October 8 – 9:28 pm – Empire Central time
Tomorrow is the day. My thirteenth birthday. I should be happy. Thrilled. Excited. Because, when you turn thirteen, you become a citizen of the Empire. But I’m not. I’m afraid, scared that the same thing will happen to me that happened to my sister.
Diary, I’m scared that I’ll disappear.
It all happened last year, on August twenty fifth, 8:34 pm, after Leah’s birthday party. We had gone to the government office building in our city, to get her license. They gave her a black leotard and told her to go into a dressing room and put it on. After she did, she was summoned into the office. Alone. She never came out. We sat there for two, three, four hours, until on officer told us to leave. I was devastated. But, my parents didn’t seem to care. They acted like they were angry and sad, but I could see it in their eyes. They were faking it.
And now, it’s my turn to get my citizenship license. I was in my bed, when my dad came into my room. He turned on the lights, and I sat up. He sat on the bed next to me.
“So, Tomorrow’s the big day, son,” he said with a grin.
“‘Yeah so’?” he chuckled. “Tomorrow, you become a citizen of the greatest Empire the Galaxy has ever seen, and you say, ‘Yeah so’?”
“You know dad, in my opinion, I don’t think the Empire is that great,”
“Oh, come on, son, you know that the Empire will give you all you need for a great life. The right to work, own property, the right to freedom…”
“Yeah,” I interrupted, “Because I was born into a family that lives smack dab in the middle of the Empire. But what about all those people that the Empire imprison, torcher, and kill, just to get people to reverence them? All those people who don’t even have a chance at a future because of what the Galactic United Empire has done to them?”
“Ian, son, you know we’ve been through this. Multiple times. The More the Empire grows, the more resources it needs. We simply get rid of the planet’s leaders in order to get respect. Once they respect us, we simple take what we need, and move on,”
“Dad, that’s a lie. A big disgusting lie. The empire kills more than just the Leaders. One time, it took out an entire city of four billion people, all because the King had escaped. And do you want to know what else? They took an entire planet’s supply of ships and over two billion Imperial families settled on it. I’m only mentioning a few minor things.”
“Son, where do you read all these things?” Asked my dad. His grin was gone.
“Right from the Empire’s database.” I said proudly.
“How did you get access to the Imperial database?” My dad said. He was really worked up now.
“I needed information for a school report. You said I could use your office to study. I thought it would be the best place to get all the facts. I just figured out a few passcodes here, hacked a couple things there, and voila! Full access to the Imperial database. Easy peasy.”
“Look son,” My dad leaned closer. I’m proud that you are an A plus student is school. Better even. But no more top secret database hacking, okay?” He smiled. I just nodded. “Well, son, better get some sleep. Tomorrow’s a big day. Are you sure you don’t want to invite some friends over to celebrate? There’s still time.”
“No dad. ‘Nerds aren’t allowed to have friends’,” I said, quoting the school bully, Jock. “Don’t worry, dad, dinner out with you and mom and Grandma and Grandpa will be fine. We hardly ever get together as a family.” I faked a yawn. “I’m getting tired now.” I laid down and turned over. My dad got up.
“Just think son, tomorrow you’ll have the freedom to do what you want. And if you want a juice box or something you can just go to the store yourself and get one instead of waiting for mom to come home.”
“Seriously, dad, a juice box?” I said.
“Or something,” he said. “Goodnight, son.”
“Night, Dad.” I said. Dad closed the door behind him. “Computer, lights, dim.” The lights dimmed. I have had this feeling that someone was watching me, every night since Leah disappeared. I never turned the lights out all the way. I looked at the window across the room. It was open, and the white curtains were blowing. Did I open the windows before I got into bed? I couldn’t remember. Maybe mom did before I went to bed. Yeah, that was probably it. Anyway, I’m getting tired, now, diary. Thanks for listening. You are the only friend I have in the entire Galaxy.
October 8 – 10:28 pm – Empire Western time
It has been so hard lately to find people willing to give to a poor beggar girl like me. My dear friend, Marco the Beggar, was beaten by an officer. He simply asked the kind looking man to help him get a drink from the fountain. But he yelled at him and beat him with his club, and told him to stay out of the market. I went to help Marco, and it took all day and all of my strength to get him into our barn. He is not doing well. I cannot find any medicine for him. I tried to light a fire, but it was too hard for me. I got a burn on my hand. Oh, I do not know what to do. I cannot leave him here tomorrow, but if I do not go, I cannot beg for food and money, and that is what I need to make Marco well. Oh, I wish you were real, Diary, and could help me with my problems. Is there anything I can do for my friend?
October 8 – 10:34 – Empire western time
I heard a girl crying as I went down the dark alleyway. I saw a light in an old, rickety barn. I slowly opened the door. I saw a young, scrawny girl, about nine, crying beside an unconscious old man. I slowly opened the door and sat down beside her. I put my hand on her shoulder. Startled, she turned around. “I’m sorry, I did not mean to scare you,” I said.
“Who are you?” she asked me.
“My name is not important,” I said. “I see your friend is sick. Here,” I gave her a white pill, a full canteen of water, a small pouch of money, and two granola bars.” Have him take this pill,” I said. She turned, and put the pill in his mouth. She poured water in his mouth. I slipped an envelope under the pouch of money, and crept out the door. I hope she accepts the invitation. Spark needs more members. I am sorry for this short entry, but I must go now.
-Brandon, Leader of Spark
October 8 – 10:45 pm – Empire Western time
This weird guy gave me a pill for Marco, and some food and money. I couldn’t really see his face, it was covered by a hood. He also gave me this letter. Here is what it said.
Dearest young one,
I see you are lonely and afraid, such as I was when I was your age. You are a cast off child, ignored by the so-called Great Empire, and who knows if you will even make it to adulthood. But I can offer you hope for your future. Spark is a group of teenagers who are trying to light a fire of hope, and eventually burn the Empire down once and for all. You are a little young for us, but you need help, as all of us once did. If you want to join us, meet us at the Megan Hill Park at midnight, tomorrow. We have food, supplies, money, anything you need. You know that old man that is your friend? He is very old, and will not live long. Why waste your life on something that will fade away sooner or later? But if you do not want to join us, that is your choice.
The Leader of Spark
That is all it said. Does this guy think I’m nine or something? I’m thirteen! Well, maybe twelve, I don’t really know. But what do you think, diary? Should I join Spark? What will happen to Marco? He is sitting up and feeling better already, but he will still need help. This guy doesn’t realize that Marco is a living being too! But maybe I will visit them, just to see what they are like. I mean, they are good guys, and they said that I don’t have to join them if I don’t want too. I will just talk to them and then leave. What do you think, diary? Should I do that? Is that a good choice? See you later, Diary.
October 9 – 9:37 pm – Empire Central time
Today, I’ve finally figured out the truth. My father doesn’t love me. He just wanted me to be a soldier in the stupid war. He just wanted to be able to say to his friends, “Look at my son! He is a great soldier, and I am the one who raised him!” or something like that. He doesn’t actually care about what I do, unless it has to do with being a soldier and killing innocent people. Here is what happened today.
We had gone to the Government office building after dinner to get my license. They gave me this black suit, and told me to put it on. But I had changed my mind.
“You know what, I don’t think I want to be a citizen of the Empire.” I said to my dad. “I want to go live on one of the outer planets and do research,”
“We’re so sorry, we thought our son was more mature than this,” Dad had said to the officer. “I guess I’ll just have to try and get it through his thick skull that this is the best decision. I am so sorry for giving you all this trouble,” Then he grabbed my ear and gave me “the look”. He pulled me out of the building and shoved me into the back of the hover vehicle, and we went home. All the way home dad and mom gave me this lecture about good decisions and blah blah blah. When we got home, my dad shoved me into the elevator, and when we reached the top floor (Aka my bedroom) he locked me in.
“I am so disappointed in you, son. I thought you were smarter than this,” he shot me an angry look and slammed the sliding door. I am done with this. I can’t go to high school, so what’s the point of staying? I am just going to run away. I’ll get a ship and go to one of the outer planets. But first I have to get to the big city. Sure, there are ships here that I could steal, but dad would probably put me on the wanted list here in town. It is much less guarded in the Big City, where I can get away with stealing a ship. Hey, wait a minute, I see this piece of paper on my bed. It says, TO IAN PALADIN on the front. I’ll tell you what it says after I read it.
October Ninth, 9:40 pm Empire central time
I just got that invite out. I am kinda hoping that Ian dude joins. I wonder why he’s not popular with those good looks. But, I gotta follow the rules, and one of our policies is “No dating”. Unlike my sister, I follow the rules. Sure, we are elementals and we can get away with it, but I am next in line for the leader. And I want to earn Brandon’s respect so that one day, he’ll put ME in charge and go do his own work himself. Too bad I have to leave the hoverbike here for Ian. But I don’t really need it, because, like all elementals, I have teleportation powers. But it is kinda cool how we are basically all over the planet and the Empire doesn’t even know about us. Yet. But I hope Kalyssa actually comes to this meeting. Three new recruits. Brandon had better give me credit for this one. Perhaps he’ll let me change the no dating rule. Probably not though, with his stubbornness.
Do you know what Kalyssa actually did tonight? She found this little girl unconscious in the middle of the desert, and says that she will have to stay with her until she is awake. I told her that Brandon wants her to come to the meeting tonight, but she didn’t listen, as usual. I wonder why I even try.
Anyway, I got Nicole to cut my hair short again. She said it looked better long, but it keeps it out of my face when I’m fighting. Besides, Princess Estelle says short black hair looks cool. And she is always right when it comes to fashion. Kalyssa has long white hair, which is totally not cool. Sometimes I wonder why my younger sister never listens to anything I say. I don’t know. Anyway, I got to get the park for the meeting.
October 9, 9:43pm Empire central time
That was an invitation to join Spark. I think I will, since I don’t have anywhere else to go. I have my backpack ready to go. This was definitely one of those times I was thankful for the refrigerator in my room. I packed some extra clothes, a blanket, water bottles, and some food. I also got my portable, solar powered computer. And of course I’ll bring you, too. They said the hoverbike was outside. Guess I’ll go see. I’ll tell you how the meeting goes.