Basecode: Chapter One

Basecode: Chapter One

A Chapter by Early Sunset Over Monroeville
"

Talon diied in accordance with the Amendment... how could he still be alive?

"

   He was standing on top of the monkey bars, staring off into the distance like an action hero. Black hair being whisked by a gentle breeze, fleece jacket whipping around his thin form. His mother was watching him from the benches, yelling at him to climb down. But he wouldn't. Talon stood there so fiercely, almost as if he was daring the wind to try and blow him over. I thought that he was pretty stupid to be disobeying like that, because when you're four your mother is God.

   At lunch, I remember that he always had an apple. That was all, every time. He chopped it in half and fed one side to the lizards that we kept as class pets. The rest he gave away to some other student who would eat it. I didn't know what the word 'anorexic' meant back then, but after asking my mother about why the little boy didn't eat, I learned.

   Talon was never anything particularly special to me, considering that he never talked or played with the rest of the class. He was always so distant. So far away from everyone else. Like... a star that everyone studied from far away, pointing out how it must work when they were totally wrong. Most of the children avoided him because he was different. If there was one thing that the government taught us, it was the differences killed you.

   I don't remember much else about Talon, except for the fact that he had very blue eyes and my mom had told me that blue eyes didn't exist anymore. They were all sent away, she said, to somewhere different from everyone else. that was the Amendment. Why do parents lie to their children?

   Talon disappeared halfway through the year, and all of the adults could only assume that the Amendment had been followed as they looked at his mother's crying face every morning. She still showed up at the school board meetings, the bakery where she worked, and the library to read books to the children, but she was different. Scarred, somehow. I asked my mom what was wrong with her, but she told me that she would tell me when I was older.

   Our teacher sat us down one day and said that Talon was gone. Of course, all the kids wanted to know why he wasn't returning. Four-year-olds are in the height of their question-asking age. But our teacher refused to tell us. That was that, and we all moved on with our lives. I thought I'd seen the last of him.

   And now, to be staring at a picture of those blue eyes, bluer than the sky, on the front page of a newspaper... It seems so wrong. Talon died when he was four, in accordance with what the government wanted. That is what happened. That had to be what happened.

   I read the headline in bold letters across the page. Teenage Hacker at Large in New York City.There is Talon's photo, as clear as day, staring me in the face. He's gotten older, but I would recognize those eyes anywhere. He is the only person I have ever seen with blue eyes.

   "Mom?" I call, scooting my chair away from the table and heading up the stairs. The water splattering against the plastic floor of the shower must drown me out, because she doesn't answer. I sigh and call again, louder, but am blessed once more with her silence. Oh well. My mom never has cared much about current events. Maybe my dad will want to know, but not her. Until then...

    I take my time on my way back down the stairs, and Dakota smacks into my side. It's not fair, I think, that the government assigned him a nice name like Dakota and I got stuck with Adelaide. But then again, he's entitled to a good name because he was the first child born of America's new breeding program. I wouldn't switch places with him ever, considering he only has a mom left.

   The breeding program basically assigns two people together to have children when the government thinks their genes will work well together. America wasn't in on it at its beginning, but when France and Germany got some amazing results we decided to give it a try. And thus, Dakota was born. But those who breed almost never marry, so things get touchy from then on out.

   "Watch it, eh?" he says in that snooty British accent of his. His dad was British. The breeding program isn't foolproof, despite what the government assures us, and I think Dakota's proof of that. British boy, American name. He probably wouldn't have picked up the accent if he didn't spend the first six years of his life living with his dad on and off."Some of us don't move like slugs on the stairs."

   "Buzz off," I retort, smacking the side of his head. He rubs the spot in mock pain. "Have you seen Dad around?"

    "Not since this morning." Dakota reaches the bottom of the stairs and pulls a bagel out of the fridge. "I think he went to take Jujube to the vet." He slings his backpack over his shoulder. "And he's not my dad, Adelaide. Just yours."

   "I know." But he's as good as, Dakota, I think. Your dad died, and now you don't switch back and forth. You're our family.

   "Oh!" Dakota yells as he's halfway out the door. "Mum told me to tell you that she needs you to pick up Oliver at eight tonight. It's her turn with him." Oliver. Last time I took him home, he had an accident in my car. The smell's still there.

   "Kay!" I shout back, though I don't want to. Dakota waves, and rushes down to the bus stop where he meets with his friend.

   "Mom?" I call one final time, hoping she'll finally answer. Nothing. I hop off the steps and put in a DVD. My school starts at twelve instead of ten, so I have plenty of time to do whatever crap I want to do. Dakota has to go to school with the rest of the bred kids.

The movie I selected is an old one, so I don't really watch it. I sit back and think about things the the government can't stop me thinking about right now. At school, if they suspect you, they can do a thought scan and convict you of whatever they think you're thinking about. I know it's because they don't trust kids who weren't bred by them, but it still feels a little harsh. Once, I brought up how immoral it was to have men and women who didn't know each other beforehand have children together and then make them alternate times with those kids. I was thinking about Oliver and Dakota at the time, but as I think of it now, Talon sweeps into my mind. His father worked in Italy, I know that. Lucca Dophane is a household name now, after he discovered a cure for cancer and AIDS. He saved my mom's life. Still... It seems weird that his wife never went to see him although Talon did. Another bred baby, most likely. Shame.

   The doorbell rings, and all thoughts of Talon flee from my mind. I rush to open it, hoping the my best friend has come over. She sometimes does that, when she's bored. Once, I came home to find her on my couch with a bag of potato chips and a soda from our fridge. I got pretty mad at her then, but she just started laughing so I started laughing and then I forgot why I was angry.

   I open the door, but it's just the Breeder Man. My mom is pregnant with her third Bred Baby, and he's here to see how she's doing. I think he has a name, but we elect never to use it around him.

   "Upstairs," I say, and he wordlessly goes up. I'm saddened by how many times I've had to do that. It's like I'm letting my parent be raped repeatedly by the government; even helping them rape her.

   My movie ends, and the feed switches back to a news program.

   "Talon Dophane, Italy's most wanted hacker, is on the loose again," the reporter drones. "Residents of New York are advised to stay off social media and avoid placing any bank information of on the Internet." I chuckle, because I doubt a big-time hacker would break onto people's Facebook. Talon Dophane is back. Why should I be bothered? I pick up my phone and call Lucy. She picks up on the first ring.

   "What's up?" she crows. "Did you see that episode of Fairway-Lockis last night? Oh my gosh, I cried so hard when-"

   No, I haven't," I say.

   "You need to. Cameron got diagnosed with cancer while on a case and... No sorry. Spoilers! But it's a great episode. Quite a cliffhanger too. You will be crying till the world ends."

   I laugh. "Um, Lucy? Do you remember the blue-eyed kid from preschool?"

   "No, I don't remember anyone with blue eyes starring on Fairway-Lockis... I'll look it up..."

   "Not from your TV show," I say, "from preschool. Our preschool."

   She thinks for a minute. "No one comes to mind. Oh hey, do you want to go the mall after class today? They just opened this new bookstore and I am dying to check it out. Like, actual books and not just the computer version."

   "Focus!" I say. "Think harder. Do you remember Talon Dophane, the guy with blue eyes who just left."

   "Ohhhhh. Crazy hacker man. Yeah, I remember him. That kid was a stick. He was too young to have an eating disorder."

   "Him. What do you remember about him?"

   "His eyes, mostly. He had black hair, and he always wore those jeans. He didn't eat. Oh yeah, and his mom watched him during all hours of the day."

   "Do you think he'd come back here?" I ask her, trying to hide the anxiety in my voice. "Do you think he would go the people here who turned him in?" I chewed on a strand of my hair, wondering why I was suddenly so worried about my safety in my own house. How did my mind make Talon somehow become a threat to me? 

   Lucy laughs. "Chill. Did they add you to the breeding program? You're as paranoid as a pregnant woman. I and I should know. My mom's pregnant."

   "Yeah, mine is too."

   "I knew that. Breeder Man at your place?"

   "Yep."

   "So I take it that there isn't any possibility of watching... Never mind."

   "We get Oliver today. No chance of anything like that."

   "Oliver!" exclaims Lucy. "Bring him over here soon, won't you? He's adorable." Lucy was with me on the day that Mom brought Oliver home. She's always loved him, even after she found about his... Quirks.

   "I don't know, Luce," I say. "Mom will want him at home."

   Lucy sighs. "Yeah, so she can embarrass him at every turn. He'll be glad to chill with us tomorrow."

   "I'll think about it. It depends on what Dakota and Mom have already planned. I don't know what I want to do with him tonight yet."

   "Come to the mall with me, okay? You'll feel better."

   I twist a strand of my hair around on my finger. Lucy always wants to take me to the mall. I much prefer watching movies or taking naps.

   "Yeah, sure. I'll see you then," I finally say. Better than her feeling offended later. Lucy is my only real friend, and I'd hate to lose her.

   "Kisses!" she responds, before hanging up. I don't even say goodbye to her. Something inside me knows that I'll regret it. You know, that tiny sixth sense that lurks in the back of your mind and says I don't think that's going to be a good decision. I am way too used to that voice.

   "Why am I worried?" I say aloud. "Why do I even care? New York's a long ways away from here. I'm gonna be just fine, and Oliver and Dakota and Mom are too." A quick glance at the clock tells me that I won't be okay unless I leave for school right then. Dang you, whoever invented school. I hate your guts.

I look one last time at the picture of Talon on the front page. Who am I kidding? I'm in no danger from him at all. I throw the newspaper in the trash can, grab my backpack, and head out the door.

   I hear someone on the steps, and pause on my way to the car. My mother bursts out, just like she usually does when I'm about to leave.

   "Remember Oliver!"

   How could I forget Oliver?

*

   I go to the mall after school. I check all of Lucy's favorite stores. She's not shopping.

Just great, I think. She stood me up, didn't she? Probably got a date or something.

   "Hey!" Calls a voice from inside a shoe store. It's one of Lucy's friends from class. I don't know her, considering that Lucy and I only share lunch period. "Where was Lucy this afternoon?"

   So she wasn't at school? "I don't know."

*

   I go to get Oliver at eight, but he isn't packed yet and I have to help him. Something went wrong when Oliver was born, I think, because he's been wetting his pants since day one. Even Mom gave up trying to keep him dry. He's eleven, and still wears diapers under his clothing. Mom says it was a mistake of the breeding program, that they mixed genes that didn't fit together like they should. "That's why Dakota has hemophilia," she tells me.

   I make sure that he's all changed before we get back into the leather interior of the car, because it sure can't take another whipping. Oliver is independent, and he can change himself, but I like to check just to make sure. There is enough urine smell in those seats to last a lifetime.

   "Can I control the radio?" Oliver asks as he buckles himself in. "Dad showed me this old band called Just in Time. I think they have their own station now." He turns the dial back and forth. The first few lines of an old pop song blare out of the speakers, and Oliver begins bobbing his head to the beat. It hurts my ears, but Oliver doesn't get much from either of his parents these days so I try to keep him happy.

   "What have you been doing over there?" I ask him.

   His face lights up like a neon sign. "Dad took me fishing down by the pond. He says that all the fish are coming out now. I caught a bass. We went down to the museum of Old America, and he showed me all of the Presidents. Then, we got ice cream down by the Susquehanna River, and he showed be how to skip a rock. I couldn't do it." He yawns. "Then I went to the amusement park. It was fun, but we had to leave early because I... yeah. Helen says that a growing boy needs two parents at all times, and that I should pick a house to stay in forever, like Dakota did."

   "Yeah?" I ask. "Who would you choose?"

   Oliver shifts in his seat. "How could I choose? I love both of my families. Mom makes the best food ever, and Dakota plays basketball with me, and Brennan taught me how to mow the lawn. Dad takes me fishing and Helen tells funny jokes. How could I give any of that up?"

   "No idea. What do I do? Could you give me up?"

   "You have good taste in television."

    We ride in silence for a while, and I think about how lucky I am to have siblings. Even if they do pee in my car.

   Oliver keeps pulling up his pants uncomfortably, so I guess that they're new. Most likely a gift from Helen, Oliver's dad's wife. she was unable to have children, and got removed from the breeding program. Just like my dad after I was born. I know Helen really loves Oliver like he's her own kid, but it still makes me laugh to think how little she actually knows him.

   "How are you doing in school?" I ask him. He doesn't answer. "Okay... What gifts did you get for your birthday?"

   "A remote control car and a fishing rod," Oliver says. "I left the fishing rod with Dad though, so we can fish next week when I'm with him."

   "But now you can't fish with Dakota this week."

   "Dakota wouldn't take me to the lake. He doesn't like my issues." Oliver's face falls. "He says that I'm a wimp."

   "Hey." I lift his chin with my free hand. "When Dakota was little, he threw up on people a lot and was too scared to watch the Amendment."

   "I'm not scared of the Amendment," Oliver says.

   "That's right, you're not. So you're not as wimpy as him." Just saying this makes Oliver smile at me.

    I scan the road ahead of us for coming cars. No one's on the streets now. Funny, I'd think they would be. It's rush hour, and all the late-night police workers should be heading out.

    Oliver adjusts his pants again. Helen probably picked a bigger size to accommodate for the fact that he wears something puffier than underwear. Usually, we get him a size smaller. He likes that better, and they look better on him.

    I turn the car down our street. "I didn't watch Fairway-Lockis without you," I say to Oliver as we pull into our driveway. "You wanna watch it tonight, just you and me?" Oliver seems to be contemplating this when Just in Time stops playing. Something else pours through my surround sound.

   "Warning." It's a teenager's voice, smooth yet threatening. "It's me, your friendly little hacking friend. You guys, yes you, are in big trouble. I have a little problem to solve, and you're in the crossfire. That's pretty bad." Static ripples across briefly, and Talon is back. "I'm sorry, but it looks like this might get dirty. I'll try to avoid you, but I'm not sure that will work out as nicely as you think it will. You never can be too careful. Signed, your friend Talon." The station is silent for a moment, then the music resumes.

    Oliver turns to me, confusion and fear in his eyes. "Who was that?"

    "No one," I tell him. "No one's going to hurt you. We're going to go in, and we're going to watch TV. Everything's fine." I wish I believed my own words.



© 2015 Early Sunset Over Monroeville


Author's Note

Early Sunset Over Monroeville
Like I said, please ignore spelling, grammer, and typos. Please focus on the story line.

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register




Share This
Email
Facebook
Twitter
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

155 Views
Added on August 26, 2015
Last Updated on August 26, 2015
Tags: science fiction, hackers, rebels, terrorists, death, fighting, war, medicine, action, adventure, love, romance


Author

Early Sunset Over Monroeville
Early Sunset Over Monroeville

PA



About
Hello everyone! I am an avid My Chemical Romance fan who has been writing since I was five. My teachers used to ask me to read my work at nursing homes and fine arts nights, so now my goal is to send .. more..

Writing