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The Mole

by Butterfly18

Chapter One – The Mole

Loud music blocked out the ambient noise around Ela, so all she could hear was the lyrical tune and her own dull voice, exhausted and repetitive. She rubbed her weary eyes and flipped to the next page of text displayed on the screen. It was just after midnight, and she had been studying for over four hours. Tana still hadn’t returned from gallivanting with her boyfriend Demant. Each night became a little bit lonelier for Ela.

Staring at the words, they began to blur together in a mass of black swirls on a white background, and Ela knew she was finished studying for tonight. She thought-commanded the computer to turn itself off, and the screen projection faded into the wall, and the keyboard faded into the desk’s surface. Ela pressed a small button on the coin-like commander device on her right temple, unpeeled it from her skin and put it on the desk. Out the window, the inky black sky was dotted with glowing stars and a dull moon that cast a pale light over the campus.

Blocks of dorms spread out across the expanse of student accommodation complexes, and from Ela’s room she could see mountains towards the south-east, training fields to the north-east, and the rest of campus stretched out westward. The dorms were in blackness this late at night, and hers was the only room emanating a dim light. The odd security personnel wandered the grounds, even though there were enough cameras and sensors to do their jobs for them; they acted as a reminder to any students thinking of skipping curfew, and a reminder that HQ was always watching. None of that ever deterred Tana.

Ela preferred waiting for her friend to return to the dorm before she attempted sleep, otherwise Tana’s safety, or unsafety, would worry her restless. Glancing at the time on her wristband, she decided to turn in and voice-commanded the lights go black. She climbed to her bed above the desk, and looked over at Tana’s empty bunk opposite her. Taking the music buds from her ears, Ela emerged into the quiet reality of her life on campus, the only life she’s ever known.

A screaming alarm punched a hole in Ela’s chest, and she jumped down from the bunk.

“Gather in the piazza immediately.” The dorms A.I. switched on all the lights.

Ela pulled on a jacket sitting atop her footlocker, slid open her door, and joined the other girls making their way downstairs and outside. All students hurriedly migrated out of the gates and into the piazza, which joined the three separate student complexes. Security guards stood around a dais in the centre of the murmuring crowd.

“Hey, you OK?” Trix had found her.

“Yeah, fine.”

“Where’s Tana?”

“With Demant.”

Trix was taller than Ela and could see above the sea of heads. “They’re preparing to address us,” he said.

“What do you think is happening?” Ela’s throat was dry. She’d never heard this type of alarm before, not even in practice scenarios. Different alarms. Different threats.

“I don’t know. When was Tana supposed to get back?” Trix asked.

“She never says. Just whenever,” Ela scanned the faces for Tana, hoping she was there.

A security guard stood on the dais, holding a palm-sized sound-magnifier to his lips. Everyone shut up, and stared wide-eyed, starving for an explanation.

“Listen carefully, I will only speak once,” the guard shouted over the blaring alarm. “A mole is attempting to escape campus.”

“A mole?”


The crowd began murmuring and then shushing each other.

“Second and Third Gen, return to your dorms immediately. First Gen, mobilize and start searching the grounds with security.” He finished with that and stepped off the dais, disappearing into the crowd.

Ela searched the dispersing crowd desperately, but didn’t see Tana. She and Trix headed back into their Third Gen complex. The alarm sent unsettling vibrations through her limbs, and she felt dread deep inside her gut. Where is Tana? Is she safe? What if she is confronted by the traitor?

Campus is big, accommodates over 10 thousand people, but only 3 ½ thousand of which are students. The rest are personnel who work indoors, underground, out of bounds, and campus is deserted during the night. No one will be able to hear her if she calls for help. She doesn’t carry a gun when she’s sneaking around at night with her boyfriend. Sure, Tana is deadly without a firearm, but a mole won’t be trying to escape without at least a gun, and she can’t dodge bullets.

“Go inside and stay safe. I’m going to find Tana,” Trix squeezed her arm gently, a sign of reassurance.

“Be careful.” Ela said it as if it was a question, but she knew he would keep himself and Tana safe. That’s him.

He smiled. It comforted her. And then he ran off to his dorm, blocks away. Ela went inside and stood in the living room with the other girls, waiting for the A.I. to explain the situation. She naturally stood nearest Sicili, the toughest girl in their dorm besides Tana. She never showed any kind of fear, or anxiety. Almost perfect.

“Hey, where’s Tana?” Sicili whispered.

“Out.” Ela didn’t need to elaborate. All the girls in the dorm kept each other’s secrets and had each other’s backs. Out, meant Tana was out. Sicili knew not to say another word about it or mention Tana’s name again, in case the A.I. realised a girl was missing. Ela weighed up the options. Let security find Tana or leave it to Trix? This was a traitor they were all dealing with. A desperate, lying, scheming individual who needed to escape at any cost. If caught, they’d get a bullet between the eyes once the interrogation was through.

If Tana was caught by campus security on the other hand, she’d be put in isolation and forced to stop fooling around with Demant. He made her happy, despite his flaws: arrogant, selfish, possessive.

“Attention,” said the A.I. It was a smooth and metallic voice, but absolutely female in tone and pitch. “On HQ’s orders, all dorms will be put in Lockdown until the enemy is in custody.”

A massive lump came up from the pit of Ela’s stomach and lodged itself in her throat. Her heart pounded painfully hard inside her chest. Tana won’t be able to get inside the dorm if it’s locked down. Regulations dictate that before and after, or at least after, an emergency occurs, all campus occupants must be accounted for before returning to normal conduct. HQ would find out she skipped curfew and spent the night with her boyfriend. Ela couldn’t let that happen.

She weaved through the other girls, climbed three flights of stairs to the third floor and entered her and Tana’s room. Inside the footlocker she grabbed her all-purpose boots and pulled them on. Sliding open a hidden cupboard in the wall beside the footlocker, Ela took her Beretta pistol from its shelf and clipped in a magazine.

Metal shutters began to slide down over the window. Ela tucked the gun into the back of her sleep shorts and zipped up her jacket. She manually pushed the glass open and climbed out the window. The ground was about ten metres below, but the one thing Ela would admit she was good at is free-climbing. Searching frantically for handholds and footholds in the dark, she made her way down the side of the dorm building.

Ela laid flat on her stomach, face on the grass amongst the impeccably maintained shrubbery, struggling to stay hidden, and watched as the dorm surrendered to lockdown. The entire building was encased in an impenetrable metal alloy. When the guards dispersed and streets were empty, Ela evaded the known hidden cameras and took up a new position against the brick wall separating the Second Gen complex from the Third.

Thought-activating a message writer on her wristband, Ela wrote a coded text message and sent it to Trix.

‘I’m Outside. Will Help Find Tana.’

Come To Me. At Lake.’ Trix replied.

‘Cover More Ground Separately.’

‘I’ll Cover South. You North.’

Ela crept up to the gates of the complex and waited for the visible rotating cameras to look opposite her, avoided the areas covered by sensors and climbed over. She ran across the piazza’s open space and pressed her back against a hidden corner of the piazza near the entrance to the now-deserted First Gen complex. North of the student complexes was only a small area compared to south of the lake, so Ela wanted to make sure she covered her ground thoroughly.

A search group approached, made up evenly of security and First Gen’s, 6 from what Ela saw through the thin foliage. She had to be careful. Not only did she need to avoid the cameras and sensors, but she also needed to avoid the security groups, and the mole. Sensors and cameras would be second nature to avoid; she, Tana and their friends used to skip curfew all the time when they were younger. The travelable areas were well-established in her subconscious. She waited until the security team were far-enough away, and then she dashed into the cover of the forest across from the student complexes.

Ela ran as fast as she could, found a depression in the forest floor to take cover in and crouched low, hands and knees in the dewy soil. Taking a few deep breaths, she looked around. Everything near was quiet and still. She leapt to her feet and sprinted. Her heart instantly lurched up into her throat, and she couldn’t breathe. Another security team.

The soil beneath her feet was soggy and she tripped, hit the ground on her knees, and crouched into the smallest position possible among the protruding roots of a tree. She slowed her breaths and made them quiet. The team had to at least be equipped with a basic sound-analysis device that picked up non-ambient noises, like heavy human breathing. She waited, and waited. They were searching thoroughly, getting closer.

I have to move, Ela thought. But they were so close. She peered around the trunk of the tree and counted the bodies. Three of them were about eight metres or so south-west of her position; two were about five metres ahead of her position north-west, and the other one she couldn’t find. She bit down hard on her bottom lip. Maybe the teams weren’t split up evenly? She hoped.

Ela jumped up and sprinted as hard as she could in a northerly direction, avoiding steep depressions in the earth and furthering her distance from the team. She crept through the shadows cast alongside the smaller lake that was shaped like a half-moon, and hid in the trees on the lake’s left side. She caught her breath, and took a moment to think. Where would Tana hide? Trees, probably. You could dig a ditch and cover yourself in wet soil if you really needed to avoid heat sensors. The best section of forest, the densest area with the least amount of natural light and dampest soil, would be near the entrance to the hoverboarding tunnels.

Dogs were barking up ahead in their rows of cages. Drama swirling around them made them uneasy. Ela could use that. She sprinted across the open space stretching around the half-moon lake, and pressed herself against a cage. A Rottweiler inside the cage was only young, still craving attention, not fully trained and extremely vocal. “Good, boy,” Ela whispered.

She swallowed hard and stole through the maze of cages. About a three or four metre gap stood between Ela and the dense section of forest. There were no security teams in sight, but she waited an extra ten seconds, watching, listening. Then she ran. The darkness engulfed her as a wave of relief simultaneous eased the tightness in her chest. Ela crept through the forest. Whenever Tana snuck out, she blocked all messages from being received on her wristband, because she and Demant didn’t like to be disturbed.

Tana might’ve unblocked the messages since hearing the alarm and seeing security teams running around the grounds. Ela figured she’d give it a go. A hand covered her mouth, and she lost her footing, hitting the soil. She instinctively bit down hard on the hand. Ela heard muffled curses only Tana would say, and a smile appeared on her face.

“Sorry,” Ela turned to face her friend.

Tana was fine. A bit messy as usual, but not hurt or bullet-ridden. “What on earth are you doing traipsing around when there’s scum on the loose?”

“I was scared for you. And how’d you–”

“Overheard the security. Come on.” Tana led her into a darker section of the forest, and sitting in the shadows like a sinister presence was Demant.

Ela messaged Trix, ‘Found Tana Safe.’

‘Stay Hidden.’ He replied.

“Now what are we going to do?” Tana asked.

“What do you mean? We need to stay hidden til they catch the bastard,” Ela said.

“As if, I’m tired,” Tana pulled hair up into a roughly tied bun and crossed her arms over her chest.

“We need to head to the dorms,” said Demant.

“They’re locked down,” Ela replied. Demant gave her a sour look and she furrowed her brow annoyed, and looked at Tana. “We need to just lay low.”

“You didn’t need to follow Tana out here,” Demant said.

“I was worried for her.”

“I can keep my girlfriend safe.”

“I didn’t think you couldn’t.”

“Shut up. Someone will hear us,” said Tana.

Footsteps interrupted them, and Ela hid in the shadows at the tree-line, trying to get a look at who it was. She spotted a man; dark hair, pale skin, average height, slim build, maybe thirty years of age. He wore a survival rucksack on his back, and an assault rifle was slung over his shoulder.

Ela’s anxiety returned. He had to be the mole. Tana and Demant came up behind her. “I think that’s him, the traitor.” From what Ela could see, there weren’t any security near. The guy pulled a laser cutter from his pocket and knelt down over the manhole that led down into the campus’ water filtration system. It clicked in Ela’s head. He was going to escape through the river. “He’s going to get away,” Ela looked sidelong at Demant, a First Gen who was supposed to be out doing his damn job.

“You have the gun. Stop him.”

Ela gritted her teeth, turned her head back towards the traitor, and watched him cut away at the manhole, nearing his escape. Demant wasn’t going to do anything. And how could Ela send Tana out to deal with him, when she risked punishment from HQ to stop that happening in the first place? She cursed in her head, again and again.

“Stay back, out of sight.”

Ela stepped out from the tree-line and retrieved the Beretta from the waistband of her shorts. She turned the safety off, and cocked the gun. Digging deep down into her gut for an authoritative voice, Ela lifted the gun and targeted the centre of his crouched mass. “Stop.”

Is this a review?



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178 Reviews

Points: 652
Reviews: 178

Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:13 am
Paracosm wrote a review...

Hey Butterfly! I've finally got down to doing this review! Overall, this piece was very well written. The beginning was pretty slow, and it didn't contribute too much to the story. I think you could really make it more concise and just start the story where the action starts, when the alarms go off.

I would've liked a stronger sense of character coming from Ela. She hasn't really got a chance to show her stripes yet. I know that she's loyal, and she seems a little timid. But aside from that, we don't really get a good sense for her. Try extrapolating on her character some more, right now she didn't really pop out. Your other characters, like Tana and Demant, both have good characterization. As it stands, we need to know more about Ela.

I'd also like to know more about the facility she's at. How far in the future is your story? What's the purpose of the campus? Is it a government mandated facility, or is it like colleges now? Take some more time to expand on the purpose of this facility, because it will have a lot to do with the reason behind the story.

I totally expected Tana or Demant to be the mole! I'm almost glad you didn't go that way, because it as I was reading, I felt the twist was a little bit telegraphed.

Overall, your story is very well written. I'd like to see a quicker pacing with more suspense. I'd also like to know more about Ela, and the facility she's at. A lot of the time, we have in our head what our character is like, and then when you start writing you forget to show her off to the reader. Nice writing, Butterfly, keep up the good work!

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1272 Reviews

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Reviews: 1272

Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:46 pm
Rosendorn says...

Ah, darnit. I had wanted to add something to this review and it appears my edit or reply button isn't working.

You tended to switch to present tense when describing constants, like this:

The ground was about ten metres below, but the one thing Ela would admit she was good at is free-climbing.

That "is" should be a "was".

Do give this a read over for present/past switchups. You had a few I noticed, but they unfortunately slipped my mind.

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1272 Reviews

Points: 89625
Reviews: 1272

Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:39 pm
Rosendorn wrote a review...

Hello. Finally gotten around to reading this.

I fear I'll not be agreeing with other reviewers, here. Part of it could be my style— I'm not particularly well versed in science fiction, and I tend to prefer a faster build up. It was decent, but I wasn't exactly eating it up from the start.

I didn't find this particularly interesting till about halfway through. You had snippets of interesting, like how the computers worked and how everybody seemed to own a gun, but it was hidden in paragraphs of explaining where she lived. I'm not particularly interested in that, and I'd rather know why I should care. We don't really have a reason to care till Ela goes out to find Tana, and your stealth scene was really the only reason I kept reading (that, and I figured with good reviews there had to be some merit).

Your ending was much stronger. Once you got into a rhythm of things happening, things were better and I was able to read the end in one sitting instead of getting distracted.

Also, you had a few dialogue grammar mistakes that just threw me right out of the story. Such as:

“She never says. Just whenever,” Ela scanned the faces for Tana, hoping she was there.

“Go inside and stay safe. I’m going to find Tana,” Trix squeezed her arm gently, a sign of reassurance.

‘Come To Me. At Lake.’ Trix replied.

The first two examples have the same mistake: a comma in place of a period. The third has the reverse: a period instead of a comma.

Call me nit-picky, but for me mistakes like that make it really hard to truly enjoy a work. This article might help you figure out what type of punctuation goes where.

Past that little grammar slip up, which is rather easy to make, there was the case of your beginning. Take this with a grain of salt because this is very much my personal style, but I like beginnings to be interesting within the first paragraph. I'm not fond of starting with description, nor am I fond of starting with musings about life unless something is particularly amiss. My advice on beginnings is expanded on here.

From the two reviews you've gotten, I would take this with a spoonfull of salt. I do find some of the description interesting, but it's just there. I'd like to see the description do more for the piece, mostly in providing emotion. Then there's a calm to shatter with the alarm. Right now, it's just given to us in a lump sum. This article goes into detail about using description to create emotion.

Another thing you can do is spread this out later, with just a line here and there. You could move the expanses of compounds to a single line as she's scanning over all of them, for example. Then we still get the same number of details, but they're spread over the length of the piece instead of in the first four paragraphs.

Criticisms over, I will discuss what I enjoyed about this piece.

You did a rather fantastic job showing the world as normal. While I didn't exactly know what was going on, I liked that quite a lot. You avoided the trap most writers (myself included) fall into when it comes to introducing a new world: explain everything as it happens. I might not know the difference between third gen and first gen, but I guess first gen is older and supposed to be taking care of younger.

I also love how light you kept the sneaking around scene. It felt the most in character out of everything in the piece, and showed how much she's used to sneaking around. The information provided is the bare minimum we need to build a picture, which is one of the reasons I found sneaking around so interesting. It was action, we had a reason to care, and there was tension for whether or not she'd be caught.

And finally, I'm going to disagree with everyone again in that I don't particularly mind the lack of description for people. This comes directly from my style, but I found you built everybody's body type fairly well. Ela and Tana are petite, to be able to sneak around, while Trix is taller, seemingly more wiry. Demant is slightly broader, and more muscular.

Even if I'm wrong, I wouldn't actually change anything about the scenes just yet. I say this mostly because one thing that makes the social interactions tense and interesting is the lack of breaks for description. It's all focused on emotions and movement. That, to me, is what makes a good story.

Overall, I'd take some pruning shears to the beginning very delicately. Keep little details that let us know this world is very different from what we're used to (the computer detail was particularly nice, and I'd actually include that in your second or third sentence, the first and second one introducing her studying while waiting for a friend), but remove the bulk so the pace picks up early on. And have a calm to shatter with the alarm.

There is quite a lot of promise to this, and you did have quite the interesting ending. The beginning just needs a bit more of a hook.

PM me if you have any questions/comments.


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1417 Reviews

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Reviews: 1417

Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:33 pm
Noelle wrote a review...

Hi there!

Sorry it took me a while to get to this. You know how school is, taking away all YWS time :/

Anyway, I found this very enjoyable. I was hooked literally from the first sentence. You had me eating up every line. I'm quite interested by the world you've described. It sounds great. I'd love to learn more about this campus and what kind of people are there. I'm sure that'll come in later chapters, but I'm truly interested.

I agree with Stella about the descriptions. When I read, I tend to not really visualize people. It's really hard to explain, but when I read there's just this shadow of a person I imagine in my mind. Like I said, hard to explain. But everyone else I'm sure pictures a distinct person while reading and they want to have the right picture in their mind. Even if you just add hair and eye color it would be effective enough. For the longest time, I thought Trix was a girl. I mean, I know you labeled his dialogue with 'he said', but even reading on I forgot that and thought he was a girl. You could add a small description of him or just have Ela think about how wonderful her boyfriend looked at the moment.

Another small complaint (I guess it's a complaint) I have is that I have no idea what a mole is. Maybe I'll find out in the next chapter? I mean, I know a mole is a traitor, but what does a mole do in order to become a traitor? I don't know. I guess I'm just itching for more information.

Overall I really enjoyed this. There are a few parts you could tweak or change to make it better, but it stands on its own. Good job with this. Let me know when the second chapter is up!

Keep writing!

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1125 Reviews

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Reviews: 1125

Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:20 pm
StellaThomas wrote a review...

Hi there Butterfly! Okay so I have to say I was really quite pleasantly surprised by this, it's the first piece I've read in a while on YWS and it was so good! I really really love the concept and I really want to know more about this world, you managed to suck me right in. And that is a hard thing to do, especially when I read so many first chapters on YWS.

There are as always a couple of things I think you could work on. Firstly, I think that some physical descriptions wouldn't go amiss. For quite a while, I thought Trix was just a really tall girl (to be honest I kind of liked that idea), and then all of a sudden no. More description in general wouldn't go amiss- like Demant. I'm sort of assuming Ela doesn't like him, and I'd love to get a sense of that when they first meet in the grounds. You know, maybe she picks out something about his appearance she doesn't like or comments to herself about his smile.

There's also a large paragraph of Ela's thoughts- I think it's meant to be italicised, it's all in the present tense. Either way, I think it'd do much better in the past tense as part of the narrative. It's too big and long and coherent to be a person's thoughts. We think in bits and pieces, it takes narration to throw all those thoughts together.

But really those are my only nitpicks. I really really really enjoyed this. A lot. Sorry I couldn't be of more help!

Tell me when you post Ch. 2!

-Stella x

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228 Reviews

Points: 5063
Reviews: 228

Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:33 pm
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Twinkle4ever wrote a review...

This is an amazing story. Great plot and description and all. I could visialise everything quite clearly as I read and for the entire time I'd completely forgotten that I'm supposed to review this. I actually thought I'm watching some action/thriller movie or something inside my head. You have ample amount of creative ideas so do keep putting them to test.

'A massive lump came up from the pit of Ela’s stomach and lodged itself in her throat' - LOVED this line. (I've never actually read a sentence like this) It's got to be your original.

'The darkness engulfed her as a wave of relief simultaneous eased the tightness in her chest'
I think you meant simultaneously. Just pointing out so you can correct it.

But other than that, everything was just so different from anything I've ever read or seen in a movie. I had my heart at my throat while reading it all. The minute Ela got out I kept fearing that the cameras might detect her but then you mentioned that she could avoid cameras easily so that comforted me a little only. But I was still on edge till the very end of the chapter. You've got great suspense formed. I have to admit that when I first read the name of the chapter I was like, mole? And then I started picturing the animal. I couldn't have guessed in a million years that a mole would be some sort of traitor.
Great job on this one. Thumbs up to you and goodluck for the next chapter. :) :) :)

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Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:38 am
zarah5 says...

ohh wow

you ever say spidgit finner unironically?
— FireEyes