We sat in complete silence for what must have been hours, only stirring when Lucatz opened the door, accompanied by two of his brutish companions. His eyes widened when he saw the bloody chip on the floor, and I could have sworn I saw him wince when he saw the blood-stained scarf wrapped around my hand.
"Saves me the trouble o' diggin' it out," he said to himself, "now then, let's get down to business."
"I've seen what's on there, Lucatz." I cut him off. "And it won't be of any use to you."
"What do you mean?" Lucatz narrowed his eyes suspiciously at me, and his thugs cracked their knuckles ominously. "If you're ripping me off ..."
"No, no! It's nothing like that!" I protested. I told him about what we had seen on the File, and Kris chipped in to explain about Kamarov and the outrage sparked by his research. As we talked, Lucatz's face turned slowly from suspicion to curiosity.
"A warrior race eh?" he scratched his chin. "But what for? Why the heck would anyone want to make something like that? Surely they wouldn't have wasted all that time on Vengeance if he was just gonna wind up as the crowd's favourite freakshow in the Arena?"
"I don't know," I said, "but I think you're right. Wayne clearly wanted to keep this file hidden. Why else put it under such high security? No, I think he has plans for Vengeance, and I doubt they bode well for the rest of us ..." I looked across the room at Kris. "We've got to get him out."
"What?" Kris and Lucatz looked at me with twin looks of shock.
"Gavin," Kris said, "what the hell are you talking about? You can't be serious."
"But we've got to!" I protested. "Kris, if it weren't for him, I would probably be dead and you'd still be stewing in the Arena. He's not the monster everyone thinks he is. He could have killed me any day he wanted, and instead he agrees to help us escape." I paused. "I promised I'd go back for him."
Kris and Lucatz gaped at me. I looked down at my bloodstained hand, remembering the look in Vengeance's eyes as he had crouched over me in the Arena. Once again, I heard his whispered words over the roar of the crowd.
"Don't forget me." I whispered to myself. It was true. I had sworn it, not only to Vengeance, but to myself. I had to get him out.
Kris moved over and sat down in front of me. "Gavin," she said, as if speaking to an obstinate child, "it can't be done. How are we even supposed to get in there, let alone out again, without being found?"
"We did it once, didn't we?" I said.
"Yes, but ... this is nothing like that! There's no way we could smuggle Vengeance out, and even if we did where would we go? He's hardly inconspicuous, and we'd have the whole city hunting for us!"
"The whole city is already hunting us!" I retorted. "Besides, what if Wayne does have plans? Kris, he'll kill us both and who knows how many others to get what he wants. What better way to stop him than by stealing his weapon out from under his nose? If we can get Vengeance free, then we can reveal everything and stop whatever Wayne is planning for good."
Kris paused. I took her shoulders and looked at her intently. "Listen to me," I whispered, "if we can bring Wayne down we won't have to run any more. No more being hunted like rats, we'll be able to live freely again. We can have our lives back."
Kris bit her lip and looked away. I held my breath, hoping against hope my argument had swayed her. Lucatz watched us like a hawk, yellow eyes glowing with anticipation. Finally Kris looked up.
"Alright," she said, "I'll help you."
I could have whooped for joy. "Brilliant!" I turned to Lucatz. "Lu, I need you to -"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Lucatz raised his hands, "I'm not getting involved in any of this! If you two want to go and risks your necks, that's fine by me. I'll give you my half of the deal, but after that you're on your own. I'm not having anything to do with this crazy plan. No way, no how, no sir."