Alex laid awake in bed, staring at her ceiling. She could hear Ray in the other room, listening to the radio on his computer, softly. He was probably still building circuit boards.
Ray had always been good at building things. Mechanically minded and good with computers, an unfair combination. He didn’t code, like Leo, but he could build a computer from scratch and take apart the lawnmower and put it together. In the same afternoon.
The first time he’d taken apart the dishwasher, their mother had been furious, until she realized that he’d fixed the weird knocking sound that had driven her nuts for months. When asked why he’d taken it apart, eight year old Ray had said, “Mommy needed it fixed and I wanted to know if I could do it. I did. And now mommy is happy. Was that wrong?”
He’d been assured that, of course it wasn’t, but maybe he should ask permission before taking apart household appliances.
“If I had asked permission this time, you would have said ‘No.’”
Her little brother’s genius was a source of great pride in Alex, always had been. She’d always felt like drooling moron next to him. She’d always excelled in sports, she knew about proper nutrition and how to cook food that was tasty and could get you through a wrestling bout with Andre the Giant. But her brother knew things about electricity and motors and steam.
They’d been buddies before the accident, before she’d fallen asleep for three years. Why was he so distant, now? Why did she feel like he resented her? She’d hoped he would have warmed up to her, hoped he would remember all the fun they’d had as children, but he had disappeared into his room every day since she’d been back and had stayed there.
Alex’s phone buzzed on the nightstand, she picked it up. These smart phones hadn’t been so prevalent before the coma. Now it was all anyone carried. She was trying to get used to this new model, thrown at her by chattering Leo, who had missed her immensely.
The alert was from the local police force, another new feature of this brave new world, someone being paid to text and tweet the public with alerts.
Strong police presence in downtown while a break in alarm is handled at the Governor’s Mansion.
Someone’d had the balls to knock over the Governor’s Mansion? With all the IJS soldiers milling around. That was impressive and worrying.
The screen switched to an incoming call notification. It was Leo.
“Hey, Leo!” Alex said into the receiver. “What’s cracka lack…”
“Oh dear God, please don’t.” Leo interrupted. “I have too much to relay for frivolities, my friend. Something really bad is going down at the governors mansion.”
“I got the alert.” Alex nodded. “What’s up?”
“We are currently downtown and it’s not what they are telling you. Well… not all that they are telling you. We heard gun shots and now there’s an ambulance on the way.”
“That’s not good.” Alex frowned. “What are you doing downtown, anyway?”
“A business transaction. Nothing to worry about.” Alex could hear the hand wave through the phone. Leo was very cagey with what her job and business was. Maya wasn’t forthcoming with the information, either. And Sam was silent, unless you started talking about weapons.
“Okay. Well, stay safe and get home as quick as you can.”
“Will do, friend of mine.”