Ty peered at the map for a few seconds, then pointed at a spot about two hundred miles away. Nothing but wilderness flanked the five small towns in the area. "That should be fine."
"So far? You realize we have to be back by tomorrow night at the latest."
"Don't tell me you're eager to participate in the Nova 18 talks?" Ty asked as he read off the coordinates of the spot he'd chosen. He sat behind the control screen and punched in the numbers. "It will just be more of the same tedious back and forth. Nothing ever gets settled in those talks."
"Of course I care what happens with Nova 18. I think abandoning Earth to settle and eventually destroy another planet is the stupidest idea in the history of humanity!"
Ty regretted asking. Rober was breathing hard beside him, his green eyes bulging, already all riled up about his favorite topic: saving the world. He never shut up about it for more than five minutes since he learned what went on in the world beyond the shield surrounding the city. And that was over ten years ago.
Ty took over the control of the hovercraft and eased it out of the hanger. As soon as they cleared the building, he guided it straight down to the lowest highway and sped up.
"Slow down to the appropriate speed limit!" a mechanical voice chimed from the speakers.
Ty ignored it and sped up even more. There was hardly any traffic on the lowest highway anyway, and he wanted to leave the Ring as quickly as possible.
"No need to kill us all with your flying, Ty," Rober said. "I get it, you don't like talking about politics."
"Politics is fine by me. It's these revolutionary ideas of yours I have a problem with," Ty replied, slowing the craft down when they reached the shield.
The word PASSCODE flashed across the control screen. Ty unzipped his left sleeve and pressed his tiger tattoo, the mark of House Remarque, against the glass. Heat spread through the inked lines as the machine read the code that would open the gate. A few seconds later the craft squeezed through the shield and into the Badlands. Ty let the autopilot take over and leaned back.
Rober glared, his nostrils flaring. "Wanting to help the displaced in the Badlands survive doesn't make me a criminal, Ty."
"I'm not saying you're a criminal. My parents and the rest of the panel, on the other hand, might take that view." Ty chuckled at his own joke.
"Well, they're wrong," Rober said with a straight face. "And it's time someone did something to change their minds."
"I'm fine with it as long as by 'someone', you don't mean me," Ty said, fighting down another chuckle.
Rober kicked Ty's chair, making it wobble. "Of course I mean you. You have the most to lose if things don't change."
Cold seared through Ty's forehead. He grit his teeth to stifle it before it grew. "Don't talk about that, I'm warning you."
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