Erin had expected HQ to be teeming with life. Instead, it was pretty much empty. Aside from Kwier, there was hardly anyone there. But in the end, it wasn’t that surprising.

# freedomnia was an organization that existed primarily on the network, and the presence of its members in HQ would only put them in danger. As long as everyone stayed around the world, they remained discreet. And then there was no point in having everyone in one place right now, as long as there was a connection, it did.

Kwier had come with a friend, Nightowl, an alumnus of the research lab. They had tried to get as close as possible physically to the Academy, to be able to intervene quickly if necessary, and to keep abreast of what was happening in the area, such as, for example, at the moment, the refueling of supplies, which had served them to go unnoticed.

Kwier introduced Nightowl. Erin vaguely remembered seeing her nickname the first day she logged in, but she had never really spoken to him. Erin preferred to chat privately with Kwier.

She had a small pang in her heart when she realized that Nightowl was a _ girl_ and that Kwier shared the premises with elle. Her life had revolved around her dealings with Kwier so much in his final months that she hadn’t considered he could have a life on the side.

Kwier explained that to go unnoticed, he and Nightowl pretended to be a couple of townspeople wanting to go back to basics. The people of the village not wanting to know anything about their new neighbors, as long as they did not cause problems, they would not be bothered. In short, they had settled here under a false identity.

Erin had dropped out in the middle of the explanation, gloomy since hearing that Kwier was living with Nightowl. That was about the only thing she had remembered.

She tried to pull herself together. Kwier had a life, and most importantly, had no accountability to him. They didn’t even know each other …

Nightowl made them coffee, tea and hot chocolate and brought whatever they could want to eat for breakfast. Which helped them to de-stress from the night. After having had enough, the first yawns appeared.

Nightowl suggested they go to rest. The house was small, but they had done what they could to arrange the bedrooms, and allow everyone to have a place to rest.

Everyone welcomed this opportunity with joy, except Erin. She, knew she wouldn’t sleep. There had been too much action and stress tonight for her mind to leave her alone.

She walked around the house, to visit this place that would be her home from now on.

The house included a living room, in which Kwier and Nightowl had installed their laptops. They were connected to the internet through a small local company, which allowed them to stay on # freedomnia all the time.

There were also two bedrooms, in which had been installed berths and where his friends slept for the moment, and of course, a bathroom, a toilet and a kitchen.

The sanitary facilities were rudimentary, but after spending months in a gilded prison, Erin still preferred closeness AND freedom, to the luxury of the Academy AND subjection.