“Judd’s got Riordan,” she said to Lucy, compartmentalizing because if she allowed herself to think about the people who lay bleeding on the cold earth, it would paralyze her. “You take Eli and I’ll check out the leopards.”
Barker didn’t protest when she sat him down against the rough bark of an ancient pine, having lost enough blood that he’d started to waver on his feet. “Through and through,” she said after inspecting the wound. “I don’t think the bullet caused any major damage, but it needs to be looked at by someone better qualified.” Slotting an antibiotic magazine into the pressure injector, she placed it against his skin.
The medicine punched through to his system an instant later. She followed it up with a painkiller before he could tell her he didn’t need it. “I’m guessing you want Tamsyn to look at this?” she said, referring to the DarkRiver healer.
It was Barker’s partner, Rina, who answered, having returned to his side. “As long as you think he can wait another hour or so? Tammy’s on her way.”
Sienna checked Barker’s vital signs using a scanner. “He’s stable for now.” Glancing up at a slight sound, she realized the clearing was ringed by wild wolves, their bodies sleek shadows in the dark.
“They arrived with Hawke,” Rina said, shaking her head in disbelief. “I think they’re standing guard.”
“Yes.” Sienna began to disinfect the mangled flesh—to Barker’s withheld hiss. “How did you end up in the middle of this?” As to what this was, that would come later, after the injured were safe.
“Our watch overlaps with Elias and Simran’s,” Rina said as Sienna nodded for the voluptuous blonde soldier to press sterile pads over both sides of the wound so she could bandage it up for the time being. “We sometimes stop for a couple of minutes, shoot the breeze. We’d barely gotten here tonight when those Psy bastards came out of nowhere.” A pause, a wince. “No offense.”
“None taken.” Sienna knew who she was, knew too that had things been different, she might have ended up one of the Council’s pet killers. “They teleported in?”
Rina brushed Barker’s rich brown hair back from his sweat-soaked forehead, tucking her body even closer to his in that changeling way. “Rappelled down from a stealthcraft.”
That made sense, because teleport-capable Tks were a limited commodity—though you wouldn’t know it from the way Henry Scott had sacrificed several of his in recent months. “How did they get you all so fast?”
“Overwhelmed us with sheer force. It was obvious they meant to leave no survivors.”
“The craft was close to silent,” Barker said, leaning into Rina’s tender touch, “but we caught a hint of it the second before they began to rappel.” He clenched his jaw as Sienna fixed the bandage, the painkiller obviously not strong enough for the bone-deep pain of the wound.
Calculating his body mass and concluding it was safe, Sienna upped the dosage.
That he didn’t object told her how bad he was hurting. “That,” he continued after she put down the pressure injector, “and the fact Reen, Riordan, and I were here tipped the balance—they weren’t expecting the three of us.”
Sienna’s gut went cold with the slowly dawning realization that the attempted murder of five people was only the tip of the iceberg. “If you start to feel worse,” she said to Barker as she finished up, “I want to know right away.”
“I’m fine.” White grooves bracketed his mouth.
“How bad,” she said, “would it suck to have ‘stupid moron died of shock’ on your gravestone?”
A roll of bright hazel eyes. “Definitely trained by Indigo,” he muttered, skin sheened by cold sweat. “If I don’t tell, Rina’ll tattle.”
“That’s my job, doofus.” Rina pretend thumped him on the forehead. Satisfied, Sienna got up and walked to where Lucy sat beside Eli, doing what she could for the now-unconscious soldier. Burns charred the entire left-hand side of his body, glimpses of raw pink flesh beneath. “You sedated him?” Sienna thought of little Sakura, what it would do to her to see her father so hurt. And Eli’s mate, Yuki . . .
“He was in a lot of pain.” Tight words, anger contained. “He needs Lara, but Simran and Riordan were more critical.”
“Will Lara be able to heal him?” Nausea churned within her as she knelt, helpless, beside the soldier . . . because she could burn a living being, too. Worse than any laser.
“Yes, but it’ll take her some time.”
Thank God. “Anything I can do?”
“Help me shove these sticks into the ground so the thermal blanket doesn’t touch his skin when I unfold it over him.”
That task done, Sienna rose to see that Lara had moved from Simran to join Judd at Riordan’s side—the young male had also lost consciousness, his face leached of color. Not far away, Hawke had Simran curled up in his lap, her head tucked under his chin, her sleek black hair cascading over his arm. Noticing the woman was shivering, Sienna ran back to the truck and pulled out two more of the silvery thermal blankets. “Here,” she said, giving one to Rina for Barker, before heading over to cover Simran.
Hawke tugged it around the fallen sentry, careful not to jostle her. “They’re all okay.” The wolf in his eyes, in his voice.
Never had she been more aware of the fierce strength of his love for his pack. “Yes,” she answered, though it hadn’t been a question. “I think Elias is going to end up the worst off—at least, until Lara can get to him.” Sienna wasn’t sure if Judd could heal burns using his Tk-Cell abilities, even if he had the strength after helping Riordan. “We can keep him sedated till then.”