In which Melanie finally breaks down, after a difficult childbirth and overwhelming threats against everything she holds dear…..
Marty forced a cough. That drew three sharp glares from Melanie, Deirdre and Sarah. “I’d like to know just what is going on,” he said. “Did you capture Liam and Conley?”
Melanie sighed and slid back to her mound of pillows, pulling her knees to her chest. “No. We did not. But we did lock them down. For the moment they’re out of play. This problem is Gizmo.”
“Gizmo will cut them loose if it thinks it’ll get Bess that way!” Sarah growled.
“What’s going on with Gizmo and Bess?” Diana asked.
“Gizmo’s hunting Bess,” Sarah said.
“And I’m feeling it,” Melanie said in a low voice, resting her forehead on her knees. “One hell of a headache.”
“Oh, no,” Diana said. “That reaction from–the device–is not what we expected.”
Melanie lifted her head wearily. “Then just what the hell did you expect from my child, Mother? God knows, you’ve been pushing me to reproduce for how many years now? Why is my child so damned important?” She hurled a pillow across the room. “Jesus. Motherfucking. Christ. I go through hell to bear this child, and god knows what I’ve done to her by taking her virtual, and now this fucking thing wants her for some sort of weird torture or power or what? God. Damn. It. And God. Damn. You, for putting me through this!“
Marty shuddered at the bitterness in her voice.
Diana paled and backed away from the baleful glare Melanie gave her.
“What is it going to take to keep my child safe?”
“I’ve been through this myself,” Diana said in a placating voice. “Mel, you’re not the only one who’s had to go through this. I–“
“Don’t give me that bullshit.” Melanie’s voice rose to a hysterical pitch. “What does it take to keep my child safe from Gizmo?” She moaned and clutched her head.
Marty slid close to her. Cradling Bess in one arm, he pulled Melanie close. She buried her head in his chest, shaking. Her tears dampened his shirt. Bess whimpered along with her mother.
“That’s enough, Diana,” he said firmly. “And you too, Sarah. This is fucking enough. How do we stop it?”
How do we destroy Gizmo?
“We manage it, not control it,” Diana said.
“That’s failed,” Deirdre said sharply, straightening her slight form.