Sonia looked taken aback at Faith’s easy agreement.
The other woman must have noticed because she grinned in response. “You usually have a hard time getting families to agree to join your group?”
Sonia nodded. “Well, lost lines don’t turn up very often but yes, they tend to fear being subsumed â€“ and most of them didn’t have their first encounter with the families by one of them trying to kill them. We expected that to make things harder.”
Faith chuckled. “Well, yes, I might have been more cautious but you did send Alison, Logan and the others back unharmed when you would have been justified in not doing so.” She paused and pointed to the sky. “And then there’s that. You need our help and in the circumstances it would be remiss of us to refuse it.”
â€œYou’ll be looking for the others, won’t you?â€ Alison said.
“Yes,” Matthias said. “We need their help.”
Alison nodded and looked thoughtful. “Logan and I know where they are. Let us talk to them first so you don’t scare them.” She pulled a face. “Though I don’t think Shel will help you. Last time I emailed her she was enjoying this mess.”
“Michelle is a bitch,” Logan said bluntly.
“Logan! Language!” Edward snapped.
“But it’s true,” Logan said.
“I don’t know the girl,” Edward said. “But no matter how unpleasant she is you do not refer to her that way.”
Logan scowled at his father for a moment then sighed. “Michelle is just plain nasty. She did almost as much damage as Ali did–” He squeezed Alison’s hand as he said that. “–And she had no excuse. She just enjoyed it. None of us liked her.”
“Father couldn’t stand her,” Alison said. “But she never overstepped the line of his instructions, just interpreted them creatively. I don’t think his patience would have lasted much longer.”
â€œThat is a fair description of Michelle,â€ Julie agreed. â€œWe’ll need to be careful of her.â€
â€œHmm… We’d better go after her last then,â€ Matthias said. â€œAnd we’d better keep these two away from Karen and Alban, let alone Val, until we’ve spoken to them, so we’ll gate into one of the other dorm houses.â€
“I’d be happy if I never had to face them.” Alison’s voice cracked. “I did some terrible things but the way I lost control at Essen Peak was the worst.” She blinked back tears. “It took me a long time to even admit it was wrong, as well. Sometimes I think I’m as bad as Shel.”
“But you did admit it,” Sonia said gently. “So no, I don’t think so. I’m sure Val will take it into account.”
“I think I’ll feel even worse if they forgive me,” Alison said. “I don’t deserve it.”
“Why did you slaughter half the city?” Matthias asked.
“I don’t know,” Alison said. “It was way beyond our orders and I didn’t intend to when we left, but it seemed like a good idea once the fighting started.” She shook her head violently and stress sent her voice up an octave. “A good idea? Can you believe that?”
“And you have no idea what triggered you?” Matthias asked.
Alison shook her head again. “Not really. I was talking to Shel just before the fight started and she said that we should just kill everyone and it seemed like a great idea.”
“Really?” Matthias narrowed his eyes. “I wonder if she had something to do with it.”
“I don’t think so,” Alison said. “Though she did think it was cool when I did it.”
“I wouldn’t discount it,” Logan said. “Now that I think about it, you were talking to Michelle every time you snapped.”
Julie’s eyes narrowed sharply. “She was, wasn’t she? That’s a big coincidence. We should look into this.”
“We should,” Matthias agreed. “But let’s get back first. We can worry about that later.”