“We don’t know.”
“How could you not know?” she asked, getting hysterical.
Gabe stood and crossed to her. “We should talk about this somewhere else.”
“Don’t you dare fucking placate me!”
“Communications went down. We’re blind. We have no idea what’s happening in the field.”
“Then send people to find out!” she nearly shrieked.
“We don’t have the resources and we can’t send more soldiers out into an uncertain situation,” Sydney said.
“Soldiers. Soldiers!” Reyna laughed manically. “My brothers aren’t soldiers! They’re not toy soldiers in your damn war. They’re people. They’re beautiful people. Brian was just married. He has a baby on the way. Drew is coming out of his shell here. They’re so young. Too young.”
“We know,” Gabe said.
But Reyna only had eyes for Sydney. “You send these men into war and call them soldiers. To you they’re another victim of your war. To us they mean everything.”
“Do I relish sending boys like your brothers out there?” Sydney bit out. “No. But sacrifices are the only way to accomplish anything.”
“My brothers are not a sacrifice!” she screamed at her. “How can you speak so frivolously of a potential casualty?”
“Don’t speak to me about casualties. I lost my life to this war. I sacrificed everything for it.”
“I don’t even know what that means. You seem to be doing all right,” Reyna spat.
Gabe winced and even Washington seemed to recoil at the comment. Sydney, however, straightened to her considerable height.
“You know so little to make such accusations. This rebellion was founded by Elle. She guided her toy soldiers into battle and lost her life to the cause. And Elle did die that day,” Sydney told her. “Because the person that they turned her into after they captured her was no longer that idealistic woman. She was tortured into a hardened soldier herself until she fought her way free of the chains that enslaved her. Until she came back as someone stronger, more realistic about the cause. Elle’s death sparked a fire in this revolution. And I was born from the ashes.”
Reyna froze. Elle was Sydney. Sydney was Elle. She couldn’t believe it. Couldn’t believe that Elle hadn’t died, but had been made into the one thing she had fought against. That she had become this slightly unhinged warrior. No wonder she hated Visage so fiercely. She had actually died for the cause.
A crackle from the radio sitting in front of Sydney kept Reyna from having to respond. “Carpenter reporting in,” a voice sounded through the scratchy radio.
“Drew,” Reyna whispered.
Sydney snatched up the receiver. “What’s happening out there, Carpenter?”
“I got away. I’m out, but the range on this is shot. Can you hear me?”
“We can hear you. Who else is with you?”
The radio crackled and then went out.
Reyna stared blankly at the wall. She had never felt more defeated. Drew was out there somewhere. She didn’t know where Brian was or what had happened to any of the other guys that were out on the mission. All she knew was that it had gone horribly, horribly wrong.
“Gabe, get Tony in here. Now,” Sydney snapped, immediately launching into action.
Gabe flew out of his seat, rushing for the tech guy. He gave her a passing look of sympathy before leaving the room. But she hardly noticed.
“I’m going to find Meghan. If we have injured…” Washington said, trailing off.
“Go,” Sydney barked.
He hurried toward the door, but stopped to put his hand on Reyna’s arm. “You should take a seat. I will have Meghan bring you water. You’re in shock.”
She shook him off and turned away. Shock. Yes. That was the correct word. She knew it for truth and yet couldn’t seem to process anything past that.
To Sydney’s credit she didn’t try to console Reyna. Perhaps she knew that she was past that. Or that she had caused this. Or maybe…she just didn’t care.
People flitted in and out of the room. Coming and going. Tony tried to fix the radio, listen in to microphones he’d attached to people, fixed earpieces. Nothing worked. All the cameras were down. All the radios were out. It was like an electromagnetic pulse had gone off inside the camp they were infiltrating.
Or it was a technological black hole.
Tony’s head jerked up finally. “Someone just pulled into the parking lot.”
Gabe was out of the room in a second. Reyna’s heart raced, wondering who was there. What could possibly have happened.
“It’s Tye,” Tony confirmed. “He just scanned in.”
Reyna deflated. Tye. Thank God. She was so relieved for her friend. He had helped her escape. She couldn’t imagine what would happen if…
She didn’t even know what would happen. Caught? Captured? Killed?
She shuddered at that thought.
Tye burst into the room. Gabe was holding him up and he looked like utter shit. He was favoring his right ankle. His clothes were covered in black soot. He coughed and collapsed into a chair. Meghan was at his side in an instant.