Sunday, 1 April 2007
02:33:47 AM (GMT)
So, here it is... If you don't have a lot of time then you might not want to read
it. PLEASE comment, I don't want to be pampered forever. Oh and let me know if you
think this is, like, publishable material. That'd be a nice ego booster or
eliminator, but really, keep extremely negative comments to yourself. >_<
“We of the Dune-Weald Committee officially award you, Karl Jokovich Thrent III, the
Dune-Weald Phys-ics Award for outstanding development in physics. This is a large
honor, as Mr. Ned Dune and Mr. Virgil Weald, the original founders of the Dune-Weald
Award, made great advancements in physics themselves. They invite you to a cordial
dinner in the original Dune-Weald Building. Respectful reporters from Channel 8 have
been allowed to record the meal and broadcast it to commemorate you as one of the
most respected physicists in the history of the United States for your astonishing
discovery of the sev-enth dimension. The reporters will instantly be escorted out of
the building at your request. If you choose to honor Mr. Dune and Mr. Weald with your
presence, you will dine in complete comfort with them and their families. The United
States is extremely grateful for the time and labor put into this discov-ery. Thank
The strange letter featured photocopied signatures at the bottom, but it was still
jaw-dropping. Not only was it not addressed to me – it was addressed to a male whom
I’d never heard of, and from the Dune-Weald Committee! There was a chance that it
was just a counterfeit, but who would take such painstaking care to replicate a
Dune-Weald Phys-ics Award letter? Certainly no one I knew.
My rst instinct was to show the letter to Jared, my older brother and
caretaker of sorts, but I knew he’d dismiss it as a hoax and feed it to the
disintegrator. Truthfully, I didn’t want the masterpiece melted by acid into a pulp
that would plop into little lumps at the bottom of an acid-proof bin.
Deciding to hide it somewhere, I folded it carefully, slid it back into the
curly-scripted envelope, and started towards my room.
“Whatcha got there?” Jared materialized suddenly. I hated those holographic
disguises – simply press a button on your personal remote and you’d instantly be
shrouded by the image of whatever lay behind you by the nearest holograph projector.
I could only hope that my brother hadn’t been standing there for very long.
“Oh, um, just a letter. I think it’s a prank.” I could feel my face
flushing, and tried to cool it off with a deep breath. I was actually an adequate
liar if my flaming cheeks didn’t give me away.
He looked sympathetic. Good. “Want me to disintegrate it? I get a coupla those
nearly every month, it seems. Nasty little buggers.”
“Nah, I think I’ll ngerprint it. Maybe a DNA scan.” I shrugged
casually. Thirty years before, the tools used to do those things weren’t widely
accessible and were very costly. Now, in 2045, they were so common that I’d
received my own at the ripe old age of sev-en. They worked, though, and that’s what
“Alright. Listen, I’m gonna go out for a while. Marianne and I are going
virtual surng over at the Neutrinozoid. ’Kay?” Jared bobbed his head,
grabbed the keys to the hover-craft, pushed a small square button on the right side
of the door, and slipped out as the door shot open with a blast of air. I watched it
close again, almost as swiftly but with a zzzzz noise.
I sighed. At fteen, I’d already gotten my pilot’s license, but Jared
and I were very un-rich, and could only afford one hovercraft. It would’ve been
easy to locate Karl Jokovich Thrent III at the Borrino Public LibZone, but my own
piuter was nearly as good. It flared to life as I sat on the wireless chair that had
come with my Plutonium Plus piuter model. Using the LibZone database, I quickly found
him. 5975G+ Supernova Blvd., the piuter screen informed me. Wow, I thought. He’s a
+. Only rich, upper-class families lived in the + areas, and suddenly I wasn’t as
motivated to perform a personal delivery. Karl Jokovich Thrent III was probably a
high-strung, snooty member of society that would be disgusted by a girl like me –
barely keeping within the 0 range, because of my frequently-unemployed older brother
– knocking on his door and thrusting some object onto him that was mostly likely
already contaminated by her touch. Yet before The Accident, Mom and Dad had taught me
two things: One, always do what you know is right. Two, never let anyone boss you
around without your consent. I had a feeling they would’ve taught me more, but the
vicious, unfeeling, crapped-up, stinking government had to launch some random missile
just to see how it worked. And then they decided to blame Canada, which of course
resorted in cold feelings among both political leaders. Canada then exposed the U.S.
for attacking itself, and well, there hadn’t been a stable government since.
Hadn’t been a stable moment in my life since then, either.
Using my anger at the White House to restore my condence, I videoed a
cabbie from the vidscreen by the kitchen. “Be there in a sec.” The cabbie, one
I’d never seen before with peach-pink hair and freckles, grinned at me. Then the
vidscreen went black.
My anger-induced self-condence wasn’t going to last long, so fortunately
the cabbie arrived within thirty seconds. The yellow-and-black-checkered
hovercraft’s door slid open, and I climbed inside. The freckle-faced cab driver
gave me another smile and asked politely, “Where to, miss?”
“Uh, 5975+ Supernova Boulevard,” I told him, squinting my eyes at the picture
my piu-ter had scanned onto the palm of my left hand.
“Ooh, a +. Ya scared?” The cheerful driver jammed on the pedals and looked at
me with pitying eyes.
“Ah, no, I go there all the time,” I answered smoothly, frowning inwardly at
his superior attitude.
“Oh. Sorry. Didn’t take you for a plushie.” He raised his eyebrows, dropped
them, and concentrated on keeping the acceleration pedal at one level as the
hovercraft steered itself through the city. Now I actually showed my emotions on my
face. I didn’t appreciate him calling me that disgust-inducing word for rich
Despite myself, I glanced out the window after only a few seconds of folded-arm
pout-ing. Views of Borrino from above were so beautiful. Pastel-colored buildings,
architectural dares that looked as if they’d crumble to pieces at any second; the
almond-eyed Alien Research center, sporting a shiny round roof that served as the
metal alien’s forehead; hovercraft of every color and model zipping everywhere at
once. It was amazing, breathtaking even. Though I’d never seen the trees Mom and
Dad told me about, that grew outside of the city. They had told me that the plant
life was as beautiful as the city, ten times over.
“Ahem. Miss? We’re here.” The cabbie raised his eyebrows again, and I
noticed a giant gold door engraved with the symbols 5975G.
“Oh, sorry.” I shoved a couple of bills into his waiting palm and leapt
outside as the hovercraft door opened. “Thanks!”
He tipped his hat and then vanished. Zzzzzooom. For a moment I caught a glance of
the cab flying away, but then it was completely gone.
For a moment an image of a lonely puppy sitting on a curb flashed across my mind,
but I sent it away and turned around, nearly falling off of the edge of the
300-foot-high building. Karl Jokovich Thrent III was standing in front of me,
xing me with a steely gaze that was all too familiar.
“Hayne?” I gasped. “What are you – where’s Karl?”
“Shut up!” my former classmate hissed, grabbing my sweater and dragging me
inside. The door swooshed shut behind us, and I stared, agape.
“What are you – where is he – ” I tried again.
“I am Karl Jokovich Thrent III,” he growled. “Ssshh.”
“No, no you aren’t!” I insisted. “He’s this dude who won the Dune-Weald
award for physics – ”
“I what?” Hayne’s eyes got as round as my vidwatch screen. Now he clutched
my arms. “What did you say?”
“I – uh, I – oh, just – here!” I slipped the envelope out of my pocket
and handed it to him. “It was delivered to our apartment.”
“Our?” Hayne looked up at me. I could almost see a question mark dancing
around in his pupils as he took the envelope.
“Me and Jared,” I informed him. I caught the reason for his question. “Oh,
no. Ew. FIY, fifteen-year-olds don’t go around staying in random people’s houses,
Hayne grinned. I couldn’t help but notice that he looked completely different
than when I last saw him, older denitely, though he was my age. The last
I’d ever heard of him was in the sixth grade. He was in ninth, with Jared, but
he’d looked so pale and timid and, well, emo. Now he was taller than me, his hair
jutted out in all directions, and his skin was less fluorescent. I took that as a
By then he’d already read the letter a couple of times over, but his violet
(genetically altered) eyes were still flicking over the piece of paper. Any normal
person would’ve been overcome with joy, but with each movement of his gaze, he
seemed more frantic.
“What’s wrong?” I asked when his hands began to shake. I looked at him
worriedly. Was this guy going to have a seizure right in front of me?
“Oh, no,” he breathed. “Oh, no. Bad. Very bad. Very, very, very bad.” He
looked at me, and suddenly the puppy flashed into my head again. Sad sad sad hopeless
“What’s wrong?” I repeated.
“They’ve – they’ve – how could they, I only told Carson…” Hayne’s
dilated pupils were still stuck staring into mine, but he seemed far off.
I snorted, attempting to thin out the anxiety that was beginning to thicken the
air. “Carson Kolby? Everyone knows that you can’t tell him anything. He’d give
your name to the government if you told him not to.” Apparently, this didn’t
heighten Hayne’s mood.
“W-what? Not tell him? B-but he said that I could tr-trust him – ”
“He says that to everyone,” I said softly, trying to comfort him with a hand
on the shoulder. I wasn’t prepared for him to suddenly dig his nails into his own,
but he did it anyway. I gasped as pain shot through my shoulder.
Hayne let out a long, slow breath and relaxed his grip. “Sorry. We have to go to
the dinner. And then run away…far, far away.”
I raised my eyebrows. “We?”
He sighed. “I have MPD.”
“Oh. Phew.” I laughed nervously.
“I was kidding.”
Hayne’s eyes were pleading. “Come with me to the dinner, at least. I need you
to make my story plausible.” Puppy dog eyes… “Please, please come with me to
Agnalia. It’s a two-person job, I can’t do it myself. No time will pass on Earth.
I held up a hand in confusion. “What do you mean, ‘Agnalia?’ No time on
“I’ll tell you in the hovercraft. We have to go get clothes.” Hayne turned
around and walked off, returning in about four minutes with a ten-foot by four-foot
suitcase. Surprisingly, he carried it with ease.
“What’s in there?” I asked suspiciously, cautious of drugs. The suitcase
looked slightly intimidating.
“Money, and a few papers,” he answered dismissively. In his other hand, I
noticed, was a portable flamethrower. I couldn’t help it – I stared. “For
self-defense,” he told me when he noticed my afxation. “And to eliminate
evidence. Let’s go.” Hayne spoke to his high-tech, expensive-looking vidwatch,
pointed at something with his flamethrower, and then shuffled outside, pushing me out
in front of him and verbally shutting the door. It slid closed, but not before I saw
a tongue of white-orange flame engulf a small wooden desk that stood just by the
“Are you crazy?” I gasped. “What’re you trying to do, burn down the whole
Hayne shrugged. “The recraft’ll get here before it gets that far. Like
I said, we need to eliminate evidence.” I truly couldn’t recognize this person
anymore. I mean, the old Hayne was reclusive. This new, older, more conﬁdent
Hayne could set his house on ﬁre without batting an eyelash. Something had
deﬁnitely changed since I’d last laid eyes on him.
“A house isn’t exactly evidence,” I muttered, but he didn’t hear me.
Exactly seven seconds later (according to my vidwatch, at least) a sleek black
hover-craft slid to a stop in front of us. My jaw dropped. Plushie, the cabbie had
called me. I briefly wondered what he’d say if he saw this.
“What?” Hayne grinned at me, and opened the door. “Never ridden in a limo
I didn’t like the superior look on his face, so I snapped my mouth shut and
slipped in-side. For a guy who’d been begging me to run away with him just minutes
earlier, he could be awfully cocky. No courtesy, no company, I thought heatedly.
You’d better shape up, Mister Jokovich Thrent III.
More where that came from! Just let me know! (It might be a while -- I lose interest
in stories kinda easily.)