A new home. It was so dull, living with a normal family. His foster parents were irritatingly normal, and they could do nothing to enforce their rules. His foster father refused to call him Vinnie, and his foster mother refused to let him skip the piano lessons she required of him. He was good enough, but his teacher refused to let him advance at his own pace, and after a month, he was still doing scales.
The new home was made all the more miserable by a pre-existing basement and an underground lake not far underneath. He had no place to work, and no place to play– especially not with all of the pine trees around, with their long, thick roots. The boy did manage to install a lock on his bedroom door, and that gave him a modicum of the privacy he once had, although it felt like he was always naked. He was told he had to dress normally– leave his goggles and lab coat home when he went anywhere, brush his hair every day, and even more pointless tasks. Humans just didn’t understand.His agents were no help. As long as he was there, they couldn’t move him out. On government order, he had to stay until he could support himself– no disease, all good grades, and some form of viable income.
He was building the income back. He always had good grades. He just had to prove he wouldn’t get sick again. This family had his insurance card. He couldn’t get his vaccinations without it, and no doctor would even give him a walk-in visit without an adult present… and with the foster care system, his parents were considered agents of the government, so often, his own agents from his factory simply played in their white van.
Finally, time for summer camp came, and he tried to sign up for his old camp using several routing servers to disguise where he really was. If he could just get to his own camp, he could fix the problem on his own!
Time and time again, he got the same error. He was already signed up for camp elsewhere, and wasn’t eligible for any of the sessions at the camp from his old tri-county area.
Finally, he gave up and began to pack on his own. He was doomed. At least he could get his inoculations at camp, he was sure. It only took a bribe, and his camp cash card was loaded with hundreds of dollars. He patted his pocket, satisfied he had it, and packed up some of his gadgets, tools, his cash card, his network-free, camp-safe cell phone, a satellite internet connector that was routed so much, even he didn’t know where it would lead, sweets, and his goggles and lab coat into a box labeled “books” and packed it at the bottom of his rolling suitcase. He packed his clothes on top, folded nicely so nobody would suspect. He packed ten days’ worth of clothes, so he would only need to visit the camp laundry a few times, rather than once a week.
Finally, in went his swimsuit, towel, swim mask, and a lockpick set hidden inside a heavy snorkel.
He would not go unprepared.
He kept his bag from the foster parents until it was time to go, then climbed into the car. He sat it next to him so they couldn’t simply open the trunk to investigate, and the three drove off.
Vinnie memorized the way to the escort point, and after he loaded himself into the shuttle bus, he made sure to sit next to a nearby fat kid to avoid the man and woman settling next to him.
The arrival was normal enough, and he signed in on his own, then waited as he was assigned a personal counselor, in accordance to the rare escort laws, before he finally turned to his foster parents. “Thank you, but you aren’t needed any longer. Please leave.” His tone with them was cold, as it always was. He wasn’t part of their family. He turned back to look at the camp as they left, and he felt sorely disappointed. There were almost no trees. There was no lake on the camp map. There was no privacy.
This was going to be terrible. He was certain of it. With a grunt, the boy followed his new counselor. She was better suited to a school pep rally than to handling him. If he played his cards right, he could get a new one before the end of the week. As he arrived at his cabin, he looked around in disappointment. No plugs.
He’d have to supply his own.
The boy decided to mope first, and then get work done. He laid down on the bed, earbuds in his ears, and listened to music filled with sex, swearing, and drugs, and began to doze off.
In his mind, he went back to his old camp. He saw Mellie, Norman, Puck, and Sal. Everyone was waiting for him. Even Puck’s dad, Agent DeVille, wanted him back, even though Vinnie was notorious for getting in the way of the Lake CLASSIFIED investigation of the “Lovecraftian hole in the bottom of the lake.”
He dreamed that he was able to appear and disappear anywhere he wanted at camp, and his underground lab was his special, private place where nobody could find him if he wanted to think. He had blackmail, bribes, and even a doomsday device there, if any of it was needed. He even had a tool he’d used to cause his own ascension before it was time!
He sighed and slowly woke to a beeping sound.
For a time, the boy darted about, wondering where it came from, until his legs gave out, and he began to swear. His legs! Of course! The battery was almost out! His curses filled the cabin as he sat in place uselessly.
“I hate this camp so fucking much I want to burn it all to the ground!” He howled with impotent rage.