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Defrag: Like Watching Air Move


By sunrise Wraith had stopped three random muggings, prevented a gang of drunken frat boys from assaulting two women, interrupted a corner-store robbery and scared off four street cops who were laying a beating on a young hood. She hadn't killed anyone. 

There was an ache in her muscles from all the combat – not that any of her opponents had been close to her equal – but there was a calm inside her. A stillness that even her deepest meditations hadn't achieved. She was tired but for some reason she swung by the Diner rather than heading home. Mask off now, nunchakus hidden, walking on the street like a normal citizen. 

Wraith wondered if any of the others would be there at this time of day. The monk made her uncomfortable – he had clearly studied in one of the ancient traditions, which meant that he was dangerous and that he may know more about her origins than she would like. They would have to have a conversation at some point. The cop was nice enough, tough as nails, not corrupt like a lot of his comrades. If she was being honest with herself, she thought he was pretty cute. The strange one was, well, strange – he was quiet, decent with a pistol, but he had a look on his face sometimes like he wasn't entirely here. 

The kid was there, in a booth near the back. He waved her over when she entered. Wraith decided as she sat down across from him that she wouldn't share what she had been up to all night. Not yet.

“You're up early, Darius.” 

“Shelter was full last night,” he said. “They let me stay here sometimes as long as I don't fall asleep or bother the other customers. Payback for chasing off the gangs, I guess.” 

“You don't have a home?” Wraith asked. 

Darius shook his head. 

“Come crash on my couch,” she said, like an order, that peacefulness inside her.