everything is okay now… I think

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“Oh, good, the wifi’s back on,” Maxine whispered, holed up in the corner of the bomb shelter with the rest of us who’d been caught in the firing of Thursday. Some of Allaketo’s troops had flown overhead, trying to find Maxine, and had found all of us, at least from what we overheard from the police issuing us all to the bomb shelters that I hadn’t known existed under the city. “Because being stuck in a small enclosed area with limited food supplies and the threat of death wasn’t bad enough without May being able to tell the whole world about it.”
“Hey, it’s not my fault the wifi went out. And besides, the marikats specifically told me not to put anything about their activities on the internet. Wanting to keep a low profile, they explained.” I scooted a few inches away from Maxine, not making much of a difference as our cell in the bomb shelter was only a few meters wide. The low lighting didn’t help much either.
There was an awkward silence between all of us for a few heavy minutes, Maxine looking like she was deep in reflection and Constance… I couldn’t read Constance’s face well. Was he bored? Depressed? Introspective? Or just blank-faced and empty, waiting for someone to fill the silence again? “So what do you think Emma is doing with Allaketo?”
“Hmm?” Maxine perked her head up, mentally crawling out of the deep hole of her thoughts. “What’d you say, Constance?”
“I said,” he repeated himself, looking a bit frustrated at not being answered the first time, “what do you think Emma’s going through right now? How far do you think Allaketo’s willing to go with torture before he outright kills her, assuming he hasn’t already?”
“Constance…”
“What? Admit it, Emma’s not a very strong person, mentally or physically.” He stood up, his head almost touching the ceiling of the cell, an intimidating side of him starting to show that I hadn’t seen before. “This is war, Maxine, worse than whatever you went through in Soona Bris. People everywhere are dying, no matter how hard we try to stop May from recording it or how many people from Soona Bris we convince to come here. We get it, you say you love her, but why do you keep beating around the bush and not just go ahead and save her?
“I-” and Maxine stood up too, heavy with indignation- “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, Rishen, but all of us in this tiny room are fifteen. FIFTEEN.” She moved a bit closer to him, her dark demeanor overshadowing him. “And you probably didn’t notice this already, judging how you got your memory wiped after all, but people at fifteen can’t do a lot to change the world around them!”
“Umm, guys, what’s going on-”
“Shut up, May. I shouldn’t have brought you here, but Constance wouldn’t come with us without you. Tiny little juvenile crush on you, I’m afraid.”
“I do not-” and he flung himself at her, scuffling happening before my eyes that I couldn’t follow, and then he found himself with his hands around Maxine’s neck, squeezing and squeezing and-
“Hey!” There was someone outside our cell door, wide-eyed and taking in the scene that had frozen before his eyes, all of us staring at him. “I, um…”
Choke me, daddy,” Maxine whispered at Constance in derision, and he let go, his arms slowly returning to his sides while he stared in disgust.
“Anyway…” The man pulled a note out of his pocket, trying not to show any reaction to the two. “Some people from Soona Bris have arrived, and they’re ready to take you to the server once we’re sure that it’s safe to go outside.”

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