Lips slowly parting, I stared at Kat while the human female twisted toward her. “Then what do you suggest we do?”
“Make sure those coming here are being truly vetted and have every single one of our contacts looked over with the finest-tooth comb possible, because I don’t for one second believe that this girl and the Luxen she was with could’ve been all that vetted. Not saying we have a spy in one of our contacts, but I think we have someone who screwed up,” she said, and baby Adam softly cooed. “But that’s just a suggestion, Jamie. A measured, less extreme response.”
“Are you suggesting I’m fearmongering?” the woman demanded.
“I wouldn’t dare think of suggesting that.” Kat met the woman’s stare. “But what do you think the Chicago zone will do if we stop allowing packages in? They’ll follow what we do.”
Looks were exchanged throughout the table, and it was Zouhour who spoke. “You’re right.”
Luc relaxed behind me. “Do you ever stop and think how incredibly lucky you are to have such a brilliant wife, Daemon?”
Daemon smiled. “Every. Single. Day.”
“An additional risk does lie in our contacts. We need to find out how this thing was vetted and allowed in,” Quinn said.
“She wasn’t a thing,” I snapped as the gnawing ache in my stomach moved upward. “Her name was Sarah, and whatever was done to her was done against her will. We saw her when she mutated. She had no idea what was happening to her. She may be as close to evil as one can get now, but a little bit of empathy never killed anyone.”
The human woman opened her mouth.
I wasn’t done. “And just so we all are on the same page, Sarah and I both were changed by the Daedalus. We’re not alike, and I’m also not a thing.”
Luc’s hum of approval blended with my own thoughts as his arm briefly squeezed my waist.
“My apologies.” Quinn bowed his head. “You’re right.”
“You say you aren’t exactly like her, but you both were changed.” Cekiah crossed one leg over the other. “I know what Luc and Zoe have told me. I know what you yourself have said, so what has changed that you suddenly know what you are?”
I could practically feel Luc gearing up for a biting response, but this was my battle. I rose, and Luc didn’t stop me. “I know that whatever I am, it’s not like her. I don’t think I’m programmed like her and the other Trojans.”
“You don’t think?” she questioned.
“Yeah. I don’t think I am. I didn’t kill that one.” I nodded in Hunter’s direction. “Even though he really wanted to kill me.”
“That is true,” the Arum muttered.
Luc turned his head in Hunter’s direction, and the Arum rolled his eyes as he pulled his legs down off the table.
“And I owe her an apology for that,” Hunter grumbled. “I’m sorry.”
My brows lifted. Before I could respond, his wife leaned around him. “And I was reaching for my gun. She didn’t attack me.” A small, sheepish smile appeared. “And I, too, am sorry about that.”
“It’s, uh, okay.” I blinked, never thinking I’d be in the position of accepting an apology from two people who had wanted to murder me the day before.
“But what does that tell us, really?” Zouhour asked, and there was a genuine curiousness in her tone.
“From what we understand, the Trojans were trained to sense a threat, a challenge, and then eliminate it. They wouldn’t have backed down from that,” I explained.
“So you were able to show restraint this time?” Jamie said, arms crossed over her chest.
I met her stare. “I was able to show restraint, take out the Trojan who most likely would not have shown restraint after she attempted to turn me into exactly what she is. I stopped her from hurting anyone, and I did all of that without harming a single person. That’s what I did this time.”
“You blew up a whole, entire house,” she returned.
“But did you die? Did anyone other than the bad guy die? No.” Luc leaned forward, hands on his knees. “Does that answer your question, Jamie?”
She didn’t dare look Luc in the eye as she said, “All that being said, it still doesn’t mean she won’t become a risk next time around.”
“She’s been working on controlling the Source,” Eaton said, stretching out his left leg. “She and Luc. She’s been using the Source.”
Breathing a little easier, I nodded. “It’s not that I don’t believe they didn’t try to make me just like the others, but I don’t think it worked. Viv—Dr. Hemenway—thinks it’s because I was given three different types of serums and having the other two in my system could’ve somehow interacted with the Andromeda serum.”
“Those are theories,” countered Cekiah.
“One of those Trojans killed my brother, and you all know—” Hunter sucked in a breath. “You all knew him. He was not weak. He put up one hell of a fight. So did Sin and I, but that Trojan showed no restraint. It came at us as soon as we left Lotho’s place and came aboveground.”