Read Annihilate (Hive Trilogy Book 3) Online

Authors: Leia Stone,Jaymin Eve

Annihilate (Hive Trilogy Book 3) (10 page)

BOOK: Annihilate (Hive Trilogy Book 3)
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Jared raised his beer. “Surfer code, bro.”

Brian clinked his beer. I had a feeling we were going to be hearing lots of bros over the next twenty-four hours.

“What happened?”

Brian shrugged. “The second I got dragged under and felt that crunch, I passed out. Woke up with Jared hovering over me, tying off my leg.”

Jared looked haunted at the memory. “You still surf?”

Brian smirked. “What do you think? I’m the best damn one-legged surfer in the Pacific. No shark’s going to take surfing from me.”

It hit me then, how you had these moments with people, these bonding moments that could literally tie you to someone for a whole lifetime. Jared and Brian had one. And I’d had more than one with each of these enforcers. I’d known them only a few months and would die for each one of them, no questions asked.

Over the next few hours I helped Brian cook, and except for the silver gray hair, forgot about his age. He had this contagious personality, always happy and chill – probably the marijuana. I learned that he’d had a live-in girlfriend of thirty years, but she’d died a few years ago of breast cancer. Now it was just him and the waves and he was more than happy to help Jared out in any way.

After buttering the garlic bread and popping it in the oven, I went in search of the boys to see if they needed a beer refill. I heard their voices outside. Stepping into the back yard for the first time, I was completely struck by the scene. Ryder was on the hammock napping, Oliver and Sam hunched over the phone, Markus coloring in his book, and Kyle and Jared sitting on the grass having a nice chat. Just like a normal family, no evidence that we were about to rain hell on the vampires.

I inhaled the salty air and decided then that if we survived this whole thing, I wanted this life. A small blue beach house with white picket fence and a hammock, preferably with Ryder inside. When I had first heard I was an ash, it’d dashed all of my domestic dreams. But we had a chance to change all of that. We didn’t have to be slaves to the Hive. We could live among humans again. At least I hoped.

Long after dinner was done and Brian had retired for the night, Sam finally cracked the code into the underground network. I was impressed. It had only taken him a few hours to maneuver through what he referred to as one of the most insanely encrypted paths he’d ever encountered. He, of course, was annoyed it had taken him that long. Think it gave him an entirely new level of respect for Zack though.

All of us waited, tense and silent, as he started to shift his way through the information. After some time I couldn’t stand the waiting.

“So anyone can access the network to receive information, but how do other ash or enforcers normally put information on there?” I asked.

Sam was busy, so it was Markus who answered me. “Either they do what we did and track the Controller down via the clues to his whereabouts. Or the other option is to send a letter. Snail mail is pretty much untraceable. There’s a mailbox which is monitored by someone. Then that letter is posted again to someone else, who then posts it to a final, secret, destination. It’s slow as hell. But everything else was always being interrupted by the vamps. Then the Controller is supposed to assess the importance of your information and post it up on the forum.”

Well, that explained why we needed to come out here in person. We did not have time for that weird runabout way of getting information out to everyone.

“What about the network that Sam was using to figure out the Quorum hired Sanctum to kidnap me? Looked like anyone could post on it.”

“They can.” Sam said tense. “But it’s not a network for ash, it’s one for all the Hives and it’s the dark web. You don’t want to know what other stuff is on there. It’s not a place we can post this sort of information. The vamps would have it in seconds and they would rain blood down on the world. Zack’s network is for ash only, very separate, very secure. This is what I’m accessing right now.”

I liked that. Always have a backup plan. Except we didn’t really have one for our “annihilate vampires from the face of the Earth” plan. Oh well, if it failed I’d think of a plan B. I always did.

“Sam will be the first ash, beside the Controller, to be allowed a backdoor access into the network,” Ryder said. “Zack gave us much more than we expected. I thought we’d have to try and get the message to him and hope he would load some of the information. Instead—”

“He’s allowing us to post our own message and information,” Sam said, cutting him off. “He’s giving us full access.”

Sam’s fingers were flying over the phone’s keypad then, and I knew he was posting now. “I’m warning all Hives that the vampires are killing ash. Locking them down. I’ve told them that we are planning to wage war on the vamps, that we will infect their blood and donors with the cure, and that war will probably ensue after this and to be ready to fight.”

All of us knew we wouldn’t get every vamp. It just wasn’t feasible. Some would have old blood. Some might be out of the Hive for the delivery, and by the time they made it back others would be cured, and no one would touch any blood then.

“Tell them we’re relying on them to help us finish this job, to remain with the Hives and take down any vamps who are not cured. Because they will seek out humans,” Ryder added to Sam’s post.

“Shit!” I exclaimed. “We need to let the humans know too. The government or something.”

Ryder nodded. “Yes, I’ve already considered this. Do you remember Lincoln, the SWAT boys who took on Deliverance with us?”

Oh yeah, I remembered Blue Eyes. Bastard told me to stand down.

Ryder gave me that sexy, half-grin. Guess my thoughts were clear across my face again. He continued: “I can easily get word to him, and he has plenty of contacts in the higher levels of the US government. Secretary of state, etc. At this stage I’m trying to figure out how to do this but keep the information secret. I’m ninety percent sure the humans will be on board with a vampire-free world.”

Jared gave a dry laugh, not really sounding amused. “The humans have been looking for a way to get rid of vampires for a long time. This will appeal to them, because firstly the plan is to cure them, not kill, so it won’t look like a mass slaughter. This is something which has always hindered governments trying to take down vampires before, the fact that they were once human. They’re people’s family members, and the humans would revolt against a mass slaughter.”

Oliver leaned up from where he was slouched against the step. He missed Jayden terribly when they were apart, leaving him quiet and introspective. “There’s no doubt the leaders will jump at this. They’re sick of being stuck under the control of vamps. I have a few contacts in Washington and they keep me updated.”

I shifted closer to him. “When should we tell the humans?”

Kyle, who had been half-asleep in another hammock, rolled over then and landed flat on his butt. His “oomph” broke the tension and all of us had a good laugh at the confused enforcer. “Dammit, how do people sleep in those things? Roll over to swat a fly and fall on my ass.”

Ryder leaned over and punched his best friend on the arm. “Man, you should be awake. We’re only planning the end of the world as we know it.”

Kyle returned the punch before swiping a hand across his eyes. “Shit, I know. I’ve been so tired lately. Think I need a good dose of blood from the source.”

That reminded me that all of us were going to need some blood soon. I could now go a day with no worries, and the boys even longer, but we had to make sure this was all finalized before I started to lose my mind. Luckily, we had those devices from Becca, but even that supply was limited.

Sam got to his feet then, the small phone clutched tightly in his right hand. “Okay, it’s all live on the network. There’s no way for ash to post replies, but there is a button for them to acknowledge they’ve received the information, and I’m already getting positive acknowledgements across the country.”

“Are we sure that none of these enforcers are in the pocket of the Quorum?” I asked, suddenly nervous that our plan could be easily derailed by simple betrayal.

None of the boys looked worried. “Never,” Kyle said. “Ash are oppressed and murdered daily by vampires. There’s not a single one who wouldn’t jump at the chance to take them down. They don’t even pay us well.”

Oliver agreed. “Yep, and not to mention that anyone who brought this information to the Quorum would not only get themselves killed, but all ash. The vamps would start systematically wiping out all of us in a bid to maintain power.”

True. So very true. And the ash knew it. Vampires had treated us like expendable possessions for long enough. We were taking our freedom back.

“To answer your question from before, the human government is going to be a bit more difficult,” Ryder said. “Plenty of them are in the pocket of vampires. I trust Lincoln. Maybe he’ll have a thought about how to do this.”

It didn’t sit right with me that we might bring this war down on humans and never give them a heads up. I had human friends and family. I wasn’t close to any of them, but they didn’t deserve to die at the hands of a vampire.

“Maybe we wait until all the blood is done and delivered,” I said. “That way this information only has a small window of chance to be spread. The bad humans won’t have enough time to tip off their vampire allies, but the good ones can help us and warn their law enforcement agencies around the world.”

All of the boys exchanged a glance, and I didn’t love the look of it. Despite Ryder’s earlier thought of sharing with Lincoln, it now looked like he had mentally axed that idea.

“I think we play it by ear,” Markus finally said. “The ash will help us, and with some luck the humans will not be affected. I’m not sure it’s a great idea to even tell them at all.”

The other boys’ hard expressions did not change and I realized all of them felt the same way.

I stood up. “Have you forgotten who feeds you? Have you forgotten who will be looking at us once the smoke settles? The humans are everything in this plan. We need them to know that we acted with them in mind so after the vampires are gone or cured, we can settle into an easy alliance and pray that they still donate blood to feed all the ash.”

Ryder was nodding now. “She has a point. It’s good PR to let them in. We’ll always need them.”

Sam was looking at me in a calculated way.

“What?” I growled at him.

“The crooked government officials would spill our plan and ruin it…”

I began to protest but he shut me up.

“BUT … you have a point. We need to get the humans on our side. So, I have a plan…”

Sam with the plan. Always. He stared at the grass for a minute and I could see the wheels turning in his head. Then he grinned.

“Out with it!” I prodded him.

“We get a hold of the blackmail files and start making the crooked politicians work for us. Just until this battle is over. Then we send it all to the press.”

My mouth hung open. “You want to blackmail people?”

Oliver and Markus were nodding. Sam even smiled. “I do. It’s the only way to ensure their silence.”

Shit, those photos of that guy with the gag ball in his mouth, that stuff was awful. I didn’t want the bad karma of dealing with that. But … we needed all the help we could get.

“How do we get the files?” I asked. Last time I checked they were in the basement of Portland Hive.

“Lucas,” Ryder said. Our man on the inside.

My sweet vampire that had a major ashpire crush would do anything to help us.

Sam busted out his secure laptop. “I’ll get word to him. If he can scan the files and upload them to my secret server, then burn the originals, we would be in business.”

That was a lot to ask my vampire ally. We had already asked enough of him, but this could really seal the deal with the humans. If we could cut off all outside help and control the Hives fully, we had a shot at taking them all out.

“Okay let’s do it.”

 

We barely slept, Sam was up all night counting responses from the Hives on the network and communicating back and forth with Lucas on a secure server. Lucas had agreed to do it. He was going to have a trusted ash infiltrate the filing room so that it couldn’t be traced back to him. He said things were getting rough in the Hive and that Fugly was getting closer to Tessa. I didn’t like that shit. At all. I wanted to drive down there and get her ass out of the Hive, but obviously that wouldn’t work.

Jared’s buddy had already left to catch the morning waves, and as much as the golden-haired enforcer wanted to join him, he stayed with us so we could plan our next move.

“I think we should split up,” Ryder said. “A few of us will meet with Zack, give him back the phone and make sure their Hive is up to date with the plan. Meanwhile, Charlie and some of the guys pack up our stuff here so we’re ready to move out.

I glared, hoping he didn’t think I was too stupid to realize what he was doing. Making sure he kept me safe in the beach house. Whatever.

“Move out where?” I asked. What was our next move?

Ryder’s expression was calm, but his eyes were swirling. “While we wait for Lucas to get the files to us, we need to get a vampire or two to Becca so she can test the cure serum. We have to be ready to distribute it through the hospital systems before the Christmas shipments go out.”

Sam nodded. “Becca tells me she has a few batches ready to go. But she does need some test subjects.”

Well, that should be easy. Just kidnap a vamp or two and hope for the best.

When did this become my life?

 

Chapter 6

 

 

Ryder, Kyle, and Sam took off for the little café again. They had the secure device with them, and they hoped Zack would be there so they could figure out a way for us to communicate directly with him. That way he could keep the ash around the world updated as the plan progressed. Sam said the phone had locked him out again. Zack had allowed us our one chance to post and now he was back in control. I knew the silent enforcer was impressed with that. “Always have a backup plan” was his motto.

BOOK: Annihilate (Hive Trilogy Book 3)
11.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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