You can read the previous part here: Part 2

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27 March 2052

Rachel cleared her throat, and then began reading:

“Rome was one of the greatest republics of all time and was almost certainly the greatest empire. Rome conquered all of Europe, some of Western Asia, and all of Northern Africa. At its peak, it had nearly 70 million people, with one of the greatest armies ever, a well-oiled machine that was over 150,000 strong.”

Cara laughed. “What was that about the Cipher not altering history?”

Rachel looked horrified, “But. . . wasn’t Rome one of the most peaceful republics? It was up there with Sparta and Mongolia! And what’s an empire?”

Cara was puzzled as well. “Maybe the book has a definition.” 

Rachel nodded. “An empire is an extensive group of states or countries under a single supreme authority, formerly especially an emperor or empress.”

“So, no elections?” Cara asked.

“No,” Rachel said, perplexed.

“I wonder how all of the other subjects have been modified. Maybe you’ll be good at archaic math.”

Rachel frowned. “I think that we have a field trip to the Memory Department tomorrow. Maybe we can nick a couple of old books before they get thrown into space.”

28 March 2052

Rachel and Cara walked through the doors of the massive Memory Department with their class, feeling small surrounded by the colossal masses of gray steel. They were surrounded by strange technology, and doors that undoubtedly led to an airlock. That was where the illegal items were thrown away. 

“We should go to the airlock,” Rachel whispered.

Cara shook her head. “Too risky.”

“Then where do they keep the items that go to the airlock?”

“I doubt they throw it away manually. Maybe there’s a conveyor belt somewhere.”

Rachel nodded. “Maybe it’s underground. But either way, it probably feeds into the airlock, and then something pushes it into space.

Cara nodded, understanding. “Got it. So we need to go to the airlock?”

“We need to go to the airlock,” Rachel confirmed.

Cara and Rachel snuck away from the group and opened the first airlock door. An alarm sounded, yelling “INTRUDER ALERT!!!!!” over and over again at an extremely high volume. Cara swore, but Rachel was quick. She ran through the airlock and scanned the books that were about to be thrown away. There was a lot of math, so she dumped all of those into her school backpack, praying nobody would notice. There was also some science, and a box marked ‘Agatha Christie’. She took both of them. 

Cara raced away from the airlock, pulling Rachel with her. Security started flooding the area, looking for a breach. They found that the airlock door was open, and one of the officials yelled: “Push the illegals out!”

A large apparatus smashed the books out into space, and Cara knew that they would never be seen again. Rachel dragged Cara away from the airlock and back to the group. Panting, the two looked at their haul. 

“I’ll take a look at these,” Rachel promised.

Cara grinned at her. “You’ve got eleven days.”

“I’m not letting myself getting brainwashed,” Rachel grinned back.

* * * * *

You can read the next part here: Part 4