Erin walked back to the kitchen and was about to go in when she saw Kwier and Nightowl chatting. Confused, she took a step back, ready to return to the main room.

— “Hey, Pathfinder, come join us,” said Kwier.

Erin paused, and took a moment to realize that Kwier didn’t know his first name. Indeed, in the months she had communicated with him, she had never spoken to him under any name other than Pathfinder.

— “Erin, my name is Erin.

— Quentin. Me, it’s Quentin, ”Kwier finally answered, winking at him.

Erin cheered up.

— “Most of the time, we call each other by our nicknames,” said Nightowl. Me, it’s Laura, but I’ve never liked my name too much, I think it’s not a perfect match for me, so I’d rather be called Nightowl. In addition, I find that it gives me a little guerrilla side, she added, smiling.

“OK for Nightowl, then,” Erin replied.

NightOwl offered her a chair, Erin walked over and sat down.

— “ How are you ? she asked him. Not too tired ?

— Yes. Even broken, but I’ll never be able to sleep right away. How long I’ve been waiting for this moment, and then, with everything that happened tonight. Between Fabien’s betrayal, the great walk under the moon, the guard and his car…. There was a lot going on tonight and it’s hard to take it all in.

— Take your time. In any case, we are very happy that you are here. And Kwier couldn’t wait for you to get out of there, she said, nudging Kwier with her elbow. »Kwier blushed …

— “Okay, I’ll take a look at # freedomnia, see what happens and let everyone know you’re coming.” See you more and glad I spent some time with you. “

She stood up and left Erin and Quentin alone in the kitchen.

— “So like that, you have a first name,” Erin said, trying to lighten the air.

— Yes, but by dint of being Kwier, I ended up not using it anymore.

— Still, that’s a nice name … “

There was a blank. They weren’t sure what to talk about.

— “So what’s next? she says.

— We’re going to set up an electronics lab in the little barn behind the house. To work on a prototype implant.

— A barn ?

— Yes, you haven’t seen everything. I thought you were tired and going to sleep like stumps, I told myself that the rest of the visit could wait.

— And you ? You also spent the night with us. Even though you haven’t taken care of the barrier and walked along the valley, your night hasn’t been easy.

“Oh, I’m used to staying up,” Quentin replied.

“Okay, how about you show me the rest?” Erin asked.

— OKAY. “

He stood up and walked to the back door of the kitchen. The sun was rising, and a light mist had descended over the valley. They got out behind, walked a bit in the direction of a nearby barn. Kwier opened the door, Erin poked her head. Inside, some computer and electronic equipment, welding stations, …

— “We are gradually bringing in equipment to make a real lab.” But Nightowl and I aren’t really electronics engineers, so even with the blueprints of the implant you gave us, we can’t recreate one. Especially since we are missing a lot of gear. This is one of the reasons why other # freedomnia members will be arriving shortly, to help us electronically.

— After that ?

— Then we can fight on equal terms with the Academy. “

Erin shuddered.

— “For the implant to work at its maximum potential and for the person to fully interface with the machine, they must already have very high computer skills. Hence the idea of the Academy … And hence the idea of equipping the members with # freedomnia. Most of them are former colleagues of mine, others are fairly skilled hackers. With them by our side, interfacing with the implant should be easy.

— Your colleagues?

— Yes, do you remember? I have told you before that I worked on the implant from the very beginning. As it ethically started to escalate, I told the chef that I refused to code a routine to take over a person’s brain. Several of my colleagues joined me, and in the end, we got fired. “

Quentin paused in his story.

— “I think that it didn’t like it above. They must not have been happy to learn that some members of the project were simply fired without further formalities. They were afraid that it would be revealed what was going on. Several of my former colleagues have had accidents, others have been blackmailed. I was forced to leave Europe for a while because I was afraid for my life.

— Ouch. Uncool.

— Huh yes, but they were not going to let me gently go home and tell my entourage and the press what they were up to. They pressured me, threatening me and my immediate family, not to speak. I ended up disappearing into the wild, thinking that if I just disappeared altogether, they wouldn’t have any reason to go after them. I came back, and behind the scenes I created # freedomnia. I was able to track down several of my colleagues who had fled like me, and we are there now. We all want to fix what we caused. Even if at the base, we only did our job.

— Speaking of leaving Europe, Zara would like to join her family, who live in Morocco, I believe.

— And that’s a great idea of her. Obviously I’d rather her join # freedomnia, but if she doesn’t feel it, that’s the best idea she can have, and we’ll help her escape from Europe. After all, they chose to put the Academy in Romania… It just takes ten or so hours to drive to Turkey. And from there, since it’s not officially Europe yet, she should be free to take a boat to Morocco without being too much trouble. Afterwards, even if she doesn’t want to stay here, maybe she will agree to help us through the network. And then if she doesn’t want to, too bad.

— We’ll talk to her about it when she’s awake. Either way, it’s cool that you help him out, without asking for anything in return.

— At the same time, freedom is our watchword. She must be free to choose whether to join us or not. To come back to what I was telling you, the next step in the plan is to recreate an implant here, without the control part, of course, so that we can be ready and fight on equal terms, when the Academy sends its spies on. the network. Until then, we need to contact as many teams on the darknet as possible, in order to alert them to the threat.

— Why didn’t you start before? Erin asked.

— But if I started. Finally, # freedomnia has started. But for the moment, we have not succeeded in convincing many people. We are mostly taken for madmen, paranos and conspirators. You may not know how many conspiracy theories and unsane people are out there on the internet… They felt like I was just one more.

— And now that you have the characteristics of the implant and that you have taken us out of there, you can contact them again.

— Yeah, that should help. After that, we have to find a lot of allies. And since the darknet is mostly made for hiding, it is not easy to find new allies.

— Once we have the implant fully operational, from what we know, everything will be easier. Well, we don’t really know what it is for, but this whole mystery must be for something.

— Yes. And that’s why we needed you. Among other things, because you have a fully operational implant. And so, you can already start the work. For us, it will take time. The time to make an implant, to implant it, to allow it to adapt and to control it. You and your group had already done everything.

— OKAY. In fact, coming out of the Academy was totally interested.

— A little bit, it’s true. In the end at the start. But… Even if you hadn’t had that implant, I would have done everything I could to get you out of there, Erin, ”Quentin said, suddenly confused.

Just then a car passed through the village.

— “We should go back inside the house. Even though it’s unlikely that the Academy has any spies around here, you shouldn’t show yourself outside. “ They hurried back to the house. “

Erin and Quentin ended up going to bed, overcome by the fatigue of the night.