Three cyro containment units, control panel lights fluttering in slow, steady, synched rhythm. Save one, sacrifice the other two. Or walk away, dooming all three. Drake huffed out a breath that didn't quite qualify as a laugh.
"Darling, you never could make a decision and stick with it. You've been dead twice. That's beyond a miracle. That's a problem." He stared at Aurora's face, slack and frosty with cryo-crystals. Someone or something wearing her face had said that. So he'd already done the impossible. Twice. This wouldn't be an issue.
He'd free Crowley. Made perfect, logical sense. Freeing the infiltrator might give them a shot at completing their mission. There had been a mission. Hadn't there? Before the illusions. The obsession. The emotions.
Through the crack of the barely open door, her body glowed
pearlescent in the moonlight. She’d flung back the summer blanket and the white
sheet twisted over her hip, tangling between her thighs. Visceral want yanked him two steps in Aurora's direction before he planted his feet and gritted his teeth. His brain and body shouted memory. The chip in his head tagged the ghost of her with a question mark. Was it memory? Or was it planted?
Another flash of Aurora's face. Outside the prison he'd left minutes ago. "Turn it down, Jhonyi. We need his
precious brain wholly functional. Call up Doc and her minions. Maybe she'll
have better luck locating his implant."
That version of Aurora had intended to dissect him. He snarled and stalked to Crowley's containment unit. "Sorry, Arthur," he muttered. He reversed the stun gun and hefted it to break the seal on Crowley's unit. His body wouldn't follow through with the blow. His gaze arrowed back to Aurora. He parsed the rage out of his system and shunted it to one side. Emotion suspect: possible conditioned response.
Fine. He didn't know illusion from reality where it concerned her. Couldn't trust anything he felt or thought he knew. What did it mean that someone had used a member of his team as the key to unlock and break him?
He shook his head. No. That was a question he did not need answered. He'd free Crowley. It made the most sense. He hefted the gun again. This time, he forced his body to follow through on the blow, severing the lock on the cryo containment unit.
Alarms blared. A blast of frigid breath exhaled from the broken seal, condensing in a white cloud that snowed frost to the floor. Breathing hard, staring at Crowley, Drake flipped the unit next to his open and backed off. The man convulsed, his lips turned blue. Drake's heart dropped. The lights on the control panel winked red.
In the unit next to Crowley's, Aurora opened her eyes.
Shaking, Drake backpedaled.
"Time to find out whether the truth will set me free," he gritted.