Maxine and the rest had spent the whole day in the library near where we’d settled for the next few days, avoiding suspicion and the constant rain that the day had provided by just picking random books off the shelves and curling up in the back couches by the teen section and the orange-illuminated ones by the understocked manga section. It was better than being outside and being soaked while having to deal with the people near the border, who were becoming hostile towards anybody who looked like they could possibly support the rebels’ crusade to get Emma and Maxine injto their rightful places at the throne… which makes no sense to me, because how would you be able to discern somebody’s support of something by the plain clothes that most people wear here?
“May, come over here…” Maxine whispered from a computer, playing around with Emma’s email, which Maxine had undoubtedly hacked into, deleting all the spam email that thought that her first name was “Zorphs” and kept hawking Viagra and free rental cars at her. (Typical spam stuff.) As she typed into another tab with a gigantic cookie on it, she continued, “I was emailing some people at the Lab of Soona Bris- you know, people who used to hate me and my group of friends and kept experimenting on us, what reason do they have to help us- and I got a response. They’re sending help, but they won’t be here until Friday.”
I took a seat next to her, apprehensive as to what exactly the email contained as Maxine was nervously fidgeting in her seat. “I’m not sure whether to be more worried that you asked the people who almost drove you to suicide for help getting your girlfriend back or that you think it’s a good idea to be playing Cookie Clicker on a public computer.”
Maxine slowly turned to glare at me, restrained offense clouding in her dark eyes. “One-” and one finger went up- “she’s not my girlfriend; she’s genderfluid, so she’s my datemate. And two-” another finger went up, continuing the counting- “that do have a reason to help us. They’ve taken a special interest in Emma, seeing as she was the one who created the original harpy procedure and stirred things up a lot back in late 2012 and early 2013 when Algeria the hybrid was everybody’s first concern and I was still in foster care. Three: it’s okay, I’ll back up my save and then wipe it from this computer when I’m done.”
“So are you going to show me what’s in this all-important email?” I asked, trying to subvert her dark mood, which lessened a little as she turned back to the computer screen.
“Yes… I’m about to, anyway…” She dodged the computer security newsletters and persistent updates from the youth church pastor and finding the all-important message. “Oh, hey look, they’ve got a picture attached…”
Dear Maxine Bennett,
it is a pleasure to hear from you after so many months. Fortunately for you, even though we parted on the worst of terms, I and my associates will be able to board a ship at our earliest convenience and travel to the planet Zorphia to assist you in retrieving Emma Vane and regenerating a body for Yasmin Tomariko. We also have planted a “snitch” as you referred to them in Zorphia Palace to monitor Emma Vane and make sure that she does not come to significant harm.
Best of wishes,