Tally paused. The truth, that the Smoke had been
destroyed by an armed invasion, seemed too far-fetched. A
few months ago, she wouldn’t have believed what her own
city was capable of. And if she admitted that the Smoke was
gone, the rumor would make its way down through genera-
tions of uglies. Dr. Cable’s work would be complete, even if
a few rescued Smokies somehow managed to create another
community in the wild. “Well,” she started, “every so often
the Smoke has to move, to stay secret. Right now, it doesn’t
really exist. Everyone’s scattered, so we’re not recruiting.”
“The whole place moves?” Dex said. “Whoa.”
An frowned. “Hang on. If you’re not recruiting, then
why are you here?”
“To do a trick,” Tally said. “A really big one. Maybe you
could help us. And then when the Smoke is back on its feet,
you’ll be the first to know.”
“You want us to help? Like an initiation?” Dex asked.
“No,” David said firmly. “We don’t make anyone do
anything to get into the Smoke. But if you do want to help,
Tally and I would appreciate it.”
“We just need a diversion,” Tally said.
“Sounds like fun,” An said. She looked at the others,
and they waggled their heads.
Up for anything, Tally thought, just like she used to be
herself. They were definitely seniors, less than a year behind
her, but she was amazed at how young they seemed.
David stared at Tally along with the others, waiting for