Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, I make no money from this.Author's note: Thank you to everyone who read and reviewed 'Summer Camp' on such a loyal basis. It had originally been intended as a stand-alone, story (i.e. no sequel), but the enthusiasm inspired more ideas. I hope you enjoy this one as much, and please, continue to let me know what you think.
Author's note II: Thank you also to gaianarchy and silvershadowfire, my excellent beta readers. Without them, I would never have gotten this far... you'd be amazed how much influence they've had.
My science teacher tells me that the technical specifications I presented regarding the Warp Two engine (for my science research project) seem highly unlikely. However, I was merely extrapolating from the quotes you gave me. I understand if you needed to provide inaccurate information for security purposes, but I was wondering if there was something I was missing.
Yours truly,Charles Tucker III
While your extrapolations are excellent, there seems to be some discrepancy in your numbers. Perhaps you should recheck your addition.
Damn… I was afraid it was something like that. Oh… by the way, I've been looking into some of the original CERN research on anti-matter… there's something there that might help explain some of the problems you've been having… I'll let you know as soon as I put my finger on it.
Forward away. If a thirteen-year-old can figure out this mess, then I'm not going to argue. At this point I'd take advice from Santa Claus.
I think Santa is more adept at bioengineering. You know – flight capable reindeer and all.
To use your terminology… school sucks. I still have Jonesy here (it's part of his sentence), though he has left me alone since I took a piece of pipe to his knee. Somehow he failed to mention it was me when they asked how it happened… I think he was still in shock. Unfortunately, my father has decided to send me to a military academy (yes, I have changed institutions, and I still have Jonesy), to prepare me for entrance into the Navy. He was not enamoured with my announcement that I would prefer to go into Starfleet – I believe the term he used was 'useless dilettantes.' He has also forbidden me to correspond with you: he found a copy of your last letter and informed me that you were an 'undesirable influence', and were putting 'untenable' ideas in my head. Thus, I have snuck out of school, and am sending this from a café at midnight. Please use the following address for return correspondence, and address it to Mr. Bartlett.
Dear Mr. Bartlett
'Big X,' huh? Sounds like you need to plan a 'Great Escape' of your own. Have you considered running away from home? I would… but I've been confined to the house for the next five weeks.
Trip 'The Cooler King' Tucker
I am sorry to put this in a letter… but I fear our relationship is simply not working out. Therefore, I must say goodbye. I wish you the best in all your future endeavours… and no hard feelings between us.
You know for a thirteen-year-old you're pretty good at being an asshole. I might have actually believed that letter… had you not spelled Kellie's name wrong. I had to get one of the geeks here to trace it – he says he hasn't seen a scramble that good in a long time. Eleven relays? You really like to have fun with people, don't you? 'Dear John' letter… you little shit. So this is what I get for keeping in touch: smart-assed remarks and practical jokes. Actually, it's been a bad week, so I needed a good laugh. I don't think I'll be volunteering at camp this summer. You've pretty much spoiled it for me – it just wouldn't be the same without you (easier, maybe… but not as interesting). Besides, I'm not sure they'll take me back. They might be afraid that you'll be coming with me.
Still not becoming a social worker,
P.S. Dad says 'maybe… but he must know something about Warp drive if he gets them round the world in one night.' What the hell is that all about?
I'm sorry. You don't have the necessary clearance for that.
The figure watched as three kids played together in the front yard – the eldest watching over the other two and letting them hang off of him and tackle him to the ground. The scene resembled something out of an old television program: the happy American family at play. He listened to the screams of laughter as the trio frolicked under the late autumn sun, and watched intently. This was the one. Finally, he'd found it.
A woman came to the door and called them inside for dinner, not noticing the dark form across the street, not realising that her family was being observed. The perfect American family – blond haired, blue-eyed, athletic and intelligent. Settling down for their chatty American family dinner where they'd discuss the days events – talk about the eldest boy's big game… talk about the little girl's latest art project. He felt a deep longing and envy…
"Soon…" he whispered, "soon."
He waited past the dinner hour, until the sun disappeared below the trees – waited until the lights of the second story began to turn on and then off, as each member of the household turned their thoughts to sleep. He identified each room by the silhouettes in the windows – even as he circuited the house, they didn't see him.
And there… perfect. The eldest boy's bedroom lay within easy reach… all he would need to do was scale the sturdy tree, and he would be in. He wondered if the parents knew how vulnerable that window was – how simple it would be to climb up to, and how quietly it could be done. He waited until the last light was extinguished, then set his plan into motion.
I just gotta be able to put my finger on it. It was right there, hanging in front of his nose, tantalizing him. Trip shifted in his bed, trying to find a comfortable position. The anti-matter problem wasn't the only thing bothering him – he'd spent the evening with the funny feeling that someone was watching him. I couldn't see anybody… but that doesn't mean that they weren't there. After all… there'd been a creepy guy hanging around outside of Elizabeth's school about a month ago… and they'd never caught him. If he comes after Lizzie… I'll kill him.
As if in response to his thoughts, something rustled in the tree outside, like someone working their way along the branch outside his window. Son of a bitch. Trip reached down beside his bed and picked up his Louisville Slugger, then slid out of bed to stand beside the slightly open window. "I'm warning you, buddy… I'm armed. Don't even think of coming in here."
"Given the fact that I know you couldn't hit anything with that… somehow I'm less than scared." The voice that answered him was the last one he expected. Still a high-pitched kid's voice, with an all-too-familiar British accent and a fairly new dryly amused tone. Trip's bat dropped to the floor, and his jaw nearly connected with his knees. It couldn't be… it just couldn't be…