Authors: Dayton Grey
Once they got home, Allea recounted the afternoon with them.
“I asked him if he was working on a duplication device and he seemed flattered that I was talking to him. He told me that it was a real-time scanner and three-dimensional duplicator. Basically, it can scan any small object and then recreate it in seconds using a quick-dry liquid polymer that pours into a flexible molding. He said it’s not meant to duplicate a device with mechanics or technology, but that it’s meant to create the basic building blocks
“He showed me how it worked and I told him it was neat,” she said, visibly cringing at the thought of it. “He said the idea was to build a machine that can replicate even the simplest of tools for isolated and secluded groups of people around the world. ‘A simple knife or other tool might save a life, you know’?”
“I almost slipped and asked him if it could copy a key but then saved myself and gave him a hair clip instead.”
Allea reached into her hair and pulled out the small metal clip that was holding her hair up in a bun over her head and held it up for them to see. Her wavy black hair fell down to her shoulders, bouncing along the way.
“He put the clip into the machine and said that any LifeCuff can be easily synced to the device and that it can be used even without a cuff. Once the device was on, it scanned the clip with thin bright lasers and then instantly calibrated the mold, pouring the quick-hardening liquid polymer into it. The mold is actually the most innovative part, if I must say. It’s a pulse-reactive fluid. It’s as easily moved and changed as water, but when an electronic pulse hits it, it instantly hardens.”
Geon and Sabien rolled their eyes once more.
Allea continued to explain what Shiv had told her. “He said that the device has hundreds of tiny pulse points around this space which builds the mold exactly as needed, and then when it matches the scanned device, it holds the pulses and the polymer pours in. Amazing, right?”
Allea smiled as she pulled the cloned clip out of her pocket to show the others.
It did look exactly the same.
“He blushed and stuttered a lot which was strange, but I thanked him for the demonstration and left. I don’t think he suspected anything!”
I don’t think she has a clue that Shiv might like her.
“You know, it’s sad, really. Deep down he probably isn’t that horrible of a guy. I think he just has problems and doesn’t know how to deal with them. It’s a shame to waste a good mind like that.”
“It’s not a waste,” Sabien said with a smile. “His mind is going to help us with our most important mission, yet!”
“So, what’s the plan,” Geon asked. “When do we want to do this?”
“The sooner the better,” Allea said. “If we really want to do this, let’s commit and go for it. Sabe?”
“Tomorrow. Tomorrow night. But we need to get Shiv’s device.”
“That’s easy,” Allea said. “I can grab it after school. But there is one thing I think we need to tell Geon. I think it’s time.”
Geon shifted in his seat, suddenly worried about what Allea was about to say.
“Geon, you’ve heard us mention a place called Narakai, haven’t you?”
Geon nodded seeing that his sister was deadly serious.
“What is it?” he asked.
“Well, it’s basically a prison,” she said. “It’s where CARE sends anyone that breaks the laws. Serious offenders, I mean.”
“Like people who break into museums,” Geon said, more as a declaration than a question.
“Exactly,” Sabien added. “And it’s not like a normal prison. There are stories…
… stories. It’s an island, G.”
“Far away from the mainland,” Allea said.
Sabien nodded at Kumuki and continued. “We’ve never seen it, but we’ve heard that once you’re banished to the island, you have to stay there for life. We don’t know if CARE sends minors there, but we still need to consider the worst-case possibility here.”
“So, Geon, this is important. We need to decide as a group because we could be risking everything. What do you want to do?”
Geon sat and thought about their words carefully. He saw that Allea, Kumuki, and Sabien were all looking at him intently and wide-eyed, waiting for him to answer.
They’re waiting on me
Why is my opinion so important? I don’t want to let them down. But something has felt wrong since I woke up. I need to know. I NEED to know.
“Guys. I would never want to put any of you in harm’s way. You know that. Ally, especially you. So I can’t decide or speak for all of us. But I can say that I feel like we’ve come together for a reason. I feel like I was
for a reason. I feel like this is all happening for a reason, and deep down, I truly want to know what’s going on here. I
to know. And living our lives in ignorance, not knowing the truth, well, I might as well be back in a coma again. Because that’s not
They looked at Geon and then at each other and smiled.
“It’s settled then,” Sabien said, putting his hand on Geon’s shoulder. “We leave tomorrow.”
Morning couldn’t come fast enough for Geon, who spent much of the night awake, thinking about their plan. He wondered what this world was like, and if everything Aurora had said was true.
If it was true, why are there people underwater in the first place?
And why hasn’t CARE told us about this? Why is this a secret?
A myriad of questions inundated him and he found himself unable to even eat breakfast because of the excitement and agitation. The typical smell of fishy morning mush didn’t help the matter, either. Geon noticed that Allea, too, was jittery and had a feeling it had to do with Aurora. She told them she would send a message to her again last night, and he assumed that she had responded.
Once outside their home, Allea confirmed that Aurora had in fact sent another message back, and promptly pulled it up for everyone to see:
“A stealth program?”
“It’s actually a location mask, Sabien,” Allea said, motioning through her hologram. “I’ve already tested it and it works just like she said. Once you run it, the location functionality on the LifeCuffs just sort of
. CARE will think we’re at home asleep if we turn it on right before we leave!”
“I’m sure it’s nothing, Kuki,” Sabien said, sounding unconvinced.
“This is really happening,” Geon said, his eyes wide with excitement.
“It really is, brother,” Sabien responded.
“I’m nervous,” Kumuki said, clutching his stomach. Geon looked at him with sympathy, feeling nervous and a little nauseous himself, but wanted to stay strong for his team.
“Don’t worry, Kumuki,” Geon said. “We’re all in this together. I’ve got your back.”
Kumuki nodded and looked over his shoulder at his back as they continued on their way. They talked about their plans once more on the way to school. Allea would grab Shiv’s duplicator device after school, and they would head home and rest until nighttime. Once they knew Mama V was asleep, they would run the stealth program on their cuffs and leave the house. Allea mentioned that she had sent a message to Helano the night before and that he would help her with the security override. She mentioned that he had no knowledge of what she was doing, and that she told him it was for her TechSci Concours project.
“It’s amazing how a cute smile will get you all the help in the world,” Geon said with a laugh. “It doesn’t seem to get me anywhere though.”
“You and me both!” Sabien added with a smirk.
“Or me!” Kumuki screeched.
Allea bashfully smiled, brushing the hair out of her eyes, and mumbled, “I don’t think that’s it… I dunno…”
She also went on to mention that she had found an entry point into the aqueduct only a mile from their house, and that she had downloaded the blueprints of the tunnels as well.
“Once we’re down there, who knows what we’ll find, though,” she said. “We need to be prepared for anything.”
“I’ll bring snacks!”
Sabien nodded and added, “Good idea, Kumuki. I would probably recommend extra socks, too.”
“Yeah. On account of the sewage.”
Kumuki gulped and the others winced at the thought.
“The aqueduct has an exit point directly beneath the MOOH. Hopefully Helano’s program will work, and from there we copy the key, head to Oden Bay, get the boat, and head to the Open.”
“Sounds easy, doesn’t it?” Sabien said sarcastically. “Maybe we’ll even have time to stop by and get some pizza on the way there.”
They laughed as they stepped off the L-RUD and headed in to school. Despite the high spirits, Geon couldn’t help being apprehensive and afraid about what was to happen that night. He wanted to know the truth desperately, but more than anything wanted to make sure his sister and family were safe.
At lunch, Helano came and joined them at their table.
“Theñor Geon, Theñor Thabian, Theñor Kumuki, nithe to thee all of you.”
Geon and the others nodded as they all chatted about Allea’s project.
“Tho, Theñora Allea hath told me that thee needth thome athithtanth with bypathing thome thecurity meathurth. Thith happenth to be my thpethialty!”
That’s quite a mouthful
Still, it was very generous of Helano to offer his help with this.
“Yes, thank you, Señor Helano,” Allea said. “And please, as I mentioned, keep this between the five of us, okay? I don’t want the details of my, uhm… Concours competition project… leaking to the school early. You understand?”
“Of courth, Theñora! My lipth are thealed!”
“Muchas gracias, Helano! I will see you during my break.”
“Yes, thank you, Helano,” Geon added.
So, one piece of the puzzle should be complete. Next piece… the duplicator.
During Geon’s NextTech class with Professor Eltio Tran, Geon tried his best to pay attention to the subject of the day, but kept checking his LifeCuff to see if Allea had made progress with Helano yet, knowing that it was her break period.
As Professor Tran squeaked at the front of his room in his high-pitched voice, Sabien and Geon took turns checking to see if there were any status updates from Allea. There was nothing new until just at the end of the class during the end of the period beep, when a message from Allea suddenly popped up on Geon’s screen. He and Sabien leaned in to read it as the students around them got up and began leaving the room.
Geon and Sabien both looked at each other with perplexed expressions and simultaneously said, “What in the galaxy?”
“G, I know she’s your sister, but you may need to have a talk with her. I’m not sure what she’s trying to communicate to us, but that’s the message of a crazy person. The
caterpillar is in the cocoon?
Oh, brother. She’s losing it.”
Geon smiled at Allea’s obvious attempt to be clandestine, nodding his head at Sabien.
Sounds like it might be time to get out the butterfly net,
he thought to himself with a laugh.
After school, Allea headed to the lab and the three boys headed to the waterways for another time trial. It was the first time trial that Geon has participated in since his near-drowning only a week earlier. He found himself so preoccupied with thoughts of Allea, the strange recent events, and the excitement for that evening that he flew around the track with ease, barely noticing that he had taken third position for the race the next day. Shiv was furious, placing fourth, just behind him.