Home > Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)(2)

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)(2)
Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

Interviewer: Who?

Ezra Mason: My ex-girlfriend. Who’d dumped me maybe three hours before. So that was … awkward.

Interviewer: What did you do?

Ezra Mason: Well, I figured there was a good chance she’d just run me over if I stood in front of the truck. So I knocked on the window and said something like “Lovely day for a drive,” and at that point the southeastern anti-missile battery got vaporized by what I assume was a missile. So maybe you might wanna note in your report that those things don’t, you know, stop missiles.

Interviewer: So she let you in?

Ezra Mason: She let me in. I guess she figured she didn’t hate me enough to let me get X-ed out by a BeiTech kill squad. She had to think about it for a minute, though.

Interviewer: How did you know BeiTech were behind the attack?

Ezra Mason: I think the biggest giveaway was the huge BeiTech logo on the warship hovering overhead. It’d dropped out of the clouds and was X-ing the rest of the defense silos by then.

Interviewer: By “warship,” you mean the BeiTech dreadnought Lincoln?

Ezra Mason: Yeah. That’s them. Bastards. Wait, can I swear in this thing?

Interviewer: So what happened next?

Kady Grant: We took off outta the parking lot like we were in a chase scene. Some moron had parked blocking the exit, but the truck was all-terrain, so we rammed it.

Interviewer: What was it like outside the school?

Kady Grant: There were a lot of explosions and a lot of dead people. Dead civilians who worked for a fucking mining company. I mean, imagine you’re an interstellar corporation, right? You discover an illegal mining op run by one of your competitors. Do you a) report it to the UTA and laugh as the fines roll in, or b) jump in an attack fleet and X-out every man, woman and child on the planet? What the hell was BeiTech thinking?

Interviewer: What you and I need to do is focus on what happened on Kerenza. Gathering intel on the attack is the best thing we can do to help right now.

Kady Grant: I can’t believe this.

Interviewer: Miss Grant—

Kady Grant: Okay. Fine. We took the main arterial, and Ezra turned on the radio. For a second I thought the idiot was looking for the right soundtrack or something, but there was an emergency broadcast up. They were telling us to get to the spaceport, and our research fleet was going to send down shuttles to ferry us all up to orbit.

Interviewer: So you turned for the spaceport?

Ezra Mason: Yeah. I turned on the radio to maybe find us some getaway music, but there was an emergency broadcast telling everyone to hit the ‘port for evacuation. So that’s what we tried to do. But there were cars everywhere, and some truck had overturned on the strip. Kady nearly flipped us, and when I offered to drive she … well, she called me a very bad word.

Interviewer: I see.

Ezra Mason: I can repeat it if you want, but—

Interviewer: That’s fine, Mr. Mason.

Ezra Mason: Mr. Mason is my dad. And you still won’t tell me why I can’t see him.

Interviewer: We need you properly debriefed before you have any civilian contact, Mr. Mason. I mean … Ezra.

Ezra Mason: “Civilian contact.” Wow. He’s my father, chum. You guys still have fathers, right? Or does everyone in the great United Terran Authority get grown in a vat nowadays?

Interviewer: Why don’t you just tell me what happened next.

Ezra Mason: BeiTech blew the fucking spaceport, that’s what happened next. Popped a half dozen missiles and turned it into a smoking hole in the ice. I played geeball with one of the ground crew guys. Rob Flynn. Burton, our next door neighbor, he worked the quarantine bays. There was this girl, Jodie Kingston. I knew her since eighth grade. She worked the port comms rig. She was …

Interviewer: Ezra?

Ezra Mason: Wow. I just realized. She was the first girl I ever kissed …

Interviewer: Do you need a minute?

Kady Grant: No, I need to get this done. Once the spaceport was gone, it was hard to know where to head. Mostly we were just dodging explosions. The ground was shaking, and at first I thought it was the missiles hitting. Then I realized: the impacts were cracking the ice shelf under the colony’s foundations.

Interviewer: Do you have a background in geology?

Kady Grant: I’m seventeen; of course I don’t. But there were these huge cracks opening up in the ground, big enough to lose a car down. And before you ask how I know that, I saw it happen. There were kids in the back.

Interviewer: So you were driving through the city, and what happened next?

Kady Grant: Ezra wanted to find his father. He worked at the refinery, but I told him we couldn’t get through the crowd that’d be streaming out of there. His dad’s a big guy, like Ez. I told him they’d all be evacuating together, and we had to trust him to keep his feet. If we went in there, someone might have jacked the truck, and then we’d be screwed. I saw a woman pull this guy off a quad bike and take off on it with her kid. I saw a security officer shoot a guy trying to climb into the tray of his truck. We weren’t going to make it as far as the refinery. I wanted to go for my mom instead, and my cousin Asha. My dad was offworld—he works rotation on Jump Station Heimdall, so it was just Mom and me. She’s a pathologist, so she did research, worked at the med center. Asha was training there.

Interviewer: Do you need me to look up your mother’s name on the lists?

Kady Grant: No, she made it out. She’s here on the Hypatia; I saw her before my interview.

Interviewer: And your cousin?

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