Chapter Twenty Two - Run

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"Harper Neild." Zaloy ambles his way towards them, saying her name with such attentiveness. "Or should I say Ava Iveta."

Here he is, already close to her, his movements fast. His energy wrapping around her, tightening her like a snake's prey. Reprisal seals his mind. The desire to do upon her as she had him. She could sense the wound she caused him. 

He had to clean up what she and her friends have done. And he didn't like that.

"You were smart to join the Strife. Power is what you seek and here you are, about to face Major Vellim, as if he didn't already know who you are. Not even a week has passed and you have a mission. I see the Strife are desperate." 

She says nothing. 

But her mind says everything.

For the first time Ava senses fear from Katrien. It is subtle, but enough to remind her Katrien really had no idea what Zaloy is like.

Ava doesn't fear him. She hates him.

Nothing he could do to her would bring enough pain to surpass the aching she felt losing her family. It is as simple as that. No words, no punishment could bring such hurt. She knew this, knew this to be true. 

Ava looks around. Officers are boarding crates of shipments, with many symbols on them. She only recognized one, it was a red circle, a needle as the symbol. The veracity injection.

She notices their vehicle next, but Thomas isn't in sight. Where is he?

Zaloy looks to the vehicle, pausing, then grinning in spite. "He cannot save you."

"What did you do to him?" Katrien steps forward, eyes of steal pushing into his. 

"Bring him." 

Thomas is dragged by his arms, blood smears down his nose, splattering over his shirt. Purple and blue bruises find their home to his busted lip, and eyebrow. He is severely beaten. Zaloy put a gun to his head, reading to fire.

Ava clenches her teeth together.

Katrien yells.

What happens next she is unsure of for a while, not until she finds her legs in motion, running from officers.

Now she remembers. Katrien had pulled her gun, killing four before Zaloy could react. This threw off the guards, allowing Thomas to capture his own weapon from a guard's hand. There was so much gunfire, she took cover, trying to understand what's happening.

Katrien has done something grave.

What she has done has been recorded. It will be shown, and she will be demonized.

She feels guilty. If anything Ava should be portrayed as that. Ava wouldn't have shot first but maybe she should have. Katrien knew they'd kill Thomas. So Katrien did what they wouldn't expect. 

There was no more time to think about what had just happened, for she is already in the alleys, running from the Revive. 

Surprisingly, Thomas, Katrien, and her have made it out alive. They run for a few moments, all together, barely words spoken, their breath needing to be severed for the long chase. 

Katrien communicates what just happened to Jin-hu who had been vigorously screaming in her ear chip since the shots began firing.

He is preparing ship. They were only to meet him at the loading port. 

They now split up, knowing it would be better to confuse the officers. 

The alley ahead drew her in, the booming noise of the city's crowd ahead. Almost smirking to herself, she sprints towards the light. The crowd will camouflage her, allowing her to disappear as if she were never here.  

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