Chapter Eighteen

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Kita set down her tray of fruit and grits on the table and sat on the bench. Across from her, Ryan put his tray down loaded with eggs, bacon, toast, and waffles. Adrestia and Ryan's bodyguard, a stern-looking lieutenant, sat a table length away.

Kita hadn't spoken to Adrestia. She didn't know what to say or how to react. She tried to pretend it didn't happen. But, how to tell Arcee gnawed at the back of her mind.

"Are you ever going to eat meat or dairy again?" said Ryan with a laugh.

Kita looked up, her train of thought derailed. "Huh? You try puking up chocolate milkshake and hamburger. I don't want to be sick again. I'm safe this way." She grabbed the sugar and poured a mound on her grits.

"I think that's more sugar than grits."

"They taste awful without it."

"Try some eggs," said Ryan holding up a fork full.

Kita wrinkled her nose. "I'll stick with the grits."

"You're going to be a full vegan before you know it."

"At least my tummy will be happy, and I won't be puking my guts out next to the freeway."

Ryan shrugged. "I'd miss meat too much. I'd retrain myself to digest it."

"I—" Kita's phone buzzed. She pulled it from her back pocket. "Hey, Ratchet. What do you need?"

"Kita. I need you here. Arcee is awake, but they refuse to let me near her."

"What? Ok. I'm on my way." Kita stood up.

"Why would they keep him away from her?" said Ryan.

"I don't know, but we need to go. Major Adrestia!" Kita barked.

Adrestia gave Kita a concerned look. "I'm right here."

"We need to get to the bunker, right now!"

"Why?"

"Arcee is awake, and Ratchet is in trouble."

Adrestia sighed. "Ok." She shoved a fork full of eggs in her mouth and grabbed some toast, then led the group out of the DFAC.

***

Kita tapped her nail against a zipper on her jacket. The elevator ride down to the sixth floor was taking forever. When the door opened, she hurried down the hallway toward the lab entrance. Adrestia and the others hurried to catch up.

After Adrestia opened the small door to the lab, Kita rushed across sidestepping scientists and researchers or pushing them out of the way. Ratchet stood by his workbench. Arcee was standing where Kita had left her. Aimed at her were two panels on thin retractable mounts. A pair of airmen armed with rifles stood in front of Arcee.

"Ratchet! What's wrong?" said Kita coming to a stop in front of him.

"Kita. Arcee was waking up. I alerted the humans, then a group of soldiers came and aimed those devices at her and won't let me near her."

Adrestia and the others arrived as Ratchet explained.

"Who ordered this?" Kita demanded of the airmen standing guard.

"General Striker, Ma'am."

"You get Striker down here immediately. This is unacceptable and against our agreement."

"The general's orders are the Transformer is to be detained until it is deemed safe."

"She is safe," snarled Kita.

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