An alarm sounded. Of course, the alarm sounded as I was starting to eat. It would ONLY sound when I started. Had I waited until it was after school, the whole plan would have gone off like it was supposed to. But, no, I was hungry and had to eat at lunch like a normal person. So, obviously, Maven just had to jump the gun and send a Derplicate to raid the chemistry closet at lunch. She planned it this way.
No lunch for Aurora. Nope, nope.
Maven was a monster.
A monster that ruined my lunch.
Before we could react, the drones in the school rushed with flashing red and blue lights off to the problem place. And we jumped into action and ran towards the drones like all the other kids and then went out the side. Zipping to the airlock, we grabbed our leathers and zipped up. We must have looked like band of spastic mimes with too much caffeine.
We zipped up and checked out. We always check out. No one needed to die because an alien bug, that ever evil taxito, could want to take a small bite. That would totally ruin our adventure. Out the door we ran. Out of the school grounds and across town.
No one stopped us.
We only ran into Mr. Tennyson who gaped at us like he was some sort of fish out of water. We knew we were an even faster clock than we'd planned. We ran as fast as we could to the fort and gathered our stuff.
What we didn't know as we were running across town to our fort was Aitan and Juan the Derplicate had had a run in. Aitan, bless his heart but not his thick head, had followed around the Derplicates a touch too closely and decided to confront Juan as soon as the Chem closet was open. Aitan thought I'd be more impressed with him if he showed me what a strong alpha geek he was. He jumped Juan. And Juan is big. Aitan was tossed away like a rag doll in a tornado. He flopped away like an albatross on the ground and tried to get away. Juan, derplicated, was not as bright and left the block of sodium on the counter. Aitan in his spasms of what could not even under the most generous circumstances be called fighting knocked the sodium into the sink of the chemistry station. Somehow, one of them knocked the water fawcet on.
And the rest was a big fire and a modest boom.
Neither was hurt, but...they were currently glued to the wall outside the chem lab: the drones had caught them.
Maven had sent Juan to get the sodium block at lunch. She had a hunch I might betray her but really wanted the exploit. So, she thought she'd get the job done and delivered so she could get her hack. She even, as Juan was going to get the sodium, snagged the package we left for her. She opened it up...and more alarm bells went off.
The worm launched and the cyber bots detected it. They were too slow to catch the worm as it jumped from booster to booster, growing faster and faster, infecting and FIXING more and more boosters. However, the cyber security bots fingered where the worm had been launched from and within minutes another set of drones had peeled off and careened across town to where Maven was...which was the opposite side from where our fort was.
Signed, sealed and delivered. Maven had been taken down.
My only worry would have been Aitan. He's nice, but weird and I didn't want him in trouble. He refused to say anything. And I'd already deleted his GPS being where I'd been before I'd patched his booster so no matter what, Maven was not getting the poor awknerd. I couldn't do that to the poor guy.
We had arrived at our fort and we loaded up. Jackie and Tom put on the packs. We were going to take turns. Modern packpacks came with exoskeleton legs, robot legs, that would were strapped onto your legs so you would not have to actually carry the weight on your back.
Much to my surprise, as I tapped and got out the clean boosters from the wall, Tom and Rosa each tapped on different sections of the wall. Rosa pulled out an Immie drone, she stated it was clean. Tom pulled out something that surprised us all: a real gun, not just a needler. He quickly explained he was a good shot and had been practicing for years with his Mom. Compared to a needler, it looked powerful and scary. However, it was really a very small rifle, a .22.
I didn't know how I felt about the Court Jester being a Gun Packing Sharpshooter, too. It was a little weird.
As they say though: weird is wonderful.
And that thought made it weirder.