Chapter Four

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"So, we're gonna hijack a Ministry transport? That's your grand plan?" Jessie was harshly critiquing Jiada's suggestion for their next steps as they huddled in a small office buried somewhere in the labyrinth of the Yard's compound halls.

"You hearing this, Bess?" she challenged the large woman to comment. She'd been staring at the desk the room contained, its surface scattered with newspapers. Jessie approached her after she didn't respond. "What's got you hooked, Bess? That red head?"

"She asked to stay, babe. You heard her," Jiada added.

"I dun think she belongs here," Bess finally responded, her voice quiet and serious, still staring at the desk. The other two girls took her meaning and looked down at the desk as well. Although none made an audible acknowledgement, the revelation presented by the printed sheets decidedly changed their collective mood.

"That must have been one hell of a strato jump to land three planets away," Jessie broke the silence.

"And not be dead," Jiada chimed conclusively.

Lucy's photo accompanied a news report detailing the tragic stratosphere-level skydiving death of a young college graduate from Earth. The trip had been an engagement present from her fiancé whose identity was not mentioned. Along with the shocking scandal, the gang finally learned the tiny girl's name.

"Lucy with the pink nails. I like it," Jessie mused.

"I'm not leaving without her," Bess declared, her tone firm.

"Uh, well, I'm gonna just ignore your newfound sense of charity, doll," Jiada began. "But this could maybe work out for us, you know? Sebastian might find it interesting that his daddy is up to something with a stench, you follow?" She looked at each of them in the eyes, and after she won a nod from Bess and a shrug from Jessie, folded up the article and stashed it in her brassiere.

The next question posited was how to find the girl among the mess of branching hallways and rooms. Jiada waved away their concern as though it wasn't an issue.

"You know how to use one of these things?" she inquired, indicating the handheld devices hanging from the walls to Jessie. Realization dawned on all of them as they took note of the location trackers Jiada was referencing. All of the detainees' biometrics were in the main system making it easy to find any of them anywhere using the embedded scanners throughout the facility. A location tracker would lead them right to their target. Cyborgs typically had such capabilities installed in their bodywear as a modification, but the low budget nature of the Yard meant that only refurbished tech several generations old was available.

"It can't be too tough," Jessie replied, ego in her voice. "The bots are only working on some 30% of host brain power and they can use 'em." She pulled one from the wall and turned it on without issue. "It's a good thing we know little lady's name. I doubt 'tiny red head' would give helpful search results." After a few minutes of trial and error, Lucy's profile was found and entered into the query application. Her eyes widened as she scanned the file's notes.

"This might be water under the bridge at this point," she began. "but I can't believe she's not dead from all this shit they're giving her. They're even suppressing her DNA's ability to repair itself."

"That's great, Bess," Jessie chided. "You've taken up the cause of some superhumanoid psycho that has to be drugged out to keep cyborgs safe."

Bess only grunted in response. "Let's go." 

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