“Damn it!” Anya cried, she punched the wall.
“Another healthy show of emotion, Magnet Girl?” Alexa asked.
“Why couldn’t you just leave well enough alone?” Anya asked.
“The proper thing to say in this situation is ‘thank you for saving my life,'” Alexa said.
“I didn’t want to lose anyone,” Anya said. “And now Elisabeth…”
“Hold it right there,” Alexa interrupted. “You didn’t want to lose anyone so you were going to sacrifice yourself? You coward!”
“What did you just say?” Anya asked, turning and glaring at Alexa.
“I called you a coward,” Alexa said. “Are you really o afraid to confront loss that you’d rather die?”
“It’s not like that,” Anya said, breaking away. “I just wanted to get everyone to safety.”
“And she did it in your place,” Alexa said. “Get over yourself and show some gratitude.”
Have you taken care of the injured?
“Just finished,” Florence said. “Care for some coffee while you debrief me?”
I don’t drink the stuff, but by all means go ahead and have some.
Florence took a long drink. “I needed that,” she said. “I suppose you want to know how we fared?”
I do. How bad was it?
“Beta got out with only minor injuries,” Florence said. “They’ll be up and ready for action within a couple days. Omicron got hit worse. Alena and Katelyn are both going to recover fully, but they’ll be out of action for about a week. Anastasia was the only one really hurt in Omega Theta Sigma, but it’s bad.”
“Her legs were crushed and she took some spinal damage,” Florence said. “Even if I had a good pair of prosthetic legs, she wouldn’t be able to use them. It’s very unlikely that she’ll walk again.”
Does she know?
Florence nodded. “She’s taking it very hard. Epsilon suffered quite a bit. I couldn’t save Beth and Meg is pretty banged up.”
I’ll have to offer them my condolences.
“I’m sure they’d appreciate the thought,” Florence said. “But Theta has it the worst. They lost Elisabeth and both Mary and Daisy are going to be out of action for quite some time.”
I’ll have to reassign Rose and Blair.
“I would wait for a while if I was you,” Florence said. “It’s kind of a cold thing to spring on someone after such a loss.”
Of course. I’ll give them time to mourn. I just don’t know how much time I can spare them. Naoko leaned against the wall. This is a mess.
“And I think we both know which of our enemies anticipated our attack,” Florence said.
I know. Something will have to be done about him.
“Can you really give the order?” Florence asked.
I have no choice.
“How are you feeling?” Callie asked.
“I told Florence I didn’t want to see anyone,” Anastasia said.
“I know,” Callie said. “But I know that what you really meant was ‘anyone except Callie’ so I let myself in.”
“Just break up with me and get it over with,” Anastasia said.
Callie ran her fingers gently through Anastasia’s hair. “And why would I do something like that?”
“You don’t have to pretend,” Anastasia said. “I’m half a woman. I can’t expect someone like you to…”
Callie kissed her. It was sudden and passionate and Anastasia quickly found herself responding. Callie eventually pulled away from the embrace, her hands resting on Anastasia’s cheeks.
“You aren’t half a woman,” Callie said. “You just have a disability. It does nothing to change the wonderful person you are nor does it diminish your beauty. You’re still the woman I love and you always will be. So don’t speak ill of yourself, okay?”
Anastasia nodded. “Okay… Thank you.”