Gardner kept one eye fixed on the progress screen and the other on the gun pointed at his forehead.
‘Easy now.’ He raised his hands slowly and swallowed the last bit of his sandwich. ‘I don’t want any trouble.’
‘I wasn’t expecting you would,’ replied Tris. ‘Is it done?’
‘Not yet. A full recharge takes time.’ Gardner could feel his palms starting to sweat. ‘Look Tris, you could come back, the boss he’d take you back if you just apologise.’
‘Apologise?’ Tris snorted. ‘After what he put me through?’ She shook her head. ‘How long until it’s ready to leave?’
Gardner checked the screen. ‘Ten minutes.’
‘Too long,’ scowled Tris, ‘make it quicker.’
‘I can’t. It doesn’t work like that.’ His hands began to drop towards the desk.
‘Back up.’ Tris gun jerked in her hands. ‘Back up high where I know they won’t be a problem.’
‘Nine minutes,’ said Gardner. ‘We both know you haven’t got that sort of time.’
Shouts began to echo down the corridor from the other side of the steel door to Gardner’s lab. Tris let out a long, slow breath.
‘Eight,’ she said. ‘The door has only got to hold for eight and then I’m out of here and free.’ She pulled the trigger and a bullet spat past Gardner, lodging into the control panel by the door. The panel gave a crackle of annoyance before going dead and on the other side the hammering started.
‘Now you’re even more stuck,’ said Gardner. ‘The suit isn’t invincible and it wasn’t designed to piloted by someone in your condition, it will kill you.’
‘I know Gardner, I designed it remember.’ Tris crossed tucked the gun into the holster. ‘That’s why you’re going to pilot it.’
‘What?’ A small bubble of hysterical laughter rose in Gardner’s chest. ‘No, not a chance.’
‘Please Gardner.’ She crossed the room and laid her hands against the desk. ‘If not for me then do it for Lille.’
Gardner’s jaw tightened.
‘Don’t bring her into this, you have no right to.’
‘He killed her just as much as he’s killing me.’
‘No, it was an accident.’
Tris’ hand reach up and closed around his.
‘You don’t believe that do you?’
Biting the inside of his cheek Gardner shook free. The screen flashed green.
‘It’s done,’ he said.
‘Good.’ Tris glanced towards the door where the banging and shouting continued. ‘Time to make your decision.’
‘Tris…’ the words dried on his tongue as the door shuddered and the metal began to give.
‘If you’re going to do something, do it now.’ She reached for the gun. ‘Remember what Lille said. When it comes down to it, they don’t care if we die. They just want us to kill the right people first.’
Daily Post: Recharge