‘I’m okay,’ he said. ‘It’s just this..’ he gestured to his face.
‘What happened to you?’
‘Someone firebombed my apartment.’
She hurried him away, the limping couplet scraping and huffing behind the adjacent buildings.
‘Why would someone do that?’
‘You tell me. I’m still wondering if you were involved.’
‘What? I need to stop,’ she wheezed. He caught himself with a hand against the wall of the nearest building as she panted beside him. ‘How do you weigh so much?’
‘You try to fry my arm with an EMP and next thing I’m being dragged off in a van. I manage to escape and then my apartment is bombed..’
‘I tried to warn you..’
‘What, you work for some rival company? Who are these guys?’
‘It wasn’t us,’ she asserted, placing an arm beneath his. ‘Come on, we’re not far.’
He pushed off from the wall and tried to keep most of his weight to himself. His legs weren’t balancing as they should, the ground seemed tipped to one side, his balance unsettled.
‘If it wasn’t you, then who was it?’
‘It may have been Natural Robotics.’
‘Oh, come on. If they knew anything..’
‘What could they do? You’re an employee, you have rights.’
Shuffling to the next building, she indicated a scrappy doorway smothered in flaking white paint, boards were plastered over the outside.
‘How are we supposed to get through?’
Stacey met him with a stare.
‘What? I have one arm.’
‘Fine.’ She rolled her eyes, grasping the uppermost board and began tugging it away. One side flexed and shifted against the stub of a nail, but she was far from pulling it from the wall. ‘Goddamn it.’
She gave in and stepped away, pressing a finger to her ear.
‘I need a pickup from the rear of Tennyson. We can’t get by the front entrance. I Matthias with me. The police are out front. … Right. Okay.’
An echo of loud voices nearby drew her to the wall beside him.
‘So you’re maintaining you’re innocent?’
‘I’m here aren’t I?’ she hissed. ‘I didn’t blow up your apartment and I don’t know anything about a van. If it wasn’t the guys at Natural, I wouldn’t have a clue, but they were watching you. Why do you think I took you back to my apartment?’
‘There was someone at the bar?’
‘And outside your apartment. Thin guy, black jacket?’
‘So you’ve been watching me too?’
‘Would you quit screwing around and open this door?’