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Maxim laughed at him. Ben was taken slightly aback by that, and felt a bit hurt. Maxim did clarify his original question, however, and Ben understood that his answer hadn't been anywhere near that what Maxim was expecing. So he could hardly blame Maxim for it.

Still. He had been quite serious.

Anyway; Maxim had apparently been thinking in the same direction as Ben had before. He realised he wouldn't have to wait to ask Maxim his opinion - and that was quite a relief. Maxim walked past him into the corridor and, after turning to face him, rephrased his question. It seemed he was looking for a concrete answer. Ben hoped he wouldn't mind that he didn't have one.

"That's sort of what I meant.", he began. "I don't know. I mean... I don't know if I... we... can trust other people. Or even be near them." He looked down at the floor and turned away from Maxim, towards the main exit. He felt ashamed of what he was saying, but didn't stop. "Yesterday I would have thought it was silly of me, immoral even, to be that suspicious of people. The only person I mistrusted was Kimiko, and not completely justifiably - she might have picked up that glass shard for protection, I suppose." He turned back to Maxim, meaning to face his friend when he stated the crux of the matter. "But she killed someone. I was right."

Ben waited a moment to let that sink in, then continued: "I was right to mistrust her, and wrong that our classmates wouldn't kill. I... I'm afraid that going looking for other people will be more dangerous than... not looking for them."

He hoped that would answer Maxim's question. Or at least part of it.

"For the rest, I don't know. Perhaps we should... I don't know."

Ben realized that he didn't have a clue how they could escape and thus his confidence was dealt another blow, but one that was less damaging than the previous ones. He - they - would figure it out. Had to figure it out. But he would need others to do so. Ben saw his dilemma - he both needed and wanted to avoid other people - and regretted Lili's departure even more bitterly.

(Benjamin Lichter continues in "And feel the blackbird's sudden tug.")
(Maxim Kehlenbrink continued in Idiot Launch)
V6 Character:
Benjamin "Squirrel" Lichter [ ~ / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / > ] - You'll find him in the clouds.
V7 Characters:
Chloe Bruges [ - ] - You'll find her doing math.
Joseph "Joey" Quintero - You'll find him writing speaches.
Keith Rogers - You'll find him out with his gang.

In the unlikely event you want to use my characters...
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