Okay, Adventurers, we have regrouped, mourned the loss of Rolex, (Rolex! Sob! Our fault! It was all our fault!) but we’ll have to deal with all of that later, because right now, we’ve got a smoking manbot at our feet, a mysterious envelope and key in our hands, and STILL no real clue as to WHAT to do next!!!!

Last week, we chose A. Read it, immediately. How could you not? Never mind where you are.

Let’s hope this was a wise choice…

Chapter 22: Gimme a Ticket For an Aeroplane

You look down at the envelope in your hand before glancing out of the now-open cell door. The halls are empty. Hopefully they’ll stay that way.

Trembling fingers tear at the envelope, and you pull out an old-fashioned piece of note-paper. On it, written by hand, you read:

Hi guys,

So if you’re reading this, it means that my death was, well, untimely, and I didn’t get to show you what I’ve been working on. So here goes: I’ve been tinkering around in my spare time, and have built a toy that will knock the ‘bots on their asses. Quite literally. Realizing that our old plan to blow up the lab probably NEVER would have worked out so well, I used the principles of pulse bomb tech to build a ‘bomb’ that uses electro-magnetics instead of explosives. When deployed, it will fry the circuits of every piece of tech within a mile radius. Every piece. Which is why I haven’t mentioned it before now. It will send us back, like, into the stone age. And I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Tiny. But, obviously, that won’t be an issue for me anymore. Now it’s up to you to decide.

If you should choose to, you’ll find my toy locked up in my ‘special place’. Good luck.

P.S. Don’t forget the key. I did say it was locked up.

Your heart lurches as you glance down at Rolex again, looking so peaceful he could just be asleep. All this time, you’ve been wondering what everybody had been doing in your absence. And now you find that this one kid had figured out a way to end it. For good.

Tears blur your vision again as a sob gets stuck somewhere in your chest. You tuck the note and the key into your pocket, trying to take a deep breath to calm yourself.

“I won’t let this have been for nothing.” You tell him, as you move to the doorway. You glance left and right, realizing you have no idea which way to go, when you hear the sound of metal grating on metal behind you. You whirl around to see Chance, or Chance’s head and arms descending from the ceiling.

“Give me your hand!” You do, and he helps you climb up into the ceiling shaft. “Rolex?” Chance looks back down at the small figure on the floor, then back up at you. You shake your head, not quite trusting your voice. Chance’s face crumples for a moment before he huffs our a breath. He reaches down and pulls the ceiling tile closed after him.

“Come on, let’s go.” You begin following him without question. For the president’s son, he sure spends a lot of time in ceiling vents. You don’t know how long you’ve crawled before he stops, opening another vent and dropping down below. Your mind is still a whirl of grief, but now it’s mixed with hope. Even after death, Rolex has presented a solution. But where is his ‘special place’? Did you EVER know where it was? Do you need to tell Chance? Cain? Sev?

You follow Chance down from the ceiling –into your room! Your bed has never looked so welcoming. You need time to think. And sleep. Chance puts his hands on both your arms, and ducks his head to look into your eyes.

“Are you okay?” You nod. But then a tear escapes your eyes and you choke out, “No…” Chance pulls you into a hug, and even in your care-worn guilt-ridden state, you can’t help but notice how nice it feels. And hello, guns! You hear yourself confessing, “I told him to go for the gun, Chance! It’s my fault!”

“Shh, shh, it’s okay…” He’s stroking your hair, holding you tightly to him. Then Chance’s lips are on yours, and all your grief and heartache melt into the searing heat of lips and teeth and tongues. Somewhere in the back of your mind you ponder that this has to be the hottest first kiss, ever. At least, you think this is the first time you’ve kissed him…

The two of you melt down onto your bed just as you hear the hiss of your door open. Both your heads turn toward the door as you pull apart from each other to see Sev entering the room… followed by Cain and some of the kids from earlier, when you were underground, and a bearded man you’re pretty sure was your maths teacher –and with whom you’re pretty sure you’ve done something similar to what you were just doing with Chance.

Surprise registers on the newcomers faces, at seeing you, except for Sev, who looks just as perky as ever. Cain’s eyes narrow as he takes in you and Chance sitting on the bed together. The bearded man opens his mouth to say something, but then closes it again, looking at you questioningly.

Do you:

A.  Kick them out? This day’s been tough, and you want nothing more than a few more minutes of R&R with Chance.

B.  Tell them about Rolex’s note? It’s time for some action. Plus, maybe somebody here knows what his ‘special place’ was.

C.  Don’t say anything? They all came here for a reason. See what they’re up to.

D.  Look to Chance, and follow his lead? You need a break from making decisions.

Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.