After the explosion:
“Is she injured?” Curt asked. “Is anything broken or bleeding?”
Annie took a quick inventory. Her vision began to clear. “No, I think I’m fine.” She looked at Garret with concern. “Are you all right, Garret?”
Garret laughed. “She asks me if I’m all right.” He shook his head in disbelief. “I guess I made a pretty good pillow. My backside is probably bruised.”
Curt’s head hung down. “I am so done for. Two kings will have my hide now. That flying door nearly took off her head.”
Annie felt a painful bump on the back of her head when she stood.
Melody came to her side, “Are you okay?”
Annie felt herself grimace when she tried to smile. “It’s just a bump. But, my room — Where’s Chip?”
Rick found E-Chip in a corner running a diagnostic reboot.
The water sprinklers shut down and guards arrived to post and secure the door.
“He looks like he might be damaged,” Rick said as he pulled some debris away.
“Guard,” E-Chip toned, in his automated voice. “Guard — not in uniform!”
“What did he say?” Curt asked.
With a splutter of bleeps E-Chip rose. “Guard boots are blue not black.”
Curt’s brow rose. “I think he identified a spy at the door.” He activated his headcom and immediately ordered, “Search for a guard wearing black boots.”
Rick was examining Annie’s room when she stepped in. the blast had destroyed everything including her packed bag. She went directly to her wall locker and tried scanning her hand, but it didn’t work. She banged it a few times with her fist and pressed her palm on the pad. The scanner buzzed and released the locked door. She pulled out her mother’s comcord and her uncle’s leather book of legends. That’s it I guess, she thought. That’s all I own left in this world. She carried them with her out of the room.
“Rick, help Melody pack and get her out of here.” Curt ordered.
“My toothbrush is packed, I’ll get my bag.” Melody said quietly.
“Good then let’s get going,” Rick said.
“Wait,” Garret said. He glanced at Annie and Curt. “There’s a good chance they think Annie is dead. The way Melody called out after the explosion — if I were outside the room I would have believed she died.”
Curt’s brow rose with understanding. “We all thought she was dead at first. I think I know where you’re going with this. It may be to our advantage. Rick, get a blanket from Melody’s bed to wrap around Annie when you carry her. Annie, do you think you can play dead for a while?”
Annie nodded when she began to understanding. “They won’t chase me anymore.”
“That’s the idea.” Curt winked. “But Garret, you’re going to have to stop looking so darn happy.”
The huge grin on Garret’s face drooped.
“That goes for all of you,” Curt directed them. “If we want them to think a horrible disaster just happened here, it has to appear that way. When we walk out that door there may already be Cam Cords ready to broadcast. Keep your heads low and keep moving. Let’s go for launch. Melody, notify Brandon to meet us.”