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The Morning and a Fugitive
April 27, 2110
It’s always hard to wake up when you’re cold, still tired, and anticipating a long and tough day. It gets even worse when you realize there’s a boot on your chest and a gun pointed in your face.
I blinked, trying to bring my world back together. I’d fallen asleep last night in the middle of a field with tall grass, completely hidden. I was still there, good, and it was predawn- I saw dew on the grass and a glowing sky. I was flat on my back.
There was only one, and I couldn’t see a face very well. The silhouette was feminine, and she was dressed entirely in black. Obviously not the authorities, with a single person, no uniform, and a non-regulation weapon.
At that point I realized that the reason for this was she’d stolen my gun. I shifted slightly and felt my hip was unusually light. There was a second gun in her holster.
“Hey,” she said, friendly enough. She bent over a little more and I got a good look at her face. Green eyes, brown hair like wood varnish, round chin.
Crud. Even though I was horizontal, my stomach somehow managed to drop. It was Andra. Why me? Why her?
“Hey,” I sighed back.
“You’re a hard guy to find, you know that?” she continued conversationally.
“Thanks. I try.”
She cocked her head. “You don’t seem very happy to see me, you know.”
“You’re standing on me. And you took my gun.”
She removed her foot but kept a firm hold on the weapon, gesturing upward. I stood slowly, keeping my hands where she could see them. She kept talking. “So how’ve things been? I haven’t seen for you a while.”
Like she didn’t know what I’d been up to. It was spelled out perfectly on every wanted poster in the country. Treason. “No, it’s been a very long time,” I said coolly. “Things changed. How long have you been after me? Did you just wake up one day and think, ‘Hmm, fratricide sounds like fun’?”
“It’s not fratricide unless I kill you,” she replied, “and I won’t. I need you alive.”
“You won’t do it, but someone else will. The penalty for organizing a rebellion is death and you know it.”
She shrugged. “Sorry. It’s just a job.”
“I’m sure that will make me feel better at the execution,” I answered sarcastically.
She shrugged again and changed the subject. “To answer your question, I only picked up your case last week. I didn’t want to get involved, really.”
I folded my arms. “And yet here you are.”
“Well, some investigator was digging around in your hospital birth records and realized we were related,” she said. “They figured that I’d be able to track you down. Obviously, they were right, since none the of the authorities have any idea where you are and they’ve been looking for a month.”
She knew how my mind worked. That was her advantage.
I sighed, looking her in the eye, and took a small step closer. “Andra...”
She didn’t look sorry. “It’s not going to work. Don’t get all emotional on me.”
But that wasn’t my intention. I held her gaze for another moment until my fist connected solidly with the side of her head.
It took her by surprise, that much was apparent by the fact I even managed to touch her at all. She stumbled slightly and I took the opportunity to grab for my gun- but suddenly it wasn’t where I expected, it was smacking me upside the head. My ears rang.
I blinked, trying to shake the blow off, punched her in the gut, and heard the breath rush out. But as she tried to breathe in, she spun around, bringing up her knee right into my groin. I yelped. Before I could recover, she kicked my legs out from under me and I hit the ground hard.
Suddenly, she was on top of me, pinning my arms with her knees. But I was bigger, I could flip her off. And I started to, until I found the gun pressed up against my Adam’s apple. I froze.
“Try that again and I’ll shoot,” she said, breathing hard.
I didn’t answer. She got up into a crouch next to me, still with the weapon trained on me. “Roll over.”
I did obediently, face in the dirt. She cuffed my hands behind my back. “I thought you were supposed to take me in alive,” I said finally.
“I don’t have to shoot you fatally,” she answered. “Just enough to keep you from running.”
She pulled out a communicator, checked the screen, and pushed a button or two. “Authorities should be here in four or five minutes,” she told me, putting it away.
“What happened, Andra?” I asked, rolling over and pulling myself upright (with some difficulty). “You used to be such a nice girl.”
She looked me up and down, half a smile on her lips. “Sorry.”
I close my eyes, feeling the beginnings of fear. In the distance, I heard a siren. I was caught. “No. You’re not.”
“You’re right,” my sister said. “I’m not.”