Past lunch, almost supper–Darian needed some kind of sustenance to keep him going. It had been one of the busiest days he’d ever had since he’d been assigned to the Luna Dome. Lieutenants and sergeants and other ranking officers saluted him as he made his way to the promenade. He absently acknowledged their salutes with little more than a nod. One hand clutched his stomach, which was rumbling with hunger, and his other fingered his radio, waiting for Skyla’s call.
Her Highness. She was the queen. She could not be his friend.
The promenade was seeing the beginnings of the evening crowd–Lunar citizens wishing for a night out would come here to find it. It couldn’t compare to a brisk starry night on Lake Ontario, the highway lights far in the distance and the expansive body of water before them. The strawberry gelato they had had that night, sometimes he still thought he could taste it. It had been sad. It had been perfect. He had been so close…
He shook his head of the past as the radio cut through the noise of the promenade. He practically ripped it from his belt. “Captain Flaherty here.”
Static was his answer. He was about to turn it off and chock it up to a crossed-line when a desperate female voice came through. “Help…please…help us…”
“Where are you? Who is this?” he demanded, while thinking, it’s not Skyla, thank God, but please don’t let this be about her.
More static. Then, a gruff Doctor Leeland: “Get down here. We can’t hold off–”
And that was it. The connection was severed. He tried to hail them again, and get some kind of signal, but it was lost. This was not good–he’d only been cleared to leave there an hour ago. And Skyla…Skyla, where was she now?
He tried one of his lieutenants. “Lieutenant Starkley?”
A young male promptly answered. “Yes, sir?”
“Get down to the medical bay. There’s some kind of emergency. Bring all nearby able men. Possible containment breach.”
“Yes, sir. Right away, sir. Where do I meet you?”
“I’m going to secure the queen. Radio me when you reach the medical bay. And Lieutenant: be careful. If in doubt, shoot to stun.”
A few patrons looked up at him worriedly and he gave them a nervous smile. “Nothing to worry about, folks. It’s under control.”
Darian’s heart was pounding furiously as his legs took off under him, guiding him to Skyla’s chamber. What was this, the third time today? He felt like a large hand was squeezing his guts. This was torture.