Epilogue: Like Clockwork

When Pigeon came too, the first thing she saw was white. Cyberspace? No, this wasn’t a dream. The CHEEK? Too clean. Tee smell of bleach was in the air. She rolled over in bed, and saw that she was wearing mint green scrubs. A hospital. Rain lashed the single small window. In the distance, sirens wailed. From the hallway, the hustle and bustle of medical professionals tending to their patients. The ceiling lights were dimmed, and Pigeon cast her eyes around in the gloom, trying desperately to plan a Run.

From what she could see through the window, she was several stories up. So that was a no-go. Air vent maybe? Or would she have to go through the main door? The thought of taking hostages flitted across her mind. A scalpel, syringe, anything she could use as a weapon. Nothing.

She tried to stand up, but she was handcuffed to the bed, restarints at her writs and ankles. Trapped. Finally, he slumped back into bed, defeated.

“Oh, you’re awake! My name is Lindsey, I’ll be your nurse today. The doctor will be by later, we weren’t sure when you’d come around. In the meantime, we have a visitor.”

“Mom?”

“No, a business associate. Should I let her in?”

Pigeon nodded, yes. Her neck cracked, stiff from resting at an awkward angle. There was a dull pounding in her head, a lingering pain. She was hoping it would be Kim or Elizabeth.

“What’s the scan?” she asked dully, as Natsumi closed the door behind her.

“You must think you’re a real hero.”

“Not at all. I just took the choices that were offered to me.”

“You dealt a mortal blow to the System. I just wanted you to know that.”

“So what does that mean?”

“There’s an election next year. The Party is expected to lose.  Records on all the Runners have been erased. People’s faith has been shaken, and they’re turning to the private sector to deliver.”

“Sounds like you’ve won.”

“I always win. I told you, I am deus ex machina, and god doesn’t play dice with the universe.”

“Kim, Elizabeth?”

“They’ve skipped town. Noah and Sophie were bought in for conspiracy to commit treason. Holly is missing, presumed dead. It’s just you and me, kiddo.”

“Y2K?”

“We’ll make a pretty penny off of software upgrades, but it should pass without much incident, thanks to you. The Millenium Project is on course to meet its targets by 2010.”

“So what do you want from me?”

“Nothing. Consider your contract terminated. Your murder charges will be served here, under constant medical supervision. My parting gift from me to you. I owe you one.”

Rain hammered the small window, dark clouds shifting in the wind. She wasn’t dead, and she wasn’t going to face the concequensecs of her actions. The two key components of a succesful Run. Maybe this was sign. That she didn’t need to run anymore. Pigeon heaved a deep sigh, and tried to get comfortable. She was ready for the long haul.

After all, the sun always come out, eventually.

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