Home > Last Defense (Lorien Legacies: The Lost Files #14)(11)

Last Defense (Lorien Legacies: The Lost Files #14)(11)
Pittacus Lore

“Union Station’s top secret transport hub.” He waves at one of the cameras on the wall and then limps forward. “Good. Looks like they sent back our car. We won’t have to wait for it.”

“How do you know all this?” I ask. Even if he is a major, this seems like it should be far above his pay grade.

“There’s a small team of soldiers stationed out of a secret base here in the city. Our primary concern is the safe evacuation of assets and high-profile targets in the event of an emergency.”

He keys in a code on the side of one of the trains and a door opens. The inside is roughly as big as a single subway car but furnished like a private jet: all plush and leather.

“Incredible,” I murmur as Gamera lands on a bench and takes the form of a snapping turtle.

“You haven’t seen anything. Watch this.”

Briggs walks to the front of the car and flips a series of switches. The train shakes, and suddenly we’re sinking into the cement, until the entire car is several yards below the floor. A set of lights goes on, and I can see a track disappearing into a dark tunnel ahead of us.

“We’ll be there in an hour. Why don’t you get some sleep if you can.”

The train car starts to shoot forward, taking me off balance a little. I catch myself on the side of a seat before sinking into it.

It’s as if just by sitting down, my body gives up, ready to pass out.

While Briggs busies himself at the front of the car, I pull out my satellite phone. Whatever Adam did to it must have worked, because I get a signal.

But Sam doesn’t answer.

Please be safe, wherever you are.

Before I can start worrying or hypothesizing what my son might be doing, a dark, dreamless sleep settles on me, and the rest of the world fades away to nothing.

CHAPTER EIGHT

“MALCOLM!”

I shoot up in my seat as I wake to the sound of my name, gasping back into consciousness.

“Finally,” Briggs says. “I’ve been yelling at you for a full minute. I thought I was going to have to slap you again.”

He’s on the bench across from me, injured leg outstretched. The bandage is starting to ooze blood around the edges. My eyes scan the train car until I find Gamera, still in turtle form, snoring on the floor by my feet.

“Where are we?” I ask.

“Almost to the bunker. I figured you’d want a few minutes to wake up.”

I nod, rubbing my eyes. They sting, and I realize I’m probably on the way to being dehydrated if I’m not already. I look at my phone. Still nothing. I’ve slept less than an hour.

“We’re still underground?”

“This whole system is underground,” Briggs says. “It’s a secret, remember?”

“Fascinating,” I say, still trying to wrap my head around things. Since being freed from the Mogs, waking up has been a process of slowly remembering where I am and what I’m doing—especially if I find myself in a strange place. “I have so many questions I don’t know where to begin.”

“You’ve got questions?” He points to Gamera. “That’s a shape-shifting alien pet. This is the craziest shit I’ve ever seen. Well . . . maybe it would have been a week ago. Before everything else.”

Gamera stares at his finger curiously.

“Looks like he’s hungry,” Briggs says.

“He won’t bite,” I say. “At least, I don’t think he will. His name’s Gamera. That was my idea. He . . . always seemed fond of my son.”

Briggs mutters something I can’t make out.

“When we get to wherever we’re going, I’d appreciate you not mentioning him to the others. It’s not that I don’t trust whoever’s there . . . it’s just that I’m afraid—”

“Don’t worry,” he says. “You’re right to be cautious. Everyone’s on edge. We’re all still trying to figure out who’s in bed with the Mogadorians and who’s not. It’s a select group being collected at the bunker, though. Still . . . I mean, aliens are real, so I don’t know what to expect anymore.”

I have to focus. Names float through my mind—the men and women we know of who are MogPro agents.

“Will the vice president be at the bunker?” I ask. He’s the highest official I can think of who’s sold his soul to the Mogadorians.

“No. From what I understand he’s AWOL. Disappeared along with his entire security detail right after everything happened at the UN. They may have tracked him down by now, but it’s standard procedure to keep the president and VP in different locations in a situation like this. You know, so they don’t get taken out at the same time if something goes wrong.”

“Ah,” I say. “That’s good.”

“You don’t think . . .” He doesn’t finish the question. Just lets it linger in the air. It’s obvious what’s on his mind, though.

“The Feds think he’s working with the Mogs.” This was one of the first things Walker told us when she showed up at Ashwood. Was that really just yesterday?

“Jesus.” Briggs shifts his focus and looks me straight in the eyes. His gaze is piercing. “Just . . . Jesus. Do we even stand a chance?” he asks.

“I have to believe we do,” I say.

Briggs seems comforted by this. The muscles in his face relax a little.

“I won’t mention Gamera,” he says.

“You know, you never told me your name.”

“Major Briggs.”

“I meant your first name.”

“Oh.” He shrugs. “Yeah. You get used to everyone using your last name, I guess. It’s Samuel.”

Sam.

Of course it is. I smile, even as my worry for Sam pounds against the inside of my chest.

“That’s my son’s name.”

“He wasn’t back at Ashwood, was he?”

“No. He’d left already. Headed to New York to try and stop the Mogadorians. He’s been fighting against them for months now, trying to keep all this from happening. Working alongside the Garde. The good aliens.”

Briggs nods but doesn’t say anything for a minute or two. When he does talk, his voice has a softer tone to it than I’ve heard since he showed up to whisk me off to a secret bunker.

“My mom’s the only one I have left. She lives in the Bronx, but she . . . she works in the city. I haven’t been able to reach her.” There’s a spark of something painful on his face and then it’s gone. He’s back to the stony expression that seems to be his natural state.

I hold out my phone. “Here,” I say.

“No signal underground.”

“I’ve got one.”

He looks at me curiously and then takes the phone. “How is that possible?” he asks.

“It’s a long story.”

I watch him dial, carefully, his fingers hesitating over each button. He holds the phone up to his ear for a long time before finally handing it back to me, shaking his head.

“I’m sure she’s all right,” I say, knowing full well what a useless assurance this is.

The train starts to slow. Briggs gets to his feet. “She’s a tough old broad. I’m sure she’s fine. Say, can I get my gun back? They’re kind of particular about who has weapons down here.”

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