"You know, I can't figure you creative type out. I couldn't get you to shut up, now you've clammed up." The Captain kept slowly circling a seated Gwen, as a hawk circles his prey. "What gives?"
"Us 'creative type' need our quiet time," she replied, staring at the wall ahead of her.
"Unfortunately, we're on a tight schedule-"
"Are you now?"
"...And if you cooperate with us, we'll let you go."
"And if I don't?"
A twitch betrayed a smirk. "Well, that depends how much you annoy me. If it's only mild, it'll probably be at least a week of solitary confinement. But if it's major, then it'll probably be the Furnace."
Gwen tried to keep her face set, but she had to bite her tongue nervously. The captain noticed the waiver in her demeanor. "Oh, a bit nervous about the Furnace, are we?" He slid an old silver lighter out of his pocket; it reminded Gwen of the lighter in a Roald Dahl story she read way back when. With a unsavory smirk, he slid it open in front of her face, and flicked it on. She jumped as the fuse jumped to life. She leaned back, trying to put as much distance between herself and that tiny flame. But the distance wouldn't grow, it just kept coming closer.
"I think," he murmured, "we understand each other?" She nodded frantically. After what seemed an eternity, the silver cover flipped over the fuse. Gwen sighed in relief.
"Now then, to business."
"Ask away, sir. I'll do what I can."
"I need a name."
"Hm. What sort of name you need?"
He stared blankly at her for a moment. "Come again?"
"Well, I can't give you a good name if I don't know what kind of name you want."
"I was asking for your name."
"Oh! Well, why didn't you say so?" He glared at her. "What importance does my name have? I mean, I'm just one person in a big group..."
"But you're you, you're an individual, and most individuals have a name by which they are identified. I'd feel better if I could call you by name."
Gwen hesitated. Should she tell the truth? Or should she make something up? "G-gwen," she stuttered. "Gwen Guienalei."
The captain cocked an eyebrow. "Interesting name. And you're a Protagonist?"
"It depends on your perspective." His face contorted in confusion. "Let me explain: to you, I'm a force hindering your goals. Therefore I'm an antagonist. But to me, I'm trying to go forward with my goals. Therefore I'm a protagonist."
"Then... which group are you a part of?"
"Isn't it obvious which one?" she asked impishly.
"It is, but I just wanted to verify the information we received earlier."
"Oh, of course! How else would we have found you? How else would we have found that... that Rubashevskiy one... Jack, I think they called him."
Jack? That's who they found? What happened to him?
"Anyway, we were told that there would be a break in, and, lo and behold, there you were sneaking around!"
Who could've told them she was coming? The only people that knew she was going to the Tower at all were Asheyna, Robyn, Dark, and Archi. And as far as she knew, the first three didn't have any contact of any kind with the Antagonists. Gwen's brow furrowed with concentration.
"Do you still tab Protagonists?"
The captain was clearly surprised by her question. "Some we do, yes. It was one of our tab-ees who reported, actually. 'Bout your age, but very small... large eyes. We've had someone go in to try to talk some sense into her. Guess it worked. Well, that, and she had some persuasion. Pencils seemed to work, for some reason..."
Pencils? There was only one person Gwen knew that, after a time, would fall to the promise of pencils. Her heart sank to its nadir.
"She also half-heartedly mentioned something about a meeting of Protagonists. Do you have any idea where that meeting would be?" The captain's hand drifted toward his pocket, fingering the lighter again.
Gwen bit her lip, muttering spitefully to herself, "So I have to choose betrayal and inferno, huh?"