Breed Book 3, Part 3

“Think I’ve got it,” Laren said, taking a step back from the TV. An instant later and Mira appeared, both on the tablet Laren was holding, as well as the screen.

“This is weird, I know,” Mira said, in an echoing stereo that prompted Laren to mute the tablet. “It’s been too long. I didn’t tell Laren everything, because I didn’t want her to cut me out.”

“Smart,” Laren said.

“I wanted to see you, at least like this. I knew if I was there… I might never be able to leave. And I don’t know if I’m ready for that…”

“Ahem,” Laren said into her fist, steadying the tablet with her other hand.

“Right. I wish I could handle this myself. But it’s delicate. It’s the kind of thing that- if Raif and the rest got caught, even on film, attacking one of these camps… if it’s kids, it’s harder to spin. You know?”

“They don’t,” Laren said, “because you’re dancing around the point.”

“Yeah. It’s hard to even say, it’s so… gutting. Like, this country’s never been perfect; I’m a black woman, so that isn’t a news flash to me. But this… it takes one of the most evil things we ever did and takes it a step further. At the border, they’re separating children from their parents. Kids of all ages, going into separate facilities, sometimes hundreds of miles apart. I’ve heard the administration is even trying to permanently adopt the kids out to Americans, to make the separation permanent. A shiver runs down my spine at the abject inhumanity. The story hasn’t broke yet, but it’s going to- I tried telling a few reporters, and they all but told me they were working on their own variation on the piece- with better sourcing than I was offering.”

“Seems dismissively dickish to me,” Rox said.

“Thank you!” Mira said with a smile. But as quickly as it came, the smile faded, and Mira sighed. “It won’t be enough. The bigots who back this president will continue to back him, and that soulless 40% is enough to keep the Republicans in his pocket. Nothing will happen. Again. Unless you can make it happen. It’s… really good to see you, all of you, if only for a moment. I miss you. And I love you. And if there’s anything I can do to help, let me know.”

“The other bit,” Laren said.

“Yeah.” Mira steeled herself. “I’ve heard they’re sterilizing Breed women.”

“What?” Sonya asked, her voice creaking loudly.

“Like, with that cleaning powder stuff?” Cris asked, his tone betraying his lack of hope for that outcome.

“Hysterectomies, is what I’ve heard. I can’t verify it. Rumor is it was one doctor, not on staff, but anyone related clammed up the moment I asked anything about it.”

“You were there?” Rox asked.

“Got a tip. I knew the delicacy involved, and that I couldn’t take it to Raif. I had to know… as much as I could. Because if I took it to someone else, and it was nothing… I burn a bridge. If I brought it to all of you, and I was wrong… I might have gotten you hurt. And I don’t know how I’d live with that.”

“It wouldn’t be the first time you hurt us,” Ben said.

“That’s not fair,” Mira started.

“Maybe,” Rox said. “But it’s not not fair, either.”

“Fine,” Mira said. “I love you, all of you. And I get why you’re pissed.”

“We aren’t all pissed,” Cris said. “I get it. But we do miss you. Don’t stay away too long.”

“I miss you, too,” she replied, and both screens went dark together.

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