“Me,” Taryn replied simply. “For the first time in a while, that was 100% me.”
Beckham fixed her with a look of pure rage. It should have pierced right through her and sent her running, but it didn’t. She could barely hear the music and in the window behind Beckham, their new home was becoming clearer and clearer. It was almost over.
“It’s done, Beckham. Take your Voice and your plans and leave. Me. Alone!” Taryn said, the words giving her a rush.
Beckham’s contorted face changed swiftly. He was listening to the Voice. Taryn recognized the awed expression, as if angels were singing in his ears.
“Where’s Captain Aaron?” Taryn asked in a desperate attempt to drown the Voice out.
Beckham didn’t answer. He was far, far away. Richmond stood mutely next to him awaiting instructions. A million decisions and plans raced through her mind until she arrived at the only correct one. Pearce would need her help. Cassidy too
“I’m leaving. Don’t bother talking to me ever again. Your time is done, Beckham,” she spat at him and walked out of the control room as quickly as she could without looking desperate.
Behind her, she could almost hear the gears in Beckham’s head whirring. The Voice wouldn’t give up so quickly. In the back of her mind, the music was getting louder. She had a feeling it was only a matter of time until it plunged her back into the horrible fog once more.
Pearce was in the medical bay. Cassidy was sitting on one of the cots, head in hands. Her movements were slow and clumsy. Pearce was speaking to her very quickly. She nodded along, but Taryn had the impression that she was barely aware of what he was saying.
“How are you feeling?” she asked Cassidy as she approached the two of them cautiously. Around them, those driven mad by the voyage slumbered peacefully.
“Like I have a head full of cotton if the cotton was made out of marbles and acid,” Cassidy muttered.
“You got out,” Pearce said, barely bothering to mask his surprise.
“I got lucky. The Voice is gearing up for something. We need to find Captain Aaron and we need to keep Beckham from completely taking over. He…the Voice has been telling him these stories. He thinks once we land, if we let the Voice take control, we’ll enter into some kind of utopia, it’s a lie. We’ll lose everything. Pearce, how many people do you have?” Taryn asked, ignoring the growing music.
“After this, either ten or a hundred,” Pearce shrugged.
“Hope it’s one hundred. Have every single one of them look for Captain Aaron. We’re almost there.”
Cassidy and Pearce gave her a look of complete and total wonder.
“You saw it?” Cassidy whispered.
“Yeah,” Taryn replied.
“What does it look like?” Pearce asked.
“There’s more ocean than home and it’s a little smaller,” Taryn replied. She had barely seen it. She’d been so caught up in getting away from Beckham.
“What will we do with Beckham when we land?” Cassidy asked.
“I don’t care what happens as long as I never have to see him again,” Taryn replied darkly.
“And his followers?” she asked sheepishly.
Taryn knew she was just asking about Ellis, who was vain and self-serving and embarrassingly ambitious. She had talked to her during her time as one of Beckham’s people and couldn’t see what Pearce saw in her, save her great beauty. But she mattered to the two of them, and she had done nothing but make horrible decisions.
“They aren’t all like him. Ellis will be fine,” Taryn said.
Cassidy sat back with a sigh. Pearce pretended very poorly not to care. The Voice had started again, but it was barely a murmur. Taryn took a deep breath and pushed it down.
“You should get her out of there. We’re going to have a final…confrontation with Beckham before we land. It won’t be pretty,” Taryn closed her eyes tightly against the growing music and the Voice’s wordless anger.
“Taryn?” Pearce asked gently.
“Find Captain Aaron. Priority one, okay?” she said weakly.
“Are you okay?”
“If it comes down to it, promise me you won’t let the Voice win.”
“What do you mean?”
A spasm of pain vibrated through Taryn. The effort was too much.
“Okay. I promise,” Pearce said, eyes wide with confusion and apprehension.
“I have to go. Find Captain Aaron. Tell him to take us home,” Taryn insisted.
She didn’t wait for Pearce’s reply. She fled, barely making it to her own cell-like room before she collapsed. The pain was insurmountable. She wasn’t sure if the screams she was hearing were her own or those of the Voice. Red hot needles pricked her flesh. Hammers pounded her bones. A deep rumbling inside made her feel like her body would shake apart. She became senseless to the world and was only brought back by the door to her room opening. Beckham stood over her. Richmond stood behind him, face impassive as always.
“Well, Taryn, should we make the pain stop? It will kill you. It told me,” Beckham asked with his lazy, shark-like grin.
“Let it,” she replied.
Beckham gave her a disappointed look and waved his hand. Richmond lifted her as if she were a rag doll. The movement made her feel as if her bones were melting. It was the last thing she felt.
When they found him, he was bound and gagged in a storage room. Pearce wasted no words in telling him what had happened. Captain Aaron listened carefully. His mind was racing. It was his duty to get everyone to safety. They were what was to be a new start to humanity, but it sounded like there was a very real possibility there would be no more humanity if Beckham got his way.
“What are we going to do?” Pearce asked anxiously. What does Captain Aaron do? Please return to the top of this episode to vote on what happens next!