The Arctic Code

The Arctic Code by Matthew J. Kirby Read Free Book Online

Book: The Arctic Code by Matthew J. Kirby Read Free Book Online
Authors: Matthew J. Kirby
any of them, were going to the Arctic, and which would be willing to take her.
    â€œWhat can I get you?”
    Eleanor glanced toward the kitchen window. The cook leaned through it, gripping the ledge, looking at her.
    â€œUm. Scrambled eggs?”
    â€œBacon or sausage?”
    â€œSausage.”
    â€œAdam and Eve on a log and wreck ’em!” he shouted before disappearing.
    Adam and Eve ? Who is he talking to ?
    Two men seated at a nearby table were watching her. Eyeing her pack. She pulled it closer and felt the first twinge of nervousness since she’d left home earlier that morning. She didn’t know who these peoplewere, where they were from, or where they were going. How could she trust any of them?
    A small TV was perched high in one of the corners, tuned to a news station. Eleanor couldn’t really hear what the reporter was saying, but it was one of those UN meetings where no one looked like they were actually listening to the woman speaking. Headlines scrolled across the bottom of the screen.
    Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  M EXICAN PRESIDENT S ANCHEZ PLEDGES BILLIONS IN ADDITIONAL AID TO THE U NITED S TATES. . . .
    Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  T HE G LOBAL E NERGY T RUST ASSUMES CONTROL OF THE A RABIAN P ENINSULA ’ S OIL RESERVES. V IOLENT PROTESTS ERUPT ACROSS THE M IDDLE E AST. . . .
    Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  S CIENTISTS ESTIMATE THAT FEWER THAN ONE HUNDRED A FRICAN LIONS REMAIN IN THE WILD DUE TO LAND DEVELOPERS—
    â€œOrder up!” The cook tapped a bell, set Eleanor’s food in the window, and disappeared. Eleanor still hadn’t seen a waiter or waitress.
    â€œYou gotta go get it,” one of the two men said. “Kimball’s a one-man show.”
    â€œOh.” Eleanor stood, looked at her pack, looked atthe men, then hurried to the window for her plate. She doused her eggs with a splash of Tabasco before digging in. They weren’t as fluffy and creamy as Uncle Jack’s.
    â€œSo, uh . . .” The man who’d told her to get her food leaned toward her. “Your dad work on the airfield or something?”
    â€œNope.” Eleanor stabbed a sausage link with a fork and bit off half of it. “Just felt like some eggs.”
    He leaned back. “Uh-huh. Sure you did.”
    â€œTraveling?” asked the other guy. He wore a camo-print ball cap.
    â€œAre you?” Eleanor asked.
    â€œAlways,” camo guy said.
    â€œAre you a pilot?” Eleanor asked.
    â€œWe both are,” he said, gesturing to the first guy. “Where are you headed?”
    â€œI didn’t say I was headed anywhere,” Eleanor said.
    â€œNo, ma’am, you didn’t. But Kimball sure ain’t known for his eggs and sausage. His hash, on the other hand—”
    â€œI’m not heading anywhere.” Eleanor made her voice firm. She had started to think that the kind of pilots who would take a twelve-year-old girl north were the exact pilots she should avoid. Some of the stories she’d heard about the Arctic replayed in her mind.There wasn’t much of a government left up there, no law, just a loose community of drillers.
    â€œIt’s okay.” Camo hat reached out his hand and laid it on Eleanor’s table. “You’re not the first runaway to come through here. Not by a long shot. Depending on what you’re offering, maybe we can help you out. Where do you wanna go? Vegas? Houston?”
    Okay, now this guy was really creeping Eleanor out. “Barrow,” she said with sarcastic emphasis. “Alaska.”
    â€œHa!” The first guy laughed. “You’re funny, kid.”
    She shrugged.
    Camo hat wasn’t smiling. He pulled his hand back. “Suit yourself. Your problems are your problems. Just trying to help.”
    Sure he was. Eleanor knew she wasn’t getting on a plane with either of these guys, but maybe they could still be useful. “What’s wrong?” She kept the

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