Day 9

Maya didn’t look very convinced; her eyebrows were still furrowed, her face still stormy. Leo let her get out of the tent, Ray shooting her an apologetic look as he followed her out the door. 

Leo took a deep calming breath, trying to be empathetic, trying to understand that Maya was still just s girl and that she didn't know that the government had specific AI Judy for them, at this very moment, combing through teraflops of data. That Maya had found a small distraction amongst their steam pile of shit of a life right now and that distraction just so happened to be a slightly smaller steaming pile of shit. 

It wasn't fair. It really wasn't. But it still wasn't an excuse. Even if she didn’t know about the satelites, constantly roaming the sky and talking thousands of pictures an hour; the distance from the tents to the water was long enough for there to be a huge problem if the IJS just randomly decided to come over for a little light bullet exchange.

But she had thought she was having fun and helping with something that wasn’t their current predicament. Helping find out something in their real life that could cause some real porblems for them later on. 

But it wasn’t fair.

It wasn’t fair that Leo had to be the only one tech security savvy around here. It wasn’t fair that she was the only one who had the common sense not to keep extensive digital records on a phone that a monkey could break into. It wasn’t fair that she had to go clean up every digital fuck up that everyone else made.

But this was the choice you made when you made your carreer choice.

When she’d started coding, it wasn’t hard for her father, who at the time had a good job and plenty of funds, to support her. Coding would have been a great job for a talented techie, before the Collapse. 

Afterwards, it was a great passtime to earn small amounts of extra coin and make some trouble. It kept her and Maya and Sam realtively safe and gave her the equipment she needed to keep coding for fun. Her hobby actually paid for itself.

Her ribs began to decompress, her breathing getting deaper and less sharp, and her vision began to clear. Her first ever panic attack was subsiding.

She would take care of this little problem, initiate her latest string of code and then she would jump onto an online game and play for a while. It was time for some self care.

BACK ON THE AIRPLANE: FIGURING OUT WHAT THEY NEED TO DO

The door from the cockpit clicked open, just as Leo was putting the carpet back. The pilot looked up and looked somwhat confused to see Leo crouching in the narrow space between the couches and the tables. His eyebrows furrowed as he tried to figure out what was going on nd the lightbulb went on when he saw the cut in the carpet. Leo’s chest started to constrict and her vision blur. The horrid feeling of drowning started to come over her and she wanted to scream and put her hands over her ears. To hide, to run, to find a dark and quiet place where she could be alone for eternity

“What the hell do you think…”

Maya took control of the situation, standing and smiling. Leo’s chest decompressed, letting her sisters charisma wash over her.

“We needed to make an important phone call. One that probably saved your life. The carpet won’t be hard to replace. Don’t even worry about it.”

“You can’t just destry property of the Resistance and not expect…”

“Like this is the property of the resistance!” Alex was giggling. “You ‘aquired’ the jet after it’s owner probably declared banruptsy and is living in a smaller appartment in the US or something.”

Maya gave leo a scowl, Leo remebering all the times that she’d got the scowl after she wa reavaling too much. Maya was making a play and it’s entirly possible that Alex had just ruined that whole plan.

“It’s not the end of the world. A little tape and it’ll be fine. You don’t have investors to impress. It’s just a personell transport.”

The pilots hackels didn’t actually settle in any way. He just shot them all withering glances, or maybe what he though were withering glances. It just gave the impresion of a drowning spaniel; sad and rather regretful of all current life decisions.

He sulked back into the cockpit and Leo tried desperately to get her breath back. Had she been holding it. It felt like she had been holding it. She took deep shuddering breaths in and let her vison come back into focus again. Her ribs were aching.

Ray’s hand patted her back and stared stroking her spine up and down. The poor boy porbably thought he was being comforting.

Treat him gently, don’t snap. It’s hard not to. He’s so oblivious as to what was going on in her head.

She patted his arm and smiled, mouthing a thank you. He smiled back and kept stroking. 

Nope. Not getting the message. So she leant over and whispered into his ear.

“I’m good. You don’t need to use physical comfort. I’d love a water though.” The boy did a long nod, just one gesture of the head and stood to get her water.

Zoe FleischerComment