The girls got dressed and went to the dining hall. Phyl was in a corner. Cherry kissed him, then left him with Erin, pretending to go for a walk in town.

— “Hi Phyl. How are you since last time ?

— Hello Erin, he replied. It’s okay.

— I found out that you were with Cerise. Congratulations on both of you.

— Thank you. Don’t you blame us?

— No. I moved on. Besides, I think you guys are better together than we’ve ever been … “

And it was true. Ever since Erin had been chatting with Kwier on the network, she had felt that she had strayed from her old life here. And the grief of not being with Phyl had given way to the feeling that nothing would ever be the same anyway.

— “Well, if you want to leave me, now I’m going to find my friends,” he said abruptly.

“Wait for Phyl,” Erin told him, catching up with him.

— What’s the matter ?

— I would like to know if you still have the same opinion.

— About what ?

— Well from our last conversation and the Academy.

“Ah…” Phyl paused, her eyes doing something weird, as if it had just clicked.

— “Oh yeah … I was hoping that idea about the implant would have popped out of your head.

— Yes. It was stupid of me to talk about it again. Bah, drop it.

— Yes. Okay, I’ll leave you, I have to find Wyatt Garceau. “

Phyl left quickly. Not super effective as a conversation, but she had done worse. Erin tested the waters with several people in her class at breakfast, then navigated between the domes.

At the end of the morning, she had recruited 5 people in all, a certain Pierre Pomerleau, from the Pascal dome, Victor Rocher and his twin brother Alexis, from the Arsac dome, Zara Boncoeur from the Pair dome and Fabien Mercure, from the Colmerauer dome. About one per dome …

Plus her and Cerise, that made 7 people in all out of the 250 French people in the France dome, that was ridiculous. This recruiting story was riskier than effective. Erin felt more isolated than ever.