The Lonesome Road

Cannon fodder

Lili sat under the engine and handed Cornelius a spanner. He grinned at her in thanks and then went back to waffling as he worked. She was surprised at how well he’d adapted to having only one arm, although it was clear that having two of them here would make the job much faster – she was smaller and more dextrous than him and it helped to reach into spaces nearer the back. The engine was also surprisingly well maintained for a boat that had been immobile for several centuries, but she didn’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, whatever that phrase meant. It was looking like this might actually be a viable plan, as long as everyone did their part.

They were so close now. She knew she wasn’t in range yet, but soon she would be, as long as he was alive – she shook her head, of course he was alive. They wouldn’t kill him, he was too valuable. She didn’t care that Krogon was involved, she didn’t care that maybe this Torak guy actually was the Dragon that had caused so much shit. She would kill them if they got in her way. Nothing would get in her way anymore. She’d be able to find Eli and take him away and they could just be somewhere by themselves where nobody would bother them anymore. Ideally she’d get to kill Mathew while she was there as well.

She had to admit, she wasn’t entirely sure what would happen after they crashed the boat. She remembered her way around the compound reasonably well, but her escape route had been different last time. Plus it had been a year, and things could well have changed since then – different layout, different security, she’d never heard of this Photon guy before. She would know where Eli was once he was there, the problem would be getting to him. She hadn’t mentioned any of this to the group, of course. They didn’t need to know more than the basics. That was what the others were for, what they had always been for. Help if possible, distraction if needed, cannon fodder if nothing else.

She felt a small twinge in her chest at that thought and frowned. What was wrong? It wasn’t the first time it had happened. She’d always known that the others were just a means to an end for her. If they survived, good for them. If not, it wouldn’t be any great loss, right? As long as they helped her get Eli out, she didn’t really care what happened to them after that. Snowy and Duke could go and do whatever, Cornelius could find out the truth about everything that he’d been steadfastly avoiding all this time and then probably get killed in the facility. It would be no big loss, right?



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