To take back their world.
Kat smiled at the soft sound Adam made. “I’ve heard that Dasher claims he has an army. Well, so do we, and it’s bigger than you can possibly imagine and the Daedalus could ever dream of.”
“Remember when you asked if people ever left here?” Zoe asked from behind me, and I nodded. “They do. Both here and Chicago. They go out and meet others, setting up enclaves all over the United States. They recruit family members and friends who were told that they were dead. Doesn’t take much to open their eyes to the truth of what is going down.”
No, I didn’t imagine that it would.
“There are dozens of locations strategically placed throughout the States, each one commanded by either one of the zone leaders or a trusted, ex-military-minded human,” Dawson said. “Eaton has helped coordinate and vet them.”
“There are outposts in other countries, places that haven’t aligned themselves with the administration’s current policies.” Serena smiled. “The Daedalus may have a lot of connections, but they may have forgotten how well connected some of the Luxen have become, especially in Europe.”
“We are tens of thousands strong,” Kat said. “And when we fight, we won’t be fighting for someone else’s greed or their thirst for power. We won’t be doing it for a paycheck or for accolades. We’ll be fighting to survive.”
“I’ll take those odds any day.” Hunter tapped his hand off the day.
“So, we will not raise our child in the same damn type of society that we’re going to overthrow, a community full of people who damn well should have known better, who have been given second and third and fifth chances and yet refuse to extend the same to another because they’re different.” Kat eyed every single one of the members at the table. “If we turn Evie out? That sets the kind of precedent that has ripped the world outside these walls apart for centuries. It will be the same precedent that will carry over into the world we will try to build.”
“We are better than that.” Beth’s quiet voice drew all eyes. “At least that’s what I’ve always believed, but listening to some of you today, I have grave concerns that I may have been misguided.”
“Bethany,” Quinn said gently. “How can you not be worried?”
“None of us are saying that we aren’t worried about what she could do or become. God knows, I was scared half to death yesterday when I saw Ashley standing before her.” She swallowed hard as Dawson brushed a strand of her hair back, his hand lingering on the nape of her neck. “But Ashley isn’t afraid of her. All she did yesterday was talk about her new friend who could fly.”
That was me, totally me.
“And our baby girl is often a better judge of character than nearly a hundred percent of the people we know,” Dawson said. “If Ashley wants to be friends with her, then Evie has got my vote.”
“I gave her good enough reason to attack me, and she didn’t,” Hunter added. “She has mine.”
“Ditto.” Serena raised her hand. “I was totally pulling a gun on her. She did nothing but warn me.” She cringed. “Again, really sorry about that.”
“She has mine,” Kat said. “If that wasn’t obvious already.”
“Seeing what I saw yesterday?” Daemon met Luc’s stare, and this was also about Daemon repaying Luc. But that wasn’t the main reason. I wasn’t going to lessen what they were doing by throwing their hats in with me. They trusted me. “I want her on my team when the day comes that we end this.”
“She has mine,” Zouhour announced, and a feather could’ve knocked me out of the chair. “Kat and Bethany are right. We are building a better world. We cannot do that if we let fear of what we don’t know or understand guide us.”
I clenched the arms of the chair to stop myself from doing something stupid, say, like climbing over the table and hugging all of them, and even baby Adam.
Cekiah looked around at the faces at the table, and one by one, they all nodded, even Jamie. There was a ghost of a smile on her face as her gaze returned to me. “Well, I guess someone should introduce you to the Yard.”28The Yard was exactly that and then some.
Still a little dazed by what had gone down in the meeting and definitely still cringing from my gushing stream of words when I’d attempted to thank Kat and everyone afterward, I listened to Cekiah as she gave me a tour and Luc hung a few feet back, following at a rather sedate pace.
The Yard itself was behind a high school, encompassing the parking lot, football and soccer field, and a baseball field.
But that wasn’t all. As we drew closer to the open double doors, I picked up the faint, repetitive popping. “What is that?”