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Rebel, Part One
One week earlier
Tammi pushes the headline into my face. I make a sound of irritation as I look at it. It’s today’s New York Times, and the headline reads, “WAR AGAINST REBELS CONTINUES, DEATH TOLL RISES WITH LATEST BOMBING.”
I push it away, annoyed at the distraction. “I know about the attack, Tam. It isn’t anything new.” I return to my own tablet and focus on the report on Early Twenty-First Century North American Culture. I’m on page seven, and have several to go. In a time when information was vital to everyday living, the time of 2000-2030 is a hard time to document. But, my choosing to study anthropology means knowing all about past cultures. Yay me. I’d rather focus on Native Americans before settlers drove them to reservations, but I must study them all.
“Yes, but they finally have a name for one of the leaders, that cute one our age, with the light brown hair and green eyes.” She shoves the tablet under my nose again.
Involuntarily, a shiver runs through me. Every time I see those icy green eyes, I can’t help but react, whether it’s on television or a tabpaper. I can just feel the power and strength coming from those eyes. His features, a mixture of strong Native American bones and French aristocracy, exude confidence and appeal, even unsmilingly like he is. Beneath the picture, which shows him in an office, a caption says, “Daniel Martin, 18, is believed to be a leading force behind the Liberation Rebels’, currently fighting for unnecessary government change in Continer.”
“Daniel,” I say. “His name is Daniel.”
“Yep.” Tammi smiles widely. “I would seriously consider turning Rebel to get to know him.”
“Tammi!” I say incredulously. “You can be arrested for talk like that,” I hiss as a group of girls a couple years younger than us saunter by, chatting away.
“I was kidding, Blair. You’re too serious all the time,” she chuckles.
I sigh and look around the café. It’s a block from our Institute, and a popular end-of-the-day hangout. It just about serves the best coffee in town, and nearly everyone is here, crowding the place. “Even joking around, Tammi, you shouldn’t do it in a public place.”
“Like I, Tammara Winslow, am a Rebel,” she laughs, popping chocolate puffs into her mouth.
“Nowadays, no one can be sure. You heard about that Politician turning Rebel and giving away secrets,” I mumble. I turn back to my report, but find that after five minutes, I haven’t typed a thing, and I can’t focus.. Frustrated, I sit back and run a hand through my hair.
“Do you think Oliver would go on a date with me? He has the most gorgeous eyes,” Tammi comments, licking the chocolate from her top lip and eyeing the focus of her inquiry, who is sitting across the room.
I roll my eyes, suddenly fed up with Tammi and her superficiality. I push away from the table, stuff my tablet into my bag, and say to my friend, “I’ll see you tomorrow, Tam.”
Before she can answer, I push my way through the crowd to exit the café.
Not many people walk in the city, but a few are on foot today. Since my hovercar is in the shop, and I’m not in the mood to brave the crowd of the train system, I turn right and start forward.
Our City is fairly large, and set in what used to be East Tennessee. It’s situated in blocks, and easy to navigate. I turn my face towards the weakening autumn sun. I read about how this region was famous for its musical connections before the Corruption. It had a style only performed by specialists at History Fairs. I attended one last year, and was amazed. In the time leading up to democracy’s fall, most Americans couldn’t be bothered with the novelty of music or art. They wanted money, and to get money meant to make it. The debts are what felled the greatest nation in the world. You can still feel a little of America’s influence over a century and a half later.
I sigh and massage the back of my neck as I walk. That fair is what had gotten me into old cultures. For a while, it’s been fun. Now it was a headache wrapped in a pretty box.
A hand shoots out of a doorway I’m passing and grabs my arm. Before I can react, or even make a sound, another clamps onto my mouth. They pull me into the building, and my first thought is, Fight. I’m shoved against a wall, and I kick out at my attacker, but I freeze when I recognize the icy green eyes. My own widen, and I feel the shiver race up my spine. Daniel Martin releases my arm to hold a finger against his sculpted lips and quietly shush me.