Chapter 9—- TeSs
Planet X
We ran towards the laptop. Well... Libby ran. I followed at a slow jog.
I needed to get that laptop back. Not only did it have the flash drive in it, it also contained my personal information. I don’t want those Exoclafloredans to get their hands on it. Speaking of which, the battleship was slowly getting closer.
We were approximately 30 feet away from the laptop.(Just a rough estimate. Libby is better at this sort of thing than I am) She stopped abruptly.
“Look” she pointed.
I turned around. And there was the palest white object I had ever seen. It was relatively large and about as thick as a 200 page hardcover book.
Libby walked over to the object and said, “There’s a note and I think it’s from the Traveler.”
I ran to her. “Read it aloud, and fast. We don’t have much time.”
“Okay,” said Libby. “It says:
“Dear Hero Twins,
“I knew that you would be the ones to find this note since you are the only humans I know of that are here. Fun fact: Xians can’t see pure white. Which is why I used this shiny white slab of what appears to be a reinforced alien plastic to be the door to my bunker. It has a computer, wifi, beds, and enough food and water to last years. I would use it if I were you.
“The Traveler
“P.S. No code today. The Xians are taking me into custody and they are allowing me one last note to write. You are almost to the palace!
“Come on, Tess. We have to go in!”
“Well...” I looked at my computer then up at the battleship. I would love to use my drive to get back into the mainframe. It’s not too far away, but with my luck I’d end up tripping and breaking 2+ bones. Awesome. The battleship was very close now. It was about the size of Connecticut!
“Fine.” I agreed as we went inside.
We got in there just in the nick of time. Shortly after, the ship landed on the door, my computer, my drive, and probably some jerky wrappers Libby dropped.
At least I still have my... compass... I checked my pockets and my bag. Nope. It had gotten smushed with the rest of my stuff. Great. Now we’ll never get there.
I sighed. “What’s wrong?” asked Libby.
“The compass is broken. After those Exoclafloredans leave we’ll have no idea what direction to travel in.”
“You could always try to look it up” Libby gestured toward the computer. It looked like an IMSAI computer system from the 70’s. The only twist was that it got its power from some sort of perpetual motion machine. If only we had that type of technology.
I sat down and got onto the search engine. Then thought. “Oh wait. We can’t use the map. They will be able to pinpoint our location, remember?”
Libby face palmed herself “Oh, right! Duh.”
I tried getting back into the Palace website but the firewall was so complicated that it could take DAYS to get through. The flash drive would be very useful. I huffed. We weren’t getting anywhere. So, internet surfing it was.
Surprisingly, twenty minutes of surfing actually paid off. I stumbled upon what appeared to be A copy of Queen Stephana Xe’s Internet diary. Fortunately, the diary website she uses is incredibly easy to get into. (her password is stephana123. I mean come on!) She must have been using this diary as a call for help.
“Libby! Come here!” I said.
She jogged over. “What is— WHOA!”
“I can read it. I can actually READ it!!!”
“You mean it’s in English?” I asked. She gave me her of-course-it-is-dummy expression. I never noticed. Since I got my power, I see/hear every other language as English.
“Maybe the Queen is human, too.”
I started to laugh then stopped. I didn’t want to make Libby feel bad. “That is highly unlikely. I bet that she is just an Exoclafloredan who’s writing in English to make sure the prison guards can’t read it.”
“Oh.. Right.” She seemed a little off. Libby said that I should focus and let me read it aloud.
“June 28, 2016
Hmm... That was just a couple of days ago. I’m surprised that she uses the same type of calendar system we do, considering that they have two different suns. Anyway, I’ll continue...
“I am shocked that my captors have let me write in this diary for so long. It has been a decade since I have started writing here in this foreign language and they STILL don’t realize that I am trying to get out of this prison. They are not themselves. Actually, no one has been themselves in years. And I may now know why.
“A fellow prisoner who has apparently travelled all over this planet just told me about this strange virus that he has come across. He called it Y2374Q. It’s an odd sort of virus. It not only takes total control over all technology, but it can control minds!
“Libby, I’m not sure if it’s safe to keep reading...” I say. The virus could even be on our computer!
She quickly replied. “And I’m not sure that you should be the one reading. Stop pausing!”
Sheesh! What has gotten into her?
“He said that there are a few ways this virus works. It can be transmitted using a steel chip surgically placed in the brain. He and I have deducted that my people were brainwashed this way. This is the simplest version to reverse, just remove the chip. But, no one will let us (obviously).
“The next way involves an encrypted email and a malfunctioning retina scanner. All our older computers have one. Sadly, he hasn’t explained much about this way to me, but I can assume that it is rather difficult to undo. Any cases of this sort should come to the prison with me if possible. Maybe this “traveler” can quit being vague and be helpful for once!
“My only question is: Who created that virus in the first place? It must be someone intelligent who obviously hates us. If only I had a few suspects...
“Until We Meet Again,
“Queen Xe
“Whoa!” I said, exhilarated. “The Traveler is in prison with the Queen! All the more reason we should go!”
“Let’s see if there’s a map somewhere on this site...” Libby said. Why wasn’t she as enthused? This was a break in the case!
“Ingenious idea!” I say. “We make a great team!”
She responds only with a sigh.
I continue.
Man, isn’t this scene perfect! Two sisters working together to find the Queen. One typing away at the computer; the other, well, standing there. I’ll make it look so much cooler in the drawing. Victory is in their grasp...
Snap, Snap I turn around and see Libby giving me a what gives? face.
“You were staring off into space again...” she said.
“What?” I responded, very confused.
“You heard me. You keep getting stuck in your own head. Why don’t you just DO something!?”
“I am doing something!”
“Yeah! Everything I’VE been telling you to do!”
“Uhh... Yeah, right! When has that happened?”
“Just now, when I told you to get on the computer!”
“That was one time! That hardly counts as everything! If I had a nickel for every time I saved you—“
“You’d have exactly ONE nickel! For that time when the Xian army was after us. And even then I would’ve fared just fine. Those guards were so distracted; I could of disarmed them easily. Even with your ‘Achilles Heel’ garbage! Now, on the other hand. I saved us back at Romsy’s. I saved us from being smushed like a pancake by the spaceship! I saved your science project from being eaten by the dog!”
“Ohh... So THAT’S who did that?”
UGH! The point is that I’ve been pulling your weight this WHOLE TIME and that you need to stop living in this sci-fi, graphic novel, SUPERFANTASY you’ve existed in for the past week! Your witty one-liners have gotten us NOWHERE!!! If it were just me, I would be back home already!”
I could feel my face heating up. My fists clench up. “HA HA! I’d like to see you try! You aren’t even NEARLY as—“
“Stop!” Libby faces the wall. Her shoulders sagged. Did I go too far? “I already know how this is going to end.”
“You don’t understand!” I say.
“Oh yeah, right. I’m not nearly as smart, well-liked, or as good as you are.” Libby turns around. She’s in tears. “I always had this gut feeling that we were going to fall apart. I never knew that it would be now... We’re supposed to be a team. We’re supposed to be sisters. Sisters help each other with their flaws not alienate them for them. You just can’t get past how great YOU are to see the people that need you.”
She storms off into one of the rooms and locks herself in. I don’t see what she’s talking about! She wouldn’t be better off without me... Would she?
I yawned. There is no point in continuing right now without some time to sleep on the past argument. I powered down the computer and turned off the lights. I then went into one of the rooms and fell asleep.
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