Chapter 57: Nikola

Another day, another chapter in the Infinite Limits saga, and today we rejoin Tillie and Nikola as Nikola’s parents try to convince them both to take on a dangerous mission designed to retrieve vital information about the worlds of Outland. Enjoy the story, and if you want to read the rest of the entire novel right now, pick up a copy through this link. Thanks for following along, dear readers. We do nothing along.

< LVI. Mr. Walker     [Table of Contents]     LVIII. Laura >

LVII. Nikola

“Uh, that’s not really what I had in mind, Dad,” Nikola said, looking to her mom for help. “I don’t know, I thought maybe we’d start on the assembly lines, or in the farms, or something. You know, something a bit more suited to someone without any basic training—no offense Tillie.”

Tillie didn’t respond. She was still staring blankly across the desk at Nikola’s dad.

“Give your American friend some credit,” Nikola’s mom said. “She looks strong and healthy from here. She seems to have put up with capture by those vicious protectors. You can handle it, right, dear?”

Tillie nodded.

Ugh, Mom.” Nikola sighed, looking back to her dad for help now. “Can’t you to just leave her alone for like a day. She’s only just gotten out of that prison. You can’t expect her to have gotten over it already.”

“None of us can say whether she has or not,” Nikola’s dad said. “Only she can decide that for herself. She doesn’t need you speaking for her, you know. Now, American, do you understand what we’re asking of you?”

Tillie still just stared blankly across the desk.

Nikola scoffed. “Her name’s Tillie, Dad. Not American. And no one understands what you’re asking of her. Not even me.”

“We’ve found the linchpin in America’s walls, dear,” Nikola’s mom said. “They’ve centralized control of them so much that we can shut down all transportation in one fell swoop. That includes 3D printers.”

“How would they eat?” Tillie finally spoke up, in a quiet, almost croaking voice.

“Excuse me, soldier?” Nikola’s dad said.

“Without printers how will they eat?” Tillie repeated, louder this time.

“The printers won’t be off for too long,” Nikola’s mom said. “You can be sure of that. But by the time they get turned back on, we’ll have a foothold on the inside. We’ll remain there, controlling and monitoring everything, long after they think we’ve gone.” She smiled.

“How long is too long?” Tillie asked. “My dad needs printers to eat, printers to get dressed, printers to feed Mr. Kitty, Hell, he needs printers for everything required to sustain his life. How long will they be off?”

“All of fifteen seconds is what we need,” Nikola’s dad said. “In and out just like that. And you’re gonna give it to us.”

“But why us?” Nikola demanded. “Isn’t there someone else who’s better for the job?”

“Why Tillie, you mean,” Nikola’s mom said. “She’s the key. I’m not so sure it’s a good idea to let you go along, in fact. What do you think, honey?”

“I’m not letting her go without me,” Nikola said.

“If it convinces the American to help,” her dad said, “it might be worth the risk.”

“Yes, but only the—” her mom started.

“Why me?” Tillie demanded.

Everyone turned to stare at her. Maybe she was ready for the mission after all.

“The Scientist, dear,” Nikola’s mom said. “We’ve been following her for some time, actually, trying to find our opening. It wasn’t easy, you know. She practices tight security. But what’s important is that we’ve been following the Scientist, and we’ve found that she’s been following you. Now since she’s already looking for you she won’t be surprised to find you on her doorstep. When she let’s you in you just have to garner enough trust to get near a computer then we can do the rest.”

“That’s it?” Nikola scoffed. “Get near a computer? She doesn’t even have to use it?”

“It doesn’t even have to be turned on,” Nikola’s dad said with a big smile. “Just wear this transceiver and get near the thing.” He held up a silver bracelet, grinning wide and proud of the little gadget—he always did love his electronic gadgets. “No one will even know you’ve done a thing.”

Nikola took the bracelet out of his hands so her dad would sit down and stop pushing it on Tillie who seemed to be lost in her own little world.

“So how do we get there?” Nikola asked, stalling for time since Tillie obviously needed more to work out how she felt about the situation. “To the Scientist.”

“That’s the tricky part,” Nikola’s dad said.

“And it’s not we yet,” her mom added.

“Why don’t you tell them, honey,” her dad said. “This is more of your area.”

“As I said,” her mom went on, “we’ve been following the Scientist following your Tillie ever since we helped her escape from that prison.”

Nikola couldn’t tell whether it was a cough or a scoff, but Tillie made a noise.

“Beyond that,” Nikola’s mom went on, not noticing the noise or ignoring it—probably the latter. “We’ve been leading the Scientist on a wild goose chase—if you’ll forgive the archaic saying.”

“She means we’re making the Scientist think we took you someplace where we didn’t,” Nikola’s dad clarified.

“The plan is to let her actually find you,” Nikola’s mom went on. “She’ll take you back to her lab, and then it’d be up to you to find the computer.”

“And if she doesn’t take us to her lab?” Nikola asked, not confident in this flimsy plan even though she was definitely going along with it if Tillie decided that she wanted to. “What if the protectors greet us instead?”

“They won’t,” her dad said. “And the Scientist will. She’s smarter and faster than those protectors, and she’ll want to protect your American from them. She’s got something in store for you, girl.” He chuckled, nodding at Tillie.

Nikola scoffed. “Dad!”

“And when are we supposed to do this?” Tillie asked.

Nikola’s mom smiled. “As soon as you can, dear. The sooner the better. We have an operation set up at fourteen hundred hours—that’s…two hours from now—but any later than that and we’ll have to find another suitable transfer point in the next two weeks or so.”

Tillie took the bracelet from Nikola’s hand and strapped it on her wrist. “And I just stand close to the computer?” she asked. “I don’t have to turn this on or anything?”

Nikola’s dad chuckled. “That’s my girl. And no. We’ll control everything from here. You just get us in range.”

“I’ll do it,” Tillie said. “Just tell me when and where.”

“Great!” Nikola’s dad stood and clapped his hands together. “Nikola, take our American friend to get some proper mission attire then meet us in the Central Depot at fourteen hundred hours. You’re doing a great service to all the World’s beings, dear girl. We thank you for that.” He grabbed Tillie by the hand to shake it vigorously while pulling her up out of her seat.

“Alright, Dad. We’ll be there,” Nikola said, prying Tillie’s hand away from his and showing her out the door. “Don’t worry.”

They didn’t talk again until they had traversed the halls and stairwells to Nikola’s room where she said, “You know you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, right?”

“What? Wear proper mission attire?” Tillie asked with a little chuckle. “Good. Because I wasn’t planning on doing that anyway.”

“No,” Nikola said, shaking her head. “I mean you don’t have to go on this mission at all if you don’t want to. My parents can’t make you do it. No one can make you do anything here.”

“I want to,” Tillie said. “Trust me. It’ll be good to get back home anyway. Even if I won’t really be home for good.”

“Yeah, sure,” Nikola said. “I guess.” Though she wasn’t sure.

“Trust me, Nikola. I’ll be alright. There’s nothing to worry about. Now let’s go get some more of that free food before we go on this mission. I’m starving.”

“Yeah, I bet.” Nikola laughed. “The ants ate all yours earlier.”

#     #     #

They met Nikola’s parents in the Central Hub. Not really, though. After riding the bullet proof glass elevator down into nowhere they were probably far far away from the People’s France. They were in a tiny room with cement walls and a linoleum floor. Nothing else. Just the four of them staring at each other.

“Now you’re sure you want to do this,” Nikola said. “They have no control over you. You can still say no if you want to.”

Tillie nodded.

“And you have the transceiver?” Nikola’s dad asked.

Tillie held up her arm with the bracelet still attached.

“The Scientist might not take you directly to the world with her computer in it,” Nikola’s mom said. “She probably won’t. That’s likely to be a heavily secured area. So you two are going to have to do whatever you can to get her to bring you there.”

Nikola scoffed. “Like what?”

“Ask her about the walls,” Nikola’s dad said. “How they work and all that. Pretend like you don’t believe in them. She’s a scientist, she’ll want to teach you, prove them to you. She won’t be able to resist. I promise.”

“And what if she never takes us to the right place?” Nikola asked. “How are we supposed to get back home if you don’t have control over the system?”

“We’ll get you back,” her mom said. “We’ve done it once before, haven’t we?”

Nikola scoffed. “Barely.”

“With perfect timing is how I like to think of it,” her dad said with a smile. “How are you feeling, American?”

Tillie hadn’t spoken since they had left the food cart for the Central Hub. She fidgeted now, looking for the right thing to say. “Ready,” she finally did.

“Good,” Nikola’s mom said with a smile. “Your ride’s almost here. We’ll send you along to the alley then you wait for our signal there. Good luck, girls. The solidarity of our people rides with you.”

Nikola and Tillie stepped onto the elevator in silence. This was a different elevator than the one they had ridden in on. It was all steel—walls, ceiling, and floor—instead of glass and linoleum. The doors slid closed, hiding her parents from view, and Nikola breathed a sigh of anticipation. “Are you sure you want to do this?” she asked again. She hated sounding like a broken record, but she had to be sure they weren’t taking advantage of Tillie.

“There’s no turning back now,” Tillie said, and the floor fell out from underneath them.

When the elevator stopped and the doors slid open Nikola took a deep whiff of the world around her. She could smell America. There was something in the air that made it different. A camouflaged French revolutionary waved them out of the elevator and into an alley where they were left to wait for the next leg of the trip. Nikola paced back and forth from wall to wall as they did while Tillie stood still, staring off into the distance at nothing, lost in thought again.

“This is the last chance to turn back,” Nikola interrupted her revery.  “Are you sure you want to do this?”

The revolutionary—who Nikola didn’t recognize somehow, she thought she knew everyone on the base if not anyone who’d be on this mission—shushed Nikola and waved for her to get closer to where he was hiding behind a dumpster. “Fat chance,” he said. “No turning back now. So shut up and get over here. You’re endangering the mission.”

Nikola stopped pacing. “Endangering how?” she asked, looking up and down the alley then back at the pushy soldier. “There’s no one even out here.”

“Not now there isn’t,” the soldier said in a whisperyell. “But someone could walk by at any minute. Now get over here.” He waved to her again.

“You have no control over me,” Nikola said, standing her ground. “I don’t even know your name.”

“I’m not trying to control you,” the soldier said, getting flustered. “I just want to ensure—” He held a hand to his ear. “Never mind. It doesn’t matter anymore. Your ride’s here. Follow me.” He jumped up onto the balls of his feet and made his way down the alley in a crouch.

Nikola tried to make a joke about it as they followed the crouching tiger, but Tillie wasn’t interested. She didn’t look when Nikola tried to tap her on the arm to get her attention, and she didn’t even grin or crack a smile, much less chuckle or laugh, when Tillie told the joke anyway. Maybe it was time to get serious after all. Nikola set her mind on doing just that, falling into line behind the solemn parade led by a crouching madman.

The soldier stopped in front of a public elevator a block and a half away and looked surprised when he turned to find Tillie and Nikola walking with a normal stride, not trying to hide themselves at all. “Get down,” he demanded, waving them toward the elevator. “Do you want to be seen?”

“I thought we were trying to get caught,” Nikola said, looking around to find the streets as empty as they had been the entire time. “Isn’t that the whole point of this operation?”

“You have to get caught by the right person. If the protectors get you, we’re fucked. Now get in.” The elevator doors slid open and the soldier pushed Nikola in.

“Alright, shit,” Nikola said, regaining her balance. “I’ll remember that.”

Tillie stepped into the elevator. “Door closed,” she said.

“You don’t even know my name,” the soldier said as the doors slid closed between them. “Or the code!” he added, trying, but failing, to get his fingers inside and pry the door open.

“Shows him,” Nikola said, chuckling. “We should let him stew for a while before we open them up again.”

“We don’t need the code,” Tillie said, staring straight ahead at the closed doors.

“What do you mean? How are we supposed to get to the Scientist?”

“I already know the Scientist,” Tillie said. “Well, I know of her. Emma knew her.”

“Emma?”

“Yes, Emma.” Tillie turned to Nikola and smiled. It was an eerie smile, more of a smirk, like no grin Nikola had ever seen on Tillie’s face before. She looked almost mad. “Emma was working with the Scientist. The Scientist gave us the keys we needed to destroy the walls between Five and Six. We did that, Nikola.”

No.” Nikola shook her head. It couldn’t be true. She had seen the intelligence reports on the operation. It was a false flag attack put on by the Scientist in order to distract the masses from her true plan. It had nothing to do with Outland Two. It—

“Yes. Emma, the Scientist, and I were all working together. There’s no way I’m about to sabotage everything we’ve worked so hard to build. And I’m not about to let you sabotage it, either.”

“No—but— She isn’t working with us,” Nikola pleaded, trying to knock some sense into the ignorant American before it was too late. “She holds their walls up for them. Without her the walls would crumble and our job would be so much easier. You can’t be working with her. It goes against your interests.”

“Without her Five and Six would still be separated,” Tillie said, sneering. “Without her I wouldn’t be in this fight to help you at all. Without her none of this would be possible, and I won’t let you ruin it now.”

“No. Tillie, listen—”

“The struggle itself is enough to fill one’s heart,” Tillie said and the floor fell out from underneath them.

“Tillie, please,” Nikola begged. “You can still do the right thing. Or if you want, give me the bracelet. I’ll do it and you won’t have to feel any guilt at all. But don’t ruin this opportunity for us. Please.”

Tillie scoffed. “Giving you the gun to shoot for me would be exactly the same as pulling the trigger myself.” The elevator stopped. “We’re here anyway. Let’s see what the Scientist has to say about it.”

The elevator doors slid open to reveal a short empty hall. Tillie stepped into it right away but Nikola hesitated. Maybe she should just stay in the elevator and leave Tillie to deal with the Scientist, after all. By the sounds of it, Tillie wasn’t going to cooperate and Nikola would have a hard time finding a way back to the People’s France as a result. She knew she couldn’t do that, though, that she still had to try to complete her mission no matter how hopeless it looked, so she followed Tillie out into the hall and the elevator doors slid closed behind her.

“Now what?” Nikola asked Tillie who was slowing down, looking a little less sure of herself.

“Well there’s only one door,” Tillie said, pointing. “So there’s really no choice, is there?”

As she said it, the door opened and in stepped a tall, dark faced woman with a severe look about her. She was wearing a pinstripe pantsuit which only seemed to make her legs look longer as she took a few strides to cross the short hall and stand in front of them with a sneer. This couldn’t be the Scientist, could it? She didn’t look like she’d be willing to cooperate at all if she was, so Nikola certainly hoped not.

“Are you the Scientist?” Tillie asked her outright, seeming to stand taller as she said the words.

The woman didn’t answer, though. She just stared blankly down at Tillie, not even sparing a second glance for Nikola who didn’t regret that fact.

“We’re looking for the Scientist,” Tillie persisted. “It’s urgent. Can you take us to her?”

“Urgent, huh?” the woman finally said, and the deep baritone of her voice took Nikola off guard. Nikola almost let out a gasp but managed to hold her silence as the woman went on. “I’ll be the judge of that.”

“W—We— Who are you?” Tillie stammered.

The woman chuckled and it sounded eerier than her voice. “I’ll be asking the questions here, girl. You trespassed on my property. Now who are you?”

“Tillie Manager, ma’am.” Tillie swallowed some spit, making enough noise for Nikola to hear it. “I need to—”

“And your friend, Tillie Manager, does she have a name, too?”

“Nikkie—” Tillie started but Nikola elbowed her to shut her up.

“Nikkie Manager,” Nikola said. “Who are you?”

The woman chuckled. “She’s a feisty one, isn’t she? No wonder you brought her along with you.”

“We need to see the Scientist,” Tillie said, a hint of anxiety slipping into her voice. “Where is she?”

“And what do you need to see the Scientist for? She’s a busy woman, you know.”

“We—I have information,” Tillie corrected herself. “It’s about an attack. I’m with Emma.”

“Emma who?”

Tillie tried to speak but nothing would come out. Nikola didn’t know Emma’s last name and she wouldn’t be surprised if Tillie didn’t know it either. Neither of them knew what to say now. At least Tillie hadn’t given away their mission yet. There was still a chance it could be a success.

“And you expect me to trust you?” the woman said, chuckling. “I’d be in my right mind to kick the both of—” The door opened behind her—interrupting her speech—and a big metal arm with a too human hand rolled out into the hall on giant tires. “Popeye,” the woman said, “not now. Can’t you see I’m busy?”

The hand waved then turned this way and that, as if it were trying to communicate something.

“Yes, they’re here,” the woman said. “Can’t you see them right there?”

The arm did another, slightly different, dance in response.

“I’ll bring them in shortly,” the woman said. “I’m just having a little bit of fun before I do. I am still allowed to have fun, aren’t I?”

The mechanical arm waved her away and rolled back into the room it had come out of.

“W—Was that—” Tillie said. “The Scientist?”

The woman chuckled. “Creator, no,” she said, shaking her head and wiping a tear from her eye. “We’d all be in a lot worse position if that no brains arm was the Scientist. Now come on. It looks like she’s ready for you.”

They followed the woman through the door at the end of the hall and into a huge office room with a giant oak desk, a circle of big fluffy chairs around a few side tables, and a wall-sized window looking out onto a vast, green wilderness scene. There were no computers, of course—just Nikola’s luck—only a white haired old woman in a white coat sitting in one of the puffy chairs and the big mechanical arm washing the giant window.

“Come in, come in,” the woman in the white coat said, standing from her seat and showing Tillie and Nikola to two of their own before retaking hers. “Have a seat, please. We have so much to talk about.”

“Are— Are you the Scientist?” Tillie asked, taking her seat. Nikola took a second to stare out the window at the rolling hills before sitting, too.

“I am, dear,” the woman in the white coat said. “And you already met Rosalind.” She indicated the tall scary woman who had received them at the elevator. “And of course Popeye.” The big mechanical arm waved then went back to washing the window. “And you two are?”

“I’m Tillie,” Tillie said, not choosing to speak for Nikola this time.

“Yes, Tillie,” the Scientist said. “I know that one already, actually. Your friend here, however…” She lowered her eyes at Nikola.

“I’m just a friend,” Nikola said. “No names needed.”

“Ah. I see,” the Scientist said, tapping her chin. “I can’t make you do anything, now, but I’m afraid I’d be more comfortable if I had a name I could call you by.” The Scientist waited for a response, but when it became clear to everyone that Nikola wasn’t giving any the Scientist said, “Have it your way, then. Friend it is. So, Tillie and Friend, how can I help y’all?”

“I need to—” Tillie started, but Nikola knew it was her last chance to interject before Tillie ruined everything.

“You could stop propping up the ownership class for starters,” she blurted out without thinking.

The Scientist gave Nikola a death stare. Rosalind, or whatever her name was—sitting at the desk and playing cards with herself—scoffed. The sound of it made Nikola feel a little more confident and seemed to perturb the Scientist who shot a glance in Rosalind’s direction. “Friend,” the Scientist went on, “if you’re going to talk to me like that, I’d rather we were on a first name basis.”

Nikola scoffed, almost perfectly mimicking the sound of Rosalind’s and surprising herself because of it. “Sure thing, the Scientist.” She held up air quotes around the woman’s “name”. “My name’s Friend, the Friend. Nice to meet you.” She stood and held out a hand for the Scientist to shake.

Rosalind chuckled at the desk, and this time the Scientist did more than shoot her a glance. “Don’t you think there’s a better place for you to play your cards,” she snapped.

“Not if I want to hear what y’all are talking about,” Rosalind said with a snicker.

“That’s exactly my point,” the Scientist said, turning back to Nikola and composing herself. “Now, Friend, where were we?”

“Alright, alright. I get it.” Rosalind grumbled, making an effort to take a long time picking up the cards. “C’mon, Popeye. We’re not wanted here.” She waved the arm along to follow her slowly out of the room.

“Well…” the Scientist said, raising an eyebrow and trying to ignore Rosalind’s loud exit. “Go on, Friend.”

Nikola hesitated. She had lost track of the conversation. It wasn’t her turn to talk, was it? The ball was in the Scientist’s court. She took too long and Tillie ended up picking it up and running with it, “We wanted to tell you something.”

“No, that’s not it,” Nikola said, cutting the Scientist off before she could respond. “You were about to tell us your name. It’s your turn to offer up some information. You got Tillie’s name first, now you give us yours. Tit for tat. Your move.”

The Scientist smiled. She seemed to be enjoying this now, which didn’t sit well with Nikola. “I already knew Tillie’s name,” she said. “No new information was exchanged there.” Nikola tried to speak up but the Scientist raised a hand to stop her. “But. I will give you the benefit of the doubt by going first in an exchange of names, Friend.”

Fine,” Nikola said. “Go ahead then. I’m waiting…”

The Scientist made her wait just a little bit longer, that wry wrinkly grin on her face. After a few more moments of silence, letting Nikola stew in it, she said, “My name is Dr. Haley.”

“And…” Nikola said, motioning her on. “Dr. Haley… What? Not just a first name basis. A full name basis.”

The Scientist started to squirm in her seat a bit. Nikola scooted up to the edge of hers. Tillie did, too, apparently not as set on thwarting the mission as she had first seemed. “Now that wasn’t part of the deal,” the Scientist said, fidgeting still. “A name for a name, Friend. Now what’s yours?”

“You have my last name already,” Tillie cut in, and Nikola knew she had won the conversation. “You apparently knew it before I even told you.”

“Yes, well…” the Scientist said, looking for some escape, but she was trapped.

“Well what is your last name?” Nikola asked, confident the game was done.

“I—Well… Dr. Haley Walker,” the Scientist said—Dr. Walker said.

“Walker?” Tillie said, eyes wide. She looked to Nikola. “You knew, didn’t you? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t know you were working with her,” Nikola said. “We didn’t know. We didn’t know Emma was, either. If we had known, we wouldn’t have gone through all this. I promise you that.”

“Who are you, Friend?” the Scientist asked, standing up. “And how do you know so much?”

Nikola laughed. “It’s not so great being on the other side of the information divide, is it?”

“You’re related to Lord Walker, aren’t you?” Tillie said, her attention turned to the Scientist still. “That’s why you keep his walls up for him.”

“The former Lord,” the Scientist said. “Huey’s Lord now. But, no. I keep the walls up because we need them, child. How else would we eat? Our population is just too big. The 3D printers are necessary. That’s how you’ve gotten everything you need to live since you were a baby, you know. That’s how your father lives. None of us would be here now without those fields, and the second they go down is the second society crumbles.”

No.” Tillie shook her head. “But you— Emma told me that you gave us the entry code. You helped us tear down the walls between Five and Six.”

“One wall between two worlds,” the Scientist said. “That puny thing was causing more harm than good. If we could only get these riots under control, the economy would be running better than ever without it.”

“You hear that?” Nikola said to Tillie rather than the Scientist. “The economy. That’s the only thing she cares about. The Invisible Hand.”

“Oh, no.” The Scientist shook her head. “This hand won’t be invisible. It will be the rubber gloved hand of a scientist. My hand.” She held one up to underline the point. “With the help of the robots, of course, thanks to the very generous Mr. Walker who was cooperative enough to trade all control over the production of androids to me. Now all that remains to be seen is how cooperative you, my new friends, are willing to be?”

“Y—You’re one of them,” Tillie said, shaking her head and standing from her seat. “You’re no different from the people you sent us to fight.”

“That’s where you’re wrong, dear,” the Scientist said, standing to meet her gaze. “I’m very different from them. I’ll be able to use the walls and the robots together to provide goods and services more efficiently than ever. We’ve done it, Tillie. We’re finally in control. Everything you and Emma worked so hard for is finally coming true.”

Tillie scoffed, stepping away from the Scientist. Nikola stood and stepped between them, as if her physical presence could maintain the mental rift she had seeded with her words. “Don’t listen to her,” Nikola said.

“You’re no different,” Tillie said. “More of the same. You sit here benefitting from our exploitation just as much as those fat owners do, comfortable in your too big office with your too big view, literally mending their walls for your profit. If anything, you’re worse than they are. Without you, they wouldn’t know how to put the walls that keep us apart back together again.”

“No.” The Scientist shook her head. “Those walls do more than keep us apart,” she said. “Much more. You can’t see that yet—which is why you want to tear them all down at once—but the unintended consequences would be disastrous. You’re too young, too inexperienced to make a decision of this caliber, and you have no idea what you’d be in for if you tried.”

Nikola scoffed. “And you’re too old to change your mind. You’ve shown us nothing, told us nothing to convince us. What evidence do you have? Why should we believe you? We shouldn’t even be here listening to you right now. This is ridiculous. C’mon Tillie. Let’s go.” She grabbed Tillie’s surprisingly compliant arm and dragged her toward the door. While Tillie didn’t resist—she seemed too shocked to even think, by the look on her face—-the Scientist did everything she could, short of grabbing Tillie’s other arm and having a tug of war, to stop them. They were out in the hall—the Scientist still begging them to stay—when Tillie finally woke up to the world around her and shrugged Nikola off.

“You’re a bad person,” she said, turning to the Scientist. “You should have told us what we were really fighting for instead of keeping us in the dark like that.”

The Scientist shook her head. “I told you all I could, child. I’ll show you more now if you’ll stay.”

“No,” Tillie said, and she turned to get on the elevator.

Nikola got on, too, and told the doors to close behind her so the Scientist couldn’t beg anymore. “Take us home,” she said, happy with the outcome of the mission even if her parents would call it a failure, and when the elevator fell and stopped and the doors opened, they were not in the People’s France. They were nowhere Nikola had ever seen before in a world that seemed impossible.

#     #     #

< LVI. Mr. Walker     [Table of Contents]     LVIII. Laura >

There it is, dear readers, Nikola’s third and final point of view chapter in Dividing by Ø. I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you return to read the rest of story. If you just can’t wait, though, don’t forget that you can pick up a full copy of the novel right here.

Thanks again. Have a great weekend. And always remember, we do nothing alone.

 

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