On the Edge of Eureka

To be a utopia, one must eliminate the wrong.

To eliminate the wrong makes a dystopia.

Eleutheria is a paradox.

Dalia is at the pinnacle of human evolution. In a world where entire populations can be subdued with the touch of a button, she holds the key to destroying the planet- or saving it. Leading a double life, she's the picture of a perfect leader- and a perfect rebel. But when her childhood best friend joins a dangerous movement that goes against everything Dalia stands for, it all goes south.

Warring political parties demand change for all the wrong reasons. A planetwide revolt ends in tragedy. And life from beyond the solar system slowly inches closer, but their intentions are unknown and they themselves are dangerous.

Dalia finds herself running with people she'd never thought she'd meet, shooting down people she'd never thought she'd hate, and fighting against a city she thought she'd always love- and in the end, it might not even matter.


6. Fractiones


"So a girl managed to get off planet by sneaking onto the Albatross after conning a scientist into believing that I told her about a crash near Mars?" Dalia laughed. It sounded absurd.

"Never underestimate the determination of an aggravated teenager," Tee sighed, clearly finding the situation more dire than his sister did.

"I really don't think it's that much of a problem," Dalia said. "Not to be too self-centered, but I kind of think the murder plot might be our biggest problem right now. That or the message about the mutiny. Clearly, we have TB as a spy, and likely multiple people that want me dead."

"Speaking of the spy," Tee said, "I never told you the full story."

Dalia stared. "There's more?"

"'Course there's more," Tee replied. "Well, we didn't know at first. Ace and I- well, we had other problems due to the failed mutiny breaking up systems and whatnot. Plus Lyra- well, it was a mess."

"What did you leave out?"

"We found the recipient of the message."


"How'd you know?" Tee asked, shocked.

"I didn't want to send you a message- it'd be too dangerous," Dalia explained. "But speaking of murder attempts- right after you left the party, I caught her with ketacyanide."

Tee's eyes bulged. "For you?"

"I don't imagine what else it could be for," she said. "And then- wait. The guards dragged her away and she was taken by our mother to- I don't know where."

"The Movement," Tee gasped.

"I suppose it'd have to be," Dalia sighed. "I just- wow."

"You okay?"

"Yes, I think so." Dalia wiped her now-brown eyes. "It's just so insane. I mean, Alestra- family ties mean nothing but caste, I already knew that. I was always a tool to her- Aleskynn too- but I was the eldest, the favorite, and murder? That's unthinkable."

Tee grimaced. "Not too unthinkable for them."

"And Cass- she's been my friend since we were born. I know it kind of fell to pieces, but I hadn't considered she was upset enough to join a cult-like political gang and try to kill me."

"Jealousy can make people do screwy things," Tee sighed. "Stars know I know. That's how they get you, you know. They give you attention and tell you you're special, they need you. They bribe you with tales of love and glory. It would be easy to prey on a jealous girl who hasn't yet been initiated."

"I suppose I'll just have to be careful," Dalia sighed. "Now that everyone but Leski wants me dead."

"At least we know she's safe," Tee said. "Looks like you're going to have to be the one to disappear."

"The thing is," she said, "I don't want to. I don't know how I could. I don't think they know I'm a part of the Revolution, but wouldn't a fake death look suspicious?"

"We make it look like a different one of the Loyalist's lackeys," Tee suggested. 

Dalia shook her head. "If Cass wants me dead- well, she'd want to kill me herself. Cass always liked trophies."

"So what? We start them on a witch hunt."

"But where would I go? I can't go to Mars- eventually won't they notice something?"

"Nah," Tee replied immediately. "They don't know Jack about Eleutherian politics. They'd ignore it."

"And what would I do on Mars?"

"Farm, I guess?"

Dalia sighed.

"Look," Tee said, "I know it isn't easy. You have everything up here- fame, fortune, glamour, skill, a place in the hierarchy and a place in the Revolution. And starting over without that would be tough."

"You aren't making me feel better," Dalia said.

"But doing so would mean safety."

"I don't want to give up everything for safety," she argued. "If I give up everything I've ever known- well, wouldn't that just be letting them win? They want me dead. In the long run, does it matter if I'm really dead, or if I'm gone?"

"I'm not following you."

"I'm saying that they won't care a hundred years from now if Acidalia Planitia really is dead, or if she dropped off the planet, moved to Mars, and gave up all ties to her past life, including the Revolution."

"Do you even want to keep doing this?" Tee asked, exasperated. "Wouldn't leaving Eleutheria be a certain degree of freedom? Think about it. You could meet someone, have kids, settle down-"

"I have no idea who put that foolish idea in your head," Dalia whispered, "but that is the opposite of what I want. For starters- children. As of right now, I have no use for them. How would having children with a random stranger on a red iron wasteland be any better than raising a daughter here? And men- like I need someone to take care of me, someone to settle with?"

"That's not what I-"

She softened. "I know that's not what you meant, but it's what you implied. I don't know what they've been teaching you about women, Tee- probably patriotic 'defend us helpless girls!' bull- but you are highly misinformed."

"I'm just trying to think of the positives," he protested. 

"I don't want to be a housewife on a desert plain and live out my life knowing people are risking their own for me, a girl who gave it all up for safety and free time. I don't want to be someone useless when I could stay here and make a change. In the end, the movement wants me dethroned. They want me unable to do anything against them. Whether they succeed in assassination or I escape, it's the same damn outcome and they win either way."

"I don't know what else to do!" Tee said. 

"Well, we're going to have to come up with something," Dalia said. "I can't just poof away anyhow. They'd be suspicious."

"I want you to be safe," Tee said. "I can't let you-"

"In case you haven't noticed, you're younger than me and I outrank you in both Eleutherian law and the Revolution, so my word is final." Tee stared. She hadn't pulled rank upon him, ever. It was like an unspoken code between them.

Suddenly Tee caught a glimpse of how the rest of the planet saw Dalia. She stared at him with cold adamantine eyes and a stony expression, like a statue- imposing, frightening yet inspiring, unquestionably powerful. Like a goddess. He finally understood what she meant when she referred to herself as a figurehead in white- this woman was not his sister, she was an unwavering ruler, a symbol of two contradictory ideals and movements.

"I think," Dalia began, "I will collect intellect and make an educated decision once the time comes that is in the bests interests of both Aleskynn and myself as well as the Movement."

"What if they kill you first?"

"I would rather be dead than give up my entire livelihood, career, and family in exchange for an escape. To be free is worth more than to be safe."

And with that, she stalked inside, leaving Tee alone to think underneath the shroud of polluted clouds.


Alestra surveyed the three people before her. Carina Nebula, Ciencia. Aleskynn's friend and confidant. Only 15. Of course she'd want to be in on this; her friend's life was in danger.

Cassiopeia Nayla, Generalis- Harpstring. She stared, doe-eyed, at TB. Alestra suppressed a laugh. Foolish girl. Easy to manipulate, easy to coerce. People did stupid things in the name of unrequited love.

TB himself stood at the doorway, leaning against it lazily. He flashed Cassiopeia a white-toothed grin and ran his hands through his hair. She giggled in response and smoothed her white skirt, one of Acidalia's old gowns. Just a little bit of power made her absolutely mad. Give her a taste and she takes it all. Alestra knew that TB had no idea of ever fully returning the girl's flattery- he treated her like he did all the others, with teasing smiles and false promises of affection. But it was effective.

Alestra took a sip of her ruby-red wine. Carina shuddered. 

"I say we ambush her at dawn," TB said, breaking the uneasy silence. "She's going to be defenseless."

"Is that fair?" Carina asked.

"I don't care."

"Mmmm," Cass sighed. "Effective... but it isn't very satisfying."

"Satisfying enough," TB said. "I move in with my closest soldiers and attack. One gunshot and she's dead. We could make it look like a suicide." His eyes had a salacious, dreamy look. Carina looked repulsed.

"I could do it," Cass said. "She trusts me more than she trusts any of you. Talk about satisfying..." She lapsed, momentarily lost in thought. To be the one to kill Acidalia would be incredible. "Or better yet," Cass said thoughtfully, "we claim her as a traitor to the city."

"A public execution," Alestra sighed. "There haven't been any in decades. But..."

"Panem et circenses," Cass said. "Think about it. We rile up the people against her, paint her as a traitor and execute her. There are a million ways to do it. People paid to see gladiators kill each other-" 

"That isn't very subtle," Carina argued, trying to hide her uneasiness. "I think-"

"It would be incredible," Cass interrupted, excited. "We'd have to do it in the most gory way possible. Make it entertaining, exciting."

"How?" TB asked. "When?"

"Ambush her, like you said," Cass said. "Get all your soldiers. She won't be expecting it at all- she'll be defenseless, like you said. But don't kill her, not yet."

"Can we-"

"Yes, yes, do whatever you want," Cass said hurriedly. "I don't care. Alestra?"

Alestra shrugged impassively. "It doesn't matter."

"Anyway," Cass continued, "take her. Take Aleskynn too, but bring her here. To us. We imprison Acidalia, have caste Dictatoria print propaganda, and then execute her, publically."

"How?" Alestra asked, a gleam in her eyes.

"We could behead her," TB suggested. 

"Wasn't there a story," Cass asked, "about a beheaded queen? It was someplace in history, in the before times- she was proud. She was dignified. This was thousands of years ago and people vaguely remember it today. The myths lasted for years. Is that what we want?"

"Make a suggestion, then," TB said.

Cass shrugged. "Drowning?" She envisioned Acidalia in the polluted, grimy ocean, struggling to breathe, looking like a fish out of water. It wouldn't be a dignified death, nor a rallying point.

"Drowning," Alestra repeated slowly. "I like it. Carina, you haven't weighed in your opinion."

"Yes," she squeaked. "Yeah. Okay."

"It's settled," Alestra said. "Three days from now?"

"I agree," TB said, smirking. 

"Long live the movement," Alestra said, and she held up her ivory wrist.


Carina raced through the neon-lit streets.

I have to tell her, she thought. I have to tell someone. I need help. She needs help.

Carina was far from the Eleutheria-loving sheep some people were. She had no undying love for the Ciphers. She had never desired to be one. She loved her work, her science. And she loved Aleskynn.

But not at the price of her sister's head.

Murdering an innocent girl in a horrible way for no reason wasn't something Carina could do consciously. And TB- he had a sick, twisted mind. That poor woman. If he got his hands on her... well, it wouldn't take a genius to figure out what he'd do.

Athena would know how to fix this.

Carina tore open the door to the lab. Her partner stood at the computer, writing absentmindedly, black hair braided messily.

"Athena," she said, "I need to talk to you."

"About what?" She looked slightly shocked. Carina was always quiet, kept to herself- they were partners, but not very close.

"In here." She pulled Athena into the specimen closet. The subcaste Ciencia Biologia kept cell cultures in here. Carina normally avoided it because it was cold and dangerous- any one of these vials could shatter and kill her with some ancient, deadly disease- but it was the only place they wouldn't be followed.

"I'm cold," Athena complained. She shivered. "Can we get out of here? Our job is the sky, you know, not tiny things living in the dirt."

"It's important," Carina whispered breathlessly. "You know the Movement?"


"Alestra e Harmonia, Cipher- she's a part of it."

"What?" Athena stared. "How do you-"

"And you know how she has an illegal younger daughter, my friend Aleskynn? Well, she's planning on murdering her oldest- actually, painting her as a traitor to the state and publicly executing her- so Aleskynn can take her place and won't have to die."

"Oh my stars," Athena gasped. "Those crazy conspiracy theorists were right. But why would she ever do that? I've crossed Alestra before, and well, she doesn't seem like the type for senseless murder."

"Leski would be easier to control," Carina sighed. "Acidalia- well, she's an adult, and she has her own mindset, and there are rumours about her."

Athena's eyes bugged straight out of her head. "Acidalia Planitia e Alestra Cipher. I should have known."

"What do you mean?" Carina asked.

Athena grimaced. Quickly, she recounted the story of her and Lyra.

"Oh, gods," Carina sighed. "This is a mess."

Athena's mind reeled. "Lyra said she told her about a crash. Lyra said- well, everyone's suspicious of her now. She said Acidalia might be part of the Revolution."

"Do you think it's true?" Carina whispered.

Her friend shook her head. "I don't know. Maybe."

"Dalia's strange, it's true. But a traitor?"

Athena looked determined, like she'd just set her mind on something. "Even if she is a part of the Revolution, it's better than being a part of the Movement."

"What are you saying?"

"I'm saying that it's wrong. They can't execute her if they're Loyalists. Then they're even worse than she is."

"I don't think they care," Carina said.

"What are we going to do? We have to warn her."

"That would make us traitors, and Alestra would kill me."

"Maybe being a traitor isn't such a bad thing."

"Are you saying what I think you're saying?"

"All I'm saying is maybe it's time to break out of the boxes." The specimen closet had gotten colder; Athena had frost in her hair, and she trembled. "Maybe it's time to get out."

"This could be the beginning of our end," Carina protested. 

"Or it could be a new start for our planet."

Author's Note


No, panem et circenses is not from the Hunger Games. It's been around for millennia, and it originated in ancient Rome. From Latin, it means "bread and circuses-" that is, food and entertainment, and was meant as a metaphor. Panem et circenses was using fancy entertainment and false displays of happiness to convince citizens that everything is fine when it's obviously not- keeping them distracted so they don't focus on problems. It's very gilded- that is, gold on the outside but not so much on the inside.

Also, yeah, Panem from The Hunger Games literally means "bread." Interestingly, Peeta is named after pita, also a type of bread. And Peeta is a baker.

Thus, Bread Boy bakes bread in Bread Land, and the fact that this book is called the Hunger Games just makes that funnier. Do with that info what you will.

Also, Alestra is based off of Lady Macbeth to a degree. She was absolutely insane, but she was cooler than Alestra.

Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...