several areas near the edge of the cortex concerned with instinct and mood. It controls the basic emotions (fear, pleasure, anger) and drives (hunger, sex, dominance, care of offspring).
"Your name is Sile," Furey said, not exactly smiling but with a definite glint in her eyes. "You're a fire-breather and you've run this PAW cell for the last five years, after Gudjaran was killed in a government crackdown."
The other woman's face remained fixed and composed but her pretend friendliness evaporated instantly. "Most of my people in this compound don't know my name," she said, "and yet you do? I have to admit to being surprised. And impressed."
"You don't know who I am," Furey said, looking the agama straight in the eyes, "but I wanted you to know that I know precisely who you are."
Sile considered her words carefully. Seems like we'd put her on the back foot. I mean, there were still two dozen armed guards between us and the exit, but it felt like a win. "This is not knowledge you simply stumble across," she said. "How did you three come to possess it?"
I stepped forward. "That's the point," I said. "I'm sure you know what we've been saying at our meetings."
"I know you talk of identity and some utopian pipe dream where everybody lives happily ever after, Kaysaleen Rodata."
"You missed the other part, then," Marv said. "You know, the bit about imagining a world where everyone was born different. No genotyping."
"I have heard the reports," Sile said coldly, "I determined to dismiss the naive philosophy of a teenager. Theoretical science fiction does not concern my world. I live in politics and war and power. Fiction is for those with time on their hands."
I waved a hand towards Furey. "Ta-da," I said. It felt good.
Furey waited as Sile examined her more closely. The woman's lip curled and the skin pigments down the sides of her face seemed to glow a little more brightly.
"What are you, then?"
"I'm an alien, and your best chance of taking down the government."
Marv held up his hands. "What we mean is, you guys have been saying that there's a conspiracy for years, right? Well, here it is!" He pointed at Furey. "Right there!"
Sile was thinking so hard I could almost hear her brain whirring. "We've always suspected an external influence," she said slowly. "What are you, extra-terrestrial?"
Furey let out a short laugh, still standing uncomfortably close to the hoped-she-was-a-freedom-fighter-but-probably-just-a-terrorist leader. "Extra-dimensional is the term, I think."
"This can be proven?"
"You won't find another genotype like me, anywhere in the record books. Not without going back half a millennium-or-so."
Sile nodded. "There had been some speculation. I won't pretend to fully understand the intricacies of this situation, but you seem like a most valuable resource."
"I need to talk to you about the direction of PAW," I piped up hopefully. "We have an opportunity here to make things better."
While she continued to balance the tray of sticky sweets with one hand, she pointed the other towards me, and then Marv. "You are a child," she stated. "I am a general in the PAW army. I have been at war my whole life, trying to free my people. You have no right to dictate terms."
"Wait a minute," Marv said, "we came to you—"
"This one is evidence," Sile said, her gaze entirely fixed on Furey. "Dead or alive she is useful. You are both unnecessary."
YOU ARE READING
A Day of FacesScience Fiction
A coming-of-age story about a snake girl called Kay and her shape-shifting friend who accidentally uncover a conspiracy and wind up changing the world. ***** Kay is a sarcastic, ordinary high school girl who enjoys her weekends and doesn't think muc...