Red is doing something with a can of spray-paint when I come out of the bathroom.  It was a tough choice -- did I fall on the bed and go to sleep straight away, or did I freshen up a little first and go to bed feeling clean.  It's not that it's been such a long time since I last slept, it's more that the constant surges of adrenaline are wearing me out.  I yawned so much while I was brushing my teeth that I missed and brushed my nose instead.

Red turns, looks startled, and let's something fall to the floor.  Oh.  No, not something, someone.  A man.  He looks vaguely familiar, but I can't put my finger on who it is.  Red has been spray painting his face to look like clown make-up.

"Jeremy?" I say, my voice breaking a little.  "What are you doing?"

He smiles.  "I'm making a present for Joel.  This is one of his men, I'm just sorting out the wrapping, then we'll send him back."

"I don't unde--"

"I've planted a bomb inside him, and I'm just putting the wrapping on him now.  Then we'll send him back to Joel, at the town-hall, and he'll blow up and kill Joel and the Mayor together.  Then we'll be free of them and we can sort Grozny out, and then it'll all be over."


"You want it to all be over, don't you?"

I do.  I really want it all to be over and people I care about not to be in danger any more.  I don't really know who's alive out of the people I care about either; Puppy might be, but we've not heard from her.  Doesn't Red know how to get in touch with her?  Joel is, but Joel's not the man I thought he was.  The Russian guy, that Red nicknamed -- the Plough?  The Big Dipper?  Something funny, just like Red always is.  Oh, the guy with the clown face isn't the Big Dipper is he?  I look.  It doesn't look like him.  I think.  Wait, hold on a moment--

"The town-hall already blew up," I say, shaking my head.

"No, that happens later.  Trust me, I've seen this film before."

"Oh."  It doesn't make sense, but then it doesn't make sense that it doesn't make sense, so I let it slide.  We're going to blow up the town-hall to get to the Mayor.

"Why are we killing people, Jeremy? Aren't we supposed to be the good guys?"

"They blew up my fish-tank, didn't they?"

Fish-tank?  It seems about right, so maybe it is.

"All I've got to do now is push these in here...," Red is taking photographs from an envelope and pushing them inside the clown-guy's shirt.  "When he blows up, they'll fly out and everyone will see them and know what he's been up to."

The clown-guy suddenly blinks his eyes, and I recognise him.  It's Q.

"Jeremy!"  Why do I keep calling him that?  It feels... distant somehow.  "It's Q!  You can't kill Q!"

"He's outlived his usefulness, Emma.  He was always doomed to die."

"But... but didn't he already blow up?"

"No, he helped the bad guys blow up my fish-tank.  Now he's going to help us blow up the hospital."

"What hospital?"

"The town-hall where the Mayor is meeting with Grozny."


"Emma, you look tired.  And you haven't got your make-up on, here, let me help you with that."  Red reaches for the spray can and holds it up to my face and presses the trigger.  A fine red mist like volatilised blood sprays into my face--


--and I sit bolt upright, my heart pounding.  Red is stumbling back from me, wearing only a towel around his waist and clutching his chin, and there's a cup of coffee spilled on the carpet, black liquid flowing away from the cup.

"You've got a very solid head," he says, rubbing his jaw.  "You were having a nightmare, I think."

Oh yes, we'd got a room with twin beds and Red had gone to have a shower first while I... I must have fallen asleep.  I shiver, and start to tell him about my dream, but half-way through I stop dead and stare at him.

"That's what my subconscious is telling me!  We can get these photos scanned and uploaded online, then I can send them out to the Rebel Voice mailing list.  We need to get exposure for the pictures."

The End

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