The Power of the Exiled – Ch 6 Part 2

NaNoWriMo Recap: I completed my goal of 25,000 words in 30 days in the last hour of November 30th. The last 2000 words are probably not very good, but I’m not going to edit them until I get to it. I realized I left off just after giving Lord Duffy a (rather cliched) backstory.

This picks up when Andrew is back in school the day after everything happened. There’s going to be some huge fallout for his “unauthorized” research the day before when he was in the library.

Andrew sat alone in his homeroom, reading and thinking. He heard the hallways slowly come to life as more and more students came into school. But he did not venture out and visit people like he usually did. He needed to be alone today. He especially wanted to avoid Eileen. After yesterday, it was still hard to even think about her. Andrew thought that he had finally put it behind him, but all it took was one debate in philosophy class coupled with meeting the Voices of the Right and he couldn’t stop thinking about the possibilities.

The noise from the hallway was always so loud during the morning rush, even with the door closed. Andrew’s class mates slowly trickled into the room, most busy with some forgotten assignment or something. They kept to themselves as much as Andrew kept to himself, he didn’t mind.

Once again the bell rang, and Andrew’s day began in earnest. He quickly made his way down the hall and went straight to his first class, which was science today. He only pretended to listen to his teacher lecture about birth defects like Down’s and Cerebral Palsy. Andrew always felt sleepy in his science class, especially whenever his teacher went on and on. He was about to nod off when he heard one of his class mates – Rebecca from philosophy class – ask a question about abortion.

“Well, if a doctor detects that the foetus has one of those birth defects, say Downs, is he obligated to report it?”

Mr. Plank adjusted his glasses before nodding. “Yes, he would report it to the Agency for Child Welfare, and then the mother would get an abortion.”

“Why?” Andrew sensed that Rebecca really didn’t like abortion. But he really couldn’t sit in another class and have the same debate. He raised his hand and Mr. Plank called on him.

“Isn’t because they believe it would be easier for both the mother and the foetus than to have a child growing up with a severe disability?”

“Correct, Mr. Entschied.” Mr. Plank resumed his lecture, ignoring Rebecca fuming in the front. Andrew rolled his eyes. It didn’t make sense to terminate a baby with a birth defect systematically.

Luckily, or unluckily, the bell rang soon after and he and Rebecca fell in step to Philosophy. “Hey,” she said.

Andrew really wished he could just ignore her, but that would be difficult since she was practically right next to him as they headed to their class. “What?” he asked, a little roughly.

“Do you agree?”

“With what?” He knew what she was asking about but didn’t want to entertain her questioning.

“You know… the abortion thing?”

Andrew took a moment to pause as he dodged some freshman who was running down the hall. The bell hadn’t even rang yet so why was the kid running? Andrew shrugged and lied again. “Sure, why not?”

Rebecca stopped walking and the girl walking behind them nearly collided with her. “Watch it!” she yelled as she severed around them.

“How can you?” Rebecca asked.

“Dunno, just do.” He didn’t need to explain himself to her. And there was no way he could even begin to tell her what he went through last year.

He continued walking to class, leaving her in the middle of the hallway.

Andrew got to the class room a minute before the bell was due to ring. Rebecca rushed in right as it was ringing. She headed to her ususual seat right in the front while Andrew decided to sit as far back as possible. He noticed the dumb athlete – Robert’s – desk was empty so he sat there.

Mr. Lopez didn’t seem to mind Andrew’s seat change while he took attendance. Some days he took it at the beginning of the class, and other times he took it while people were discussing the topic.

“So today, I thought we would wrap up our discussion from yesterday’s topic. Tomorrow we will begin tackling end of life issues.”  Andrew couldn’t believe it. Why was it that everything had to be about abortion? He really didn’t want to sit in his philosophy class and listen to Rebecca go on and on about how it was really horrible for the government to murder children before they had a chance to be born. And he really didn’t want to make up an answer either, since Mr. Lopez was sure to ask him again today. For a while he just put his head down, trying to ignore as much as the conversation as possible. It was really easy too, because he was tired from not sleeping well the night before. Then Mr. Lopez finally noticed that it looked like he was sleeping.

“Andrew?” he lifted his head to see not only Mr. Lopez looking at him but also most of the class, even Rebecca. “Are you not feeling well?”

He froze, unsure of what to do after being caught with his head down. Then inspiration struck him. “Uh, no…I’m not. I’ve been coming down with something. May I go to the nurse?”

Mr. Lopez looked at him with a raised eyebrow. Andrew did look pale and fatigued. “Ok, but I want you to type up your response to the abortion question and email it to me for credit.” Andrew got up and walked to the front of the class for a pass. “And I expect you to participate fully in class tomorrow?” He signed Andrew’s pass.

“Oh yes, sir. I think it’s just a 24 hour bug. I didn’t sleep very well last night.” Andrew slipped out of the classroom and into the now empty hallway. He did feel pretty rotten but he had a feeling that whatever was wrong with him wouldn’t go away no matter how long he stayed in the nurses office. He felt restless. Andrew knew the Media Agents were coming to talk to him; but he didn’t know whether it would be just a couple of Media Agents who wanted to know why he accessed restricted information or if it would be someone from the Investigations Department wanting to take him in for questioning. Once the Government had him in their custody, it would mean game over and Andrew would never get to the bottom of his connections with Miles and the Voices of the Right.

He decided to head to the library again. There was more information out there, and he was going to try to find it. No longer caring about who saw him in the library – he did have paperwork in the office that said he had an individual project – Andrew decided to start with today’s newspaper as he didn’t get a chance to see it at home. He walked up to the newspaper terminal, which was right next to the reference desk. The librarians were all busy as there were a few classes in the library that period. Andrew called up today’s paper and printed it out. Once he had the whole paper, he found the table that he was sitting at yesterday and sat down. Right on top was the retraction and response that his father had mentioned this morning. But on the bottom of the first page was a few lines about today marking the 20th anniversary of the Liberty University Bombing. More on page A6.

Andrew quickly spread out the printout of the paper and found A6. There was a bombing in the chemistry building during the morning and several people died, including a Mrs Duffy, wife to the now Head Judge Lord Duffy, and their baby girl. Andrew couldn’t believe that the cold, cruel man he saw in his dream had a family long ago. He kept reading. A few days after the event, a group calling themselves the Voices of the Right claimed responsibility. Their leader, Miles Barris, sent a written statement to the newspaper office. He wrote that he did not believe Liberty University was a true university, since the Government controlled all access to information. The group went underground after and was never caught, until a few months ago. Barris and his compatriots were charged and convicted of several crimes, including treason and murder. They were sent into exile as punishment.

Andrew stopped reading once the article mentioned something about a memorial service planned for later today. Even after all his digging yesterday, Andrew was unable to find anything mentioning the Liberty University bombing and its connection to the Voices of the Right, and yet today all he had to do was read the newspaper. It was a big coincidence and yet another thing he would have to ask Miles about.

Andrew looked over the retraction and the response to the column that ran in yesterday’s paper. The retraction wasn’t very worthwhile. Andrew knew it was fabricated as it didn’t even try to imitate the writing style from the column. However, reading the response got Andrew angry. The Liberty Government did not deny censuring and controlling information. In their eyes, they were protecting their citizens from harmful information. There were many things that were upsetting to people and the Government didn’t want anybody to stumble upon those things.

This was one of the few times when Andrew found himself outright agreeing with Miles and his gang. There was no sense in censuring something just because some people find it upsetting. He looked at the clock, it was almost time for lunch. He was surpised that no one had come to speak to him yet. As an 18th year, Andrew got a whole hour for lunch and the privilege of going off campus to eat. If everything went according to his plan, Andrew would leave during lunch and head back to the forest to talk to Miles. Whether or not he felt like coming back for his afternoon classes would depend on what Miles asked Andrew to do.

Andrew heard one of the librarians arguing with a man up front. There was a pit in his stomach and somehow he knew this stranger was looking for him. He had previously thought of running, but always countered with running made him appear even more guilty than if he cooperated with them. He decided to walk to the front of the library.

The man was arguing with the head librarian because he wanted to have his men come in and search for someone. The old lady was standing her ground and refused to let them tear her place apart. Andrew knew they were looking for him so he let them know he was standing right there.

“Are you Andrew Entschied?” The man asked. There was a tattoo that wound its way up his chest, Andrew could see it peeking up from under his collar. It reminded him of Ryan’s tattoo on his hands.

Andrew didn’t say anything, he just nodded. The man walked up to him and took his arm, firmly but not roughly. “We need you to come with us for some questioning.” He led Andrew out of the library. Andrew tried not to notice the shocked expressions of the librarian and the other students who witnessed his ‘arrest’

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