Once We Were

Free Once We Were by Kat Zhang

Book: Once We Were by Kat Zhang Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kat Zhang
Tags: sf_history
they’ll open, when they’re going to install the machinery, when the children arrive. Maybe even who the kids are.”
    The chances were slim to none, I knew, but I couldn’t help imagining the possibility of a familiar face ending up at Powatt. What if Eli and Cal went under the knife? The doctors at Nornand had already tried so many experimental medications on them, attempting again and again to eradicate the less
soul of an eight-year-old boy. We’d seen the harmful side effects. No one had seemed to worry then. Nothing would keep them from trying surgery.
    “Lankster Square is a block from the Metro Council Hall, where Nalles works. He’ll have everything on his computer, and I know where his office is. I stole my old work pass, too. It’ll get us past preliminary security.”
    “By us you mean you and me,” Devon said.
    Sabine considered him carefully. “I’ve heard you’re good with computers.”
    Devon nodded. He was frowning, but it was concentration, not worry, that put the crease between his brows.
    “You could break into his account?” Sabine asked. “Quickly?”
    Devon had broken into our school system’s files. That much I knew. He’d seen how late Addie and I had settled; it had been one of many signs that convinced him and Hally to reveal their secret to us.
    “Maybe,” he said. “Probably.”
    “Would you?” Sabine asked. Anyone sneaking into a government building and hacking into their computer system was taking a ridiculously enormous risk. For Devon and Ryan, it was ten times worse.
    “Wait,” Addie interrupted before Devon could answer. “You want him to just waltz in and break into this guy’s computer right in the middle of the workday?”
    “That’s where the rally comes in.” Sabine didn’t miss a beat. “If we do this on the day of the speech, Nalles and most of his support staff will be at Lankster Square. And if we happened to cause some sort of disturbance at the rally . . . enough to distract everyone at Metro Council—”
    “Like dropping a grenade right in the middle of the square?” Christoph mimed a throwing motion, and Jackson laughed, supplying the explosion sound through his teeth.
    Sabine gave them a censuring look, but didn’t entirely suppress her smile. “A disturbance that doesn’t include death and flying limbs.”
    Christoph leaned back against the couch. “I wouldn’t say no to some flying limbs.”
    “He’s not serious,” Jackson told us quickly.
    “I’m completely serious,” Christoph said.
    Sabine ignored them both. “All we’d need is something no one will be able to look away from. Something that will draw attention—and security—to the Square and away from Metro Council. On the other hand, it wouldn’t hurt to have it be something that’ll serve as a reminder.”
    “A reminder of what?” Addie asked.
    “Of how these institutions and this
have left a body count thousands high. Tens of thousands. More.” Sabine looked like a sculpture in the attic’s soft lighting. I hadn’t thought her a particularly beautiful girl before, but there was something striking about her now, as she spoke. “I was thinking fireworks, like on Memorial Day. This could be our own kind of memorial. A reminder.”
    A way of paying respects.
    By now, the tenor of the attic had transformed. Sabine had changed it with a sentence. An idea. A hope.
    “Addie can draw,” Jackson said suddenly. Addie looked at him in surprise, and he rushed to elaborate. “If we want it to be like a reminder, we could make posters, you know? Include the names and faces of some of the children who have died.”
    “Good idea.” Sabine’s bangs, cut bluntly above her eyebrows, only brought more attention to the unwavering nature of her stare. I found myself both slightly unnerved and utterly unable to look away—as if I were being sized up and couldn’t,
, be found wanting. “We’d have to find deserted places to set off the fireworks,

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