Winny had never liked being the center of attention. The stares reminded her far too much of the time when she had been nothing more than an experiment on Avia. That was nearly six years ago though and the stares this time were coming from the few people in the world she considered family.
She couldn’t even meet Tucker’s stare from her side. Even he was staring at her like she’d grown a second head but she could practically feel the tenseness in his body from where she stood.
“Have you lost your goddamn mind?” Her eyes rose to meet the raging blue of Adaline’s. Behind that rage though was worry and a fear that she couldn’t say she herself didn’t still have. “There is no way you’re going to be the one to go into that place! Not after what you’ve just told us!”
Despite her attempt at being brave, Winny flinched at the memory. It was bad enough to learn that there was an Avia scientist that hadn’t been on the island when it was destroyed, then to find out it was Doctor Kox only made it so much worse. He’d petitioned to take over her sessions in the ‘classroom’, sure that he could get her to use her powers the way they wanted whereas her other torturers had failed.
“But it’s the best way.” She murmured, hugging her arms to herself. It wasn’t ideal but she was the best candidate for this little mission of theirs. “He was a part of the team assigned to me and bringing me to him is guaranteed to get Ryker inside without any of you guys getting hurt. From there he can disable the alarms and you won’t get hurt.”
“And that leaves you at Kox’s mercy while he does that,” she’d never heard Ben lose his temper but there was anger simmering just under the surface of his words. It touched her that they all cared so much but she wanted to do this.
“Do you think we want to risk you getting hurt either? The man was demented; he wanted to dissect you if they couldn’t use you.” This time it was Ani voicing her displeasure with the idea even as she took Ada’s spot giving comfort to Vivika. Viv and Ada were probably the most familiar with Kox, besides herself. He was cruel and even the favorites kept in their cells whenever he was patrolling.
“And if he’s building another Avia? He already went after Logan. If there are others in that facility like us then we need to ensure that they’re going to be safe during this too.” Winny pushed, shaking her head before looking around. Each of them still had scars that pained them from Avia, some more than others, and knew they wouldn’t let others suffer the same way. Finally meeting Tucker’s gaze, his absolute hatred of the whole plan was blaringly obvious but he was part of the reason she wanted to do this.
She couldn’t stand by if there was a chance there were children who, like him, had been taken young and stuffed in dark rooms until they believed they were the monsters. No, she wouldn’t let that happen again.
“No.” Unsurprisingly, Tucker was completely against the idea but a second no echoed from their leader of sorts. Ryker’s eyes blazed with almost as much anger as Ada’s did and it was unsettling. But it was more unsettling that he and Tucker were actually working together for something. She watched with equal parts fascination and frustration as they shared a look before turning back to her.
“We’ll find another way, Win, we won’t use you as bait when that man has always wanted a crack at your powers.”
“There isn’t another way! You’re the only one he never met so you can pose as the doctor but Kox wasn’t ever interested in the rest of you and he’s more likely to put Tuck or Ben down than to take them in long enough for you to get in.”
“Winny, I can’t-…”
“You aren’t listening to me, none of you are! I was like an obsession so I’ve got the best chance as the distraction. Besides, I’m not the same girl that he knew on Avia.” The others had fallen silent while she argued, leaving Ryker and Tucker to deal with it now. They had to decide what to do about this but no one was willing to use her plan.
“He could kill you too.” Tucker’s tone was low, angry, and Winny hated hearing that more than she did the actual words. “You won’t sacrifice yourself for this.”
Ryker’s hand landed on her shoulder and she looked away from the both of them. It was the best plan any of them had come up with and yet they wouldn’t even consider it.
“We will find a way; we’ll make sure everyone is safe. Don’t worry.”
“And if you don’t?” She looked around the room, taking in the various expressions of her friends. “If you can’t think of a plan, then what?”
“Then we do it Tuck and Ben’s way.”
They’d destroy the facility just as thoroughly as they had Avia, one way or another.