"Shit," said Gemma, reaching behind her and pulling her pistol out of her pack. Clair did the same thing at exactly the same time. Jesse and Shannon were frozen with surprise. I was locked in uncomprehending stasis, too. A trap? For Clair?
She took aim at Wallace but didn't pull the trigger. Her hand was rock-steady.
He just smiled and waved off Kadri, who had produced the pistol from her hidden holster.
"There's no need for this," he said. "No need in the slightest."
"You're with them," Clair said. "It's the only way you could have known."
"That entirely depends on who you mean by them, Clair."
He turned to Gemma, whose pistol was aimed unwaveringly not at Wallace, but at Jesse's stomach. Jesse put his hands up in the air. They were shaking.
"Thank you, Gemma," Wallace said. "We've been tracking you ever since you activated the beacon. Is this everyone?"
"No. The others are coming through the old subways," said the traitor, Gemma, who had helped me help Clair, only to betray us all at the end. This wasn't the behaviour of a true friend. "They'll be here soon."
"All of them?"
"Good." He opened his arms and faced the others. "See? Let's cut the dramatics. Lower your weapons and come upstairs where we'll make you comfortable."
The muscles in Clair's jaw clenched. I could see her finger whitening on the trigger. She wanted to shoot Wallace; that was obvious. Maybe Gemma too, for betraying her hopes. I wondered if she could do it. It wouldn't be the first time Clair had killed someone, after all. There had been the dupe on the roof of WHOLE's safe-house-but did that count, a man who could be copied indefinitely inside a stolen body? Was this different?
Clair took a deep breath and lowered the pistol. Kadri came forward, took the gun from her, checked Shannon and Jesse's pockets, and guided them through the door.
YOU ARE READING
113 (Twinmaker)Science Fiction
A post-scarcity world transformed by free, instantaneous travel should be paradise, but nothing is ever as it seems. When an ordinary girl uses Improvement, a meme promising a complete physical makeover by little more than wishing for it, she brings...