Up There so High

What do you get when you have a space fanatic, a runaway princess and a bunch of miscreants? Well, you get the three E's; Explosions, Expletives and Enemies.
You may not laugh along with this story but you may sing (because the main space man is very much fond of that).

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8. The Error

 

~The Error~

~Everett~

 

Everett could not stay away from the Blue Room. Instead of going to the Dark Room he would go nab Nick and then almost run to that room. Eventually Nick just slipped him the key card and told him to be careful.

Everett would spend hours in there pouring over documents, making notes on his phone. He knew that what he was doing was dangerous, he shouldn’t have been in there in theory, and he wasn’t the man on the top of the board. He was third on the board but that didn’t really count.

Nick had slipped to second and Matthew had stomped up to first for that week. That was down on the personal tests more than the group ones.

When the athleticism tests got too much Everett would just go down to the basement and pour over designs, writing his own equations on his phone.

This was the other side of Space. Making man get there to be able to see it. Going to the lengths to explore, and see, and discover. 

Joshua warned him, “I don’t think hanging around with Nick is the right idea Everett,” he had cornered him while coming out of one of their group challenges.

Everett just shrugged, “Man, he seems like a good guy you should come to the next Coffee Night, some people are going to play music.” Those coffee nights made him feel sane, for a whole three to four hours he could be with a group of people who would not mention the programme in any capacity. It was one of the rules not the discus it.

“You should hang out with the group more,” Joshua suggested and so Everett heeded this part of the warning.

He went out to a desserts place near the base with his group and watched as Matthew and Abbey low key flirted beside him. At one point he interrupted their napkin conversation with a poor doodle of a dinosaur and he got a smack with a plastic spoon off of Abbey. To prove that they weren’t flirting, even though they really were, they made Everett be between them for the rest of the night. This included walking back to the base in which they linked arms and sang follow the yellow brick road all the way back to NASA.

It was a good night.

Then he went back to the basement. Rinse, lather, repeat.

He thought that he could get away with it. And he did because soon he was pulling a solid third place on the leader board, managing to be first on one week, and he was nearly half way through the programme. No one from their group had went home and two from Nick’s group had. Things were looking up.

Until one night the key card made an odd sound at the door of the Blue Room, a fizzing sound before a red light. Access Denied.

Everett hated that sound. It had never happened before. But he didn’t want to risk breaking in or getting caught trying to make the key card work once more, so he retreated back to his room.

He didn’t expect much but he made sure to keep under the radar, not trying the room anymore. Instead he prattled with the notes on his phone, what if you could go to a planet straight away without the need of travelling out of the Earth’s atmosphere?

Teleportation. That was what he wanted to figure out. There were some brief notes on the subject in the Blue Room but they were beginning thoughts, nothing concrete, because there were other things to be dealing with, better things.

Then there was a knock on his door at a dreaded hour. He knew it was a dreaded hour because he was asleep. At first he thought that it was Nick. It was something that he would do. But as he shuffled to the doorway the knock did not come again. If it was Nick it would have. He was possessive like that.

It was Emily and she wore an expression of seriousness. It was not an expression that Everett had ever seen her wear.

“Emily… what?” Everett muttered as he cracked open the door a bit wider. Her hands were on her hips and her eyes went to the carpet for just a moment.

“Mr. Tyson I need you to come with me,” she said and it was not a request. This was serious.

“Why?” Everett asked and the word was barely out of his mouth when she was hissing. Emily never hissed. He never knew that she could.

“I just need you to come with me. Now.”

He followed her, shirtless with only sleep pants, and he was glad that he didn’t sleep naked. She took him to a board room and Jeffrey Saunders was there. Everett had never talked to the leader of the programme since the first meeting, he had saw him, but he had never spoke to him properly.

“Mr. Tyson,” Jeffrey said and it was then that Everett realised that Nick was there, seated at the back nearly in the shadows with his head bowed. He refused to meet Everett’s eyes. “Please take a seat.”

Everett did not have a choice, Emily pushed him into the nearest chair. He never knew that she was that strong.

“It has come to our attention that you’ve been stealing NASA secrets,” Jeffrey’s voice was calm and serious, his hands poised in front of him.

Everett tried to plead his case but his voice was not heard. Footage was played, an angle where you couldn’t see who it was but you could see the path they took, around the Blue Room, taking pictures of the blue prints.

From the angle he knew that it was from his own lanyard. They had cameras?

He must have spoken his thought aloud because Nick spoke for the first time, “When they photographed you for your ID they retinal scan you, it’s easier to identify you. Each lanyard gives off a unique signature based on that retinal scan. They know it was you.”

“You traitor, you gave me the – “ Everett hissed, rising from the chair.

“Mr. Tyson please.” Emily murmured and she pushed him back onto his chair.

They showed him more footage, security footage. Then the words came.

“Mr. Tyson, we have no choice but to terminate you from the programme,” it was Jeffrey and his eyes were shuttered.

Everett felt the world shut down.

No, this was not possible.

The world sped up after that. He was escorted back to his room and forced to pack. His phone was taken and wiped. His lanyard was taken off of him. He watched as his name was wiped off of the board in the foyer as he was forced to leave. Emily herself drove him to the train station and watched as he bought his ticket.

This was not possible. He was dreaming. He had to be.

She left him sitting in a near empty train station because it was three in the morning and the first train did not come for another three hours. He sat there and froze.

He got his souvenir, the authentic NASA sweat shirt and one with the programme name on it. He got the memories and he got the betrayal.

He felt sorry that he let his group down and that he let himself down. He should have listened to Joshua when he had the choice.

Everett was sat on a cold plastic seat as the last hour rolled around. It was in this hour that the police showed up.

“Everett Tyson you are sentenced with cyber theft.” Cyber Theft wasn’t even a term until after the ‘apocalypse’ it involved stealing patented programmes and data, stealing blueprints and the like.

NASA had called the police on him. After they had let him go. This was the cherry on top of the iced cake.

Everett’s world shut down a little more.

He begged himself to wake up and be back at his bed in NASA. If he could time travel he would slap himself in the face the day he first met Nick. But he couldn’t time travel.

It was only when he was in the police station, his fingerprints being taken after his mugshot had been shot, that he remembered something.

He backed up all of his phone storage on his personal home computer. NASA wouldn’t have thought about that. They had only deleted things so that he couldn’t get them back.

Everett smirked in his tiny jail cell, he may have a court sentence he wouldn’t win, he may have a sentence in an actual prison, but he had something up on NASA.

NASA wasn’t always as intelligent as it prided itself to be. 

~

 

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