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The directions that were given to me by Adam were as follows: Go to deck thirty-six on the northeast corner and find a formal wear shop called ‘Helens AbovePar,’ when there, find a Jamaican man with dreadlocks that are wrapped in a ponytail. That was an easy task because everyone else in the shop was Caucasian. After that, I was supposed to tell him that I wanted to ‘be rid of the eighteen.’ When I entered the store, and found the man, his happy mood changed to dead serious pretty quickly. I was discreetly taken into a back room, there; I was to be dressed, as he told me. I received a long white sleeveless dress, some fourteenbutton length gloves, formal boots, and a pink Hedy to go under it all. I also got an elegant silver duffle bag to put all of my normal clothes in, which I refused because I had brought my backpack. He made me look pretty; I was charmed by his attitude and selection. I couldn’t help but giggle when I saw myself in the mirror. There was also a really cool thing that I had never seen before. A neon yellow halo hovered seven centimeters above the crown of my head. It was an alternative to a headband, and while I was in Missouri, it became popular in the ‘real world’. All this dressing was to be put on someone’s account called Korolev. I had wondered who that is… It worried me because it could be someone that isn’t involved, and who would be dragged into this… like me. I was dolled up quickly, and soon headed to the top of the station, where I was told to go. At the very bottom of the list, it detailed some escape directions. It said that in the south hanger on deck forty-seven was a taxi that would be waiting for Doe, Azuka and I if something happened. 1
Something on that paper surprised me though. It said that Doe would be waiting in the Taxi, ready to drive us off. How is Doe involved in this? I wondered, yet couldn’t figure it out… When I got to the top, I noticed how many old people were present. Not quite seniors, but they were getting there. They were dressed up in the same prom king and queen style digs as I was in. Some were even Elastitions hiding their ages either very well, or very poorly. I walked up to the main hall entrance and flashed my invite to the bouncer. He confiscated it, and I was let in. It was not a ballroom really, but more like a jazzed up glass roof auditorium without the chairs. I could see the stars, Sol and Neptune above me and some fancy lights and decorations that reminded me of a planetarium. Everyone was talking and having fun while some brass music played softly through the sound system. I walked over to the refreshments table and looked at what was open to me. Cheese, various salads, and seafood, some wine… I was a little afraid to grab something because of my satin gloves and dress. I picked up a glass of red wine, already laid out for those who wanted it, and gave it a sniff. “Oh…” I backed off and held it away, extending my neck away from it. What’s romantic about that stuff? Smells worse then pigs without a bath back on the farm. I put it down with my wrist over my wrinkled nose, wishing for some Coca Cola. Suddenly, someone very nearby spoke to me in a voice I knew. “Are you… Kyoko…?” he asked. I looked over to the man and gasped as loud as a hawk. He was Sam Campbell! He grabbed my upper arm gently, but with force and shooshed me equally as gentle.
“Don’t fight me or you’ll make a scene.” He said. I curled my lip. Sam looked away for a sec and then back at me. “Follow me and I will tell you what you need to know.” He said and walked off. I followed and got somewhat pissy toward him. “What the hell were you doing…?” I hissed through my teeth. He led me to an unoccupied corner and interrupted me. “I’m not Sam; I’m not even an Elastition. Sam is my brother, I’m Adam Campbell.” He said. I relaxed a fraction, and looked at his face. I was so busy getting mad at both him and my gasp worthy of calling my eagle sidekick Avenger, that I didn’t see any differences in the facial features. Sure Elastitions can change, but I could see sanity in Adams eyes, where I could not in Sam’s, which is something that could not be changed. I took a step back and felt sorry. “Oh…” I bit into my lip. Adam looked away again and kept his cool as some Dave Lanz came on the stereo. “Why did you get me dressed up and lead me here?” I asked. Adam took a drink of water that he was holding and spoke with a great amount of nervousness. It looked like it took most of his effort to conjure up talking to me. I folded my arms, and tapped my foot impatiently as he rambled uncontrollably. “Your friend Doe, and my superior, Jack, are best friends. Jack uses an Elotant laser for his business. It’s used for shaping Elotant based furniture for movie props and fights. It’s also used for cutting and shaping everyday Hedys that normal Elastitions don’t produce, he doesn’t though. Jack is the craziest person I know; he lives on Mars to contact aliens, and the like, though he hasn’t been doing it recently, but he’s no harm to people, or Elastitions. 3
To use an Elotant Laser legally, you need to learn to be precise and fluid. Jack was the best in his class when he got the license, and I’ve seen him work. He is so sharp and on the dime, you would think he was a robot and…” I grunted and made a scene. “What’s your point?” I said loudly. Adam shooshed me again and answered my question. “Jack can use an Elotant laser and not kill you. AC18 is put into the furniture and the like in case they are defective so he can recall it. You can find both Jack and me on the coast of The Olympic Sea in the city of Lexington on Mars. We run a large warehouse and workshop called the Korolev; your Nagare should be able to find it. Tell him that Timothy sent you; he’ll believe it.” He said. I nodded. “Alright… What is Jack going to do when I get there?” I asked. Adam looked away again, like he was being watched. Why does he keep doing that? “The same thing my brother did, but correctly. Jack will just put you in the same thing that I bet Sam put you in, and get the AC18 read.” He said. I rolled my eyes “No, I wanted to know if he will call the cops at all. I’m a very wanted girl you know.” I said while resting my hand on my chest. Adam sighed while an operatic adaptation of Adagio for Strings came on the sound system. “If you say that Timothy sent you, then your fine, though if you don’t mention him, he will turn you in. I bet that he will just give you the extracted AC18 files and assume that you will know what to do.” He looked away again. “We need to go. I think my brother and his goons followed me.” He said. I tensed up. “What?” I almost shrieked. Adam shooshed me again. “The scene, remember? Go to Mars and see Jack, I will be there, I promise. Okay?” he asked. I nodded, 4
Adam walked off and disregarded my existence like he was late for an appointment. I slowly walked backward, tightly holding my backpack strap in fear. I was looking around for Sam, or anything suspicious. I turned around to leave, and heard some people scream. I stole a glance and saw Adam lying dead on the floor! “Oh my God…” I ran into the escaping crowd. Sam knows I’m here now. I need to hide… I enhanced my height by less then a meter to get a better look around and noticed something bad. I’m the only person with a halo, so I stuck out as much as I did in my Hedy in Missouri. “Shit!” I muttered as people tried to get past me. Halos can’t be taken off willy-nilly, as the man at the formal shop told me; he took three good minutes putting it on me, aligning it with my Aexom, and five taking it off so that I could learn how to do it. It’s hard to make it steady enough to be perched atop my head. I tried to leave the crowd, when I saw Sam blocking my exit with some of his men, and Haruna by his side, looking for me. I was right about Haruna! Dad gummed! “Shit!” I exclaimed again and looked around for another exit. I heard Sam bellow something, but the crowd of people made it hard to hear. I saw no other convenient exit out, so I thought I would try to fly. I looked near the ceiling where I saw a little service awning hugging the whole rim of the circular room. There must be an exit up there, there has been before. I also remembered that it didn’t work… before. I stunted my height down and made my way through the waning crowd of people toward a wall, away from Sam. I flew up ward, hoping that no one noticed, and landed on the level. I quickly hid against the short wall for a second, hoping no one saw me. 5
Suddenly, several lasers shot above my position and made dark holes in the walls. “Shit!” I crawled on my knees behind the short wall, then got up and ran because of the difficulty in my dress. Oh jeez, I hate swearing! Laser shots were raining right behind me as I headed toward the door. I bet it was the audio room because Adagio for Strings got louder. I ran for the door, and phased in searching for another door. Four people looked at me from the controls and murmured how I got here. I didn’t stay to listen; I ran to the door on the other side of the room and seamlessly phased through it. Inside was another room with vending machines and a table for employees off duty time. I ran right into a machine. I was solid, and I smacked right into it. I was dazed for a moment, and then regained my composure. “Curse you snacks!” I yelled. I ran to my right where I saw another door. The door to the auditorium’s sound room blew open in an explosion. Sam bellowed my name like he was a lion on the hunt. I ran off, reached a long hallway, and tried to find whatever exit I could. The hallway was a mild spiral, going down a little bit. I ran for maybe forty-five meters, and then flew one hundred and six meters the rest of the way, all the while hearing Sam and his crew go after me. I phased again through two swing away doors that lead to a low wall bridge. I stopped for a second in awe. The teal art deco type ceiling was the bottom of the auditorium. There was a force field surrounding the bridge, with a duplicate set of swing away doors on the other end of the line that needed a pass code. I looked over the edge and saw a park about sixty meters down. 6
I heard Sam bellow my name again, and started to panic. Knowing that I would live anyway, I jumped off the bridge, phasing through. I fell down for a second and then caught myself with my Hiyou Enerugiitai Heelotant Spell. “Bless you Moshi and Bai for the Heelotant…” I whispered. I hovered right under the bridge, making damn sure that I had lost them. “Where did she go, where the hell did she go!” I heard Sam yell. Haruna yelled back at him “If you had sat down to think what you would do instead of just diving in then you would have caught her by now!” she yelled with frustration. “I don’t sit down to think; it slows the pursuit and allows the target to get away.” Sam said. Haruna countered. “But you know where they will go most of the time, why do you need…” I didn’t want to stay and listen to the couple argue some more. “What a trip…” I muttered softly. I lowered down to the floor and went to meet Azuka and Doe in the hanger. We had to leave quickly.
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