Razor Mountain is a serial novel, with new parts published every week or two. For more info, visit the Razor Mountain landing page.
Once again, the streets turned them back around toward the city proper.
“Can we walk anywhere?” Christopher asked, probing for information.
“Of course not,” Speares said, “but most of the places that are off-limits to you are also off-limits to any civilians, so they’re already locked up tight. If you want to go into town, we can do that.”
“Sure. Aren’t you worried I’ll see things I shouldn’t, as a prisoner? Aren’t you worried about telling me all these things?”
“Not really,” she said. “I already told you, you’ll probably be here indefinitely, and you’ll be given the same kind of basic access that any civilian would have. If, for some reason, they decided to lock you up again, well, you’d be locked up, and it wouldn’t much matter what you’ve seen or heard.”
“Comforting,” he said. “And if they somehow decide I can leave?”
She stopped walking and looked at him askance.
Christopher held his hands up, as though warding her off. “I know, I know. No chance at all. Still, I’d rather not make it any less likely than it otherwise would be.”
“I actually had one other important thing to talk to you about,” she said. “I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to tell you.”
“That’s either ominous or exciting.”
“It’s probably neither, which is what I really wanted to make sure you understood,” she said. “I submitted that motion you asked for, but the tribunal has temporarily deferred your case.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means they set it aside for the moment.”
“I’m not a complete idiot,” Christopher said. “Why did they set it aside?”
“Well, some of the questions I’ve been asking about you were flagged in our systems. Someone in the cabinet seems to have taken an interest in you.”
Christopher frowned. “I assume you’re talking about government, not furniture?”
“As in, the president’s cabinet?”
“No, no,” she said, hurriedly. “Not quite that high up. There’s a cabinet just for Razor Mountain. The military and civil authorities all get their marching orders from the cabinet. There are secretaries for various different departments, and those departments are in charge of all the different aspects of government here.”
“So some Secretary of Excavations or whatever wants to know what I’m doing here?”
“Sure, something like that.”
Christopher sighed in exasperation. “What does that actually mean for me?”
“Well, it may not be a secretary, it may just be someone who works in their office. And I doubt they would outright fight a tribunal ruling, but they do have sway as long as that ruling hasn’t been handed down yet.”
“You think this person might actually intervene and get me a ticket home.”
“That’s exactly what I didn’t want you to infer,” she said. “Their interest could mean a lot of things. It might mean more questions. It might mean you get some additional privileges. A friend in high places, so to speak.”
“And?” he said, reading her hesitant tone.
“And…it means there is now a non-zero chance that you could actually get what you want. Not a good chance, but a chance. A hell of a lot more than there was yesterday.”