jetamors: Yoruichi is really hot (Default)
Jetamors ([personal profile] jetamors) wrote2010-11-20 11:13 pm
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Nanowrimo Day 20

I didn't go to a write-in this Saturday, so this isn't one of those 4000-word updates.

Up on Deck 114, Tatiana had finally managed to saw through her ropes and free herself. She stood up, stretched a little, and then took a deep breath.

In a single smooth motion, she palmed the door open, then lunged out and to the side. She was fortunate; she ran right into one of the people guarding the door, and was able to get her ceramic blade to the man's throat. The other guard was just drawing her stunner; when she saw the knife, she froze.

"If you move even a little, this one gets it," Tatiana growled. She used her free hand to pat the man down. She found his stunner and withdrew it.

"Please, don't," the man whimpered.

"Shut up," Tatiana said. She stunned the female guard. "Tell me where my pad is."

"I--I don't know," the man stammered. "I think it's--"

"Don't worry, I won't hurt you," Tatiana said. "Even if you don't tell me. This is all just a big misunderstanding. I just want to get out of here without losing all my stuff."

"Sorry, I really don't know," the guard said, relaxing just a little. "You worked here, you know usually they put it in somebody's safe. But I've been here since they brought you. Maybe Ravit has it, I don't know."

"Thanks," Tatiana said. And then she stunned him.

With him slumped to the floor, she went through his pockets and found his pad. All pads were tied to their owner's biosignature; there was no way Tatiana could use it herself. But at the moment, she had his body. Using his finger, she painstakingly tapped out a message to Kid, then another one to Fatima. Then she stood up and stuck the stunner into her waistband. She took some time to drag both guards into the room where she had been imprisoned; then she closed the door and started down the corridor.

Down on Deck 21, Kid was still trying to find Qaf when his pad chimed. He looked over his shoulder; Tatiana was still a few steps behind him. Furtively, he pulled out his pad.

The message was from someone he didn't know. It said, "Meet me at Deck 114. Bring it."

"What are you looking at?" Tatiana had caught up to Kid. She grabbed his arm. "Let me see it."

"Nothing, it was just a map of the level," Kid said. "I wanted to see how close we were to the store Qaf is in."

"Well, how close are we?" Tatiana asked him.

"Uh..." Kid looked around wildly, but just then something familiar caught his eye. "It's that one over there. Come on, let's hurry. You know we have to get all the way up to Deck 114 to retrieve it, remember?"

"Deck--oh, right, of course. Hid it right under their noses, of course we did."

"Exactly," Kid said. "Hey, Qaf, over here! It's time for us to go!"

Back up on Deck 114, Tatiana's escape hadn't been discovered yet, though she knew it was only a matter of time. She was trying to figure out where Ravit might have taken her pad. It wasn't essential, certainly, but if she lost it, it would be a great deal of trouble to acquire another one.

She thought a moment about the structure of this station's Consortium. The person who would handle cases like this, who would be in charge, would be Afua. "Of course," she murmured to herself. That was where they would put it: in Afua's office. Now Tatiana could only hope that the woman wouldn't happen to be in.

She got to the office waiting area without incident. Inside, the usually bored clerk saw her and jumped up, opening his mouth. Tatiana stunned him before he could say anything, and walked through to the back area.

She opened Afua's office door and immediately jumped in, stunner at the ready--but there was nobody there. She started forward, to check the desk--but then felt something cold and metal press into her temple. There was a loud clicking noise.

"Drop your stunner," Afua said.

Tatiana dropped it.

"Now spread your hands on the desk in front of you. Move slowly."

Tatiana raised her hands, her fingers spread. Slowly she rested them on the desk.

"Okay, good job," Afua said. She took the pistol away from Tatiana's temple. "Now, Edwards, please explain to me why you are in my office, instead of tied up in a closet where you belong."

"I just want my pad," Tatiana said. Her throat was dry, and the words came out whispery. "Give me that and I'll be out of your hair, I promise."

"But why on earth would I do that?" Afua asked. "I have you exactly where I want you, after all." She circled around until she was on the other side of the desk, in Tatiana's vision. She was still pointing the pistol at her, of course.

"I have something you want," Tatiana said. Her foot nudged the stunner she had dropped, and suddenly she had an idea.

"My girl, you have nothing I--hey!"

In the middle of Afua's sentence, Tatiana had dropped suddenly. Afua fired, reflexively, but the bullet missed, leaving a hole in the floor. Tatiana grabbed the stunner, and just in time; without a moment of hesitation, Afua vaulted over the desk to land on Tatiana's other side. She brought her pistol up to fire--and Tatiana stunned her.

"No," Afua whispered, and then she was slumped to the ground, finger still on the trigger.

Tatiana took the pistol away from her, tucking it into her pants next to the stunner. She looked through Afua's pockets until she found the card that would give her access to any locked drawers.

It took some searching, but she finally found her pad, locked into a half-hidden panel on the wall. It was sitting on top of quite a bit of hard money: physical credits, not stored in any account. Tatiana took those too, putting them into a small bag that she assumed was Afua's. She unloaded the pistol and placed it and its bullets in the bag also. She kept the stunner in her hand; by now, the Consortium almost certainly knew that she had escaped, and perhaps they knew her location as well. They could be outside the door, even now. If she could make it to the cab stand (and Kid had gotten her message, and Qaf could be there in time), then she'd be safe. But she would have to get there first. Stunner in hand, she opened the door.

"Okay, we're here!" Qaf had reacted with some confusion when Kid asked her to go all the way back up to Deck 114. He had tried to convey to her Tatiana's true identity, and the need for secrecy about the kiddypad; he wasn't sure if she had understood it all, but she didn't ask to play with it as they flew up.

"Great. Listen, you wait here, Tatiana. Me and Qaf will go out and--"

"What? No way, I'm coming too!" Tatiana said.

"Will you stop doing that?" Kid said in irritation.

"Doing what?"

"Just because you look like Tatiana doesn't mean you have to sound like her too. It's really starting to mess with my head."

"Well, maybe your head needs to be messed with! I am Tatiana, you idiot!"

"Um, guys?" Qaf said.

"Come on, can we stop playing this stupid game? I know you aren't here. I've known since you came to meet me at the cab stand. I don't know what you're doing or how you're doing it, but I wish you would just stop!"

"Why do you keep saying this, Kid?" Tatiana said. "Look, what makes you think I'm not Tatiana? You said it yourself: I look like her, I sound like her, well what makes me not her?" A flash illuminated her face, briefly; she was obviously distraught.

"Guys? There's something--"

"Look, I've known Tatiana since we were both kids. We've spent almost every day together for years. Trust me, I know my best friend. And you are not her!"

There were more flashes. Qaf tried to jump in again. "Um, Kid, should I--"

"Yeah, whatever," Kid said offhand.

"Okay," Qaf said. She started to lower her ramp.

"So what can I do to convince you? Isn't there any way that I can prove I am who I say I am?"

"No," another voice said. "Because Kid's right. You aren't me."

Another Tatiana started coming up the ramp. Her clothes were torn, and she had scrapes and scratches all over her body. One of her arms hung at her side; the other one clutched a stunner. There was a small bag hung over her shoulder.

"What?" the first Tatiana squeaked. "Why are you here? You're supposed to be locked up! I--"

Tatiana--the real Tatiana--stunned her. "Okay, Qaf, let's go. We have to go to Deck 75 to drop off the pad with Fatima, and then we have to get down to Deck 21 and get out of this place. I stunned everyone who was in here, but there'll be more any time now, so we have to move."

"Okay, I'll tell the roof to retract," Qaf said.

Kid went over to Tatiana. "Are you okay?"

"I might need some help with the arm. I can move it, but it hurts a lot." Kid helped her over to a chair.

"Kid, how did you know it wasn't the real Tatiana?" Qaf asked as she started to lift off. "I couldn't tell at all."

Kid shrugged. "Nothing in particular. It's just, you get to know people, y'know?"

"Well, I'm glad you did figure it out," Tatiana said. "Did you make any headway on the kiddypad?"

"Not exactly," Kid admitted. "But the fake you let it slip that it has codes to a shipment of illegal guns somewhere on the station. They need the codes to get into the shipment, so they can sell it. At least that's what she said."

"Excellent," Tatiana said, sitting back. "I don't even care whether it's true or not; the point is, we can tell Fatima that's what it is. And that's worth enough to pay off all our debt, or it should be."

Fatima was waiting for them at the cab stand, her face paint red in frustration. "Where have you been?" she asked them. "Time is money, you know, and I hate to wait."

"Trust me, you'll like this," Tatiana said. "Fatima, I have a proposition for you. Clear all our debt with Hurston Station--and in return, we'll hand over the codes to an illegal arms shipment that's on this station right now. You can take down the Consortium, have a nice big arms bust, and we'll be happily on our way."

Fatima glared at them; the paint under her eyes practically started glowing. "You brought me down here for that?!" she yelled. "What kind of idiot do you think I am?"