Rainbow (pt. 12)

“I’m sure you have a lot of question.”

The soft aromatic scent wafted up from the bowl in front of her, making her mouth water and her stomach realise it had been days since she’d eaten any solid food. Since the meeting with Virgil and his puppet-master, Sonorous had kept her mind off the implications of what she’d heard with a variety of physical indulgences around this strange district of the undercity.
Time waits for no-one however, and eventually her meeting with Alcatraz had come. The restaurant is a nice, relatively reserved ramen shop off the main road in the market area. He’d been waiting for her when she arrived, in the booth at the back of the store he’d indicated in his message. Seeing him there had struck Sonorous with uncharacteristic shyness, he wasn’t particularly attractive, nor intimidating, but meeting someone for the first time after looking up to them for such a large portion of your life can inflate them with a certain quality. But more than that, she hadn’t recognised him from the video call, but seeing him in person she realised they had met before.
They’d made pleasant small talk at first while she’d ordered, she considered the possibility he might feel the same shyness. Now that their food had arrived and he addressed the true meaning of their meeting, Sonorous didn’t know what to say. Her words completely abandoning her, she simply pushed noodles around in the bowl with her chopsticks in silence.

“We thought you were dead,” she eventually manages to say, her voice kept from cracking but it was a close thing. Across from her Qasim bowed his head, the weight of the lie seemingly a heavy one.

“I know, and I’m sorry,” he answers, still unable to look at him she can see from the tone of his voice that his posture is as slumped as hers, “I didn’t want want it to go that way, but it was the only option.”

Anger surged a she thought about how he’d been able to talk with her all this time but never given her even a hint that he was alive, and after all that his answers are so piss-weak, excuses without a single answer.
Berating himself for her weakness, being unable to look at this coward. Carrying sympathy and sadness for him after the complete disregard he’d treated Jeong-Suk with, after the way he’d manipulated her through the net for ten goddamn years now.
Fuck him. Forcing back tears and controlling her throat’s constricting her words with pure willpower, she lifts her head and stares him dead in the eyes. Looking nothing like the boy in Dvorovoi, his eyes were harder, more mature. She hated them. He also bore a great number of scars, some from aug surgeries, even more from cosmetic ones. Whatever the reason he had lied to them and abandoned them, his life hadn’t been a simple one. Not that it was an excuse.

“Alright, Alcatraz,” she spat the name with as much venom as she could muster, Qasim didn’t even flinch, “You’re right, I do have a lot of questions. First, you didn’t answer my question on the Net by chance, you were watching me, you could have contacted me at any point. Why didn’t you?”

Qasim… No, Qasim is dead, he’s Alcatraz now, Sonorous thought. Alcatraz answered without a pause, obviously expecting the question, his response may have been rehearsed but it flowed so naturally she couldn’t tell.

“Simply put, it was for yours, and the others’, safety.

“Matters in Dvorovoi escalated far quicker than anyone could have predicted, things got complicated and people got hurt. I didn’t want to leave you all like that, but it wasn’t up to me back then.”

“Wait,” Sonorous interrupts, raising her hands, the casualness in his words throwing her off in hearing them, “Are you saying you had something to do with that attack?”

He nods before continuing, “That’s right, I can’t really say much more than that. Honestly I shouldn’t have said that much, but the conflict between corporations runs much deeper than you think.
Plans are laid out generations in advance, the tech they have access to is far beyond anything ordinary people can ever hope to acquire, even the syndicates run almost a decade behind the major corps in tech.
You’ve seen the difference in living conditions between people in the undercity and people in the corp cities. The gap between the employees and the higher ranked corp positions is even greater again, and it’s growing larger every day.”

“Enough,” she exclaims, interrupting his rant in it’s tracks, “I get it, you did it to protect us. You left Jeong-Suk grieving and broken for her own good. You let Maria’s get dragged away from us, because it was what was best for her. You’re a fucking martyr, I get it. I don’t care any more.

“Just tell me who you work for and why you wanted to meet with me.”

He actually seemed a little hurt by this, she could almost see a glimmer of Qasim in Alcatraz’s cold eyes. But then it was gone, just as quickly as it had appeared, and just like that he was all business once more.

“I don’t work for anyone, not any more. I’m my own boss.” he practically oozes with pride as he says this, somehow repulsive in the way Simulacrum addicts look when on their latest high, “Of course, I’m not working by myself. I’ve got allies, Aaren.”

Hearing him use her name sent electricity through her spine, forcing her upright and grinding her teeth together, It felt like she’d been chewing on foil as she interrupted before she even thought about it, “Sonorous.”

“What?”

“Call me Sonorous.” there was steel in her words, with sharp edges, vicious like metal that had been torn instead of cut.

“Right,” Alcatraz said, submitting to the forcefulness of her words. Somehow the power dynamic had shifted slightly between them since when they’d first sat down, they could both sense it, and neither quite knew what it meant. Sonorous gestures for him to continue, feeling like perhaps she’s not quite as out of her depth as she thought.


Part eight in the Rainbow series:

Rainbow (pt. 1)
Rainbow (pt. 2)
Rainbow (pt. 3)
Rainbow (pt. 4)
Rainbow (pt. 5)
Rainbow (pt. 6)
Rainbow (pt. 7)
Rainbow (pt. 8)
Rainbow (pt. 9)
Rainbow (pt. 10)
Rainbow (pt. 11)

Art credit to 5ofnoverber (Filip Dudek)

Author: Zairron

I'm writing to build a habit, practice, and be creative.

One thought on “Rainbow (pt. 12)”

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