The guards mirrored Skyla’s shock, and looked to Darian. “Captain…?”
All of a sudden, the throne door swung open. Skyla jumped, expecting another infected zombie-possessed person to walk through the room, and grabbed Darian’s arm, pulling him close to her breast. But it was Doctor Leeland, one of the three senior physicians stationed at the Luna Dome. He carried his medical bag and rushed to Harmony’s side as the door closed once more, blocking the frustrated Dome citizens and media personal. Skyla knew she had a lot to explain later.
“How long has she been unconscious?” Leeland asked.
No one answered. Leeland turned his weathered face to Skyla, his eyes demanding an answer. She realized her knuckles were white from holding so tightly onto Darian. His lips twitched slightly, as if he were working hard to keep the stern captain’s mask on his face. He was right to do so. She couldn’t afford to let her guard down. Unclamping her fingers from Darian’s arm, she said quietly to Leeland, “A few minutes.”
One of the guards piped up. “But your majesty-”
“That’s enough,” Darian interrupted. “Not a word.”
So the incident would be classified. The citizens started chanting outside, demanding to be let into the throne room. Skyla was about to protest, but realized that Darian had a point. Explaining Harmony’s levitating body to Dr. Leeland would be a waste of time. He was a man of science, and so he would find out what was really wrong with Harmony. There had to be something—the gravity monitor went momentarily offline, a strange blood clot, epilepsy…
The Moon Flash Virus.
Leeland checked Harmony’s vitals. “Why didn’t you men bring her to the hospital? We’re lucky she’s still alive.” The guards looked uncomfortably to Darian, but before they could fumble for an excuse, Leeland continued, “Well, don’t just stand there. You men, help me.”
Opening his bag, Leeland pulled out a retractable stretcher. It unfolded like a lawn chair but was ten times as strong. The guards and the doctor lifted Harmony carefully onto the stretcher.
“I’ll do crowd control,” Darian said. “May I suggest-?”
“A press conference?” Skyla finished his thought. The “Let us in” chant circled Skyla’s mind like an annoying song on repeat.
“I’ll tell them late morning,” Darian replied.
“Thank you, Captain,” she said.
Before he walked away, his fingertips brushed against hers and left a message that said, You’re not alone. He marched to the throne room door, and suddenly Skyla was back on Earth, at Pearson Airport, watching him leave for his first assignment at the Luna Dome. He never looked back. Not even when she and Sebastian, hand in hand, ran to the security glass and tried to get his attention before he disappeared into the departure waiting area. Always serious, always on track.
Skyla didn’t watch as Darian slipped out of the throne room, the volume of the chanting growing louder for a moment and then quieting as the door opened and closed again. Darian’s voice was muffled as he addressed the crowd. Leeland and the guards carried Harmony on the stretcher towards the door. Skyla walked along side them, watching as Harmony’s chest slowly rose and slowly fell.
“Your majesty,” one of the guards whispered.
Skyla raised an eyebrow. “Yes?”
The young guard leaned his head closer to her. “Permission to speak freely?”
Darian was almost done outside. She could hear the crowd shuffling away. “Permission granted.”
The guard lowered his voice. “I didn’t really want to say nothin’ before, your majesty, not with the Captain here, but Lady Harmony did say something before she passed out.”
“What was it?” Skyla asked.
The throne door lock clicked once again, and creaked open. Only a few people remained, most of them media hopefuls and curious younger Ladies. Darian gestured to Leeland and the two guards.
“She said something about lights, your majesty,” the guard said as he was forced to move away. “The lights were going to get her. And the mist. Lights and the faces in the mist.”