This was not happening. It just couldn’t be happening.
Quinn leaned his head up against the cold stone of their cell, his eyes closed. If he didn’t open them, then he could pretend he was asleep. That this was just an awful nightmare and he was going to wake up.
It wasn’t alone in the darkness anymore. The bright, shiny mind was here!
He could hear Armstrong and Harrow talking. Some nonsense about cards. Harrow liked cards, played poker better than any pro player Quinn had ever seen. Certainly well enough to make a living at it, which made him wonder why the guy had gone into the fleet.
Here. Here. Here. The mind had to ‘see’. Had to ‘hear’. Contact was made. But there was something wrong. Something dark.
Sorrow. Pain. Old wounds.
Fleet. The fleet. Starfleet. He was a starfleet officer. Confusion filled his mind for a moment as he fought to frame the concept in his thoughts. It was all these telepaths around it—him. He couldn’t think properly. Telepaths were bad.
A frown creased his brow. Why? Why were telepaths bad? It was telepaths screaming in the distance. Sharp sounds to match the sharp spikes of pain.
The screams… screams…
The screaming of his mother as his father was beaten to death in front of them. Her screams during punishment for every minor infraction. The punishment was worse for thoughts of disobedience picked up by their telepathic owners.
But never his. He didn’t scream.
Instead he plotted and waited. Waited for the day he could wreck vengeance on their owners. Free them from their indentured service…
Quinn shook his head. He was a starfleet officer. He shouldn’t be cowering in the corner like this. Opening his eyes, he looked at Harrow and Armstrong. She was a telepath, Harrow wasn’t. As he looked, a faint glow surrounded Harrow’s hands. Around the cards he shuffled over and back. Something there, but Quinn wasn’t sure what.
Harrow noticed him looking. “Okay, he’s back.”
“Allen?” Armstrong moved forward, wariness in her eyes. He didn’t blame her. Not after the way he’d treated her. His mind was stronger now—
He knew she wasn’t one of the telepaths who had caused him and his family so much pain all those years ago. Her body language and expression all screamed honesty and sincerity.
“Yes. I’m back.” He shoved to a sitting position. “So, when are we getting out of here?”
Harrow’s eyebrow winged up and Quinn snorted. “You’re not a telepath. Which means there’s a reason you’re here.”
Harrow slid the cards away in his inside pocket. The glow around his hands faded. “Someone give that man a medal. The mineral deposits on the planet I grew up on are unique.
Armstrong gasped and looked at him. “A beacon?”
“Eh,” Harrow shrugged. “Not that strong, but certainly enough for Resolute to pinpoint me in a crowd. We just have to get out of here and cause some havoc.”
Quinn nodded and then looked beyond them to the door. “A guard will come for Armstrong in four minutes. His partner will stand to the left of the door, less than half a meter distance.”
Harrow grinned. “Now that’s the kind of intelligence we need. You take the guard, I’ll get the partner.”
Quinn inclined his head and rose.