"I took the data, son," Arkos said. "I took it so you would be safe. No more needing to worry about meme warfare for you. All of that is safe now."
"We need to go," Canto turned to me. "We need to run. Now."
"You can come home, son," Arkos said. His voice sounded modulated, like a hypnotist's voice. He was changing it with some device around his neck. It sounded so soothing. So peaceful. "You can come home again."
"Stray!" he shouted in my ear and slapped me. That knocked some sense back into me and I grabbed Canto's arm and ran down the hall.
Behind me, I heard Arkos speaking to Security on the coms, telling them where we were. They would be waiting for us in the elevators, waiting for us to go down.
Luckily, I had an escape route already picked out.
Beneath the servant's uniform, I had a brand new harness. I activated it and then pulled out a brick I had brought specifically for this scenario.
I threw the brick at a window and it shattered into a million little pieces. "C'mon, Canto," I said. He nervously looked outside at the clouds as the wind whipped our faces. "You can hold onto me."
He swallowed, then looked back to see his father slowly walking towards us. Arkos apparently didn't care that we had broken a window. There were no platforms for the harness to hold onto up here – only the Spire itself and they had that locked down.
Canto hugged me and I wrapped a net around him so he wouldn't come loose – then fell out the window and let gravity do the work.
I felt the rush of air again. Only this time, I wasn't twenty feet in the air, I was two hundred. I felt the precipitation on my face, only kept out of my eyes with goggles. I felt the wind and the pull of the earth. I felt Canto grip tighter.
And I let the harness go. It was a balancing act: too close to the Spire and we would be caught by Security drones, too far away from the Spire and the harness would have nothing to attach to and we would be splatter on the ground. I needed to find the sweet spot, the Goldilocks line.
I was good at that.
We slid down the air, the harness slowly our descent until a platform appeared and I disengaged the harness from the Spire. We were clear. The Security drones at the Spire would think we had died. It would take actual humans to realize that we were alive.
But we still had a problem. Arkos had the Archive.
And I had no idea why.