Looking at her poor results, Erin now understood why Kwier had been reluctant to seek recruiting.

He, at the fair, might have left if things got out of hand, but she couldn’t run away if things went wrong, and she wouldn’t be able to recruit more people without taking too many risks. She could be spotted at any time if she picked the wrong people. And too much risk would screw up the whole mission of # freedomnia. After all, she was their only ally in the place.

Going back to her room, Erin grabbed the USB key in the jar; She had to tell Kwier that it was fucked up, and that she wanted to go right on. And she found Cherry there.

— “ So ? She asked.

Erin knew full well she was talking about Phyl.

— “He didn’t even want to listen as soon as he found out what I wanted to talk about. “

But Cherry was still reluctant to leave the Academy and leave Phyl.

— “Maybe I can help you from the inside?” she suggested.

— Yes, it’s true. But in this case, you can’t free yourself from the implant, otherwise they will spot you. And you won’t necessarily last long enough to be useful in the long run. Okay, listen, take some time to think, but I would like to show you two or three things, just in case. “

Erin showed him the USB drive. She told him that the program inside was hiding its traces by flooding the alert system with neutral traffic, in an attempt to drown out its other activities. But since what she did on her PC was still ripped off by the Academy, it shouldn’t be overused.

She told him about # freedomnia, and showed him how to bypass the firewall to connect to tchat. She took the opportunity to tell Kwier about the few people she had managed to recruit.

At that moment, the door opened on Mr. Garceau, who had not knocked.

— “Miss Berger, please come out.” “

Erin had just enough time to close the chat window and the obfuscator before leaving.

Heck, the key was stuck in the back of the PC! More than to hope they wouldn’t think of looking back.

In the hallway, Phyl was looking at her shoes.

— “Phyl! What did you say to Mr. Garceau? Erin asked him.

— Listen Erin, I can’t let you do this. If you’re plotting against the Academy, I have to stop you. “

This weird thing with his eyes again. This is it, this was it! Phyl was no longer himself. The Academy had managed to take control of Phyl, while leaving enough of himself that it was imperceptible. She must be able to transfer orders to him which he was following without even realizing or even being able to do otherwise. Anyway, he must have told Mr. Garceau about the conversation they had had.

Cherry came out in her turn.

— “Not nice, Mr. Garceau,” she said smiling at Erin. And Phyl, it’s not cool what you did. I thought you trusted me and that there was something special between us.

— Do not worry, Miss Deblois, I am not after you. Phyl told me to pay special attention to Ms. Berger’s actions, which she thought was suspicious. “

Phyl looked at her shoes more beautifully.

— “Listen to Cherry,” said Erin. Look at him. He is not himself. It’s the Academy’s fault. However, I blame myself for not realizing it right away. I don’t know what will happen to me now, she said distraught, you know I left the USB stick behind the PC, he will find it. “

Erin glanced over Cherry’s shoulder around the room and saw Mr. Garceau turning everything over, rummaging through his PC, looking at the printer settings …

— “Well, already, I deleted everything that was on paper,” she said to herself.

Mr. Garceau didn’t seem to have found what he was looking for, Cherry winked at Erin.

— “You can go back to your room, Miss Berger.” Sorry for the inconvenience, Miss Deblois. “

He looked Erin in the eye.

— “I have an eye on you. “

— “Great,” Erin thought. I really needed this. “

The girls entered the bedroom, shutting the door in Phyl’s face. And Erin crossed the room to look behind her PC. The key was no longer there.

— “ Is that what you want ? Cherry asked, showing her the key, which had just taken out of her pocket.

— Cherry, you’re awesome, Erin told her.

— He had it against you, not against me. So when he turned his back to watch you walk out of the bedroom, I grabbed him and put it in my pocket. I figured that would get you out of trouble. And since, again, he wasn’t after me, he didn’t search my pockets. On the other hand, I retain Phyl. It is okay to denounce your friends!

— Like I said, I don’t think it’s his fault. They have access to his brain. He’s himself most of the time, but when it comes to the Academy, he’s got something in his eyes, like his brain has a bug. As if they had “programmed” it to react under certain conditions.

— All the more reason not to abandon him there! Cherry declared. And all the more reason to help you and hurry. It’s cold in the back.

— Cherry, Mr. Garceau will watch me closely. He never liked me, because of my psychological test results: he found me too independent and thought that I would end up causing problems. What Phyl told her makes her mill water. It’s going to be hard for me in the next few days to contact # freedomnia, because my PC may be really monitored, and also use the anti-check program on people I promised, says Erin . Frankly, it’s depressing. It couldn’t have come at the worst time.

— Me, they’re not watching me. I never gave Phyl any reason to suspect me of anything. On the contrary, moreover. So he has no reason to suspect me.

“Yeah, but it makes me look good,” Erin replied.

— Yes it is. You can still use my pc, with your tool, to contact # freedomnia. You just have to arrange for you to do it when I’m in the bedroom, so they’ll think I’m using my pc. Especially if I’m using yours at the same time. It should help to muddy the waters.

— But you risk big, Cherry. Are you sure ?

— Yes, and I can even do more. I’m going to imply to Phyl that now that I saw that Mr. Garceau was watching you, I would help them and I would keep an eye on you. It should allow you to be less guarded when you’re with me.

— Cherry, you’re adorable.

— And above all, watch me. If I have this weird thing in my eyes, stop everything and go away if you can. As much as Phyl just has suspicions about you, I know it all.

— Promised. But have you decided to stay here? I was really hoping you came with me.

“I don’t know anymore,” Cherry replied. Of course, I don’t want to stay and become like Phyl, but at the same time, I’m a little afraid to rebel. And then there is Phyl whom I would like to support, but, I know it won’t do her any good if I stay here …

— Cherry, I can’t leave you there! Please accept that this damn routine of controlling your mind be taken away, Erin pleaded. How can you still ask yourself the question after all you know, and what you have just seen …

— OK, okay. Erin… We’re gonna take it off. Yeah, I saw what it felt like to Phyl. And I would be of no use to you once zombified, otherwise.

— Phew. Do we do this now? Erin asked, relieved that she had finally convinced Cherry.

— Monsieur Garceau may come back any minute, he doesn’t seem to want to let go of you … The best thing is that we get out of there, and that we avoid the PCs for the rest of the morning. Maybe I can see Phyl face to face by then. I’ll be the one who understands it and tell her I’m watching you. After that, we should be able to be quiet. I haven’t had a blackout yet, we should still be able to wait a little longer.

— OK, we do like that. “