155 Days Until Answers And the Uncertain End (part 3)
Evester watched as his father sauntered through the cabin, looking at them all as if he were annoyed by them appearing. His father had changed, into old clothes, similar to those that Evester had last saw the man in. He was no longer in the retrofitted Aralax body. Kim and Phil had gathered as many papers as they could into backpacks, all of Evester’s father’s notes, as Kori and Kony gathered video evidence. Shawn stood at the window looking out every so often. Sun was setting.
“We have to turn on the Space Program.” Evester told his father as his father collected final notes. They had not needed much to convince him, since they had created such a scene with the cars and explosions.
“It’s on. Uly got it without me, no? Why do you need me?” His father continued, however, to complain. He was a mess of scruff and dirt, smelt unholy, and Evester wanted to smack the man around, but relief was washing over him. It was a tide he had to fight back, with the knowledge that he had they still had to escape.
Instead, he focused on his father’s question. Why did they need the lead scientist for the Yasaloughve Project? “I don’t know. You tell me.”
“No need to get sassy Evester.” His father turned from him to Zeydar and Heia. “This is our first time meeting Zeydar. It is a pleasure to meet you.”
“Right.” Zeydar shook his hand, before looking to the door. “We really need to go.”
“We will. We will.” Evester’s father looked to Heia. “I know you have all sorts of questions.”
“You taught me martial arts. You were…” She was at a loss for words.
“Of course I did. I needed to make sure you were up to standard.” Maverin woke it off hurrying to collect more things. Heia’s eyes darted to Evester.
“What standard?” Evester asked. “You knew it would be us when?”
“When I chose you of course.” Maverin looked back. And for a moment the world was silent. All thoughts disappeared and then all Evester could think was: what?
“You chose?” Kim asked.
“Ah. You were all under the impression the Project chose you.” Evester could see the way the news hit Zeydar and Heia like they’d seen the end of the world again. Evester, himself felt at a loss. Hadn’t the project chosen him? Wasn’t there some higher reason for it all? “The Project is not that clever. It specified that a Star, an X, and a Circle were needed after I inputted the current state of affairs. It doesn’t know names. I decided those.”
“You picked us?” Heia asked. Evester expected rage but all he heard from her was distress.
“Zeydar. The only class Zero. That took a lot of investigation to do, but luckily I had connections into the Stars. Tyler was much help in that regard,” Evester watched as Zeydar flinched at his father’s name. “I had wanted it to be Tyler, as the only Superior I trusted, but he told me he had a son the age of my son. I knew then that based on the predictions and timeline that would be perfect. I knew that you three were needed first out of everything.
“The rest of the details, the attacks, the things to look out for. All of it. That all came later. What was first, was the tools I needed. It was always that case. The Project always gives its predictions that way. It gives the tools needed and then gives the details to decipher. The tools were The Space Program, a Circle, AaStar, and an X. So I had my Star. A Class Zero Star, who would be a Superior.”
“You knew about classes?” Zeydar asked him. How much classified information had Maverin had access to?
“I’m a scientist. I talked your father into explaining it.” Maverin explained. Evester knew his father would never tell him the things he had known, because it was never important. Maverin only ever did things for the project, extra details and information was negligible. “Then I had my son. That took a bit of convincing. I had watched my kids for years as MAY and Anti-Love tried to take down the project. Estashia let me take Evester, because he was the odd one out of the three. When we were forced to move to shut down the project, I took to letting Evester start EverDanger.” Evester wondered how many people his father had paid off to let it happen. “He was the one I trained to be physically skilled and mentally skilled for the task. Then I needed an X, so I searched. I had to find an X in all the records that fit my standards.”
“Standards?” Heia repeated, she gripped herself too tightly, from what Evester could tell. Was she furious? Or was she broken?
“One. Had to have a large enough family. This was a hit or miss. But by having a large family, I believed the X would learn compassion, and also hardship. I needed both. Then I needed someone around the age of Evester and Zeydar. I was able to narrow it down and so I started interviews. Heia passed because she was exactly what I needed.” Maverin looked to her. “When Zeydar was a Star more powerful than everyone else and Evester had trained his entire life for it, I needed someone who would remember the mission. Someone who would remember what was needed to save the world.”
The people, Evester understood then. It was what Heia always pushed for, remembered, when the others forgot. They had not been picked by the Project, but for the project. Heia was shaking furious, Evester assumed, justifiably.
“You built us for this.” Evester was angry too.
“What else was I supposed to do?” Maverin asked him. “Let the fate of the world fall into chance? No. These things have to be carefully planned and executed. Science is random chance, of controlled circumstances.”
Evester was at a loss for words. Rage bubbled in him, wanting to burst out. The relief was gone, all that remained was anger.
“Sunset. We have to go.” Shawn cut in before Evester could explode. “Let’s save the screaming match for when we aren’t trying to run for our lives.”