The Luxa Crystal
February 3rd, 2018
Hi, my name is Lily Zufall. I am a fiction author - I have written sci-fi like this piece, realistic stories and other types of fantasy. When I first started this piece, I was in the middle of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, and that was definitely a big inspiration, which I think if you have read Mockingjay, you can tell. This piece is about two girls, at about age 13-14. They have just begun working at the spy base of their government when another army comes and takes over their civilization….
The Luxa Chrystal: The First Chronicle of the Core
Kassandra runs down the hall, glancing over her shoulder as she goes. She ducks around corners and sprints past meetings in the hallway. The most important thing is that she doesn’t get caught. I run behind her, unable to keep up. As she nears Bunker 7, her arm gets snagged by a guard blocking the entrance to the place where it is hidden. Where the thing that could save all of our lives is. She tosses and turns, kicks, punches and bites, but to no avail. As he drags her away, I can see her mouth two words…. “Run, Anabel”
One Year Earlier
Kassandra came running into the classroom, a look of panic on her face.
“Anabel!” she hissed. “The Trebatchians have taken over Bunker 7!” I look at her with a look of shock.
“I thought they would double security after our letter.” She shakes her head grimly and hands over a piece of paper.
Dear Anabel Letterman and Kassandra Dunn,
We have taken into account your letter about bunker 7 security.
We appreciate your concern and have done what you requested/ would like to reassure you that this is not a current threat.
Thank you for your time.
Head of Human Relations
The Carpa, Earth’s Core
“The Carpa is run by a bunch of idiots.” She put away the notice, and we halfheartedly took our seats. The day slogged by; all Kassandra wanted to talk about was Bunker 7. As soon as the bell rang, she popped out of her seat, and sprinted down the aisle and out the door. I struggled to keep up, especially since she had a destination, and nothing can slow Kassandra Dunn down when she has a destination in mind. Finally, she plopped down -she claims she was waiting for me but I think she was winded- on the hallway
“Where do you think the Trebatchians are going to take next?” Kassandra asked. “And do you think they’ll be able to identify the Luxa Chrystal?” I shrugged.
“I doubt it. It was an accident that we found it.”
We sat silently for a few moments, remembering that day, until Kassandra interrupted.
“Annie.” She said solemnly. “I want to go into Bunker 7 and get the crystal. But first, we need to try to inform the Carpa. They should believe us now that the Trebs have 7.”
“What’s that you’re talking about?” said a deep, imposing voice.
“Children of your age should not be discussing the ‘Trebs’ or any other organization. Now go off and play like good little girls. Miss Dunn, your parents will hear about this.” I was prepared to go off and act like a little kid, but Kassandra had other ideas.
“I am 13 years old, thank you very much. I am not a little child. Anabel and I have the right to sit anywhere we want.” And with that, she plopped back down and refused to move. The guy sighed and pulled out his Taser.
“I don’t want to do this,” he said. “I’ll count to ten and if you’re not up and skedaddling in that time, I’m Tasing you. 10….9….8….7….” Kassandra remained seated.
“Kass,” I hissed, “He’s serious.”
“Okay then. He’s serious.” she responded, unfazed.
“4….3….2….1….0.” He put his finger on the trigger, and tased Kassandra.
Fortunately, Kassandra is very resilient and by the time the guy - his name by the way, is Brandon - and I reached our building, she was already stirring. We stepped into the elevator and I pressed 8d for myself, and 11e for her. As we approached my floor and I stepped out, she picked up her head and instantly recoiled at the idea of being carried. She squirmed until he dropped her, and she dashed off.
This was the day I realized that while it could always be Kassandra and Anabel, best friends forever, we weren’t practically the same person, the way it used to be. I only gave this thought because Kass and I were thirteen, almost fourteen. One of the Carpa’s laws is that you pick your profession at age fourteen. I knew that Kass wanted to be military agent, and I desperately wanted to be a data analyst.
Nine Months Later
I weaved through the corridors, passing door after door, until I reached the one labeled Enter Code Here.
Most people just think these are storage rooms, but on selection day, a middle-aged woman named Minna pulled Kassandra aside, and asked her under confidence if she would be interested in being a spy. Kassandra shrugged, and Minna recruited her. But here’s the catch. For every spy - they call them Alternate Agents - they need someone in a desk job to monitor them in case they get knocked out or captured or sometimes even killed. If that happened, the monitor will know where they are, who they’re with and what they know. Minna’s apprentice, a 20 year old woman named Shannon told us the story of a man named Aaron who was killed on a mission to the Surface, but his monitor, Jennifer Colebank, who is incredibly famous in the Carpa, was able to piece together what Aaron had learned, and ended up getting credit as the first scientist to drill up to the surface.
I jogged down the hall checking my watch. Great, I thought to myself. I’m late. I came to my door, labeled:
It still gave me a slight rush of excitement to see that sign, to be perfectly honest. I opened the door and slipped in. I ran over to the data screens. Within five seconds, messages and video clips started popping up. The only thing I clicked on was Kassandra’s video feed.
In the video, Kassandra is in a dark corridor that I recognized as the corridor to one of the Bunkers. I press a button on the screen and it’s as if I’ve fallen through the camera….
Kassandra flattens herself against a wall, as two Trebatchian security guards walked by. Then, out of nowhere, she sprints down the hallway. Within seconds she is at the front door of Bunker 7. The door is coated in locks, dials and keypads, but Kassandra doesn’t seem fazed. Just as I hear the first click, Minna and Shannon, drop from the ceiling. Kass touches her earpiece, and the conversation goes dead. Shannon pulls her over to the storage elevator - which actually brings people right to the base - and the screen goes blank.
“Honestly Miss Dunn!” Minna says, arms crossed, in her clipped, vaguely British accent, as they arrived out of the elevator. “The reason we dispatched you to patrol the Trebatchian government to see what their military plans are was because we thought we could trust you not to go of to some irrelevant mission. Miss Dunn, what is going on with you? Anything you say is in strictest confidence.”
“Yes,” Shannon replied, her voice rising higher and higher as she spoke. “And if you were to explain to us why in the Core Bunker 7 is so important, perhaps we could dispatch you on a mission to it.” I took a deep breath. If there was a any time to share about the Luxa Crystal, it would be now.
But I couldn’t. Not now. Partially, there was no reason that the Trebatchians would be able to activate it. Kassandra and I had done it purely by accident.
* * *
It was a year and a half ago. July 17, 2112. She and I were just goofing off in Bunker 7 like we always did, since discovering the deserted Bunker. We both agreed it was the height of weirdness, because Bunker 7 was absolutely enormous. Kassandra had made a habit of studying military bunkers and weaponry, and even she couldn’t make heads or tails of it.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” Kass argued to no one in particular, seeing as I already agreed with her. “Everything I’ve ever read about bunkers basically says this is a ideal spa-” Kassandra stopped short. “What on Earth,” she said in awe. “Is that?” I followed her gaze to a small shining object about a hundred meters into the bunker. I wanted to go pick it up and look at it, but something told me it was dangerous. I was right about that, I just had no idea of how much. However, Kassandra walked right over to it and picked it up, then dropped it.
“Yikes!” she exclaimed. “That thing was boiling hot!” At that, I knew my suspicions of danger were right. The Carpa is in the Earth’s core, so heat doesn’t bother us too much, and Kass had proven to be even less sensitive than most. So if something was hot enough to bother her….that meant trouble. I tried to tell Kassandra this, but her attention was on the dangerous little item. After Kass had dropped it, strange writing appeared in the air above it. It read;
I am the Luxa Crystal
I bring power to whoever possesses me.
You have activated me therefore you possess me.
I can save you and whoever you need to have saved.
But tread wisely. I am a work of age old magic.
You can learn how to use my power too.
Find the descendant of
Miss Elspeth Dunn.
Kassandra dropped to her knees and gasped. “I had a great- grandma Elspeth. Do you think they’re talking about her?”
I shrugged. “I doubt there’s a lot of Dunn’s in the Core. And I’ve never heard of the name Elspeth.” I paused to think. “So, is the descendant you?” Kassandra bit her lip.
“I dunno.” She closed her eyes and breathed in. “This might sound crazy, but I think we have to find an old piece of paper. And it’s somewhere in this bunker.
We scoured the place for hours, and when I was about to give up and go home, something caught my eye. It looked like a bottle made of glass, but that’s impossible. We haven’t had anything glass for about 100 years. Unless….it was the document for the crystal.
“Kassandra!” I called. “I think I found it.” She ran over and picked up the bottle, and with shaking hands pulled out the stopper. She began to read the letter. I wish I could tell what it said but I find that I cannot remember anything that happened after that until we walked out of the Bunker. Funnily enough, this did not upset me. I have always had a strong mind, but an unusual way of percepting time. What seems short to me is often long to the rest of the world. Kassandra didn’t know this, and it rarely happened, so I decided not to mention it. It's happened occasionally when I had a lot on my mind and I don’t know if I’d ever had more on my mind than right now.
“-so anyway,” Kassandra picked up, as if we had been in the middle of a conversation, “I’m going to do what the letter said, Anabel, but you have to swear to me that you won’t tell a soul.” That would be pretty easy for me, seeing as I didn’t remember what had happened, but I nodded vaguely, and took the right turn to my family's home, and Kass took the left, so I didn’t have to think about it until the next day. So all I knew was that Kassandra was in more danger than she knew.
* * *
I woke up the next morning scared. What if I had made the wrong choice? What if the Trebatchians could figure out how to activate the Crystal. If they could, Kass might not be able to continue her work. They could, would take her. And she would willingly sacrifice herself. I made a decision to tell Minna and Shannon about the bunker. I sat up in bed and reached for the intercom. I punched in Kassandra’s apartment number and she picked up.
“Kassandra Dunn speaking. May I inquire who is on the other end?” Kassandra asked.
“It’s Anabel.” I replied
“Greetings Miss Letterman. How may I help you today?” Kass said, sounding like an aristocrat.
“I need your permission to tell Minna about Bunker 7,” I said softly into the receiver.
Kassandra dropped the formal pretense. “You’re kidding right?!” she exclaimed. “They would take it and get all the credit!” This blew me away.
“So you’re saying that if they were to save the world with it and the Trebatchians were to lose the war that is happening, you’d be upset because they’d get the credit!” I hung up in disgust over what she considered her priorities. When I showed up in the office Kass barely nodded in my direction. As soon as she left the room, I turned to Minna.
“Can I tell you why Kassandra was in the hallway to Bunker 7?” Minna nodded and smirked. “Am I about to find out why you were lying to me yesterday?”
I nodded. “Kassandra and I found this crystal in the Bunker a few months ago. And we accidentally activated it and I’m afraid the Trebatchians will be able to activate it and if they do, I think Kass is going to be in more danger than she realizes.” I took a shaky breath. “I didn’t tell you before because I knew Kass didn’t want me to tell but I didn’t know why. But this morning she told me, and it’s because she thinks you would take the credit and I told her that was ridiculous.”
“Ahh.” Minna said. “I think you should go to your video screen and speak to Miss Dunn at some point soon, preferably before the Trebatchians take over our world.”
I slid into my seat and began clicking away at the screen. The day sped by and all of a sudden, it was time to go, and Kassandra was coming in exhausted and we were packing up and walking out.
“Kass!” I called out.
She stopped, “What?” she responded, not looking at me. “I know you told Minna.” I blushed. “You are so persistent.” she said laughing. “Once you hung up, I knew you were going to tell her. Tomorrow let’s try to get into the bunker again.” Seeing my expression, she laughed. “And when we’re in there, we can take the crystal and you can give it to Minna.” I shrugged and said, “You’re on!” We both burst out laughing, and went our separate ways.
The next morning I got to the Offices early. I was working on a mission disclosure that I had planned to finish the day before but things came up, when a ticker ran across the screen;
Trebatchians to post guards in hallways of the The Carpa. Curfew imposed at 20-hour 50- minute. Severe punishments will be given to those out after curfew. For more information please go to carpanews.info/trebatchianrule.
I gave a sharp intake of breath. There was no way this could be happening. Kassandra’s timing couldn’t have been better. I needed to talk to her about this. Shannon emerged from the back room with her screen activated on the website the ticker had redirected us to open. She was reading so intently that she walked into the wall.
“The war has begun.” she said grimly. I nodded in agreement and we sat together in silence. After about ten minutes, Kassandra came bursting in the door.
“Anabel!” she shrieked. That was when I knew something was up. Normally when Kasandra is angry her voice drops and she sounds cold as ice. “We have to get the crystal. We can talk on the way.” Shannon looked like she wanted to say something, but closed her mouth and walked off. Any other time I would have hesitated to come with her, but under the recent circumstances, I had to come. I sprang out of my chair and ran out the door and Kassandra took off. She ran down the hallway and somehow had the physical ability to talk as we ran.
“So I’ve tried a bunch of times to get into Bunker 7 but every time been caught by one of the people on our side, kinda like the time you saw. My tracker goes dead every time because with the bugs you can make them go dead visually and audibly or both. And that’s what I’ve been doing. But now there’s going to be added security to the bunker, so I think we should get it now. I think the Trebatchians know about it.” She said all this as she sprinted at top speed. I couldn’t even keep up and I wasn’t talking. All I could do was nod. We ducked down a hall and I stopped to catch my breath. She keeps going, and I start to run again.
Kassandra runs down the hall, glancing over her shoulder as she goes. She ducks around corners and sprints past meetings in the hallway. The most important thing is that she doesn’t get caught. I run behind her, unable to keep up. As she nears Bunker 7, her arm gets snagged by a guard blocking the entrance to the place where it is hidden. Where the thing that could save all of our lives is. She tosses and turns, kicks, punches and bites but to no avail. As her drags her away I can see her mouth two words…. “Run Anabel.”
END OF PART ONE