Nesson 26

Nesson is a serial novel about living with technology and sprawl in the near future. Learn more or start from the beginning.

Moon was rummaging through the container, looking for that last bottle of wine she had hidden. Did someone else find it? She grunted and pushed a box of noodles to the side. There was a bottle of rum there, possibly hidden by someone else. It would do. She grabbed a couple of apples on her way out and closed up. The doors were heavy, creaking steel. She shoved the latch in place and started for the hut she and Justin shared. They neighbored Allison and Marcus, which seemed to make Justin constantly uncomfortable, but did not bother anyone else. It was not like there was a lot of room to put distance between them anyway.

Their relationship accelerated under the pressure of boredom. With nothing else to do with their time, it would be impractical to take things slow. Moon was already comfortable prodding Justin into the garden, and he seemed to have no reservations against whining about it. Marcus and Allison had a quiet, private relationship. She honestly did not know how close they were besides occupying the same hut. The other residents built on the other side of the island and were still too mad to work with the Open Acres camp. Of course, the other side of the island was less than a 15 minute walk, but they managed to avoid interaction anyway. No one saw them in the container either. There would be signs that they had been there, supplies taken, seedlings and drying ceramics left, but never one of the Hackers in person.

The big container was there when they arrived; stocked full of what they would need to survive a year or so, and a small library that would help them develop horticulture. There was no digital technology. There were solar generators for lights, basic medical equipment, and refrigeration. There was possibly enough wiring and circuitry around to create some sort of transmitter, but everyone was certain they were under surveillance. Whom would they contact anyway? The Fahrs might want to retrieve their children, but they would not begin to know how. The hackers did not take anytime to round up members of their group to be exiled, why would they take a risk to rescue them?

Justin was the only one who spent more than a day talking about how to escape. Marcus seemed perfectly content with the lifestyle the island promised. Allison did not express anything about their situation. Moon kept herself busy, figuring that hard work would present more opportunities than desperate thinking.

“Hey Galileo, put that thing down and join me for a drink?” Moon was stepping in the doorway. The left corner of her lips rose but there were no wrinkles in her eyes.

“Ok, sure, but look at this,” he pointed to a star map, “that’s Aquarius. Doesn’t that look like the constellation we saw the other night?”

“Sure it does.” Moon tried to humor his attempts at astronomy. Justin was convinced that with some training, he could determine their location based on the position of the stars. She was not sure what he would do with that information, but he said he had to know. So far, all he could suss out was that they were in the Southern Hemisphere, in the Pacific Ocean. She tried no to point out that they did not need to check star charts to know that, simple inference would be enough.

“I’m going to track it and compare to these charts.”

“Just don’t stay up too late, I need your help in the garden.”

“I know, I know.”

“Do you want to go for a walk? I want to look at some of those rock formations again.”

“What is your interest in those things?”

“I don’t know, I just feel a kind of energy there.”

“Is it a woo-woo kind of energy? Ow!” She punched him in the arm and walked out with the rum. “Alright, let’s go look,” he said as he ran after her. He left the star maps on the floor. Outside, Moon stopped short and pointed to Allison and Marcus. They were talking with the three hackers.

“What’s going on?” Justin asked. Everyone’s body language was shifty, irate.

“They look upset, don’t they?” Moon said. She walked up to Marcus and Allison. Everyone was circled around something glowing. Did the hackers make something?

“Where did that screen come from?” Justin said from between Allison and Noah.

“Where do you think?” Noah said. Speaking was progress, but there was still an edge of hostility.

“We found it outside of our settlement with a little parachute attached to it.” Haley said. There was less grudge in her voice.

“Wait… is that?” Everyone nodded to Justin. The screen was playing scenes of Nesson. Houses on the beach, families climbing out of their car to enter Slathers. Richard Links waving in the sunshine. Some of the footage was directly from the first video Marcus saw of the development.

“Does it do anything else?” Moon asked.

“Nope. Well, if you try to access the circuitry it gives you a little shock.” Haley said. The two other hackers nodded. Their hair looked a little more frizzled than usual.

“What should we do with it?” Justin asked.

“Throw it in the ocean?” Marcus suggested.

“No!” Everyone else called in unison.

“So, what, are we going to watch people taunting you from their island homes?”

“Until we find something else to do with it, yes.” Moon said. Richard links was smiling on the screen. The image broke up for just a moment before returning to the beginning of the advertisement. Justin could swear he saw a flash of Links waving with four of his figures folded and one prominent digit held high.

“Ok, I’m done looking at it for now. Let’s keep it in the container.” Allison said. She took the device and walked away.

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