It had been a few hours now since Erin had been out of the hospital. The intervention had been relatively long, because it affected a sensitive area and the slightest misstep could have dramatic consequences or make the students paraplegic.

These were then kept under observation for a full day before they were allowed out. This week, they had free time.

Communication with his chip had been tested just before leaving the hospital, via a small dedicated program. However, in order to achieve full adaptation of the chip and good healing, the chip would not be used until the following week in virtual reality lessons.

The scar behind the ear was scratching Erin, who tried to focus her attention on something else. She didn’t like the idea of this foreign body at all, let alone a part so sensitive as her brain.

But having come this far, no one would have thought of giving up. In addition, it was evident that ENISA would not have readily accepted withdrawals now that the Academy’s key project had been unveiled. Now they knew it was the technology that had been sought to hide behind all confidential documents.

Erin was walking past the hospital. There was great agitation there. Many students came in and out, as well as members of the staff.

She made her way to the reception and asked where Cherry’s bed was. She had been operated on a few hours ago, and talking to her might help clear her mind.

They told her not to stay long, and Erin made her way to Cherry’s bed.

- “Hi Cherry. The form ? Erin asked, more for talking than anything else.

- So-so, answered a pale Cherry.

- Yes, I know, that feels weird, said Erin. Have they already done the connection test to see if your chip is operational?

- Yes, not long ago.

- Suddenly, you should not delay in being able to get out of there. It’s a good sign. What would you say we go have a coffee smoothie after?

“I’m not very hungry,” Cherry replied.

- As you want, I just told myself that it would change your mind. Anyway, if it’s any consolation, the side effects of the surgery are wearing off faster than you might expect, Erin told her.

- By the way, I took it that Phyl was in the hospital, maybe you could see how he’s doing?

- Yes, I could do that. But since we’ve been in the Academy, he hasn’t looked after us too much, so I’m not sure what I’ll do there …

- You know, Erin. Phyl may be rambunctious and very proud too, but I think he cares about you.

- Yes, you already told me.

“Then go see him,” Cherry replied. She winked at her. If that was me, I would definitely go see him. And since I know that in these moments, you don’t really know how to react, I’m just telling you what I would do. “

Erin let Cherry rest and wondered if she was going to go see Phyl. Sure enough, Cherry seemed to like Phyl a lot, even though they rarely saw each other, and it was obvious that if she were Erin, she would have jumped up to find him. But Erin didn’t quite know.

Her footsteps led her randomly into the hospital, and as she walked towards the exit, she bumped into Phyl who had just come out.

- “So like that, you were in the hospital and you didn’t even come to see me,” he reproached her with a laugh.

- I came to see Cherry, I knew she had just had the operation because she is my roommate. I didn’t know about you, because it’s been a while since we’ve seen each other, Erin replied coldly.

- Yes I know. We’ve all been very busy lately. Erin, I was messing you up, and you take everything so seriously.

“Sorry for being serious,” Erin replied even more coldly.

- Said, Erin, will we ever understand each other and communicate peacefully? Phyl told him.

- I dunno Phyl, I have the impression that sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn’t. And lately, it’s apparently not happening.

“Yeah, I thought so,” Phyl said, a little disappointed. Well, my roommates are waiting for me, I don’t want to worry them, they know I’m out of the hospital and they’re waiting for me. Erin, are we meeting at the pub later? Would you like to ?

- OK, Phyl. Around 6 p.m., are you okay?

- OKAY. “

And Phyl left smiling, leaving Erin alone in the stream of people leaving the hospital.

OK, Cherry was right. Phyl was interested in her. So what to do? They clearly weren’t on the same page.

Erin wondered if it would be possible to get into a relationship with someone who was jealous of her and if that couple could stick it out … Well, come what may. She would go to the meeting. After all, seeing that it was his initiative, maybe he would make an effort… And then, nothing said that it would go further, it was maybe just a drink with friends and Cherry had him maybe head up …

Erin left the small town and returned to her dome. Here too, there was a strange commotion. Since there were no classes, most of the students were left to right. Some of them had already been released from the hospital, others would be returning by the end of the week to receive their implants.

Erin didn’t like having this implant at all, she didn’t control what the doctors had put into her brain.

Shaking her head, she walked to her bedroom. She couldn’t wait for Cherry to get out of the hospital. The atmosphere was stressful, and he missed his good humor.

She went to her computer and hesitated for a long time to test this new implant. The doctors had advised him to wait until the beginning of next week and the first courses, so that, on the one hand, the healing is well started, that the implant is fully accepted by the body, and on the other hand share, so that they can have the first lessons explaining how to use it and not to make mistakes.

Finally, Erin agreed with the doctors. Already that this implant did not inspire her, she did not want to generate complications. After all, the integrity of his brain was at stake.

Erin turned on her computer anyway. She didn’t want to go wandering around town. Not without Cherry anyway; Going back to his old reflexes and zoning on his computer seemed like the right thing to do. Except that here, she knew very well, everything was under surveillance. She did not have unlimited internet access, only a few sites were available.

It was impossible for him to communicate with his family or his former colleagues. No messaging was going through the filters put in place on the network, and she could not access any site that would allow her to communicate, whether it was a forum, a chat or even a blog accepting comments.

The Academy had set up its own search engine to simplify searches on authorized sites. Erin spent a great deal of her afternoon trying to find slightly more interesting and promising sites through this search engine.

One of these days, after she took the networking and cybersecurity classes, she would be studying the firewall rules governing the Academy’s network. Maybe then she would find a way to get around it, and be able to even check out her favorite bands’ websites or news sites.

Being watched by the Academy all the time was beating on the system. Everything was in place to police their every move: we monitored their internet access, communication to the outside was exclusively paper, incoming and outgoing mail was opened and passed to a censorship committee, in order to verify that no information was filtering.

In order to access the various activities offered in the city, she had to bring her badge, so the academy knew exactly what activity she had participated in, and at what time. They could have his full schedule, and deduce habits.

Which surely meant that if her habits changed in an abnormal way, management would be notified and she would be even more closely watched. And thinking about it all made her dizzy.

Erin wondered if other students were feeling the same way. What if she was cop even in her room? In doubt, Erin began to search her room for cameras. She didn’t want to be filmed in her privacy.