Re: The Show Must Go Off

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Herr D

The Show Must Go Off–part eleven
I had not, as I’d hoped, been ready for anything. The plan had been so simple. Deal with the group’s feelings. Claim I’d just checked on the fight status to update and report his death and tell them I’d keep quiet about their cheating if they went away and left me alone. My victim, the man who’d just tried to kill me had been named Yew. It hadn’t dawned on me that bad humor would actually help my situation, but I HAD thought to put a filter on what I might say. I wasn’t supposed to know their names yet. The group’s brain’s handle was Upclose. The big guy, Gibb, had actually taken his last name as his handle. Not the creative type. The other guy was the wild card. He went by ‘Win.’ He had a long list of wins, mostly lethal. He used guns, though. Win’s eyes widened as he saw me, covered with blood, open the door. He turned to Gibb.
“Double or nothing you can down him in two hits.” Now that was a cagey bet.
Gibb looked up and saw me. “No bet.”
Upclose looked absolutely stunned, frozen. I smiled at her and said, “I need to talk to you about what we’ll say.”
It was at that critical moment that an Enforcer emerged from a ‘bundling booth’ with a laughing hooker. He saw me, his helmet snapped shut, his arm-mount energized, and he jumped the thirty feet to land beside me as the hooker gave a girly yelp and scurried into The Big Screen. Enforcer flashed the lights on his helmet just once. “Freeze! All of you! Hands on heads with I.D.s facing out toward me.” He dropped his voice a bit. “Enforcer 4967KF2. Confirm backup. Minimum required. No resistance or evasion as yet.”
I met this unfortunate event with one of my best-timed actions ever. I actually managed to GameFace my facial muscles into a timed drip! “Is there a-” blood dripped from my face “-problem, officer?” I blinked twice, maintaining my psychotic calm look.
The Enforcer blinked too. He scanned my I.D. first. “What’s happening here?”
“I was just about to ask them if they wished to mourn him before I cleaned up.”
The Enforcer blinked again. He looked me up and down and said, “Back against the wall, please. Permission to enter room?”
“I haven’t cleaned up yet.” He gave me an incredulous look. “Well–you can probably see everything from the door, can’t you Officer . . . “
“KF2. As in ‘Kill first two who lie to me.'”
“KF2, you have my permission, but I request that you disturb it as little as possible.”
He gave me a slow nod. He motioned me to push the door open. I did. He turned back to me. “Who was he?”
“I have my wallscreen off.” Arrgh. “But you will see his knife next to his implants. Perhaps–“
“Shush. You–” He scanned Gibb and paused for upload. “–Gibb? Other side of the door. You know everyone here?”
“Yes.” Gibb looked miserable.
“Introduce me.”
“I’m Gibb,” I saw the Enforcer roll his eyes, this is Sheila or Upclose, that’s ‘Win,’ the one covered with blood goes by ‘Q,’ and the dead guy is Yew.”
KF2’s arm-mount sights found Gibb faster than KF2’s face did. “What?!”
Gibb pointed into my room. “Yew. The short dead guy. It looks like he must have cheated.” Inwardly I cringed. I kicked my StayNeur into high gear. I erased Upclose’s efforts, belatedly realizing she’d messed up the timestamps. If the Enforcers had bona fide detectives, they would have caught her and I’d have been cleared. She might kill Gibb later for speaking out of turn, but I had to go with his capacity to be recognized for honest-sounding stupidity.
“You?” I said.
Gibb actually scrunched up his face. “No. YOU killed Yew.”
I GameFaced having a sudden epiphany. “OH–” I pointed around at each in turn. “I, Q–Yew–Win–Upclose–Gibb?!”
He kept his eyes on the floor. “No thanks, I’ve got it. Just stay where KF2 tells you.”
Win and Upclose doubled over laughing. Gibb looked up, annoyed. “I’ve GOT it, okay?”
Of course they laughed harder. I shared a sympathetic look with Gibb as KF2 shook his head in disgust, called off backup, and ordered a hall cleaning bot. He left before they stopped laughing, report verified. One more person that would’ve been executed for cheating in a fight dead anyway. **Pic of KF2 leaving posted by CantDraw in post #48.