Chapter Nineteen - Deception

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Music boomed loud, vibrating the first floor. A winding staircase connected the four levels inside Surge, men and women descending towards the bar and lounges. The dance floor was crowded and she desired to avoid anywhere close to it.

The dance floor wasn't the scene for good conversation or interactions she was looking for. She needed to find the more seclusive, personal areas. That would mean for her to climb the stairs.

Katrien received many glances, her appearance of adolescence ever-present. She didn't seem to care, flaunting her small figure in her teal strapless dress. Her dress concealed much of her skin, lengthening down to her knees, only exposing her arms, neck, and lower legs. The top of the dress was squared cut on the edges, and firmly stood up to her neck on her chest and back side. The design of the dress was effortless yet powerful.

They had walked in together with Thomas, Jin-hu to enter sometime later. They cannot be seen together, but also couldn't travel far apart.

Katrien and Thomas separate from her, and she was sure to have Thomas keep an eye on Katrien, though she knew nothing of why Thomas was with her. Ava knew Katrien could fend on her own, but she had never seen her in training, and she wasn't going to risk Katrien going on her own until the option was unavoidable.

Ascending toward the third floor she watched Katrien and Thomas disappear into the quiet lounging on the second floor.

Air became less cloudy, and more breathable the further she ascended the stairs. The smell of sweat, and smoke grew thinner, but still lingered. Rounding the stairs to the third floor she almost ran into the first officer. His back was to her, unaware of her. She sauntered pass him, unrecognizable, but he did notice her. In the corners of her eye she noticed prolong stares. It boiled her blood to feel these men's energy, the desire they have to touch her, it sickened her. If one finger touched her she would gladly show them pain.

Noticing a group of officers to her right, she swiftly without disturbance grabbed a tall liquor glass, slipping into the shadows of the high topped tables, blending into the small crowd. Some of the officers were drunk, while others casually talk scoping the area. She furrowed her eyebrows at the site. These were official Revive officers, much older and experienced than her. To see them in this state was abnormal. Was this the life of an officer? They have this much free time?

These officers must have not been the top in their classes, she realized. She was being trained to go on missions on a daily basis. These officers must be post officers, sticking to one area. That had to be it. That wasn't the life she would have had as an officer in the Revive and she now realized it wouldn't be the life she would have as a Strife patroller either. In both organizations she wasn't destined to play a small roll.

But so far in the Strife she fe;t her resourcefulness are helpful, needed to bring down the Revive. In the Revive she would have been fighting for the wrong purposes, and she knew it. She wouldn't have made it to the completion of her training. She would have found a way out, just like she did a week ago.

Thinking about it now, she didn't know how she let the Revive seep into her, binding all parts of her to them. She should have fled the moment they took her, the day of her mother's death.

She moved around the room, trying not to stay in one area too long. She needed to know where all the officers were on this level, and what she would be going up against if her plan was to fail.

There was a powerful Revive regulator here, and she was going to find them. In the hologram of the city she had seen the white fabric pin. The pin on a few officers in that hologram. That pin meant they were personal officers. Anyone who had private officers were a regulator or higher.

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