The entire manuscript can be found here: Starblood Manuscript


Watched and Taken

XS

 

XS and YK left the class five minutes before the Cyran, so they could change back into their uniforms and exit the building. XS had the feeling that Arris was informed when they left ECH, just as he was when they’d entered.

 

When XS had seen Arris, the resemblance to Zoran had been uncanny. They both had rich dark brown hair, but while Zoran’s had been long and perpetually tied in a ponytail, Arris’ was just long enough to curl around his ears and to graze his collar. Both of their skin tones were a shining golden brown, but Arris was a mere two or three inches taller. And while Zoran’s eyes were a dreamy amber color, Arris’ were an intense midnight blue-black. Their other features, eye shape, nose shape and size, and lip shape, were surprisingly similar.

 

“What did you think of the class?” XS asked YK as a way to distract herself from comparing Arris and Zoran.

 

“It was good. I think I found a way to finish the Translets I’ve been making. Do you think we have enough time to stop at a warehouse?”

 

XS glanced at the sun. It was just reaching its zenith.

 

“Make it quick, YK.”

 

“Follow me, I know just the place.”

 

The roads of Enquan were paved in a way that there weren’t any imperfections, even though very few Cyran actually used the roads. When traveling within Enquan, a worldwide train took one from place to place. When a Cyran took a seat on the train, they inputted where they were going. When the passenger had reached where they were going, the chair ejected from the train and returned back to the train after the passenger had exited their seat. When traveling outside of Enquan, usually to a different planet, Cyran used the Translock.  

 

YK led XS into an abandoned building, west of the Aduran Mines. Officers were always patrolling this area, to capture escaped Torri, and to make sure Cyran followed the laws of Enquan. They wore bright royal blue outfits with gold patches on the shoulders, knees, and elbows. Since YK had been to this building before, he had memorized the officers’ rotations and rounds. He deftly avoided the officers.

 

The warehouse was an abandoned building, hidden by trees, and falling apart. The cherry wood was not only chipped but was surrounded by rubble. They picked their way to the doorway, from which the door had fallen long ago, and went inside. Though as they did, a crash sounded from further inside. XS jumped.

 

“Are you sure this building is safe?” she asked.

 

“Of course, I come here all the time.”

 

“Of course you do,” XS muttered.

 

YK walked deeper into the building and XS followed. The building looked vaguely familiar to her.

 

“Have I been here before?” she asked.

 

“You have.”

 

YK stopped by a small pile of rubble and started lifting the stone and putting it off to the side. There was a small hole in the concrete and an even smaller hole in the dirt below it. And buried in the dirt were two small devices. They were built from recycled parts, and were all sorts of colors and makes. They had a band that slipped over a wrist and a small clear orb that would supposedly project a speaking hologram. YK took them out from the hole and set them aside. It was then that it dawned on XS when she’d been here before.

 

“I brought you here when I first met you and what I was doing interested you.”

 

“Took you long enough to figure out.”

 

“And these are my Translets too?”

 

“Yep. In the flesh. Or metal, I guess.”

 

XS picked up one of the Translets and examined it. The back of the orb had been removed, and she knew her name would be engraved on that piece of metal. The wires were connected to all the right ports, and it looked as though the device would work.

 

“What’s wrong with it?”

 

“Oh it works fine, I just need to connect it to Enquan’s server. Which is why I went to that class today.”

 

“So what do you have to do?” XS asked, intrigued.

 

“Were you not listening at all?”

 

“Um, no.”

 

YK let out a bigger grin then he normally did, “I knew you were in there somewhere.”

 

YK said a series of instructions, and XS went to work. Out of another pile of rubble, she pulled a mini computer solely for programming. It was the first thing she’d ever built. She had to insert a string of code that would connect the Translets to Enquan’s server. Meanwhile, YK had to block the tracking signals that would follow the connection to Enquan’s servers.

 

***

 

“I’m done,” YK said to XS, their first words in an hour.

 

“Same here.”

 

YK plugged his invention into the computer XS was using, and told XS to run the program.

 

“Here goes,” she said and ran the program.

 

A couple seconds passed, and then a neon blue light lit inside the orb and the outline of a face appeared in the triangle of light that extended from the orb.

 

“Hi. My name is Rei. You must be Torri 14729. I am your personal assistant. Is there anything I can do for you while I download information from the Enquan server?”

 

“Disconnect from the Enquan server!” YK yelled.

 

“I’m sorry I am not authorized to fulfill that request. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

 

“No.” YK bit out.

 

The light receded, and Rei disappeared.

 

“It didn’t work, XS. Ashes, XS, it didn’t work,” YK muttered.

 

XS stood, and returned everything to their underground location, except the Translet. She forcefully turned it off and slipped it into her pant pocket. She grabbed YK’s hand, and together they left the building.

 

As they stepped outside, XS felt something off. Eyes on her. She glanced around, looking for someone who was looking at her. She saw no one. YK hissed. XS looked where YK looked and caught a slight movement in the bushes.

 

YK pulled XS in the opposite direction of the person watching them. They walked in a normal gait, not wanting to alert the watcher that they knew that he was there. They got a couple more feet before a voice stopped them.

 

“Targets in sight.”

 

YK broke into a run, pulling XS along. YK heard the watcher not far behind. They ran across the empty roads, but the watcher was faster. Soon enough he caught up and tackled XS to the hard concrete. XS pulled YK down with her, and the watcher held all four of their arms in a lock. The watcher pulled them all up to a standing position and then tied their hands to their sides. He then slipped a blindfold over their eyes. All XS could see was a deep red color.

 

“Targets acquired. Initiating execution sequence.”

 

She had no idea where she was being taken, or by whom. All XS knew was that she was being captured for a higher classmen. Only higher class Cyran had access to the latest tech, including robotic henchmen. XS knew YK was walking along next to her, because she could hear a second step of footsteps besides hers, and Transmen didn’t make noise unintentionally.

“New instructions received. Arrived,” the Transman related.

 

XS and YK were pushed to the ground, and their blindfolds were roughly removed. As XS’s eyes adjusted to the light, she saw that they were in an old rotting wooden building. Then Transman had deactivated, and stood stock still against the wall. The rest of the building was bare. The Transman’s pale skin was flawless, and he seemed as though her could pass for a human in a crowd, as long as no one heard him talk. This was the beauty of Transmen. They were perfect for spying missions and such, because they could easily blend in with humans.

 

“Don’t make unnecessary movements, he’s not completely deactivated, because he still is mimicking breath sounds and chest compressions,” YK advised.

 

“Okay. How’re we going to get out of here?”

 

YK looked around at the building itself and the rope binding him.

 

“We’re not.”

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