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The lift rattled its way up with agonising slowness. Wyn watched the red number as it ticked upwards willing it to keep going and not reverse course.

“It won’t fall.” The girl smiled kindly at Wyn from behind the pram. A toddler buckled in like a drunk strapped to a gurney.

“Have you ever seen anyone working on it?” Wyn asked.

“No, but that’s because it never breaks.”

“It’s supposed to have regular servicing.” Wyn tapped a yellowed sticker under the control panel. “Four years since the last date.”

“Well, it ain’t fallen yet,” the young mother said glumly.

The lift juddered to a stop, and the door pinged open. Wyn stepped out onto the thirty-ninth floor and took in the vista through the scratched glass. The Longsal was one of the tallest structures in the sector and provided uninterrupted views of the sprawling city. It was a complicated landscape of pyramid blocks and jutting towers all capped off with a mass of grey clouds, heavy with their burden. While on the horizon was a band of algae-slicked concrete that passed behind the thousand other tower blocks until it encircled them all.

A tennis ball bounced off the glass and Wyn stepped back in surprise, stopping the lift doors from closing.

“You getting back in?” the girl asked sourly.

Wyn stepped out, the girl pressing a button, muttering something under her breath.

A gaggle of wild-eyed children raced around a corner, shouting, and chasing two boys wielding tennis rackets. The younger one swung his wildly in the air while the other pointed at the ball bouncing down the corridor.

“It’s mine,” the elder boy shouted and shot past Wyn, but the rest of the tiny horde came to a stop a metre away and bunched together. Small faces peering up at Wyn in suspicion.

“Who are you?” the younger tennis player asked, his racket resting on the floor.

“I’m Wyn. Are you playing tennis?”

“No.” The children giggled and shared conspiratorial whispers.

“Don’t talk to her!” the older boy said with all the menace a nine-year-old could muster.

“Why not?” a girl at the back of the group asked.

“Cos’ she’s a stranger,” the elder boy said, taking up a position on Wyn’s left, and looking the stranger over, paying particular attention to the shoes.

“We don’t talk to strangers,” a small girl said proudly.

“Good, you shouldn’t,” Wyn said. “But I’m visiting a friend. I know she lives on this floor, but I’m not sure the apartment number.” She glanced at the doors at either end of the corridor. Letterboxes and keyholes, but something was missing. “There are no numbers?”

The children giggled.

“Took em off so the police can’t find us,” a child said.

“Smart. So how do you know where anyone lives?”

“We know,” the younger boy said.

“Yeah,” the older boy added. “Like we know you’re a stranger.”

“So, I guess you know where Tay lives?”

“Don’t tell her,” the eldest said to the others, but it was too late. Two of the little ones moved to peer around Wyn. One raised a finger to point, but their hand was pulled down by another. Wyn followed their gaze to the end of the corridor.

“You just told her,” the eldest boy said and glared at the traitors.

“No, we didn’t,” several whined.

“Tay doesn’t like strangers,” the little boy with the racket said.

“I’m a friend of hers.” Wyn smiled. “Have you seen her?”

“Not since this morning,” a small girl said, getting a pinch from another as a reward.

“Are you going to play tennis?” Wyn asked the eldest boy.

“No,” he scoffed.

“Then what are the rackets for?”

The children shared a look and then swarmed past Wyn. She stepped back and let them go, trying not to laugh as they all tried to cram into the doorway at the same time. The last one made it through, and the door slammed behind them.

Wyn followed the accidental informant’s directions to the far end of the corridor. The concrete floors were cracked and stained, and the doors flimsy looking, the sort a shoulder or a boot could open in seconds. A low hum of TV’s and muted conversations set the background noise now that the children were gone.

Wyn tried to guess how many people called the Longsal home. With forty floors and seven towers, and a manager unwilling or unable to divulge who lived where, searching it would be impossible. She would either need a hundred uniforms knocking for a week or know someone that could pluck the information from the ether. In the end, all it took was a prescient message from Mr Wilkin and a choice between three similar doors. Wyn knocked on the middle one and waited.

There was a snatch of drunken laughter from further along the floor and then a door slammed shut. She raised her hand to knock again but the door on the right opened and an elderly woman with a kind face peeked through the gap, a chain crossing under her nose.

“Hi,” Wyn said. “I’m looking for Tay. Does she live here?”

The lady shook her head and slowly closed the door.

“This is her flat, right?” Wyn touched the door. “She told me to come by.”

“I’ve never seen you with Tay?” the woman said. A cat meowed somewhere behind her.

“I’m a new friend of hers. She gave me the floor number but didn’t tell me which door.”

“That’s hers, but she’s out.”

“That's a shame, I was hoping to catch up with her. Do you know where she might be?”

A shake of the head and the neighbour lowered her gaze to Wyn’s thick-soled shoes.

“Are you a Police officer?”

“Why do you say that?” Wyn glanced around, making sure they were on their own.

“Your shoes. My husband had a pair like that.”

“Was he a policeman?”

“No, a fireman, but he always said how important the right footwear was. Looked after them, same as you’ve looked after yours.”

Wyn looked down at her shoes. She tried to be conscious of the clothes she wore while on duty, careful to blend in, but her shoes were one place she refused to compromise.

“When you’re on your feet all day, you have to be comfortable,” Wyn conceded.

“What do you want with Tay?”

“She may have witnessed a crime and I just want to talk to her about what she might have seen. I’m hoping she can help me with my investigation.” Wyn pulled her warrant card from an inside pocket and held it up for the woman to see. The door closed briefly, the chain rattling before it opened again.

“Tay’s a good child, she wouldn’t hurt anybody.” The neighbour stood in the doorway, a cat rubbing against her legs.

“She saw something, something terrible, and I need to talk to her about it.” Wyn approached but stopped when the woman hid slightly behind the door. “Is Tay a friend of yours?”

“We talk.”

“Do you have her phone number? If I could call her, it would save me coming here again.”

“I don’t, I’m sorry.”

“Could I leave you my number and maybe you could call me when she gets back?”

“She’s not in trouble?”

“No, not at all.” Wyn pulled her notepad out and scribbled down her number. “But she’s important to my investigation. The sooner I talk to her the better.”

“I’ll phone you if I see her,” the woman said, taking the piece of paper and closing the door.

Wyn took a moment to think about what to do next. She had the right place, but if Tay had any notion of who would be looking for her, then she wouldn’t come back. Wyn’s only option was to find someone that would reach out to Tay on her behalf.

Her phone buzzed. Number withheld, but the call was coming through on the government network.

“Finally,” Wyn said by way of greeting.

“I only just got back into the sector,” a man said, before stifling a yawn.

“Is everything okay?”

“Yes,” Mr Wilkin sighed. “Just feeling my years. It seems to get harder every time we cross the border.”

“Did you get stopped?” Wyn didn’t want to think about what she would do if they arrested him.

“Oh, we passed without the guards checking. It's more the strain. I left this too late. I would have been more useful to you when I was a young man.”

“Well, you’re what I got. Damn, you’re all I’ve got now.”

“I heard there was some trouble and that the police suffered casualties. Were you involved?”

“I was.” Wyn couldn’t bring herself to admit how bad it had been.

“Detective Wyn, you must take care of yourself, and do remember that the machine is there if ever you should need it. I brought it across for your benefit as well as my own.”

“Thank you, sir, but I’m not sure I’d ever want to get in that thing.” Wyn pictured the steel tube sitting in the games room. Despite the demonstration and assurance of its safety, she had felt an instinctual fear of the robotic arms. They had far too much autonomy for her liking.

“Just remember it’s there. The medical services in the sector are rudimentary at best.”

“Mr Wilkin, what we talked about, I think it’s beginning.” Wyn lent against a window, staring down into the centre of the towers. Silence on the other end of the line. “I’m not sure what I can do to stop it? They’ve got an army. I can’t stand up to that.”

“Detective Wyn, the situation does not call for a blunt instrument. A fight is exactly what they want, so it is what we cannot give them. You are an intelligent and diligent detective and all that I ask is for you to continue doing what you do best, investigate.” The old man spoke with a confidence that she didn’t feel. But there was something in his voice, a hint of a smile.

“How can you be so sure? You don’t really know me.”

“It is confidence born out of knowledge. You are you and Tay is Tay. Trust me, I know what I am about.”

Wyn stood up straight and glanced up and down the corridor. The children were gone, and the floor was quiet.

“How did you know it would be her?”

“I gave you her name because I knew she would be important, just not how.” There was a hint of amusement in his voice as if he knew a big secret that he wasn’t ready to share. “You will have to trust me when I tell you that how I know would not help you. In fact, it would harm you and neither of us wants that.”

“You’re going to have to tell me one day,” Wyn said. They had made a bargain, a promise extracted from the old man before she agreed to work with him.

“I want to tell you and I will, but the conditions must be correct.” He coughed, the phone moving away while he covered his mouth. “Boris, water, please.”

“Are you at the Magdala?”

“I am, but not for long. I came back to check up on you primarily. Was Tay present for the massacre? I have been unable to ascertain her part.”

“How do you know about that? It hasn’t been released to the public yet.”

“I may not be able to keep in contact, but I have ways of monitoring things. I’m sure you suspect already that Central is plugged into everything that happens in the sectors. They have banks of machines that monitor all telecommunications and search for keywords. They even listen to the radio chatter of police officers requesting backup. Power is knowledge and Central believes itself all-powerful.” Mr Wilkin cleared his throat before continuing. “Was Tay there?”

“I think so. I haven’t spoken to her directly yet though,” Wyn said. “It creeps me out how you know these things.”

“You haven’t made contact with her?”

“Trying to. We had her, but she escaped.”

“That is a shame, the longer she is on her own the more time the others will have to influence her. You must redouble your efforts. She will be near to her home. Somewhere that she feels safe.”

Wyn stared down at the skylights for the garages.

“I’ve still got places to look but if she doesn't want to be found then I’ve got no chance.”

“Tay won’t stray far. She appears chaotic, but she has a deep need for order. The compulsion to return to what she knows will bring her back. There are people in the Longsal that she thinks important. A family of sorts consisting of a brother and a sister. Not blood, but as good as.”

“Do they have a name?” Wyn asked. She’d grown accustomed to the old man’s cryptic pronouncements, but it still felt like he was making it up as he went along.

“I’m afraid I don’t but I know they are part of a protest group. The brother has a skill for accessing government networks, something that has brought him to the attention of interested parties. I’m trying to secure his file, but I must tread carefully. I do know that the bulk of his intrusions originate from within the Longsal estate.” Mr Wilkin paused for a self-indulgent chuckle. “I must admit to finding it amusing that so much of this is originating within a place called Longsal. An awakening portended by an unknowing bureaucrat perhaps?”

“I have no idea what you are talking about.”

“I apologise,” Mr Wilkin said and then paused to take a drink. “I look forward to the day when all this is a memory, and we can finally talk freely about all that has transpired.”

“Tell me, Mr Wilkin, how did you know that her name would come up? As far as I can tell it was random luck that put her there.”

“Tay is an enigma. When you meet her for the first time, I imagine you will be unimpressed. She will strike you as a creature driven by chaotic energy, completely at odds with your own sense of discipline and duty, but look to the people that surround her and you will see her true worth. She is special. She is a pivot, detective. One of only a few.”

“So, what am I, a lever?”

“You are the most important part, detective. It is why I began with you, because, without you, all would be lost before it even started. You have the strength to stand against the armies of darkness and the courage to stand alone. But find Tay and she will stand by your side.”

“That doesn’t help you know?” Wyn said. “Army of darkness, that’s a metaphor, right?”

“Sadly not, for the destruction that will be wrought upon your sector will be so total that it will feel as if a gateway to hell has been opened and that all the evil of man has been brought forth.”

“Okay.” Wyn’s lip curled up in a rictus grin.

“I have complete faith in you, Wyn. You are the champion the sector needs.”

“I’ll do my best. Are you staying long? I could swing by. It would be nice to talk through what I’ve come across so far.”

“I am sorry, detective, but I must leave shortly. I came back to connect with you, and then I will have to return to Central.”

“Any advice on how to play this? Because as far as I can tell I’m out of the game.”

“Have faith, detective. I would follow Tay, but let her play out her own moves. That chaotic energy I spoke of will open up new dimensions. Help her if you can but more importantly listen to her, be her friend.”

“I should take her in for questioning.”

“That would do no good. The government would steal her from you, and then the game would truly be over. I’m sorry, but I must go. Good luck, detective.”

He hung up and Wyn stared at her phone a moment before putting it away. Not for the first time, she considered that the man might be a government agent, or crazy. He was definitely eccentric, but he also had access to the government mobile network and could sail across the border without being stopped. That meant that as crazy as he might be, he had power, a lot of it. Her best guess was that he was high up in Central government. How else could he know so much? If she was being set up, it was too late. Her instinct was to trust him, his motives and information, but the career detective in her was telling her that she was operating well above her pay grade.

Wyn stared out of the window. Rays of sunshine broke through the rain clouds and wandered slowly across the sector, alighting on towers and slums, like shards of hope stabbing through the gloom.

Bridges connected each tower roof to the next, forming a walkway that encircled the Longsal. It occurred to Wyn to make her way to the top and then work her way down.

Two flights up and she came out into a windowless hallway, one wall of which was taken up by a fading mural. People, young and old, were pictured strolling along a boulevard in the sky. Cheerful faces, smiling as they paused to chat or point outwards at the sparkling sector or up at the impossibly blue sky. Colours long faded along with the faces, ghosts of a more optimistic age.

She pushed open a door to the echoing shrieks of children playing and the thwack of a tennis racket. Not wanting to get hit by an errant tennis ball, Wyn turned right and crossed the top floor of the tower. Windows looked out over the sector, the glass scratched and dirty to the point where the buildings were a blur, but people sat opposite in plastic chairs and talked in small groups or played games at folding tables. A few glanced up as Wyn strolled past. Wyn returned their looks but didn’t linger for too long.

Before the next bridge was a row of shop units, two with the shutters rolled down, but the last was a busy cafe where a group of older men sat outside drinking from chipped mugs and talking loudly. Eyes followed her as she walked out onto the bridge. The arch was so pronounced that people on the other side were little more than heads bobbing along. Someone had dragged the contents of a flat out onto the span and apparently invited all their friends to join them.

Wyn’s experienced eyes picked out the drug dealers instantly. There were two of them along with some muscle. The rest were addicts lounging on the furniture or stretched out on the floor. Her nose twitched as she caught the confusing scent of several banned narcotics, but she hid her distaste. She wasn’t there to arrest or hassle people, she was there for bigger things.

The bridge afforded a commanding view of the towers and the plaza at the centre. It surprised Wyn how green it was, with large shrubs and spindly trees providing a soft edge to the square. Brightly coloured tents and makeshift shelters took up the spaces under the branches. Several hundred people milled about in the open, making the most of the fresh air before the rain started up again.

Her eyes settled on the gratings. Wyn knew from experience that a place like this would have an extensive underground. Would Tay be down in the garages, Wyn wondered? There were so many places to hide in the block, but would she feel safer underground?

A ripple of excitement spread through the bridge crowd as they gathered to look out of the windows at the road far below and the entrance to the Longsal. Wyn crossed to have a look, four lanes of traffic and a junction with lights. Smaller side roads filtered off into a dense network of streets that served small apartment buildings barely a third of the height of the Longsal.

She could hear the distant wail of sirens, her ears pricking at the tonal difference, identifying them as militia and not police. Blue lights reflected off shop fronts, and a convoy of armoured militia cars swept around a corner and barrelled across the junction, forcing cars and tuk-tuks to brake hard and swerve out of the way. Three of the large vehicles broke off, making a direct line for the street entrance to the towers. The lead car slowed marginally before mounting the pavement and bouncing up the steps. Pedestrians scattered, some jumping into hedges as the cars vanished under the bridge.

The drug dealers were on the move, shoving people out of their way in their haste to get away. A cry went up as they ran, a warning that would spread around the seven towers in seconds. Wyn had been in the cars as they swooped down on a target but never in the house jumping at the knock.

The lead car drove around the outside of the square, scattering people before weaving its way to the middle. The other cars took up positions around the outside, disgorging soldiers as soon as they came to a stop.

A large group formed up around Wyn, all of them gawking at the soldiers as they formed a perimeter and pointed their rifles at anything that moved. A soldier, wearing a bulletproof vest but lacking a rifle, stepped out of the lead car. He took his cap off, tossed it into the passenger seat and then took in the towers, studying each one in turn before focusing his attention on the sky bridge they had just driven under. It seemed to Wyn that he locked eyes with her, and she took a step backwards.

“What do they think they’re doing?” someone said.

“Nori’s going to pitch a fit.”

“Nori isn’t touching that. He’ll send Terry out,” a third person said to some laughter.

A phone rang, a sedate beeping but enough to get everyone looking around, searching for the source. Wyn quickly stepped away, pushing to the outside of the group before answering her phone.

“Detective Gough?” a man asked in an authoritative tone.

“Who’s this?” Wyn said. People were watching her, nudging each other, and pointing at the phone. Wyn kept her head down and walked back the way she had come.

“I am Major Glass. Commander of the militia investigative unit.”

Wyn stared out the window as she strolled back to the tower. The man in the middle of the square was holding a phone to his ear.

“What do you want, Major?” Wyn glanced over her shoulder at the crowd, they were still watching her, a few made to follow.

“I want to start by saying I’m sorry for what happened,” Major Glass said. His sincerity giving Wyn pause for thought. “I have respect for the police. You do a tough job, and we don’t always make it easier.”

“If this is a social call we’ll have to reschedule.”

“A courtesy call, you could say. I’m in charge of the investigation into the metro incident.”

“Incident?”

“Yes. We both know what it really is, but we also follow orders. You were ordered not to investigate, but we both know you are.”

“How do you know that?” Wyn resisted the urge to hang up.

“Because I would. I want you to share your findings with me. I am authorised to recruit you for temporary duty, but I’m not sure you would agree. It’s a shame since I could do with an experienced detective on my team.”

“Hey, you!” a woman shouted and Wyn turned to see a young woman pointing at her. “Are you talking to them?”

Wyn shook her head and turned her back to the crowd while inwardly cursing her stupidity. Lack of sleep might have been an excuse, but she should have been more careful.

“I’ll give it some thought,” Wyn said and hung up. She glanced over her shoulder to see the woman following her at the lead of a small group.

“How are you making a call?” the woman asked. “Only the Gov network works up here.”

Wyn cursed under her breath and kept walking. She admonished herself for making such a rookie mistake. That was twice now that she had been caught out. She could hear them talking about her and feel the bounce of the bridge as more of them followed her. They were shouting at her to stop, others calling out that they’d found a militia spy.

Wyn kept it at a brisk pace, careful not to break into a jog. She needed to reach the lifts and get out of there without causing a scene.

“Hey, stop, we just want to talk to you,” the woman shouted again, but Wyn didn’t believe her. She could feel the reassuring weight of her gun in her shoulder holster, but right then it would only make things worse. Despite that, she carefully unzipped her jacket exposing her shoulder holster and the hilt of her gun.

“Where are you going, militiaman?” another person shouted.

A few of the men in the cafe got up as she strode past them, swapping their attention from her to the mob at her back.

“We’re going to throw you out of the window!” The shout quickened Wyn’s pace and as soon as she was around the corner she broke into a run, covering the short distance to the stairs in only a few seconds. She slammed the door open and rushed to the stairwell, gripping the handle, and attempting to wrench it open, but it refused to budge. She strained to open it, but it was locked.

“Oh, come on.” She kicked the door in frustration and then slapped the call button for the lift. She tried the handle again, twisting it and pulling it, but to no avail. It had been locked in the past few minutes. She gave up and took the last precious moments before the tower residents caught up with her to slow her breathing and centre herself. Panic would get her nowhere. She was trapped, but she was trained, and they weren’t. She unclipped her gun but left it in the holster. The lift climbed slowly but steadily towards her.

The door swung open and the young woman poked her head in and glared at Wyn. Wyn stood her ground and stared back.

“Why are you here?” the woman asked. People gathered behind her and peered over her head.

“I’m not with the militia,” Wyn said and spread her hands. “I’m visiting someone.”

“Police?”

Wyn nodded. “But not with the militia.”

The young woman turned around and raised a hand. “Let her go. She’s police.”

“Hell no!” voices raised in angry shouts. Some demanding she come out, a few calling for her to leave by the roof.

“The police take orders from the militia,” a hidden man announced.

“I don’t,” Wyn said. “I am here on my own time, just looking for a friend.”

The left door banged open as a man kicked at it. The young woman tried to push him back, but she was pulled out of the way.

Wyn’s hand shot under her jacket, gripping the gun but leaving it hidden.

“You here to shoot us?” the man shouted. There was a shakiness to his voice that made Wyn’s stomach sink. She was about to be attacked by a mob of drug addicts, and there was nothing she could do but pray for the lift to hurry. “Come to put us out of our misery? Is that it, party justice?”

“I want her phone,” shouted a thin voice from somewhere at the back. The young woman was gone, replaced by a sea of damaged faces. Not just flush with anger, but with whatever was coursing through their bloodstreams. Wyn noted the gun sticking out of the waistband of one man. At some point, Wyn knew, he would remember that he was armed and then the situation would change quickly.

“What’s going on? Get back,” an elderly man shouted as he emerged from the mob, pushing at them as he tried to reach the door. When they didn’t move quickly enough, he slapped one of them around the face. The action stunned them, and he was able to get through. He straightened his jacket and glanced at Wyn before taking up a position in front of the lift. He was somewhere north of seventy, with a face full of wrinkles and a bent back, but his shoulders were broad, and his hands were the size of Wyn’s head.

“You pressed the button?” the man asked.

Wyn pressed it again, her other hand still inside her jacket.

The man took up a position between Wyn and the mob, turning to address them. “You don’t want to do this. If you hurt a police officer, then they will descend on us like a plague of locusts, and then you’ll all have to run and hide.”

“She’s a militia spy. Come to pick us out for the death squads,” a man shouted. “They’re murderers!”

“Look, you can see her bullet-proof vest!” another of the young men said. “Kill her before they kill us.”

Wyn pressed back against the lift doors.

“The door to the stairs is locked,” Wyn said to the elderly man.

“You have to use your shoulder. Doesn’t matter, the lift is quicker.”

A beer can sailed through the doorway, narrowly missing Wyn’s head, before colliding with the wall behind her and showering her with froth. One of the men took the opportunity and dashed forward, ducking around the old man, and striking at Wyn. His punch was slow though and Wyn slapped his hand away easily before punching him in the ribs and pushing him away. He stumbled and ran into the mural.

“Stop this now.” The old man’s voice cracked as he shouted. He stepped back towards Wyn and tapped the call button without turning around.

“Get out of the way, Clive,” a member of the mob shouted. “The only way she’s getting out is through a window.”

“I can’t let you do that,” the old man said.

The lift door pinged and slid open. Wyn darted in and Clive backed in with her. He pressed the ground floor button. Hands clasped at the door, but he slapped them away and then wagged a stern finger at the men and women gathering on the other side. Wyn stood at the back of the lift, poised, ready to strike, but the old man’s presence was enough to keep them back and allow the door to shut. The lift jerked to life and began its slow descent.

Wyn took a deep breath and stood back.

“Thank you,” Wyn said.

“Stupid thing for you to do coming in here on your own,” Clive said, rubbing at his neck.

“I’m not militia.”

“No, you’re police.” Clive pressed the ground floor button again and then stood with his back to the panel.

“Do I have a sign hanging around my neck?”

“Nah,” Clive grinned. He had a stubbly chin and unkempt hair. “I worked a food cart outside Parkside. Saw you there most days.”

“Small world.” Wyn straightened up her clothes. “What’s your name?”

“Clive.”

“Wyn.”

Clive nodded to the gun previously concealed by her jacket. “Thanks for not pulling that, Wyn.”

“They’re not much good at crowd control. Tend to make things worse.” Wyn twisted to look at the back of her jacket, wrinkling her nose at the smell. “I’m going to smell like a drunk now.”

“Good, you might fit in better.” He gripped the handrail as a tremor ran up his arm.

“Are you all right?” Wyn asked.

“Yeah, it will pass.” He took a deep breath and gave Wyn a thin smile. His forehead glistened with a sheen of sweat. “My heart’s not used to pumping that fast.”

“Thank you for your help back there.”

“I did it for them. They’re too weak to do you any harm. The drugs have wasted their muscles. By the looks of you, you could have gone through them easily, but then we’d just have a bunch of wounded idiots to deal with. They whine enough when their arms aren’t broken.”

“Thanks anyway.”

“Do you want to tell me why you’re in my tower?”

“Looking for somebody.”

“Who?”

Wyn stared at him, sizing him up.

“I’m no friend of the police, but if it gets you out of here quicker, then I’ll help you.”

“Tay Garson.”

“I know Tay.” Clive nodded. “Wild kid, but good at heart.”

“Have you seen her today?”

“That depends, you want to arrest her?”

Wyn shook her head, “I just want to talk.”

“Saw her this morning in the garages, looking like she’d had a long night. She has some friends down there.”

“The garages? Do you think I could find her down there?” Wyn asked. The lift came to a stop, and the door juddered open. Clive let Wyn go first and then followed her out into the foyer. Through the window, they could see a group of militia soldiers standing outside the tower office.

“Oh man, Nori will not like this,” Clive said.

“Nori?” Wyn asked.

“He runs the towers, and he hates police just as much as he hates the militia.”

“I have to find her before they do,” Wyn said. “Please. They’re after her but they want to silence her, I just want the truth.”

Clive looked from the militia back to Wyn.

“Go down these stairs.” Clive walked back past the lifts and pointed to a door at the end of a short, featureless corridor. “Stick to the right until you reach row H. At least I think that’s where they are. About halfway down you might spot a kid sitting on a stool.” He pointed a gnarled finger at her. “You go causing trouble down there, you won’t be coming back up.”

“I promise I won’t,” Wyn said. He stepped out of her way, and she jogged along to the door.

“Just don’t shoot anyone,” Clive called out.


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