Date: 27 September 2035
Emma woke up to the sound of glass hitting glass and a suitcase closing. Then voices came. A man and a woman’s. She recognized the man’s voice, it was Price’s. Straining her ears, she tried to hear what they were saying.
“Is drawing blood really necessary?”
“Yes, Wessy, it is. If she is a Torric then we would be able to see it in her DNA.”
“I though you said each Torric’s DNA was different.”
“Yes but all of them have the same base code.”
“What fun,” Price said, sarcasm dripping from his words.
“This is serious Wes. You can’t tell anyone about this. If you do… If you do this girl will be taken to Central. I wouldn’t want that on anyone Wesley,” the woman said sternly. By now Emma could open her eyes slightly, but things were still blurry and words only made half sense.
“In any case, I will need to get back to the lab immediately, analyse the blood,” the woman said.
“What! Victoria, you said you’ll help me recover The Chip!” Price said, sounding like he stood up from his chair. The Chip?
Emma lay motionless, letting them believe her still unconscious. Opening her eyes not even an inch, she saw she was in a darken room. Slowly she tapped into her power…
It felt like her whole body was being electrocuted. Energy pulsed through her body, making her twitch. It honestly felt like she was being cooked from the inside out.
“Turn it off!” Victoria shouted. Emma wasn’t sure if the words were being shouted at her or at Price. Emma’s hands flew to the source of the pain, some kind of collar around her neck. She pulled at it, desperate to get it off, but nothing she did would open it.
“Miss Knight, turn them off! Turn off your powers!” Price shouted at her. So her powers were doing this. Immediately she shut them off, and the pain stopped. She took several deep breaths as she felt a glass being pushed into her hands. Slowly she took a sip, her hands shaking.
Looking up she saw one of the most beautiful woman she had ever seen. Victoria Price was tall, with mile long legs. She had long strawberry blond hair that looked amazing with her sun tanned copper skin and silver blue eyes that lit up as she smiled. She had dimples too. She was wearing a printed shirt with skinny jeans and a necklace with her name on it.
“There, there. Feeling any better?” Victoria asked.
“Yes ma’am,” Emma said, still looking at the woman in awe.
“Please call me Tori, especially after everything you’ve been though because of my stupid cousin,” Tori said. Emma nodded and Tori stood up, grabbing her bag.
“Well I have to run. Again, Wessy, I’m sorry,” Tori said, kissing her cousin on the check, “Oh and try not to be too mean to her.”
Tori winked at Emma before picking up her suitcase and walking up the stairs. As she left she took out her xPhone, taking a deep breath before putting the thing to her ear. Both Emma and Wesley watched her till she was gone before turning to stare at each other.
Emma looked away first.
As she finished drinking her water, Emma looked around the room. They were in an underground room. Not a basement, a room purposely designed to be underground. It was large, probably half the size of a soccer field, maybe a bit bigger. It was covered in computers and lab equipment. There was also several exercise equipment. She was on the only couch. Some feet away from her was Price, sitting and leaning forward as he stared at her, thinking deeply. Behind him was a large computer with multiple screens. At the moment they were all blank.
Emma drowned the last of her water, turned to Price and asked, “Wessy?”
“Don’t even try it Miss Knight,” Price said firmly. He was now sitting straight, legs crossed, and a cruel smile on his face. Emma immediately had a bad feeling. She was so not going to like this.
“Let us make a deal Miss Knight. You do something for me and we’ll forget this whole incident,” Price told her.
“Go jump in a river,” Emma said staring Price right in the eyes, “You can get someone else to do your dirty work. I’m not interested.”
“I wouldn’t call it ‘dirty work’. I am merely righting a wrong. Someone stole something from my company and I need to get it back,” Price said, now frowning. Emma wasn’t sure which she preferred, the smiling or the frowning. Both were creepy.
“Call the police then,” Emma said.
“Do you really think the police would help me, Miss Knight?” Price asked.
“… Still not interested,” Emma said standing up, “Can I go now, or would you like to threaten me some more.”
“No,” Price said as he stood up, “I have a change of clothes for you. Then I’ll drop you off at school.” With that Price walked upstairs, Emma following at a slower pace.
Emma sat quietly in the front seat of the expensive sports car. She rubbed her neck gently; Price had taken the collar off before they left his house. Unfortunately, the collar had made a red ring around her neck, probably due to the electricity. This meant that Emma would have to wear a large lint choker to hide the mark. And Emma hated chokers. The other clothes weren’t much better. It was just jeans and a blouse, but they were an expensive designer label. She also fiddled with her glasses. They belonged to Price, a bit too big, and not the same shape hers normally had, not to mention they didn’t really block the light properly. It was, however, better than nothing.
Price was quiet, not having said much since she turned him down. Emma watched him as they stopped in front of her school. Getting out of the car she headed towards the front doors, stopping mid step when she head Price’s voice.
“Keep in mind that I can pay generously,” Price said.
“I am many things ‘Wessy’, but I am not for sale,” Emma replied and walked away, not turning back.
It was only once Emma walked through the doors when she realized she wasn’t injured anymore. She whipped around to ask Price, but he had already left. She looked at her elbow, rolling her sleeve up a bit. There was slight scaring around the skin of the bone, but she could easily move around.
A Regenerator was used on her.
Emma put down her arm and looked at the empty road. Regenerators were very expensive to use, not to mention own. Usually only NIC Hospitals had them and they were only used when injures were so severe that the person could die. You don’t just use it on anyone. Not Ever.
Very quickly the halls started to fill with people coming out from second period.
“Emma! Hey girl. You’re late today, what happened? Oh man you totally had to see the break up between Jean and Greg. Total epic. There was screaming and objects flying and the teacher even had to call security. I luckily got pictures for the story. If I’m lucky, it would be front page, but I’m not sure. Sarah got photos of yesterday’s field trip where those security people got thrown out and she says she knows why because her father works there, but I don’t believe her and she was all-”
“Wait! Sarah’s dad works for EnterPRICE?” Emma asked as Jessica pulled her to third period.
“Like dud. Are you Ok?”
“And is that BubblePop?” Jessica asked squealing. Emma looked around herself.
“Bubble what now?”
“You’re clothes. Their like totally in right now. I’ve been trying to get my parents to buy me some, but they say its way too expensive and-” by now Emma had stopped listening. She sat down in her chemistry class, waiting for the teacher to call for silence.
She looked around. Everyone was acting the same as ever. Boys were talking sports and throwing paper airplanes or balls around. Some girls were talking about Jane and glaring at Greg. Other girls were pointing at her and whispering, either about her clothes or how late she was. Everything was just normal.
The whole of yesterday was repeating through her head. The school trip, sneaking away, Price shouting, going back, the fight, and the proposal. She was thinking about the proposal the most. She didn’t do sneaking around. Not really anyway. Usually it was for pranks or going to parties her parents didn’t want her to go to. She’s never actually broken into some place and stolen something. There were, of course, attempts. They, however, always ended with the girls in prison.
The first time, Emma and June had been five years old. They were sneaking into the kindergarten kitchen to get some cookies while the others were taking their afternoon nap. They didn’t even get through the door before they were caught and sent to time out.
Another time they were eight. Emma had forgotten her book at school. She and June had gone to get it. Unfortunately for them, that night was a PTA meeting. They had gotten through the window and were on their way to the class room when they ran into their parents. They were immediately taken home.
Nothing big happened again till they were thirteen. They had already spent their allowance on clothes, a lot of clothes. Then a movie came out which they really wanted to see. So they decided to sneak into the theatre. It didn’t work however, as the security guard caught them and took them to the malls detention centre.
All attempts ended all the same way, with them in prison and their parents not at all very happy. After a while they just started to do what they wanted. Figuring they were going to get caught anyway so why bother hiding it. They were the bad girls of the school, always doing things that got them in trouble. The two that were always the centre of the school’s gossip.
Emma has spent her whole life being the bad girl, and now… Now she was being asked to do the right thing. Sure she was still doing something illegal, but the base of it… She was scared it would change her. Make her different. What would June thin-
“MISS KNIGHT!” the teacher bellowed. Emma snapped her head up and looked at the man.
“Yes,” Emma asked in a tired voice. Knocked out so does not equal sleeping, Emma thought.
“I asked you a question,” the teacher said.
“Should I care?” Emma asked. The man’s face went red as everyone laughed at him. He then pointed at the door.
“Principal’s office. Now!” he shouted. Emma shrugged and walked out the door. This wasn’t really anything new.
Emma’s thoughts travelled back to Price and what he said. Something was stolen from him, and he had to get it back. The police were useless, that’s for sure. He would need a private Extraction team to do the job. So why asked her? She was a young girl, underage and pretty much always in trouble with the police. It was a really bad idea to trust her.
Emma rubbed her forehead as she backed away from the door. She was already at the principal’s office. As she turned to sit down, Principal Black opened the door.
“Miss Knight. Back again, I see. Well come in,” Black said before ushering her inside. Emma stepped in and sat in her usual seat.
“So, what happened this time,” he asked as he sat across from her.
“I was late to school and I was rude to a teacher,” Emma said before looking out the window.
“Is Miss Worp back? You’re not usually like this when she’s away,” Black asked. Emma looked at him and frowned.
“June doesn’t control my life,” Emma said.
“Then what happened?” he said impatiently. Emma thought hard. What did happen? Emma turned her head to the cushion next to her, June’s seat. The principal was right. She usually didn’t bother annoying people when June wasn’t there. And while June didn’t always miss school, she was absent a lot. June has never told her why, but when she was back she was always tired or silent or just…not really there. Then it takes a big prank to get her to be herself again.
So if June wasn’t in school, why was she here? Because honestly, she didn’t like being here. She wouldn’t mind spending a week not being sent to the principal’s office. But to do that she would have to be some silly goodie-two-shoes. And that wasn’t really her… was it?
“I’m… not sure,” Emma said, more to herself than to the principle as she looked at her reflecting in the window.
School always seem to fly by when you’re contemplating a problem. It feels like you enter the class one minute, and exit the next. Yet by the time you’ve gotten on the bus, it feels like a hundred years have passed, and you still haven’t gotten your answer.
Emma stared out the window as the bus moved through the city. Jessica was sitting next to her, laptop on her lap and typing her news story. The two girls have known each other for about 5 years, ever since Jessica’s family had moved next door to hers. They weren’t the best of friends, but they did like each other. Jessica and June didn’t really get along though. They were too different. Jessica was very happy go lucky and June was more dark serious. This was the reason Emma only talked to Jessica when June wasn’t around. She knew Jessica was slightly annoyed by being ignored more of the time, but after being punched in the face enough times to lose track, Jessica had learned to avoid Emma when June was around. Most of the time.
“Hey Jessica,” Emma said.
“Yeah,” Jessica said, still looking at her screen.
“If…if you were forced to do something, what would you do?” Emma asked. Jessica looked at her friend.
“I’d tell the police.”
“The police are useless.”
“No, they’re not, Emma. You only say that because June says that.”
“No, I don’t. I say that because I’ve been there too many times to not know how they operate. And I can tell you. They’re useless.”
“What about that robbery they stopped last week?”
“One of the policemen fell on the leaver that closes the garage door. Trapping the thieves.”
“They were able to catch you and June. Why do you keep doing whatever she says?
“I don’t,” Emma said, even though she knew it was a lie. June knew what to say to make Emma follow her into doing stupid and crazy things. Not that she didn’t find it fun. But sometimes-
“Yes, you do. I know you Emma. You wouldn’t do have the things you do if June didn’t talk you into it.”
“Yes I would,” Emma said, defending her best friend, “Besides, I’m pretty sure June knows me better then you.”
Emma regretted the words immediately after they left her mouth. She looked at Jessica, ready to apologize when the bus stopped. They had reached the gate to West River Community.
Everyone fell silent as the security guard came on board to scan their IDs. Emma panicked. She forgot her ID at home yesterday and didn’t have it. There was no way she was going to get into the community without one.
She watched as Jessica gave her card to be scanned. The ID card was pretty much a 4 by 5 centimetre blank white card. Hold it up to the light, however, and you would see the circuit lines all over the card. It held pretty much all personal information on in: name, address, school/work, medical records, criminal records, and much more. You also needed it to enter many high level establishments, not like the store or anything silly like that.
After confirming Jessica’s identity the security guard turned to her.
“I don’t really have my ID, Jim,” Emma said.
“I though you need it to get into your school?” Jim asked. Emma snorted. Security at school completely sucked.
“Then I’m going to ask you to get off the bus,” Jim said grabbing her elbow.
“But you know who I am!” Emma shouted as she was dragged out off the bus.
Emma walked around the city, hands deep in her pockets. After getting thrown off the bus she had just walked away. She didn’t even watch the bus diver off. She knew Jessica would be on her case tomorrow, but didn’t have the energy to care. After all, Jessica’s advice didn’t help much and she couldn’t get a hold of June. She wish she could though, June would know what to do about Price.
For a man who seem to know everything and lived to prove it, Price didn’t appear again at all that day. Not even his name had been spoken, but she still thought of him. He had the unnatural ability to get into your mind and stay there. Doing what he wants her to do could help her hide the fact that she was a Torric. Tori said he shouldn’t tell anyone, but she didn’t like the sound of this Central place, whatever it was. Besides, only June knew about it. Not even her parents knew.
“Emma?” a familiar voice came from the side. Emma whipped around, her body going into a defensive stand. It was her father. He was carrying groceries and smiling slightly.
“While I’m happy you still remember everything I taught you, do I want to know what you are doing here?...And why you’re wearing those clothes?” Adam asked.
Adam Knight, on average, was much more …mellowed, then his wife. This was probably why Emma was closer to him then her mother. Her father was a dojo instructor, had been one since she was five years old. Before that he had been a doctor, a very good doctor that spent 20 out of 24 hours a day at the hospital. This was why he quit and started his own business, so he could spend more time with his family.
But by then…
“Not really,” Emma said walking over to him.
She never felt good when she realizes she was keeping things from her parents, but June insisted. What if Price told her parents? And what if her father recognizes that a Regenerator was used on her? And if he did, would he ask questions? What would he say about Price? About the proposal he made her?
“-rth to Emma! Come in Emma,” Adam said shaking his daughter slightly. Emma shook her head and turned to him.
“Welcome back to Earth Emma, did you like your stay on the moon?” Adam said with a smile.
“I’m fine, Dad.”
“…not sure yet.”
“…So… where were you last night?”
“Contemplating my doom.”
“My, my, aren’t we getting serious in our old age. Keep this up and you’ll end up like your mother.” Adam said with a laugh. When Emma didn’t protest he turned to her. She looked lost in thought, like she really wasn’t all there. He waited for her to talk, but he knew that if he pressed her he would only push her away.
A few minutes passed before she opened her mouth and asked something he didn’t expect.
“Is it weird for a bad person to do the right thing?”
Adam almost dropped the bags there and then, but quickly tightened his hold on them.
“What do you mean?”
“Say a bad person is forced to do the right thing for the right means, but to do it they have to do a wrong thing and they don’t want to do it but a person is forcing them to do it through black mail, so they have to do it. What does that do to a person?”
“…Well it sound like they’re going to have nightmares just thinking about it.”
“Dad, I’m being serious!”
“So am I!...Look sweetie, if someone forces another person to do something for them and not do it themselves then that means that while they can do it, they can’t be caught doing it. And if the person is blackmailing you then it means that they are desperate.”
“That doesn’t sound like him. I mean the first part, yes, but desperate? No, not him, I mean maybe, but, I don’t really know.”
“Doesn’t sound like you know this person very well.” So it wasn’t June, Adam thought. Then again, June wasn’t really one for doing the right thing and- wait. Did she say he? He who?
“Not really.” Adam looked as his daughter for a few moments. Right now wasn’t the time to focus on the ‘him’, even though he really wanted to. Right now he had to focus on his daughter.
“…Everything we do and every day we go through, changes us Emmalyn. Doing it will change you. Not doing it will change you. The question is which change do you want?” Adam stared at his little girl, for she would always be his little girl, no matter what she does or what she will choose to do tonight.
“Thanks. I think… I think I know what to do now,” Emma said, turning around.
“Emma” Adam said, making her pause, “Just be careful.”
“Never,” Emma replied with a small grin.