“So, how does this work? Is there some kind of secret phone line or message system? Or do we just get physically drawn to where we're needed?” Jade paused in her slow circuit of the spaceship to look over her shoulder at Megabyte, who was watching her with his forehead creased in confusion.
As soon as she could the next morning, she'd teleported back to the ship to give it a proper inspection. She'd saved her village from an alien invasion and discovered that she had special powers, but still couldn't quite accept that Megabyte hadn't been joking when he'd told her that she'd brought the two of them to a spaceship on her very first teleport. She had to see it for herself.
And here it was: the characters embossed on the walls from a language she'd never seen; the window looking out into the ocean, giving mute testimony to a crash landing; the corridors that weren't quite the right height or width for her to feel comfortable; and the center column that moaned every time she voiced aloud one of her myriad questions.
Sometime after she'd arrived, the humid seaside air that filled the ship changed. The crackle of energy that ran through it made her skin tingle and her nose twitch until she felt a pop not unlike the pressure in her ears releasing during an aeroplane's descent. She couldn't help the grin that spread across her face. Teleporting was so cool! And now she finally had someone here who could give her some answers.
Megabyte scrubbed his hands over his face and up through his bedraggled ginger hair. “You couldn't wait until a human hour to unload all your questions?”
“It is a human hour,” she retorted. “I've already showered, dressed, walked Jessie, and finished my homework. School's going to be starting soon, but I really wanted to come here first. Can you believe that I'm here?!” She turned around fully, and took him in with a tilt of her head. “Why are you still in your pajamas?”
With a blush, Megabyte glanced down at the pinstripe white pajamas he wore, his feet shoved into worn blue slippers. “My dad lets me call in sick when I've been up late saving the world. He's great that way.”
“That's another thing: Your dad knows about the Tomorrow People. Does your mom? How did you tell them? Do Adam's parents know? Do you think I should tell my mom?” She frowned, the question no sooner asked than she was already thinking of reasons why keeping her new powers a secret was the better idea. Her mom didn't seem to remember the alien takeover. Jade doubted that anyone in town did, aside from Mrs. Thoms, who had already informed her that she was never going to speak of the subject again. While Jade knew that proving her powers would be easy enough, she worried that reopening the topic might exacerbate her mom's migraines.
“Jade, whoa, slow down there, kid,” Megabyte implored, pressing the heel of his hand to his temple. “First of all, we're telepaths, remember? I can hear your thoughts. We gotta work on teaching you how to keep them to yourself. Second, you don't have to figure this out all right now. You've earned a rest...”
“Rest? After what happened? We learned that aliens are real. Did you know that aliens are real?” She dragged her fingers over the symbols while she talked, needing to touch them. The aliens that made this ship couldn't be the same as the ones that came from the pods, and if there were two types of aliens out there, there had to be more. All the books she'd read that talked earnestly about bug-eyed monsters and grey-skinned aliens flashed through her mind. She'd always thought the writers were onto the truth, but now she knew for sure. “Somewhere, right now, there's another take-over attempt happening, and we have to stop it.” Even to her own ears, she sounded so excited. Her voice cracked and she felt her pulse speed up. She wanted to pop off and go do something, put her new powers to use. Except she didn't know where to go or what to do. And then the charge began to build in the air again and Jade knew that her day was finally taking the right shape.
With a flash of light and a pop of imploding air, Adam appeared next to Megabyte. He, at least, was properly dressed: trousers, a button-down shirt, and loafers.
“Adam! You're in, right?” Jade felt herself beginning to grin again and bit the inside of her cheeks to hold it back.
Adam shook his head, crushing her excitement. “Megabyte's right: today's a day to rest. There's plenty of other things for us to do besides save the world.”
Like what? she thought. What could possibly be more important? She didn't need to say it out loud, no matter how much she might have wanted to.
“You have a lot to learn first,” Adam answered, “and a few more Tomorrow People for you meet. Do you remember Ami? She's in Australia right now on holiday.”
Jade did remember Ami from when she'd first met the Tomorrow People. It hadn't occurred to her to wonder where the other girl was during the invasion, but for her to be on holiday instead of saving the world? That couldn't be right. “Why didn't she come back to help? And what about...Kevin?” That name came from the depths of memory.
Megabyte and Adam exchanged am uncomfortable glance.
“Why was it just us?” An idea popped into her head and she leaned closer to the two boys, dropping her voice conspiratorially. “Was this some kind of initiation? You knew I was going to break out, didn't you?”
Adam shook his head fondly. “Come on. We can talk about all this later. Let's get you to school and let Megabyte get back to sleep. I have a feeling he's going to need all the energy he can get when we start your training.”
“But what'll happen--” Jade started to protest.
With a couple quick strides, Adam crossed the open room and grabbed her elbow. The rush of teleporting energy washed over them; Jade dimly heard the crackle and then the double-bursts of air from their bodies disappearing and relocating half-way across the planet in the blink of an eye.
“--if I can't get ahold of you?” she finished. She pulled her arm away and cradled it, offended that they were treating her like a little kid after what they'd been through. There was so much they weren't telling her, so much that she needed to know about her new powers and what it meant to be a Tomorrow Person.
With a glance, she realized that Adam had brought her to the edge of the school yard. They were far enough from the building that no one would see them appear out of thin air, yet close enough for her to walk the rest of the way. She'd meant to go to school right up until he'd brought her here, and now all she wanted to do was escape. Megabyte was so lucky that he got to skip! She's never be able to sneak away now. The open ground in front of them offered no barriers for her to hide behind. Worse, even if she did escape and go back to the ship, Adam would just follow her and bring her back here. She only knew how to teleport to the ship and back again, whereas she was sure that he could go anywhere. Adam had anticipated her next move and covered it. “Well?” she asked when Adam didn't supply an answer to her question.
“Jade, school first.”
She started to slump, defeated, then immediately perked back up. “You're going to help me, right?” She clapped her hands as she worked through what it would meant to have a telepathic connection to so many other people. She figured that Adam had already finished school and Megabyte was a couple years ahead of her, so they'd already know the answers to anything she was asked. All of a sudden she couldn't wait to meet Ami and Kevin. “This is great!”
“No,” he answered, simply. “When you see him later, ask Megabyte about the time he and Kevin tried to fix Kevin's GCSCs.” He said the last with a warning that Jade felt as much as she heard. “We're not just our powers; there's other, sometimes more important, things you need to learn to do, too.”
Jade followed Adam's gesture toward the building. Through the classroom windows, she could see her classmates clustered around the center table. The flash of a braid told her that Ashley was holding court, probably sharing her opinions on what had happened over the last few days. She wasn't even from the village, yet she was certain to be collecting every detail she could sniff out with her pointy little nose.
The realization of what she was dealing with hit her. Ashley would want to know everything about what had happened. So would the rest of her classmates. So would her mom and the other friends, relatives, and neighbors from her village. And she, Jade, knew every detail because she'd been in the thick of it. Stolen memories or not, eventually people were going to figure out that Jade was involved.
“What should I tell them?” Jade asked, twisting back toward Adam and his expertise. She was suddenly so nervous that her explanation started pouring out before Adam could ask. “They're going to want to know everything! Byron Lucifer's comeback concert getting canceled, the army invading my village, aliens. Nothing exciting ever happens around here, and now everything did?” Her mom still talked about the one time when Jade was a baby that a house had mysteriously burned down, and Mrs. Thoms trotted out gossip from when she was a teen. “There's no way that they're going to let this go.”
Adam watched the distant students for a moment, then shrugged. “Tell them the truth.”
“You wanted to be a Tomorrow Person, Jade,” Adam reminded her. “Now you are one. Some of the kids in there probably will be Tomorrow People one day, too.”
“So, I should just go in there and tell them all about aliens and teleporting? I don't have any of the pods, and I can take them to the spaceship, but I have no idea where it is. They'll think I'm nuts.”
He gave a sympathetic nod that looked too much like one from a real adult who had no sympathy. “Adventures aren't always glowing green monsters and weather machines. We'll start teaching you about your powers later, and then we'll go talk to you mom, if you want to. Me or Megabyte will help with all that. Until then?” He gestured again at the building. “This one is all yours.”