The Train [Lexy]
Twenty One Days Until Destination

The day they came for me, I was on my DiamondTek Glass, working on a report for school. When you talk to the glass, it creates the words in a file. So I was sitting there, talking about how our environment has changed and what it would be like to live in the 21st century. I think it'd be really cool to go back in time, to see how people lived back then.

"And that's why I think it'd be amazing to live in the 21st century." I finished as my mom entered the room, followed by two men in DiamondTek sunglasses. I could see the lights flickering in the lenses, telling the agents various information about what they were seeing.

They had faces of stone, and kept them void of any expression. One wore a dull gray suit, while the other was wearing a too-shiny black one.

"You'll be coming with us. You've been hand chosen by a group of specialists. Say goodbye to your mother now. No need to pack anything, everything you need will be supplied to you." Gray-suit said blandly, sounding rehearsed. I blinked, not understanding what was happening.

"Lexy, it'll be okay. Just go with these men. It's a great honor to be chosen for this line of work." My mother said tightly.

"This is my Job Assignment? But I'm not even done with Finishing School yet! What's happening, mom?" This was not protocol. This was not normal. Therefore, it was scary. Nothing unexpected EVER happened in Jaynaria.

"There isn't much time, so if you're done acting like a child, we need to go now." Black-suit said dryly.

"Excuse me?" I asked, offended. Something was very wrong. Government agents would never talk so disrespectfully to citizens. They were training to make us feel calm and secure.

"Just go, Lexy." My mom said through gritted teeth, her eyes glistening. I turned to look at her, tears threatening to spill over. This was not my mother. I slowly stood and walked out of the door behind the agents, and I didn't look back. I felt numb, but managed a small wince when I heard the sobs of my mother behind the closed door.

A small black hover car was waiting outside of my house, and the agents ushered me inside. Then we were off. It was a short ride, and when I climbed out of the car, I saw a line of large buildings hovering a few feet off the ground. They were all connected by powerful magnets. I was sure we had nothing like this in Milia.

"Where are we?" I asked, looking around for Block Flags that would tell me what Block we were in. The agent in the gray suit pulled up a map of Jaynaria on his DiamondTek Glass to show me where we were.

"We're at a train stop, right here." He explained as he pointed to the little nub of Milia that stuck up between Khrysor and Lumbee. There were five different colors on the map. Asteria, our capital, was colored gold. The other blocks were split up in between blue, green, red, and orange coloring.

"Where the heck do those colors mean? And a train stop? I don't see any trains." I said, exasperated. I did not see any of the slender chrome hover trains that Milia was known for.

"You'll learn about the colors later..." The agent trailed off.

"And that's the train." The other agent finished, pointing at the row of buildings. My eyes widened. "The buildings are different cars. You'll basically be living in a moving town until we reach... Our destination..." He faltered. I glanced at him, suspicious, but followed the two men into one of the metal buildings.

In the entryway, there was a staircase and what looked like a reception desk. There were a few couches off to the left surrounding a coffee table. Overall, it looked like the welcoming area of a very fancy hotel.

"Your room is on the third floor, number three. Here's the key." One of the agents handed me a small metal piece with the number "3" printed boldly on it. "The others will probably be on the second floor. Third floor is for bedrooms, second floor is for general stuff. There's a commons, kitchen, meeting room, etc. Your teammates will explain things to you."

The agents walked off through a side door labelled "Staff Car", leaving me alone. I slowly approached the staircase and climbed up to the third floor, deciding to see where I'd be staying before meeting my 'teammates'.

Each door had a large number on it, but there was also a Glass to the left of the doors with the name of the occupant. I walked down the hall, reading all of the names as I went by. Levi, Zack, Christina, Ryan, Rae, Lucas, and Mai.

Mai? My friend Mai? I knocked on the door, hoping my best friend would answer, but no one did. I bit my lip, a strange sense of nervousness washing over me, and decided to put off meeting all these people with the excuse of checking out my new room.

When I reached my door, I hesitantly touched the Glass. A DiamondTek logo flashed, and then I heard an electronic voice.

"Please hold your key card in front of the scanner." I did as I was told and was rewarded with a flash of green light and the voice saying "Welcome, Lexy," as the door slid open. I stepped inside to find the most high tech room I had ever seen. I didn't even know how to work most of these DiamondTek products, they were so new. I sighed, frustrated at the lack of communication and direction on this stupid train.

I peered into the bathroom and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I looked awful. My curly blond hair was tangled and frizzy, and I was still in what I had worn to bed the night before; black shorts and a green sweatshirt.

"Ugh. I can't see people like this!" I grumbled to myself, deciding to shower. When I got out, I jumped at the sound of the electronic voice.

"A selection of clothes can be found in the container to your left, Lexy." I squinted and let out a calming breath. That was going to take some getting used to. "Please wear the color provided to you for the remainder of the trip, and do not trade clothes with teammates for a different color." I opened the compartment that was glowing with a soft blue light and found a few different pairs of jean shorts and pants, and a couple blue tank tops and sweatshirts. I grabbed a pair of the shorts, a tank top, and a sweatshirt.

After pulling the clothes on and combing through my hair, I grabbed my keycard and headed down to the second level. A girl was just climbing up the stairs from the first floor.

"Mai?" I asked, sort of surprised to see my best friend here, even though there was a door with her name on it upstairs.

"Lexy?!" she gasped and hurried over to me. "What's happening? Two strangers came to my house and just... Told me to leave. Without anything!"

"Same here. Don't worry. I'm sure it's fine. I haven't met anyone else yet, do you wanna come with me? " I said soothingly.

Mai nodded slightly. She may have been a seventeen year old that wasn't scared of any ChangeOperation, but she hated meeting new people.

As we walked slowly down the hallway, I noticed that her eyes looked different; brighter than usual. "Did you get a new ChangeOperation?" I asked, trying to distract her from her nerves.

Mai nodded enthusiastically, standing up a little straighter. "Yeah! I went to consult the surgeon, and he said that if I added tiny little jewels to my eyes that were the same color as my natural eyes, it would look like my eyes were sparkling! So we picked out just the right shade of green gems. I had the ChangeOp just two days ago. Does it look good?" she asked, looking at me for approval.

I smiled brightly. "It looks great, Mai. Your eyes do look like they're sparkling." She grinned and widened her eyes a bit more. We reached a door labelled "Commons" and heard the low murmur of a Glass Screen from inside. I knocked politely before opening the door.

There were a bunch of teenagers lounging around watching the Glass, wearing either green, blue, orange, or red, though I noticed that one of the boys and one of the girls were wearing black.

The girl in the black sweatshirt looked up. "Hi, I'm Christina Noble. I'm from the Thalia Block." She smiled. The girl had dark brown hair, almost black, and was wearing skinny jeans under her sweatshirt that read "Thalia" in big read letters. What stood out the most were her eyes. They were gold, almost yellow. In ChangeOps, we were allowed to add things to our eyes, but not change the original color. I couldn't imagine having gold as my eye color.

I smiled back at her, "I'm Lexy Malone, and this is Mai McCombs. We're from Milia, but I'm originally from Obrylin." A tall boy wearing a blue v-neck glanced up at me with eyes that were the same bright blue as mine.

"That's Levi Urban." Christina said, indicating the blue-eyed boy. "He's from Obrylin. And this is Lucas Lancaster," she continued, nodding towards a boy with dirty blond hair and gray eyes, wearing an orange sweatshirt, "he's from Chromasia. And that's Dallas Lahnay, from Icarus."

"Nice to meet you." Lucas said, smiling.

"Hey." Levi smiled softly, while Dallas nodded at me.

"That's Zack." Christina smiled toward a boy who was a little taller than herself and had shaggy black hair. Zack had the same molten gold eyes as Christina, and was wearing black too. "He's from Asteria, and he's self conscious of it, so try not to bring it up." Christina grinned, speaking in a stage whisper. Zack rolled his eyes.

"That's Ryan," she said, looking at a green-eyed boy with wavy light brown hair. He smirked at me. "And Rae's the one in the orange Savros sweatshirt." Christina finished with the introductions. Rae had her blondish-brown hair pulled back into a ponytail, and she smiled at me.

"Nice to meet you." she said happily. "Oh and keep an eye out for Ryan. He can be a creeper."

"Whatever!" Ryan laughed.

I smiled. All of these people seemed to be friends already. They must've been on the train for a while now. "Where are we going?" I asked.

"We're going to a training camp in Zephan. No one is supposed to know about it, but I'm sure the locals suspect something." Rae said.

"Training for what?" Mai asked, nervous.

"Training for time travel. We're the newest team. Well the field team anyways. The control teams and base teams are in different cars." Zack said quietly. When everyone looked at him, he glanced down, embarrassed. He rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. Suddenly, the electronic voice came on again, making me and Mai jump.

"Lunch is being served now." The female voice said monotonously.

"Great, I'm starving." Zack said quickly, and hurried out of the room, brushing past me and Mai. I looked after him then turned to the others.

"Don't question him. He knows things because he's from Asteria." Ryan said and jogged out after Zack.

The rest of us followed them through a few other cars, first the Base Team cars, then the Control Team. The next car was the Dining Car, and Lucas immediately peeled off from our group and sat at a table, ordering his food from the Glass at his seat. We all sat down at the table and were placing our orders and Lucas was finishing his first plate, a second plate sliding out of the ServerBot next to him.

As ServerBots came around and gave us all our orders, a different group of teens walked in. They all looked around our age; seventeen.

"Stupid Control Team." I heard some of my new friends mutter under their breath. Christina seemed know what was going on, so I looked at her, confused.

"We don't like them. As all." she whispered to me.

"Why not?" I asked, then took another look at them.

Most glared at me, while others looked at me like I was disgusting.

"Never mind." I said, rolling my eyes. Christine pursed her lips and nodded.

The other team walked past us to their table, noses up in the air.

"What are you doing? Trying to not smell your own B.O.?" Ryan asked, smirking, causing our whole table to burst out in laughter. The Control Team just glared at us and moved to a table farther away. "Thanks! We didn't wanna smell you anyways!" Ryan yelled over to them.

Levi rolled his eyes. "Shut up, Ryan," he said, holding back a laugh.

"Yeah well you can just leave. We don't like you either," a tall girl with straightened brown hair and swirling brown eyes stated. Then she flipped her locks over her shoulder and turned away.

"Who was that?" I asked, my brow furrowing.

"That was Lizzy Pyre," Dallas said, rolling his eyes. "She acts like she's the captain of that team, even though Tris Arelus was the one assigned to it. Come to think of it though, everyone on Control Team 3 acts like they're in charge."

Levi nodded in agreement.

"Nobody likes them, not even the Base Teams. But everyone pretty much hates us. It's because they're jealous. They didn't get picked to travel through time." Christina grinned at me.

I smiled. "So how long until we get to Zephan?" I asked.

"It's another three days until we reach the shared port between Yalissia and Urania. There, we'll have the train equipped with new DiamondTek hover rods that will allow us to travel over water. They it'll probably be another two weeks until we reach Zephan." Zack said. "They want us to use the time to train and build up trust between one another. They don't really expect us to get to know the Base Teams or Controls Teams that well."

"Well I could get to know this food!" Lucas said enthusiastically, biting into another biscuit. I looked at him blankly. He stared back. "What?" he asked innocently, crumbs flying out of his mouth and spraying Ryan and Levi.

Lizzy glared at us as we laughed, already acting like the best of friends. She seemed extra pissed when she saw Zack laughing along with us. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw here get up and saunter towards him.

"Hey Zack." She smiled and sat on the table next to him. He paled and glanced up at us, looking for help. "So you're from Asteria, right?" Lizzy giggled. "Life must be so much fun there... Being rich and everything."

"Just because you live in Asteria doesn't mean you're rich," he mumbled, looking down.

"It does if you're the heir to the kingdom." Lizzy smirked, knowing she had dirt on Zack, and it seemed to please her that she had revealed this little tidbit of information to the rest of us.

During this, whole situation, I could feel the hatred radiating off of Christina. She glared at Lizzy with more disgust and loathing than I had ever seen someone show.

Lizzy flipped her hair, giggling, placing a hand on Zack's arm. Then she caught sight of Christina. Her laugh caught in her throat and her eyes widened. "I'll... Talk t-to you later, Z-zack." She hurried off, glancing back at us, only to find that Christina's eyes were still fixed on her. Lizzy quickly looked away, and left the car of the train.

"Thanks Christina." Zack breathed a sigh of relief.

"Yeah." she replied flatly, getting up and exiting the Dining Car, heading back the way we had come.

Everyone sat in silence, awkwardly finishing their food. One by one, they all left until it was just me, Mai, and Zack sitting at the table.

"What..." I began.

"Come on. I'll tell you." He got up and walked towards our team's car.

We followed Zack to the Field Team's car, up to the second floor, and into the room labelled "Conference Room". Mai and I glanced at each other uneasily, waiting for an explanation.

He turned to us and started talking softly and quickly, "Christina and I are best friends, and we tell eachother everything. But we aren't just friends, she's my sister. Like my actual, blood sister. We're twins, and she's the older one. Even though she's only older by minutes, she feel like she has to protect me, and she hates Lizzy. She hates her for trying to figure everything out about me, and flirting with me, just because she knows that my family rules Jaynaria. But Lizzy doesn't know that Christina is my sister. No one does really, except for our team."

"But Christina said she was from Thalia... Not Asteria..." Mai said, uncertain.

"Our parents wanted our family name to get carried on through the heir, and since Christina was older, she would technically inherit the kingdom. But if she were to become Queen, she would have to marry, and the Ashmore family name wouldn't continue to rule, it'd be whoever she married. So they decided that I would inherit the kingdom, because I would be able to keep the Ashmore name alive. I hate them for it." He gritted his teeth, "I hate them for sending Christina away to live with some rich friends in Thalia. The one person that could have really been my best friend, the sister I needed, and they got rid of her. Christina doesn't care about ruling the kingdom or anything. She just wants her real family back, and our parents can't see that.

"It was pure chance that we got put on the same team for this mission. So we've been catching up. I mean, yeah we talked secretly on our Glass Screens, but it's different when you actually MEET someone for the first time, you know?

"So anyway, Christina and I are close, but there's still something there, and I can feel it. She doesn't want to act like real a real brother and sister would. I think it's some form of jealousy; that our parents chose me and not her. I know she can't help it; it's natural human feeling. But all I want is my sister." He glanced up at us.

I nodded, not knowing what else to do, and saw Mai biting her lip next to me. Zack smiled sadly, then walked past us into the hall, going upstairs, presumably to his room. A moment later, Christina bounded down the stairs, grabbed my arm, and Mai's, and led us to the Commons. We walked in, and saw Ryan and Levi playing some game I'd never seen before. "So Ryan found this really old, like I'm talking before the Fallout old-," my eyes widened, "Yeah I know!- video game called Call of Duty. He did some research and found out there was a whole series of them in the 2000s! So he did a little techy-genius stuff, and made copies of all the games so they work with the DiamondTek software. This one's called Modern Warfare 3. Wanna play?"

"No I'll just watch..." I answered, plopping down on the couch next to Rae.

"That's okay. It's more like Primitive Warfare anyways." Christina grinned and grabbed a controller. Another square popped up on the screen, and she pressed a few buttons, pictures of ancient weapons flashing as she scrolled down the list.

The graphics were awful. It didn't look remotely real! Next thing I knew, there were loud gunshots and rapid firing bullets flying around the screen. The was the kind of stuff we learned about in Ancient Cultures! There was fake blood splatter on the screen whenever someone got wounded. It was all pretty cheesy, yet somehow fun to watch.

Suddenly, the volume was automatically turned down and the electronic voice filled the room, "Please meet in the general room."

"Crap." Christina said.

"What is it?" I asked, nervous.

"That means we have to meet with one other team. We've only done it once before, since we won't actually BE with the other teams on the mission. Our partner team is chosen at random, and every team is in the drawing." I followed her out of the Conference Room and into the hall. We walked through the Dining Car and two more cars of the train before arriving in a large room, with nothing but a Glass and the other teams.

Everyone eyed each other, uncomfortable and awkwardly silent. The Glass flashed on, and the DiamondTek logo was shown for a few seconds before a list popped up:

Main Base Team...Control Team 2...CT 2's Car

Control Team 1...Back Up Base Team...BT's Car

Field Team...Control Team 3...FT's Car

Christina quietly cursed about every bad word I knew of, and then some.

"What does the third column mean?" I whispered.

"That's where we have to hang out until dinner. CT means Control Team, BT is Base Team, and FT means-"

"Field Team. Our car." I finished. "Well this is awesome." The screens flickered off, and each of the team pairs left until it was only our team, and Control Team 3 left. We stood, looking at each other from across the room. I spotted Lizzy eyeing Zack. Christina casually moved half way in front of him, then looked at Lizzy, smiling and waving. I saw Lizzy look quickly away.

Lucas and Levi silently started walking towards our train car, and everyone else followed. Lizzy made a beeline for Zack and I decided to help Christina out by sliding into the line in front of him, while Christina walked behind him. Lizzy stopped in her tracks, and Zack looked at her. Her face lifted a bit, seeming please that he had acknowledged her. The he flipped her off, smirking. Out of all the things that had changed since before the Fallout, that universal insult hadn't.

Her eyes widened, and she back up towards the back of the line, following us dejectedly towards our car.

We ended up hanging out in the Commons. Zack sat at the end of the couch, and Christina plopped down right next to him, grabbing a controller. I sat next to Christina, leaving no room on the couch for any members of Control Team 3. They'd have to use the chairs or Pods that weren't taken up by our team. (Pods are large spheres filled with squishy stuff. They're super comfy.)

Ryan started up another game with the title "Call of Duty", but this one was called Black Ops.

As Control Team 3 filed in he started something in the game called Zombies.

"What's a Zombie?" I asked Christina.

"It's like the Undead. They called them Zombies back before the Fallout. It's a fun game though; you have to kill the Zombies before they get you, and each round gets harder." She replied, already staring at the screen, ready for action.

The game went on with Ryan, Levi, Dallas, and Christina playing. Ryan would occasionally yell at Dallas to do something, to which Dallas would answer with a random comment. Levi and Christina would just chuckle at them.

"So... What are we going to do...?" Lizzy asked, awkwardly.

Ryan turned the sound up.

They were doing pretty well until Lizzy got up, and grabbed Ryan and Levi's controllers. They both got attacked by the nasty creatures on the screen. She smirked and dropped the controllers back into their laps.

The game ended and Christina turned the sound off. "So, Lizzy. What do you want to do?" Christina asked, piling on the false niceness.

The tension between the two was growing and suddenly the room started heating up. I mean literally heating up.

"What the heck?! Zack asked, peeling his sweatshirt off. It was unbearably hot now and I scooted away from Christina, realizing that she was the thing creating the heat. Zack reached out to grab Christina's arm, "Hey calm down. She's not worth- OW!" he yelled, yanking his hand back.

Christina snapped her glare away from Lizzy and quickly turned toward her brother. "Zack! Are you okay? What happened?!"

"You're freaking BURNING, that's what happened!" he said, eyes wide as he clutched his hand to his chest.

She looked confused. "Burning? What are you ta-"

She was interrupted by Zack wrapping his sweatshirt around his good hand to grab her arm and lead her out of the Commons.

Everyone looked to Lizzy, but she looked just as shocked. Tris, a tall, thin girl with wavy brown hair, reached out to cautiously touch Lizzy's arm. She quickly pulled her hand back, waving it in the air.

"What the heck?! Are they experimenting on us or something?! Zack was right! Her skin just freaking burned me!" Tris exclaimed.

We all just stared wide-eyed at each other until it was time for dinner.