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Breed: Twenty-two


  11:38:00 am, by Nic Wilson   , 702 words  
Categories: Breed

Breed: Twenty-two

?Welcome back to the land of the living,? Linc said. He handed her a steaming cup of coffee. ?Noticed you stirring, so I microwaved it. That's probably the third time, so hopefully it doesn't taste too gamey.?
?How long did I sleep?? Roxy asked.
?Quite a while. We all had a late night, but you... apparently had an even more exciting night than the rest of us.?
She frowned, then noticed the gun she'd taken from her attacker the night before sitting on his desk..
?It's a service weapon. Same kind carried by the Bellingham Police.?
Rox suddenly felt like she couldn't breathe.
?I put out some feelers, friend I had who used to be military police, now works corrections in the state. Apparently it was reported stolen a week ago.?
?You believe that?? she asked.
?Not for a second. Service weapons don't just go missing, not even off of 'volunteer' officers. You think you got a good look at the man who chased you??
?No. It was dark. And I only ever saw him in a dark alley in the rain, and then only for a fraction of a second.?
?That was what it sounded like last night. You were barely coherent when Mayumi let you in.? He looked away. She could tell there was something else.
?What else did you find??
He closed his eyes. ?I guess you've got as much of a right to know as anybody.? He picked up the phone she took along with the gun, then thumbed through some menus, to a picture. It was Rox. ?Recognize it?? he asked.
It was taken earlier the previous night. On the rooftop of the black prison in Seattle. The only people on that roof with them were cops. ?Jesus,? she said.
?I think you've got the wrong guy with a messianic complex. Goddamned Kean. I knew it wasn't wise to bring you and Mikaela. It's one thing for the cops to threaten or even try to hurt one of us. But that wasn't your fight.?
?It is, though,? she said. ?They beat the shit out of Mahmoud, and had no compunction against executing me in an alleyway for sympathizing with him. It's my fight exactly because they want to wipe out people like me.?
?But you're kids, in our charge. Untrained, undisciplined. If you're saying we should be preparing you for war- but also how to avoid it, I agree, one hundred percent. But until then, we have a duty to keep you out of harm's way, not put you directly in the line of fire.?
Rox's phone started to vibrate. She looked at the screen, saw it was Mira, and answered. ?Where are you?? she asked.
?Linc's place.?
?You did what?? she asked. ?No. Nevermind. That'll keep. This won't. Is he there, with you??
?Put me on speaker.? She hit a button and the phone beeped loudly.
?He can hear you.?
?Elijah, that boy we showed around last week. Somebody SWATted him.?
?SWATed?? Roxy asked.
?Called the police, told them he was involved in a hostage situation, talked it up enough they sent SWAT to kick in his door. He was surfing on his phone, and the cops thought it was a gun and-?
?Is he okay?? Rox asked.
?They killed him.?
?God,? Linc said.
?I just talked to him last night,? Rox said. ?He'd talked himself into registering.?
?Do they know who?? Linc asked.
?It seemed like it was related to social media. He got into an argument, about registration. Then the next thing... I feel sick. Like we didn't do enough, when he was here, with us.?
?Hey,? Linc said, ?this isn't on you- either of you. You did your best to orient him to the campus. But it wasn't your responsibility to scotch-guard him against any and all possible dangers, either. Look, tonight's starting to sound like it'll be even more volatile than any of us thought. You should come to the meet this afternoon. I think I'm going to try and turn it into an all-nighter, get movies, popcorn, pizza, have a stay-in.?
?Yeah,? Mira said, ?I'll be there.?
?I'm not sure,? Rox said. ?I might have someplace I've got to be.?

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