Greetings adventurers! Welcome back to Dyspocalypse Now, where robots rule the world and hot boys seem to be v. v. interested in you (wait, this is a dystopia?). Last week’s vote was an insanely close call, and by a mere two votes, y’all decided to A. Take off after Chance and the sweeper probe. Hopefully with it on the job, there won’t be others after it and you can sneak after them undetected.
Now, let’s be vewy, vewy quiet and see if we can hunt down the president’s son while avoiding that super nosy sweeper!
Chapter 10: Your Password Is SOL
That’s it. Sweeper be damned, you’ve let too many encounters with Chance slip through your fingers, and now that you know he plays a vital part in the revolution (is that what this is?) you can’t risk losing him again. You grab Rolex by the arm and hiss, “Let’s go!”
His eyes widen behind the shiny lenses of his glasses. “What? Did you somehow miss the sweeper right behind him? That thing will sound the alarm the minute it sees us!”
“Well, then we’ll just have to make sure we stay invisible,” you say, still marveling at the confidence ringing in your voice. You gesture up to the ceiling tiles. “This is how they do it in the vids, and the vids don’t lie.”
Rolex’s eyebrows draw together. “Wow, the memory wipe really did a number on you. Vids are fictional. Do you know what fictional means?”
“Do you know what fucked means?” You push your face closer to his, until your breath threatens to fog up his glasses. “Because that’s what we’ll be if we don’t get to Chance.”
Rolex gingerly unwraps your fingers from his arm. “Um, does this mean your memory is coming back? Because I could really use that info you got on the schematics of the Master Control.”
“The Master what?” Rolex’s face falls, and you feel your newfound bravado slipping. “Look, let’s just follow Chance and figure out the rest later.” You point to the top of a nearby display case, full of trophies from the Circuitry Decathlon and Future A.I. of America. “I’ll boost you, and then you pull me up.”
He sighs but swiftly walks over to the case, where you kneel down and carefully push him to the top. Thankfully, the shelves are built from solid metal, and it makes no sound as Rolex clambers to the top. Once there, he lays down and reaches his arms down to your outstretched hands. The rubber soles on your standard issue shoes cling slightly to the sides of the case and you quickly inch up the side then heave yourself to the top in one fluid motion. You gently, ever so quietly, push up the nearest tile in the ceiling and crawl into the metal framework. There’s enough space to move on all fours, and fortunately, robots keep a very tidy home, so there’s no sign of dust. You gesture to Rolex, who sighs before slipping up into the crawlspace and moving the tile back into place.
Suddenly, everything is very, very dark.
“Well?” Rolex asks, “which way?”
His whisper echoes through the pitch black. “Let’s hope Chance walks in a very straight line,” you say, gently moving your hands and knees forward.
The sound of Rolex’s breathing growing heavier and heavier. “Now is probably not the time to tell you that I suffer from serious asthma, is it?”
“All we’re doing is crawling, ok? At a very slow pace. A glacial pace, actually. So we should probably pick it up.” You try to soften your tone. “Besides, you’ll be fine. You’re the genius here, not me.”
Rolex laughs tonelessly. “If you only knew…”
You crawl for what seems like hours but is probably only ten minutes when you suddenly stop at the sound of Chance’s voice. “Did you hear that?” Rolex whispers. “He’s close!”
You turn slightly to the left, towards the murmur of voices, and move closer, careful not to make a sound. Chance is talking to someone, but you can’t make out who.
“You may have everyone else fooled, but I know who you’re really working for.” Is that a tremble you hear in the voice of Mr. Popular? It sounds so… strange, a crack in his usual self-assured veneer.
“Oh really? Just because you’re the President’s son, you think you know everything?” The other voice sounds so familiar…
“I know a lot more than you realize. And it’s not because I’m the President’s son. It’s because I was there. With you. And her. Or have you forgotten? Did they wipe your memory too?” With her? Does he mean… you?!
“I haven’t forgotten anything, which is exactly the problem. Not for me, of course, but for you.” Beneath the sneering tone, you suddenly recognize–
“Cain!” Rolex yelps, and as you kick your leg out to silence him, you realize what a total idiot you are, because while you succeed in shutting him up, you also push him against the air duct, resulting in a cacophony of sound even louder than that hair metal you learned about.
Cain and Chance simultaneously blurt out, “Who’s there?” and you know the jig is up. You quickly slide a tile aside and stick your head down. “Um, what’s up, guys?”
So much for the killer intro. Both boys stare unbelieving as you and Rolex slowly lower yourselves down onto some desks, the epitome of whatever the exact opposite of grace is.
“What are you doing here?” Chance asks, at the same time as Cain hisses, “You’re supposed to be back in your room!”
“Um, yeah, well, we made a little detour.” You rub your arm where the tracker used to be. “Took care of some pressing business, indulged in some girl talk, you know, the yooj.”
Chance looks over at Rolex with narrowed eyes. “I thought you were smarter than this.”
As Rolex opens his mouth to respond, the unmistakable sound of sweepers approaches the door of the classroom.
“Damn, these guys REALLY like us.” Cain reaches for your arm. “Come on, let’s break out through the window.”
“No,” Chance says urgently, touching your other arm. “Don’t go with him. Trust me. We need to head back up into the ceiling.”
Bewildered, you glance over at Rolex, who simply shrugs. “The mathematical probability of either option resulting in a clean escape is basically .01%. In other words, we’re screwed.”
A. Go with Cain back into the Outside? Now that your tracker is gone, you can make your way back to the tunnels and regroup with the rebels.
B. Go with Chance up into the ceiling? Hopefully he can tell you more about “the incident,” plus you can spy on the activities of the robotic School Masters.
C. Grab Rolex and hide in the classroom cabinets? The sweepers might be so preoccupied with the movements of Cain and Chance, they’ll completely ignore you. Then you can head back and pay Aunt Eloise another visit.
D. Distract the sweepers so that Cain, Chance and Rolex can make a clean getaway? After all, they’re the ones that actually remember what happened (and seriously, WHAT HAPPENED?).