“I always knew there was something going on with that girl!” yelled Sid irately. They were at Central Headquarters and Sid stood in front of Cynthia and Jerry, who were seated after telling Sid about their daughter’s disappearance.
“What do you mean, Sly?” pressed Jerry.
“Oh, she had a certain twinkle in her eye. Seemed like she knew something the rest of us didn’t.” Cynthia and Jerry exchanged glances. Cynthia nodded, almost imperceptively.
“There’s more,” Jerry began. Sid turned his head at an angle and looked at Jerry sharply.
“Go on,” he said evenly.
“She learned how to write,” Jerry blurted out.
“I don’t know how I never noticed,” Cynthia cried before Sid could say anything. “When would she have had… the, the.. time for this…. activity? She’s either at school, with Dan, or in her room on the VR.” She stood, crossing her arms. Jerry looked grim. Sid took action.
“I’ve been an advocate of stricter controls to avoid situations like this,” Sid told them, as he turned toward his computer. “There’s only one thing to do. Murphy, find Alexis Roberts,” he spoke to the computer. “Birth date?”
“January 15, 2030,” Jerry answered.
“Birth order?” drilled Sid.
“Seventh of the day,” Cynthia told him.
“11520307.” He spoke clearly into the computer. Within seconds, Alexis’ face, code and vital statistics appeared on the monitor. “Modify CHIP status,” Sid directed.
“CHIP status currently active,” the computer reported.
“Disengage active status,” Sid said to the machine, as he had done many times in the past.
“CHIP disengaged. 11520307 now inactive,” responded the computer a second later.
“Terminate status modification program.” The machine turned itself off. “Done,” Sid announced. “She has no choice but to come back. Nobody will recognize her,” Sid said matter of factly, his wrinkled hands folded in front of him.
“She’s as good as dead,” muttered Gus from the back of the room. Gus was Sid’s sidekick, always lurking in the background somewhere near Sid.
“My baby!” cried Cynthia. “Out there all alone,” she moaned, her brown eyes full of sadness.
“Don’t worry, Cyn; she’ll be back,” Jerry assured her, his forced smile making Cynthia wonder if he really thought they’d see her again. “Sid’s right. Who knows what kind of damage she could do if she starts communicating with people about this forbidden information. It’s better like this honey. She needs to learn a lesson.”