jetamors: Yoruichi is really hot (Default)
Jetamors ([personal profile] jetamors) wrote2010-11-19 08:57 pm
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Nanowrimo Day 19

Broke 35k!



Kid nodded. "Okay," he said.

"This thing is boring," Qaf said. She was still playing with the kiddypad. "Who doesn't know all of this already?"

"Human children," Tatiana replied. "We can't just download knowledge into our brains like you can."

"That's not really how it works for us either," Qaf grumbled. "Anyway, can I come back and try this some more? I do feel like it's hiding something."

"It's too risky," Tatiana said. "Heck, it's too risky for you to be here now. If you suddenly start coming here all the time, even though you were never here before, it'll look really, really suspicious."

"Well... what if I take it home with me?"

Kid shook his head. "No offense, Qaf, but we have to keep it with us, or in a place that only we know about. I don't think you'll backstab us or anything, but you never know, y'know?"

Qaf frowned. "I really think I can crack it. Oh wait, I know!" she said, suddenly beaming. "When I'm in my cab body, there's enough room in the segment with my humanoid body to fit this thing. I could allocate a little computing power to play with it while I'm out flying with Kid. He'd be with me the whole time, so you wouldn't have to worry about anything happening to it. And it'll be more useful to you if you can find the data on it, right?"

Tatiana licked her lips, thinking about it. "Yeah, that sounds okay. That'll be our plan for dealing with this thing."

"Awesome!" Qaf said. "I feel like a spy or something!"

Tatiana laughed. "Hopefully it won't be that dangerous."

Kid went to work with Qaf the next day, secretly carrying the kiddypad, but Tatiana had the day off to grieve. She lay in bed for some time after she usually would've woken up, awake and thinking. Finally she shook her head in frustration and got out of bed, giving herself a quick cleanse in Hold Steady's showers. She strapped ceramic knives from the hydroponics kitchen to her thigh and upper arm, and hid a stunner in her pants, laughing a little at her own paranoia.

After that, she left the ship and took the zip tube up to the level where Shinji's ramen cart was usually located. Her pad gave her precise directions to his current location. Shinji looked up almost jumpily as she approached.

"Oh, hey," he said. "Want a bowl of the usual?"

"Sounds good!" Tatiana replied.

"I'll go ahead and fix that, then," he said. Shinji normally moved in sure, smooth gestures, but he seemed agitated today; he bumped into the counters of his tiny kitchen a few times, and even burned himself on the broth.

"Are you okay?" Tatiana asked. "Do you need to go home or something?"

Shinji mopped his brow. "No, no, everything's fine."

Finally, he sat it down in front of her. "Sorry," he said, fairly inaudibly.

"Sorry for what?" Tatiana asked, unsnapping her chopsticks. "You didn't--"

The stunner bolt hit her mid-sentence; she slumped to the side. Dimly, as her consciousness fled, she could see someone she knew coming toward her...

...And then she woke up. She was tied to a chair; her stunner was gone, and the knife on her arm. She couldn't tell whether the one on her thigh was still there or not.

Her head had been hanging down; she lifted it to see Ravit, her partner bodyguard, standing next to a plump brown-skinned woman Tatiana had never seen before.

"What's going on? Why did you kidnap me?" Tatiana asked.

"You know why," Ravit smirked. "But I won't try to make you lie or anything. Patel here will recover it for us with no trouble, and then you'll get the slow death you so richly deserve."

"What are you talking about? Recover something? I don't know what you mean," Tatiana said.

The woman--Patel--disregarded her words. She knelt down, to where Tatiana's arms were tied in front of her--and bit her, sharply. Tatiana yelped, completely involuntarily; that was the last thing she'd expected to happen.

"Seriously, what's going on? Why are you doing this to me?"

"Just wait," Ravit said. "If you are truly innocent--which you aren't--you'll find out soon enough."

With that, he and Patel turned and left, and Tatiana was left alone.

"Let me out of here!" Tatiana said. She rocked the chair, ostensibly trying to free herself--but the real reason was to determine whether the knife that had been on her thigh was still there.

It was.

"Bingo," Tatiana whispered to herself. And her arms were tied in front of her, too. It would take a lot of maneuvering, but she could already see the way out of this situation.

Kid and Qaf had had an uneventful day of ferrying people around the station. The murder didn't seem to have had any effect on business at large on the station; it was just as busy as ever. Qaf hadn't made any noticable headway on the kiddypad, though she claimed that she was getting closer. The cab stand on Deck 21 was empty when they came back, so Qaf was able to give the pad back without any subterfuge.

When he started for the door, she went with him.

"Hey, you're not allowed to come," Kid protested. "Remember what Tatiana said?"

"I'm not going to your stupid old spaceship," Qaf replied. "I'll have you know I need to pick up a few things, and so I'm visiting the shops down here on Deck 21. That's all."

"It's still dangerous," Kid said.

Qaf turned up her nose. "Well it's none of your business, is it?"

Kid sighed. "Fine, do what you want," he said, and pushed open the cab stand door.

Tatiana was waiting for him there. "Oh, Kid! How did it go today?"

"It was fine," Kid said. "Uneventful."

Qaf stalked by without more than a nod of recognition to Tatiana; she was still angry at Kid.

"Well, shall we go back to Hold Steady?"

"Sure," Kid said.

On the way down, they chatted about her day (uneventful; she'd woken up late, eaten ramen, and spent the rest of the day watching trashy interstellar shows on Hold Steady) and Kid's oddest fares of the day (the man who sniffed every time he said the word 'cab', the woman who they'd taken to three different decks to find the best places to shop).

When they reached Hold Steady, Kid opened the door and stepped in; Tatiana followed after him.

"Well, I guess we should go to your room, right? To talk about the thing?" he said.

"Yes, that would be a good idea," Tatiana replied.

"After you," he said, gesturing toward the ship's corridor.

Tatiana paused for a moment, then nodded. "Of course," she said.

She walked right past her own door. "Hey, where are you going?" Kid said.

"Oh, sorry," Tatiana replied. "I must've drifted off or something. Was this where we put it?"

"Yeah," Kid said.

Tatiana stepped inside. "You'll have to remind me--"

"Hold Steady, close and lock the door to Tatiana's quarters," Kid said.

"Acknowledged." The door slid shut and clicked, the universal sound denoting locking.

"Hey, Kid, what are you doing?" Tatiana asked.

"You're not Tatiana," Kid said. "Who are you?"

There was a short silence.

Then: "Hold Steady, open this door!" Tatiana said, sounding mildly irritated.

"Hold Steady, do not obey this person's commands," Kid said quickly. "She is not Tatiana."

"I... do not understand," Hold Steady replied. "I have a conflict of interest."

"Hold Steady, don't comply with Kidlat Malaqui's commands," Tatiana said quickly. "I think there's something wrong with him."

"No, there's something wrong with you!" Kid said. "You're not Tatiana."

"Hold Steady, unlock and open the door to my quarters," Tatiana said.

"Acknowledged." The door slid open.

"Come on, Kid, what's up with you? Does this thing with the codes have you too paranoid?"

"See? That's why I know it's not you!" Kid said. "You're talking about codes--we haven't figured out what's on this thing yet! How could you really know that if you're Tatiana?"

Tatiana's eyes narrowed. "I was thinking about it, and I realized that that was what it must be. Maybe I didn't tell you before, but the Consortium is getting an arms shipment in, a huge one. They planned to sell it to the highest bidder, but something must have gone wrong with it. I think what's on that pad are codes to unlock the containers. Without those, they'll self-destruct before anyone can get in. I knew about it before, but it took me this long to put the pieces together." She looked into his eyes. "Now do you believe me?"

"No."

"Well, look, just lead me to where this thing is, and I'll show you myself. C'mon, Kid, it's me."

Kid shook his head. "You don't know where it is, otherwise you would've taken it by now. That means you can't kill me, either; I'm the one who can lead you to it." At that, Tatiana started to grow angry--and then visibly checked herself.

"You know what, maybe you're just in a bad mood because you just got off work, or maybe it's some other reason," she said. "Why don't you just go to your quarters and sleep it off?"

That last was not quite a question.

Kid flinched at that. "You know," he said carefully, "maybe I was wrong. It's silly to think they could make a duplicate of you so real that even Hold Steady is fooled, right? So there's no danger. We can go and get the kiddypad right now."

He pulled out his own pad. "What are you doing?!" Tatiana screeched.

Kid looked at her as if she were stupid. "Contacting Qaf, of course," he said. "We can't get to it without her, right?"

Tatiana blinked. "Oh, right. Don't know how I could've forgotten that."

As he tapped out the message, he could feel Tatiana looking over his shoulder.

"A little privacy?" he said.

Tatiana rolled her eyes. "We've been living on top of each other for how long? Get over it, would you?"

The screen pinged and blinked green. "Okay, message sent," Kid said. "And now we have to head up to the innermost level."