“Out. Of. The. Question.” Tanner slammed his hand down with each word, emphasizing his anger.
I folded my arms across my chest. “I’m not waiting to march in with the rebels.”
Tanner laughed harshly. “Since when were you doing that, Eve? I thought you were headed east.”
“And you’re mad because that’s what you wanted? Weak little Eve out of the way?” I leaned over, placing my palms on the table and glared at Tanner.
Tanner looked across the table to Darion, who sat in the chair next to where I stood. Tanner’s look seemed to ask, is this really Eve? Darion shrugged, a smile playing across his lips.
“We can’t spare anyone to go with you.” Tanner shoved his chair back as if he meant to end the conversation with that.
“I know Darion can’t go. He has to take my wayward brother’s place. I’m asking for one helicopter and one pilot.” I gripped the back of the chair. “He’s my brother.”
Tanner rubbed his hands roughly over his head. “And when was the last time one of you or Micah’s plans worked?”
“That’s not your problem. It’s mine. Your pilot can drop me off and fly away. I don’t care.”
Tanner looked heavenward and rolled his eyes. “I can’t even begin to tell you how unqualified you are for a mission like this.”
“I DON’T CARE!” I shouted, startling both Tanner and Darion. “What don’t you get, Tanner? He’s my brother! If you don’t order a pilot to take me, I’ll find a paralyzer and force one to do it myself.”
Tanner slammed a fist on the table and muttered something I strongly suspected was a swear word. “Women!” he snapped, stomping out of the room.
I looked at Darion and then back at Tanner, unsure whether to be angry or confused.
“Are you coming?” Tanner shouted without turning around.
I grinned, running after him down the long, metal hallway that led out of the rebel war room.
The lights of Phoenix loomed and grew closer. I gulped. I thought I’d seen them for the last time when I left a day and a half before. The pilot circled west and landed at Litchfield Junction. I yelled my thanks before hopping down. The minute I was out of his helicopter he pulled up. I stared at the dark airfield, feeling hopeless, despite the backpack full of gear in my hand.
“Maid Marion?” A voice broke the darkness. I looked up and saw the red-head who lectured Darion about how he looked when he broke out of Phoenix.
“That’s me, I guess.” I flung the backpack onto my back.
She scowled at me. “This is the last thing we need right now with the attack so imminent; to waste our time getting you into the city.”
I stiffened. “I didn’t ask for your help.”
Her glare didn’t soften. “It’s a good thing. I would’ve said no to you. Tanner ordered me to get you into Phoenix. Believe me, once that’s done, you’re on your own.”
I gritted my teeth together to keep from retorting. “Thanks.”
She nodded in reply and strode forward. “If you thought Phoenix was tight before, you were wrong. What with Robin Hood breaking out then breaking back in the wall’s never been less accessible.”
“Micah got in?” Relief flooded through me. “Do you know where he is?”
She laughed, sounding bitter. “Everyone in Phoenix knows where Robin Hood is. He’s back in his old cell at the national prison awaiting a grand double execution with his girlfriend.”
I groaned. Now that I knew Isoli’s real intentions for Micah I didn’t worry too much about an actual execution--for him. I couldn’t say the same for Olivia. But the national prison could only be broken into so many times. Once more would definitely be pushing my luck.
“When?” I asked.
“Tomorrow morning.” She opened the door of a beat-up Grand Am.
I slid into the passenger seat and waited for her to get in. “Where at?”
“The execution block at the national prison. He’s not risking taking them too far.”
I bit my lip. That didn’t give me much time to bust out Olivia. I changed the subject. “How are we getting in?”
She tossed a grocery sack at me. “Put those on.”
I dug through the bag. The short jean skirt and fishnet stockings gave away her idea instantly. I wasn’t even sure I could walk in the six inch heels. “You’re joking.”
The red-head looked amused for the first time that night. “You’re the one that wants in. Believe me, that’s your best bet by far.”
“But the guard will expect...you know, as a bribe...” I couldn’t bring myself to say the words.
She shrugged again. “Your problem. If you want in, you’ll use that outfit. How you get out of ‘bribing’ him is all up to you.”
I angrily shed my pants and maneuvered into the fishnets and the skirt. One look at the skin-tight corset top made my skin flame, but I tossed off my shirt and laced it up anyway. I shoved my clothes into my backpack and fumed as my chauffeur sped along Buckeye Road toward the Tolleson Gate, the least used gate in the wall.
She stopped several blocks from the gate. “Here you go, sweetheart.” She smirked at me.
“I’m supposed to walk to Tolleson in these?” I waved my hand at the heels.
“I’d go barefoot, but that’s just me. Don’t use those boots or you’re a dead give-away.” She reached across me and pushed open my door.
I stepped out. “Thanks for all your help,” I muttered sarcastically.
One corner of her mouth pulled up. “Anytime.” She didn’t wait for me to shut the door before she sped away.
Sighing, I pushed my boots down into my backpack as best I could. Taking the sparkly, silver heels in my hand, I walked quickly toward the gate. When I got in view of the guards, I stopped and slid the heels on. Taking a deep breath, I called down all coordination I possessed to make it to the wall without falling on my face.
“Sorry, miss,” the guard called when he saw me. “The wall’s locked up tight until tomorrow afternoon.”
“Locked up?” I repeated in my best forlorn voice. “But I don’t have anywhere to sleep.” I leaned up against the gate, already feeling blisters on my feet from the shoes.
“What are you doing outside, sweetie?” The guard leaned against the bars next to me. At least he wasn’t too bad looking. His chin length hair looked a little greasy, but he had broad shoulders and was well built. I could probably stomach a kiss.
“Visiting my kid.” I gulped back not-so-fake tears. “He lives with my sister in Buckeye. You understand, though, I gotta work or she won’t keep him.”
He reached through the bars and stroked my cheek. “You have to work, huh?”
I tried not to pull away from his touch. “Please.”
He grinned. I held my stomach so I didn’t puke at the lurid look on his face. He turned to the other guard who grinned back and nodded at him. The first guard leaned over and pushed a button, cracking the gates enough for me to walk through.
“Follow me, babe.” He beckoned and walked to an office.
I straightened my shoulders, forcing a wink at the waiting guard before following the other into the dim room.
The guard’s hand slid onto my waist the moment I stepped through the door. He used his foot to kick the door shut. I almost hurled when his lips found my neck and bare shoulders. He turned me around, pulling me back against him. I almost shouted for joy at my luck. He leaned over to caress my arm with his lips. I jammed my elbow as hard as I could into his chest, then into his nose without a moment’s hesitation. He howled in pain and fell back. I grabbed his paralyzer. He went down in one shot.
“Hey, D.?” The other guard’s voice sounded close to the door. “Everything okay?”
I swung open the door and shot him point blank. His expression wasn’t even surprised when he went down. I only took enough time to change my shoes. I grabbed one of the guard’s radios and shoved it into my backpack. That would help in the morning.
I ran from the gate, headed north toward Sun City and the national prison. I laughed to myself. Maybe being a rebel wasn’t so hard after all.