Chapter 13.2

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I grit my teeth as the four men looked at each other. “Get out!” I shouted. They filtered away, leaving me standing alone in the middle of my station. I bit back the desire to scream in frustration as I examined a mother board sitting out on the desk, the careful soldering and wiring done late last night ruined but people that didn’t care.

“Tawny?” Carly asked.

“Carly, give me one reason not to chase those men down and murder all five of them,” I said. “Something good.”

 “Murder is illegal?” she offered.

“Not good enough,” I said.

“If you kill them you’ll be executed on the stop and then I wouldn’t be able to take you out for drinks after work one of these days,” Carly said.

“Fine,” I sighed.

“What happened?” Felix asked walking up with Allen.

“Dead Heads just threatened Tawny and destroyed a motherboard,” Carly said.

“Which motherboard?” Allen asked.

“Troop recognition,” I said. “It took me three hours to wire that board, why can’t anything to right?”

I could feel the tears beginning to well up as Allen put his hand on my shoulder. Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever been this tired.

“It’s alright, I only have one suit left on my roster and it’s almost finished, I’ll help you rewire,” he said.

I nodded, trying to hold back the tears that threatened to spill onto my cheeks. That day dragged on slowly, getting progressively worse. One of the men jacked an input that controlled rate of fire on the mounted rifles and another dented the coolant tank. By the time Allen could help me with the motherboard I hadn’t gotten any closer to finishing the drone and I could feel my projects piling up behind me, another Reaper that appeared to be in even worse condition than the one I was currently working on.

When the end of shift klaxon went off, I watched as the sparks danced across my gloves as I worked on the motherboard once more. Allen was fitting the rifle for me.

“Tawny, put the pen down,” Carly said.

“I’m almost finished,” I said.

“No, Tawny, put the soldering pen down,” she repeated. “Now.”

Shocked by the force in Carly’s voice, I thumbed the soldering pen off and placed it on the desk. My tech goggles dimmed and Allen took the alloy pen from my other hand. Both pens went in their respective locations and Carly put her arm through mine, pulling me to my feet.

“No, I just need to finish and install that and the drone is complete, it won’t take long,” I said trying to pull away.

“Tawny, you were almost in tears because one of those guys fucked that up this morning,” Carly said. “You fell asleep earlier soldering again. You need to go home and rest. I am going to walk you home to make sure you do.”

I tried to pull away once more, but Allen grabbed my other arm. “We will drag you there if necessary,” he said.

Submitting, I pulled my arms from their grasp and walked under my own power out of the hanger bay with them flanking me. Nick lived only a few levels down, so I had taken to walking, it was faster. They walked right beside me every step, providing idle conversation the entire time. I hadn’t missed much when I was gone, although Carly nearly gave her father a heart attack when she brought home one of his captains. The Captain was reported to have had a heart attack.

“So, you found some rich guy by your standards,” Allen said as we walked up the stairs in Nick’s apartment complex.

“He’s not rich, he makes a little more than I do,” I said. “It’s his brother in law that pays for this place.” Kai footed the bill to the best of my knowledge, but the apartment was in Nick’s name, well one of them. Technically, I believe the apartment belonged to a Mr. Sean Carney. I grabbed my swipe card for the door as we approached only to see two dead heads walking in from the other direction. I froze and took a step back, ready to run if I had too. Allen put a hand on my arm and shook his head.

“Don’t, running makes you look guilty,” he said.

I swallowed and shook my head. As we got closer, the dead heads passed us, their eyes locking with mine for a moment. I looked away fumbling with my card as I swiped it over the scanner and the door clicked, the lock flashing green.

“Okay, I’m home now, you guys can go,” I said.

“Alright, but don’t think we won’t do this again if we have to,” Allen said. He wrapped me in a hug, two huge flesh arms engulfing me until I couldn’t see or breath. Carly gave me a quick hug after Allen, her slender arms squeezing gently.

I entered the apartment with a sigh, closing the door and leaning against it. I massaged my temple, feeling exhaustion seep into my bones. Pushing off the door, I undid my belt and dumped it on the table, dropping my goggles next to it. The room lights illuminated as I entered the kitchen to see a note from Nick.

Had to go see a client, forgot to tell you this morning. So sorry, there’s dinner in the fridge. Please eat and get some sleep, don’t bother working on anything tonight, I know you’re tired. See you in the morning, Nick.

I opened the fridge and saw a plate of food wrapped up for me with heating instructions written on the plastic wrap. As I heated the food, I turned the news on reluctantly and plopped down to watch a little. Not much had changed, troop advancements on the northern front, extending and renewed fighting on the southern. The normal propaganda spewed carelessly, various insurgent groups acting up again.

I turned it off as my food dinged. I ate almost mechanically, barely tasting whatever Vicki prepared for dinner that night. I showered briefly, enjoying the feeling of hot water on my skin before turning in for the night. I had barely laid down when I heard the front door click open.


Alright, you guys, my readers are officially AMAZEBALLS!!! Seriously. Turncoat hit 10k reads and 800 votes when I woke up this morning or a few hours before. I've never actually had a story of mine do that so i want to thank you, my loyal readers, for getting me to this. I especially want to thank my ever present readers and voters, Tezza-b, Newlymadetwilightfan, Quinci, Caelis81, ValkurieFox, zimennna, AaronDavidPaez, henkdesmiecht, mihirgonsai, Mr_OwEsOmEnEsS, you guys are always there when I post a new chapter and usually one of you with a comment. So thank you so much, you have no clue how much this means to me. 

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