Even as Dev made his silent vow, the man in question was walking through the doors of the Dinarides facility. "All of the Arrows confined here," he said, "they're being monitored, restricted from using their abilities?"
The M-Psy beside him nodded. "Yes. All seven are cooperating at present."
At present. Ming knew he'd have to implement a much more final strategy if and when that cooperation stopped. Arrows - even damaged Arrows - couldn't be contained indefinitely. "Where's Aden?"
"With one of the men - monitoring the effects of Jax withdrawal. It can sometimes cause sudden cardiac failure."
Ming looked at the M-Psy. Unlike Aden, and like most of the medical team, Keisha Bale was not an Arrow. "Aden," he said now, "is he showing any signs of unusual behavior?"
"As you know," Keisha began, "he was never put on Jax - it would've made him incapable of the value judgments required to monitor the effects of the drug on others." The M-Psy paused as they walked through a security checkpoint. "However," she said after the computer cleared them, "that shouldn't be a cause for concern. Aden's psychological profile makes him highly unlikely to deviate from the rule book."
That was what Ming was counting on. As a boy, Aden had been trained not only by other Arrows, but also by his parents - both members of the Squad at the time. He was the solitary living Arrow who'd been taught to become so from the cradle. Those were not easy bonds to break. Even had he wanted to, Aden lacked the medical knowledge to truly interfere - he'd had specialized training when it came to the effects and side effects of Jax, but aside from that, he was only a field medic.
Opening his telepathic channels, Ming contacted another one of the Squad. Vasic, is the situation in Argentina under control?
The answer came fast, though it wasn't as clear as Ming's voice, Vasic's Tp skills hitting just below 6 on the Gradient. It's going to take a little longer than predicted.
How much longer?
At least four more days. We can do it faster, but you specified no deaths.
Stick to the plan. Ming didn't want to kill the humans, not because humans weren't expendable, but because too many things had already been played out on the public stage. Even he had made that mistake with the destruction of the Implant lab - but he'd learned since then. It was time the Council returned to the old way of doing things - behind the scenes, where no one could stop them.
Dev's heart was still filled with a potent mix of anger, worry, and a furious kind of possession when he walked into the meeting with Jack, Connor, Aubry, Tiara, and Eva - the manager in charge of educational development - the next morning.
Jack and Tiara sat side by side, while Aubry and Eva sat opposite them. Connor, as the representative of the medical team, had positioned himself alone at the other end. Taking in everything with a single glance, Dev looked at Tiara. "Switched camps?" He knew she'd flown back from California specifically for this meeting, leaving Tag to watch over Cruz.
"Always been in this one," she said with a languid wave. "I'm sane, but there for the grace of God . . ."
"So you think we should encase our emotions in ice?" Aubry asked, obviously bewildered. "Damn, Ti, you really want to stop driving Tag crazy?"
Tiara shot him a cool smile. "What's between me and Tag is between me and Tag."
"Aubry is right," Eva interrupted, her accent lending an exotic music to her words. Born in Puerto Rico, she'd only been in New York for two years, since Dev relocated her from a field office on the island. "There'll be nothing between the two of you if we do what Jack wants and implement Silence."
"Hold on." Jack leaned forward, arms crossed on the table, face lined with grim determination. "You think I want to lose the light in my son's eyes? You think I want to teach him that love isn't something precious? You think I want to break his mother's heart?" He shook his head in a violent negative. "But my boy is already losing that light. He killed Spot."
A shocked silence.
Dev was the first one to speak. "That raggedy old dog of his?" He couldn't believe it. William doted on the mutt his father had rescued from the pound.
"Yeah." Jack dropped his head into his hands. "Will cried so hard as we buried the dog. I knew we'd need the body, but I couldn't do it, couldn't put Spot in a chiller in front of him."
"Of course not," Dev said, and it was a gut reaction. "But you went back, didn't you?" He knew his cousin. Jack hadn't graduated at the top of his class in medical school without having a spine filled with pure grit.
"I did an autopsy the night of the day I talked to you, after Will was in bed." A glance at Dev. "I figured I could be of some use to my son - give him proof that he didn't kill his pet. I thought I'd find the old guy had had a heart attack or something."
Eva moved her hand across the table, as if to reach Jack. "He didn't?"
Jack shook his head again. "His heart was just . . . pulverized. Like a little bomb had exploded inside. The crazy thing is, there wasn't a mark on him on the outside."
"Hell." Connor spoke for the first time. "William's adamant it was him?"
Jack nodded. "His eyes that day - I've never seen such terror. Before . . . before we thought he might be a telekinetic. He's so accident-prone and the notes the rebels left behind say that young telekinetics are notoriously clumsy because they move things without realizing it."
Telekinetics, Dev thought, were also obsolete from the Forgotten population. The ability to move things with the mind had been one of the first gifts to go, which wasn't surprising as telekinetics had formed the smallest group among the rebel contingent. Dev's great-great-grandmother on his father's side, Zarina, had left a journal that Dev had read as a child. He'd never forgotten her words about the Tks.