Inside Out Page 58

“We have me, my father and Doctor Lamont. I have a cousin in mechanical that I can trust. Who else did Domotor mention?”

“Kiana Garrard, Hana Mineko, Takia Qadim and Breana Narelle. But one of them works for the Trava family. Logan might be able to tell us which one.”

Riley wound the couch’s thread around his hand. “I’ve heard of Takia. She works in the Control Room. One of only two people who are not Travas. I’ve met Breana and Hana. They were part of my father’s training group, but he hasn’t visited with them in hundreds of weeks. I never heard of Kiana Garrard. Do you know which system she works in?”

“No. We need Logan.”

“You’re in no condition to bring him through the air shafts.”

I agreed. LC Karla was occupied with locating Domotor. Perhaps Logan could take the lift. It would be a matter of timing, and Logan being able to find the Pop Cop uniform I had hidden. I shared my idea with Riley.

“It could work as long as his nerves don’t give him away. How are you going to contact him?”

I showed Riley the listening device.

He whistled. “When you decide to break the law, you certainly don’t skimp. Illegal technology and a stolen Pop Cop uniform.”

“Borrowed. You’re not exactly Mr. Law-and-Order. In fact…” I had an idea.

“Oh no. This can’t be good.”

“Is there any way you can pick up an audio signal?” I asked.

He took the device and examined it. “If I had the frequency, yes. Why?”

“There is one of these hidden in Karla’s office. Knowing her plans will help us.”

His surprise didn’t last long. “Gee, I wonder how it got there,” he said with a light sarcasm.

“No idea,” I said, playing along. “Kids these weeks.” I tsked. “Always getting into trouble. Not like me, I’m the soul of conformity.”

He laughed. “We should make that your code name. Soul of Conformity or SOC for short.”

After Riley left, I contacted Jacy through the device, telling him about our plans. “Send Logan up at hour twenty-six. He tends to get nervous so it would be a good time for another distraction. I also need the frequency of the bug in Karla’s office.”

If all went as planned at hour twenty-six, Logan would dress in the Pop Cop uniform and take the lift to level four where Riley would be waiting to escort him to our storeroom.

Realizing I’d used our instead of Riley’s, I grunted with amusement. Storeroom also failed as a descriptor. Recent events had transformed the room into an infirmary, a hideout and a bedroom. Riley had ordered me to rest.

I wormed into a comfortable position, but my thoughts swirled with worries and my hip ached. Giving up, I scanned the room for something to distract me. Besides Riley’s electrical sketches, nothing caught my eye. I could understand why Domotor hadn’t waited for Logan. Boredom was worse than unclogging pipes for waste handling.

A little gray lump rested under the desk. Careful of my stitches, I eased to my feet and shuffled to pick up Sheepy. His mother was a few feet away. I carried them both to the couch. Small flecks of blood dotted their coats and I used the water in my drinking glass to clean them off.

I wondered about Riley’s brother. From his comments, I guessed the boy died right after birth. So where was Dada Sheepy?

Eventually, I dozed, dreaming about sheep. I held a bleating lamb as I waded through a hallway filled with sheep. A wet crunching sound chased me. It grew louder as I stumbled over the animals, convinced Chomper’s blades would soon bite me. I tripped. Rolling over, I pushed the lamb behind my back to face the threat, but Cog stood between me and darkness.

He offered his hand. I grasped it and he pulled me to my feet. Then he stepped aside and flung me toward the LC.

“Use her to ensure their cooperation,” he said.

His laughter followed me as she dragged me away.

“Game’s over, Tre…Trella. Trella. Wake up.”

I squinted into the daylight. Riley stood next to a Pop Cop. Wide awake in an instant, I nearly tore my stitches sitting up before I recognized the face. “Anne-Jade? What happened?”

“Logan’s being monitored,” she said. “A Pop Cop noticed he was spending a lot of time on the computer.”

“I thought they were all busy with the search,” I said.

“Most are, but a few Pop Cops are convinced the missing scrub is being helped and are determined to be the one to find you and get a promotion. They’ve made life in the lower levels even more intolerable.” Her gaze swept the room. “Although, I must say I’m disappointed by level four. Is level three any better?” Anne-Jade asked Riley.

“No. It’s about the same.”

“Pity.”

“Anne-Jade, do you have any news?” I asked.

She settled on the couch, leaving Riley to sit on the floor. “The first thing I’m supposed to tell you is from Jacy.” Her nose creased with distaste. “He says you owe him big and when this whole mess is over, you’re his slave for a week.”

Nice of him to be optimistic.

Riley’s mouth opened in stunned outrage. “He doesn’t mean—”

“No.” I assured him. “Jacy’ll have me planting his bugs all over Inside. Go on, Anne-Jade.”

“Logan gave me a list of password questions to memorize. Do you have a wipe board?”

Riley rummaged through the desk, and wrote down the questions. All were vague yet had enough information to make them seem possible to answer. The third question mentioned a platitude about being unable to see. No quick answers jumped to mind.

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