arbitrate (daynight)

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Authors: Megan Thomason
Jax and me to two chairs at the large conference table in the middle of the room. We’re both cuffed to the chairs. I scan the others sitting at the table. Besides Ethan, I only know Vienna. Nine other chairs are filled with one seat left vacant.
    Vienna shoots me a deathly glare. “Well, well, well…I see that Ethan managed to find the elusive duo. Jax, I do believe you have some explaining to do.”
    Jax returns Vienna’s look dagger for dagger. “You asked me to keep Kira safe. I was merely doing my job. It was necessary for us to go into hiding to ensure the safety of both Kira and your grandson.”
    “You told us Kira had ‘perished’ after the attack on her life.”
    Jax replies, “And I spoke the truth. Kira did die…for a short duration. Thankfully, she was able to be revived thereafter.”
    “How did you evade detection?” Vienna asks.
    With a smirk, Jax responds, “I’d like to think that my intellect is such that I can stay one step ahead of any pursuers, as needed.”
    Vienna shakes her head. “The only thing bigger than your intellect is your ego. Perhaps you’d like to share how you escaped Military City?”
    “Actually I wouldn’t.” He grabs my free hand with his and squeezes. He turns to me and whispers. “Trust me.” I nod.
    All hell breaks loose. Everyone starts shouting, arguing and pointing fingers.
    “They’ve both committed treason.”
    “They can’t be trusted.”
    “We can force him to talk.”
    “ She’ll talk if we keep her from her child.”
    “We need to make an example of them.”
    “Execute them.”  
    I start to shake, but Jax puts firm pressure on my hand, and I’m immediately comforted.
    Ethan stands and slams his fist down on the table. “Stop.”
    All eyes ratchet to Ethan who has a downright evil look on his face. “He’s an Arbiter. That’s how they escaped. Jax kept her in Heart and had Arbiter help in hiding her. This is all his doing. He’s the one who should be punished.”
    The bastard just threw Jax under the proverbial SCI bus.
    I turn to Jax to see his reaction. He looks bored by Ethan’s revelation. Certainly not nervous.
    Vienna’s mouth is shaped like a giant “O.” Finally she manages to speak. “I don’t believe it. We’ve known the Christos for decades. There’s no way Jax is an Arbiter.” To Jax she asks, “Jax, is this true?”
    Jax stays silent.
    “Where’s your proof, Ethan?”  
    “I’ve seen him portal with my own eyes. In fact, he brought us here this morning.” Ethan’s tapping on the table, daring Jax to contradict him. “Just think about it. How else would they escape Military City? Or how could he get Kira to immediate medical attention after her attack without being seen? There needs to be consequences for his actions.”
    A silver-haired member of the Ten speaks up. “I vote for death. Either way, he’s a danger to us.”  
    I gasp. “Ethan. Stop this. Now.”
    He looks over at Jax’s hand atop mine and says, “No.”
    I glare at him with disgust and contempt. “I would like to ask for my Cleaving to Ethan to be immediately dissolved. The Cleaving was never consummated and will never be consummated. Besides, Cleaving isn’t even practiced here in Military City. I may have to raise my son with that monster, but I will not share a bed with him.”
    Vienna interjects. “I appreciate your attempt to change the subject, Kira, but we need to settle the matter of Jax first before discussing the validity of your Cleaving to Ethan. You could help speed things along by letting us know whether what Ethan said is true.”
    “I don’t believe I can be of help in this matter—other than to assure you that Jax is infinitely more trustworthy than Ethan.”
    The arguing continues to the point where Ethan gets up, walks around the table, and points his gun at Jax’s temple.
    Suddenly the lights dim in the room.  
    Multiple figures fade into view.  
    The Arbiters are here.
    I look over at Jax and he winks at

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