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Freedom's Password

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Seira’s chip buzzed and whirred as she typed in the code from memory.

87945-23789-ab38ik.839-hdk.x.kjie.90-99227184

Her metallic fingers were a blur on the projected keyboard, the red lettering on the black screen dimly illuminating them. Seira’s sensors were active even as she worked on the code, and they picked up even the quietest of noises. She could sense the faint beeping and humming of the machine in front of her and the quiet taps of someone approaching.

Someone approaching?

Seira whirled and activated her steel-talon lasers. They popped out of her fingers and spun, like screw drivers, and her forehead extended to produce a single horn, like a unicorn’s. The horn glowed faintly gold, lighting up the small room just enough to reveal four undersized black robots. Their eyes were a blank white and their torsos were supported by eight legs, similar to a spider’s.

“Tyllons,” Seira hissed. The four robots responded with a chirp in unison. They leaped into the air, bladed legs slashing with inhuman accuracy. Seira jumped backward and shot out a thin laser with her pointer finger.

TSEEEW!

The blue streak cut into the first Tyllon’s midsection, causing it to blow up in midair. The other three Tyllons landed around Seira in a semicircle, their white eyes emotionless at their comrade’s sudden death. Their wickedly sharp limbs began to spin, and the assassins slowly began to move toward Seira. Gritting her razor-sharp teeth, she shot ten lasers, one from each finger, and spun in a circle.

TSEEEW! TSEEEW! TSEEEW! TSEEEW! TSEEEW!
The deadly beams swung in a graceful circular motion and cut into the mindless robots. The small room was filled with explosions, causing the ground to tremble. The loud noises interrupted Seira’s normally fluid sensory connection. Buzzing and grinding, the sensors reconnected and began sharing information about the surroundings. Seira’s chip was filled with air currents, heat readings, pictures, noises, and ground vibrations. Her high tech microprocessor sifted through the information efficiently, separating normal readings from others that suggested threats. So far, nothing was proving dangerous, so Seira continued with her code.
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The door slid open silently, and Seira, the only human/machine Enforcer, walked out to freedom.

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“Aw, come on, Xerr,” a shaggy haired boy, Risye, coaxed. “It’s our only chance before we turn adult!” Two boys were sitting on a SEAT bus (Solar Eco-friendly Antigravity Transportation), on their way home from Discipline. (‘Discipline’ is a strict name for school. The government wanted school to be more serious, so they renamed it.)
“Stop it, Risye,” Xerr said, exasperated. “I don’t want to go.”
“Why not? It’ll be the best thing ever!”
“I said NO!”
“Fine,” Risye said, holding both hands up in mock defeat. “Then I guess that Ohanna is mine for the night.”
“Ohanna?” Xerr asked. “She’ll be there?”
“Well duh!” Risye rolled his eyes and activated his BoPhone, short for Body Phone, which was on the inside of his wrist. He pulled out a message onto the holographic screen and showed it to Xerr.
Hey RE!
Just wanted to let you know that the entire rank is going out to the Star Battle tonight. We’ve reserved a whole section for Rank 6, so bring all of your friends, because it’s a half-off deal for all people 18 and younger. See you there!
Ohanna
“She sent you a message, but not me?” Xerr exclaimed, activating his BoPhone that was on the back of his hand. He flipped through all of his messages, but not a single one was from Ohanna. “And what’s with the whole ‘RE’ thing?”
“Oh, that,” Risye said casually. “It’s the newest nickname system. You take the first and last letters of your first name and BANG! You have a nickname.”
“So I would be XR?” Xerr asked. “That’s so weird.”
“But it’s awesome!” Risye laughed, stepping off the bus. “And you would know about it if you hung out with me and the gang more often.”
“Uh, your gang consists of you, two Star-Battler-wannabes, and a nerd,” Xerr snorted. “I’d rather sit by myself at lunch.”
“Hey, Keo is not a nerd!” Risye protested. “He’s just a guy who happens to get good grades!”
“And happens to wear glasses.”
“Just because glasses stopped being worn around 2098 doesn’t mean that he’s a nerd.”
“Risye, that was fifty-seven years ago,” Xerr said. “It’s his parent’s fault that he has flawed eyesight.”
“Just because they couldn’t afford the Perfection Course doesn’t mean that he’s a geek!” (The perfection course was a surgery that doctors performed on unborn babies to make sure that they have perfect senses, like hearing, sight, smell, etc. and was the most successful surgery ever invented.)
“Uh, yeah it does.” Xerr strolled along the eco-friendly sidewalks, pulling up a game on his BoPhone. It was called Mini Star Battles, which was a computerized version of the real thing. As he began to play, he ignored Risye’s posts that pinged into his message box, telling him to come to the Star Battle.
Two teams of five players were on the BoPhone screen; one blue and the other red. Each player had ten metal stars on their belts, some with weird symbols on them. One had a lightning bolt, another had flames, and yet a third had icicles.
A siren sounded, and the games began. The players began throwing the stars at opposing team, attempting to K.O. the entire enemy group. Xerr’s blue player threw a star with a lightning bolt, and when it struck an enemy, volts of electricity coursed through an enemy player.
Blue Team: 1
Red Team: 0

“C’mon, Xerr,” Risye pleaded as they entered a Mobile Café. “I promise that if you come to the battle tonight, I will never bug you again.”
“I’ll believe that when flying pigs can breathe underwater,” Xerr muttered, turning off his game. He then pressed a purple button on a drink machine labeled DRINK-O-RAMA. Immediately, a cup of cool soda materialized on the table, smelling faintly of artificial fruit flavoring. He turned his BoPhone to M.M. (Money Mode) and paid for the drink.
“Scientists are working on that,” Risye snapped. “You can’t use that phrase anymore.”
“Yeah, I can.” Xerr took a sip of Fruity Potion. “I can use it until scientists find a way to disprove my expression. That means that they have to figure out how to supply the oxygen levels that the flying swine needs to stay alive underwater and how to keep their hover-hooves from getting too wet to float.”
“And you call Keo a nerd,” Risye grumbled.
“I am not a nerd,” Xerr huffed. “I just remember our lessons.”
“Just come to the battle tonight!” Risye begged, swiftly changing the subject to what it was before. He bought one Delicious Concoction and sat in a hoverchair. “I won’t ever ask for a favor again!”
“Buzz off, Risye,” Xerr grumbled, stepping out of the Mobile Café, which had arrived at his house. “I’m not going to sit in cramped seating area just to watch overgrown jocks throw sharpened pieces of metal at each other.”
“You make it sound stupid,” Risye complained.
“Because it is!” Xerr exclaimed. “Don’t you get it? The whole competition is rigged, anyway. The winner is chosen even before the battle happens. Sorta like fake wrestling before 2040.”
“It is not rigged!” Risye huffed, crossing his arms and turning away. “If you ever watched one, you’d see for yourself!”
“Hey Xerr!” a voice called. Both boys turned to see an elegant-looking girl waving at them from the sidewalk. Her raven black hair tumbled down her shoulders, framing her high cheekbones and brilliant smile. “Aren’t you coming to the Star Battle tonight? I tried to send a message, but I forgot that your BoPhone was upgraded last month, so I have the wrong number sequence.” She flashed her gleaming white teeth and tucked a jet-black strand of hair behind her ear.
“Of course I’m coming, Ohanna!” Xerr laughed. “I love Star Battles!”
“Great!” Ohanna squealed. “By XR! By RE!” She waved and continued walking down the street, causing dozens of male eyes to trail her.

“You little turncoat!” Risye growled sarcastically, punching Xerr’s shoulder. Xerr grinned and gave a casual shrug.

“What?”



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