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Carrington Pulitzer: The Revelation Chronicles Online Extended Playpack

Carrington Pulitzer: The Revelation Chronicles Online Extended Playpack

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Carrington Pulitzer: The Revelation Chronicles Online Extended Playpack

Length:
293 pages
3 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Aug 19, 2018
ISBN:
9781386610724
Format:
Book

Description

Everyone's playing the Carrington Pulitzer Revelation Chronicles Online Extended Playpack, including Bethany Wallace. No sooner has she beat the game than CSIS Agents Quinto and Nimoy show up on her doorstep (because that's not fishy). Their offer: serve her government by finding stolen and hidden secrets in the game.

When Bethany accepts, she's plunged into a Matrix-like, virtual reality. Aided by friends Cole, Glen, Tariq, and Denis, she navigates the world plagued by ginormous spiders, zombies, and jellyfishnados. When some of her friends are killed only to show up later in the game in different roles, Bethany realizes she's not just in any old video game—she's in a Carrington Pulitzer video game.

And she's playing the part of her hero, Carrington Pulitzer!

Bethany and her remaining friends continue on their quest to find the missing documents, but when Bethany dies and wakes up in a strange hospital room, she learns there's more to her adventure than the CSIS agents have let on.

Through it all, Bethany is left asking the only question that will help her survive her ordeal:

What would Carrington Pulitzer do?

Publisher:
Released:
Aug 19, 2018
ISBN:
9781386610724
Format:
Book

About the author

Elise Abram is a high school teacher of English and Computer Studies, former archaeologist, an avid reader of literary and science fiction, and student of the human condition. Everything she does, watches, reads and hears is fodder for her writing. She is passionate about Second Cup lattes, cooking, writing and language, differentiated instruction and ABC’s Once Upon A Time. In her spare time she experiments with paleo cookery, knits badly, and writes. She also bakes. Most of the time it doesn’t burn. Her family doesn’t seem to mind.


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Carrington Pulitzer - Elise Abram

away."

THE REFUSAL

BETHANY TIRED OF CARRINGTON around ten. She wasn't getting anywhere in the game, anyway, because she couldn't stop thinking of the men in black.

What were their names again?

Nimoy and Quinto. Old Spock and new Spock—what were the odds the two of them would both wind up working for CSIS, let alone partnered together?

They'd wanted her to help them, to help the government...of Canada, no less. And while she realized all sorts of stuff had been going on in the world since the last American election, some of which was bound to have a serious impact for Canada, she had no idea what possible skill set she might have learned sitting on her couch, scarfing pizza, and playing video games.

Carrington was cool; she was smart; she was sexy—but she wasn't Bethany. More importantly, Bethany wasn't her.

She must've fallen asleep at some point because the sound of Aunt Sandy's key in the lock woke her. Bethany listened in a half-trance as her aunt opened the fridge—probably to grab a piece of leftover pizza—closed it, and slinked into Bethany's bedroom.

Bethany and Aunt Sandy rented a one-bedroom apartment. She had wanted to quit school and get a job to upgrade, but Aunt Sandy wouldn't hear of it. Though she'd never wanted kids, she'd seen Bethany's arrival as a gift, and was determined to raise her the way her parents had intended, by staying in school and making more of herself than Aunt Sandy had. Though Bethany didn't think there was anything wrong with Aunt Sandy, her mother had painted her as the paragon of what not to do with your life. Since she was a child, Bethany had heard: stay in school, get an education, discover who you are—don't allow a man to derail your opportunity to blossom and shine. Bethany knew Aunt Sandy had been married once and divorced, or so she'd assumed, but the topic of her aunt's ex had never come up in dinner conversation, what little of it there was.

Ordinarily, Aunt Sandy slept on the pullout in the living room. She must've been having a bad night, because Bethany felt her climb into bed with her and spoon her. Goodnight, kid, she whispered and kissed her on the back of the head.

Mmm, was all Bethany could manage in return.

THAT NIGHT, BETHANY dreamed she was with her mom, at Color Me Mine, painting a statue of Carrington Pulitzer together.

Oh, I spoiled it, Bethany said.

Her mom smiled. Where?

Bethany pointed out a spot where she'd smudged the dark brown of Carrington's leather leggings to cover the light peach of her hand.

I've got it, her mom said. She dipped a Q-tip into water and rubbed the darker paint from Carrington's tiny hand. Paint the hand last.

You do the face, she told her mother.

Her mother sighed. You can do it.

I don't want to mess it up.

You won't mess anything up. You're quite capable, you know.

"Please, Mom. It's Carrington."

Her mother frowned. Very well. She used the same colour Bethany had used on Carrington's hands for her face.

Should I go, Mom? Bethany asked after a pause.

I think you owe it to yourself to try, dear.

But Aunt Sandy—

Sandy's a big girl. She's already sewed her wild oats, made her mistakes—

I'm scared. A tear fell from Bethany's cheek.

Her mother smiled, shrugged, and pushed the Carrington statue toward the centre of the table. What do you think? she asked.

Bethany looked at the statue's face, but instead of seeing the unfired face of her heroine, she saw a perfect, porcelain representation of her own.

You can do this, my love, her mom told her. You need to do something more with your life, and this just might be it.

Aunt Sandy was gone by the time Bethany's alarm had gone off. Her half-eaten slice of pizza was still on Bethany's bedside table, cheese side down. The pullout in the living room had either been reset to a couch or not slept in at all and her aunt was nowhere to be seen. There was another twenty on the table and another note. This one read:

Hey, kiddo.

Scored an early shift today. Have a date afterward.

Maybe order some Swiss Chalet tonight. Eat something healthy for a change.

Don't wait up,

Sandy  

Bethany got ready for school. She was brushing her teeth when she went back into her room to dispose of her aunt's pizza slice and nearly threw away the CSIS agent's card, stuck to the cheese side of the slice. Though the paper was stained with grease spots, she could still make out the numbers.

Working for CSIS? Her? The idea was insane.

It was more than insane—it was terrifying.

She'd heard tell of similar scenarios, children recruited to help the government as secret agents—Agent Cody Banks and Spy Kids came to mind. Her dad had shown her a movie once, called The Last Starfighter, in which a teenager is recruited to fight a war in space after he blows up the boss level in an old-timey video game, but they were only movies. Things like that didn't happen in real life.

Or did they?

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that they did. Bethany would call the CSIS office, be taken away to Canada's version of Area 51, and made to play video games...to what end?

All the agents had said was that they wanted her for a top-secret mission that had something to do with the Carrington Pulitzer game.

Government jobs paid well, didn't they?

The men in black had said nothing about pay.

If she'd called them, she'd have to leave Aunt Sandy alone, but Aunt Sandy was barely there to begin with. Would she even miss her, or would she count her blessings that she didn't have to spend her tips on food for her bratty niece? Not that Bethany was what you might consider bratty—all she ever did was go to school, come home, do her homework, and play Carrington Pulitzer games. That, eat take-out, and watch television. Hardly bratty behaviour. More like getting lost in the woodwork than anything else.

Bethany sighed. She'd have to think on it some more.

Twenty-four hours.

It was already seven the next morning. Half of her time had practically gone and she was no further ahead of making a decision than she had been the night before.

That wasn't exactly true. The night before she'd written the idea off entirely, but now she'd had begun to give the idea some consideration. Leaving her old life behind would be scary, to say the least. Then again, the thought of indefinitely living her life the way she had been was equally as scary.

Bethany grabbed a package of S'Mores Pop-Tarts from the cupboard and took it with her, along with the money Aunt Sandy had left, earmarking at least some of it for a latte at Tim's.

SCHOOL WAS A CIRCUS, to say the least. Her period one teacher was absent and the kids in her class took advantage. While Bethany was trying to do her work, the thought of doing something more with her life fresh in her mind, her classmates were watching videos on their phones at full blast, giggling, and throwing paper airplanes while the teacher, resigned to babysitting, watched.

Bethany's guidance counsellor called her into her office during period two.

How have you been, Bethany? her guidance counsellor wanted to know.

Bethany shrugged. Okay, I guess.

Are you getting on okay with your aunt?

Aunt Sandy had told her she'd had the same guidance counsellor when she was in school. Bethany guessed the woman had remembered the wild child her aunt had been and was doubtful she'd settled down enough to be a suitable guardian.

Bethany shrugged again. I guess.

I'm a little concerned at your grades.

I'm working on them, Bethany told her.

We could set you up with a tutor if you thought it would help, the woman offered.

I'll think about it.

Okay.

Okay.

If there's anything I can ever do to help, please let me know, the guidance counsellor said.

Bethany nodded. Can I go now?

She stopped at the vending machine on the way back to class to get a bag of baked potato chips. Bethany always craved carbs when she was aggravated and that meeting had done nothing but. She really wanted a huge chunk of chocolate or proper chips, but nothing but quote-unquote healthy snacks were allowed in Ontario schools anymore. The baked chips would have to do until she could find a more suitable solution.

BY THE TIME SHE'D GOTTEN home, Bethany felt a little more than down. She went to the living room, cued up Carrington Pulitzer, and began to play.

She remembered her dream the night before. Her mom had often come to her in dreams like that, and they had conversations that never failed to make her feel better. Though Bethany knew the dreams were nothing more than hopes and wishes, they made her feel closer to her mother, nevertheless. To her, the dreams with her mother always felt more like visitations, and she always woke up after them feeling fresh and new.

An assailant came up behind Carrington. Bethany made her spin and judo-chop him in the crook between his neck and shoulder. The assailant faltered but didn't go down until Carrington had drop-kicked him. 

Stay in school, Aunt Sandy had said. If her schoolwork was any indication, she'd never go anywhere with that education.

Having finished the level, Bethany leaned back against the couch and closed her eyes, waiting for the video interlude to play.

Make something of herself, her mother had said. Seeing how her only skill was her ability to play Carrington Pulitzer, there were only two pathways she saw for herself: 1) stick it out in school, apply to a video game creation program at a local college, and hope for the best; or 2) fast-track her education by calling CSIS.

But if she did that, what about Aunt Sandy?

Aunt Sandy is a big girl, she heard her mom say.

Startled at the clarity of her voice, Bethany opened her eyes to see her mom standing between the couch and the television, dressed in Carrington Pulitzer's clothing.

Mom? she said.

She can take care of herself.

Bethany put the game controller down on the coffee table and took a step toward her mother. I can't just leave her alone like that.

Her mom smiled, said, You must heed the call, and vanished.

Bethany opened her eyes. She was still on the couch. The interlude was still playing.

I must heed the call, she said to herself.

She put the controller down, reached for her phone, and called the number on the CSIS agent's card.

HELPERS

AT CSIS HEADQUARTERS, Nimoy held her upper arm as Quinto led them past security. The first sentry buzzed them through without question or conversation. They walked down a brightly lit corridor to the second checkpoint and a fork in the tunnel. Nimoy turned left without ceremony and vanished ahead of them, his heels clicking down the hallway while Quinto led her down the tunnel to the right.

A buzz sounded and Quinto pushed the door open. He recited her name to the second sentry who checked his list and nodded. Quinto pulled her down another brightly lit corridor that dead-ended with a set of whitewashed, metal, double doors. He pushed the one on her right open with a hand above her head and nudged her inside to a room that looked a lot like her school cafeteria.

Also like her school cafeteria, teens were lounging on the metal and melamine picnic-style tables, organized into four neat columns and about ten rows.

The door whooshed closed behind her, clicking shut with a rather loud chink. She heard the faint click-clack of Quinto's wingtips going in the opposite direction on the other side of the door.

Bethany looked around the room. There were about a dozen kids already there, and all of their eyes were on her. What the hell is this place? she said to no one in particular.

Jail, a boy about the same age as her, sitting to her left said.

Shut-up, a girl with a bright blue checkerboard painted on her blonde hair said loudly, and then quieter, I don't know about you, but I didn't do anything wrong.

Jail? Bethany asked. That can't be right. I decided to come here on my own. They gave me a choice.

What did your parents say? the girl asked.

I don't...have...parents, Bethany said, almost a whisper.

Oh, the girl said, embarrassed. She walked away.

You heard what they told our parents to get us here, the boy on her left continued. Hackers set us up. They put military secrets in the game like...like messed up Easter eggs for us to find.

Are you high? another boy, this one looking much older than any of them, said. Why in the hell would anyone do that?

To recruit us, the first boy said. Only CSIS got to us first.

Recruit us for what? the older boy asked, angry as ever.

I don't know, man. To overthrow the government?

Of Canada? Bethany asked. Please.

The first boy turned on her. You got a better idea?

The CSIS agents said they needed help with a top-secret mission—

From a kid? the first boy said.

Bethany shrugged.

As they were talking, the girl with the checkerboard hair had slowly neared to stay within earshot. Which agents? she said.

Nimoy and Quinto.

You've been played, the boy said.

Bethany shook her head.

Old Spock and new Spock? Man, if you didn't clue into the fact they were obvious aliases you're dumber than you look.

I thought it might be coincidence— Bethany defended.

Leave her alone, the older boy said. He stepped in front of her, blocking her view of the other boy. I'm Cole, he said. Nevermind the conspiracy theory nut-job over there. He's been spouting crap like that since before I arrived.

Bethany, she said. Where are we?

Oh, man, Conspiracy Theory said, they didn't blindfold you, did they?

Why would they blindfold her when you can find the address of this place online? Cole asked.

You can find the location of Area 51 online, too, the other boy said.

Cole waved a hand at the guy and turned back to Bethany. "I haven't a clue. All I know is these two guys identified themselves as CSIS agents and had a warrant. I had no choice but to go with them."

And your parents?

My mom cried; my dad's not in the picture. He brightened. "You said you didn't have any parents?"

An aunt. Probably too busy to notice I'm missing.

That's probably why they approached you on your own.

A door swung open at the side of the room and a woman wearing a white smock and hairnet stuck her head out. Dinner's served, she called.

Everyone looked around at first, not sure what was going on.

Grub, Cole said. I'm starving.

Don't eat the food, Conspiracy Theory said. That's how they get you; you drink the Kool Aid and they own you.

Does he even know we're in Canada? Bethany asked Cole.

What secrets could our government possibly have? Cole asked. The location of the Queen's summer home?

Bethany giggled. It felt good to be able to let it out. The next change to the lyrics of the anthem? she asked. And even though neither suggestion was particularly funny, neither of them were able to stop laughing.

They talked while they ate. In truth, they probably laughed more than they talked. Canada's Military Secrets became a game most of the kids couldn't resist by the end of the meal. Suggestions ran from Justin Beiber being a Canadian spy (which would explain why he gets away with breaking the law so frequently—he has diplomatic immunity), to the nice juice they put in Tim Horton's coffee.

After dinner they were ushered by four uniformed and armed men to a bunk room. Bethany lost her endorphin high from the game quickly; she'd never been that close to an actual gun before, let alone a loaded one.

The bunk room was a large room with concrete walls and no windows. Metal cots with thin mattresses, tan, woolen blankets, white sheets, and a single pillow stood in neat rows, one along each wall—pillow end near the wall—and two more rows down the centre. Bethany wondered if there would be more kids coming, enough to fill all of the beds.

Wait, Conspiracy Theory—whom they learned was actually named Glen—said to the guards. I'm not spending the night here.

I could arrange for a private cell in detention, if you prefer, the nearest guard said.

Glen shook his head.

What was that?

No, Glen said quietly.

No, what? the guard pressed.

No...thank you?

For the record, 'No, sir,' would have also been an acceptable answer, the guard said.

Pyjamas, looking more like hospital scrubs than PJs, were folded neatly at the foot of each bed beneath a Ziploc bag with a toothbrush, travel-sized tube of toothpaste, and hotel-sized bar of soap.

When all of them had finished in the communal bathrooms (which looked a lot like the school locker room bathroom and shower room) and all of them had climbed into bed, silence quickly overtook them. The exhaust system kicked in and Bethany felt a whoosh of cool air. She curled up into a tight ball under her solitary blanket, hoping it would be enough to keep her warm so she could sleep through the night. She racked her brain trying to remember what she could have possibly done while playing Carrington Pulitzer that would have brought her there.

She closed her eyes and replayed the last boss level of the game in her mind best as she could, but try as she might, she couldn't for the life of her figure out anything she might've seen that could pass for a Canadian military secret.

Bethany sighed. She tasted bitter bile at the back of her throat. Bethany yawned. The yawn turned into a cough. She cleared her throat trying to get rid of the bitterness lingering there. One of the other kids coughed, too. Someone on the other side of the room cleared his throat a few times.

Bethany closed her eyes.

CROSSING THE THRESHOLD

BETHANY CAME TO IN stages.

There was a chill in the air.

The sun was up.

She was on a hard surface, like a floor or a road.

Her bones ached, which was weird. As far as she could remember, she'd never been aware of her bones before.

She opened her eyes slowly, to let in a little bit of light at a time; her eyes watered in spite of her efforts.

Bethany sat up and looked around.

She was on a street. A deserted street.

She stood up and turned around. Not so deserted after all. A boy, one of the guys from the cafeteria the night before, lay on the road nearby, curled into a fetal position.  She couldn't, for the life of her, remember his name.

Bethany walked toward him. He

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