Forced Entry

“I said we were safer, not safe.”

Fleet pulled at the restraints, gave up, leaned his head back so that it was in contact with hers. “You’re supposed to be able to warn me about this sort of thing, Mandy.”

“This one wasn’t specific,” she protested. “I just saw the chairs, back to back, empty, like when they brought us in. Anyway, Dreamland One didn’t predict it either, so be mad at him.”

“He’ll just say ‘insufficient input’, and tell us to be more careful.”

“How long do you think they’re going to make us wait?”

“No idea.”

“I only ask because I have to pee.”

“Listen, I told you not to drink that whole—”

A metal door creaked open, and an older gentleman in an impeccable Italian suit sauntered in. “I hope you’re comfortable.”

“Is that sarcasm or irony? I can never keep straight which is which. What do you think, honey?”

Mandy shrugged. “I’d bet it’s irony, but it’s been a long time since English class.”

“You two are made for each other. The very souls of wit. But let me tell you what happens now.” The man walked slowly around and leaned over in front of Fleet, so that they were face-to-face. “Now is when you tell me how to penetrate Dreamland’s defenses. Now is…” motes of dust were beginning to fall past his glasses, between their faces; he looked up.

“That’s actually not what’s going to happen. Your ceiling is about to fall apart.”

“That’ll crush you as well, you won’t—”

“I’m not doing it. That’s way more juice than I have. That’s Rapture.” Fleet smiled. “Anyway, it won’t collapse, it’s just going to turn to dust little by little, until we’re hip-deep in it, and then she’s going to come down inside to kill you.”

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