So why is Alan acting like the weak link all the other teams will target? Tiburon fumed, picking up spears to store them in his own carry-rack. Worse, the one who knows his own teammates will leave him bound and gagged, so he doesn’t slow them down-
Damn it all. Tiburon had to stop a moment, so he didn’t jam sharp edges into leather. He is, isn’t he? Morgan has her family’s martial arts; Aladdin has magic. Alan’s a runner who’s had less than a week of bladework. Anything more than that is memories he doesn’t trust, and Amon.
Right. Like I’d want to rely on something not human in my head.
Top that off with Callimachus and Phaenomena showing him – twice – that the only thing between them and a lot of people getting hurt is him. We sure as hell didn’t stop them.
And he’s terrified of failing. More than the fire, more than me or even Simon coming after him with sharp objects. He was almost crying. And he knew it, and knew showing it would make things worse. That’s anger, damn it, not just teenage frustration. Anger, and shame, and life-threatening fear. The kind of fear that means if something goes wrong, someone he cares about gets hurt.
Which made Tiburon want to grab the kid and interrogate him for every last detail on the thing about the landfill. Because damn it, given Alan had brought it up at all, he shouldn’t have let the youngster brush it off with a shrug and a verbal deflection. If you were in it, there was no such thing as a small explosion.
Later. When he’s not so much of a fragile mess. Frag me, that was too close… how do I lower the pressure on him? What can I do that will get him to calm down and just be a kid for a little while?
Heh. First, make sure I know what he’s doing, Tiburon reminded himself. Kid’s too responsible to goof off if there’s no one else to take up the slack.
So. What would I do, if I were stuck on foreign territory with a few hundred unwanted dependents counting on me to keep them safe from armed enemies with unknown capabilities, but a hell of a lot more firepower and at least a few decades more experience?
Tiburon almost smirked. I know what I’d want to do. Find a friendly tavern and get stark, staring drunk.