“A car trip?!” The images of Ben Talley’s children stared at him incredulously over the plasma screen.
“A car,” Jared snickered. “As in one of those squaresh things that goes, what? Seventy miles an hour?”
“As in, something you have to drive.” Marianne rolled her eyes. “Do you even know how to drive, Dad? Why can’t we just zip around in the computerized hover?”
“I want to actually slow down and spend time together. Besides, it’ll be fun to travel old-fashioned.”
Jared looked disgusted. “Dad, couldn’t we go to the moon for vacation? I think it’s my destiny to go to the moon someday. They are building--”
“How are we going to get out of school for a month?” Marianne interrupted.
“It’ll be very educational.” Ben looked directly into the camera. “Kids, your mom and I are really excited about this. We’ve never been together as a family for longer than a week since you guys were little.”
Slowly the kids nodded.
“I’ve gotta go,” Marianne said. “Good luck with the school principle.”
Ben stared at the blank screen. Marianne was right. It would be hard to get the school to agree with this. The Talleys weren’t exactly very popular. Not only was it rumored they were secret Christians, but they actually tried to stay involved in their kids’ lives--something the government frowned upon. Ben wondered again if they had made the right choice. He had heard of a community in Antarctica that allowed homeschooling and open Christianity. But Jennifer and he had decided it would be better to have a small part in the kids’ lives than take the chance of no contact at all. So the kids had gone to boarding school as the government directed. Thank God for direct view personal pocket plasmagins.
“Let’s go!” Ben shut the trunk and grinned at Jennifer. “I can’t believe this is actually happening.” Finally a bit of excitement entered the kids’ eyes, too. It disappeared by the end of the neighborhood road.
“Uh, is this all the faster it goes?” Jared asked.
“Are all the roads this bumpy?” Marianne asked.
They trundled along, sticking to the roads while hovers whirred above them.
The family was beginning to get used to each other and the low-tech vehicle when they arrived at Yellowstone National Park a few days later.
“Cool!” Marianne cried, poking her head out the window to snap a picture of the buffaloes. She lowered the plasmagin and found herself face to face with a shaggy beast. She squealed.
“Objects on screen may be closer than they appear,” Jared quipped.
Moving on, the family grinned at the bubbling pools of mud and ooohed at the sparkling cascades of limestone.
“I don’t care what the teacher says,” Marianne confided. “I believe God created this.” Jennifer put an arm around her and smiled.
While waiting for the no-longer-regular Old Faithful to spew, Jared gasped, staring at his pocket plasmagin. “Dad, the police just searched your house and found religious materials. They have orders to apprehend you and Mom and to immediately return Marianne and I to our schools. You won’t be allowed any contact with us whatsoever.”
“Jared!” Jennifer gasped, “you broke into the police files?”
“Never mind that,” Ben felt his chest tighten. “We’ve got to get away.”
Marianne stared. “We’re going to run?”
Jennifer turned white. “They have too much technology.”
“We have to try.” Ben looked toward their rented car. “We’ll be able to take the car. It doesn’t have a GPS system, I checked.” He slowly pulled his own plasmagin out and entered a code. He’d never told anyone... “I have a contact who can help us escape to Antarctica.”
“Antarctica!” Marianne choked.
Ben glanced up. “We’ll have to destroy our plasmagins or they’ll track us through them.”
Jared clutched his. “We’ll have no technology at all. We’ll be in the dark.”
“But we’ll have each other.” Jennifer had tears in her eyes. “And freedom to worship God.”
Glancing around nervously, Ben reached out his arms and for the first time in a long while they prayed together. Their undertaking was dangerous, but with God on their side they had more than just a chance.
The faint hum of a hover reached their ears and they jerked apart. Jared dropped his plasmagin on the ground and picked up a rock. He took a deep breath. “Dad, I’m never going to the moon, am I?”
“Son, your destiny is higher than the moon.”
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