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- Story Listed as: Fiction For Teens
- Theme: Adventure stories
- Subject: Power / Abuse of Power
- Published: 06/11/2019
Life was good in the city of Efporia. Its citizens, called the Elites, were rushing to work in their flying cars and bullet trains. Indeed, they enjoyed these luxuries that were available only to them.
At the Efporian Palace, President Stephan Pearson was by his window, gazing at the great wall that protected Efporia. It will take more than that to protect us now, he thought.
His secretary walked in. “Sir, I hope I’m not bothering you.”
“Come in,” said Pearson. “So is it true?”
“Yes, Sir,” she answered. “There are still some Freedom Fighters left in Anecheia.”
Pearson’s eyes widened. “What about the scientists? Hasn’t anybody figured out how to make the toxic bomb?”
“I’m afraid not.”
President Pearson slumped into his chair.
“Perhaps,” said his secretary, “you will find someone at the IQ tests who can actually complete the formula.”
“Let’s hope so,” said Pearson. “This bomb will make sure that the Freedom Fighters never regain the courage to revolt as they did before.”
Beyond the wall of Efporia was the town of Anecheia. This was where all the people, whom the Elites called Proletarians, were forced to live. Unlike the urban Efporia, Anecheia was ravaged by poverty, leaving its citizens no choice but to struggle just to make ends meet.
Robin Marx was standing just outside the divide between the two cities. When will I ever get in there? She wondered.
“Day dreaming again are we?” asked a voice from behind. Robin’s friend, Shelly joined her.
“Hi, Shelly,” greeted Robin. “I guess I’m kind of a hypocrite for wanting to be an Elite.”
“Not at all,” answered Shelly. “There isn’t one Proletarian who wouldn’t want that. And you just might have a shot, with the IQ Tests coming up.”
“You really think I have a chance?” asked Robin.
“Of course, you’re the smartest girl I know.”
Robin was in her room studying for the IQ Tests. She scratched her head trying to solve the equation. What’s the point? She asked herself. Do I actually think I can beat ninety-nine other geniuses?
Just then, her father, James Marx, walked in. “I see you’re getting ready for tomorrow.” He looked over at her bed and saw a book entitled, “The Life of David Rogue.”
“Oh, that’s nothing,” said Robin. She hurried to hide the book in her bedside drawer. “I got bored and this was the only book in the library that I hadn’t read cover to cover.”
“Robin,” said James, “you know how I feel about you reading this stuff.”
“But isn’t it good to learn about your town’s history?” asked Robin. “The rebellion led by David Rogue was one of the most significant events in Anecheia.”
“There’s no point in digging up the past,” said James. “I just don’t want you to get distracted. You need to focus if you’re gonna win the contest.”
It was the day of the IQ Tests. Brilliant minds from all across Anecheia were to compete for a chance at a career in Efporia.
“Time starts now,” said the announcer.
For five minutes, the only sound that could be heard was that of chalk running across the board. The contestants were racing against time as they solved their equations.
Come on, Robin. You can do it. The seventeen year old was down to the last problem. Just one more variable… “I’m done!”
“Already?” asked the announcer. “Well you win for speed. But let’s check for accuracy.” He went over Robin’s work. “They’re all correct. Congratulations, Miss Marx. You are the winner of this year’s IQ Tests.”
Robin was on top of the world. But then it dawned on her. Now she had to leave her home and her family.
Robin was packing her things for the trip to Efporia. She stared at a picture of her and her father. If only I could take you with me, she thought.
James walked in. “Well, you pack fast. Need any help?”
“No I think I’m just about done,” said Robin. “Dad, I’ve been thinking. Maybe I don’t have to go. This is my home and I’d miss you too much.”
“Robin,” said James, “You have to go. This is an opportunity you can’t pass up. A chance to use your genius.”
“I know. I just can’t imagine leaving all this behind.”
James pulled a red bracelet out of his pocket. “This is for you to remember me by.” He placed it on her wrist. “Promise me you will never take it off.”
James sat his daughter down. “Robin, no matter how the Elites treat you, I want you to remember that you are a Proletarian. So don’t ever be ashamed of that.”
A limousine pulled up in front of their house. Some men from Efporia had come to collect Robin.
Robin got into the car. Whew! Fancy. She peeped out the back window and waved goodbye.
Her father waved back. “Be careful, Robin,” he whispered.
As the limo entered Efporia, Robin gazed at all the sights. She had never been in such an urban environment.
“Wow!” Robin exclaimed. “This place is amazing.”
“That’s nothing,” said the driver. “Wait until we get to the Efporian Science Institute.”
At the Efporian Institute, Robin was brought to her room in the dormitory. The wide eyed girl reached for the doorknob but found none.
“It’s automatic, Ma’am,” said the room girl.
The door opened and Robin stepped inside. “Whoa! Futuristic.”
“Here are all your bags,” said the room girl. “I hope this is satisfactory.”
“It’s more than that,” said Robin. “Thank you.”
“Oh, um… you’re welcome.”
“What’s wrong?” asked Robin.
“Nothing,” said the room girl. “It’s just…Elites don’t thank the helps.”
“Well I’m a Proletarian. And I was taught to be grateful.”
The room girl smiled and walked out.
Robin explored her room. It was huge. The walls were white and spotless. Everything was neat and tidy.
On her bed, Robin found a platinum gray suit. She tried it on and looked in the mirror. Not bad, she thought. Looks like I’m gonna fit right in.
The next day, Robin reported for duty at the ESI. She went around the building, looking for her office. Nobody told me how big this place was.
Marvin, the head scientist, came to meet her. “Robin Marx,” he greeted, “we’ve been expecting you. I’m Marvin.” He shook her hand. “Let me show you to your workplace.”
At the office, Robin saw a giant computer with an equation on the screen. “Is this what I’m supposed to be working on?”
“Yes,” answered Marvin. “We’ve been trying to solve this equation for months but not even the best of us have been able to.”
Robin read the formula. “This looks some kind of chemical bomb.”
“I can see why they got you for this job,” said Marvin.
“What is this for?”
“I’m not allowed to disclose that,” answered Marvin. “I’ll leave you to your work.”
Robin got to figuring out the problem. She studied the page from top to bottom. I’ve never solved anything this advanced before.
As she examined the formula, she started to put the pieces together. It was taxing on her brain but the young scientist managed to make some progress.
By the end of her shift, Robin still hadn’t completed the equation. What am I missing? She wondered. Oh well, I can finish this tomorrow.
As she was getting ready to leave, a man in a black uniform approached her. He was tall and very muscular.
“Good evening, Miss Marx,” he greeted. “Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Dax Carson. I work for President Pearson.”
“Hi, Dax,” said Robin. “What can I do for you?”
“The President has invited you to dinner. He sent me to escort you.”
At Pearson’s mansion, small talk and banter echoed around the table as Robin dined with Stephan and his wife, Camille.
“As leader of Efporia,” said Pearson, “I’d like to be the first to say thank you for your services. We are honored to have a genius like you helping us.”
“Thank you for the opportunity,” said Robin.
“How is your project going?” asked Camille.
“I’ll admit it’s quite complicated, but I assure you I’m doing everything I can to finish it.” Robin thought for a moment. “May I ask what the bomb is for?”
Camille glanced at her husband.
Pearson answered, “I’m sure you know that there are many who would like to take our city and destroy our way of life. This weapon is merely a means to scare off any outside threats.”
“We wouldn’t want a repeat of David Rogue,” Camille chimed in.
“Oh I don’t know,” said Robin. “David Rogue wasn’t that bad. His methods might have been a bit extreme but he believed in equality which is what every government should stand for. Don’t you think?”
The room was silent.
Robin froze in her seat.
“Well,” said Pearson, “It’s good to see you have a mind of your own.”
Robin was working on the toxic bomb formula. As she was writing some notes, her pencil broke. She looked around her desk for a sharpener. Oh man! I knew I forgot something.
Robin went to her colleague in the next cubicle. “Excuse me,” she said. “I’m Robin. I don’t mean to intrude but I forgot my sharpener and I’d really appreciate it if you had one I could use.”
“Sure,” said the scientist. She handed it to Robin. “Hey, you’re that Marx girl from Anecheaia.”
Robin smiled. “That’s me.”
“My name’s Claire. I gotta say, I heard quite a press release about you. They say you’re the most brilliant employee this institution has ever had.”
“Well I’m not the only genius here,” answered Robin. She glanced at Claire’s computer. “Is that a—“
“Yes indeed,” said Claire. “That’s an electromagnetic pulse bomb. President’s orders.”
“I don’t understand,” said Robin. “If we already have the toxin bomb, what do we need an EMP for?”
“Pearson’s not planning to use it. He just wanted me to make one so that we could learn how to protect ourselves from the damage it could cause.”
“They weren’t kidding when they said only the best worked here,” said Robin. “Well I’d better get back to work. Thanks for the sharpener.”
Agent Dax Carson, Pearson’s head assassin, was called in to the Efporian Palace. “How can I be of service to you, Mr. President?”
“It’s that Proletarian, Marx,” said Pearson. “She’s a freethinker, a fan of David Rogue. I want you to keep an eye on her.”
“That wouldn’t be the first time someone expressed admiration for Rogue,” said Dax. “There’s something else, isn’t there?”
Pearson was silent.
“You think it’s her?”
“We always knew she was out there,” answered Pearson. “And the resemblance between her and David is undeniable.”
“Shall I take care of her?” asked Dax.
“Not until we know for sure.” Pearson took out a tube for blood samples and handed it to Dax.
Robin was once again trying to solve the equation for the toxin bomb. This is impossible. She stared at the blank space. What am I missing?
She went over her notes and then over the screen. Of course! Why didn’t I see this before? Robin found the missing piece of the puzzle. ESI is gonna be so pleased.
But then, she realized something. What if Pearson was lying? What if they were going to use the weapon on innocent people?
While she was still pondering on what to do, Dax entered her office. “How’s the formula?” he asked.
“Oh…uh it’s going great,” said Robin. “But I’m still looking for the missing link. So it’s gonna take a while.”
“Well I’m here to collect a blood sample from you,”
“It’s protocol,” said Dax. “We ask all our employees to make sure they don’t have any infectious diseases.”
“Why didn’t they take mine when I first got here?” asked Robin.
“Look, Marx,” said Dax, “I don’t know how you do things in Anecheaia but here, when you’re told to do something, you don’t ask questions. You cooperate.”
Robin gave her finger. Dax pricked it, causing her to flinch.
“Is that all it takes to rattle you?” asked Dax. He took the tube and left.
Robin was at the canteen for lunch. Wow! This place is packed. She went around searching for a table.
Claire called from across the room, “Over here, Robin.”
Robin took a seat. “Thanks, Claire. I thought I’d have to eat in the utility closet.”
“No problem,” said Claire. “By the way this is Bobby.” She pointed to a young man sitting next to her. “He’s the janitor around here.”
“Well you do a great job of keeping things spick and span,” said Robin.
“Thank you very much, Ma’am,” said Bobby.
“Hey, guys,” said Robin. “Were you ever required to give a blood sample when you were hired?”
“No,” answered Claire. “Why?”
“Dax came and demanded I give him one. Said it was protocol.”
“They’re probably becoming paranoid,” said Bobby. He gulped down his soda. “Can’t say I’m surprised. With all the rumors going around.”
Claire chimed in, “Especially if they believe Rogue’s daughter is still out there.”
Robin almost choked on her protein bar. “David Rogue had a daughter?” Maybe I don’t know everything about him. “Is she still alive?”
“No one knows for sure,” answered Bobby. “But it would be better if she wasn’t, considering Pearson’s plan to destroy the Freedom Fighters.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Didn’t you know?” asked Claire. “President Pearson is gonna drop that bomb you’re making on Anecheaia to ensure no one threatens his authority again.”
Robin couldn’t speak.
“Are you ok?” asked Bobby. “You look pale.”
“Will you excuse me for a minute?” asked Robin. “I’m feeling a little nauseous.”
Robin ran to the bathroom. She slammed the door behind her. I’m such an idiot! I’ve been building my own people’s downfall. She paced the floor. What am I gonna do? If I try to stop them, they’ll have my head.
Robin looked in the mirror. She remembered what her father said before she left. I’m a Proletarian. And I am going to fight for my people.
Dax burst into the President’s office. “Sir, Robin’s DNA was a match.”
Pearson got up from his chair.
“Just give me the word,” said Dax.
“As soon as she finishes the toxin bomb, you do what we should’ve done from the start.”
At midnight, Robin snuck into her office. She opened her computer and began deleting all the work she had done on the toxin bomb. Let’s see how tough you are without your doomsday device.
“A little late to be working isn’t it?”
Robin turned around. “Dax! I…I was just finishing up around here.” She hurried to shut the computer off. “You know how it is when you’re so engrossed with a project. You can’t get it out of your head.”
“Drop the act, Robin,” said Dax. “You and I both know why you’re here.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” answered Robin. “Let’s stop all this pretending. I know all about President Pearson’s plan to destroy Anecheaia.”
“So you found out our secret,” said Dax. “Well I discovered yours too, Miss Marx. Or should I say Miss Rogue?”
“What are you talking about?” asked Robin.
Dax grabbed her by the throat. “I looked your father in the eye when I killed him. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.”
All of a sudden, smoke surrounded them. Someone hit Dax from behind and knocked him out. The man took Robin and led her outside.
“Dad?” asked Robin.
“It’s OK,” said James. “You’re safe now.”
The two of them made a break for the city gate. Security personnel ran after them, firing their guns. James shot back, never missing his target.
James and Robin were driving back to Anechaeia. The car ride was quiet. Neither one of them had said a word since escaping Efporia.
“How did you find me?” asked Robin.
“I put a tracking device in that bracelet I gave you,” answered James.
“Where did you even get that kind of technology?”
Her father didn’t answer.
“Dad, am I David Rogue’s daughter?”
“Yes, you are.” answered James.
“What is going on?” asked the seventeen year old.
“I’ll explain everything later. But now, we have to get you some place safe.”
James drove into an underground building that resembled an old warehouse. Despite its appearance, it contained technology that was alien to all of Anecheaia.
“Where are we?” asked Robin.
“Freedom Fighter’s H.Q.,” answered James.
As the two went around, everyone in the room stared at Robin. None of them had ever seen her before.
“Intruder alert!” cried a young man sitting by some computers.
“Geo, it’s Okay,” said James. “Everyone, this is Robin.”
A woman walked up to James and whispered, “The Robin?”
“Did you show her the clip?” she asked.
“Not yet,” said James.
The woman turned to Robin. “Well it’s nice to meet you, Robin. I’m Sarah.” She pointed to the young man that had panicked. “Over there is Geo, our computer analyst. He’s a little jumpy. In case you haven’t noticed.”
Robin giggled. “So this is where you guys have been hiding all these years.”
“Pretty impressive huh?” bragged Geo.
“Look,” said Robin, “if you are the Freedom Fighters, you’re in great danger. President Pearson wants to eradicate you.”
“What are you talking about?” asked Sarah.
“He was going to drop a toxin bomb on Anecheaia.”
“Wait a minute,” said Geo. “I thought no one had figured out how to make one of those.”
“That’s exactly why they held those IQ Tests—to find someone who could,” answered Robin.
“Where is the bomb now?” asked Sarah.
“It was never built,” said Robin. “I deleted all the plans for it. They can’t build another one without my help.”
“That is so awesome!” exclaimed Geo. “You totally foiled their plot.”
“For now,” said Robin. “But that’s not enough to keep us safe. What are we gonna do?”
“We are going to come up with a solution,” said James. “You are going to rest. You’ve had a long day.”
Robin was given a room inside Head Quarters. She changed into some clothes she found on a chair in the corner.
She stared at her Elite uniform. Everything that had happened in Efporia played in her mind. She took the suit and began tearing it up. You used me. You lied to me. I almost killed my own people!
Outside, Robin was burning the pieces of her Elite uniform. She sat down, placing her hands on her face.
Her father, James, sat beside her. “You okay?”
“I don’t know,” answered Robin. “I can’t believe I actually helped them try to destroy us.”
“You can’t blame yourself,” said her father. “Listen, there’s something I need to show you.”
James took his daughter inside a room where there was a flat screen TV. He put in a tape and turned up the volume. A video of none other than David Rogue began to play.
“Hello, Robin,” said David. “If you’re watching this, that means I’m dead.
“But I wouldn’t be doing my job as a father if I didn’t tell you the truth. And the truth is you were born into a cruel world, a world that only has room for the rich and mighty, but casts out those it deems weak.
“But no matter what anyone says, you are not weak. You are my daughter. And that means you’re a fighter.
“And I can promise that you will have to join in the war. But Robin, don’t ever let the war get in you. That’s what I did and look where it got me.
“Also, be good to James. Respect him the way you would me. The fact that he let you watch this proves that he loves you as his own.
“I love you, my Robin. If you only remember one thing from this message, remember that.”
A tear ran down Robin’s cheek.
James stopped the video. “Before your father left for battle,” he explained, “he entrusted you to my care. He made me promise never to let you know you were his unless necessary.”
Robin hugged James. “Thank you for everything.”
James was conducting a meeting with the Freedom Fighters. “We need to find a way to stop the Elites from destroying us. Who’s got ideas?”
Robin raised her hand. “What if we detonated an EMP over Efporia?”
“That would be a brilliant idea,” said Geo, “if we only had one.”
“We could make one,” said Robin. “There’s a blueprint with instructions back in Efporia.”
“Are you crazy?” asked James. “You saw what happened last time you were there.”
“No. You said you deleted the plans for the toxin bomb. That should give us enough time to find out how to stop them. We’ve done it before.”
“You mean when we lost David?” asked Sarah.
“Precisely,” answered James. “And I’m not about to lose his daughter too. Everyone stays here.”
In the middle of the night, Robin peeped out her door. Seeing no one was around, she tiptoed past her father’s room.
She was about to climb out the hatch of Headquarters when she bumped into someone. “Geo?”
“Robin! What are you doing up so late?”
“Oh…I… I’m just…,”
“Are you sneaking out?” asked Geo. He gasped, “You’re going to Efporia, aren’t you?”
“I have to,” said Robin. “Pearson will stop at nothing to get us. It’s only a matter of time before he launches some other attack.”
“You can’t go by yourself,” said Geo. “I’m coming with you.”
“Geo, I can’t ask you to—“
“If something goes wrong with the computers, I can help.”
“Alright, let’s go.”
At the Efporian Science Institute, Robin and Geo were crawling through the air tunnels. They made it to the offices and went down through the vent.
“It’s a good thing you know where these tunnels lead,” said Geo.
“I got bored one weekend,” said Robin, “so I decided to study the air tunnels in this building.”
Robin found Claire’s computer. “Did you bring the PDA?”
Geo took it out of his pocket.
Robin plugged it in and transferred the EMP file. You’re in for a surprise, Pearson.
“Uh, Robin,” Geo stuttered.
“Not now, Geo.”
“You might want to see this.”
“What?” Robin turned around and there was Dax.
“This is quite the déjà vu moment.” Dax placed his hand on his gun.
“Geo, take the PDA.” Robin passed it to him.
Dax smirked. “Now I get two for the price of one.”
“Leave him alone,” said Robin. “It’s me you want.”
“Right you are.”
“Geo, run!” Robin charged at Dax. The two of them struggled.
Geo ran out of the building. How will I explain this to James?
Dax overpowered Robin and brought her to President Pearson. “Look who I found sneaking around.” He threw her on the floor. The assassin pointed his gun at her head. “Shall I get rid of all your problems, Sir?”
“Use your brain for once, Dax,” answered Pearson. “We still need her to make the plans for our toxin bomb.”
“You think this brat is gonna help us?” asked Dax.
“I know she won’t. That’s why you’re going to make her.”
Dax looked over at Robin. “Oh, there’s nothing I’d enjoy more.”
Meanwhile, Geo arrived back at the Freedom Fighter’s Head Quarters. He spotted James and Sarah talking.
“Geo!” exclaimed Sarah. “Where have you been?”
“Is Robin with you?” asked James.
“I wish she were. The Efporians have her.”
“You left her?” asked James. “How could you?”
“I had to,” said Geo. “It was the only way to get the EMP blueprint back here.”
“That doesn’t make up for you leaving her behind. She could be killed!”
“James,” said Sarah, “if she really is David’s daughter, then you know there’s no stopping her.”
“We can still save her,” said Geo. “If I can put together this bomb, we can beat Efporia and get Robin back.”
“Let’s get to work,” said James.
In President Pearson’s mansion, Dax was holding Robin prisoner in the basement. There were all sorts of weapons and contraptions designed to break even the strongest soldier.
“I bet you thought you could make a difference,” said Dax. “Well you can. For us.”
Robin gave no response.
Dax grabbed her by the hair. “Listen up. I’m done playing games. You’re going to make the toxin bomb or you’ll never see your pathetic home again.”
“I’ll never see it again either way,” Robin answered.
Dax slapped her in the face. He picked her up and punched her. “You may be a rebel, but you will never be David Rogue.” He slammed her against the wall.
Sarah was walking through Head Quarters checking on everyone’s work. “How’s it going so far, Geo?”
“Not too good,” he answered. “I’ve never built anything like this before.”
“Well you’d better give it your all,” said James. “My daughter’s life is riding on this.”
James went outside. His thoughts drifted toward Robin. What are they doing to my little girl?
Sarah joined him. “James, you know you can’t blame yourself.”
“What if I was wrong?” he asked. “I should have never told her the truth. What would David say?”
“I’ll tell you what he’d say,” said Sarah. “He would thank you for raising Robin to be the smart and courageous girl that she is.”
Geo was putting together the EMP bomb. Come on, baby. He finished the weapon. “I got it!” Hold on, Robin. We’re coming. Geo rushed to tell the others.
Dax tied a bloody Robin to a chair. “Are you gonna build it or not?”
Face covered in bruises, Robin struggled to lift her head. “Never.”
“I guess you’re tougher than I first thought.” Dax took out an electric blade. “But even the toughest warriors have their limits.”
He was about to cut Robin when the lights went out. The blade stopped working.
“Oh no!” Dax knew exactly what was going on. He ran outside, shutting the door behind him.
“Go get ‘em, Dad,” Robin whispered.
The once bright and prosperous Efporia was now a dark battlefield. The smell of gun powder filled the air as the Freedom Fighters fought to overthrow their foes.
The Elites gathered all their strength and tried to protect their home. But the EMP bomb had rendered their entire defense system powerless. Their dependence on technology had become their downfall.
Sarah charged into President Pearson’s mansion. She found him staring out his window. “It’s over Stephan.” She handcuffed him and brought him downstairs.
James hurried to find Robin. Holding up his flashlight, he searched through the halls of the mansion. “Robin, where are you?”
Robin mustered all her energy and shouted, “Daddy! In here.”
James flung the door of the basement open. “Robin!” He helped her up. “It’s okay now.”
Robin looked up at her father. “Dad, I’m sorry I snuck out.”
James gazed at her injuries. “I’d like to ground you but I think you’ve been through enough for one day.”
Robin smiled and leaned on him.
A week later, Robin was called into Head Quarters. I hope it’s nothing serious, she thought as she walked through the doors.
Sarah came to meet her. “Good to see your wounds have healed.”
“Sure is,” said Robin. “You wanted to see me?”
Before Sarah could answer, James came in with Dax tied up and bound. James pushed him to the middle of the room.
“What’s he doing here?” asked Robin.
“According to our rules of combat,” said Sarah, “the soldier who gets injured the most in battle may be given one prisoner to do whatever they want with.”
Robin gazed at Dax. She picked up a knife and crept towards him. “Look at me,” she said.
Dax looked up, fear evident in his eyes.
Robin threw the knife on the ground. “I believe in justice but not revenge. Now you see which one of us is the true warrior.”
Robin turned to Sarah. “There wasn’t any rule was there?”
Sarah answered, “Your father would be very proud of you.”
The gang went to Efporia to see how the reconstruction was going. They gazed at the pile of rubble and debris. It was going to be a long time before anyone could inhabit the city again.
“Man!” exclaimed Geo. “This place is a dump.”
“It’s our dump now,” said Sarah.
“What are we gonna do with it?” asked the young computer analyst.
“We rebuild,” answered Robin, “until it’s the utopia David Rogue always dreamt of.”