.  We're missing something."

A flash of an unwashed man leering at me makes me gasp and I clutch at my abdomen in pain.

There's a flurry of movement and Sean leans over me with a worried expression.

"How are you feeling, Pookie?"  There's something more than concern in his tone.  Pain?  He sounds like he's hurting as much as I am.  I let out a moan as my muscles throb, and tears spring into my eyes. 

"We're here for you, Sang," Owen coos.  I feel his hand gently brush my hair from my face and I realize that I'm covered in a sheen of sweat.  "You're safe with us."

I take a shallow breath and try to force my body to unclench.  The bed under me squeaks and I take a closer look at my surroundings.  Nine anxious faces look back at me and I become aware that I'm in what looks like a hospital room.  I feel panic grip me and I swing my legs over the side of the bed, ready to run at the first sign of the cops.

A large hand gently presses me back down when I begin to stand, and Silas leans in close and whispers, "No, Aggele Mou, you don't need to flee.  No one will find you here.  I promise."

The sincerity in his eyes has me sagging in relief.  I stop struggling when my stomach decides to violently rebel.  I don't have any warning, and I vomit spectacularly all over the gentle giant.

There's a cough from one of the others, and in a matter of seconds, Sean slips into doctor mode and clears everyone except Owen out of the room.  He hands me a cup of water and a towel for my face.  "Take it easy, Sang.  You've been through a lot.  Nice slow sips, Pookie."

I follow his orders and my stomach stops roiling.  Owen scoops my legs up and rotates me until I'm laying down again.  He surprises me by sliding into the bed beside me, but I take the comfort he's offering and snuggle into his side as he wraps his arm around me.

"Sang, sweetie, Owen and I need to talk to you about what happened tonight."  I watch him silently as he pulls a rolling doctor's stool over to the side of the bed next to me.  He takes my hand in his and slowly traces my fingers, one at a time.  "I don't want to force you to think about if if you're not ready, but there are some medical things we need to discuss."

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