Chapter Eight

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Kita's stomach ached and then flipped. She swallowed the urge to vomit. "We have to pull over," said meekly.

"Why?" said Arcee.

"I don't feel good. Please."

Arcee swerved across three lanes of traffic to the right shoulder where she stopped hard. Kita jumped off Arcee and scrambled down the shoulder into the grass. She tore off her helmet and fell to her hands and knees. In one motion that started in her stomach and rolled up her body, she vomited. It took her several attempts to control the dry heaves after expelling everything. She spit, trying to rid her mouth of the taste, then collapsed on her side and moaned as tears filled her eyes.

"Are you ok?" said Ryan.

Kita hadn't realized he had followed her. Kita moaned in reply.

Ryan knelt over her, putting a hand on her shoulder. He pulled a bottle of water from his jacket. "Here, this will help get rid of the taste." He helped Kita sit up and gave her the water with Kawasaki on the label.

Kita took a sip and rinsed her mouth.

"Feel better?" said Ryan.

Kita lowered her head and cried. "No."

Ryan sat down next to Kita. "Why are you crying?"

"I ruined Arcee's special treat."

He put his arm around her. "She's not going to care about that. She just wants to make sure you're ok."

"I feel terrible. Figuratively and literally."

"She's not upset. Are you, Arcee?" Ryan called.

"No," said Arcee from Kita's back pocket. "What's wrong with her? I'm worried."

"My guess is it was the food."

"The food was bad?"

"No. I'm sure the food was fine. I think Kita's system isn't used to dairy or meat. The human body has specific enzymes for different types of foods. If you don't use them, you lose them. It takes a while to get them back."

"What do we feed her?"

"I'm sure we can find something at the store. Fruits, grains, nuts, vegetables shouldn't be a problem. Sushi would be good for her. But, we won't find that until tomorrow."

"Ok. Kita, how are you?"

"Not good. I'm sorry."

"Nothing to be sorry for. I'm sorry about the food. I didn't know it would upset you. Can you ride? We'll put you on the back, and you can hang onto Ryan."

"I'll try."

Ryan helped Kita to her feet. She leaned on him as they climbed the shoulder embankment to Arcee. He helped Kita onto Arcee and sat in front. Kita leaned on him heavily as she put her arms around him. Arcee merged back into traffic, going much slower.

***

Arcee stopped in front of a gate made of metal bars. A matching fence with signs that read KEEP OUT surrounded the property. An abandon guard post was on the right. A light pole illuminated the area in a yellow light. After a moment, the gate opened.

"Is someone there?" said Ryan.

"That was me," said Arcee. "The gate has remote access."

"Cool. What can you do for door locks?"

"If they are mechanical, not much. I must be able to establish a connection." Arcee killed her lights and idled through the overgrown parking lot around the side of the two-story building to a bay door. She stopped in front of it. "Can you get us in, Ryan?"

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