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And then the announcements came on. More people had killed each other. Danya had stopped mentioning Liz, which Liz found troubling; she wanted them panicking, not knowing what to do, making idiot threats on her life. The silence indicated they had something else planned.

They didn't mention Belle, though. That was a relief. Liz would be pissed if they'd waited 'till morning, to blow her up as an example.

And Belle--Belle was offering her a hand.

Liz blinked a little, before realizing what this gesture meant, and let Belle pull her upright. She liked Belle, funny as that sounded in her mind. Belle was helping her. Belle was giving up her own grudges to help her. That was something.

And Belle offered her painkillers and wine, and Liz took them gratefully, four at a time, to numb and dry and pain in her throat. The Residential District was a danger zone today. Tabi Gweneth was going to get a giant weapon there. So Belle couldn't go to the Residential District, and it would be full of drama, besides.

"Mansion." She managed to croak, sounding more pathetic than even she expected. She scowled. Belle had given her the gun, and she tucked it into the pocket of her written-up sweatshirt. COLLARS HAVE MICS. Right. Well, it's not as if the terrorists wouldn't have figured out they were going to the mansion
soon anyway.

There was more clothing she needed to put on. She wore black lipstick like Belle wore her gi--unecessarily, to give her power. Charlie's compact helped her apply the makeup to her eyes too, now that her eyeshadow had drowned in the swamp.

Bandages tied around her neck like a scarf. It's not like she needed to give every sociopath in the world the obvious clue to who she was.

Outside the cavern was dank and cold. Time to wake up. Smash more cameras. Find ways of spreading her it-should-really-not-be-this-painful collar technique without blowing the people she gave it to up.

She had already given it to Belle. That was a relief, at least, even though Belle would be first against the wall if the terrorists panicked again.

Liz, you've got to have more faith in other people.

Kids, I believe in--

A pen, driven with sufficient force, could smash through a camera lens as easily as a search and rescue knife.

There were a lot of cameras left to smash.

(Liz Polanski and Mirabelle Nesa continued in "The Beggar King")
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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Blackout · The Tunnels