Read Chapter 1 “An Unknown Woman”
– “You need our help?” Patrick asked in disbelieve. He tried his hardest to make his voice was calm and steady. His control was indeed coming back. As always the blue pill has worked its toxic magic throughout his body and mind.
– “No,” says Maggie “I need your help, Patrick. No one else is to be involved from the Old World.”
– “This isn’t a decision I can make.” He replayed and immediately felt like he was letting her down. He waited for so long for Maggie to come back and… and in no time at all he managed to disappoint her. His thoughts were racing fast and he wondered how could he possibly help her? The Ecotopians have developed a much more sophisticated communication system than the Old World has ever seen. In theory, his assistance wouldn’t be of much use or would it? What does the Old World have that she needs? – he pondered.
– “After all those years you still can’t make independent decisions. How frustrating it must be?!” – Maggie teased him.
Maggie has never been politically correct and never wanted to be. Her big mouth usually got her in trouble, and Patrick’s job was always to either get her out of trouble. At least this is how he perceived their relationship. She was the one who needed saving and he was the saviour.
– “You haven’t changed much, have you?”
– “You want to know what the Ecotiopians are working on at the moment? It’s huge.” – she uttered with so much conviction that it was hard not to take her seriously.
– “Why? Why would you give up all this information?” Since Patrick’s anxiety attack passed, he felt strong enough to ask questions, even though the whole encounter was as uncomfortable for him as it was for Maggie. His duty was to interrogate the woman he loved, who should have been his mortal enemy in this divided world. But she wasn’t and he couldn’t be the harsh version of himself he usually was while in the interrogation room.
– “The new technology will help us win the revolution. The New World will rule over the Old World, taking over every single inch of everything you have built in the Above and taking our land back. Is this what you want, Patrick? Is this what the Above would want?” The confidence and conviction in her voice were chilling, especially for the Ground Guards listening in the communication room who knew nothing about Maggie’s and Patrick’s past.
– “If you are so certain about your… whatever it is you are developing, what are you doing here Maggie? Why would you, from all people, give up that information?” – asked Patrick, who couldn’t figure out Maggie’s intentions.
– “As I said I need your help.”
– “What kind of help?”
– “I can’t say. With all this…” – pointing to every corner of the room: “…listening.”
– “Maggie, you want me to go to the Above and ask them to grant me permission to help you with something. And you won’t even tell me what that is. “
– “That is correct.”
She touches his hand, which he quickly pulls away from the table. But her soft, warm touch lingers on, bringing back all those happy memories of their youth together.
– “Believe me; you want to help me. You know who I am. You know what kind of information I have access to, and you know you can trust me.”
His heart and thoughts begin to race; his rational thinking has stopped the moment he knew who the unknown woman was. He wants to help her, and deep down he knows he should help her. She is the only family he ever had after his parents disappeared. If it weren’t for Maggie’s family, he would have inevitably ended up in social care and never made to the top in the Old World. But so much has changed since the revolution.
However, in a moment of spontaneity, filled with memories of their adventurous childhood together, Sunday brunches, and hot summers full of homemade food and baking smells, he turns to his personal drone and says.
– “Cut the…” – the drone delivers faster than Patrick can finish his sentence. It cuts the power to the main transmitter, which practically means that neither the Ground Guards nor the Above can follow the conversation from now on.
– “Maggie, as much as I am… happy to see you, you can’t be here; you can’t be talking to me. The Above will come and get you, and I won’t be able to protect you. Why are you here?” – He looks nervously at his personal drone who will restore the power any second now. Cutting the power off is risky enough but having it off for too long would mean his drone would have to be scrapped. Patrick has been with his personal drone for years now and has no desire to get a new one, which most likely would come equipped with sophisticated control tools and be fully compliant with the Above’s orders.
– “Your” – Maggie hesitates, takes a deep breath: “our children… are lost somewhere in the Old World. I have to find them before they do.” – Patrick’s personal drone restores the transmission.
Patrick is very silent and still. However, this time his inability to respond isn’t caused by a panic attack, he is trying to figure out how on Earth the Old World never knew about Maggie’s kids. And, why she never told him that he was a father.
Maggie anxiously looked at Patrick, but she couldn’t read him, a sliver of doubt entered her mind. Was her plan going to work? What if Patrick has changed so much over the years and the person she once loved is gone? What if he decided to use her against the New World? Fear started spreading in Maggie’s stomach. For a brief moment, she closed her eyes trying to stop the flow of all the negative emotions. When she opened them again, Patrick was looking right back at her with tears in his eyes. She expected him to say something; she needed him to say something, but instead, he abruptly stood up, knocking down his chair. His drone opened the door for him before he even got a chance to give his instructions and just like that Patrick was gone.