Infrared Isolation: Chapter 19

New to the series or certain you’ve missed a chapter? You can find the introduction Here and the table of contents Here.

We charged into the smoke and screams, moving swiftly and as quietly as we could. The grenades had done most of the work for us, blowing up the machine gun emplacement they’d set up far too close to us for their own good, and taking out most of the operators. One of them had survived, shielded by his companions and the bulk of the gun itself, and was able to bring the gun to bear as we charged. Since there wasn’t someone to manage what was left of the ammunition belt, it quickly tangled, but he was still able to cut down both of the Wayfinders in the lead.

Cam and I ducked around, making space as Cam fired on the final Cultist in the nest and I pressed up against the wall, looking into the room past the mangled mess that remained of the mostly exploded machine gun nest. I saw a figure dashing down a hallway and put a couple bullets in their back as I saw Tiffany do the same across the hall from me. As soon as the two of us lifted our guns out of firing position, Cam was up and over the barricade and into the room. A moment later, they called back “Clear” and the rest of us started to file in.

Before I joined everyone else, I turned back to the two downed Wayfinders. As I walked over to them, Tiffany tossed me a medical kit she’d collected from one of the rooms, so I could do some field dressing if needed. One of the injured Wayfinders was already being helped back to the guard post, though, keeping their weight off of one leg that was dripping blood on the floor. The other one was already dead and being gently moved to the side by Lucas. The Wayfinder with the injured leg could be treated by anyone in the group and probably some of the Naturalist Noncombatants and there was nothing I could do for the other one, so I moved on.

As I hopped across the barrier, doing my best not to step in any of the mess beneath me, I took in the large intersection we found ourselves in. Down one hallway lay the person I shot, blood coating the floor and wall around them. I dimly recognized one of the Cultists, but I was surprised to see he wasn’t wearing any body armor. I glanced down the hallway across from mine, where Tiffany had shot someone, and saw the same thing. I glanced back at the mess around the machine gun nest and saw that only one person, the one who had survived the grenades, was wearing body armor.

Before I could process this or even begin to guess what it meant, Cam was barking out orders. “I want the northern and western doors blocked immediately. Eastern door leads to their training rooms, so I bet there’s gear we could use in there. I also bet there’s people waiting for us, so we’re going to do the same thing again. Stack up, toss grenades, take cover, and then clear. My squad and the scouts stay here to cover our rear, Naturalist squads in reserve to reinforce once we’ve got a foothold. Go, go, go.”

Everyone followed their commands and I found myself at the front once again, standing next to Cam. As we watched everyone else get into position, I gestured at the body before us. “No armor, Captain. Same for the nest and the other hallway.”

“So?” Cam was checking their weapons and tracing a finger along their extra magazines and grenades on the back of their belt, clearly focused on the room ahead already.

“So, where is the armor? Why didn’t we find stands or bins anywhere? Someone out there has the rest of this stuff and I’m finding it hard to believe they set out their best without armor on. Maybe just that one guy, a commander of some kind. I think their main force is deeper into the base.”

“Noted.” Cam didn’t even stop their preparations to look in my direction, but I knew they were adding my observations to the giant pool of information in their head. This was how we worked. Always keeping each other informed and letting the other person lead in their areas of expertise. I knew, without a doubt, that the Wayfinders would have never made it this far, that none of us would have lasted this long, without our teamwork.

So I let them focus once I’d given them everything I knew and turned my mind to figuring out what to expect. If I had been able to see the map that Cam had found, I could probably figure something out, but I was operating in the dark.

After silence fell, Cam signaled for the front squad to move up and, after stacking around the door, checked it for traps. It was another steel door, but it lacked the reinforcement and banding that the previous two had. It didn’t even have a proper doorknob or latch, just a handle. The only way it could have been locked was if there was a bar on the other side of the door, to hold it closed, but it seemed to shift under all but Cam’s lightest touch. It seemed like it had been installed but that whoever had put it in had stopped a few steps short of actually reinforcing it or even finishing the job.

When they were satisfied it was clear, Cam nodded to me and I threw the door open. I immediately dropped prone, but not fast enough to avoid every shot. One hit me in my chest, right in the armor, and only the fact that I was already dropping kept it from spinning me around. I stifled a groan in pain as I brought up my rifle to start firing at whoever had shot me, but I could see Cultists and Laborers already falling to the ground as the people behind me had begun returning fire.

“Cover!” Cam yelled as they heaved a pair of grenades into the room, expertly bouncing them off a support pillar so they landed behind the Wayfinder barricades set up in the middle of the room. I rolled quickly to the side, tucking my head so that the broad plate covering my back was the biggest target exposed to the open door. A moment later, there was the whump of air pressure shiting out of the room as the grenades exploded, the sound of it drowning out any noise those still alive in the room might have made.

Cam signaled us forward, so I pushed myself to my feet and staggered into the room, staying low and covered the right side as Wayfinder Matthews stood above me. As we turned the corner, we found half a dozen Laborers, Wayfinder rifles in hand, waiting for us to push into the room. In a trio of shots each, we dropped them where they stood and moved on to check the rest of the room. Cam and Laura went left and, after a quick pace around the room, we met back up on the opposite wall.

“All clear” Cam called to the Wayfinders and Naturalists in the foyer. “Strip what we can. Anyone not collecting guns and ammo is assessing barricades. Marshall, you’re heading that up.”

I nodded to Cam and moved over to the barricades, quickly tossing a few aside that had been warped by the grenades Cam threw. As Naturalists started gathering around me, I pointed to the rest and started walking them through how to check and repair them.

“Dents are fine, as are some tears in the metal. As long as you can’t poke anything through the center section, marked by that black material on the side with handles, they’re still good. If anything’s loose, try to hammer it back into place. It’s all pins, welding, and nails, so if it can’t be shoved back into place, it’s not fixable right now. Any but the four over there can be repaired, so don’t add to that pile if you don’t think it’s good enough right now. Once you’re done, call me over and I’ll check your work.”

There were murmurs of assent, most of them muffled behind hands as people tried not to vomit at all of the blood and gore covering the barricades. A couple people moved away to retch in corners after picking up their barricades and seeing the grizzly scene behind them. Most of these Cultists and Laborers hadn’t been wearing armor, either. The only two who had any had died in the first salvo, taken down by shots to head. I just did my best to ignore it.

As I handed off the last barricade, the Naturalist man I was giving it to looked over at the twisted metal of the broken barricades and then the mess behind me. “Seems a shame to waste your precious barricades with grenades like that. Couldn’t you just have shot them and skipped all this work?”

“Can’t use them if we’re dead. Speed is our priority right now and we can always make more. No shortage of parts in any Enclave.” I gave the barricade he was holding a bit of a push. “Hop to it.”

The man nodded and walked off, almost sitting in a pile of vomit as he went to work. If it wasn’t for the somewhat glazed look to his eyes, I’d think him a battle-hardened soldier of some kind. The shock written across his face painted another picture entirely, though. I kept an eye on him as I worked my way around the room, passing final judgment on the work of the Naturalists who finished quickly. He quickly lost his focus on what he was doing, which was fine because I already knew the barricade I’d given him wasn’t viable thanks to a finger-sized hole smack-dab in the middle of, so I turned my attention to the other Naturalists.

Aside from the few who had vomited, most of them looked uncomfortable and unhappy. It could have been anything from their capture to their imprisonment to the violence they were witnessing, but it let me know they were mostly fine. As long as they were processing what was happening or, at the very least, staying attentive, I wasn’t worried. I did find other people who seemed to have been shocked into mild disassociation, so I made a note to send them back to join the noncombatants. After taking their guns away, of course. Only one protested, but she stopped quickly when I pointed out that she wasn’t even looking at me as she did.

The Wayfinders were faring better. With the exception of one or two of our younger members, we’d all been through this once or twice before. Not being captured, of course, but this level of bloodshed. We were the only group of Wayfinders that did big groups, after all. Everyone else could employ stealth and secrecy to move around. We needed firepower and skill. Even the newest members had already been through a few firefights. That was one of the requirements to join my group, to have survived an encounter with Cultists or bandits while escorting a smaller group. We couldn’t afford to have anyone freezing up.

As I finished my rounds, Cam walked up to me. “They all have our guns, so all of us are back up to fighting strength. No rifles, though. Plenty of bullets. No grenades, no medicine, no supplies, but plenty of guns and ammo. Seems they forgot to empty the training room as they moved.”

I nodded but didn’t say anything. After a moment, Cam leaned in closer and whispered “How’s everyone?”

I sighed and whispered back. “Mostly fine. Stick to Wayfinders for now. Not sure any of the Naturalists will help much here. They’re used to defending, not attacking. And probably chasing people off more than killing them. There’s a few here who seem fine, but more who I’m sending back to the rear.”

Cam nodded and looked around, eyes roving over every face they could see. “Fine.” They cleared their throat and spoke louder. “The room across the hall from this is a dormitory. Map says it connects around to the dining hall and rec room, which is the last hallway, through a bunch of kitchens, food storage, and their hospital. All the exits are out that way, too.”

I started moving around the room again, getting the barricades stacked up and showing the Naturalists how to deploy them as Cam started giving orders. Half of the barricades went to Wayfinders since we’d be moving in pairs now. Any time we went into a new space, one would hold the barricade like a shield while the other fired. If we ran into resistance, the one holding the barricade would deploy it and join their partner in firing. The Naturalists, if they followed orders, would sweep up between any Wayfinder barricades to fill in the gaps with the ones they carried. Then we’d slowly advance as we needed to.

Once Cam was finished outlining the plan, they gestured for everyone to move out. I lagged behind, holding back the last of the Naturalists I was sending back to the rear, and caught a glance from Cam as they followed their people out. It was surprising to see so much consternation and worry on their face. I knew it wasn’t the best strategy, but it would allow us to advance without risking ourselves too much. Plus, the Cultists had so far been adverse to using grenades while we had no such issues. We didn’t plan to continue living here, after all, so it didn’t matter if this place got blasted to pieces while we moved. We couldn’t afford to go more carefully at this point and there was no longer the option of taking people down stealthily. There was no way out for us to sneak around behind them, even if we thought that would work.

I tried to give Cam a reassuring look, but all it did was chase the open emotion off their face as they reasserted their calm and collected mask. I gently pushed the disassociated Naturalist forward and guided them through the squads and groups stacking up around the hallway and door to the dormitory. Once I was clear of the room, and certain that none of the Naturalists I’d sent away had tried to sneak back, I signaled to Cam who called out “clear the door.”

Remmie and Tiffany approached the door, Tiffany standing to the side that the door hinged on, ready to throw it open once she got the all-clear, and Remmie looking over it as they checked it for traps. In less than a minute, they flashed the all-clear sign and Tiffany grabbed the handle to yank it back. I saw Cam lurch forward out of the corner of my eye and turned to glance at them just as there was a blossom of fire around the door, a roar of air, and a wave of force that threw me backwards.

As I tumbled backwards, I kept my gun close and came out of the roll in a kneeling position with my gun up. All I could see was a haze of concrete dust, though, and my ears were no help since all I could hear was the high-pitched ring of my tinnitus. I glanced around quickly, watching all the Wayfinders from the latter half of the hallway either landing like I did or scrambling to get in position, all of them twisting their heads around in a sure-fire sign that they couldn’t hear anything either. Behind me, where the Naturalists seemed mostly fine, I could see some of them tapping on their ears and stretching their jaws as they tried to recover their hearing.

Cam, who had wound up diving towards the wall beside the hallway, started throwing up hand signals, commanding any hand-to-hand or close-range specialists to move forward. I pushed myself to my feet, shaking dust and some of the ringing from my head as I surged forward. I almost stumbled immediately and looked down at my leg to see a large chunk of steel sticking out of it. I paused, checked around the wound, and realized it was thankfully mostly on the outside of my leg. There were a scattering of other holes around it as well, but nothing was sticking out of my leg when I gently poked at them. Since I was able to pull the large chunk free and I could count on my pants to staunch the bleeding, I wrapped over the whole area with some tape and then moved up next to Cam.

There were only two more Wayfinders beside them when I got there but they didn’t wait any longer. They signaled us all forward and we moved swiftly. Almost immediately, we started running into blood and rubble. Whatever trap the Cultists had put on this door had collapsed the hallway when it went off, so we couldn’t go more than halfway down it. As we went, though, we found several collapsed forms that I immediately stopped to triage. When Cam saw that the hallway was blocked, they signaled for Matthews to head back for more people and they went running off, fully leaping over me as I attended to an unconscious Sergeant August.

August had a pretty nasty head wound, but that seemed to be her only injury. I ripped off one of her sleeves and held it to her injury to staunch the bleeding, but handed her off to the first Wayfinder who showed up. There wasn’t much I could do right then, as the dust was still settling, so I moved on to the others. The other four Wayfinders were in much worse shape, most of them with bits of metal or concrete imbedded in them, likely from the explosion, all of them unconscious except one who was doing their best to drag themselves to the side of the way as they held their hand over a freely bleeding leg wound.

I jumped to their aid next, pulling a set of bootlaces out of the medical kit and quickly applying a tourniquet. The blood flow from the wound on their leg stopped, but they were still bleeding from a bunch of other places that I did my best to quickly patch up. The other three weren’t bleeding as badly, thankfully, but one of them had been run through the gut by a piece of the steel door. There was nothing I could do for them, since Jonathan was the only one who could handle damage like that, so I stabilized everything and sent them on their way.

The other two were definitely out of the fight, but none of their wounds were particularly life-threating. At most, they’d be immobile for a while, but they should be fine as long as we got everything cleaned out and sewn up. I sent them back to the rear guard post and started looking around for Cam. Most of the dust had settled and my hearing had returned by then, so I was able to find them standing with a few other Wayfinders next to the pile of rubble that sealed us off from the dormitory. Cam was passing rocks back to a pair of waiting Wayfinders who stacked them off to the sides of the hallway as the group attempted to dig through the collapse, but there was a sudden clatter and rumble as more concrete fell down the pile and Cam was forced to jump back.

“Fuck.” Cam turned around and looked like they were angry enough to punch straight through the concrete wall beside them. When they noticed I was looking, they shook their head. “We’re short five people, Marshall. They’re under that mess.”

I looked at Cam’s dust-coated face and knew I didn’t need to give voice to the thought spinning through my mind at the moment. It was clear they already knew that the chances of anyone surviving an explosion that collapsed this much concrete had either already suffocated on the powder filling the hallway or would die before we could dig them out. Assuming continuing to dig didn’t just collapse more and more of the hallway, anyway. I signaled for Cam to retreat and their expression flickered from anger to sadness, rage, and then neutrality. After a moment, they followed me out of the dust.

Once we got out of it, I sent for some water, so we could clear the dust from our eyes and faces, and had everyone cover their noses and mouths. I told those who had found goggles to put them on and then tasked them with keeping an eye on the hallway while everyone else wrapped up their wounds. My leg was fine, when I pulled the tape off. It had been just a thin puncture surrounded by smaller punctures, so I was able to cover it with a bandage and more tape once I’d cleaned it out. It was clear there was small bits of metal in most of the wounds, but I could wait until later to get those out. I made sure everyone else who was still in fighting shape did the same, but it was depressing to see that we were down to just about half our number between the injuries, missing people, and now deaths.

After a couple minutes of patching up, Cam reordered the remaining squads and signaled for us to stack up on the door. Since we were running short, Cam pulled the Wayfinder leaders from the groups of Naturalists and told them that I was in command of them now. I spent the time I had teaching them a few quick hand signals and setting myself up with one of the rear squads as Cam stacked everyone up around the door. This time, as they checked the door, Matthews stood off to the side, Wayfinder barricade in one hand with the other free to pull the door open as soon as Cam gave the all clear.

It took Cam a few minutes, this time, but I don’t think anyone blamed them after what just happened. Finally, though, they flashed the all clear, Matthews threw the door open, and we all poured into the biggest room I’d seen yet.

This time, they were waiting for us with no machine guns. All of the best fighters seemed gathered in the room, most of them hiding behind upturned tables, couches, piles of chairs, and whatever else they’d been able to get their hands on. All of them were armored, so our initial exchange of bullets had little effect. All of the Wayfinders were able to drop their barricades in good positions, butting them right up next to concrete support pillars. After that, as I carefully ordered the Naturalists forward to fill in gaps, it was just a firefight.

The Cultists had more ammo, but we were all better shots. In every exchange, the number of Cultists firing on our position dwindled, but the only time they took out any Wayfinders is when one of the Cultists dropped a perfectly timed grenade behind one of the support pillars at the far end of the room. When the smoke cleared, I could see what remained of Matthew’s form laying where they’d dove on top of the grenade. The others around them were bloody, but neither of them signaled for a medic so I kept firing.

After an exchange that felt like it lasted an hour but probably only lasted a couple minutes, the remaining Cultists in the room were dead. Slowly, the haze of smoke and fear settled as we began sweeping through the room, executing any Cultists who were still alive and shifting barricades so we had a defensive position set up in front of each door. As Cam was giving us the signals to be ready to storm the kitchens, there was a click from high up, near the ceiling of the dining hall. 

“I really thought we’d have gotten more of you by now, but I guess it just goes to show that maybe you Wayfies really are as good as all that.” Greg’s voice echoed through the hall, sending all of us spinning as we went back-to-back to cover wherever this hidden door was.

“Now, me, I prefer more civilized things than shooting. After all, if it’s guns and bullets, it is clear you have all the power.” There was a slow grinding noise, of metal on metal, as a part of the ceiling in the northwestern corner of the room began to lower down. “No, we will not use weapons to settle this. We will use words and…” the voice paused and a light clicked on, revealing the people standing on top of the lowering platform.

“Hostages.”  I could see the lazy-eyed smile of Greg peering out from between Jonathan and Natalie as the two of them stood, arms pulled behind their backs, at the edge of this wedge-shaped platform as it was lowered on a set of chains. To the side, protecting Greg from anyone who might try to find an angle, was Elder Brianna, her arms clearly bound in manacles. Scattered around the rest of the platform were six laborers, all bearing Wayfinder rifles and covered in heavier body armor than we’d seen yet. Each of them looked nervous underneath the helmets they wore as they were jostled in place by the inconsistent movement of their platform.

When the platform came to a stop some twenty-feet above the ground, just ten feet down from the ceiling, there was another set of clicks followed by a bright yellow light turning on in what was clearly some kind of mechanical room for what was increasingly looking like a freight elevator. I only had a moment to take it all in before the rim of the opening was surrounded by Cultists in the same heavy armor as the Laborers, though their helmets had goggles and face masks as well. Each of them carried an automatic rifle that looked better than what most of the Cultists were using but didn’t have all the attachment points of the rifles we Wayfinders used.

There was silence for almost a full minute as Greg peered at us from behind his human shield. I could see his eyes roving over our group, counting us as making a note of where we all were. When he was satisfied, his lazy smile broadened and all trace of emotion left his eyes. “This ends here. You’ve made a mess of my home, you’ve killed my clan, and stolen my property from me. Now, you’ve been fighting my riffraff, the people who can’t perform to the standards required to be a part of my elite force, to be worth spending my limited resources on. I do not think you will escape so easily from this fight.”

He held up a hand, palm out, over Natalie’s shoulder, and then dropped it to rest on the back of her neck. “Instead of having us both shoot until one or both of us are dead, how about you drop your guns, take your people, and walk away? I’ll even let you go through the door here.” His other arm gestured out from between Natalie and Jonathan at the steel double doors at the northern end of the room. “Just leave behind your guns, your ammo, and your grenades. You can keep whatever else you’ve scrounged up back there, and go. Once you’re out, I’ll send these three to join you.”

He gave Natalie and Jonathan a small push, forcing them to step right up to the edge and more fully into the light of the room. I could already tell, even from the shadows they’d been in, that they were in even worse shape than I’d been. As they stepped into the light, though, it became clear just how beaten and bloody they both were. It looked like they’d been tortured or violently interrogated while we were escaping. Elder Brianna didn’t look too worse for wear, but I could see blood slowly dripping from where her hands were held behind her back.

I resisted the urge to yell and the urge to look around for where Cam was. Instead, after taking a deep breath, I did my best to settle the anger out of my voice as I said “How do we know we can trust you? You’ve given us plenty of reason to doubt anything you might tell us. Sure would be convenient to force us all to walk past you and all your guns to leave here after we’d dropped ours.”

“You have my word.” Greg’s smile faded a bit. “After all, I’ve kept all my promises while you’ve betrayed our agreements the very first moment you could. I’m not the liar here.” His grin came back, wider than before. So wide it cracked the impassive mask around his eyes and let some of the fury he was hiding leak out. “No, I am not the-”

The sharp crack of seven rifles fired in unison cut off everything he was about to say as he, and every Laborer on the platform with him, was shot through the head by the Wayfinders Cam had been directing. Every other Wayfinder pulled up their guns and started firing into the group of Cultists standing around the opening into the room. Elder Brianna, Natalie, and Jonathan dropped to the ground. Jonathan and Natalie pulled one of the heavily armored Laborers over themselves as the Cultists, momentarily stunned by the loss of their leader, started firing back. Elder Brianna rolled off the platform instead, shifting her hands around so she could grab the edge and drop herself from just above ten feet up rather than the full twenty.

It was over in moments, as the hail of bullets from below, eventually joined by the Naturalists as they caught up to what was happening, tore through the remaining Cultists. Cam ordered most of the remaining Wayfinders to start building a stack of furniture so we could get up to the platform and the room above as the Naturalists hurried forward to gather up Elder Brianna. I checked her over as the stack of tables was assembled and was glad to find that she was in better shape than I’d thought. Aside from a sprained ankle and some bleeding from her wrists where the manacles had cut into them, she was uninjured.

Finally, as the stack of tables was finished, the Wayfinders formed up to help Natalie and Jonathan down. Both of them were in rough shape, unable to move much on their own, so I rushed over to help them. I checked on Natalie first, since she was the first one down, and fought against the rage building inside of me to keep my focus on making sure she wasn’t bleeding internally, had no severe wounds, and was aware of her surroundings.

After flashing a light in her eyes, she started swatting at my hands. “Marshall, I’m fine.”

“Nat, you’re not-”

“Jonathan.” She coughed and tried to sit up to look around, but I kept her lying on the ground. “Jonathan got hit.”

Immediately, I spun around to face the figure the other Wayfinders were laying down behind me. There, just off center of Jonathan’s chest, was a fresh, bleeding bullet wound. I could dimly hear Cam in the background, ordering Wayfinders up into the room and for the Naturaliststo barricade the doors into this room, but none of those thoughts took purchase in my mind.

I tore a sleeve off my shirt and wadded it up to staunch the bleeding as I did a quick check over Jonathan, for other wounds. He was in about the same shape as Natalie, but the rough way he was breathing told me the bullet had punctured one of his lungs. I started snapping out commands, calling for a stretcher or table or something to take Jonathan into a clean room, someplace I could work safely, and for all of the medical supplies anyone could find. I dimly saw people leap into action, spurred on by Lucas who had remained behind for some reason.

I snapped at Lucas to help me and we gently raised Jonathan up, to set him on the coffee table two Naturalists had brought over. As we did, I checked his back and my heart sank when I couldn’t find an exit wound. “The bullet’s still inside him.”

“Marshall…” I saw Natalie push herself to her feet and unsteadily move to my side. “Can you…”

“I have to try.”

I was about to turn away, to start leading the Naturalists holding the coffee table back into the more secure rooms behind us, when I felt a weak hand on my wrist. I looked down and then up at Jonathan’s face as he nodded at me. His mouth opened and softly, barely audible above the hubbub of the room and the distant sounds of gunfire coming from above, he said “I can…” A weak cough interrupted him and blood began to drip from a corner of his mouth. “I can walk you through it.”

I reached over and wiped some of the scarlet froth from his mouth. “Take it easy, Jonathan. I’ll get you through this.” I gestured for the Naturalists to start moving and turned to Lucas. “Find Jonathan’s pack. I don’t want to have to do this with a combat knife.”

Lucas nodded and dashed off, grabbing Naturalists who were milling about as he rushed toward the double doors to the north. I turned to go after Jonathan, but Natalie stepped in my way. “You can do this, Marshall.” She leaned over and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek, wincing as she did so.

“Yeah.” I gently wrapped my arms around her for a moment, letting the anxiety I’d been holding at bay break free for a moment before I pushed it entirely away. “August is in the rear. If she wakes up, send her to me immediately.”

Natalie nodded and, without another moment’s hesitation, I started sprinting down the hallway toward the cleaner storerooms behind us. As I went, my mind ran through all the steps to a surgery this complex–a surgery I’d never had to do before–and I resisted the urge to scream “shit” with every step I took. Jonathan was our only hope for a lot of the more complex injuries we’d suffered today and I was Jonathan’s only hope.

As I finally reached the stairs down to the first guard post and the storage winds beyond it, I banished all other thoughts from my mind other than the pre-surgery checklist Jonathan had forced me to memorize when I was learning to provide field aid. Everything was there, all the knowledge I needed to try to save my friend and the best field surgeon the Wayfinders had, I just needed to do everything right and be more than a little lucky.

Previous: Chapter 18

Next: Chapter 20

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