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One Less Stray Bullet

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"Anna! Anna!" Gary screamed again, coughing in between yells. He rounded a corner and—there! She sat slumped against a crate, but her eyes moved to see him as he moved in front of her. Gary crouched down to talk to her better. "Anna, I'm glad you're OK. I told them you shouldn't get hurt, because you didn't do anything to hurt anyone."

Her eyes flicked back and forth for a moment, then stopped.

"Oh, you don't have your tablet to talk with," Gary said. He frowned for a moment, coughing again. "I'll get you a new one. We're going to get you out of here. Bill promised me he would protect you." He stood up again. "Bill! Dr. Rosen! I found Anna!"

Dr. Rosen hurried over and knelt next to Anna. His eyes quickly flicked over her frame then met her eyes. "Anna, we need to move you out of here. It's not safe here." He stood and waved the agents over who had followed him. "This woman needs to be carried out. She has limited mobility and cannot harm anyone. She should not be treated as a combatant."

Gary followed Dr. Rosen and the agents outside. "Dr. Rosen, we need to get a tablet, so Anna can talk again."

"I'm afraid that may not be possible, Gary," Dr. Rosen said with a sigh. "A tablet could be used to communicate with Stanton Parish."

Gary opened his mouth to answer, but instead watched with alarm as the agents began to place handcuffs on Anna. He ran over to insert himself between her and them. "No, you don't need to do that! Anna didn't hurt anyone!"

The agents backed off as Dr. Rosen began to argue with them—and Agent Sullivan.

Gary ignored them all in favor of talking to Anna. "They shouldn't handcuff you; you aren't going to hurt anyone."

The argument behind him grew louder but quickly died. "Gary, I need you to let them do their job now," said Dr. Rosen.

"But they shouldn't handcuff her! She needs to be able to talk," Gary protested.

"I know, I know," Dr. Rosen said. "Agent Sullivan has agreed that she can go without handcuffs."

An agent picked her up and carried her to a waiting vehicle. Gary began to follow him.

"Gary, we need to wait over here."

"But I'm going to go be with Anna," said Gary.

Dr. Rosen shook his head. "Not right now; you need to stay here till the team is all done. Then we can talk about Anna."

Gary scowled but stayed put, watching as they sedated another Alpha and put them in the vehicle as well before driving off. "Wait, Dr. Rosen, where are they taking her?"

"I'm afraid they're taking her to Binghamton, Gary."

"But she didn't hurt anyone!" Gary shouted.

"Not here. But by helping Red Flag, by encoding their transmissions… She isn't using her ability for good," said Dr. Rosen. "Look," he told Gary, when the young man was about to yell again, "you got Anna out of there safely. You protected her. She could have been killed, but she's alive and safe. That's all we can do for her right now. I'll be sure to explain to them about her disability, and see if they can't find somewhere to put her where she can't access any electronic signals, so she can have a tablet again."

"I want to visit her," Gary insisted.

"I'll do my best to make that happen. But right now, I need you to stay here with me, OK?"

A frown was Gary's only answer, as he glared at the rest of the agents. Anna didn't hurt anyone; they shouldn't lock her up, his thoughts repeated. The frown remained even when the others returned safely.