27 | NEWFOUND SUPPORTERS
Walter Tan was, to many people, an aberration in spite of his citizen status.
He wasn’t all that surprised, if one stopped to consider the job he’d worked before retirement, his mediocre report card throughout school back in the day, or the fact that he was a cynical old man. The only thing that surprised him nowadays was social interaction that he hadn’t initiated, and that the government was sending four kids to attack him instead of just getting any random army person.
How careless of them to put those youngsters out there, he thought as he sipped a small mouthful of water and placed his mug back on the table through his sight, which was obscured by the lack of light in the dining room. They should’ve had more sense to keep those children in their compounds and continue attempting to indoctrinate them. A shame, really. Do they think Error children the same as normal kids, after what the World City System has put them through? After the years of bitterness, that they’d remain obedient and submissive? Fools.
That’s right, the old man was just sitting there, drinking water in his dining room. In complete darkness. And mocking the poor planning of the government’s inner circle.
He heard the sliding door click open.
Ah, there they are.
Quiet footsteps, no doubt belonging to the thirteen-year-olds who’d been flaunted all over national television to show the world how progressive and open-minded City 015 was, became louder as Walter heard the furious, hushed whisper as the kids walked past the wet kitchen, probably noticing his dinosaur-age model refrigerator and stove. Sadly, he was very much aware that none of these dilapidated conditions surprised them.
And now, they were in the dining room, wearing their see-in-the-dark glasses.
“Bedroom?” A squeaky male voice asked.
“Yeah, let’s go,” said another boy, this one with a deeper voice.
A female silhouette with floofy curls was about to follow suit... until she turned to take a better look at the figure sitting at the table. Her eyes widened as she looked at him.
Walter looked back, widening his eyes for comedic effect.
“Oh my goodness,” the girl choked out, stumbling back with a hand on her chest. The boys turned, horror painting their faces as he turned to them.
“Hello,” Walter said, giving them a feeble wave.
The squeaky-voiced child shrieked, only for his mouth to be smacked over in time before it escalated into a full-on screech. “Holy crap!” The taller boy gasped, holding strong against Squeaky’s struggling. “What the hell?”
“I believe I should be the one to ask that,” Walter stated, “You three just barged into my house to attack me at the behest of the government. I would introduce myself, but I’m sure you already know who I am, as well as the colour of all my pillowcases or whatever creepy privacy invasions those mynahs have been bringing back to Military HQ.”
Through his limited, and quickly diminishing night vision, Walter could vaguely notice that the children’s horror had increased exponentially.
“Why… why would someone want to know the colour of your pillowcases?” The girl asked, wrinkling her nose as Walter slowly got up from his seat and grabbed the mini lamp on a side table. He turned it on and placed it in the middle of the room, illuminating the faces of all present.
“Who knows,” Walter mused, “They can jump at everything they get their hands on, from the hidden cameras in most houses, and the birds. I mean, they threaten literally everyone who doesn’t want life to go as their plan has dictated. Like me, and that successor of mine who you all know? Louis? No one wants the job, so they blackmail people into the job. ’Sow it works.”
Eli frowned as Ethan removed his grip, “I’m sorry.”
“No need, you did nothing, it’s all Leland Yang and his predecessors and his current cronies who did these things,” the old man said, “Now, what are you supposed to do to me?”
“We’re supposed to make you look like you commited suicide from banging your head against the wall,” Ethan said, his voice a little shakier than normal, “But we won’t—you don’t deserve it and we’re—”
“Huh, you think I would let three kids kill me like that in any scenario? No way,” Walter exclaimed, “But here’s the thing; I do think I’d be able to live it down if we did something else instead. I want you to wreck my house.”
The Errors exchanged glances. “Huh?”
“I’ll act traumatised, get myself a little dirty, look deranged,” Walter continued, “Make it look like we had a big fight, and that I’m actually mentally unwell and managed to do some harm to you three. They’ll have no choice but to admit me to the hospital; they can’t kill me for being a sick old man no matter how all-powerful they are. Sound workable to you?”
“Sorry about the display panels,” Eli apologised one more time as Walter crawled into the ancient cupboard and tucked himself inside, “And the punch. I hope it doesn’t—”
“Tsk, stop, I’m all good. Too old to need to impress anyone with my face, anyway. Run along now, you’ve got to get to the Ruins soon; guards are changing shifts, ya know,” the old man grunted, his vibrant heterochromatic eyes glittering with mischief. “Now, close the door and go. Quick!”
“Oh, okay, sorry!” Eli closed the door to the cupboard, knowing that Walter would stay that way for a couple more hours until the personnel arrived for the cleanup job, catching up with the others, who were already standing guard at the sliding door.
“You slowpoke,” Ethan grumbled as he grabbed Eli along, pulling him out into the night that would soon turn to dawn.
4 minutes more, her SmartGlass Mini read.
Eris brisk-walked a tad faster, scanning the area quite literally for anything that could’ve bugged the surroundings of Merlion Cove, the one-upped version of Merlion Street. Forget those extravagant apartment blocks, these were the grandest mansions Eris had ever witnessed in person, complete with the crystal-clear glass windows and without a doubt, the most advanced home security systems.
Only the richest of City 015 lived here.
After navigating a few turns deep into the neighbourhood, she finally stopped at the backyard of that particular mansion.
A strong system, but perhaps weak enough for her to break through—if a certain someone had done their part.
Eris tilted her head up, fixated on a particular window of the mansion, just waiting.
TERMINATE OPERATION FOR ONE HOUR, Eris signaled back. Two seconds later, she heard a rustle in the nearby trees, cushioning the fall of the mynah.
It was at the exact same moment that Brielle Evans pushed the curtains apart, champagne pink eyes widening a fraction as Eris’ eyes dulled back to its non-luminous normalcy... only to light up again as she sent the message to Brielle’s SmartGlass Mini.
0501_ERIS: CLIMB THROUGH THE WINDOW. BE CAREFUL.
The citizen-born turned to her lit screen with horror and confusion, frantically typing back.
0505_BRIELLE: HOW DO I DO THAT? THAT’S CRAZY! WHAT IF I FALL? IT’LL RUIN THE PLAN!
0501_ERIS: THEN DON’T FALL. WE CAN’T RISK BEING SEEN AT THE MAIN DOOR; OTHER CAMERAS MAY CATCH IT. IT’S THE BACKYARD OR NOTHING.
She saw Brielle Lynn Evans wince, before throwing the balcony window open and walking out in her full-black, albeit mismatched attire, a black backpack on her shoulders. The girl carefully walked to the side and swung a leg over the railing towards the ledge.
Eris had hoped that Brielle could get down as nimbly as she completed class assignments and scored her grades—which sadly did not occur, as the girl evidently went through ten different stages of panic, no doubt from this being the potential first misdemeanour she’d initiated in her life, and clumsy struggling due to lacking the same military training that the others had received. Thankfully, Brielle reached the bottom unscathed and flipped over the wall easily with aid of a stool, a feat that was comparatively easy to achieve after that dramatic attempt down the mansion wall.
“Hi,” she breathed shakily, Eris nodding in acknowledgement.
“We meet the others at the border. Let’s get out of here.”
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