"Good shift," I said. "Careful, you'll step on the crawlie."

"Where is it?" moloch17 demanded.

I rapped on the stuck lever at my station with a wrench and shrugged. "You speak as if I know, or care, what you're talking about."

"Dismantle and crush you, you know what I'm talking about! The cape, the red cape I bought."

"Stole," I muttered under my breath, but he heard me.

"So you admit you have it!" He pointed at me, shaking with indignation. "I demand that you give it back."

I paused, then slowly straightened up and turned to face him. I held the wrench loosely in my hand and I saw his gaze flicker down to it and back up, a bit less certain then it had been a moment ago. "If I were to respond in any way to the cruel joke you played on me six months ago, it would be to beat you with a heavy object--such as this wrench--until you could neither move nor speak. I would not steal the cape from you." I stared at him until he looked away. "You are keeping me from my work. You may search my station if you wish, as long as you don't get in my way or speak to me." I swept the wrench downward onto the stuck lever. It sprang loose and moloch17 jumped as a jet of steam erupted near his head.

He stammered something, but I was no longer listening. He poked around my station in a half-hearted manner before slouching off.


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