* Sorry it took so long! Things have been a bit spicy in 2021!

Throwing my coat back to me, Shayla walked over to the dark wooden dresser, rummaging around until she found a pair of red silken panties, stopping there to put them on. She stood clumsily on one leg, then shifting to the other, sliding them over her hips. I sat down on the unmade bed, watching as she stalked to the open door of the closet. Reaching in, she pulled out a pair of tight black leggings, then ripping down a red camisole from a wire hanger.

I reached into my pocket, pulling out my phone, shifting through the images of the street below, provided by the surveillance cameras. I had already linked into the prior to my encounter with Shayla, keeping them at the ready in case she had managed to slip past me. She continued to dress as I stared into the screen.

"You've been staying here? That's not very smart. Pretty obvious place to search for you." I told her, lifting my eyebrow. "Not very good with the whole cloak and dagger thing, huh?"

"No, I'm not staying here, I just so happened to stash the glass here, because I had a spare key. To be honest, I don't even think Kesuna knew I had been here. I actually came down here to secure a deal, not sell the glass. I didn't have a buyer yet, and now thanks to you, I still don't-because I've missed the meeting." Her hand dropped, slapping her thigh in frustration. "Sal was supposed to arrange this meeting with these guys, and I was going to get rid of it and leave."

I laughed. "Sal was going to arrange it? I'm amazed they haven't caught you already." I rolled my eyes. "On a serious note, we've already been here too long. It's a miracle someone didn't come up and catch us in the stairway. They definitely heard us." I gave her a naughty half-smile, which faded just as quickly.

"Someone has to be close on your tail. You have left a shit ton of digital footprints. I found you by tracing your cred. Stick activity in the area and used that info in tandem with the traffic surveillance cameras. I knew you were somewhere in this building because I saw you enter. There were no Crowstrikes listed on any land deeds, or apartment leases, so I didn't actually know your sister lived here. By the way-all of this was super easy info to obtain, took me like, sixteen minuets of light reading. Couple of keystrokes here and there. The longest part was watching the cameras for traces of you. It-would not be overly difficult for another officer to do the same."

She looked stunned, like I had slapped her in the face. As she pulled the cami over her head, she said:

"That's because they aren't Crowstrikes. Sal's last name is Whitehead. Kesunas is Goodtree. Sal Is my father's half-brother, and Kesuna is my half-sister."

"Oh." I said, indifferently. "I didn't ask- hey, you dressed yet? We really need to get out of here. Make sure you grab a hat, something you can pull down to cover your face. You're going to have to do exactly what I tell you too." I gave her a stern look. "I really...can't be seen with you."

"Ok! Whatever." She said sullenly.

"Ok. You're going to leave this building by yourself and pull that cap over your face as best you can when you hit the street." She started to interrupt me, but I help up a finger to silence her.

"There's going to be police out there, because of the bar fight. But! They don't know anything about you, so just act natural and you'll get past them fine. If they ask you anything, answer them. Make up something about the fight and don't be weird about it. Your goal is to get away from them quickly. Turn immediately right and walk up the street six blocks to the light rail. I'll meet you there."

"You're not going to meet me there. You're going to disappear with that data." She accused, a pined look in her eyes.

"You've got to get over this trust issue crap. I'll be there." I stood up from the bed, stalking across the room to where she stood waiting.

"You are...not the most trustworthy, Isaiah."

I put my hands on hers, pulling her towards me, bending to meet her lips as she drew near. "Do not leave!" I pointed my finger at her as I pulled away. "I've got something to take care of. It won't take me long. And don't talk to anyone." I admonished.

I followed her out into the living room, where she stopped before the door and turned to me. "Are you sure about this?" the worry in her eyes was evident.

A half smile slithered its way across my face. "Don't worry girl. This is my favorite game. Go now-and quit tripping. I'll be there."

One last lingering glance and she was out the door. I waited only a few seconds after she had disappeared into the rickety elevator at the opposite end of the hall. Stepping out, I again used my phone to check the cameras, setting on the one that viewed the front entrance of the building. Making sure the bottom latch of the door to the apartment was locked, I pulled it closed behind me. I used the emergency stairs, watching the conflagration out in the street.

Dirty Sal was talking to the police, waving his arms about crazily, the front of his bright orange button down covered in a thick swatch of blood. I chuckled when I remembered that chair smashing him in his face. Sal was angled toward the entrance as he ranted, so I decided to find a back door to exit. I found one, at the bottom of the stairwell, and cut the wire that would activate the alarm.

The trash strewn alley's stench struck me when I flung the door outwards. My nose curled in disgust, as my foot splashed through a puddle just outside the door. Considering my next move, I realized that the only way out of the alley was either back up the fire escape or the street where Sal was still conferring with the officers. Sneaking up to the corner, I peeked around it quickly.

Aside from Sal, multiple people were being questioned or detained. There were a few ambulances here, their orange and white lights illuminating the night.

"Damn it!" I didn't want to sit here in piss alley forever, waiting for these dorks to leave!

I risked another quick peek out, still seeing pretty much the same scene. I shook my head, frustrated. I wasn't going to be able to deal with this little problem until I could get out of here! I should have planned an escape route. In fact, winging this had been a terrible idea all around. Damn, it was almost embarrassing, I mean-I thought I was better than that...

I pulled my phone back out and search them for Shayla. She was still about four blocks away from the train platform, walking with her hands clutched nervously in front of her. Her head was held low, making it hard for the camera to get a look at her face.

A small group of friends were allowed to leave and began heading in the direction of the wall I hid behind. Keeping my head down as low as possible, I stepped quickly from the alley. Using the group as cover, I walked quickly up the street towards the train station. Other than those I had just stepped in front of, no one said anything indicating I had been detected. Reaching the streetlight at the corner I turned right, heading down the street, looking for another side street I might be able to duck into. Finding none, I continued quickly onwards, turning left again at the next light, heading east towards the station.

Down the next block, I found an alley that ran through to the other side. Red and white taillights glinted as they passed on the street beyond. It was quite dark, as there didn't seem to be many lights on the buildings that surrounded it. The recent rains left puddles all over the street for me to trudge through, sticky newspapers clinging to my boots like paper machete. There were a few dumpsters here, their rotting contents permeating the air with their stench. My nose wrinkled as I passed them, noticing the torn-up shoes of a napping, bedraggled drunk between them. I tapped one of the dumpsters as I walked past, assessing weather or not he could be woken easily. I watched him for a few moments, and his chest rose and fell in the same rhythm, oblivious that someone was near.

Walking a little further down the sopping blacktop, I settled on a spot that seemed as good as any. A twisted smile spread across my lips.

"You can come out now, Dez. I know you're there." I said blandly, halting in the center of the alley. I slipped one of my knives from the inner part of my coat as stealthily as possible, concealing it up my right sleeve.


I turned to face him, slowly. "It's me, Dez. Do you know who you're talking too?"

He bore the same uniform as I did, military intelligence, just decorated with a lower rank. He also appeared to be by himself.

"Yeah. A traitor. I know about the classified files you sold to Chancellor Alefret. I also found the transfers, and the offshore bank account you opened in Ashax. Not as good as you thought you were, huh?" He sneered, raising his eyebrow.

"Ok, so? You trying to bribe me, or something? Maybe let you in on the gig?" I laughed at him.

"No. I'm here to bring you in to answer for your crimes."

"By yourself?" I asked, incredulous.

He shrugged. "You can come peacefully, or we can do it the hard way." He threatened.

"Ohhh, really." I challenged. "Sounds like we have a bad ass here."

He took a quick step towards me, immediately met by the pistol I pulled out of my coat.

"Give me that gun." He demanded, extending his hand out towards me.

"Come take it from me." I raised my eyebrows, giving him a cocky grin.

He raised his arm, higher. "Come on. Last chance, Isaiah. Hand it over."

I started to pull the hammer back, but as I did, I felt a strong pull on the weapon. I gripped it as tightly as I could, attempting to win the invisible tug of war. The speed with which it left my hand stung, and I felt my jaw drop in astonishment.

"Shit!" I exclaimed, watching the firearm land in his hand. His sudden use of powers had truly surprised me.

Whipping the pistol around, he pointed it at me. "I'll shoot you with your own gun." He smirked, delighted with himself.

"Alright, Hazebreaker, I guess you win then." I snapped. "I'll go."

"I'm going to put these hand cuffs on you, I strongly suggest not moving. I'll put one between your eyes." He threatened. He pulled the silver restraints from his inner pocket.

He approached cautiously as we stared each other down. "Give me your hand."

I did as he told me, extending my left wrist to him, but not so far that he was out of my arm's length. The metal rim of the cuff was ice cold, almost a shock as he wrapped it around my wrist so tightly it bit in.

He seemed wholly preoccupied; his gold eyes cast downwards on the task. I took that opportunity to stab him right in his throat with the knife I had been concealing in my right hand. The blade went through the skin effortlessly, blood gushing from the wound like a fountain.

Eyes wide with shock, Dez stumbled back into the putrid dumpster, hands flying up to his throat in an attempt to catch the flowing liquid. Blood washed over the front of his white-silver uniform. Small items all around him began to levitate as he struggled to fill his lungs with air. The dumpster itself began to rise, before falling back to the dirty blacktop with a loud thud. Our eyes met, his lips gaping like a fish as sought to speak, no words able to form in his severed throat. His knees buckled as he fell backwards into the bin, slowly sliding to the damp pavement.

I watched, fascinated as his lifeblood ran like a river. "I wish I had telekinesis. That would have been cool." I bent over and wiped my blade clean on his coat, chuckling as he flinched away from me.

"I'd give you some advice on how to do it better next time, but." I motioned down at him. I knelt down, staring into his eyes, watching the light leave them as his gaze set forever. Things were falling into place rather well. When they found his body, they would assume he was also the person who had started shit in Sal's bar. Damn, what luck!

I'm going to have to spend some time cleaning up the street cams storage banks. I thought to myself as I looked at his body. I was going to need to find out exactly what Dez had known about my recent activities, and more importantly, if he had told anyone else. Hopefully not, if he did, it might take some time to flesh them out. Then again, maybe not. I mean, the idiot did try to arrest me by himself. I kicked at his coat, seeing if I could find a weight that would indicate a wallet. I also needed a key to these hand cuffs, having the one dangling from my wrist was rather annoying. Trying not to touch him too much, I searched until I found them, storing the wallet in my pocket until I could dispose of it later. I used the tiny silver key to unlock them, stuffing both items into my pocket.

A shuffling noise behind me startled me, and I whipped around to see the sleeping man shift between the bins in his sleep. I had actually forgotten he was there.

"Better be asleep, old man. I'll make you scream." I pulled my knife back out, holding it so he would see it if he were awake.

Seeing no visible reaction to my words, I put my knife away and shrugged. Turning and walking away from them, to the other end of the lane, I noticed there weren't many people out on the street right now. Most of those who were, had clustered around the outdoor tables of the café on the corner. The smell of fresh brewed coffee drifted over to me on the wind.

I continued to wind my way through the thinning midnight streets, towards the light rail platforms, searching for an atm. I found one half a block up, outside of a small bank. Keeping out of view of the front facing camera, I reached into my coat and pulled out a sheet of stamps. Peeling one of the from the glossy page I placed it over the eye of the lens of the camera that faced the user.

Taking Dezs' wallet from my pocket, I found his Cred stick. Retrieving my phone from the other, I pulled a long cord paired with a shorter cord, with small device from the inner pocket. I hooked them all together, finding the jack on the atm and plugging them all in. I inserted the card into the reader, turning on the numbers program that generated passcodes with incredible speed. After about 20 seconds, the code had been deciphered and the main menu popped up. Grinning, I selected the option to withdraw cash, observing the five hundred Skrim limit. I kept pushing it until it locked me out, three thousand Skrim later. And now, it looked like someone robbed Dez and stabbed him in the throat after the bar escapade. This was perfect, shit I couldn't have planned it out better! Maybe winging it wasn't so bad, after all.

Not bad, not bad. I thought it would shut me out around fifteen hundred so hey, no complaints. Now I had some cash for train tickets. And whatever else I wanted. The rest of the walk to the station passed without incident other that a light rain that started right before I reached the platforms. A few druggies sat by one of the glass stations panels, smoking dope from a half of a broken light bulb with a plastic straw.

"Hey brother!" One of them spouted off, suddenly. "Spare any change?"

"Yeah, man. Whatever." I said, grabbing an uncounted wad of bills from my pocket, I threw it down at them.

"Wow! Thanks man!" They said, excited, as they began to gather their belongings.

"Meh. Don't sweat it." I told them as I continued past them.

I saw her sitting about halfway down the platform, her head down, lost in her phone. I walked up and sat down beside her as quietly as possible. I was curious how long it was going to take her to notice me. I watched in silence as a gray and red train stopped, letting an old man off, who shuffled promptly away.

"So. What took so long." She asked.

"I wasn't even gone that long, come on."

She continued to play the game on her phone.

"How often do they come?" I inquired.

"It seems to be every fifteen minutes or so." She muttered.

Pointing to the red train that began to pull away I said: "Ok, then let's be on the next one. I really need to get to my computer. I have some work to do. Kind of time sensitive. Where do we get tickets?"

She looked up, pointing to a gray vending machine on the platform by where the crackheads had previously been smoking dope. I stood, walking across the concrete platform to the ticket printer. It was about four feet tall, the Thao Fraxia Transportation Authority logo adorning the top part of the machine. Pushing the touch screen, it opened the menu for the ticket prices each option displayed in its own respective box.

"Damn. four Skrim per ticket. That's kind of expensive. How do the poor get around?" I muttered to myself. No wonder everyone was bitching about the wage vs living gaps. Paying the eight Skrim, I heard the printer head inside the machine squealing as it prepared the tickets. My eyes drifted upwards as I waited, to the metal rafters, covered in bird shit, and the messy nests in each of the corners. Noticing the tiny feathers that floated to the ground after a bird launched itself from the nest, I followed its quick movements through the panels of the roof. When the tickets had finished printing, they fell to the bottom of the machine. I grabbed them from the little plastic door and took them back to where we were sitting.

I gave her phone a dirty look. "Why did you do it, Shayla?"

"Do what?"

"Why did you take the Glass?"

"No." She said, shaking her head. "Not going to talk about that."

"What do you mean 'no'? I think I need some answers." I coaxed her.

She ignored me and continued staring at the illuminated screen. I watched her for a while before giving up, leaning back in my bench seat, staring at the ceiling. I exhaled, dramatically. After some time, my neck started to hurt, so I sat upright to relieve the pressure. There was a slight scrapping sound coming from the rails, signifying that another train was approaching. I stood up and stretched my legs and back, yawning.

As the train poked its head from the tunnel, I snatched her phone from her in one fluid movement and threw it on the tracks. A second later, the giant rubber rimmed steel wheels popped it like an egg between the guide rails.

"What in the Hell! Isaiah!" She screeched, watching in horror as her phone was annihilated.

"No one can track you with it now. Girl, you have a lot to learn. Don't worry-I'll teach you." I told her, chuckling.

"Ohhhhh," She snarled, frustrated. "You're such an asshole sometimes." She crunched her fists up, like she was about to hit me. "Dick!"

"I know." I told her, offering my hand to help her stand. I suppressed another laugh as she grabbed my hand furiously, squeezing it as hard as she could. It was painful, but not enough to really do damage.

Her heels clicked loudly on the pavement as she approached yellow painted landing of the platform. Turning to give me another withering gaze, the train pulling in rapidly behind her, blowing her curled hair forward off her shoulders. She should have been a model, not a traitor on the run, in love with a murdering, manipulative shit head like me. I almost felt bad for her. But she had to have some idea that I was a horrible person, so it was kind of her own fault, realistically.

The doors of the train slid open, retracting into the stairwell of the car, and a few people exited in front of us. As we stepped in, I noticed it smelled like melting elastic and carpet cleaning soaps. Looking around the car, I saw the tiny orange flame of a lighter flick. The man and woman huddled down in their seats, smoking drugs below the cover of the high-backed red seats. I pointed towards the opposite side of the train, where no one else was sitting. Reaching the seats at the back, she slid in against the window. She leaned her head against the glass window, watching the cars in the street below.










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