Interlude 1 – The Thief
It crashed to the ground and exploded like a frag grenade, pieces of pink eggshell flying through the room at high velocity. Some of them stung Peter as the tiny projectiles hit their chest. Instinctively they threw up their hand to protect their eyes, even though the moment of impact had already passed. After half a cycle had passed they slowly lowered their arms and looked at the object that now stood on the floor.
The thief couldn’t believe their eyes. There, on the marble stone, stood a miniature plane. It was one of those light ones, Peter saw. A single-engine, high-wing aircraft, perfectly replicated to the last detail. Curiosity made Peter kneel down to inspect it a bit further, but the toy plane started changing as soon as they did.
At first, the difference was almost imperceptible; its tiny wings started quivering slightly.
“Hey, it’s moving,” they said and looked up at Gertie.
Only Gertie wasn’t there anymore. “What? Where. . . argh!” Peter exclaimed as they were suddenly pushed back by a rapidly expanding aircraft. They hastily retreated on all fours trying to keep out of reach of the object. They failed. Caught between the rudder and vertical stabilizer, Peter was picked up and forcefully shoved against the wall. The impact expelled the air from their lungs, leaving them gasping and stuck, unable to move.
Looking down from the hole, Gertie started cackling with apparent laughter, “Puk puk puuuuuuuuk puk puk puk.”
“She is laughing at you,” Bitty stated the obvious.
Still gasping, Peter responded, “I can see that. Very funny. You can help me out of here now.”
“Yeah,” The Overseer drawled, “I could.” Then she joined in Gertie’s laughter and replaced the fake stone, disappearing out of sight.
‘Great. How am I going to get out of here now?’ they thought, trying to wiggle themselves free. Peter still couldn’t believe it. Everything had been going so well; they had held the egg in their hands.
But luckily, not all was lost. They had seen something; something which the Overseer surely had not meant to show. Peter remembered seeing a tiny vial suspended on a golden necklace around Bitty’s neck. Now there was information worth going through this trouble for. Next time, they would get it.