I paused with my fingers on the keyboard and glanced at Maggie. She was looking at me. <Chui Se.> I thought to myself. I didn’t kill anyone.
The things we heard in the chamber, the secrets revealed, were so minor. Except for mine. Who cares if the Doc gave people the flu? Or if Miss V had some face lift? That’s not prison time. That’s not killin’. I can’t help but wonder if I’ll be moving on after we get off this rock. No one likes to spend months cooped up with an ex-con, right? Can’t trust ’em.
While the others were goin’ through the supply bags, I banged away at the keyboard. In 40 minutes the system would gas R-8 cell block (where the hardened criminals are kept) and open R-7 cell block (the political prisoners). I tried to access the personnel files, but this terminal only connected to facilities.
When I walked into the hallway Prudence, still in her orange jumpsuit, and Miss V, in a guard uniform, were discussing strategy. “After the gas hits and the guards run by, we can short the door, so that the guards can’t get back to us.” Prudence was pointing her arms left and right. Miss V nodded, but I could tell she was still a little shaken from the rough treatment. She rubbed her head. “Yes. Yes, Swei — you’ll zap the door so it can’t be used again and we’ll be able to get to that other ship without incident.”
I walked a little closer to her. “You want me to zap the door?” Miss V smiled at me. “Yes, Swei.” She turned back towards Prudence and said something.
I walked over to the door, removed the faceplate and stared at the exposed wires. <Mei Wen Ti.> Like takin’ candy from a baby to disable the door. I called over my shoulder: “Do you want explosives hooked up here?” I waited. Finally I turned around. No one was in the hall. Hmmm. I hastily broke the door and grabbed my new backpack.
I found everyone just at the conjunction of cell block R-7. “Door’s done.” I reported to Miss V.
“What? What?” She frowned at me.
“The door’s done. Broken….. Like you said.”
“I told you to break it after the gas. After the guards ran by.” I stared at her with my mouth open. “But. But I asked you. I asked you and you said Yes.”
Roark laughed. “What a cluster fuck. Best <Bie Woo Lohng> we’ve had in a looong time! Now we can do some serious payback. Do some killin.” He patted his new automatic rifle.
Doc smiled. “Brigid, if you recall, you were not facing Swei when you gave the order.” She tapped the side of her head. “Deafness. It is almost complete in the one ear.”
Maggie crossed her arms. “I think she did it on purpose. “Is your brother in R-8? And you wanted to protect him? Is that what this is about?”
Prudence stepped between us. “Shwei Chang is not here. We know that.” For a moment no one spoke. “Um,” I said. “We only have 15 minutes before the gas goes and those cell doors (I pointed ahead) open.”
“Ta Ma Duh! And there’s a guard down there, guarding the door we need to go through. All right. I’ve got the guard uniform. I’ll go down and distract him and Roark, you take him out. I’ll bend down to tie my shoe and you shoot him.”
We watched her swagger down the cell block hall. Hoots and cat calls from the cells did not phase her. At one point she did stop and rap her baton against a cell door, yelling at the prisoner. It was a good act.
When she bent to tie her lace, Roar shot and hit the guard, but he didn’t fall. He quickly leveled his gun and returned fire. I was acutely aware of how little time we had. I pulled a bit of Chemplast from my pack and the remote detonator. “Follow me” I whispered. And I ran screaming around the corner and down the hall right at the guard.
He blanched when he saw me and shot wildly. The bullet hit my shoulder, barely grazing it. In the next moment, I heard Roark’s gun. The bullet shot past me, taking the guard down.
“Nice distraction, Cookie.” He patted my arm as he sauntered by. “Don’t call me that! I am not the cook!”
Prudence ran by. “We’re almost out of time. Quickly! My father will be here soon!”
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