Chapter 1.7

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They might just be stuck with something in their own mind cities. Or palace. Or house.

I’ll just get to work, so that everything will be set up by the time they arrived.

I still felt that tiny doubt nagging at me.

I ignored it, and started navigating myself through the endless sea of information. I found all the programs and connections I needed to start with the job. I started working.

After fifteen to twenty minutes, the nagging grew larger in the back of my mind as I realized I had everything set up and I was still alone.

I dismissed it, and started working at decoding encryptions, breaking firewalls, and getting rid of anti-virus bots. It was not hard, but it was still time consuming. An hour passed by the time I broke down all three firewalls. I still was very much aware of the fact that I was still alone, but continued with my work.

I started working on making myself invisible to the system, if anyone found out that an entity was screwing with the codings of the school, I would be tracked down, and then a team of highly specialized ops would come down here, breaking through doors, and then capture would be inevitable.

I could still just break out.

I was nearly done when Sam popped up. Then Lily, Ray, Diana, and Greg followed, in that order. They all found their way to me, which was a bit easy because for some unknown reason, the holograms around me had turned yellow.

The charts and the data that the holograms represented didn’t change though.

A soon as each of them figured out what the data around me represented, they all stared at me wide-eyed.

“You’re already in the third stage! We just took like, five minutes to get here, and you’ve completed a third of the work already!” Greg said, aghast with surprise.

When he said they took five minutes to get here, it didn’t take long to figure out what happened. Time passed by more slowly in my head, not because I was some kind of chronomancer, but because my thought processes were much faster than the average human. Shit, how the fuck was I supposed to explain that to them without giving away my real identity?

And much, much more that they would care to know.

Unless….

“What are you talking about? I’ve been here like, a freaking hour and a half.”

“What?” They said in chorus.

“I guess it had something to do with your neural laces, must be a bug, or a lag. Either way, you’ve got to get it checked out.”

They seemed to be putting some thought into it. Some showed concern, others didn’t care, and others seemed to take this like an everyday thing. Interesting.

“I supposed that makes sense. It’s not the first time something like this has happened. Seems a little hard to believe that it happened to all of us at the same time though.” Diana said, a little disbelieving.

“Coincidences happen. Sometimes on a small scale and sometimes on a large scale. It’s just a matter of chance.” Ray said.

“I guess…” Diana said, still a little disbelieving.

That little seed of doubt in their heads might screw everything up. In case one of them decided to find out more information on their new friend, I would have to keep an eye on them. I would also have to destroy those seeds, from experience; if I let them to grow it would cause too many problems. Problems I was just fine not having, with all the multitude of others I still had to solve.

I would also have to make sure to fake the results of their scan, But I could pull a few strings and the problem would be solved. Even though the architect was dead to all but me, and maybe Lucy, none of his followers would decline a chance to help a fellow in need, especially when that fellow was close to The Architect during his time.

“Let’s get back to work. No use sitting still and doing nothing while there’s a helluva workload in front of us. A workload, that you guys wanted to bestow upon yourselves, and drag me along too. Anyway I have solved most of the problems, all that left is take care of the….”

And so we handled the rest of the problems sent our way, me being the leader that coordinated the others, within no time we were in the system. Each of us had our own crazy ideas, so we did a bunch of editing that took another hour. When no one was looking, I adjusted the clock, slowing our thought processes down just enough that after we were done, it would look like an extra hour really did pass by.

We added a tour to the lunar base, since they were super expensive, but since the school could afford it, we extended the amount of time we were staying to a week.

The thing was, the school didn’t have anybody at the top making any decisions, it was the algorithm that made the decisions, what was best for the students, and what was not. We hacked the algorithm itself, so that it would overlook our changes, and go on with it. It would look like all was fine, and this was a plan with good intentions. And no one would even notice, even if a good number of students came to school in pink dresses tomorrow.

I would be laughing my ass off.

Also, we even made the algorithm skip over the reports of our A.Is, so no one had to worry if the forged reports were authentic enough.

After all was done, we all phase out of this world, and came back to our own worlds. I travelled back to the portal, and then after I was in the void, I phased back in.

I was standing exactly where I was when I phased out, upright. The others took a few seconds to come to their senses.

“Woo hoo!” Sam shouted, pumping his fist into the air.

“We did it!” Lily shouted.

“We sure did.”I said, not as enthusiastic as the others, but happy all the same.

“Who’s better now, bitchin’ Neke?” Greg shouted

“Us!” the others shouted enthusiastically.

I was confused, but I cheered along with them anyway. Diana seemed to see through my fake smile, and gave me a genuine smile of her own. I pretended not to notice.

Then, I realized something…..

In this moment, as I watched these crazy people I call friends cheer among themselves, I realized that in this moment, the world seemed perfect, no longer a dark place filled with nightmares. I realized, that I felt… normal.  Accepted. I actually had friends.

I savored the moment, and made a note not to lose these people. I had actually connected with them over the party, that was clear, and I don’t think I should lose those newly forming bonds. Even if they leave a bad influence on me.

The enthusiasm slowly died off, and slowly things went back to normal. We walked back to the top floors, Diana and Greg having some discussion about the brain, Ray and Lily were talking about the crazy assignments we gave. Me and Sam were the only ones silent.

When we reached the gate, everybody stopped talking.

“So I guess I have to go.”

“See ya.” Ray said.

“Wait, I almost forgot, I’ll be back, don’t go anywhere!” Sam said, darting back into the house, leaving us with confused expressions on our face.

My eyes widened when he came back. Under his arm was the hover board.

It was sleek, it was black, it was awesome!

“A deal is a deal, right?” He said.

I nodded.

He handed it over to me. I put it under my arm.

“See you guys day after.”I said.

They nodded.

I put the hover board down, and I stepped on it. It was a little wobbly at first, but I got the hang of it after a few minutes.  As I turned around a corner, I glimpsed them waving.

I upped the speed, now that I wasn’t in sight of them. My hover board skills aren’t the best, but they sure as hell are good for a kid.

I sped through tiny lanes, zipping by people and buildings, and looking good while I did it. I performed a few stunts, like barrel rolls, and flips.

Lucy appeared. She was standing on the walkway, staring at me.

I crashed. And when I looked up, she wasn’t there anymore.

Am I going crazy?

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