❯ The Daughter – Yeerk ( Chapter 8 )
�What?� Daren said, looking outraged. Except, it wasn�t Daren. Inside Daren�s head was a slug, who was controlling every movement he made, every word he spoke, every expression on his face. The thought made me want to throw up.
�Drop the act, slug,� I ordered, making sure the dracon beam was aimed directly at him.
�Loren,� he began, his arms out in front of him with his palms up, entreating. �Loren this is��
My patience ran out. I adjusted my aim, so that the beam was pointing over Daren�s shoulder, and I fired. The beam lanced out, streaking close enough to Daren to singe part of his hair, and impacted on the wall, leaving a ugly melted patch. The Yeerk swore, and looked back at me with wide eyes. I moved the dracon beam back so that it was aimed directly at him.
�Drop the act,� I repeated, �or the next one hits you.�
The Yeerk looked at me, like he was trying to decide if I�d really do it. I returned his look, the tension in the room so thick that you could taste it.
Finally, the Yeerk let Daren�s face settle into a sneer. �So, little human girl, you figured it out,� he said, and applauded mockingly. �I suppose you think you�re clever.�
�Let Daren go,� I ordered, trying to conceal my inner turmoil. I�d gotten the Yeerk to admit who he was. I�d been right. I was justified.
The question was, what did I do now?
The Yeerk laughed. �Now why would I want to do that? Do you think I�m stupid, little girl? You won�t leave him here, even thought you could. You could leave now, carry out your plan, and you�d probably succeed. But no. You won�t leave this human.� He laughed again. �So you�re going to stay here, risking capture and infestation, just because of your noble idiocy. Humans are ridiculous.�
My jaw tightened. �I won�t have to stay here,� I said through clenched teeth. �I can leave, and I can take you with me.��And how exactly do you plan on doing that?� the Yeerk asked, sneering.
�You�re not strong enough to subdue this body, or carry it.�
�I�d stun you, slug, tie you up, morph and carry on with my original plan. If I have to, I�ll overload this dracon beam and kill us both,� I said.
The Yeerk looked slightly nervous. �You wouldn�t,� he said, trying to sound sure of himself. �You wouldn�t
kill this boy.�
�Try me,� I growled, bluffing, and holding on to the ragged edges of my temper with teeth and toenails. This was getting me nowhere, and I had a feeling we were running out of time. Suddenly, I got the beginnings of a plan. It all depended on whether this Yeerk was the low-ranking coward I thought he was.
I smiled slightly, as if I�d just seen how to get out of this with no problems. �When I get out of here, you slimy piece of scum, you�ll starve, slowly. Is that what you want?�
�Don�t you mean, if?� the Yeerk sneered, a bit disconcerted. I snorted in contempt, playing my part.
�No, I mean, when. I am going to get out of here, slug. And I�m taking Daren with me. And when I do, you�ll die from Kadrona starvation. Unless, of course, you�ll be reasonable.�
He looked at me, and in the face of my absolute (if faked) confidence, the Yeerk�s confidence wavered. He licked his lips, and swallowed. I leaned back against the crates.
�What do you mean?� he asked, his eyes flicking between me and the door. I kept the dracon beam trained on Daren�s chest.
�I�ll give you a deal, Yeerk. You let Daren go, now, and I�ll put you in one of these water bottles and leave you to be found by one of your fellow Yeerks. But if you don�t I�ll stun you and take you with me. I�ll let you starve, slowly.� I leaned back against the crates a bit more, trying to look relaxed, like I had no problems at all. The Yeerk looked more and more nervous, his eyes flickering backwards and forwards, trying to decide. �Hurry up and make your choice, slug, because I�m not going to wait much longer,� I said, praying that this would work.
The Yeerk shot me a look of pure hatred, and picked up the half filled water bottle and put it to Daren�s ear. After a few seconds, the Yeerk started to slide out of his ear. In a few more seconds, it was out completely.
Daren held the bottle out to me, shaking with repressed emotion. �Take this thing,� he said, in a rage filled voice, �before I kill it.�
Without saying anything, I took the bottle and put the top on. Then I walked to the end of the row of crates and threw it into the back of the room. It was following the letter, if not the spirit, of my deal. I�d leave the Yeerk here to be found. However, the other Yeerks would actually have to look for this one.
I walked back to where Daren was. Just as I got there, he reached into his pocket and took out a small, black object. He looked at it for a moment.
�What�s that?� I asked, speaking quietly. Daren looked up.
�Tracker,� he replied in a flat voice. �It�s transmitting our location to the Yeerks.�
I thought about that for a minute. �Any chance that destroying it would keep them from knowing we�re here?�
Daren snorted. �No,� he said in that same flat voice. �It�s been transmitting since before you woke up.�
�Well,� I said, tilting my head to one side, �we do need Hork-Bajir morphs.�
Daren stared at me for a few seconds before what I�d said sunk in. Then he burst out laughing.
�You�re crazy!� he choked out around his laughter. �You�re absolutely nuts!�
�It�ll work, won�t it?� I demanded. �We�ve got weapons, a plan and the element of surprise. A few stun shots, we acquire the Hork-Bajir, tie them up and lock the door, and poof! We�re home free.�
�Not quite,� Daren said, calming down a bit. �We still have to steal the ship.�
�We�ll burn that bridge when we come to it,� I said, like it wasn�t important. I walked over and locked the door.
�For now, we wait for the ambush, then ambush the ambushers.�
Yes, I used the word ambush to many times. So sue me. We sat in silence for a few moments. Daren stared off into the air in front of his hands.
�You okay?� I asked quietly. He started, and looked up.
�Yeah, I�ll be okay,� he sighed. �I think I�ll have nightmares for a while, though.� He turned to look at me. �How�d you figure it out?� he asked, in a puzzled voice. I made a wry half-smile.
�I may only have known you for four weeks, but I do know you. You never let anything out in the open. And the few times you do, by accident, you make some kind of joke or stupid comment right after. So when he…kissed me, right after telling me he liked me, it just didn�t ring true. You, the real you, would never do that.�
�Oh.� He seemed at a loss, unable to say anything. Then he drew in a deep breath. �I..uh..Loren, everything he told you, is true for me. I do think you�re the most brilliant, wonderful and beautiful person alive. I�� Daren broke off and swallowed. I couldn�t say anything. I was literally stuck dumb. Daren took another breath and said, �I hope you don�t mind me saying this, I mean, I��
I slid my hand into his, making him look up. �Not if you don�t mind me saying it back,� I whispered, smiling, on the knife-edged line between laughter and tears.
Daren smiled back. �You mind if I do something crazy and out of character?� he asked, in a voice no louder than my whisper.
�No,� I breathed. He closed his hand around mine and pulled me towards him, and we kissed again, and this time, it was real, we were both us and the rest of the world fell away…. and at that moment, Hork-Bajir started pounding on the door.