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Science Fiction Lesbian Fiction

Ani liked to solve problems.


When she hung up the phone with Serra, her solution to making it in time for their dinner date was to leave work early. A quick look outside the office window showed heavy rain. There weren’t many hover cars flying through the night sky and most of the high-rise buildings had their lights off. Traffic wouldn’t be an issue.


Ani shut off her computer, put on her coat, and grabbed her metallic briefcase but before heading out, the light above her office’s door turned red, accompanied by a soft buzz. She didn’t have an appointment scheduled for the rest of the night and no one called for any last-minute meetings. She pressed a button on her phone to contact her secretary.


“Laine, I thought I said no more appointments.”


No answer.


Ani pressed the button again. “Laine?”


Again, no one spoke on the other line.


Maybe she just left early. Ani did tell her she didn’t have to stay since Ani was heading out earlier than usual. The door light came on and the buzzer sounded once more. She sighed. Whoever it was, she planned to tell them she was done for the day and had important things to do. She left her desk and opened the door.


On the other side of the doorway stood the familiar figure of a woman, drenched from the outside rain, wearing a crude leather jacket and an ominous expression on her face which turned into a grin upon seeing Ani.


“Ani.” The woman had a hand pressed to her side but whatever bothered her was obscured by her jacket. “You don’t remember me, do you?”


Ani did and it wasn’t cause for enthusiasm. 


“Daya.” The name came out harsher than Ani intended. “I haven’t seen you in two years.”


Ani could only describe Daya as the type of former co-worker she didn’t want to hear about outside their previous work. She thought she wouldn’t see this woman again after that night in Partona.


“I need to talk with you,” Daya said.


Ani looked at her wristwatch even though she was aware of the time.


“You know, I’m actually running late for a dinner date. If you call the office in the morning, I’ll let my secretary know to give you a priority appointment this week.”


Ani stepped to the side to leave but Daya moved in front of her.


“I’m asking politely,” Daya said.


Ani drew her eyebrows together. She wondered if she should bother arguing. Eventually, she let out another sigh and returned to her desk. She set her briefcase down and took a seat on her chair. Daya followed, walking with a limp Ani didn’t remember her having. She sat across from Ani. Against the backdrop of the silver and pristine office, Daya looked like a shadow lingering in the center of the flawless room. Despite her disheveled appearance, the smile on her face never left. She looked Ani up and down.


“I like your outfit,” she said. “The shirt and tie alone must cost what? A thousand credits?”


“Actually, the briefcase costed more.” Ani pointed to the briefcase at her side. “Twenty-five hundred credits.”


Daya mouthed the words twenty-five and gave a mock look of surprise. “Must be nice to have it all, huh?”


Her eyes moved from the elegant cabinets behind Ani to her expensive computer. When she found the picture frame on the corner of Ani’s desk, she picked it up and flipped it over to observe. It was of Serra in her favorite blue dress with a radiant smile on her face.


“Beautiful woman. Your girlfriend?”


“Fiancé,” Ani answered.


“Fiancé?” Daya set the picture back down on the desk in front of her. “Congratulations. Although, I don’t remember you ever said anything about wanting to settle down.”


“You said you needed to talk with me?” Ani crossed her arms over her chest.


Daya was silent for a moment but her expression didn’t change. She kept her eyes on Ani. Her fingers tapped the arm of her chair in a slow rhythm.


“I heard you’re an Intercedent now.” Daya said. “Working for the Boundary Districts, huh? Must be fun getting to decide who can cross in or out of the city’s border.”


“I mostly push papers around.”


“That’s not what I heard. In fact, I heard you’re very involved in sorting out issues. Especially when someone is accused of bringing in, let’s say, ‘unlisted’ products between cities.”


“It depends on the situation,” Ani said. “We’ve got people moving in and out of the city and a lot of them come from off-world. Some have religious books or cultural heirlooms that have never been seen before and need to be listed. I’m here to make sure their possessions don’t become a problem.”


“That’s great, Ani.” Daya scoffed. She was about to say something else but instead, took in a sharp breath and clutched her side again.


“Are you alright?” Ani asked.


“So, you’re good at solving problems. Let me give you one.” Daya sat up straighter. “I need to leave the city. And I want you to get me out.” 


Ani’s eyes narrowed. She looked at Daya’s side. She couldn’t see what bothered the other woman. Then she located a hint of blood on the white shirt peeking out underneath Daya’s jacket.


“I can sign off on a pass card but you’ll have to fill out some paperwork,” Ani reached towards her phone but Daya got to it first.


“No." She moved the phone out of Ani's reach. "No, a pass card will take weeks to process. I need to leave now. I might want to go further. Maybe even off-world. I haven’t decided yet. Since you’re an Intercedent, you can go anywhere so long as you show your face and ID. You’ll have to come with me.”


Ani shrugged. “I can’t do that.”


Daya slammed a fist on the desk, letting out a sudden, deafening thud in the quiet space of the office and Ani flinched.


“You’re not listening to me.” She took in another sharp breath and her hand reached back to her wounded side. Then she chuckled. “Goddamn peace guardians. They sure know how to give a chase.” Her eyes shot Ani a dangerous glare. “But you know all about that, don’t you?”


Ani’s jaw clenched.


“We used to run from them all the time back in the day,” Daya smirked. “Remember the nickname they gave us? The ‘Daredevil Twins.’ We gave them so much trouble bringing in all those cybernetic implants. Unlisted implants, mind you.”


“Things are different now.” Ani had to tell herself to use a steady tone. “I don’t do that anymore. I’m clean.”


“Clean?” Daya laughed. “Is that what you call three missing TF-enhancers? Or how about the prototype sonic barriers? Last month, a cryo-tech shipment lost two crates of nano-phlores. And that’s just the weapons I know of. These all passed through the city and happen to go missing in your district? You’re not clean, Ani. You’re just employed. It must make things easier since you get to approve everything, doesn’t it?”


“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Ani pointed to the door with her chin. “And I think it’s time for you to leave.”


Daya didn't move. She leaned back in her seat, letting an arm dangle behind her. Her hand moved out of Ani’s sight.


“You owe me.” Daya said.


Ani raised an eyebrow. She opened her mouth to speak but Daya pulled out a knife and drove it into the desk so hard, it went through Serra’s photo and into the desk. Ani’s eyes widened.


“That night in Partona,” Daya pointed a finger at Ani. “After we sold implants to fencers who turned out to be peace guardians, we ended up running through the docks to get away from them. The fog that night was so heavy we could barely see five feet in front or behind us. I was sure they got you when we were separated.” She shook her head to herself and let out a curt laugh. “I was so sure you died when the gunfire started. I thought I was going to get away.” Her expression turned cold. “The bullet hit me right through the leg. Before I bled out, those peace guardians came with their guns and saved me just to throw me in prison.”


Her finger tapped a slow, uneven beat on the knife handle. “Three months later, I see your face on the news. ‘A rising Intercedent’ who helped uncover an illegal smuggling ring.” She let go of the knife and leaned back in her chair. “I kept seeing your face from then on. You put so many of us in prison and they kept giving you awards. No one ever noticed the hundreds of unlisted products you stole because they celebrated the thousands you prevented from getting into the city. And when the guardians who knew your face went missing, another one of your great accomplishments took over the headlines to distract everyone.” Daya slowly applauded. “You owe me because I never said a word to the cops or guardians about who you really were, or why you were so good at spotting smugglers.”


She leaned forward and clutched her side again. Ani saw the blood seeping through below Daya’s jacket, staining her pants.


“Do you know what peace guardians like more than catching someone who just broke out of prison?” Daya asked. “Catching someone who’s supposed to be upholding the law. Because putting corrupt officials in prison earns them more credits.” Daya smirked through gritted teeth. “If you don’t help me, next time I get caught, I might just slip up about your operation. You’re going to lose a lot more than your job. And that pretty little fiancé of yours is going to reconsider meeting you at the altar.” She took in another sharp breath. “So, I suggest you pick up your twenty-five-hundred-credit briefcase and follow me to the nearest transit station.”


Ani didn’t speak for a while. For a long time, she simply watched Daya who sat in front of her.


“That limp you have,” Ani finally spoke, “It wasn’t a peace guardian who shot you that night.”


Daya waited for her to continue.


“It was me,” Ani said.


For the first time since arriving in the office, Daya’s smile disappeared.


Ani leaned forward, her fingers interlaced and she rested her chin on her hands. “You were right. I did almost get caught. That’s why I needed you to be slower. It was nothing personal. But this? You should’ve just taken my offer for a pass card. Instead, you ruined my favorite photo.”


The corner of Daya’s lips quivered for a moment. Then she smirked but it wasn’t as strong as before. “You going to do something about it then?”


"Like you said earlier," Ani's attention moved to the knife implanted in Serra’s picture. “I’m good at solving problems.”

July 04, 2022 02:59

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5 comments

F.O. Morier
07:25 Jul 17, 2022

Hard to believe this is your first story... I love it! Fati

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K Cao Xai
18:10 Jul 18, 2022

Thank you so much!

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Karen Mc Dermott
11:50 Jul 09, 2022

This was riveting, original and I much enjoyed the twist (of the knife) at the end :) good going for a first timer. Welcome to the community!

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K Cao Xai
18:50 Jul 10, 2022

Thank you so much for your kind words and welcoming me to the community!

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K Cao Xai
03:04 Jul 04, 2022

Hey there. It's not only my first time submitting a story publicly, but also getting involved in a writing community. I'm opened to suggestions, feedback, and comments.

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