FL/GHT: The fallen
She barely paused on her way past a cheerful bogsneak, managing a quick “morning to you too” before sliding open the door to the medical bay and flashing the awaiting skydancer a bright smile. This wasn’t the first time one of the subjects from Project: Wetware had come in reporting technical issues - minor glitches, erratic spasms, though they could be attributed to a lack of familiarity with their new mechanical bodies. Even so, it had been months since Project had successfully transplanted their brains into their current selves, months spent painstakingly guiding them step by step through rehabilitation.
Not like she could compare, of course. She was and always had been an android.
“Yen,” she greeted warmly, sitting down beside him and grabbing her tablet just in case she needed it. “What’s up? You didn’t give any specifics when you asked me to come here earlier.”
His usually-carefree smile seemed almost strained when he answered, shifting uncomfortably from his perch on the side of the bed. “I’m not entirely sure,” he confessed, toying with the gem in his claws - emerald this time, she noted.
“Tell me what’s wrong.”
“I couldn’t control my claws and crushed one of my own gems, my magic keeps firing off without me meaning to, and on my way here my tail almost hit someone - I swear, it wasn’t me, it just…” he trailed off, drawing a shuddering breath. “I thought it was because I was still adjusting to my body, but it keeps happening.” A beat of uncomfortable silence, before he could bring himself to look up at her again. “I can’t keep doing this. Just feeling like I’m never completely in control,” he finished thickly, and she couldn’t help but reach over to hug him tight.
“I’m going to help you,” she told him, though what little hope she had fell flat when Yen shook his head.
“I don’t want to hurt people. But what if this can’t be fixed, what if it’s just brain damage from the transplant, or something else we don’t even have the resources to repair?” Yen spat bitterly, staring down balefully at his own claws, flexing them experimentally as if half-expecting them to malfunction right then and there. Gone was his usual bubbly self, and Mallory had never wished she could turn back time more than now. He didn’t deserve this.
“Listen,” she tried again, “we don’t know what’s causing this yet, so stop with the doom and gloom-”
A sudden ringing clang cut through her words as Yen’s tail snapped to the side and slammed into the metal bedpost. Frustration, perhaps, at not being able to even control himself, but the look of sheer terror on his face said otherwise. Something was wrong. She snatched up her tablet again, half-wishing she’d thought to hook him up to wires beforehand to run tests, but they’d simply have to find out the hard way.
“Talk to me, Yen, describe what you’re feeling if you can.” Her only answer was a shake of the head, claws digging deep into the fabric of the mattress as a shudder ran through the length of his body. Before she could probe further, he fell still, head hanging loosely down, looking for all the world like a puppet with its strings cut.
Yen’s head jerked up abruptly, the spasm rippling through the rest of his body like a tidal wave. His next words died on his lips, voice reduced to little more than a discordant crackling, incoherent and indecipherable. Glassy pink eyes stared back at her unseeingly for several heartbeats, before the arcane markings on his face flared to life, identical runes circling the trembling hand he brought up.
The only answer was a pulse of potent arcane magic that shot straight past her, horribly off the mark. It crashed into the wall instead, leaving behind a massive smoking dent in the metal. For a moment, Yen looked down at his own hand disbelievingly, then back up at her. His jaw worked for several seconds, struggling to piece together the words through the garbled mess of his own speech.
Her first instinct was to reach out, to try and diagnose the problem somehow - it was what she had been trained to do from the very beginning. A fit, something gone wrong with the melding between dragon and machine that caused his power to run rampant, she reasoned. Fixable if she acted swiftly, but for that she needed backup. Another tremor ran through him, limbs twitching erratically and still sparking with magic. “Hang in there,” she breathed, leaning over to press a button on the wall that would summon more medics. Yen’s eyes rolled back into his head, Mallory seizing hold of him before he could thrash about and hurt himself, swallowing down the confusion that burned at her conscience.
This wasn’t him. This was not her friend. He would never hurt her, not willingly.
Yen had said so himself, hadn’t he?
“Stay still, I don’t want to hurt you,” she pleaded, hoping upon hope that help would arrive soon. Why were they taking so long? Medics were usually on duty around the clock, someone should have come as soon as she’d hit the call button. Her feet drummed an anxious beat against the floor, still keeping the other pinned down - not that he was putting up much resistance, his entire body had gone limp in her grasp, eyes fluttering shut. A forced shutdown? No, he wasn’t fully mechanical, surely that was impossible. Unconsciousness would be the best blessing he could hope for, and seeing as he had quit struggling, she finally dared to loosen her grip on him.
Yen’s eyes snapped open.
Lurching free with an unexpected twist of his body, he scrambled upright and out of her reach. Her claws closed on nothing but air, too late she realised he had gotten away. A pink globule of swirling energy formed at his clawtips, his arm sharply jutting forward to send it streaking in her direction. This time it clipped her on the shoulder, wrenched a piece of steel plating free and sent it crashing into the wall with a ringing clang. She hissed sharply, her systems already reacting to the pain and demanding an immediate repair.
“Please,” she repeated desperately, grabbing onto the few remaining strands of silvery hope, “I don’t want to hurt you.” For a moment, the skydancer hesitated, head cocked as if listening - to her, she hoped, but there was no guarantee. Their eyes locked in that split second, crystal clarity restored if only for a moment, yet it took Mallory completely aback - that couldn’t possibly be it.
In that instant, she would have sworn he was begging her to kill him.
Then the light in his eyes flickered out.
Glowing runes encircled his outstretched arm, eyes illuminated with a hellish light as he launched a pulsating orb of arcane magic at her. Down she dropped, rolling harmlessly underneath, not away, but towards him. Overhead, the sirens wailed their clarion call, shrill and piercing - danger, danger, run while you still can. Her lunge sent them toppling backwards, a mess of entangled limbs, claws scrabbling to find purchase on polished metal. Every instinct in her screamed to stop, to ease his suffering somehow, but it was far too dangerous to let go now. This was not the gentle Yen she had known, but something else controlling his body with the ease of a master puppeteer. Twice, he had missed, but she would not be so fortunate the third time.
What had gone wrong?
Gone was the familiar smile, the childish demeanour, the happy-go-lucky skip in his step. The creature before her thrashed like a wild beast, jaws parted in a silent snarl. Where was her friend the collector, the peacemaker, who only knew how to offer pretty stones in exchange for friendship? Where was the dragon she had once sat down with to admire his collection of rare gems, the awkward little soul who stumbled over his own words in his eagerness to please?
At the sound of her name she turned, half-surprised he’d even remembered it at all. He bounded up, a gleaming gemstone clutched in his claws, as clear and bright blue as the sky itself. “A gift, for a friend,” he hastily explained, offering it to her with an expectant look. Flattered, but equally bewildered, she’d taken a moment too long to respond, and before she could even manage a thank you he was already frowning.
“You don’t like that one? That’s okay, Yen has many more rocks.” Rummaging in the pouch at his waist, he soon fished out another jewel, a chunk of uncut pale rose quartz. “This one, or maybe something different for a special friend?” A moment later he produced another one, veined with streaks of deep amethyst, positively beaming at the delighted expression on her face.
“Thank you. I’ll be sure to treasure this gift,” she told him, reaching out to gently trace the curve of the polished gem before closing her claws-
-around his throat.
For a single heartbeat, she saw true terror in his eyes. The next instant he had lashed out with a vicious kick, knocking her off and scrambling upright. His head jerked upwards, swivelling stiffly from side to side, gaze fixated on something she couldn’t see, something beyond the walls of the medic wing. Before she could even regain her footing he was off like a shot, disappearing out the doorway just as she’d gotten up.
Outside, the sirens had ceased, only to be replaced by the grating clash of metal against metal, and the screams of those who had been caught unawares by the sudden onslaught. Thick smoke was pouring from several machines, trampled beyond repair by heavy feet. She caught a glimpse of Yen’s tail flickering out of sight from across the hall, but before she could give chase-
An icicle thudded into the wall inches from her head, followed by another as she hit the ground. Their chill was apparent even without touching them, wisps of icy mist emanating from the glacial spikes. A vicious snarl sounded as Glaze swiped at the mottled spiral with ice-tipped claws. They glanced harmlessly off steel with a screech as the android twisted aside.
Slender vines caught the mirror dragon mid-leap, thorns digging deep into the flesh. With a howl of pain she lashed out - once, twice, her blows didn't even faze the android, who only tightened his grip. Thin lines of red slashed the mirror's skin, but that didn't stop her from trying to thrash free of the prickly tendrils. The harder she struggled the tighter they wound, coiled like serpents around their prey. Glaze opened her mouth, but even her furious bellow was cut off as vines curled around her snout and wrapped it firmly shut. Only her defiant eyes remained uncovered, locking onto Mallory’s own - pleading, she knew, for help, but for what?
What to do? A quick glance around showed no weapons in sight. The only way forward was blocked by a wall of dense brambles standing as tall as she was. Up ahead, a horrified shriek rang out, followed by the dull, crunching noise of metal being crushed. Glaze’s thrashing was getting weaker, every wriggle driving the brambles deeper. From the spiral’s claws sprouted six-inch thorns, each as sharp as a dagger. They hovered over Glaze’s wide eyes, before he raised his hand to drive them home-
Before she could think she’d yanked free the icicle buried in the wall and hurled it at him. It cut clean through the vines snaring Glaze’s wrist, a sharp hiss leaving the primal as it recoiled, before lashing out at her with viciously thorned tendrils. They tore rents in the metal of her cheek and sent her staggering even as they surged towards her-
But Glaze was there with a battlecry of her own, slashing at the ropes of ivy before turning back to her for a heartbeat. “Run,” she rasped, “find the leaders, they’ll know what to do, hurry!”
“Are you sure-” she broke off as Glaze threw herself back into the battle, tackling the spiral and ripping away at the layers of protective steel encasing its body. All the other could manage was a curt jerk of her head down before vines snaked out to catch her wrist, and just like that they were locked in a tussle for life and death. A booming explosion made her head snap upwards, and she took off running for the heart of FL/GHT Headquarters. The leaders had to know something about this mess, surely they would know what to do. They would regroup, drive out the allies-turned-enemies and live to fight another day, just as they always had.
(she didn’t want to linger on the possibility of what would happen if they were at just as much of a loss as she was.)
A blinding flash of light magic nearly sent her swerving sideways as a wildclaw stumbled back, away from the gusting whirlwind created by a hovering skydancer. The wind threatened to buffet her backwards, but Mallory forced her way through regardless. Said wildclaw’s circuits were oddly distorted, dripping crimson onto the pristine floor, but she had no time to ponder it over. It would be the first of many fights she would be forced to run past instead of stopping to help as duty demanded.
Firna’s door slammed open from across the hallway, shadows as deep as the void spilling out into the corridor. A snapping jaw here, a lashing tail there, it was all she could do to duck out of their way as the darkness deepened and obscured her sight of the battling dragons completely. Past the Intelligence faction’s wing, through the winding maze of passageways and tight corners, almost running straight into a screaming coatl.
“They’re dead! They’re all dead!”
Her pulse quickened. It couldn’t be. Before she could question her, however, the coatl was long gone, bolting for the nearest exit. All she could do was press onwards into the main atrium, which was swarmed with dragons fleeing left and right from the intruders. Those who got left behind were struck down without mercy, or trampled beneath the feet of others in their wild panic. The air was thick with the cries of the helpless, voices overlapping above one another until she could scarcely hear her own thoughts over the deafening commotion.
“We’re all going to die!”
“Someone help me!”
“No! Let go of him, you monster!”
No, no, no, this wasn't supposed to happen. Everywhere she turned the screams of the dead and the dying rang in her ears, one more dragon brought to their knees, one more life snuffed out before its rightful time. Her throat was tight, no sign of aid to be found in the bodies lying broken and destroyed across the floor. Every fresh scream tore bullet holes through what little hope she had left, she was sinking deeper and deeper into the abyss - surely it was a better fate than this unending despair that threatened to swallow her whole. It had to be a dream, some twisted illusion playing tricks on her mind, but the reverberating clash of steel on steel brought her back to her senses soon enough.
Amidst the chaos, several dragons held their ground, beating their foes back with every weapon in their arsenals. She spotted Torstyn and Starnac facing off an imperial several paces away, spewing flames that burned white-hot and left the air smelling distinctly of ozone. Hope flared deep inside her chest, she jostled her way through the masses to stand beside them.
"Where's Ashe?!" Mallory demanded, raising her voice to be heard above the crowd.
Torstyn glanced up, teeth gritted as he shoved the heavier dragon off him and jabbed his trident at it. "No one knows! Some say she's dead-"
"Ashe? Dead? It can't be!"
"Calm down, I said no one knows-"
"The primals were headed their way, I saw them!" She whipped around, trying to discern who had said it, but they were lost amidst the throng of dragons.
What? That couldn’t be right. A plume of explosive fire aimed her way sent her skittering back, breaking into a mad dash for the offices of the respective heads. All around her were familiar faces, contorted and twisted beyond recognition with fury, fear, anything between the two, always with the unanswered question hammering at her thoughts - why, why, why?
How far she’d run, she couldn’t tell. Past the throng of dragons, up a set of stairs and around the corner until she spotted the gleaming doors of the executive meeting room. A plasma arrow whizzing past her face told her all she needed to know - Ashe was in there, and for as long as she fought, FL/GHT would fight with her.
The door slammed open just as she reached it, a flurry of white and red bursting out the doorway. Dark eyes brightened with recognition as the other skydancer straightened, though a bolt of lightning flying overhead forced her to duck.
“No time, run!” The Head of the Medics faction had never sounded so desperate, shoving her backwards. Bewildered, all she could do was stare - what’s happening , why are we fighting the ones we freed, what do we do - but none of those questions ever made it past her lips. A thunderous boom shook the chamber within, the vibrations reverberating through the ground. Grabbing her by the arm, Mercy yanked her back the way she’d come, wincing as a heavy thud resounded behind them. “We have to go, we can’t fight this,” she yelled above the roar that split the air - a warrior’s cry, followed by the screech of metal.
“Can’t fight what-”
For an instant, Mercy’s eyes went wide, before she threw Mallory back with strength she hadn’t known the other even had. She hit the floor hard, groaning at the jarring impact, looked up just in time for dark blood to splatter across her face.
In that instant, time ceased to exist.
She fell, not gracefully as she had always carried herself in life, but with a sickening whump. White feathers drifted to the ground beside her, landing in a growing pool of crimson blood.
Mercy, the name which she had been christened with. Head of the Medics, one whose benevolence and passion for saving the lost was rivalled by none. Mercy, who had devoted her life to saving all she could reach, and would give her life for that very belief.
Mallory barely registered the sound of her own scream ringing in her ears as she scrambled to her feet, dropped to her knees beside the fallen body of her superior - no, their guiding matron, their guiding light - every ragged breath raw with disbelieving shock.
“I wish you’d been my child,” Mercy chuckled, ruffling the feathers on her head affectionately. Her eyes were light with amusement. “I would’ve liked to teach you all I know, but with things as busy as they are, we don’t have that sort of time.”
“Maybe one day,” she offered, hoisting up the box of spare parts from Mercy’s worktop bench.
Her smile had been as radiant as the sun. “One day,” the other agreed, reaching out to pat her on the shoulder reassuringly.
You were our hope. Our sun. Without you, what will we do?
Trembling, Mallory bowed her head, her throat tight with unspoken words - things she’d never gotten to say, and never would. One hand found Mercy’s own - already her skin was cooling, the warmth that had always accompanied her in life slipping away by the second - and squeezed it. The background noise had faded to a distant crackling in her ears, growing more deafening by the second as she hunched over Mercy’s corpse, only to never see the fatal blow that would spell her doom as it came hurtling down-
There was a flicker of regret in Yen’s eyes, when he drew his hand back, the runes fading as quickly as they’d formed.
A voice crackled in his ears.
“You have your orders.”
He closed his eyes reluctantly, stealing a last glance at the still forms of both dragons at his feet.
His body moved of its own volition, bounding into the board chamber room, where his true targets awaited.
There were eleven of them.
Two in the field unit barracks. Three in the medic wing. Two in the intelligence chambers. Four in headquarters. One for each flight, and one madman.
She gritted her teeth as spikes of solid ice jutting out from the floor forced her backwards, rolling out of harm’s way as the other imperial levelled icicle after icicle at her. Her first shot sliced clean through the glacial spear, plasma tip sizzling with heat. The next one lodged itself firmly in the android’s elbow, and the third took the lower limb clean off its joint. Roaring with pain, the other dragon fell back, clutching at the remaining stump.
Too late. An explosive blast of shadow magic tore right through the metallic plating of her tail as she lurched to the side. Seconds later, another charge erupted just above her - just barely missing the top of her head as she dropped low, though it crashed into the wall with a thunderous boom, leaving a smouldering dent in the metal. She came up with an arrow nocked and ready to fire, though she nearly dropped her bow entirely when she recognised the dragon in her sights.
“I thought you were better than this.”
Kype paused, cocking his head ever so slightly. “Not ours,” he croaked at last, his hand jerking upwards to hurl a pulsating globe of darkness at her, though his arm shook so horribly that it didn’t even come close to touching her. “Never our choice. Please,” he stumbled, outstretched hands blindly grasping at thin air before closing over her arm with a grip as strong as steel, leaning in close enough for his breath to fan her face.
“Please kill us.”
Horrified, she wrenched herself free at once, a chill running down her spine at the implications of his request. “What are you saying?” she managed, lowering her bow just for a moment, too stunned to react.
“It’s her. She-”
That sentence was never completed. Something slammed straight into him, claws wrapped around his throat, steel giving way with a sickening crunch as her would-be savior launched him out the doorway with a powerful throw. Huffing, RAM turned back to her with a grim smile, offering a short “Thank me later” before throwing herself into the fray, ROM following hot on her heels. Her mind still reeling with unanswered questions, it was a miracle that she managed to leap out of the way of a sizzling fireball before it exploded.
She was vaguely aware of her fellow Heads struggling against the merciless onslaught, but what could she do? It took all she had to hold her own, much less come to the aid of others. Tryndamere’s familiar war cry split the air, blade slicing clean through metal and wires in a shower of sparks. The lightning primal howled in exchange, retaliating with a jarring pulse of electricity that scrambled her sensors and sent Tryndamere stumbling backwards. Sound faded in and out of her ears, crackling with indistinguishable static, it was luck alone that drove her to look up, barely registering the incoming thud of footsteps thundering her way until the plague primal was almost on her.
The first arrow whistled harmlessly past. The second thudded into the charging primal’s shoulder and sent it stumbling, but barely. By the time her trembling claws had notched a third arrow, there was a total of three centimeters between them and suddenly none at all-
The impact knocked her flat on her back, almost losing her grip on her bow completely. A snarling wildclaw greeted her seconds later, claws raking at her unprotected face before she could lift her arms to defend herself. Something wet dripped onto her chin, and with a start Ashe realised it was pus - leaking from the eyes of one very enraged Nurelion. Before she could think to throw the other off, another vicious swipe of claws had sent her reeling, sharp pain radiating from a single glass eye - now scratched and useless in its socket. Half-blind, she lashed out with her bow, felt one of the ends collide with something solid and shoved with all the strength she had.
Her efforts were rewarded with a grunt and a lightening of the weight atop her. In her haste, she nearly let go of the plasma arrow before it could form, managed to draw it back - though it was a miserable shot that flew right into the wall. Through her remaining eye she glimpsed Tryndamere’s slumped silhouette, still sparking with electricity, dread sinking heavy in her chest. To the left lay CIPHER.exe’s twitching body, valiantly defended by RAM and ROM against the searing heat of the fire primal’s scorching breath. Thundering footsteps alerted her to the plague primal’s own charge, but before she could bring her weapon to bear, all three dragons halted in their tracks.
The lights flickered out.
Beneath them, the ground shook with a terrible rumble that seemed to come from the belly of the earth itself. Machinery, spare parts, computers, all came tumbling down in an ear-splitting crash, fragments of glass and broken shrapnel scattered across the floor like so many fallen stars. She stumbled, lost her footing, smacking her shoulder painfully against the corner of the desk. The very walls of the place seemed to split apart, gaping maws yawning wide and cracking the once-pristine, polished paint. The lights were flickering violently, alarms flashing bright red and blue through the darkness.
Fumbling for the hidden lever in the wall, she caught sight of a tail whipping around a corner, although it was impossible to tell who it belonged to. Squinting through a cloud of dust, she could just barely make out his hulking figure on the opposite side of the room, struggling to haul himself upright.
“Tryndamere,” she called, and his head jerked up at the sound of her voice, eyebrows knitted into a bewildered frown until he caught on to what she was doing. Her claws caught on the cover of the panel at last, Ashe hastily flipping it open and yanking the lever down. Across, something emerged from within the wall itself - a simple numeric keypad - and Tryndamere punched in the access code as quickly as he could manage. There was a sharp hissing noise, before a section of the wall slid aside to reveal a secret exit, leading to yet another one of their underground bases.
Another tremor, this one far stronger than the last. Muttered cursing behind her told her that RAM and ROM had attempted to carry the unconscious CIPHER out and promptly lost their balance. It was all she herself could do to crawl to the intercom, frantically mashing the buttons until it crackled to life. “This is Ashe,” she began, wincing as another quake shook the entire base, almost drowning her out completely. “You need to get out of here, now. Emergency tunnel is in Boardroom 6, I repeat, emergency tunnel in Boardroom 6. We’ll hold the door as long as we can.”
‘As long as we can’ turned out to be a grand total of ten minutes. Dragon after dragon shoved and jostled to get to the tunnel entrance first, despite their best attempts at order. Each tremor was stronger than the last, shaking the very foundations of the base like an errant child throwing a tantrum. Just one more, Ashe thought, one more and then they would leave, but there they stayed regardless.The ceiling itself was cracking apart, showering them in dust even as a terrible groan sounded, metal crumpling in on itself and giving way-
“Almost there,” she called, extending a hand to the last few stragglers, glancing up apprehensively at the ceiling and praying it would hold for just a few more seconds. Just a little further, and that would be the last of them - out of those that had been able to make it here in the first place, that is. The ground shook violently, throwing her to her knees, and through her remaining eye she could just barely make out the figures of the remaining dragons, scrambling to regain their footing.
Their chance would never come.
With a final, shuddering groan, the ceiling came crashing down along with an avalanche of rock and dust, sealing off the escape route for good. The last she heard was a panicked scream that cut off abruptly as the ceiling collapsed on itself, and then unsettling silence.
A single hand stuck out from beneath the pile of debris, still twitching jerkily. Horrified, she reached out to it, but before she could try to pull them free someone was tugging her backwards, in the direction of safety.
“Ashe. Ashe, please, we can’t save them.” CIPHER, staring at her with pleading eyes, still firmly latched onto her arm even as Ashe attempted to wrench herself free. “Please,” she repeated, and she’d never heard the bubbly Head of Intelligence sound so pained, “we need you.”
“We can’t lose you, too.”
Stricken with guilt, it took another forceful tug from CIPHER to get her moving again, reluctantly accepting the truth of the other’s words. There would be time to grieve later. Her people came first.
She stole a last, fleeting glance back at the wreckage, and mouthed a silent goodbye.
“Mission report, Selena.”
Her gaze never left the screen even as she spoke, still monitoring the individual feed of information from each of the subjects.
“Project Wetware was a success.” She spun around in her chair, seemingly satisfied with the results she’d documented. A press of a button enlarged one of the live camera feeds displayed onscreen, showing the broken ruins of what was once a grand underground base, now nothing more than a pile of crushed metal and rocks. There was no other movement to be found amidst the rubble.
“Letting them escape wasn’t part of the plan, but it worked out in the end.” Her lips curled into a triumphant smirk, eyeing a seething Jayce with barely-disguised glee. “Who was the one who begged me to terminate them the moment they were freed?”
“There was no begging. I deemed it a huge risk to Project, allowing our most advanced subjects to join FL/GHT. Our superiors would have thought the same.” He hissed from between clenched teeth, though Selena’s ensuing laugh silenced him.
“But look what came out of my plan in the end - FL/GHT is no more, just like that.” A snap of her fingers, before she turned her attention back to the screen and keyed in several commands - return to Project base immediately, deliver status report to authorised key personnel. “FL/GHT is gone, Project Wetware is proven to be a success, and we retain our experimental subjects. Quite the ideal outcome, I’d say. And you, Jayce, what have you done to contribute to this?”
There was a gleam of bright malice in those eyes, when she waved him off. “Run along, now, Jayce. I have to prepare the full report for the higher-ups.” With a mocking laugh, she turned her back on him, claws clicking across the keyboard.
He knew then, that trusting her would be nothing more than a mistake.
Striding out of the room and retreating to his office, he slowly withdrew his phone from his pocket, staring down at the lockscreen wallpaper - her face, last seen bearing an expression of utmost hurt and betrayal. Could she forgive him, he wondered, or was it too late for such regrets? Had she even survived the brutal assault on FL/GHT? He closed his eyes for a moment, before heaving a sigh and dialing the number, praying to whatever gods there might be that she would answer.
“...Glaze? It’s Jayce. We need to talk.”