Chapter 66: Final Precautions

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By the second week in March, the new album, Force Tales, had been with their distributor for two weeks, and as Lex had been happy to note, they'd had difficulty keeping it in stock. Although Riss had reported on a frequent basis that their American fans had been asking Alexander's Army to tour that country again, until recently no one had thought it would be possible; however, since Casey had begun booking tour dates and Riss had notified all of their fans about the American tour via their website, it seemed the excitement had been contagious, since about two thirds of the album orders had been from the States.

At their house meeting that week, Casey had finished talking about the final tour dates and venues, and after Riss and Victor had exchanged looks, Riss spoke up. "A while ago, we mentioned our plans for tracking ourselves while we're overseas. Victor and I have finalized something that we'd like all of you to see."

As Riss spoke, she took what looked like a small slip of paper from her pocket. "Pass these around and take one," she said as she handed it to Lex.

When Lex took it, she could feel that the back of the paper seemed waxy and when she examined the front, she found a cloudy strip of something sticky, not much longer than a toothpick or wider than two of them had detached itself as she touched the edge of the paper. "Is this it?" she asked Riss.

Her friend nodded and replied, "Yes. Everyone, please look at what Lex has in her hand. When you get the piece of paper, just grab one, if you can."

Riss waited until the slip of paper got back to her before she spoke again. "What you now have is a tracker. Victor and I developed these based on the things you sometimes find in packages that people use to keep an eye on their merchandise. It's a radio frequency transmitter, but it's passive in that it doesn't have a power source of its own. Art will be your scanner and power source."

She glanced at Art then, who nodded and continued watching her. "We've created two devices to track everyone, one that Art will always have with him, and one that we're going to leave with Serena here. Serena's device will receive periodic updates from Art, and she'll be able to manually request a refresh, as well."

"Are we supposed to keep these things on us?" Kate asked, studying the sticky thing on her finger and frowning.

"If you could keep them on at all times, that would be best," Riss replied. "The glue we used is long lasting. You shouldn't have trouble keeping them on you, but make it a habit to check yours at least once a day to be sure it's still attached. Victor and I will fabricate extras and will give everyone spares to replace those that fall off. Please try putting these on now."

"Won't other people be able to track us as well?" Rolf asked with a frown.

Victor sat up and shook his head in response. "We used a frequency not used by other RFID tags, so it should remain secure. In case anyone finds the frequency, we've encrypted the transmissions between the tags and the devices, so even if they find the frequency they shouldn't be able to tell what data is being sent."

"Is there any particular place we should wear these?" Lily asked, holding the sticky thing out to its full length of about an inch between her index finger and thumb.

"As long as you put it on clean, dry skin it shouldn't matter," Riss replied. "I've put mine behind my ear, but for those of you with longer hair you could put it on your neck just under your hairline, or anywhere else you think it wouldn't be spotted. They should remain with you through numerous washings."

"So, what happens when the old ones fall off? They won't just keep tracking forever, will they?" Derek asked as he rubbed the back of his neck.

"I forgot to mention," Victor replied. "The slight charge on your skin completes the circuit that the tracker needs to broadcast a signal. If it falls off, the circuit will be broken and it will no longer transmit."

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