New Dawn Chapter Nine

Chapter Nine

Alarms bells rang drawing me from a pleasant dream where Tobi, Mac, Matty and I were strolling along the beach. Cobwebs stuck to my mind as I struggled to wake up. As the alarms screeched louder, it felt like cold water had poured on me and I was instantly awake.

“Daisy, sitrep?” I shouted out.

“There is a fire in Bio lab One,” she said in her calm voice, “Level three has been sealed and the elevator has been switched off,”

“Great,” I muttered suddenly very scared. I grabbed a dressing gown and launched myself out of bed. Matty and Ben had come from their beds rubbing their eyes as the alarms grew louder.

“What’s going on?”

“I want you in the canteen right now,” I told him and ran out the door, not checking if he was following my orders. Everyone was beginning to emerge from their apartments looking sleepy, but some looked scared as the alarms blared. I looked for Mac and Tobi.

“What’s happening?” she asked, seemingly wide awake.

“Fire in the Bio labs,” I told her and ran towards the door. She followed and I snagged Tom and Larry on the way past.

“What do you want us to do?” Nate asked.

“Make sure everyone is kept in the canteen until we return,” I shouted at him as I wrenched open the door to the stairs and began to run down. The other four followed quickly until we reached level three. I tried to open the door but it was locked, there also was not a swipe card machine.

“Daisy, I need access to level three,” the others except for Tobi looked at me like I was going crazy, but the door clicked open and the others followed me out into the corridor.

“Was the fire protocols activated?” Tobi asked.

“Yes, Tobi, 1 minute and thirty seconds after the initial smoke was detected,” the smooth voice echoed around as I swiped my card to enter the research labs. I stopped in wonder.

“Is the fire out?”

“Fire protocols have five more minutes, but the heat has begun to dissipate,” Daisy asked. Tobi calmly followed me over to the Bio labs doors and we gained entry. The five of us stood looking through the glass unable to see any of the labs. White smoke completely hid the laboratory inside from view.

“Daisy, please turn off the alarms,” I requested then turned to Tobi, “How did you know about the fire protocols?”

“Last week when you were in your office and I come down to talk, I saw the booklet on the table and might have had a sneak peek when you went to the toilet,” he admitted, looking a tad nervous.

“Well, I’m glad you did. I would have run in there with a fire extinguisher,” I confessed. We stood in silence watching the white smoke when Larry suddenly spoke up.

“Are we going to talk about the elephant in the room?” he suggested.

“The elephant?” I asked nervously, but knew what he was going to say.

“Whose daisy?” Mac asked for him.

“Not a who, but a what,” Tobi replied.

“How do you know about her?” she asked him.

“I was in the room when she introduced herself,”

“So what is she?” Tom asked, now curious.

“DAISY is a Digital Artificial Intelligence System,” Tobi explained, “She is fully integrated into the mountain and can control the system, but she must do so under Alex’s authorisation,”

“When did you find out about her?” Mac asked.

“Three weeks ago, the day we first checked out the Bio lab,” I replied.

“Anything else you would like to admit?” Mas looked at me with anger and a little bit of betrayal.

“We were going to let the senior team know, once we were settled in well,” I explained. The senior team was me, Mac, Tom, Larry, Nate, and Tobi.

“OK, I can understand why you have not told us, we did not have the best of starts,” Larry commented leaving me stunned. In the last three weeks, he had been trying to get along better, but this was completely new for him.

“Thanks, Larry,” I turned back to the lab to find the smoke had cleared away.

“Fire Protocols complete, you may enter,” Daisy suggested then added, “The lockdown is now finished,”

“I want you to make sure VIP access is locked, so no one can leave or enter except for myself,”

“Compliance,”

“Daisy, how many people on the VIP level?” I asked, suddenly wondering.

“There are fifteen people,” she answered.

“Sweep the base, please, is there anyone else in here with us?” I asked and silence reigned for a few minutes.

“I detect twenty people, all biological counters match with the twenty on file,” she returned.

“What does that mean?” Tom asked looking at me, “Why ask those questions?”

“Can you give me a moment?” I asked and he nodded. I grabbed Tobi and we put on masks before entering the lab. I had discovered we currently had no live viruses on the base, but it helped to be careful. We took a look around and then found the culprit. In the corner was what appeared to be a microwave, but the screen was cracked and the grey metal blackened. Inside something has exploded and there were shards everywhere.

“You know what this means right?” Tobi’s muffled voice reached me.

“Yeah, I know,” I responded heavily. I patted him on the shoulder and we made our way back outside, dumping the masks along the way.

“Are you going to tell us what happened?” Mac asked.

“We have a saboteur on the base,” I revealed.

“What do you mean?”

“A Microwave was completely destroyed, someone had placed something inside that started the fire,” I told them.

“That’s why he asked if there were any other people on the base,” Tobi told them, “Alex was trying to work out if the Saboteur is one of us or an outside influence,”

“Daisy said there was no one else on the base,” Mac finally understood what was happening.

“Right,”

“So the saboteur is one of us,” Larry said, it finally clicking into place.

“I think so,” I nodded glumly, not understanding why someone would do it.

“How do know it’s not one of us?” Tom suggested, knowing that we had revealed a lot to them.

“I trust you and something in my gut tells me none of you are the culprits,” I explained looking between the two of them, “and I trust Mac and Tobi with my life so I know it’s not them,”

“Thanks,” Mac said sweetly.

“It is 6 o’clock, why don’t you lot get to bed for a little while and then if there is anything new I will wake you up, but we’ll go on as normal today,” I suggested. I got yawns and tired nods so followed them up to the VIP rooms and let everyone in. I met up with everyone in the Canteen, all wearing sleepwear and looking tired and obviously confused.

“What happened this morning?” Kelly asked, holding one of the girls in her arms.

“I apologise for the rude awakening, there was a small fire in one of the Labs, but it is now under control. Just an accident,” I explained to them and they sighed with relief, “Go on back to bed and have a lay-in, we won’t have breakfast until much later today,”

“No problem,” came a few muttered responses and everyone dispersed back to bed except for Tobi and Mac.

“You’re not going to bed,” Mac said plainly.

“No, I had a thought and I’m going to review the video footage,” I returned, “But why don’t you go back to bed until breakfast,”

“I’m going with you,” Tobi stated and got a look from his sister, “Alex might need my help with the computers and he shouldn’t go alone,”

“Be careful, the pair of you,” Mac nodded and went off.

“Go get changed and I’ll meet you in five minutes,” I told him. I went back to my own apartment and changed quickly, slipping on the wrist computer and putting my radio on my belt. I met up with Tobi a few minutes later, “I want to grab something before we go into the security office,”

The elevator was back in use, but we descended down the stairs rapidly until we reached level two. I went straight for the armoury and used my code and swipe card to gain entry. Tobi followed me in and was awed by the sight of all the weapons.

“You could arm a small army from here,” he suggested as I grabbed a holster then picked up one of the handguns, a Glock 17 which was the general service pistol. I moved over the magazines as I answered.

“We have a bigger armoury downstairs and each level has a small weapons cupboard in case of an invasion,” I told him. Tobi eyed the pistol as I put the magazine into the gun and secured it in the holster. I clipped the holster onto my jeans at the small of my back and covered it over with my jumper.

“Do you know how to use that?” He asked.

“Nate and I set up a small gun range in the mechanics bay and have been practicing for the last three weeks,” I explained.

“Why didn’t you invite me?” he asked as I ushered him out of the armoury.

“We needed to get a hang of them first before introducing anyone else,” he nodded his understanding. I opened the Security Control room and we entered, all the computers were live monitoring the Mountain. I looked at the VIP level, while there were no cameras in the apartments there were cameras outside the doors. He took a seat at the computer and began typing in commands. He bought up the footage from this morning, half an hour before the event and we watched it through until just after the event when we arrived.

“There’s nothing there,” he murmured to himself and I agreed, it was like the microwave exploded on its own, “Let me just look at something!”

“Can we trust Nate?” I suggested aloud but got no answer as Tobi’s hands were running across the keyboard furiously typing in commands.

“Ah ha, I’ve got something,” he triumphantly said.

“What?”

“Watch here,” He suggested and I looked at the time stamp on the lab video: one hour before the event. I kept watching the footage and there was a slight jump.

“Oh wow, there’s a jump there, is that not normal?” I asked.

“No, someone has looped the feedback from I hour prior to the event to about fifteen minutes before the fire. I think….” He went quiet and typed a few more commands in, “Yep, all the video footage has been tampered with, so we have no footage to who sabotaged the lab,”

“But surely they need access to a swipe card to enter the lab,”

“They do, but I’m not sure if Daisy has been compromised. If they can change video footage, they can change biometric data,” He explained.

“Well Nate has access to the video footage; do you think it could be him?” I asked, not sure whether to trust the security advisor.

”I have managed to backtrace a virus that seems to have locked the security systems for an hour,” Tobi explained, “It comes from a computer on level four, the Arcade, a little over a week ago,”

“It still could be Nate,” I pushed.

“It could have been, but it did not come from the security office,” Tobi said with finality, “If I had an opinion, I would suggest no one was out of bed this morning, the virus was automated and destroyed itself after use, setting off the microwave at an appointed time,”

“Wow, why use the ruse of making sure the cameras were looped?” I asked confused.

“I think that was to make sure we looked in the wrong direction, it’s very clever,” he admitted reluctantly.

“Are our security system still compromised?”

“I’ll have to use the Control room computers, but I should be able to weed out and destroy all traces of the virus this afternoon,” Tobi promised, “But there is only one other person, besides myself, that I know could make a virus like that,”

“Who?” I asked, but pretty sure I knew the answer.

“Talia,” he answered.

“We’ll keep an eye on her, but someone had to physically put the object in the microwave in the last few days,” I suggested and immediately Tobi went back to the keyboard.

“According to this Sarah was in the Bio Labs yesterday afternoon,”

“I do remember her and Amanda were going to check out the Labs and see if everything worked,”

“So we suspect Talia, Sarah, and Amanda,” Tobi swivelled to look at me.

“Should I bring Nate in on this?” I asked for his advice.

“Well he is the security officer,” the boy pointed out and I agreed with him.

“Ok, let’s go have a bit more sleep and I’ll possibly have a talk with Nate later today,” I suggested and we both headed back up to the VIP quarters.

~

The day had progressed as normal, this afternoon I had spent an hour or two in the lookout tower as I tried to do every couple of days to see what was happening. I had seen fires burning in the town below us and what appeared to be trucks going through the centre of town. However, we were far from anything major so I did not expect too much happening. I had seen no more alien aircraft, which was good but I was positive the tower was hidden somehow. Now I was sat in my office, reviewing the dossiers again looking for any clues that might indicate someone amongst us was a saboteur. Currently, I had Tobi’s dossier laid out before me:

 

Personality

Best Point: I’m honest, Mum reckons’ too honest

Worst Point: I get mad when my sister picks on me. And sometimes I hit her and lose my computer privileges for a week

Mannerisms: Mum says I have a habit of touching people

Morals: Mum says to be honest, live up to what god teaches us about loving each other

Fears: I have nightmares of being in the school naked, in front of the teacher

What is the thing that worries them most: I worry about making new friends; I’ve been friends with my best friend since pre-school

What do they look forward to: I’m looking forward to seeing Tom in the spring.

Temperament: I’m quite outgoing

Have they lost anything important to them: Yeah, a few hard drives for my computer

What do they hate most: Cabbage because it’s disgusting

What is most important to them: My prized Velociraptor toy from Jurassic Park 30 years ago.

 

A knock on the door broke me from my thoughts on Tobi’s dossier and made me jump.

“Come in,” I yelled and Nate poked his head around the door looking awfully nervous, “Are you OK?”

“It’s like being called up to the Headmasters office,” he laughed a little as he closed the door behind him.

“Take a seat,”

“Is this an all right time to speak? You did say you wanted to see me this afternoon,” he reminded me of my request then looked over the folders laid out across the coffee table, “Are these the dossier’s you were talking about?”

“Yeah, each one of them is all about the twenty people occupying the mountain including psychiatric reviews, past history and even the questionnaire you all filled in for the Junior Ambassador Program,”

“Oh wow, that’s pretty comprehensive,” he commented as he took a seat opposite me. I put Tobi’s file down and looked over Nate, the well-tanned thirteen-year-old gave me a small smile and spoke, “You’re making me nervous,”

“I’m sorry, we had a security breach this morning,” I told him.

“What do you mean, a security breach?” he frowned.

“That fire we told you all about was deliberately set,”

“Really? Have you checked the cameras for the culprit?”

“Tobi and I went through the video; it seems that the footage was corrupted. A virus infiltrated the system and set the microwave off, but someone had to physically put the object in the microwave,” I explained.

“What do you mean a virus?”

“A week or so ago, a virus was uploaded to the system, it wormed its way into the security system and managed a time delay on the microwave. Tobi and I initially looked into the cameras until we realised we had been duped. Tobi has been holed up in the control room looking at the security system today,” I explained to the youth.

“Do you have any suspects?”

“Well we initially suspected you as you had access to the cameras,” I told him truthfully and got a stunned reaction from him, “However once we realised it was a virus we considered Talia, however only two people entered the Bio-medical facility yesterday; Sarah and Amanda,”

“Could there be two saboteurs?” Nate considered.

“How do you mean?” I returned, the possibility of two saboteurs had not really been considered.

“Think about it, Talia would be the brains behind the operation and one of the two girls could have planted the physical device,” he reasoned and I nodded.

“Well I had not thought about it before, but you could be right,”

“So what are we going to do?”

“At this moment in time, there is not much we can do but be vigilant, but we can’t be too paranoid and make the saboteur suspicious,” I requested, “Have you got a weapon yet?”

“No, I did not think we needed one,” He answered. I lifted my belt up and showed him mine.

“I think it might be time to go get one now that we have a saboteur,” I suggested and we went to the armoury, securing him a holster and a weapon to keep on his persons. He strapped it on and I locked back up, he went back to his office and I closed my door, staring at the dossiers.

“Alex,” Tobi’s voice distracted me from my musings.

“Yes,” I replied picking up the radio.

“Can you come into the control room? I’ve got Staff Sergeant Stokes on the line,” he said.

“No problems, I’m on my way,” I returned. I put the dossiers away and locked them back up in the safe. I picked up my gun and slipped it back on my jeans before I made my way around to the control room. I slipped into the Watch Commanders room and grabbed a headset first hanging it around my neck

“Tobi, is this line secure?” I asked Tobi.

“It’s encrypted and behind a firewall,” the boy returned.

“But is it secure from within the mountain, would someone else hear it?” I was a bit concerned about the saboteur.

“I’ve created a secure line, no one outside of the control room will be able to hear it,” he answered patiently so I put the headset on.

“Sorry about that. Good evening Jerry, how’s it going?” I greeted him. In the last few weeks, we had become quite familiar and friendly as usual.

“That’s no problem, I’m good and how’s everything your end?” He returned and I took a deep breath.

“I wish I could say ‘Dead as usual’ I joked about our traditional greeting, “but we have a saboteur on base,”

“Can you repeat that?” I can imagine Stokes suddenly sitting up.

“This morning we had a fire, it was caused by a microwave and something placed inside,” I explained.

“Do you know who it could be?”

“There are some clues, but unfortunately we think a virus was planted up to a week or so ago, which disrupted our systems,”

“Keep an eye on the situation and keep us informed, we can possibly advise you,” He replied, “I also have some news for you, we lost contact with one of our other bases. We believe they were attacked by aliens,”

“What about the rest of the world?”

“We managed to re-position one of the few remaining satellites over the UK, looks like several major cities have been destroyed and we had word the Prime Minister was killed in the initial action,”

“How do you know that?” I asked, still in shock about the news of the attack on the other base.

“We made contact with a second bunker, down near London,” he reported and I nearly collapsed, would I have to give up my leadership?  “They have a couple of hundred military and about five hundred civilians they’ve rescued,”

“We’ll try contacting them,” I assured him.

“They’ve been made aware of your existence and know you are locked down for another five months,” He explained, “But they can’t do too much, most of the military has been taken out,”

“Thanks,” I almost sighed in relief, knowing we would be in here a little while longer. I had come to like the quietness and peacefulness of the mountain. Everyone was getting along better, which included Larry who seemed to have mellowed out a bit.

“No problems, hopefully, we’ll have you out soon,” he stated.

“I’m not sure I want to leave,” I admitted to him and Tobi.

“It’s definitely not brilliant out there, our base commander is trying to reassure us but even our government is in ruins,” Stokes painted a bleak picture.

“I see, is there any other news from Kelvedon or anywhere else in the world?” I asked, not sure if I wanted to know the answer or not.

“Well, as I said Kelvedon has a civilian contingent amongst its population, but from what I believe they have been in contact with some sort of makeshift British government,”

“Oh wow, is this on another base?” I asked.

“From what I’m led to understand, it is some sort of makeshift refugee camp near London that’s now the seat of power. There is a temporary Prime Minister,”

“What about anywhere else in the world?”

“We have spoken to people in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The latter two seem pretty undamaged, but obviously can’t fly their Air Force,”

“At least we have news of other surviving, what about in your country? Do you have survivors?”

“Apparently, we have made contact with some refugee camps and some civilian areas,” he replied, and then lowered his voice, “There is some sort of virus spreading like wildfire,”

“Virus?”

“People are becoming vicious and turning on others,” he returned and I thought back to my encounter a few months ago with that weird man. You could have almost called him a zombie.

“Staff sergeant Stokes, are you finished with Fort Walker?” I heard a deep voice in the background.

“Just completing the exchange of information,” Stokes replied formally and I giggled, “you’re going to get me into trouble,”

“Well, I had better let you leave, well say hello to your wife and kid,” I signed off with our usual goodbye. He had told me his wife and daughter had been rescued and was living in the bunker with many other civilians.

“I will keep an eye on that Saboteur situation,” He told me, “I’ll put it in the log and pass to senior staff. I’ll talk to you soon,”

“Goodbye,” I told him and took the headset off, taking a look at Tobi.

“See you soon, buddy,” he returned and I took the headset off.

“Are you going to contact the other base?” Tobi asked, taking off his own headset.

“Not tonight, it’s nearly dinner time then we have a curfew so maybe in the morning,” I replied, then looked at him, “How did this afternoon go?”

“Well, I’ve been through the system with a fine tooth comb and I can’t find any trace of the virus,” He explained.

“Are we safe? Is it likely to happen again?”

“Well, the security system is now behind several firewalls and data encryption that I created,” Tobi said a little smugly.

“Excuse me? Data encryption?” slightly confused I stared at him, “Are you a machine?”

“For the past several months I’ve been working on computer encryption, admittedly for an Apple iPhone, but I’ve been tinkering with it for computers,” he replied casually.

“Wow, you’re really smart,” I suggested absolutely gobsmacked.

“Not really, you just need to have a good technical skill,”

“Super-brainy,” I admired him and he blushed, “So are you saying we’re secure,”

“There should be no more attempts or at least any attempts made will fail,” he explained with a smug grin.

“I can’t believe how smart you are,”

“You know you’re going to make me blush,” he went bright red.

“Well my best friend is a genius on the level of Einstein and his sister is pretty hot too,” I teased.

“Hey, you leave my sister alone. I’ve already got Larry and Tom perving over her,” he protested.

“I think even Matty might have the hots for her, they grow up far too easily,” I told him and sighed, “I’m sure Stokes could have told you what he told me,”

“No, I thought you might want to tell him about the saboteur,” he responded.

“I see what you mean, so tell me more about the computer system,” I requested, “In layman’s terms if you don’t mind,”

“Alex, Tobi, time for dinner,” the radio on my waist squawked, scaring the crap out of me.

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,” I swore.

“Ha, there are claw marks on the room,” Tobi laughed at me so I grabbed him and tickled him.

“Just you wait, little bear, I’m going to scare the knickers off you,”

“You and what army,” he responded and took off for the door.

Five minutes later we walked through the doors to the VIP apartment, discussing the latest news.

“SURPRISE!” everyone shouted. I had completely forgotten about Tobi’s birthday dinner. He had turned twelve a few days ago and we’d tried to find some presents, but not much you can give in an underground bunker. Above the kitchen door hung a Happy Birthday banner and everyone was cheering, including Larry and Tom. Amanda still slunk near the back but I could deal with her.

“Is this for me?”

“Well I thought you had a birthday, but I could be wrong,” I returned sarcastically.

“Thanks,” he squealed and hugged me hard.

“Actually it was your sister and Simon that arranged it all,” I told him. Tobi surprised us all by first hugging Simon, and then enveloped his sister in a hug. I smiled as he released her and went over to Noah and Ben, who then started talking about something. Simon was stood by a table full of food so I approached him.

“This is not your usual stuff?” I asked, curiously looking at the party food such as sausage rolls, mini scotch eggs, and crisps etc.

“I found it last week, I’m guessing it is probably for banquets or lunch meetings for the VIP guests,” Simon explained, happy Tobi had enjoyed the surprise.

“Well Tobi seems to love it,” I could see he had grabbed and plate and was eating as he chatted to Ben and Matty now. I thanked him and grabbed a few bits of food myself before collaring the senior team. In the last few weeks the senior team consisting of myself, Mac, Larry, Tom, and Nate had been meeting to plan the next six months and the inevitable opening of the mountain. Sometimes Kelly came to the meetings and Noah usually observed, but I kept him out for a reason.

“Tobi mentioned you spoke to Stokes tonight,” Mac said as we found a quiet spoke to overlook the party, but out of earshot of everyone.

“When did he tell you that?” I was surprised he’d had the chance to tell her in the few minutes since our arrival and his chowing down on the food.

“When he hugged me, I asked about him being down in the control room,” she replied nonchalantly.

“Yes, Stokes was online tonight,” I explained and continued to tell them about the conversation we had including about the Saboteur. I also let the others know about our findings regarding the saboteur.

“Are you going to try contacting the other base?” Larry echoed Tobi’s question from earlier, looking at me sceptically

“Tomorrow, I promise, it’s late tonight and it can wait another day,” I assured him, “I’ll start my search for the right frequency early tomorrow,”

“Will they come to rescue us?” Larry asked eagerly.

“It depends if they have the vehicles and manpower, I think the aliens took everyone by surprise,” I commented, “But we’re still locked for another five months regardless,”

“OK,” he suddenly looked dejected.

“But what about Sergeant Stokes other news? About the base being overrun,” Mac spoke up, “Should we be worried?”

“I don’t believe we are, the mountain is locked down as of right now and they are unlikely to get in,” I assured them though I was not so confident myself about that, “Besides I think we are pretty well hidden down here,”

“That’s a relief,” Tom added. I noticed the tension release from their faces.

“I’ll head up to the tower more often and keep an eye on things. But we need to set up a rota to get people observing from up there, we also need to set up a proper watch in the Control room,” I told them. We discussed a few more ‘admin’ issues and then they wandered off. I walked around a bit and chatted with some of the others, before heading to my apartment. I had taken one of the game systems from the Games room on level four and set it up in the living room of my apartment. All the younger boys were taking a turn in a competition on a shoot-em-up.

 

As the night wore on, everyone slowly returned to apartments and to bed. Eventually, it was just Mac and I playing on the game system with birthday boy completely zonked out on the couch. After the latest match, she got up and stretched and walked out onto the balcony, looking down at the valley below. I followed her out and felt a breeze on my face as I leaned on the railing.

“Where’s Matty gone?” she asked looking down at the barely lit town in the valley.

“For a sleepover, he and Ben are in Nate’s apartment with Luca and Simon,”

“So you have the apartment to yourself then?”

“Should be quite peaceful, at least I’ll have no one snoring the joint down,” I laughed.

“So you really think we’re going to be all right down here?” Mas asked, uncertain.

“I don’t know,” I admitted, taking a seat on the balcony. She settled in one of the other seats and looked at me so I continued, “I’m pretty sure we are well hidden, but we’ve already had one act of sabotage, we still have no idea who that is,”

“But you told us tonight you suspected someone,”

“We’ve got a few people, Tobi and I believe it could be,” I shrugged my shoulders.

“Do you trust Tom and Larry?” She asked the question I knew she had been dying to ask since this morning.

“As much as they are bullies, they’ve been helpful the last few weeks and you have to admit, Larry’s improved his attitude,” I suggested.

“But are they trustworthy?”

“I don’t think either of them would intentionally sabotage the base,” I replied finally.

“But we don’t know everyone, obviously we’ve always known Tom and Larry but some of the others, we’ve only met very recently,” she continued.

“I know, which is why I was reluctant to tell Nate, but I have to trust someone or we’ll all turn paranoid,” I answered, “I noticed Larry was checking everyone at the Lagoon today. We don’t want to be divided amongst ourselves with suspicion,”

“I know, you’re my oldest friend so I’ll trust you,” she complimented me.

“Why haven’t we been better friends the last six months?” I asked suddenly.

“I don’t know, you had your thing and I made new friends,”

“With the plastic fantastic,” I teased her mercilessly.

“You dope, at least I wasn’t holed up in my bedroom staring at the computer like a vampire,” she joked back.

“Hey, I got out for some fresh air,” I defended myself.

“You’re still a nerd,” she returned.

“And you’re still a Barbie,” stuck my tongue out at her and she smiled, before getting up and stretching.

“Well I better go get sleepyhead back to the apartment,” she turned and walked back inside.

“You might as well leave him there, I’ll get a blanket for him and he can sleep until morning,” I suggested. He looked so peaceful; I didn’t want to wake him up. She looked at me as though weighing me up and then nodded.

“All right then, send him over tomorrow morning,” she gave me a small wave and let herself out the front door. I sighed and closed the door to the balcony, looking at Tobi. He looked angelic while asleep, but very uncomfortable. I managed to get him lifted up and he curled into me and stayed asleep so I put him into my bed with his clothes on. I took his shoes off and pulled the cover over him. I gave him a smile and then went to find covers for the couch.

 

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