(Excerpt from 'Saving the Lain', the second epic fic thing I did with the wife, circa 2001)
"So.... uh, this is your train?" Matt asked Carmen awkwardly.
Seldavia made a face behind his back. ‘Lame.'
She was almost sure that Carmen was thinking the same thing, if she was even listening.
The woman was huddled over her laptop, now connected directly to the train via a port under the window frame.
Matt seemed unwilling to look Carmen in the eye, for all his brashness. This secretly pleased Sel, knowing that she held the respect of someone so mysterious that Matt couldn't fathom her. But he certainly was going to try.
"A-hem hem Hem!"
A few people looked up, Carmen not being one of them. Matt proceeded to go into what appeared to be a desperate fight to clear his throat of phlegm. Seldavia shook her head in embarrassment, more for him than herself.
"Do you need some water?" Carmen asked without looking up.
"Uh no, yes! Yes some water would be good... So, what are you doing?"
A few other agents looked over her seat.
"Yeah Boss, what are we going to do about the outsider?"
"I left a whole bunch of stuff out in the open, I'm so sorry, I didn't have time-"
"We aren't going to just abandon Sub-White 1, are we Boss? My stuff is there and -"
Carmen glanced up at her worried henchmen.
"No one's abandoning anything. This is temporary. I'm not getting any of you killed over material possessions, but if you're so worried...."
Carmen clicked a few more keys.
"She can't get into any of your rooms or workstations."
"Or our bar?"
"No, not even the bar."
A cheer went up from the back row.
Carmen looked amused and Matt saw his chance.
"So, where can she go?"
"Well, I have her limited to the corridors. I'm sure she'll pace up and down them a bit, get bored, and leave."
"Unless she graffiti's the walls." added another comrade.
Seldavia suppressed a laugh as Carmen spoke to someone on her headset.
"Carol, could you send a line out to our field agents and tell them to take a train to White Base or sub2, which ever one is closest to them."
"So you run this whole operation by yourself?"
Carmen sighed. "In a sense. They run it. I coordinate it."
"But you're the master schemer of some of history's greatest crimes. Your network is unrivaled!"
"Oh it has plenty of rivals..."
"So why are you in crime, anyhow? You seem so...legit."
"Let's just say that law-abiding world is for people who need laws."
"And you don't?"
"What's the real reason? You didn't just wake up and decide to be a kingpin."
"That's pretty much it. Masahra, can you watch this for me? Tell me when the activator bar turns red."
"Then where did you get the money?"
"Thought you were an orphan."
"Is that so?"
"It says so in the dossier."
"Do you believe everything in the dossier?"
"What else is wrong?"
"My IQ is actually 300."
"You're not going to be straight with me, are you?"
"Did you think I would be?"
‘Ask a stupid question...' Seldavia thought, and was surprised when Carmen winked at her in response.
‘Did she hear me...?'
"Why not? I'm a trustworthy kind of guy." Matt asked, oblivious.
"Well if you really must know it goes like this;"
"Wait, let me get my note pad."
"I was working as an undercover agent in Ireland back in the eighties. It was raining and I hadn't eaten in days. I was about give up and go to a punk rock concert."
"And there was this little man dressed in green. I had heard about this gang before, and I knew the bounty on them was very high."
"So I traced him back to his hideout by using the unusual sky display as a guide."
"Then I grabbed him! He tried to bribe his way out, but I had been forewarned of his kind. Eventually he gave me his life saving which he kept in a big black pot. I don't remember the exchange rate for gold back then, but it was a pretty good sum."
Matt sighed. ‘Why do I even bother?'
"Yeah, thanks for that."
"No, thank you. It feels so good to finally get that off my chest. Now, if you don't mind..."
"Alright, alright. Is there a restroom on this train?"
"Next car over."
He had just closed the door when the entire car exploded into laughter.
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