Just as I had the night before, I climbed onto the flat slat attached to the wall covered by blankets to get into my storage area. The little, grey, stuffed bear sat waiting wedged in the corner of my belongings. My hand reached in and grabbed it around the midsection. Pulling the creature free, I stared at the animal with the head that had been reattached with needle and thread borrowed from the common supplies. I shut the panel and slid over to the ladder. Climbing down, I clutched my treasure in one hand as I made my way down each rung with the other.
The room was quiet as I hopped to the floor. 17:00 was a good time to choose because usually I was home from my assignment and my parents were not. I glanced out the window and could make out the outline of a rover in the distance returning from a day of work as the shadows grew longer across the desert.
My feet crept to the bathroom as my hands shook ever so slightly. Arriving at the bathroom, I closed the door and leaned against a nearby wall with my back. I lifted up the bear and gently tipped back the head just enough to see the black metal of the homing beacon. My two fingers reached in and removed the device.
The link was no more than three inches in length and one inch wide. It was designed only as a backup if the communications systems failed and was a part of all skiffs. At some point, Francois had broken into the Coms Room and removed the device from Pablo’s possession. A shiver ran through my body. There could be no explanation if I were caught with the beacon.
“This is crazy,” I paused to stare at the homing beacon that was a few inches long.
Is it really possible that there are others out there?
I remained skeptical, having thought of several scenarios where there was no Adam and instead this was a cruel trick by an unbalanced man.
“Here goes nothing…”
I flipped the switch on the side and the microphone and receiver powered on. I pressed the lone button next to switch. My head leaned forward with my lips nearing touching the link.
“Hello?” I whispered into the device just as I had last night.
Watching the sliver around my wrist tell time, I waited for a minute to pass.
“Hello,” I repeated. “Is there anybody out there?”
Again, I waited as I clutched the beacon.
Leaning my lips back towards the top of the communicator, I tried a third time.
Just like last night, there was no answer. I shook my head.
“This is a giant waste of my time. Losing it Diya, you’re losing it…”
I flicked the switch off and returned the link to the inside of the bear. As the black beacon slid into the body, the head sprung back to the front leaving only a small slit that would likely go undetected if found.
Standing up, I turned towards the mirror to examine my body draped in the grey t-shirt and comfy jeans that fit differently than a year ago. The dark girl that stared back at me looked like a teenager now much more than a girl. A frown dominated her pouty face.
“It’s not all hopeless,” I spoke to my companion in the mirror as I took a step forward. “You will go home one day and get away from all this craziness. I promise,” I reached up a pinkie to swear with the reflection who alone shared my secret. I nodded and then turned back towards the door to return the bear. The transmitter would hide for another twenty-four hours.
Despite my growing doubt, I knew that I was not done with the beacon. As crazy as it seemed, I would try again tomorrow.