Outside In

Page 47


“Too bad, it was quite the performance.” He crossed to his computer and pulled the keyboard out from its hiding place. Tapping a few keys, the screen lit up and displayed the picture of the hallway. The two guards walked down the corridor.

Still impressed by the moving pictures, I asked, “Do I even possess the rudimentary knowledge to understand how you invented a device that sees?”

He puffed up his chest. “No. You need to be a genius like me.”

“I’m glad your sense of self worth hasn’t changed,” I teased.

“If you must know, I found the information and schematics in the computer. It’s called a Video Camera.”

“I remember them now. They were all over Inside, and a room full of computer screens for watchers to keep an eye on everyone. But I thought they were all destroyed.”

“Those were. They were about fifteen centimeters long, by five centimeters wide, by three high. Bigger than mine, easier to spot and to smash.”

“You can’t blame them. It’s creepy having someone spying on you.”

“Not that different from the mics we’re using.”

“I disagree. It’s a big difference.” I shuddered.

Logan shrugged. “I was hoping to make more of these, but…” He closed his eyes and touched his eyelids with his fingertips, smoothing the skin as if he could wipe the injury away. “There are a few Video Cameras pointed toward Outside. They hadn’t been damaged by the riots. I’d show you the pictures, but access to them has been blocked. Too bad, as they’re really fascinating.”

Another shudder shook my body. “No thanks. I’ve already seen Outside and I’m not fascinated at all.” Horrified would be my word of choice. To rid myself of the image, I studied the screen. “The big guy on the left seems familiar,” I said. “Too bad I missed their faces.”

Logan’s fingers danced on the keyboard and the men walked backward, disappeared and appeared again, but this time facing forward. They continued to walk backward for a few steps, then froze.

“How’s that? Or do you want them closer?”

“That’s good.” I leaned forward and peered at the monitor. “The guy on the left reminds me of…someone. I’ve seen him before, but I can’t place him.” I hoped his name would eventually click.

In the meantime, I updated Logan on the search for the computer linked to the Controllers’. “Not in the Trava Sector. Where should I look next?”

He drummed his fingers on the edge of the keyboard. “Every Inside computer is suspect now.”

“That’s…” I couldn’t even calculate a number.

“Two thousand, four hundred and nine computers.”

My emotions warred between being impressed by Logan’s memory and astounded by the sheer number of computers. “I couldn’t—”

“Impossible to check them all.” His fingers tapped again. “Did you bring the detector with you?”

“No.”

“Next time you come, bring it along. I might be able to adjust it to hone in on the Controllers’ signal over a wider area.” He then added a number of other items he needed me to fetch for him.

Heading back to the infirmary through the air shafts, I concentrated on remembering Logan’s list. When Doctor Lamont’s voice sounded in my ear, I almost hit my head on the top of the shaft.

“Trella, Bubba Boom is here and he insists I wake you,” she said. “What should I do?”

I fumbled for the button mic. “What’s so important?”

“He wouldn’t say.”

Curious. “Tell him you woke me and I’ll be out in a couple minutes. I’m almost home.”

“Okay.” She clicked off.

It wasn’t until I had swung down into my room that I realized I had called the infirmary home. I really needed to return our world to a more normal state before I started calling Lamont Mom.

Changing into my green long-sleeved medical uniform, I pulled strands of my hair from my braid to appear sleep tousled. No need to act tired—sleep remained a low priority.

Bubba Boom wasted no time with hellos. He took my hand and pulled me from the infirmary and out into the hallway.

“Let go.” I yanked, but he wouldn’t release me. “What’s going on?”

“I’ll tell you in a minute.” He kept his quick pace through the corridors.

The few people we passed gave us either curious stares or smirks, or ignored us. Bubba Boom dropped my hand as soon as we reached a quiet corner.

“I know you don’t believe me about Jacy.” He held a finger up before I could interrupt. “He’s in his office and you should see for yourself who he’s been…collaborating with.”

“Why can’t you tell me?”

“Better this way.” He pointed to a vent above our heads. “This will take you over the Committee members’ offices in Sector H3.”

“I’m not supposed to go into the air shafts. The tracer—”

“Isn’t that accurate. It’ll appear as if you walked through the Sector. You need to hurry before he finishes his meeting.”

I glanced up. The vent was in the middle of the ceiling. “I’ll need a boost.”

He squatted down, holding his hands out. “Stand on my shoulders.”

I kicked off my mocs, grabbed his hands for balance, and stepped onto him. He stood with ease and steadied my legs. The vent was within reach and I pushed it open. As I squirmed into the duct, I marveled at Bubba Boom’s strength and height. He didn’t appear to be that tall, but I doubted even Cog could boost me that high.