After XVI, after Truth, Nina arrives in the Greater United Isles... (This is the fictional diary of Nina Oberon, Main Character of the XVI series)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Back from London...

and there's a new guy in town. His name is Yas. He was with the Resistance members who came by while we were gone. He's going to be staying here for awhile to recuperate. Apparently he was on a mission in the Americas west - that's where Sal was. I wonder if he knows Sal? I have to ask him. But, so far I haven't been alone with him.

He spends a lot of time with my dad. Tomorrow they're going up north to the highlands. Last time Dad was there he took some pictures for me. I'm putting this one in my scrapbook.

It's so wild compared to where we are. My heart beats faster when I look at it and imagine being there. Maybe some day Dad will let me go with him. I want to see this place, to walk through it's vastness. It's both intriguing and frightening.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

In three days

some members of the Resistance will be passing through the area. From what Dad said, they've been working in the western part of the Americas. I wonder if any of them know Sal? Not that I'll be able to ask them... I'm going to London with Layla - Dad wants me to experience a big city that's not at all like Chicago. I want to stay here...

I can't stop thinking about Sal - about the good parts. I don't like to remember how protective he was and how angry I'd get when he couldn't (or wouldn't) understand that I needed to use my power - to feel that I was not a victim. I do like to remember how we laughed together, how it felt to be close to him, his lips on mine... Gotta stop that...

I scoured the communication networks all night looking for someone who looked like him. This guy from the early 2000's, he was an actor, Thomas McDonell, looks so much like Sal...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gran believed

there was a god. She even talked with me about this god that she called universal love. She said her god didn't need religion to exist - that her god existed "in spite of all the religions that claimed to have a direct line to its ever-present benevolence and divine being."

I didn't always understand the things she said.

We're studying religion in school. Well, we're reading about the Religion Wars and how religions were outlawed in all the countries that signed the treaty that ended the wars. (Which was pretty much every country in the world.) Apparently more people on our planet have been killed in the name of one religion or another than for any other reason. They actually killed people just because they didn't believe in the same religion.

Skivs! That seems crazy to me.

I liked hearing Gran talk about the god she believed in - the one that was love. If I needed a god, it would be one that didn't like killing for any reason.

But - that doesn't matter now, since there are no religions any more. I'm glad of that - really glad. Life's hard enough having to battle a government that wants to tell you how to think and feel and act.

I put a picture in my scrapbook that's a painting of a god from one religion that had lots of gods...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

School here

is really different. There aren't any formal classes - we're grouped by ages, sort of. The "high school" is pretty much anywho who would be in grades 9 through 12 back in Chicago. So, there are kids younger than me - closer to Dee's age - and a few older ones. And, all of us in the upper school help the little kids in the primary grades. Since art is my favorite - and everyone thinks I'm good at it - I get to spend a lot of time with the kids helping with art. There's one girl, Brogan, she doesn't look like Dee - but she reminds me of her. Maybe it's the fact that she smiles all the time and that she loves to cook. I've kind of adopted her as my little sister - I mean... yeah... I miss Dee so much. I wonder how she's is doing with her cooking now that Chris isn't around. I'll get Dad to ask Mr. Jenkins the next time he communicates with him.

I remember Holiday dinner, when Dee made Gran's Green Tomato pie... Angie turned her nose up at it. Why did I think of her? I guess cause of that girl's pic I found that looked like her. Well - everyone else loved it! I'd give anything to have a piece of that pie right now... Maybe I can remember the ingredients and maybe Brogan and I can recreate it as a project for school? I'll ask her teacher today...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Some nights

when I can't sleep I browse the information systems. I have to be careful what I search for... there's a whole list of keywords I can't use because they might bring unwanted attention our way. Same reason I can't have any communication with Wei, or anyone... You'd think I could at least contact Dorrie or Brie or Mag or... well, I can't think of any good reason to contact Paulette. Unless it would be to apologize for hating her.

That whole scene at the New Year's Eve party - she knew. Well, she didn't know that Lessig was as totally evil as he is, but she was trying to keep him away from me. And, I thought it was just that she couldn't stand me because of Sal. Anyway - I owe her, big time.

So, I was looking for someone who looks like Wei. I didn't find anyone last night - but I did find a girl that looks so much like her sister, Angie. I always thought it was weird that Angie didn't have a traditional Asian name, like Wei does. Then I found out that she changed her name from Anci to Angie, because she doesn't like her Asian heritage. I don't know why - I think it's fascinating. Oh well.. I went ahead and put the picture in my scrapbook, because it reminds me of home. The girl's an actress from the early 2000's named Hayley Kiyoko. Honestly, I think she looks nicer than Angie!

Friday, April 6, 2012

It wasn't at all

as I'd imagined it would be. Here's how it started...

I open the door. "Hey, Layla." I've startled her. 

"Nina." Pushing a strand of hair out of her eyes, she says, "I didn't know if you were up, and I didn't want to wake you. You need your rest."

I close my door and step into the hallway. "I don't think I need any more rest. My shoulder's fine." I circle my arm in the air. "Besides, Dr. Cunningham wouldn't have allowed me to start Cliste Galad if I wasn't healed."

Layla smiles. "Of course she wouldn't. I just... Are you hungry? Breakfast is ready."

"I'm starved. But first, can we talk?"

A momentary flash of apprehension crosses her face, but she says, "Sure."

Suddenly I'm the one feeling uncertain. "It's about, well..." Layla's eyes fill with sympathy. Gah! Maybe I should've thought out exactly what I wanted to say first. As I grasp around in my brain for words, Layla touches my arm.

"I'd imagine you have a lot of questions about your father and me," she says. "If I were you, I know I would. We could go downstairs - he's not here right now. We'll have some tea and chat."

"Uh huh," is the best I can muster. My mind races like a veljet as we go downstairs to the kitchen. Fortunately, when we get there, I've managed to gather a few of my thoughts into some kind of coherence. 

Layla pours tea for both of us. Instead of sitting opposite, she chooses the chair next to mine, and any lingering resentments I have slip away like water down the drain.

I don't want to go into details right now... I'm still thinking about everything she said about life, love, and the choices we make. She's amazing.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I've had enough...

of people pussy-footing around me, trying to be oh-so-careful in case they say something that will upset me. I mean, skivs! I've been through enough crap in my life so far... they think I can't deal with normal life things? This all has to do with my dad. No one wants to mention Ginnie - my mom. I guess cause they're afraid I'll be upset because of Layla. It's not like I don't know they're a couple. I mean, come on... I'm living in the same house with them.

I have to admit, if I hadn't been such a wreck, physically and emotionally, when I first got here - their attempts to, I dunno what? Break it to me gently? Shield me? Whatever. Anyway, if I'd been anything other than devastated by everything that got me to the GUI - it would've been funny. This was the scene a couple of days after I got here...

I couldn't resist the smell of coffee, even though I don't drink it, it signals breakfast. And, I was starving. I followed the aroma downstairs to the kitchen. Stocking-footed, I padded into the room unnoticed. Dad was running his fingers through Layla's hair, easing it back from her face. She gazed up at him, half-smiling, her arm easy around his waist. When he bent down to kiss her, he noticed me. Two people never untangled themselves so quickly!

"Nina!" Dad took a step towards me. "Are you all right? Your shoulder?"

Layla turned to the stove, her hair swung forward, hiding her expression. "I made pancakes and soy strips, if you're hungry." She busied herself filling a plate for me.

Well, if she comes upstairs this morning - like she often does - but doesn't knock to come in - I'm opening the door. I want to talk... I need to talk to her, whether she's ready or not. I know that you can love one person - but when you can't be with them, other feelings come up. I mean, look at me and Sal... and Chris.

Ah! I hear her... deep breath, Nina... ready?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Will it ever stop raining?

The snow was pretty, but this every-day-rain is mega-gloomy. Really, it's probably not that different from Chicago in early spring, but if I were there I'd have my friends to cheer me up. Okay, enough already, Neens. Quit wallowing in the self-pity. Mom used to tell me that I knew what to do to make myself feel better when I was in a funk. And, I do. I've been sketching some ideas for a few new paintings - that makes me feel good. And, I've been collecting images, printing them and making a scrapbook (Dr. Cunningham suggested I do it - it's something people did a lot in the 1900's.) I'm kind of turning into a history nut...

Joan makes me feel good, too. Betts has helped her so much. In just the few months we've been here, she's able to look most people in the eye and doesn't cringe when a guy looks at her. Especially that guy from Chippenham - Ciaran. He's real quiet and gentle. Yesterday Joan told me he's an herbalist. Mrs. Jenkins would love that! Someone who studies and grows herbs.

spiral garden

I wonder if anyone is taking care of her plants? Maybe Dee is - since she loved to help Mrs. Jenkins. It's so hard to think about all of them. I hope Mrs. Jenkins is safe wherever she is. Surely with Mr. Jenkins as the top media broadcaster she'll be able to come back home. How's Wei making out without her mother? And Chris... where is he?

Skivs! I hate not being able to communicate with anyone. But, the safety of everyone here - my dad, Layla, Dr. Cunningham - the whole village - and beyond... actually the Greater United Isles... damn... My problems are nothing compared to their safety. I'd hoped that exposing Lessig would've made for more change - but, I was wrong. It only makes me more determined to figure out a way to be sure that Mom and Pops's deaths will not have been in vain. Change can happen. I know it can! ...if only the Sisterhood were here...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I thought there wouldn't be

any school. That seems so far from my life - like I grew up over night. Forget the XVI tattoo that declares legal adulthood to the Governing Council -- killing someone, uncovering the truth, losing everyone you love - yeah... that's what makes an adult. At least I damn sure feel like an adult.

But, there is school, and Dad insists that I attend, so I have no choice. Where am I going to go? The veljet disappeared shortly after Joan and I got here. And, I couldn't program it anyway. So, I'm stuck. At least it's beautiful here and fortunately, there are lots of art supplies, so I can keep busy with that.

I'm doing Cliste Galad like a cow wearing mittens. If anyone attacked me, I'd probably get away because they'd convulse with laughter at my feeble attempts to look fierce.

The library at the school not only has all the modern stuff, but there are books - tons and tons of books! Mom would be in heaven--- gah! Too hard to think about her. Back to the books, Nina. There are tons of them!

I've been reading about the ancient history of the the GUI - like hundreds of years ago - long before the Cliste Galad women. I'm sort of fascinated by Queen Boudicca right now. It makes me even more determined to get good at fighting. Maybe then I can go back to Chicago and see justice done... But, for now - Dad promised to take me to London and see the statue of Queen Boudicca near Westminster Pier. I wonder what London is like?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Maybe I shouldn't

have spent so much time searching the info systems for pictures... pictures of people who remind me of my friends back home. I've got digis of Dee and Mom, and that's about it.

Then, I found this guy - Kane Kosugi, some actor from over a century ago - and he reminds me so much of Chris. Damn! Look at his killer smile...

reminds me of that night we all listened to Rogue Radio...  I had to save the pic and I found the song, too...

Guess I'll be crying myself to sleep tonight... 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dad and Layla are

not married. I'd made up my mind I wasn't going to ask, and I do hardly ever think about it. But, Joan said something to Bett today about Mr. Oberon's wife and Bett told her that they weren't married and Joan told me. That shouldn't make me feel as good as it does... It means he didn't cheat on Mom.

I overheard him that one day, talking to Pops in the graveyard, and he was wondering if he'd made the right decision - leaving Mom and me...

Now she's gone forever... and here I am... and I can't leave. I don't want to think about it - not right now.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Doctor Churchill told me

not to overdo it. But I couldn't help myself. She's had me doing all kinds of physical therapy for my shoulder and today she finally agreed that I could start Cliste Galad lessons! Wei would be proud! Well, actually she'd probably laugh so hard tears would stream down her face. Me, Joan, and three of the girls from here, all had our first lesson today. It was about balance - and I don't have nearly as much as I thought I did! I'm sure I looked like a little kid playing pin the antennae on the space ship. In my defense, we were all falling into the wall and into each other... I think I'm going to like it...

And, I think Joan likes that guy from... I can't remember the name of the village - but, I saw him smile at her, and instead of turning away, she smiled back! Yay!

I hope I stay asleep tonight... 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dad got home

this afternoon. And, he had news from Chicago! Wei's father is now the face of the Media. Dad says that means Mr. Jenkins will be under even greater scrutiny, meaning it will be harder for them to communicate. But, once Media and the Governing Council are comfortable with his work, he'll be able to make inroads for the Resistance that they could only dream of before.

The Governing Council put a moratorium on the FeLS program while it's being investigated! At least for now, no more girls will be in danger. Joan cried when I told her. I hope there's some way for her to be reunited with Mike and the rest of her family someday...

Family... will Dad ever feel like family? I miss Gran. I miss Dee. Stupid tears...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Look at that...

my drool smeared the ink. I only laid my head down for a second and now it's morning. Layla's puttering around in the kitchen. I know because the smell of toast and coffee's curling up the staircase and into my room. I should go down and join her for breakfast. Dad's been up north for a few days and I know she misses him. I guess I do, too.
They've both been so nice to me...

But, how do you relate to a dad when you don't know what that looks like? Or feels like? I have no frame of reference, no comparison - except maybe Wei and Mr. Jenkins, cause it's for sure that Sandy and her step-dad... well, yuck. But Wei's dad was always around... mine was supposed to be dead...

I hear Layla coming up the stairs. I know she won't knock, she'll stop outside the door - probably think about knocking - then she'll sigh. She doesn't know I can hear her. Do I make her sad? Does she wish I wasn't here? I don't have the nerve to ask...

Monday, March 26, 2012

I haven't told anyone

about the nightmares. It seems like every other night I wake up in a cold sweat, my hands clutched to my belly where the knife grazed me. It wasn't deep, but it left a scar. Yeah, and not just on my skin. Right. I thought about talking to Bett, but Joan's the one who needs her help. What happened to Joan wasn't just a one-time thing. It makes me sick to think about it. What happened to me, well, they didn't actually do anything. I can handle it. It's no big deal. It's these stupid nightmares, that knife...

Look how the rays of the half moon fall across the paper. My words weave in and out of the dark, just like my thoughts...

It's so beautiful here. I didn't think I could ever love any place like I love Chicago, but I was wrong. I can't say I'm completely used to it, but I love being able to hear myself think. That's what Pops used to say when we'd find ourselves in a flurry of verts, "Can't hear myself think!" I don't miss the verts, that's for sure. But, damn, I miss Pops...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I'm here...

It's been six weeks since the veljet brought Joan and me to the Greater United Isles instead of Japan, like we'd planned. For the most part my shoulder's healed -- but my heart has a long way to go...

I just got back from visiting Pops. Well, his headstone, we don't have any idea what happened to his body after the murder. That's what it was, plain and simple murder. I don't know what the Governing Council or B.O.S.S. is doing to Kasimir Lessig, but I hope it's as painful as what he had done to Pops. I know I shouldn't hold on to so much hate, but that's something I'll have to learn to let go of...

Anyway, my father had a marker put in the cemetery. It's become a daily ritual for me to go there and talk with Pops. Sometimes I'm sure he's there, listening... sometimes I feel comforted... sometimes I feel so much anger...

I want justice - for Mom, for Sandy, for Pops... and for me.

Gotta go, I hear Joan and Bett downstairs...