“Oh my God, Tye,” she gasped. Her hands were fluttering over him. All of her calm demeanor had dissolved upon seeing him in such condition.
“I’m okay, Meghan. It’s just my ankle. And I inhaled something.” He coughed again violently. “Knocked most of us out, but I covered my face with my jacket and got far enough away.”
“Tell us what happened,” Sydney said, only slightly gentler than her normal command.
Reyna took a wary step forward. Her eyes were wide with terror and barely concealed hope.
“It was a decoy,” he gasped. He clutched his lungs. Meghan brought him a glass of water. He took a long drink, draining the entire glass before continuing. “They knew we were coming the entire time. I don’t know how they did, but they did. We showed up at the lands. We crossed the property line. I should have known it was too easy to get past the guards on duty. Too easy to get over their fence and inside the perimeter. All my training for shit.” He shook his head in exasperation and ran a hand back through his spiky black hair. “We split up. Carpenter took one team. I took another. Xavier took the third.”
“Carpenter,” she whispered.
“Brian,” Tye said with a grimace.
Reyna hadn’t known that he was leading a team. It made her even more sick.
“My team had only just made it inside when we noticed that none of our comms were working. That was my first sign. But when we got inside, it was empty.”
“Empty?” Sydney asked.
“Just a warehouse. I mean, it had shit in it. But like building supplies. Guarded and all that shit for some building supplies. They’d set us up. And then the smoke rained down.” He coughed again, trying to expel whatever toxins they’d hit him with. “I called a retreat. Tried to warn the other teams, but there was no way.”
“What happened to your team?” Meghan whispered.
He shook his head. “We scattered.”
“You had a rendezvous point, right?” Gabe asked.
Tye nodded. “No one showed.”
“Fuck,” Gabe spat.
Meghan covered her mouth. Reyna’s eyes welled with tears. Washington sat back hard in his chair.
“I don’t know if anyone else got out.”
“Drew did,” Reyna said softly. Tye’s eyes snapped to her. “He was able to radio us right before everything went out.”
“We don’t know,” Sydney answered for her.
There was a long silence in the room as the possibilities swept over them. An ambush. All communication down. Tye and Drew the only people accounted for. It would be an incredible loss to their cause.
“We should get that leg looked at,” Meghan said.
“I’m fine,” Tye said.
Meghan glared at him. “You need medical attention. We have a long night ahead of us. I don’t want you to do more damage to yourself than necessary.”
He sighed and then relented. “Fine.”
“Gabe, help me get him upstairs.”
The trio retreated, leaving the bomb that Tye had just dropped in the room. Reyna’s heart was in her throat as she realized that she’d have to wait longer to get more information about her brothers.
“We’re going to need to interrogate Everett,” Sydney said. “He set us up for this. We need to know all the information he has. I’m going to give Gabe the go for whatever methods prove fruitful.”
Reyna’s head snapped to her. “Everett didn’t know.”
“He clearly did. He told you it was a trap.”
“He pieced it together when I told him that they had gone there. He didn’t know before then. Why would he tell me it was an ambush? He wouldn’t want me to know that he was involved.”
“He wants you to trust him. So providing you with key information once it was already past time that it could be of value is an easy way to do so.”
“I really don’t think he had anything to do with it.”
“Either he was manipulated or he manipulated us,” Sydney said evenly. “Either way, we will find out tonight.”
* * *
It was nearly dawn when Gabe returned to the conference room.
Reyna had finally sat down. Her head resting on her hands. Her eyes drooping from lack of sleep. And yet she wasn’t tired. Just exhausted.
“Either he’s trained to sustain this,” Gabe said, flexing his fist and revealing the split knuckles, “or he really didn’t know what he was leading us into.”
Reyna smiled faintly. She’d been right. But as soon as it was there, it disappeared. Everett’s involvement didn’t change anything. Her brothers were still unaccounted for. Everyone else was gone other than Tye, who Meghan had ordered into a chair at the table when he wouldn’t cease pacing.
“Lower level access requested,” Tony said in the same tone he’d been using all day.
“What?” Reyna gasped. Her head popped up.
“Hold. Let me get that camera up.”
He typed furiously on his computer. Everyone crowded in around him, hoping to get the first glimpse. The computer flickered and then the monitor revealed a person.