Eddy knew the beat of Aaron’s heart. The pace was quickened for some reason, but that wasn’t entirely unusual. It still wasn’t racing as much as Jenna’s. She seemed worried about something, and he noted to himself to investigate that once he’d taken care of some important business.
He continued to lie there, allowing the others to believe the sleeping medication he’d been given had served their purpose. He couldn’t usually get this kind of thing past Blue, even with complete control of his own bio-electrical system, but it was working this time. Apparently, their erstwhile leader had something else on his mind.
As much as he liked the fact that Jenna hadn’t been in a hurry to leave his side, he was glad to find himself, finally, alone in his “room.” Fighting against his own growing impatience, he waited until the bio-signatures of all of his allies were well outside his range to detect them. He chose that moment to flatline.
The nurse was in his room faster than he’d have thought possible. He knew a doctor wasn’t far behind, but he continued to lay there, unmoving. She quickly grabbed his wrist to check that he was still connected to the machine, and her other hand fell on the metal rail on the side of his bed.
His hand snapped out, grabbing the rail. A low charge rushed through the metal, shocking the young woman slightly, but, more importantly, convulsing her muscles and locking her hand in place. Modulating his voice, he knelt with some difficulty on the bed and locked his gaze on her eyes.
“You’ve got a pretty serious charge running through you right now,” he said in his most menacing tones. “It’ll fade given time, but I wouldn’t let go of that rail. It’s harmless enough at the moment, but any attempt to break the circuit will result in a very painful, very hazardous electrical shock. Do you understand?”
She looked at him with a mix of fear and worry on her face. He knew she understood even before she nodded.
Kardiac smiled to himself. “You should be good to move in ten minutes or so. In the meantime, I’d focus on my happy place and find a good song to hum to pass the time.” She watched him step out of the bed, and he tried his best to hide the pain. He should be dead. If he wasn’t, there had to be a reason he’d been allowed to survive. He still had a part to play.
When the doctor arrived in the room, his patient was gone. “What’s going on here?” he asked the nurse, his face concerned but angry. She explained her predicament and how she’d become ensnared in it.
“Think!” he commanded, his concern giving way entirely to anger. “That bed is grounded. Even if he did lock your hand to the rail, the charge was gone the instant he stopped channeling it.”
The nurse looked at the doctor with disbelief, releasing the rail and realizing, to her surprise, that it did her no harm. “Which way did he go?” He glanced down the hall in the direction the nurse gave him. Realizing that Eddy had cleared the hall, he turned and pushed the room’s alarm button. Nothing.
“Damn! He’s fried the alarm circuit,” the doctor said to no one in particular. “Well,” he said, turning to the nurse as he stepped out of the room. “What are you waiting for? We’ve got to stop him, or there’ll be Hell to pay.”
Deep down, however, the doctor knew they’d have little hope of recovering the vigilante, unless they were lucky enough to find him passed out from the pain of his condition. He’d already broken a few stitches, as the trail of blood drops on the floor made him easy to track. When they reached the hard-vertical AC shaft to the ceiling, he realized that the trail had come to its end. “Well,” he said flatly. “I guess there’s nothing to do now but report it. Fairchild’s going to have our heads.”
An hour later, across town, Lexa heard the window to her condo open and drew her gun. When she entered the bedroom, she found her husband lying there, his ratty hospital gown soaked with his own blood. “Hi honey,” he said with a grimace. “I’m home.”
Before he could hear her reply, the world turned to darkness.