Closing the Gap

Three days now, she had been travelling. At first Archi had travelled as fast as she could away from the Tower, but on the train ride, in those typical wee small hours, a few doubts had crept into her mind. Now, almost to the Safe her feet dragged more and more. Was she doing the right thing – leading LitPol towards those she had once called friends? Most definitely not, but what other choice did she have? She wasn't strong like the others, didn't have what it took to go on the run and beat the Man. Even though she hated doing these favours for LitPol, for Everstine, her life was still easier than what she imagined theirs to be. Besides they gave her things – the pencils and paints. Archi stopped and leant on the side of a building. The closer she got the location, the more her insides churned. She could rationalize it all she wanted but deep down she knew she was doing something wrong.

On the other side of the street, Dru noticed Teuthis had stopped. Quickly she radioed in, tapping out 'Teuthis stopped, corner of 6th ave and Penticton St, orders?' There was silence from the other end for a moment, then came the crackle of static and a voice.
“Observe. If she doesn't start walking again in ten minutes, move her along.” Dru nodded to herself and tapped back, 'understood'. She walked down to a coffee shop, and seated herself with a clear view across the road.

Archi thought she was going to be be sick. She doubled over, taking deep rapid breaths. She couldn't do this, she couldn't lead Them right to the safe. But Everstine would know if she tried to take them to somewhere else, she didn't know how, but he would just know and then it would be back in a cell with no pretty pens, or worse the Furnace. What if she just stayed here? He never said right to the door, he just said the vicinity, maybe she could get away with it.

Just then a shadow fell over her. Archi looked up to see a woman dressed in LitPol issue fatigues standing over her, her face grim. Archi stood, plastering a fake smile on.
“I'm okay,” she said. “Just, you know, that time of the month.” The LitPol didn't seem impressed. She reached into a pocket, and for a moment Archi was sure the woman would arrest her. Instead she pulled out a badge and a pad and paper. The badge was briefly flicked open, enough time for Archi to notice 'special branch' written under the name, but most of her attention was focused on the pad. The woman put her badge away and, swiping an unruly strand of hair away from her face wrote something down and held the pad up for Archi to see.
'Miss Teuthis,' it read. 'I suggest you continue to your destination, or...' Archi looked up, fear in her eyes.
“Or...?” she stammered. The woman reached into a pocket and withdrew a brilliant cobalt pencil. She held it up, and when satisfied Archi was watching she snapped the pencil in two. Archi pressed herself back against the wall, a small sob escaping her lips. The woman raised an eyebrow at her and stepped back, indicating she should start walking. Archi didn't move for a moment, and the woman drew another pencil, burn orange this time.
“All right,” Archi muttered pulling away from the wall. “All right,” Archi started walking again, the woman close behind her.

The End

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