“Put your seatbelt on!” said Emma, and Rozena buckled herself in.
The aeroplane engines had started and were already whining up to a shrill pitch. Emma, who was sitting in the aisle seat, was watching the flight attendant doing the safety demonstration, showing the passengers where the emergency exits were and how to pull down the oxygen masks in case anything went wrong with the plane.
“I can’t stand to watch that, can you?” Natasha said, nodding at the woman. “It makes me sure that something will go wrong!”
Rozena smiled and tugged at her seatbelt buckle, making sure that it was fastened properly.
“You have to switch your phone off now, Rozena,” said Emma. “They say it can interfere with the plane’s signals, if you don’t.”
“I’ve already switched it off,” said Rozena.
Natasha took her phone out to switch it off, then looked at Rozena. “Oh!” she said. “I just got a message. Do you think–?”
They looked at it together. It was from Zazi.
Welcome Natasha, the newest SCRAM kid on the block!
Natasha’s eyes grew large. “Does that mean–?”
“It does!” Rozena saw the flight attendant walking down the aisle. “But you really do have to switch your phone off now.”
Natasha obeyed, and put her phone away. “How did they get my number?”
“I told them, of course,” said Rozena. “That’s from Zazi, the girl I told you about. When we get to Cape Town, you can meet all the SCRAM kids. Zazi, and Colin, and Trevor.”
At the thought of Trevor, Rozena felt herself blush, but she hoped that the other girls did not notice.
She’d told Natasha all about SCRAM, and about her adventure with the little bag of drugs that had been hidden in her suitcase.
For some reason, she’d left out that it was SCRAM that had planted the drugs there in the first place. She told herself that she’d find the right moment to let Natasha know about that – she still didn’t know how she felt about it herself.
She won’t understand, she thought. I’ll tell her about it when I find the right moment.
“I’m not listening,” sang Emma.
“Emma’s not supposed to know about SCRAM and all that,” Rozena told Natasha. “And it really is top secret. You can’t tell anyone either.”
“Of course not!” said Natasha. “And I meant what I said. I’ll do what I have to, to find evidence about …” She glanced around and lowered her voice to a whisper, “… about my father.”
“Just don’t do anything dangerous,” said Rozena, suddenly worried. “You have to be careful.”
Natasha laughed. “Now you say that. Doesn’t sound to me like your SCRAM friends are all that careful, are they?”
They stopped talking as the plane began to taxi down the runway, gathering speed, and the three girls grabbed one another’s hands as the plane lurched off the ground and into the air.
“Oh,” moaned Emma. “That makes my stomach feel so strange!”
When the plane levelled out again, and the attendants were going down the aisles offering tea, coffee, or juice to all the passengers, Natasha turned to Rozena.
“I meant to ask you. You told me that SCRAM thought I was part of my father’s organisation, at first. That I knew about it and was helping him.”
“Yes, that’s what they told me,” said Rozena.
“Well,” said Natasha. “You must have figured out that I wasn’t on my father’s side, or you never would have told me about SCRAM and all that. How did you figure that out?”
Rozena felt her face grow hot. She’d stopped thinking about the trojan virus that she’d planted on Natasha’s computer, and the hours she’d spent going through the girl’s emails and Facebook messages.
“Uh,” she said, glancing over at Emma, but Emma was reading a magazine and not listening to their conversation.
“Oh. I just … I just knew, somehow, I guess. I knew I could trust you.”
Natasha laughed. “Well, it’s a good thing, that’s all.”
Rozena relaxed. After all, there was no way that Natasha could find out about that virus. She’d warned Zazi and the others not to mention it. It wasn’t important, and there was no reason Natasha should know about it.
All at once she felt happy. She had won the competition! She could hardly wait to see her mother’s face when she told her the news. She was going home, and as a bonus, she’d made a new friend.
Rozena looked out of the aeroplane window, and smiled at the clouds. Things were going to be fine.
Tell us: Secrets breed secrets, and spies work on a ‘need to know’ basis for what to tell. Are you good at keeping secrets? Could you be a spy?