Swamped Chapter 22 Page 15

“Because I’ve already talked with this prisoner before,” you say calmly. “It’ll be easiest if I go along.”

“We’ve all been here with them, you know. While you were off doing god-knows-what. What do you think you saw that we didn’t?”

Well. That’s a strikingly direct question, considering your real reason for this meeting. And you still haven’t explained your absence, at that. Your team deserves that much explanation, at least.

“I got ambushed and knocked out by the escaped prisoner. When I came to, it was time for my meeting with Razor, and I couldn’t exactly blow him off. I came here right afterwards.”

Was she actually worried about you? It’s really hard to tell with her.

“You got knocked out by a one-armed prisoner?”

“I got hit by a slicer. Doesn’t really make much difference how many arms you use to throw one of those.”

“And have you been to Doc since? I’ll bet you haven’t.”

She’s got you there, but you definitely feel like she’s dancing around what she really wants to say to you.

“Let’s get right to the point. Rivers, do you have a problem with me?”

You hear a bell and give Ringer a glare. Rivers does the same.

“I was asking Rivers. You know not to get up in other people’s business, Ringer.”

The bell rings three times. That means “important,” you recall. It’s rare for it to come up outside of an actual alarm.

Well, now you’re deep in the muck. You can’t just ignore Ringer, but asking yes or no questions to try and find out what’s got Rivers in such a bad mood strikes you as a terrible idea for a number of reasons.

So how do you handle this mess?

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Starling Ex machina