Being homeless teenagers in the eighties was very tough in New York:
government mismanagement caused near bankruptcy of the city, and the introduction of crack-cocaine unleashed an unprecedented wave of drug addiction and violence.
Somewhere in the worst part of the no-go area the Sisters of Our Lady kept a shelter for the homeless where they provided soup & bread for the hungry.
One by one the kids met Sister Bridget who picked them up from their hiding-holes (under the bridge, in the abandoned house, in the park).
She delivered them at the safe haven of Homestead, in the middle of nowhere at the border between America and Canada.
Ely, Jeffrey and Zeke had met before, and now they met some other newcomers like Chase and Randy….
The food and lodging at Homestead was very basic and healthy, surprisingly there was much opportunity to learn and practice new skills at the school, the kids became very interested in the following:
Performance: Storytelling, music, drama, dance, sleight of hand.
Physical education; baseball, climbing, dodgeball, jumping, runnning.
Tinkering: working with all kind of small machinery like computers, they even saw a presentation of the 1984!
During lunchbreak Jeffrey saw his long lost brother Rudolf talking with Hilde, the village baker who delivered bread weekly at Homestead.
After observing his brother, Jeffrey approached Rudolf as soon as Hilde left.
It seemed Rudolf had decided to stay at Homestead, learning baking magic instead of returning to their dysfunctional parental home!
Jeffrey became worried, maybe his brother was involved with a witchcult?
When Rudolf went to the village, the kids followed him to investigate his trail.
Rudolf went to bakery at the central square….
After Rudolf entered the bakery, two people went outside:
Hilde having a loud discussion with a man: ‘begone!’
She made a strange sign, pointing at him…
The man left immediately!
Ely, Jeffrey and Zeke experienced a deja vue…this man looked like their nemesis, Herr Claus!
While the kids were discussing whether to follow-up their investigation, they saw another lost kid they knew, Maggie!
When the kids saw her sneaking away, they followed her trail to the beach…
At the beach she took two small flags out of her backpack, and started signalling towards the lighthouse island on the other side, while somebody on the opposite side was answering with light signals with a mirror!
As soon as Maggie was leaving the beach, the kids tried to catch up with her.
One of the kids, a good sprinter, was able to overtake the running girl
At the moment he jumped in front of her, she crashed with great force into him!
The other kids also came running to hold her, a scuffle ensued.
While they wrestled her to the ground, her body felt armoured, it was a robot!
Trying to dismantle the robot, a self-destruct sequence started counting…
Just in time the kids threw the body in the water before it exploded!
While they were recovering, they discovered somebody was watching them at a distance.
The person disappeared into the woods nearby.
Following the trail, the kids heard the sound of a hunting horn and hunting dogs in the distance…
Arriving at a clearing in the woods, they saw a black clad person hanging on the limb of a sturdy tree…
Immediately they took the person down from the tree!
Investigating the body, they discovered this was another robot.
This time they succeeded in dismantling the thing, taking away the head for further research later on…
Returning to the beach, the kids saw somebody rowing to the lighthouse.
Immediately they decided to follow the trail to investigate.
To avoid detection they rowed to the far end of the island where they entered the wooded part.
Apparently they were seen from afar, a small patrol left the lighthouse into the woods.
Luckily the kids had developed enough scouting skills to divert the patrol by using a false trail.
They entered the lighthouse and invaded the upper floor. The two clumsy guardians were dispatched after a short fight!
Investigating the upper floor, the kids discovered a enormous screen in the wall, and a large control panel nearby.
A communication hologram appeared….to avoid detection the kids hacked the control panel to disable the transfer of data.
In the meantime the returning patrol was just entering the front door, but with some lucky punches they were put down in no time!
Continuing their investigation, the kids went down the basement, where they found a portal in the process of transferring a large robot!
Another hacking attempt disrupted the transfer, but unlocked the self-destruct countdown!
Running for their life, the kids escaped the lighthouse just before it detonated!
Exhausted, the kids decided to call it a day and to return to the orphanage.
Ping: Tales from the Loop: interesting times in the countryside – Dreamquest