She steps aside and cracks him across the temple with a chunk of cinder, knocking him to the ground. She proceeds to kneel on top of him and slam the thing across his face over and over again until the rest of them catch up, drag her off and hold her with her arms behind her back. A searchlight blasts across the road and I can feel the incapacitance vibes from here. Everyone slackens up and there’s an audio announcement to “PLEASE WAIT FOR UNION POLICE ASSISTANCE.” Vibes hold everyone captive. From where I’m lying it’s like they’ve all decided they’re not mad at her any more. Everyone’s just lying on the ground. In the harsh white light I can see their bellies rising and falling slowly. A Unipo carrier is there in a couple of minutes. Police hop out, as the vibes let up they help the party people to their feet and separate everyone up into groups of five for each officer. There’s talking, scripting: Unipo procedure. Everyone gives their statement, they run it by Accountability for review and make a judgement call. A few moments later they’ve separated Delay from the group and they’re leading the partygoers back to their mile, spare the guy Delay hammered with the rock. Delay gets searched, presumably for weapons and the missing pseudo. They script. Smashed Face looks like hell, unrecognizable with blood and ripped skin. They let Smashed Face go and sit with Delay for a few more minutes. She starts crying, sobbing. They comfort her with vibes, fixing her sadness right up, and she looks grateful. The police depart and the drones disperse. Within minutes she’s got me by the collar and is pulling me out of the mess.
“What the fuck was that?” I ask, but she claps her hand over my mouth and we’re back on the forced march. She won’t let us rest until we’re out of the mile. We settle for a rooftop to lie down. She checks the building first, making sure there’s no signs of habitation. I’m barely awake, only curiosity is keeping me up. “They didn’t search the mile for me,” I mutter. Her response is “They found you.” I don’t remember anything after that except for an image: Delay puffing on her nicotine inhaler and wiping specks of blood off of her face. The next thing we both know we’re roused in the middle of the night by the earth shaking. Recyclers on the move. Delay spots their safety lights a half-mile away through her binoculars. They’re fully operational and headed south.