“That’s two questions actually,” Sara said automatically, still confused. “Wait, Revolution?”
Ro grimaced and rolled her eyes so far back in her head all Sara would have seen was white if she had been looking. Her attention had been arrested by a patrol bot scanning the grounds and headed straight for them.
“Now we’re in trouble,” Sara groaned.
Ro looked skyward as if to ask for strength. “Listen,” she hissed, “just follow me if you want to join us. Stay here if you want to get another adjustment.” Ro crept along the length of the bench and rolled behind a nearby bush. She ducked and rolled and crawled until she reached the tree in the center of the park. Sara watched, zooming in with her lenses. The bot was getting closer.
In a split second decision that would change her life forever, Sara followed Ro to the tree, ducking and rolling and crawling until she also reached the tree. The bot continued on its way, humming and scanning and sweeping up any stray bits of trash that crossed its path.
Sara stood with her back to the tree, watching the bot. A hand clamped firmly over her mouth.
Sara fell backwards into a void so dark even her lenses could not illuminate her surroundings. Then the hand was gone.
She landed several seconds later. Whatever she’d landed on was soft, almost spongy, and unpleasantly damp. She tried to stand, but her legs wobbled with the effort and the surface was none too steady.
A blinding light overhead illuminated her surroundings as she fell over again into the dampness. The first thing she noticed was that she was, in fact, on a giant growth that resembled a mushroom. The second was that she was surrounded by people, most of whom were trying not to laugh. Some were frowning. Some she recognized.
“Sara, roll off to your left,” Ro called out. She was standing next to a tall woman Sara had never seen before.
She rolled off to her left and dropped off the mushroom two feet onto hard dirt.
“Oops, I meant my left, your right,” Ro said, and Sara wasn’t sure Ro was actually sorry. She stood, wary.
Sara looked around. They were in an underground cavern with slick black rocks, dirt trails, and eerie growths like the one she had landed on. The light was one of the street lamps from the city, but it had been altered to glow brighter, and with a lid on top so the light shone only downwards. It was on a ledge at least seven feet above Sara’s head, and she could see a string of them off into the distance. She looked again at the people.
By her count there were almost forty, including Ro. Two were brother and sister, Ian and Patience; she knew them from Assigned Learning. Sitting down on a large rock to her left was Tomas, the manager of a small shop in town where she bought her hovboard. Behind her she heard a familiar voice, one she never expected to hear in this damp cave full of rebels.
“Welcome to the Revolution, Sara,” Eli, the Supreme Inhabitants son, was smiling.