Most kids in Jefferson had a hideout. Except it was exceptionally not hidden. Quite the opposite. The adults had made rules about our hideouts and forts. Once we were ten, we could build them outside of Shadwell and its gates. They had to be known to the adults and they had to be within 1 1/2 kilometers - less than a mile for you Earther Americans! - from town.
Ours was a treehouse. Sorta. There were trees, or things at least that stand tall and have branches and things that are approximately leaves on Jefferson. We had found a star tree when we ten and built in the middle of the branches where normally the flower grows. Our tree was too old to flower, but the five radially symmetric main branches made for a perfect place for our fort. Over the last couple years, especially during summer, we would add to it. We had a dry moat (standing water on Jefferson is an invitation for taxitos! and, therefore, STUPID!) and a wall and a draw bridge. The main room was up 6 meters above the ground - What is 6 meters?! 20 feet! You're going to make me start muttering here! - and the trunk had a spiral stair case around. We even had built it with an air blower to pressurize the room: air blowing out would keep the taxitos from getting in. The blower was powered by the solar tiles we'd designed in Maker Class.
All of this and the emergency beacon in it - just in case something went wrong and our boosters could not reach back to town - were known to the adults.
What the adults didn't know about were all the nooks and crannies we'd left in the inner most of the two walls. The wall was very thick: you can get away with it when you have bots to build it! And in spots there were small chambers for hiding things in. The nooks were hidden by being made to be the same as the rest of the wall. Tap it twice in the right spot and the nook would open.
Over the next couple days, we hid food, extra clothes and a couple backpacks.
What the other Merry Pranksters didn't know was I had made another nook that I only knew about. It also had a faraday cage around it. This is a wire mesh prevents radio waves from getting out. Inside that cage were five clean boosters. These were ones our parents did not have access to and could not be able to track. They were not registered to us. We needed them.
Had we not had them, our little prank would have ended as soon as it started. The parents, Marines and BII would have just tracked our boosters and found us nickety split.
We couldn't have that!
I knew some day, some time, I was going to need those clean boosters to do...something. That day seemed to have come.
On the morning of the day, I knew I needed to add the cherry to the plan.
I walked up to Aitan and asked for a favor.
He was thrilled.
All I did was ask him to keep an eye on Maven and her Derplicates. If he saw anything weird, he was to go tell an adult. I said I had a feeling something was going to happen and given all the bad blood between Maven and the Merry Pranksters, I didn't want to get involved. And someone might say we were involved then.
Aitan had went pasty white at the thought of spying on Maven. This is Maven we're talking about.
However, at the chance to do me a favor, a favor he might call in, a favor that might lead to...yetch. Let me gag for a moment. Okay. Wiped my mouth clean. Rinsed it out. My stomach will need new contents.
Don't worry. Aitan was not going to betray me to the grown ups. He was not going to get Derplicated by Maven: she was DEFINITELY *NOT* interested in Aitan.
After he agreed and agreed to leave me and the Merry Pranksters out of it, I gave Aitan a hug. I think I made his year.
The package was in place, Maven was going to make an attempt at the sodium, Aitan was in waiting and my friends were gathered for lunch. We were set. We were ready.
I had just taken a bite of my lunch...and then...an alarm sounded.