Three months had passed since I’d arrived at The Deck headquarters and my recovery had been slow. The TethTech team who operated on me had damaged my internal organs and it took time for me to regain my strength and for my stomach to heal.
Grace had an even worse time than me. Although her back wasn’t broken it was badly bruised and she had to have physiotherapy several times a week. It was over a month before she could stand up on her own and even longer before she could walk.
Today was the first day in three months we had felt alright. We’d both been through hell but it felt like we had so much more to do. One thing was clear, both of us wanted to stop Tobias. I wanted to get vengeance for Will - and for the operation - and Grace wanted to get payback for Gabe. We joked we were the Vengeance Girls.
Despite our hatred for the man, I had no intention of killing Tobias, at least not the next time I met him. There were so many questions I had to ask him. Most of all I wanted to know why he had operated on me. All March had found inside me was a tracking chip but that was smaller than my finger. It certainly didn’t justify my belly being cut open.
At The Deck base I’d been subjected to several tests to check my blood levels and body chemistry and everything came back normal. Either he hadn’t had chance to finish his experiment or there was something lurking deeper in me that I had yet to discover.
I shook off that thought. I trusted March had done all he could and it was his visits during my recovery that helped bring me back to full strength. He had checked on me every day. His support had been amazing and he had brought me back to full health.
On the day he told me nothing was wrong and that Tobias hadn’t hurt me long-term I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that I kissed him. At the time I wondered if it was just the drugs and the emotion of the moment but over the next few weeks I felt my feelings for him grow stronger as he stayed for me by my side.
It was the first kiss of many that we would share. What started out as just a spontaneous kiss evolved into a relationship and he was my rock throughout my recovery.
On the one month anniversary of our first kiss he travelled to Birmingham using the Skin 2.0 and brought me back my motorbike and another present. It was Pixie the dog. She had completely healed and her fur had grown back. She was the nicest present I had ever been given. Pixie slept on my bed with me every night and kept me company when the pain was at its worst.
There had been one more vital event during my three months of recovery. When I finally had the strength to sit up I had watched the tape on my brother’s DualCam. Gabe had tried to make me watch it sooner but I refused. It was the last memories I had of my brother and I wanted to be the first one to see them on my own terms.
I rested the DualCam on the side of the bed and turned it on. The two orange lights on it turned into dual rainbows that cascaded across the screen creating a clear image. As I flicked through the footage I saw events that had occurred in the last year of my life. Almost all of the footage was time I had spent with Rex. I hadn’t realised it at the time but whenever I spent a long time with Rex it must have been creating a Tether event for Will.
It was no surprise I felt a lot of love for Rex and Rufus. When my father had left they had been the most supportive people in my life. My father had given me some money and I used it to buy my apartment which is where I met the two brothers. I’d been a wreck when I arrived but they had been there to make me laugh and cheer me up along the way. I owed them a lot and it dawned on me as I watched the footage that I hadn’t spoken to them in over three months. I hoped they hadn’t presumed the worst had happened to me.
Other key events whizzed by as I fast forwarded through the footage. Day after day of my life moved by in a blur but there was nothing I hadn’t seen. Nothing I hadn’t known before. As I reached the last significant event, passing my police officer’s exam, the camera showed only minutes of footage remained. The clock reached zero and that was the story of a year of my life finished.
There was nothing useful. I wondered why my brother had wanted me to have the camera. Perhaps it had been nothing more than a kind gesture to help me remember who I really was. Now Will was dead he could have simply wanted me to try and move forward with my life. Although that would mean Will knew I would survive. Which was equally confusing.
I set the footage to rewind at the highest speed. A year of my life went by in reverse and as the blurs grew faster the screen turned to nothing but static. Once the highest speed was reached green lines started to appear and the background static turned to black.
Will had left me a message.
The lines formed hundreds of numbers. Far more than I could remember. Before I could write them all down the camera stopped rewinding and was back to the start. I forwarded and rewound the footage over and over until I had written down the entire sequence.
The numbers meant nothing to me. I scrolled through my phone but I’d never called anyone with those digits. The code itself was too long to be a phone number anyway. I considered other possibilities such as map references, book numbers and barcodes but I didn’t have the resources to even look at those ideas.
So I decided to be honest with The Deck and tell them what I had seen. If Will had intended for me to understand the numbers then he must have known I’d need help. Perhaps he had always intended for me to meet with The Deck.
They disappeared with the box for days as I continued to rest and recuperate. Two weeks later I met Jill for the first time.
“Hi Emmie. I’m Jill or you can call me the Seven of Diamonds.”
“Hi. I’ll stick with Jill,” I replied.
“Haha, no problem. Most people do.”
“It’s nice to meet you. Thanks for saving my life … three times,” I said.
“I think it was four times. But who’s counting?” she replied. “We’ve finally figured out the code on the DualCam. If you amplify the numbers out across wavelength, frequency and amplitude they produce a sequence of notes that creates a sound. Yet we’ve seen that sound before and that’s what worries me.”
“What sound is it?” I asked.
“Well it’s the total opposite to the sound wave that killed a billion people,” replied Jill. “During the 20 Day Siege, a sound was played that broke Tethers and killed people instantly but this noise is different. It’s the exact opposite in terms of structure and sound. Whatever its purpose is, it’s certainly not designed to kill. At least that’s what we hope.”
“So can we play it?” I wondered out loud.
“Sadly not. The boss doesn’t want to risk it. The last time a sound wave was played like this it did far too much damage. However, we’ve tapped into every listening device on the planet thanks to our backer. If anyone uses the sound or even tests it then we will know and we’ll be able to stop them.”
“That I don’t know yet but we’ll be ready when the time comes.”
Since that day Jill had worked nonstop to find answers, while Grace and I had recovered and we hoped we were ready.