Fandom: Criminal Minds
Characters/Pairing: Garcia-centric, team - gen
Summary: In a dystopian future, hacker Penelope Garcia finds herself being hunted by a corrupt organization. Fearing for her life, she must search for help in the strangest of places.
Author's Notes: This is a peace offering to make up for the fact that I haven't updated anything in forever. The muse decided that she doesn't really want to work on the pieces that actually need to be finished. Betaed by Windy City Dreamer.
Run faster, Penelope.
Not even the mental motivation was enough to help Penelope Garcia get a move on. Her laptop bag was swinging wildly at her side and she sure as hell wasn't letting go of that. It had her entire life on it. It was the reason she was running in the first place. She could live without food for a couple of days, but there was no way she could live without the laptop.
'Come on, Garcia,' Kevin called out from fifty feet ahead of her. She almost snorted. The only baggage he had to deal with was a backpack – much easier to run with. The part of her brain that wasn't entirely focused on getting the hell out of there pondered the possibility of investing in one of those laptop backpacks. Of course, an expense like that would deprive them of food for two or three days.
Rebellion didn't come cheap.
In the end, it wasn't the internal monologue that caused her to push that little bit harder. It was the bullet striking the brickwork six feet to her left.
No, scratch that. She didn't want a backpack. She wanted one of those tiny machines that fit in the palm of your hand. The really expensive kind where you could hack into the government databases with a few clicks if you really knew what you were doing. That kind of machine would pay for itself a dozen times over, the jobs you could take with it. Almost worth the temptation of skipping a few meals here and there.
If she weren't on the run, Garcia would have given the idea a little more consideration. After all, it's difficult to find work when you're too busy stopping yourself from getting killed.
She slid into the doorway at the end of the alleyway, right before Kevin slammed the door shut. They almost had this "fleeing" business down to a fine art. Squat in one place for a few days until they find you, and then run like hell until you find the next place. It had gotten to a point where not even the people already living on the wrong side of the law would take in a pair of low-level hackers on the run from the Corp.
No sooner than the door had shut, a bullet pierced the already splintering wood. They were in the seedier end of town, where security was low, and housing turnover was high. It was easy enough to lose a tail there, but so many other things could go wrong. And since Penelope Garcia didn't believe in guns, running was the only option.
That had never been the long term plan. The long term plan had been to take down the Corp, to end the corruption that plagued the city, but that's a tough gig for an entire army, let alone the two of them.
That's idealism for you.
They ran through the hallways of the ground level of the apartment building. Some doors were ajar, and if Garcia had been listening, she would have heard a variety of noises. Instead, she kept moving. It wouldn't take long for their pursuers to lose interest; no low-level hacker was worth that much effort, especially not for an entry-level Corp employee. It didn't matter how important the data she had stolen was. It wasn't as though anyone would believe any story she put out. What was one hacker when compared to the mighty Corp?
Two hackers, she reminded herself. Because Kevin wasn't exactly a useless participant in this venture. He had been with her every step of the way. The good times (of which there were few) and the bad (of which there were considerably more).
They were alive, though, that was something.
That could change soon enough, she realized, hearing the sounds of running footsteps echoing in the hallway behind them. This could be it, this could be the part where all the effort they put into this hopeless coup d'état went to waste. She could almost feel the crosshairs on her back.
The corner. The end of the hall wasn't that far. They could burst into the nearest apartment, giving them a few seconds while their pursuers determined which direction they had gone in. An irrelevant point if she couldn't make that corner.
Kevin, barely a step ahead of her, turned it first. They both screeched to a halt.
Their passage was blocked.
He was about half a head taller than her, and even though he was fully clothed, she could tell that he had some serious muscle going on. Smooth muscle – not clunky bits that made some men look as though they were on the 'roids.
In another circumstance, Garcia might have commented on his attractiveness; on the way he seemed to ooze hotness. It was neither the time, nor the place.
In one smooth movement, the man pushed Garcia and Kevin behind him, and drew a gun.
Garcia didn't know much about guns; she could say with some certainty that it was a black pistol, but beyond that she couldn't tell Glock from Sig. Not that she'd want to.
'How many?' he asked softly. It took Garcia a couple of seconds to realize what he was talking about.
'Two,' she replied, just as quietly. 'There are two of them.'
The moment they rounded the corner, the man let loose two shots in quick succession, both striking their targets dead on. When no loud bangs accompanied the occurrence, Garcia realized that it was a tranq gun.
'Jenkies,' she muttered. A little louder, she asked him, 'Are they dead? Did you kill them?' They definitely looked dead. Eyes closed, chest unmoving. Death was a concept that Garcia hadn't quite gotten used to, even though she'd experienced her fair share of it.
'Unconscious,' the man replied. His voice sounded like honey. 'For a few hours at least. They were trying to kill you.' It wasn't a question.
Garcia didn't answer. She gave Kevin a sideways glance, as if to say "what do we do now?"
'I can help you,' the man said. 'Any enemy of the Corp is a friend of mind.' He stared down at the two unconscious forms in disgust. One of them he kicked in the ribs with gusto.
'What's your name?' Kevin asked nervously.
'My name's Derek,' he revealed. 'And we need to get moving.'