Daryl shook himself awake. He was in a room alone, the same tile reflecting the bright light from the ceiling burning his retinas. He closed his eyes tight, desiring to shut out as much of the light as possible. It almost distracted him from the paracord wrapped around his wrists.

His arms bound behind him; his feet bound to the chair legs, he shifted his hips, looking for a weak spot in the chair. It was very solid. A nice sturdy chair… He’d probably enjoy it if he weren’t in this predicament.

“Gaines?” he shouted. He was certain he was alone. “Poseidon? Baranski?”

He heard a cough. It came from behind him, right side. He turned his head, unwilling to open his eyes. “Who are you? Who’s there?”

“You don’t like following orders?” It was a female voice. Daryl immediately thought of the soldier who shocked him. Why were all the attractive ones dangerous?

“My battle buddy was in trouble,” he said, “I’m not interested in following orders that hurt my battle buddy.”

There was silence. “How do you know it was your battle buddy?”

“Of course it was her. Who else would it be?” Daryl had a hard time keeping his temper even.

“You have powers. Your battle buddies have powers. Maybe someone you don’t know has powers too. Maybe, you get a knife in the back for believing your eyes over your instincts.”

Daryl thought about this for a moment. “Then I guess I get a knife in the back, I deal with it, and then I carry on.”

“That’s stupid.”

“Whatever. Are we done?”

“Is that how you talk to your commander?”

“I do if she’s a cunt.”


Daryl’s face turned to the left.

“The correct answer is ‘No.'” she said. “Looking over your record, you like to play the hero. I don’t like heroes. You’re not a god. You’re not justice. You’re a monster who happens to hunt monsters. You’re no different in my book from the ones unable to conform.”

Daryl kept his mouth shut. He could feel her really close to his face. “Good. You’re learning.”