Elfie tries to say something comforting, though only dopey consolation rhetoric comes to mind.

    Faye comes back to reality and looks at Elfie.  “It was wrong to spy.  It was wrong to destroy her.  Now, she’s gone and the day is saved, all because I did bad things.”  Faye chuckles, and it scares Entoni Franklin.  “Elfie, you know what I was thinking before she did what she did?  I was thinking about what it would be like if I gave you up for her.  If you liked her, that’d be okay.  We’re still friends, and there’s always Owan.  I was willing to give you up, to see you happy.  But now, I did a bad thing and have you all to myself.”  She hugs him and tries to keep laughing, but even Faye realizes how foolish she sounds.  She weeps uncontrollably, shaking her head in disbelief at all the nonsense she just said.  After a few minutes of bawling her eyes out, she tries to apologize to Elfie for the things she had rattled off, but she starts crying again.”

    Duplica sees this and realizes Faye must feel a connection between this unexpected close death and the loss of her father.  The SG Sword is supposed to not harm the innocent, and yet because of a lethal exception to the rule, Faye lost her dad.  Now, this field trip is supposed to be as safe as you can get, and Faye had to personally help vanquish a girl that had given her such a rollercoaster ride of friendship and rivalry in one day.  If Tiffany had gotten her way, Faye would have died, too.

    “Okay, guys,” says the shattered teacher, “let’s head back to the school.”

    This will turn into a week of Duplica trying to figure out what went wrong.  How did a bad thought get into the school without being annihilated by the security screening?  How did this creature go a thousand years without being detected?  Who else in the school, or in the HQ itself, is also a villainous spy?  This field trip may very well be cancelled because of this.

    Faye may never recover.

    At the end of this long week, AB comes to check on Duplica.  He finds her sulking in her office, slumped on her couch, watching television.

    “You look so pitiful,” he admits, plopping down beside her.

    “Do I really?” She leans on him and turns the volume down with the remote.  “Had to take another life yesterday.  Well, not directly, but I’m pretty sure I know what’ll happen to Kris Moloken.  Our investigation led to discovering he tampered with our security to let Tiffany into the base.  It seems she caused him to defect, which is why we were able to miss the change.”

    “Ah,” says the sympathetic AB, “that explains it.  Good job on catching him so quickly.”

    “After a thousand years of not doing my job.  I could have lost a kid.  We could have changed—no, butchered—history if that thing had started blowing up things in the past.”

    Hugging Cat, AB reminds her, “I helped you look for her.  We just weren’t able to find her.  There’s no one to blame here, but instead, see it as a blessing.  She got anxious and allowed you to take her out with no one being harmed.”

    “Faye was harmed.”  Duplica now turns the TV off.  “Have you not seen her since the trip?  Sometimes she seems normal, but then other times…it’s like she died with Tiffany.  I am afraid I’ve broken her trust.  It was the assurance of System tech that cost her a father, and now it cost her a best friend.  I’m not sure how much more of that she can handle.  I’m not even sure how much of this kind of thing I can handle, if I’m honest.”

    “Well, if you are thinking what I think you’re thinking, the answer is no.”  Grandpa drags Duplica off the couch and leads her to the door.  “We’ve had time to recover and adjust things.  This isn’t the first time the enemy has infiltrated HQ.  Actually, you guys have it happen way less often than we did, so see this from the big picture.  The trip isn’t in jeopardy.  Your kids aren’t falling apart.  They had a bad scare because of one fraud.  Talk to them and have them ready for the next part of the trip by Monday.  Don’t forget, System Guards are soldiers.  War is not fair, so we can’t cower at the first sign of adversity.  Besides, I think it’s time we see what it is about the angels that drove your age-old nemesis out of hiding.”

-Next Page-

-Previous Page-

1 Comment »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.