Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Derby Girls - Part 3

I think it's clear I am unable to resist the urge to post a derby picture with each installment. Also, this picture has the infamous Hyper Lynx in it. But she doesn't have a taser.

When we last left Slaughter (or Madame Secretary) she was being held by the cops. Now she has to face down interrogation* and hide from an enemy more dangerous than Lynx.

*There's a little German in here. If I've mixed up any words please let me know. German class was a long time ago.

Derby Girls

Part 3

It wasn't an interrogation room. It was too long, there were too many doors, no mirrors and no sign of regulation surveillance. Even the fluorescents only gave off a halfhearted flicker of light.

"Look, I know this isn't your real ID," the police lieutenant said, waving the card at her, flicking his thumbnail against the bloody edge.

She saw a fleck of blood chip off onto the table but didn't move her eyes from his. She looked at him with polite confusion, eyebrows raised in question. “Ich verstehe immer noch nicht. Wo ist Ihr √úbersetzer?” she said, asking for a translator in her best Berlin accent, trying not to fidget in her stiffly drying clothes or clench her stinging hands.

His hands slapped the table, a vein pounding suddenly in his forehead.

Her eyes went wide and she leaned away from him, rattling the cuff that held her right arm to the chair. It was a little too easy to pretend fear. He clearly wasn't privy to the full details of the flag on her ID and the young intelligence officer who’d recognized her disappeared an hour ago.

At her flinch he immediately smoothed his expression and sighed. "You're going to tell me before you leave this room, I guarantee that."

Her eyebrows went up again. "No Englisch. Haben Sie nicht einen √úbersetzer?" she asked, shaking her head in worried incomprehension.

He sat back in his seat, the light flashing on the silver buttons of his coat and the wide shield over his heart. He sighed again, hand clenching impatiently on the table. "No English my ass," he said, standing and hooking a thumb through his black belt, hand casually brushing his sidearm.

She didn't look at it, meeting his eyes with the most confused expression she could manage. She knew guys who could pull off good cop bad cop on their own; she had married one of them. This guy was an amateur and he was toying with her until the intelligence section commander showed up with licensed interrogators. If he got something out of her first he could claim jurisdiction and all of the reward.

He sighed again and turned away from her, opening a door, the same one she'd been dragged through. His wide back blocked most of the light but she made out a flash of narrow hall and patrolmen standing in little knots, sneaking glances inside.

She sagged in the chair when the door clicked shut behind him. She scratched hard at her right shoulder with her free hand, the skin feeling raw and clammy under her drying shirt. She shivered when the movement exposed the wet cloth under her arm. She let her hand fall with a sigh. She couldn't remember ever feeling more uncomfortable and on a blackout night she might have hours of playing a confused EU tourist ahead of her.

She rubbed her scraped palm absently over her pant leg, back and forth to keep from scratching at it. Now that she could give it her full attention she understood exactly what this room was. Long table, lots of chairs, a sideboard, and a cheap silk plant. The gate conference room. "Better than a gate cell," she muttered, shaking herself and looking around for cameras again. If the gate patrol caught her in the lie the gloves would come off. She'd wish she was in an alley being tased.

No one came rushing through the door. A shoe squeaked in the hall and the low murmur of voices rose and fell without urgency.

She flexed her toes; her socks had dried into stiff molds around her feet. She rubbed her arches together, friction chasing away the cold settling in her ankles.

The door handle rattled and she jumped, her raw hands fisted.

The intelligence officer's blue eyes were sheepish now. She sighed in relief. Over his wide gray shoulder she caught a glimpse of officers that had replaced the patrolmen, all lieutenant’s bars and captain’s stars. They were gone a second later as the door closed, but not before she had seen the narrow, predatory face of Captain Garret Fillmore.

The intelligence officer was speaking to her but the words were muffled by the blood rushing in her ears. Fillmore wouldn't let her go until he'd uncovered everything. If he walked into this room it was all over. Her career, Charlie's career, their families’ safety. She shook her head roughly, trying to jumpstart her brain.

The officer took a step back, standing at the end of the table with a pair of boots in front of his chest. "I just thought you'd want these, ma'am," he said with a guilty glance at the door.

She smiled before she understood what he was saying. “Sorry, it's been a long night.”

He smiled nervously and she could see the glint of his eye implant focusing on her. "It said size nine in your file," he said in a carrying whisper, stepping forward with the shoes held out.

She took them with her free hand and bent, not quite able to reach her feet. She sighed loudly, a weary sound over her pounding heart and the surge of adrenaline making her hands shake.

"Um, I could," he stammered, gesturing to her socks and flushing a deep red.

"Thank you. Officer?" she added questioningly.

He went down on one knee, pulling down her socks, careful not to even brush the skin. "Langley, Harry Langley, ma'am," he said, folding the socks and setting them aside.

"Thank you, Harry," she said softly, straining to hear the high buzz of Fillmore's voice, a step toward the door, the rattle of the doorknob.

"I'm sorry I couldn't round up any socks," Harry was saying as he dried her feet with his handkerchief.

She looked down at him, at his blonde head bent over her feet, and felt a stab of guilt. "I appreciate just getting the wet socks off."

Harry smiled, slipping the boots over her feet and tying them up her ankle with quick, precise fingers. "It was just chance the depot had these," he said modestly.

She shifted silently against her cuff, trapping it between the chair and her skin, pressing the metal hard into her wrist, making it grate against the bone until her eyes watered. Her hand was loose against the arm of the chair when he looked up. "Is this really necessary?" she asked, nodding toward her reddened skin.

He looked apologetic "All these new regs, you know how it-" he stopped, frowning at her wrist, "Damn Benton, he always does them too tight," he said, reaching for his keys.

The click of the lock giving way was impossibly loud.

Harry hovered over her wrist, loosening the bracelet.

He didn't see her move until it was too late.

She gripped the arms of the chair tight and drove her knee into the underside of his jaw. The bone was so hard she thought she'd broken her leg but it moved as she pushed Harry aside and shook her wrist free of the cuff. She didn't let herself look at the door that hid Fillmore or the blood leaking from Harry's mouth. She took his comm and his keys and stood on her stiff legs. She went to the door behind her chair, the one no one had used, clenched her jaw and opened it.

A speeder bay.

Two man speeders lined the far wall and there were a few crewmen standing near the bay doors looking out at the rain flashing in the spotlights.

She walked to a speeder, strolling, hoping that the men would keep their eyes on the rain and that Harry had speeder clearance. The speeder started on the first swipe of his key and she sat astride the long body, feeling the thrusters lift her feet off the ground. She fumbled for the rain gear, her focus on the men at the doors, jerking every time they moved.

When she pulled away from the slot she was in yellow to her knees, her face hidden behind a helmet, her hands in sticky black gloves. She accelerated toward the closest bay door; knowing the garage crews were always particular about the exit sensors.

She passed the men as quickly as she dared and saw the closest do a double take. She was already out of the garage when she realized her mistake. On blackout nights every speeder had to be pre-cleared.

She had less than a minute to clear the checkpoint into Center City.


  1. I want to know more about this world. This is great! Am I right that you're going for a Blade Runner vibe here?

  2. I don't know if I can claim Blade Runner without the Replicants, but I'm trying for a little urban dystopia. And maybe a speeder chase.

  3. Good work, The breakout seemed very believable and while i do not know German, the way you used it made it understandable without me having to go google it.

  4. I do believe this might be turning into a novel...

  5. Damn you! *shakes fist* I finally caught up on this and you're on hiatus?! I really enjoy your writing style. It's more art than writing. The imagery is intense but not overpowering. Commenting on all three parts here I have to say the worst part of the story is reading it in 1000 word chunks :) I like to sit down and read a whole book. Call me old fashioned.

  6. "I'd appreciate just getting the wet socks off." <--the socks are already off, no? Maybe "I appreciate you just getting the wet socks off"?

    I really love Madame Secretary and the fact that she is a straight-up butt kicker. She is a compelling character and whatever she's involved in seems like she can handle it with aplomb. Looking forward to more...when the hiatus is over!

  7. Ah, thanks for pointing that out. This is what happens when your beta reader moves to Canada. Fixed now.


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