So … she had to find allies. Which meant she was also going to have to reveal herself a bit. And if she picked the wrong people, she risked being exposed … And if she did … The Academy shouldn’t be able to find anything compromising in her room.

She securely erased the Kwier program from her computer, along with all traces of its activity and the DCC. She took the USB drive containing the program, and all the papers she had printed recently on the characteristics of the implant and wondered what to do with it.

She hadn’t been really careful lately, and she was lucky that the Academy hadn’t taken an interest in her… Just the documents she had left lying around on the desk of her pc, or even her handwritten notes were compromising… Luckily for her, the Academy seemed to only filter the network, but didn’t seem interested in the documents on the hard drives.

She rummaged for a moment in the settings of her printer, and completely emptied the memory of this one. If the Academy came to see what had been printed lately, they wouldn’t find anything.

She now had to make the paper documents disappear, and find a cache not too far from her room and discreet enough for the USB key. A place where she could easily retrieve it and return to her room to use it.

Erin sneaked out of her room. From a certain time, all the students were in their rooms and there were rounds of surveillance to check that everything was going well. And security cameras. The only students still wandering the corridors were those returning from the refectory or those going to the toilet, or even those who had been hanging out a little too late in town, and it was strongly recommended that they return to their room …

Erin had studied the location of the cameras a long time ago, which was one of the first things she did when she arrived. She and Cerise had played at finding their blind spots. At the time, it was just a game. The surveillance cameras only seemed to be part of the scenery …

What recklessness! She had changed a lot since then. But after all, luckily they had done this in the beginning, she wouldn’t have to do it again and her demeanor wouldn’t look fishy.

She knew that it was therefore possible to go from her bedroom to the bathroom without being noticed. As the cameras swept the halls, you had to be in sync to get through at the right time.

As she walked through the bathroom door, she heard footsteps in the hallway. She closed the door as discreetly as possible and hid the papers in one of the closets, in case the person lurking in the hallways thought to peek out the door. Obviously, all students were allowed to use the bathroom at night, she just preferred not to be found with her papers in hand.

The footsteps receded. Once she was sure the guard was gone, she picked up the papers. What to do now that she was here? She couldn’t just put them in the toilet and flush the toilet, it would surely have clogged the pipes!

And if she lacked a canker, they would be found, even damaged by water. And maybe they could be traced back to her or her printer. Erin made a note to herself to check if the reams of paper she had in her room had a watermark to trace them.

And she didn’t want to spend the night tearing up her papers in little bits and then sending them down the drain little by little …

She had taken something to burn them … But she couldn’t do it here. The smell of smoke surely would have alerted the fire detector, or at least looked suspicious.

Looking for an idea, his gaze fell on the small skylights, high up, which brought moonlight to the room. Maybe she could find a solution outside.

Getting out of there wasn’t totally silly anyway. She would need to find a way out without being seen from the dome one day or another, so if you were to be there, you might as well give it a try now.

Erin climbed onto one of the sinks, then, standing on her tiptoes, opened the skylight. It was big enough to let it pass, twisting around a bit.

Provided no one has a pressing urge here now just yet… Erin hoisted the bundle of papers onto the ledge of the skylight, then climbed outside.

Fortunately, the Jacquart dome was not high. Erin retrieved her papers and jumped outside. It would be slippery to go up, but it should be possible to do so, thanks to the support beams of the structure. Phew! She should have checked that she could come back up before going out …

Perhaps the easiest way to get rid of the documents would be to bury them in the forest. Before someone got their hands on it, time would pass… And by then, the footprints she left might be gone… Besides, no one ever came to the back of the dome, even she.

She curses herself inside. She still could have shown more curiosity since she had been here! If she knew where the cameras were inside, she had no idea where they were outside the dome. In addition, the night was clear, that made it relatively visible …

Erin walked slowly, trying to avoid the cameras. She almost ran into one or two security patrols, then reached the forest.

There she dug a fairly deep hole with her hands and buried the papers in it. She chose to burn them down, taking advantage of the shelter so that the smoke was not visible, then plugged the hole, put some dead leaves on top, and resumed the direction of the Jacquart dome.

Steps from the edge of the forest, Erin froze. Many guards. She listened. Apparently, one of them thought he saw something between the trees, and brought back some reinforcements.

They were enforcing protocol and dividing up the search area.

— “Damn … How do I do?” Erin wondered.

Erin walked slowly back to the forest, looking for a hiding place. Reassuringly, she hadn’t seen any dogs. So there was hope to slip through the cracks.

She found a small hiding place in the hollow of a tree and huddled in it. Here or elsewhere, it didn’t matter too much. It would be lucky if they saw her, especially if she kept a low profile. After all, from afar, they didn’t seem convinced that there could be anyone …

After a wait that seemed endless to her, Erin saw one of the guards walk past her. He was less than a yard from her. She could almost have touched him. But luckily he was mostly looking for traces on the ground, which she hadn’t left, and he didn’t see Erin.

Once the guard had passed, Erin left as discreetly as possible towards the Jacquart dome. She rushed towards the dome, climbed quickly, leaning on the planks, and reached the sanitary window. She stuck her head through the skylight, and made sure no one was there, climbed down as gently as possible, and closed the skylight.

She cleaned herself as best she could, to erase the traces of her little escapade. Once clean, she quietly resumed the direction of her room.

If from now on she ran into a supervisor, it would be less serious. She avoided the surveillance cameras anyway, in case the security guard wondered if she was coming back without seeing her leave … A matter of consistency.

At the corner of the corridor, just before arriving at her room, in one of the blind spots, she hid the USB key in the pot of a decorative plant, then returned to her room, heart pounding, and lay down in his bed.

She had to calm down, and get used to this stress. Because he was sure she would still need to go out there in the next few days or weeks …