Making holes and filling heads

Leslie had many charming qualities, but a surname was not among them. Neither were a national insurance number, birth certificate, savings account, driver's license, or indeed any form of legal identity or accompanying identification. The apartment they were currently renting was paid for under a false name for a false settlement, and for the past three years they'd had the paper trail of every business transaction more important than a morning coffee purged with alarming efficacy. They were, metaphorically speaking, entirely off-grid.

Not literally, though, which is why the first knock at the door went unheeded. Leslie was laying in bed, headphones on, streaming unlicensed media through a system of private networks and false addresses that almost certainly broke hundreds of regulations across dozens of countries. And further unheeded went the second knock, and the third. The fourth was significantly louder, accompanied by a stern male voice inquiring as to the building's occupancy, and by the fifth a shrill woman was chiming in alongside it. The sixth attempt found the doorbell, installed for exactly such an occasion, and the seventh blew the door off its hinges.

It was a heavy door, heavier than one might have expected, fastened with more locks than one might have considered practical. Fine workmanship had gone into it at one point, but now it was plastered on one side with unassuming brown paint, and on the other with a scarred mesh of nails, bars and bolts. It flew across the living room with a fine oak grace, landing with some force amidst a small kitchenette.

Leslie raised an eyebrow and lifted one cup of the headphones from their ear. Visitors. And mighty feisty ones at that.


To Leslie's credit, they were not entirely unprepared. The visitors had been tailing them for weeks, with a charming array of unmarked vans and surreptitiously placed bystanders, and ##

It had happened before.

It had happened before.

Leslie pulled themselves to their feet and began to breathe heavily, massaging blood back into their arm. They'd been through this in the past. Not the same people, but the same routine. Almost certainly the same organisation, if they even had one.

…Oh, who were they kidding. Of course they had one. Shadowy conspiracy folks with memory-wipers, working for a mysterious para-governmental organisation, it was textbook. But Leslie had dealt with them before, which meant something about the drugs clearly didn't work properly. That was useful. Their mind was clouding fast, but they could still think. Extrapolating backwards, past-them had had a similar experience. What would they have done, then. Something to help run? Something to lessen the pain? Something to fight back?

They reached up to their bedside table, placed two pills in their mouth, and downed half a glass of lukewarm water. Alright. Clear head time. It's time to think.

They had not changed significantly in the time they'd been living here, which had been around three months. This meant that the previous incursion by the spooks had been within that timeframe — near the beginning judging by their flashback's poor sense of interior design. So it had taken said spooks nearly three months to find them, which suggested they'd already had some method of escaping. Either that, or conspiracy theorists were giving the illuminati too much credit. So they had some kind of weapon, either physical or metaphorical. This was useful.

Leslie pulled themself to their feet and began to pace, drumming out patterns on the furniture. A train of thought, that's what they needed. If they were able to do this last time, it would've had to be on instinct. So hopefully those instincts still persisted.

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