Erin was spending long, monotonous days. Mr. Garceau was always after her, perhaps because it had been a while since she had had her blackout and he was starting to find the time long. He would drop by regularly to check on “everything was okay”, but Erin could see it was to keep an eye on her.
She had to get out of there quickly, before Mr. Garceau had the idea of having her go through the hospital to check that her implant was working.
With this regular monitoring, she felt like she was useless. But at least, thanks to Cherry, things were moving forward. M. Garceau still thought that Cherry was watching her. So when there were two of them in the room, they could do whatever they wanted. And then, Cherry had taken over on many points. That still didn’t stop Erin from moping.
Cherry had recently communicated with Pierre, Victor, Alexis, Zara and Fabien and had taken over the coordination of the communication. All five were still motivated to leave the Academy and join the ranks of # freedomnia, which was positive.
They had developed a technique of steganography, so that they could talk to each other and send messages to each other, without the Academy being able to understand what they were saying; If they had simply encrypted their communications, the Academy would have been able to decipher them, not to mention that it would have been fishy.
So they decided that they needed to communicate clearly, through the Academy’s communication channels, but that their discussions should only be understood by people who knew what they were talking about; Steganography was the key.
In the classics of steganography, for example, there was to write a message to read only every other line, or when only the first word of the sentence is useful. But, upon reflection, they turned to hiding information in images.
When one of them wanted to communicate with the others, he posted an image on the graphic arts discussion board, and he hid in his drawing a Morse code containing the message he wanted to convey to the others.
This method took longer than writing a message, especially since they were not great artists, but it had the advantage of being almost automatically undetectable: the Academy would have had to have an algorithm which is able to “visualize” the content of the image.
They reduced their discussion time by likant the drawings of others. If everyone liked, that meant everyone agreed. The other social buttons at least confirmed that the post had been seen and deciphered.
Lately, they had been discussing the deactivation of their implants. Since they would use the classrooms of another dome, they had agreed to just stay outside instead of going back to their rooms at bedtime. Like that, no worries to go out. Their respective roommates would think they had spent the night under observation at the hospital.
Since then, everyone has been waiting for the green light.
So Cherry had posted a drawing of a landscape in charcoal this morning. There appeared a barrier in the foreground. With broken wooden planks and others not. When you knew what you were looking for, you could see that the big boards meant lines, small ones, dots, and that the following message was hidden:
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Everyone had liked Cherry’s drawing.