The Brightest Night (Origin 3) - Page 175

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I nodded as I slowly approached the older Origin. “I couldn’t sit and listen any longer. I’m going to go check in with Viv.”

“Don’t blame you.” He folded his arms over his chest, his gaze falling to the closed door behind me. “I couldn’t stay in there, not in the same building as Blake, knowing how he hurt Dee. He almost killed her, too.”

“How is Dee handling it?”

“She’s shocked. Angry. Things were a little rough when she first learned, but my lady is strong.”

“She is!” I said, maybe a little too enthusiastically. “I mean, to do what she does, she has to be. I could never keep my cool like she does.”

His grin kicked up a notch. “You should see her after she does the on-air interviews. Pretty sure she wants to blow things up.” The grin was as gone as quickly as it had appeared. “I don’t know how Daemon can stand to be in the same zip code as that guy.”

“I don’t think he can. That’s why Luc is staying behind—just in case Daemon makes a go for him,” I said, running a hand over my arm. There was a chill in the air that hadn’t been there earlier. “What do you think they’re going to do?”

“I don’t know,” he said, eyes nearly identical to Luc’s sliding back to me. “I don’t think it’ll matter what they decide in the end.”

I didn’t think it would, either.

His head tilted. “How does that make you feel? Knowing that two people will die, one of them most likely innocent?”

“I don’t know,” I said, and then I took a long breath. “Actually, I do. I don’t like the idea of Chris dying. I don’t like the idea of anyone dying, but if he’d done those things to Luc, I’d be demanding his execution.”

Archer watched me. “Death is never easy, not even when it’s well deserved. Except the dead have a habit of not staying dead.”

“Seems that way.” I started toying with the hem of my shirt. “And I guess the same could be said about me.”

“Luc never said you were dead. We just assumed you were.”

I wasn’t sure how to feel about a whole bunch of someones assuming I was dead. “How are things on the outside?”

“Where we film, things are normal, but the news isn’t good. They are really pushing the Luxen narrative, even networks that don’t usually fall in line with the administration’s agenda. Only overseas news sources are questioning what is being reported as the cause of the flu.” Lifting a hand, he scratched his fingers through his neatly trimmed hair. “The masses aren’t really paying attention. If this flu spreads wider than the infected cities and the only thing humans do is avoid Luxen instead of one another, things are going to go south fast. Like, Spanish influenza fast.”

I shivered as I tried to imagine a widespread outbreak. If Hollywood taught me anything, one person on a plane would bring the whole world crashing to a halt. To be honest, I was surprised it had only traveled to five cities and not more.

“Is there any news coming out of the quarantined cities?” I asked, hoping he had a different story to tell from Heidi and Emery’s.

Pressing his lips together, he shook his head, and my heart sank. “Officials claim that aid is being rendered and that as soon as a vaccine can be developed, those uninfected in the cities will be the first to receive them, but we already know that’s a lie.”

We did.

Only the normal flu vaccine could prevent the mutation in the virus, and I doubted the officials were going to do anything to fix the nationwide flu vaccine outage—an outage I was sure they’d engineered.

“Sometimes I just don’t get it. Like, how can the Daedalus have such a reach that the CDC isn’t all over this? That there isn’t a single person within the organization that’s not holding up their hand and saying, ‘Wait a minute.’”

“I’m sure there have been,” Archer said. “And I’m sure many of them, if not all of them, have been silenced through conveniently timed accidents.”

Jesus, I hadn’t even considered that. “Just when you think the Daedalus couldn’t get any eviler or more powerful, you’re proven wrong.”

“I learned a long time ago to never underestimate them.”

My mind went straight to Luc, to what he’d shared. A twisting motion lit up my chest. Luc had escaped them so very long ago and he’d never become like Blake, but the Daedalus had made those first cuts.

“You doing okay?” Archer asked.

I blinked, managing a smile. “Yeah.”

He arched a brow. “You do realize I can read minds, right?”

“You do realize it’s rude to do that without someone’s permission?”

Archer grinned. “I do, but you’re—”

“Loud.” I sighed. “I know.”

He nodded and then cast his gaze in the library doors. “I’ve known Luc a long time.”


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance
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