Noel was hungry. She was starving, exhausted, very irked, and to top it all off, they'd taken her glasses. Her pants felt too loose at the waist, compliments of all the healing her body had done to fix the bones she’d broken. It probably hadn’t been a good idea to struggle against the restraints while they scanned her brain. She couldn't see past her nose, her hair was down, and she just knew that someone on the other side of the glass would comment about her looking like her mom. Well, if the people over there really were the friends she’d come to save.
The woman she assumed was Mrs. Johns attached her to some giant silver blur, and Noel was very glad she couldn’t see. A terrifying machine would only worsen her hope.
“So, Miss Noel Finnard, was it?” Mrs. Johns asked, “How long have you had the quantum device?”
Noel cocked her head. Had she heard that right? Quantum device? “Uh… I think you’re mistaken,” she said. Something red crept up her shirt, but she hadn’t felt the stab. Theo’s pins and needles were still in effect. “A quantum computer couldn’t survive inside of a human body.”
The lady, ah it was Mrs. Johns, surged forward to glare Noel in the face. “Don’t play dumb,” she seethed, “Out of the five we’ve caught so far, you have the largest amount of quantum particles inside you. When did you fuse with it?”
This was confusing. Fused with a quantum- oh. She plotted a way to stall without giving away Theo. “That may be true, Mrs. Johns, but I assure you that I wasn’t the first one to gain these particles. I received them from someone else.”
“And who was that?”
“I don’t know, I make regular physical contact with all my friends. There’s absolutely no way of telling.”
The woman raised an eyebrow and stood upright. She faded back into blurs, but Noel could see her pacing. “The last one, Theodore Wong. Where is he at the moment?”
Noel cringed and wished Mrs. Johns wasn’t so perceptive. “He’s at home, obviously,” she bluffed.
“Alright then.” She pressed a button on her remote and spoke into it. “Mr. Wills, you wouldn’t mind tapping into the school files to retrieve the address of Theodore Wong, would you? Miss Finnard claims that we ought to check all of the carriers before concluding which one has the quantum computer.”
A soft chuckle of agreement buzzed from the other end of the radio. It was still a little weird thinking of Mr. Wills as the bad guy. He’d been such an awesome history teacher.
But that choking deal didn’t exactly mark him as friendly, now did it? Noel only hoped they wouldn’t think about the transportation issues that would have occurred without Theo driving.
Mrs. Johns was back in her face, absolutely furious. “You little brat. Did you think you could fool us? Your friend, Theo, he was just on the surveillance cameras.”
They had cameras? Noel had assumed they looked for her after hearing the alarm.
“No way. Are you sure you didn’t mistake him for some lab worker?”
Noel rolled her eyes. “You know, Theo’s not exactly a small guy. Besides, I think his dad works around here. It’s probably Mr. Wong, not Theo.” That last bit was a lie. Theo’s dad was some kind of doctor.
“Do you play me for a fool? We have the boy’s information on file.”
“Sure, whatever. And how do you know any of us have this so called quantum computer? Maybe its effects aren’t what you think they’ll be.”
“And how would you know what its effects are?”
Noel gulped, realizing her complete stupidity in saying that. Now they knew that she knew that someone had it and-goodness gracious-what was she thinking? They'd probably ask what the symptoms were, and how she knew, and who had it and absolutely every possible question and then they'd catch Theo and scan him and mess with his brain. Oh, she couldn't let that happen; messing with brains usually ended in death.
She shook her head at herself. This was bad, she wasn’t making the right connections. Gah, forget it, Noel, just keep giving them smart-mouth comments. Theo’ll be fine. He’s got a supercomputer.
“Tell me!” Mrs. Johns snapped. Noel was back in the fuzzy real world.
“Uhh, well, you know, human brains are composed of different areas with different functions and well, depending on what area of the brain the computer-”
“Just tell me what happened in this case!”
What now? What now? What now?
Her shirt was completely red, funny since it had been pastel blue not long ago. Noel hoped she wouldn’t get anemia. She decided to lie, just to make the aliens madder, just to keep from giving anything away. “Oh, well, duh, the thing hit the parietal part of his" Woops! I let it slip it's a guy! "cerebrum since the computer dropped from the sky. And you know, the parietal lobe controls orientation and recognition and movement. So he’s like, way more precise and suddenly got really good at basketball and hurdles and”
“Don’t lie to me!”
“O-o-or maybe it hit his frontal lobe?”
A crash. Noel turned her head instinctively, forgetting that she couldn’t see.
When Carrie awoke to the sound of a bickering people, she was very, very bewildered. She squinted at all the whiteness around her. Oh. Yvette. Giant glass wall. Noel. Boys.
She pushed herself from the ground, and the four others with her cheered.
“Carrie, you’re up!” Lillian said. She turned to Yvette, “This means we can hear about everything, right?”
Yvette nodded. Alien Yvette. Carrie shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts. Oh right, she thought, Yvette’s an alien trying to get some sort of crazy device and she tried to, to save me. She’s not bad. Not like Mrs. Johns. Can’t believe I-
“Hello? Carrie?” Lillian waved a hand in front of her face, with Dieter and Doug giving her concerned glances. “You in there?”
And with that, Yvette began her explanation.