"Listen up!" Sam calls from the middle of the Training Facility. With a stomach full from lunch, I slowly make my way over to join the Trainees who gather around him in a rough circle. Leah stands far apart from me and keeps her eyes firmly set upon Sam, squishing herself between Oscar and another Trainee I don't recognize. She's still angry. I wish I could say I was still upset, but the truth is that I'm more lonely than anything. "I know you're all eager to enjoy your free day, but I wanted to let you know that we will soon be embarking on a mock mission in the city. Remember to take all of our training seriously and to master any skills you have not yet perfected."
I gulp: Isn't perfect a little too much to ask for? Sam begins to walk away and people break up into small groups, chatting excitedly to their friends. I stand alone and fidget with my hands, feeling hopeless. How can I participate in a mission when I can hardly fight a practice droid? I glance at the beginnings of the tunnel behind me, where Luke lazily leans against the wall next to Alex. Who will take my speculations about Luke's sinister excursions seriously? Who is someone that not only cares, but can do something about it? Suddenly, it hits me. Grace. Leah told me her grandmother was practically the highest in command at the Depot: wouldn't it be her number one goal to keep everyone safe?
"Leah! Hey, Leah!" I call out in a friendly tone. She turns to face me from across the room, stopping short in a conversation with Oscar. If she's talking to him, she must be really pissed. "Where does your grandmother live?"
"In an apartment off the Warehouse. Why?" She speaks levelly, but the tenseness of her body and the hard line of her lips betray lingering hard feelings.
"Just wondering," I reply off-handedly, turning and walking away before she can snap back at me. My mind reels with curiosity, and a little guilt stirs in my chest. Was I really so wrong for accusing Luke of treachery? Perhaps Sam sent him out on a top-secret mission. My heart suddenly plummets and the moisture drains from my mouth. Maybe by confronting Grace, I'm jeopardizing the Training Facility's code of secrecy. My relationship with Sam is already rocky as it is, what with him catching me trespassing in the Security Quarter. If my accusations prove to be false, wouldn't that only serve to worsen my odds of success here?
Before I know it, I find myself in the Warehouse. There's a single, painted wooden door on the perimeter of the large room; Grace's apartment is the only one in this part of the Depot. That figures, if she's as distinguished as Leah made her out to be. Should I go through with this? I weigh the possibilities in my mind and soon realize that the consequences of Luke truly placing the Depot's whereabouts on the line are far worse than those I would face for suspecting him in the first place. After several deep breaths, I stifle my uncertainty and knock on the door.
"Come in!" Answers a sweet voice, ringing through the wood. I twist the knob and enter the apartment. Leah was right: her grandmother's abode is certainly classy. Towering walls of granite reach skyward, approaching a lit glass ceiling that ends in a point. I tread through a small entry hall and into a living room bursting with plush leather furniture. Grace lounges on the large couch, smiling up at me as perfectly as an RScreen model.
"Hello, Enna. What services can I provide you?" Awkward, I clasp my hands in front of me and stand in the middle of the pristine room.
"Grace. I want to confess a suspicion of mine."
"Why don't you sit down, Enna? Make yourself comfortable." I take a seat on the leather chair across from her. "Go ahead. You have my utmost attention."
"Okay... Ma'm, I think Luke is sneaking out of the Depot." I feel as though a small knife pierces my chest when I realize that I can't admit to her the reason why I have these suspicions -- that I was spying on him from the Security Quarter. Just from my short time here at the Depot, I'd gathered that abandoning your territory and wandering where you don't belong is severely punishable. Stupid girl, I scold myself.
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Unplugged: The New World (#1, Unplugged Trilogy)Science Fiction
Choose to Rebel. RScreens (Reality Screens) are all the rage in America's future, just a few years after the climax of World War III. They were invented for sport, convenience, and -- most importantly -- surveillance. Enna Price, an 18-year...