So, like I said, almost easy.
“I don’t know how they could let him live,” Emery answered as she toyed with a strand of Heidi’s hair. “Even if he’s turned over a new leaf, he can’t be trusted, and because of that, it’s not like he can just be exiled or whatever.”
“Because what if he’s still working for the Daedalus?” Zoe asked, her arms looped around her knees. “He now knows too much.”
Emery nodded. “Like what this zone is and who is here. The moment they learn this is where Daemon and Archer are? Kat? Dee? They’re going to take this place out.”
“Hell, Daemon and Archer? They hear that Luc and their missing Trojan are chilling here, we’re going to be knee deep in Daedalus officers,” Zoe said. “They’d already know if Evie hadn’t stopped Sarah, and I can’t help but think the entire zone is on borrowed time right now.”
My gaze shot to her. There was something about the way she said that that made me think she was talking about more than just Blake. “What do you mean?”
Zoe nibbled on her lower lip as she shook her head.
“What?” I persisted.
“I don’t know. It’s just that I can’t be the only person who’s been thinking that Sarah had inside help. Even if the contacts out there, the ones at the resource centers, don’t know where the packages are being moved to, it feels mighty convenient that Sarah found her way here.”
I sank into the chair. “No. I don’t think you’re the only one.”
“But if they knew what was going on in the zone, you don’t think they’d be all over this place?” Emery asked.
“That’s what I can’t figure out. If they do know, why haven’t they invaded?” Zoe shrugged. “Which means I’m probably just being super-paranoid.”
“I don’t think you can be too paranoid,” I said, pushing back a chunk of hair blown into my face by the wind.
“But back to Blake?” Emery glanced at her girlfriend. “Things aren’t looking good for him.”
“I don’t know about that,” Zoe said, unfurling her legs. “Cekiah and Zouhour are not about straight up killing people, especially when it leads to the death of innocent Luxen.”
“Presumably innocent Luxen,” corrected Emery. “We really don’t know the truth. Just bits and pieces of the story they want told.”
And man, that was a truth that couldn’t be argued against.
“I just don’t know how I feel about that,” Heidi admitted. “I mean, I get that this Blake guy did terrible things and he can’t be trusted, but what if he’s been, I don’t know, reformed? Or what if he really was doing everything to keep his friend alive?” She looked around our small, incomplete circle. “We all would do anything to keep our loved ones safe. I’m here because of that. Not that I don’t want to be with Emery, but I left my family so they’d be safe. They’re now stuck in a city that’s closed off to the entire world. I have no idea how they’re doing or if they’re even—” Her breath caught, and my chest squeezed. “I don’t know if they’re even okay. I want to reach out to them, but I know it wouldn’t just jeopardize us; it would put them at risk if the Daedalus thought they could use them to get to us.”
Emery dropped the piece of hair she’d been playing with and picked up Heidi’s hand, her somber gaze latched to her face.
“The point I’m trying to make is that any of us, including probably half of everyone here, would do some terrible shit to save the ones they love.” Heidi’s eyes glittered with unshed tears. “We’re going to punish others for doing what they needed to do to keep someone else alive?”
“What would you do if he did something that ended with Emery being tortured?” Zoe asked.
“I’d want him dead,” Heidi said, causing Zoe to throw her hands up. “But I hope I’d have enough empathy left in me to try to understand why he did what he did if something like that happened.”
“I wouldn’t have that in me,” Emery admitted, squeezing Heidi’s hand. “I can’t even lie. I’m not as good as you.”
“I don’t think it has anything to do with being good or not, because you are good,” Heidi said, pulling their joined hands into her lap. “I’m just sensitive.”
Heidi ignored that. “Look, I’m against the death penalty. Can any of you be surprised by my confliction?”
“What about you?” Zoe looked over at me. “What do you think?”
I opened my mouth and then closed it. What did I think? There wasn’t an easy answer. “I don’t know, to be honest.”
“Cop out,” Zoe muttered.
“No. I’m serious.” I leaned forward in my chair. “Part of me thinks he should be, I don’t know, humanely put down. I have a feeling we only know half of what he’s done, and what we do know is terrible enough. No one here is going to trust him, so it’s not like he can be let out to roam, and we can’t release him back into the wild.”