My patrons have cast their votes and voted again for some more Feelings In Hallways, I mean Ozymandias. This chapter gives us more interaction between Harper and Adrianna (kind of hard to avoid when you’re the only two living souls in a city-sized ziggurat). Harper keeps getting the rug pulled out from under her. Getting shot down by her own people, Adrianna refusing to let her die, the encounter with the angler hounds, discovering the Baheil’s Great Prison, learning about her parentage and the fate of the Baheil and now her companion/captor/egg donor has announced she wants to destroy the greatest repository of knowledge in the galaxy. Of course, if the Red Hand can’t exploit it, they sure as Hell don’t want the Compact to be able to get their hands on Baheil tech, but Harper is beginning to suspect that among the many secrets Adrianna is keeping from her, there’s one that might be directly relevant to their situation…
Below is a snippet containing a little more of Harper and Adrianna’s congenially acrimonious relationship. For the full exchange, and the rest of the chapter, check out the link above!
“What time do you think it is?” Harper asked as she leaned back in one chair, silently praising whoever she needed to for such a tiny luxury, even if it wasn’t shaped for a guest with bipedal anatomy.
“0367. Three hours twenty-three minutes until dawn.”
Harper blinked. That didn’t sound right – simultaneously, too long and too short a time. It felt like eons since the shuttle crash and conversely, like no time at all had passed as long minutes of fear and uncertainty had washed into blurs of terror and adrenaline. Dawn was coming. Maybe then they could get out. Assuming those fucking things will go back to sleep or power save mode or what-the-fuck-ever they do once night ends. “Fuck,” she breathed.
“Fuck,” Adrianna agreed, touching her face. Her skin was slowly starting to knit back together, but it was a low priority compared to her other injuries. She could re-route or redirect healing and repair systems as needed. Right now, her damaged limbs and internal organs needed the most attention. Any break they could take would be a welcome one. “It’s been an interesting night, hasn’t it?”
“Isn’t there some old human curse about that?”
The older woman nodded in confirmation. “May you live in interesting times.” She grinned, stretching her stapled skin. “I know what I’ve done to earn that. What about you, agent?”
“Sins of the mother, probably.”
Adrianna laughed. “Maybe so. Not like your employers aren’t fond of generational penance.”
Harper shook her head. “Can we not do that?”
She expected some pushback. A snippy comment about the Compact’s alleged and imagined sins, or some self-righteous indignation. Instead, Adrianna just nodded. “All right.”
The brunette tilted her head. “Just like that?”
“Did you want me to argue with you?”
“Then don’t look a gift horse in it’s mouth, agent.” Adrianna lay across several chairs and stared up at the ceiling. She could feel Harper’s eyes on her. She chuckled. “Don’t tell me there’s some envy in there.”
“Envy? What could… what would I possibly be envious of?”
“That I’m not trying to use my sinister demagoguery on you. That has to be somewhere in there, right? ‘She’s corrupted all these other people – why isn’t she making the attempt with me?’ Not that rational, but we’re not purely rational beings, are we?”
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