Reizele turned around. A young man's brown eyes stared straight into hers through a dense curtain of dark blonde hair. The young man was wearing a tattered policeman's uniform. He looked about twenty and was, well, genuinely quite sexy.
'Umm, no, no, of course not, he's very modest,' Rose said, and, worried that she wasn't sounding genuine enough, 'Hail Mark!'
Brown Eyes laughed.
'You're not fooling anyone, nobody says that here,' he said.
From a shabby sleeve of his uniform he shook a hand and offered it to Rose. She took it and they engaged in an absolutely perfect, strong handshake. Brown Eyes introduced himself as Jacob.
'Come on, I'll take you somewhere where we can talk,' he said.
Not letting go of Rose's hand, he walked around the tower, stopped at a blank wall and knocked on it. A door opened that you could never have seen if you hadn't known that it was there. The two young people walked into the tower and up a rackety wooden staircase that was badly charred in some places. After a climb that felt like an hour of jumping and creeping and trying not to fall through the burnt spots, they arrived in a spacey, though dirty, room that smelled even more like smoke than the rest of the Liz. It was less charred though, and there was enough space for three shabby sofas and two bunk beds, as well as a fridge and a stove. Besides that, there were various little things scattered all over the floor.
It took Rose a while to notice that there were also people in the room. The three girls and two boys stared at her and she stared back. Jacob introduced them to her as Anne, Gemma, Medea, Andrew and Cog.
'Ladies, gentlemen, this is Rose. She is the result of our little experiment,' he told the group.
As the group murmured excitedly, Rose asked:
'What experiment? What are you talking about?'
Jacob gestured to a sofa, and Rose sat down. He sat down on the floor across her and started to talk.
'I think it would be nice to tell you who we are first. We are YURA, Unreal Rebel Association. We all used to work for the government, as a special research team. We were flexible and pretended to be rebels, while actually spying on the people. Our office was here, in the Liz, while the rest of the government resided in the rest of the building. But slowly, when we were only interns, about three years ago, the government started to move up the tower too, and they shoved us out, because they didn't need us anymore. It was then that we decided to dispose of our data, so that they couldn't have it. We sealed off this attic above the clock, built a staircase leading to it through the walls, and finally, burnt the whole tower down,' he explained with a grimace.
'Now we are here, right under their noses, and they can't find us. We have heard that the society that Mark helped us escape had freedom to offer, so we tried to learn about it. Our once-in-a-lifetime chance came when Mark had a group of scientists uncover previously closed secret research on time travel, so they could get someone from the past, supposedly to tell them what was wrong in their society, so that Mark wouldn't make those mistakes. We decided that we would intercept that someone and try to use their knowledge to make this society better ourselves. They aimed for someone from your government, but we snuck in and recalibrated their machine, so it would pick up someone else. And that someone was you.'