Spare Me and God Will Spare You

Cordray’s been captured, which obviously isn’t ideal, just rotten timing and worse luck, wrong place, wrong time, wrong stars at her birth, maybe. She can hardly breathe for the knee in her back; her eyes still sting with the chemical agent they’d sprayed her with. Mild stuff, comparatively, for her tweaked system, but they don’t know that, and shouldn’t, so she lets herself puff up and weep. The crowd is screaming at the soldiers holding her down. What has she stumbled into?

The one with (his?) knee in her back says something, but of course it’s all gabble to Cordray, who was never supposed to have touched down like this, who hasn’t had the training, who hasn’t had the languages drilled into her. Anger comes through clear enough, though, and fear. She writhes a little and weeps harder, usually that works, but not this time. The knee presses down harder to make her go quiet, and the crowd gets louder, more hostile.

Someone in the crowd throws a rock, and the knee in her back flinches, and it’s enough; she rolls loose and dives into the mob. There’s a loud retort and the crowd sways and for a second she doesn’t understand, then a wave of horror sweeps over her as she realizes what’s happening, what’s been happening, what she’s caught in now.

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