The gate throws me out of it a couple of minutes later. I look around the room I’m put in, white walls, shiny white tiles, a computer and a frowning lady next to it, staring right at my disordered shape on the floor. I must remember to consider getting up after a fall next time.
“I was expecting you, not happily though.”
“Do I know you?” I inquire, not really recognizing her features, tall and blunt. But the thing is, she does sound familiar to me.
“Oh, you do, Zoey, quite well.”
Seconds after she said this, her features changed, and I’m left with astonishment and uneasiness creeping up over me. Grandpa couldn’t be more right.
“You’re a robot.” I state as if it weren’t obvious already.
Mrs. Zendaya smirks and walks across the room, standing right in front of me.
“I am the bomb.” She says matter-of-factly before unrolling the sleeve of her black shirt.
I look at her bare arm and my eyes widen.
An odd feeling of anger rushes through me, making me glare at her while deciding the next move. Should I kick her off and end her? She’s a cyborg after all, no big deal. But no, there’s actually a big deal. The bomb might explode earlier instead of getting cancelled.
I glance back at her arm.
Just get everybody out, now! Stop wasting time. I remind myself.
Taking a deep breath, I shake the fury away. The moment it takes control, the consequences are always far more worse than the causes. I need to call all of them here. My voice isn’t that loud for everyone to hear, and for that, I need a mic.
My eyes search the room for one, or just anything that leads me to it. Nothing, the room is empty, with the exception of us and a mirror behind her, in the place of the fourth wall. But, I very much know what lies behind it. Computers and controlling systems of the gate lie behind this one sided mirror.
You can’t see them, but they can. I recall what my Physics teacher once said.
I spot a door and run to it, feeling her confused gazing eyes pierce into me.
I run through the halls, looking around for anything, just anything or anyone that might help. I spot a power socket at the bottom of one of the walls in the hallway, and make a mental note to myself to use it as soon as I find what I need. I bump into somethi-
“Are you alright?” the person asks in a concerned tone.
I turn my gaze to the figure before me. A guy with dirty blonde hair, blue eyes, bronze skin, dressed in a black shirt and dark blue jeans, stands towering over me. I don’t know why, but he does look familiar to me.
“Yes, yes, I am.” I assure him as I recompose myself and get back up on my feet. Rubbing the dust off my clothes, a sudden reminder comes to my mind.
“Good. May I know your name, Ms?”
How polite! But that isn’t important right now, I don’t have time.
“Get me a microphone and speakers now.” I demand in a serious tone. He stares back at me and flashes a smirk.
I mentally face palm myself. Is he an idiot?
“GO GET THEM BEFORE WE ALL TURN INTO ASHES!” I scold him, losing my temper.
His eyebrows furrow, and I could see how confused he is, but then, nods and runs away.
I stand in my place, giving glances at everything in the Poliners HQ. I’ve missed this place, quite a lot. The memories, the warmth, the safety, everything is here. I still remember how Jo wanted to come back, how we all did.
I can’t forget her, everything reminds me of her. That’s why I chose not to remember she’s dead, no she isn’t, for me. I miss her so much, she was the only family left for me. Yet, the only place that holds her memory, my parents’ and my brother’s memories, is going to vanish. How sad the situation is! I could have never imagined I would witness this, but here I am, standing in the middle of the HQ and waiting for a person to help me send away Poliners, my people, out of their own homes, in less than 87 minutes. I take a deep breath, relaxing myself a bit, before everything starts.
You can do it, Zoey. I think to myself encouragingly.
“Here, I got the micr- were you crying?”
I turn my gaze to him, narrowing my eyes. What? Have I been crying unconsciously? My fingers trace my cheeks, stopping at the damp area below my eyes. It happened, again. I sigh in frustration.
“No, I haven’t but thanks a lot for bringing these.” I say referring to the black speaker and silver mic in his hands.
“O-kay.” He responds in a doubting tone, handing them to me.
I take them giving him a smile.
“By the way, what’s your name?” I inquire. I need to make sure whether I’ve seen him before. After all, I might not see him again.
“Zoey, Zoey Anderson?” He asks.
Now, that’s something to think about. The feeling is mutual.
“Yes, how did you know?”
He chuckles. “I thought you would remember me, but it’s okay. I’m Peter’s younger brother.”
I sigh in relief. How couldn’t I remember him? Had it been a while since we last met? I guess so, but that’s great. Finally someone I can trust in this mission.
“Thank goodness you’re someone I know! Now, help me switch these on.” He nods and I take a look at my watch.
“We have 80 minutes left.”
“I don’t understand, left for what?”
“For the bomb to explode.” I reply not missing a beat.
His eyes widen, but I ignore him and walk towards the power socket I found on my way. I hear his footsteps behind me. Soon, he catches up with me and starts breathing heavily.
“What are you talking about? There’s a bomb? What bomb?”
I place the mic’s plug in the socket and switch it on before looking at him impatiently.
“Yes, Logan, there is, and if we get out alive, I’ll tell you everything. Now, be quick and help me out!”
I take the mic off of the floor and hold it with both hands as he connects it with the speakers. He gives me a thumbs up signalling me to start.
“Hello.” I mutter out, hearing it echo everywhere. This isn’t enough.
I look at the wire and the distance between my position and the nearby window. Measuring it with my eye sight, I find it possible to stand by the window sill.
I run up to it and place my head out of the window.
“Attention everyone!” I say.
Nothing happens. That’s it, I have no time for this.
“EVERYONE, GET YOURSELVES IN THE PHQ, NOW! THERE IS A BOMB! YOU HAVE,” I pause to look at my watch, “75 MINUTES!”
Everyone in the street freezes, kids stop playing in the park and they all get out of their shops, schools, homes, all the places they initially were in, and stare back at my tiny figure by the window.
“NOW! MOVE UP HERE!” I order again. Soon, they all rush towards the building with their floating cars, bicycles, buses, or just running on their feet.
I glance back at my watch.
69 minutes to go.
“Logan!” I call for him.
“I’m here.” He answers calmly, exactly by my side. I smile sheepishly at him before starting.
“Listen, you lead everyone to that room,” I pause pointing to the room where the gate is, “and I will be responsible for getting them out through the gate. But remember, you shouldn’t forget to come too. I don’t want you to die.”
He smiles and nods tersely.
The ground vibrates from the loud running of the Poliners approaching. I too take the run to the room and rush towards the gate. I place my hands on my knees, catching some breath. Straightening myself once again, I turn my gaze to her and she looks at me coldly before showing me her arm.
She folds her arms and smiles cunningly as if she’d just attained victory.
You still have time, keep your calm. I think to myself.
Soon after, a girl in her mid twenties, I assume, came rushing in, gasping for breath.
I head towards her and hold her arm.
“Come on, let’s get you out of here.”
“Wait, how can I trust you?”
I very well know how to gain her trust. I activate my power, feeling the sudden rush of blood in my brain. After a few seconds, I attain the connection to her mind.
What if she’s an invader? The whole thing is weird and sudden, but let’s see, maybe she’s really a good person.
I couldn’t help but chuckle. “No, I’m nothing of an invader, I’m here to help my people, that is all.”
Her eyes widen, but soon vanishes in a warm smile.
“I trust you.” She murmurs, and I flash out a grin before pushing her into the gate.
One done. Thousands to go.
I glance at the count down on her arm.
I swallow the lump in my throat. I can do it, hopefully. A lot others come struggling inside, and without I even direct them, they throw themselves into the gate.
“150 at a time!” I scream at the top of my voice, slightly proud at the huge capacity of the gate.
50, 51, 52, 53, 54, ... I pause counting the arrivals as I spot a struggling old man in the crowd of thousands. I head towards him and gently walk him into the gate, watching his speeding figure disappear into space.
I look back at the lessened crowd. Wait, where was I? I think I lost count of them. Logan spots me and comes running to me.
“All o-of them are go-one.” He states in between breaths.
“Are you sure? How many were they?” I ask trying to make sure everything is alright.
He nods steadily, “Yes,” he answers, “11,065 Poliners.”
I stare at him in utter confusion, “11,065 only? Are you sure this is all of us?” I ask in disbelief. How come we’re so less?
He shakes his head, and for a moment, I could’ve sworn I saw a hint of sadness in his eyes.
“Remember that Pancer disease? Yeah, it increased and hundreds and thousands have died.”
Pancer, a disease similar to the human cancer. It’s caused when the powers are out of control, disordered or expired. But, I could’ve never believed it would spread so fast, worse yet, kill most of the population. I shrug the thoughts off and nod heavily to him.
I give a quick glance at the impatient Zendaya in the room. My eyes pierce into her arms.
My eyes widen and burn into Logan’s, only to find him as scared as me.
“Go, NOW!” I order worryingly.
“I won’t leave you behind and save my skin!”
I look back at the count down in fear and panic.
“No!” he retorts back.
That’s it, I’m done with such childish arguments.
I push him into the gate with no further alert. Just then that I saw the count down and rushed to the gate.
I get inside, but not just by my own speed but with the devastating sound vibrations of the explosion. Huge rocks and metal rods get hurled behind me. I move inside and dodge quickly before they hit me. Something is strange. Why haven’t I arrived yet? It’s impossible to slow down that way. I bring my eyes into focus and my heart races. I can’t believe this had happened.
Suddenly, I get stopped with a halt. What? I am stuck in the middle of the two portals? In a mysterious void in space? How could that happen!
I finally realize it all. The gate controls were in Polina. Polina is diminished, and so are the controls. A catastrophic error must’ve occurred.
What now? Am I going to be stuck here forever? I make an attempt to roll my eyes but fail miserably. I try shaking my legs and my arms to move them, but nothing happens, I just can’t.
I sigh internally. Great, now I’m paralyzed in a place of nothingness.