Authors: Dayton Grey
Pirate craft? I really hope she’s joking.
Geon and the others waved at her and pulled away from Enkia and turned back toward Ancia. The foursome barely talked as they each tried to process the many things they just learned. Geon was overwhelmed by all of this information, but grateful that he was a part of it and glad that he had his family around him. The only time the silence was broken was when Kumuki passed around the fish chews and they all exploded with joy at the delicious taste and texture of the dried meat. It reminded Geon of going to the beach with his family when he was young and eating fish and other seafood with his parents.
I wish they were here to see us now.
He looked at Allea.
They’d be so proud of Allea, and I hope they’d be proud of me as well.
He was torn, on one hand feeling desolate at not being able to share special moments with his parents anymore, and on the other hand, inspired to honor them and make them proud by continuing their search for the truth about CARE. He wanted to help give a fairer and better world for everyone. He didn’t know how he would do it, but he knew that he would sacrifice almost anything he had to find truth, justice, and peace.
While on the Excelerator the next morning, Geon found his mind racing about all the events of the night before.
How were the Dissenters surviving down there?
Does Zenith really exist?
How could CARE be so selfish and inhuman?
How did they get to this point, controlling everything and with so much power?
How did they keep everything such a secret?
How can they be stopped?
He did not even realize that he was sweating profusely and had set a new personal record of points earned on the machine, until it finally beeped and shut itself off.
“You okay, G?” Sabien asked as he stepped into the bathroom. “You look rabid.”
“I dunno, Sabe,” Geon said, speaking quickly and with bursts of hostility. “You know what? I
rabid! It’s just, everything we thought we knew… everythi—”
“I know, brother, I know. I’m angry, too. But we have to keep a level head here. If we’re going to do something about it, we need to stay stealth. Got it?”
Geon nodded and continued to get ready but couldn’t help wondering what other secrets they didn’t know about. At breakfast, Mama V appeared tired and disoriented, spilling Kumuki’s first serving of breakfast mush and then squirting a heap of fruit-flavored sauce directly onto Sabien’s hand.
“Mama V, are you okay?” Sabien asked as he wiped the fruit sauce off of him.
“Ya, my dear, Mama V is okay. Just tired dats all. Mama V not sleep good last night. Hurry up now is time for school. Don’t forget, tomorrow is Saturday and we have special plans!”
“Special plans?” Geon asked as they grabbed their jackets and stepped out of the home.
Sabien smiled as he readjusted his bag containing Shiv’s duplicator device. “Tomorrow evening we’re going to Firewater.”
“Ohhhhhhh! It’s hot
Geon laughed at Kumuki and asked as casually as possible, “Is—are the… other girls, coming? No big deal… just wondering.”
, Bonsi and the twins are coming,” Allea said, rolling her eyes. “And by the way, I’ve been meaning to ask you three about this since yesterday. WHAT IN THE GALAXY WAS WRONG WITH YOU? You were acting like you’ve never seen a pretty girl before! I mean seriously, Sabe you like Bonsi. G, you like Vaya. Kumuki, well, I guess you weren’t
? It was ridiculous.”
Geon was taken aback but smiled at Allea’s obvious frustration.
“Well it’s not that, it’s just, well…
. Aurora is, well, she’s just… you know…”
Geon trailed off as his cheeks became flushed and Sabien stepped in to help. “What he is trying to say, Aurora, oops I mean Allea, is that Aurora is
. Well, she’s just… you know. It’s like, you know how like some people are like…
. Well, what I mean is…”
Geon attempted to elaborate on Sabien’s vague commentary, “She’s just so… so….”
“That’s it, Kumuki,” Sabien said with a nod. “She’s just so
. Couldn’t have said it better myself. But still, she’s a squid, and roaches don’t date squids, right?”
Sabien had a sarcastic smirk on his face but Allea still seemed perturbed as she scratched her head and rolled her eyes.
“Whatever you say. Just get it together. It’s embarrassing!”
She’s right though
Vaya is an incredible girl, too. I really want to get to know her better.
The thought of spending some time with her at Firewater this evening excited him.
As they approached the L-RUD, Allea quietly said, “Okay, on a more serious note, the top priority is getting that duplicator back to the lab quickly and unnoticed. I don’t think that Shiv will go in there until after school, but you never know. I think we should put it back right away. I’m sure I can sneak it in during lunch.”
“That might be too late,” Geon said. “I’ll do it. You’ve done so much for us already and I’m sure I can get in and out of there without much effort. Besides, I have a break during my third period just before lunch.”
“You sure, G?” Sabien asked, a concerned look on his face.
They boarded the Glidewing and braced themselves for the ride. Geon was now used to the jarring motion of the transportation vessel and anticipated each move in advance, keeping his feet firmly grounded. When they arrived at their stop he saw that Chiah was a couple rows behind him in the car. Geon made eye contact and smiled at him but Chiah frowned and looked away, taking a sip of his red drink.
“What’s the deal with him?” Geon whispered to Sabien. “He’s not very friendly, is he? And what’s with the drink?”
Sabien laughed and quietly muttered, “He’s a good kid, I suppose. Just very…
. Maybe he’s an alien. I dunno.”
“Normally I would laugh at that,” Geon said with a smile. “But these days, who knows? Turns out the truth
more outlandish than any of your insane theories!”
Kumuki nodded as he listened in on their conversation.
“He likes shoes!”
“That part is
clear,” Geon said. “He certainly does like shoes.”
Geon looked down and saw that everyone had exactly the same grey shoes with burrstik straps on them. Kumuki walked over to Chiah and tried to give him a back-five but accidentally hit his red drink, almost knocking it out of his hand.
“Vatyoudodat!” Chiah suddenly shouted. “Vatchmydrink! Itsmylastone… Igottago!”
As Chiah quickly waddled away, Kumuki looked bashfully down at the ground.
“Don’t worry about it, Kuki,” Sabien sat as he patted him on the back. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s don’t ever,
mess with Chiah’s red drink. If you come between him and that drink, you’re liable to lose a hand! No offense, G.”
“None taken, Sabe,” Geon said, looking down at his Biolimb. Deep down, he still
self-conscious about his arm, but didn’t want the others to know it. They headed to the Commons for their morning assembly. Headmaster Ulie stood motionless in the middle of the room, his arms crossed behind his back and his eyes fixed at the students straight in front of him.
“Is he looking at us,” Geon quietly asked Sabe, feeling suddenly self-conscious.
“I’m not sure,” Sabien mumbled. “It does look like it. Maybe we just happen to be in his line of fire today. Coincidence, eh?”
Geon nodded and looked down at the bulging bag by his feet, checking to see if anyone else was looking at him.
“Be cool,” Sabien whispered.
Suddenly the lights around the main platform dimmed and Headmaster Ulie began speaking. “All right everyone. Students, quiet please. We have an important announcement to make and need your full attention. A crime was committed here at the school sometime yesterday!”
The entire gallery of students gasped and frantically began whispering to each other. Geon felt his stomach drop and wanted to look over at Sabien but didn’t want to appear guilty in any way so he kept his eyes forward, barely breathing. He could see out of the corner of his eye that Sabien and Allea also had not moved, but Kumuki to the left of him was shifting nervously.
“We have a THIEF among us! It has been brought to my attention that someone came into the lab late in the day, and STOLE the TechSci Concours project of our very own Shivender Barron!”
At this point there was an uproar among the students as they turned their heads and looked around at the other students in the room. Geon felt like they were all looking at him and didn’t know what to do so he kept calm and still. Kumuki, on the other hand, began mimicking the other students and feverishly snapped his head back and forth, glaring at the other students, including both Sabien and Geon.
“Kumuki,” Sabien said softly through a fake smile without moving his lips when he spoke.
“What do you think you’re doing? Be cool.”
Kumuki nodded and turned the other way.
“Everyone calm down,” Headmaster Ulie continued. “I do not care why the device was stolen. I only care that it is replaced. Now, perhaps we can flush this rodent out. I want to see a hand. Does ANYONE know who stole Shiv’s device?”
The place went deathly silent as Geon held his breath, trying to see if anyone was raising their hands without moving his head too much. His palms were damp with sweat and his entire body felt like it was burning up. No one raised their hands. Geon exhaled, feeling slightly relieved.
“Perhaps you students don’t realize the consequences of your actions. Perhaps you don’t realize how important it is to the school to have strong representation at the TechSci Concours. Perhaps a little lesson is just what you need.”
What does he mean by that?
Headmaster Ulie’s voice grew louder as the room went completely quiet again.
“If the device is not replaced in the lab by the end of the school day, today, then the JetSurf competition for this afternoon will be forfeited and cancelled!”
“OH NOOOO!” Kumuki yelled out. The other students in the room erupted with similar displays of exasperation and gloom.
I finally get a good placement for the match and now it’s going to get cancelled.
“Take these words with heed. This is a serious matter and we
have order. That is all for now, students. Get to your classes.”
As they got up to head to their first class, Sabien grabbed Geon and Kumuki and pulled them into the boy’s bathroom. Checking under the stalls to make sure no one was there, he then came close to them and spoke quietly.
“G, Kuki, keep it together. Don’t act guilty. Don’t look guilty. And don’t worry about JetSurf. You’ll put the device back third period and everything will be fine. I’ll even be a lookout for you when we do it. Got it?”
Geon and Kumuki nodded.
“But, what if Geon gets caught?”
“Listen, Kuki. Don’t think like that. We’ll be fine. Geon will be fine. Geon you’re fine right?”
Geon nodded and tried to smile to ease Kumuki, seeing the concern on his face, but he too was worried and nervous about the consequences if he was caught.
I could be suspended, even expelled from the school. Or worse…
“G, are you sure you’re okay?” Sabien asked. “If you aren’t up to it, I can put the device back.”
“No Sabe, I’m good. After last night, this is a piece of cake, right?”
Sabien and Kumuki nodded and they headed out of the bathroom. Allea was waiting there for them with a concerned look on her face.
“Don’t worry, Ally,” Geon whispered to her. “It’s all under control. I’ll send you a message when it’s done.”
“Okay, just make sure to run the stealth program from Aurora when you leave the classroom to hide your location until you are done. I’ll see you at lunch,” She said as she and Kumuki headed to their next class. “And, G… good luck.”
Geon nodded and he and Sabien headed to their first period MechTech class. During the class, Geon got a message on the clearboard in front of him from Vaya, stating, “Hey G, how are you? Can’t wait for Firewater tomorrow. Are you excited?”
He was excited, but now all he could think about was getting the duplicator back to the lab as quickly as possible without getting caught. His hands were still moist as he typed off a reply to Vaya saying, “Hey, Vaya I’m good, thanks. Am super excited for it!”
She replied with a simple smiley face and glanced over at him from the row in front of him just as it popped up on his screen. He smiled, feeling suddenly more relaxed.
It’s going to be fine, Geon
It will all work out.
MechTech and GenTech classes flew by as Geon’s mind was elsewhere.
Ten minutes until our break
He counted down each minute until the final beep signaling the end of class sounded. Geon looked at Sabien and nodded as they quickly walked out of the classroom and toward the lab.
“Okay, G, I’ll hang around the corner just outside the lab. If I see anyone coming I’ll send you a quick message. Just get in and get out.”