“It’s partially censored, but we can get the gist from it,” I heard someone say, breathless and excited, and I shook myself alert, rubbing my eyes. I glanced at my watch. Damn. No time to get coffee. The meeting would be starting any minute. I yawned and stretched, back cracking in protest. The terrible chairs weren’t comfy to sit in, never mind to sleep in, and my muscles would no doubt be complaining for hours.

The room was filling with people, sitting around the table and lining the walls. There were always more people than chairs, and I vaguely envied the people who were standing. The chairs were old and mismatched and there were maybe two out of the thirty-odd that were comfy. I sat more upright. It didn’t help.

The general bubble of muted conversation around me quieted as T walked in, tall and lithe and terrifying as always, with her black clothes and her knives and her sharp smile. “Hello,” she said, striding towards the table and sitting down at her customary place. I was certain that her chair was comfortable.

“There’s been a development,” she said quietly, and the air around me tensed. There’d been nothing new for quite some time, and everyone had been on edge. In this field, no news was usually bad news.

“We intercepted a transmission,” she said, laying her hands flat on the table in front of her. “Some of it was blacked out, some of it was mangled, but we’ve managed to piece together a coherent missive.” She looked directly at me and I drew in a juddering breath. “We think we know where they’re being kept.”

The room burst into noise, but I couldn’t move, breath fast and mind reeling and thoughts swirling. Where they’re being kept. Finally. Finally.

I didn’t notice that I was moving until I was standing up, my chair falling to the ground behind me with a clatter that silenced the room. I was aware of everyone staring at me, but I was only looking at T. “Let me go,” I said desperately. “Let me go on the mission.”

T looked at me, her eyes unreadable. Another leader would have denied me- would have looked at me, a slim girl who was tough and strong and an okay shot but nothing special and said no, not for this mission, it’s too important- but T knew me. T had been there when the news had first came in. Gamma group’s been captured, was all it had said, but with that simple sentence my world had shattered. Gamma group had been her group.

“Yes,” T said, breaking the silence. “You can go on the mission.” And then she turned back to address the rest of the room, delegating tasks and giving orders, and I excused myself from the room, sinking to the floor in the corridor outside and drawing in a deep, shuddering breath. I rested my head on my knees, unable to stop my tears.

Finally. Finally, we were going to save them. I was going to save her.

-Maura Kenny

[10/02/17: Censored]

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