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Presented by State Library Victoria

Chapters 2: Sofia

Chapter 2- Sofia

Sofia glanced at the clock and swore. It was late, and she had a full day of training tomorrow, so sleep was vital. She flicked on the bed lamp, and Anastasia turned over. “Still can’t sleep? I know that feeling. It’s hard to get rid of.” She smiled at Anastasia, and reached over to her bedside table, and grabbed the book she had been reading. Having good friends was important in this dangerous time, and Sofia was no exception. Anastasia was a good person to talk to before a mission started. She flicked open the book, and began to read. Ice weavers were incredible. She flicked her vibrant, curly red hair out of her face, and glanced at the clock again. Only 5 in the morning. It wasn’t that early, there was about two hours until breakfast, and that was enough time to have a shower and put the magic dye in her hair. She was, after all, a wanted woman.

“Hey! Sofia! It’s only five! What are you up for?” Anastasia whispered loudly.

“I can’t sleep. I don’t want to risk waking up the others, so I’m going to have a shower and get ready.” Sofia replied into the darkness.

“Wake up who?” A tremulous voice asked. Lynx. “No one, Lynx. I’m just going to take a shower.” Sofia muttered. Good thing Clara was still asleep, it had been a late night last night.

“Better not. The shower block’ll be packed. I have to be at communications in half an hour. Come with me?” Lynx’s harsh voice echoed throughout the room.

“Sure. More hacking?” Sofia and Anastasia asked at the same time.

“You two are almost twins. No, not hacking today. Actually, we need a code breaker, and none have stepped up. I think they find us hackers and communicators a bit intimidating. I guess they are right, in one way or another. We do have higher military positions than them, so we can essentially boss them around. Still. Anyone else awake?” Lynx called into the ever growing darkness.

“Coming! Shouldn’t we get dressed?” Joz’s soft voice called, louder than normal. Joz was the smallest of them all, and the youngest, at only eight years old, but she was – apart from Lynx, though no one can be more intimidating than Lynx – the most intimidating of the lot.

 

The four girls walked into the communications centre and Lynx walked over to a computer.

“Now, I know that I said we would only need one code breaker, but there is not enough time for one to go through all of the messages we have intercepted. Sofia, you are one of the best code breakers. I need to set you up with an interceptor and some other equipment. Follow me. Joz, Clover, I need you both to fill out some paperwork.” Lynx stalked into the interceptions room, and Sofia followed.

“Wow! This room is awesome!” Sofia breathed in slightly and whispered.

“Quiet. The room of Joz’s dad is a couple of doors down. He knows that I was planning on bringing you here today, but not the others. We can’t be too loud.” Lynx whispered, her voice harsh. Lynx turned a computer on, and entered a password. The computer beamed to life, and Sofia gasped. It was full of files.

“What are all of those?” She asked, tentatively.

“Fake files. They are filled with information realistic enough, but are entirely false. Well, most stuff. Stuff like birthdates are kept the same because it’s harder to lie about that. Also the physical appearances. But some, like the additional information, are almost completely false, except for any severe allergies. Mainly because allergies are serious, and we don’t want any unnecessary deaths. These computers are called decoys, so if a Republican hacker breaks into our system, the biggest computers are here, and they assume that these have the most important files. But they’re wrong. These aren’t important. All important files are kept in secure systems in civilian homes. Or, at least, fake civilian homes. They are on different systems as well. It’s very secure.” Lynx seemed bored. She scanned the files for about two seconds, before the computer bleeped.

“Damn! The system was broken into last night! They didn’t steal any files, or look at any. I guess it was a test run. They must have been stupid to not check.” Lynx let out a large sigh.

“Might as well check some more secretive files. You know, Joz, you, Clove, me, Joz’s dad. That’s five files, and all of them vital.” Lynx frowned as her playful voice was replaced with a stern tone. Sofia looked at the file displayed onscreen. It didn’t look like much. It looked like a jumble of words, not a secret file. It was her fake file. She looked at some of the information. It wasn’t much of a file, it looked like an ordinary passport.

Siblings: 3 brothers, Henry Claireson, Andre Claireson, Maxwell Clairson, one sister, Anna Claireson

Parents: Mariette Louise, deceased, Lachlan Claireson, deceased

Full name: Sofia Rose Elle Claireson-Louise

Personal relationships: Lynx Unknown- friend, Harvey Jackson- cousin, Josephine Andrews- friend, Anastasia Parison- friend

Birthdate: 18 December 2005

Additional information: HIGHLY ALLERGIC TO DAIRY, very young-sounding voice, archer, healer, junior trainer

Physical appearance: Vibrant red hair, Green eyes, freckles, pale complexion, scar above left eye, average height, extremely skinny, normally wears armoured shirt and skirt, hair normally in plaits or long ponytail.

 

Sofia flicked her hair out of her face and listened to the tape. It was someone playing trumpet, that was for sure. It was pretty bad, but clear enough to make out a tune. Morse code. Smart, using music, an innocent thing, to send a message that could kill millions. But it would never be received now. She took down the notes, and converted it to Morse code. One minum- one dash. One crochet- one dot. Simple. She began to write the message on her code sheet.

Hi all, Michael here. Just wanted to let you know that Operation: Midnight is a go. My son Laurence will be going, as this is an essential part of his training. Don’t forget, the rendezvous is the 16 of October, Daylight Point, at 5:30pm! If you are not there, we will assume your death! Livia is excused for being late as her mission is due to end an hour later and she will rendezvous elsewhere at 7. The status on the rebels is unknown, but once more is known about the horrid Rebel S, I will notify you all. Signing off, Michael.

She scanned the message, and grinned. They didn’t know her real name. They didn’t know that she was the sole survivor of the Night Of A Thousand Knives, the fire that had killed a thousand orphans around Silverwind. She shuddered to think of that night. She still had the scars, but, luckily, her clothes covered them. Most of the time. She stood up, and walked over to where Lynx was working away at the pile of paperwork. The others had left a couple of hours ago. It was about three, and Sofia was tired.

“What did that pile of paperwork ever do to you?” Sofia giggled playfully.

“It existed. Believe me, if I could get rid of all the paperwork in the world, I would. I’m dead on my feet. Got another solved?” Lynx really looked tired, and sounded like she was as well.

“Yep. This one’s a bit more worrying. It’s about an ‘Operation: Midnight’. Know anything about it?” Sofia bit her lip. Lynx probably didn’t know anymore than she did, but it was worth a try.

“Nope. This is the first I’ve heard of it. I’ll talk to Joz’s dad, though. I don’t think any other code breakers could stand listening to that monstrosity. Or be in the same room as me. You’re brave.” Lynx complimenting anyone was rare enough, let alone someone of a lower rank than her. But Sofia was nearly the same rank. Her promotion was in a couple of days, but she already had security clearance level 8, which was only two levels off the highest. But she still was astounded to have been complimented by the legendary Lynx of the Rebellion.

 

Sofia listened to the man yelling at Joz. The man was Joz’s dad, and he was yelling at her because she had left the communications centre.

“Dad, I had training. I didn’t know that as soon as I left, there would be a major interception. It’s not my fault.” Joz was brave, to stand up to her father like that. All of a sudden, the computers started beeping. Sofia ran over to a computer, and looked at the alerts. A hacker. She opened up the secret program that she herself had coded. The hacker-tracker showed what system the hacker was in. All of a sudden, she heard Joz scream. She turned around and grabbed her knife. Never go anywhere without a weapon you can reach. Fists counted, but she preferred her knife. There, in the doorway, was a boy, standing next to a large man. And the man was holding Joz by the neck.

“Don’t move, or she dies.” The man’s gruff voice sounded. Sofia blinked, and all of a sudden, the boy was gone. She waited until the man was focused on Joz’s dad, then slipped out the door. She ran down the corridors silently, until she saw him. He was sobbing. She heard someone coming, so slipped behind a potted plant. Once Anastasia and Clara were gone , she crawled against the wall, to the boy. She wondered what they had been talking about, with Clara saying that ‘it was better if they didn’t tell the others, they didn’t want to alarm them.’ She crawled closer to the boy, the current King’s son, the crown prince,but he wasn’t the heir to the throne. The king had two sons, and this was the younger one. Laurence, she recalled. That was one of the princes’ name, the other called Nicolas. She just couldn’t remember which was which.

“Listen, Nick, is it? I don’t want to hurt you, just please don’t hurt any of my friends.” She held out her hand to him, but he didn’t take it. She crawled closer, and then she felt a sharp pain shooting up her leg. She looked at the bloody mess that was her ankle, and grabbed a bandage from her pocket. Always prepare for the worst, that’s what the rebels taught her. She wrapped it around her ankle, and pulled it tight. That should be ok for now. She still couldn’t walk, so she dragged herself towards the boy, Nick. When she was a metre away, the boy struck out, with a knife. It was blunt, but could still cause a lot of damage. It struck her temple, and she passed out. “Sorry, but I have to get to Melody. Dad said.” The boy whispered as he got up and walked back to the communications centre, avoiding the blood stains and smears of fresh blood.

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