Shade's Children

Shade's Children by Garth Nix Read Free Book Online

Book: Shade's Children by Garth Nix Read Free Book Online
Authors: Garth Nix
Tags: Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Adult, Young Adult, Dystopia, Apocalyptic, Children
Sun. The Death Markers went up an hour ago and will be up for two more days. This means that the Myrmidon barracks there will be deserted for that time—giving us a unique opportunity to get back to my original laboratory.”
    He paused as Ella raised her hand.
    “Rick’s team has far better knowledge of the University and that area. Why not send them?”
    Shade bowed his head and was silent. The others were silent too. Then Ella sighed, Ninde sniffed, and Drum leaned forward as if to hear Shade better. Gold-Eye realized that what they were all about to hear was bad news.
    “They were due back yesterday,” said Shade, looking up. He sighed too and ran his hands through his hair. “I sent my rats out this morning, and they found their weapon belts near some hedges that line the Old College grounds. There was Tracker ichor on the ground, and Myrmidon bootprints….”
    “They’re gone then,” said Ella. Slowly, matter-of-factly, she recited the names as if to fix them in her memory. “Rick. Nelo. Tanner.”
    “We will remember them,” said Shade, sitting up straight, his hands laid flat on the table. “At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”
    “We will remember them,” echoed Ella, Ninde, and Drum. Gold-Eye sat silent, uncomfortable, aware he was in the middle of some ritual he didn’t know.
    Shade breathed in deeply then, chest visibly filling his crisp white shirt, and said, “Right. Back to the operation. The Death Markers give us a unique opportunity that must be exploited. There are instruments in my lab that will make a major difference to our struggle with the Overlords—if you can get them back.”
    Drum raised one ponderous hand. Shade hesitated, then said, “Yes, Drum?”
    “Instruments worth our lives?”
    “That’s a difficult question,” replied Shade. He didn’t look at Drum, gazing at the ceiling instead as he spoke. “However, these instruments can possibly…can probably detect and measure whatever it is the Overlords project or broadcast from the silver globes you can see atop the International Trade Center and City Tower. I’ve been trying to do that for many, many years, without success. I’ve also tried to duplicate the instruments in other ways. I really believe that if we can retrieve the main instrument package from my lab, then the secret of the Overlords’ Projectors will lead us to victory.”
    “Then we’ll get the instruments,” said Ella decisively. “Right, Drum? Ninde? Gold-Eye?”
    “Yeah, I guess,” said Ninde unenthusiastically. Then her voice brightened slightly. “At least we’ll be going somewhere different.”
    Drum looked at Ella for several seconds, then finally nodded his approval.
    Gold-Eye didn’t do or say anything. He didn’t know what they were talking about. But they were his new people, his new Petar and Jemmie. He would stay with them till something happened—and if it did, he’d already decided he wouldn’t run. Better dead or even the Meat Factory than more years of running scared, running alone.
    “I’ll talk to Gold-Eye now,” said Shade. “Ella, come back in an hour and I’ll give you a full briefing. The maps will be printed out then, with the latest intelligence from my rats and Stelo’s team.”
    “Stelo’s back, then?” asked Ninde, smiling. Then she said, “Oops,” and raised her hand.
    Her smile slipped as Shade looked at her silently, his fingers tapping equally silently on the desk.
    “Your Change Talent makes you useful, Ninde,” Shade said finally. “But that doesn’t mean you can ignore the rules—little rules or big rules. Yes, Stelo’s team is back—but I forbid you to approach him. He’s got enough to worry about without you trying out flirting skills learned from 1990s videos. If you want to sleep with someone, Ninde, put yourself in the Lottery like everyone else—and pass the contraception knowledge test, which I note you haven’t even

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