That afternoon was taken up with the final rehearsals for the competition. All the competitors sat in the auditorium while Melinda Gosling explained exactly how the final round would work, how they should walk up to the stage to do their competition presentations. She explained where the TV cameras would be, and gave them tips on how to present for the cameras.

Rozena found it hard to concentrate. She was nervous about the competition, and excited at the idea of being on TV, but the thing with SCRAM took away all her pleasure.

Zazi, Trevor, and Colin were counting on her to do her bit for SCRAM. She could easily have planted the trojan virus on Natasha’s computer, but if she did that, then SCRAM would be able to see all of Natasha’s most private messages. They would be able to go into her Facebook account and post things that looked as though Natasha had said them. Worst of all, they would be able to send emails to people, making it seem as though they came from Natasha.

Rozena had known all this from the start, but she’d thought of Natasha as a stranger, and a possible criminal. She no longer felt like that.

All day long she hoped to get another message from one of the SCRAM kids. If Trevor would agree to meet her again, she could ask him what he thought. Or even Zazi and Colin. It would be such a relief to ask somebody’s help.


That evening after supper, Emma and Rozena were back in their room and getting ready for bed.

“So,” said Emma after a long silence. “Are you going to be sneaking out again tonight?”

Rozena sat up, startled. “What?”

Emma stretched on her bed. “Oh, you thought I didn’t notice? You’ve been going out, after you think I’m asleep, every single night since we got to this hotel.”

Rozena stared at her friend. “You know?”

Emma shrugged. “Of course I know. But what I really want to know is what is bothering you today. You’ve been distracted all day long. Are you angry with me? Did I do something?”

“Oh!” Rozena sat up. “No! I’m not angry with you.”

“But you are upset about something, aren’t you?”

All at once Rozena couldn’t stand it anymore. There were too many secrets, and she simply didn’t know who to turn to. There had not been any messages from any of the SCRAM kids. The only person she had to talk to was Emma.

Rozena made up her mind. “Emma,” she said. “I have something to tell you. But it’s pretty crazy. Can you just let me tell you, and not ask me any questions until I’m finished?”

“Wow. Okay,” said Emma. “Tell me.”

Rozena hesitated one last time. She’d sworn not to tell anyone about SCRAM. But then again, SCRAM had lied to her. Maybe that made it even.

She told Emma everything. About the SCRAM kids, and how they’d helped her clear her name about the drugs accusation. About Natasha’s father, and the task that SCRAM had given her now. And about the fact that she now knew that SCRAM had planted the drugs on her in the first place.

“I just don’t know who to trust,” she said at last. “What do I do? I don’t know what to do.”

Emma looked at her for a long time. “Wow,” she said. “That’s amazing. All that really happened?”

Rozena nodded eagerly. “I know it sounds crazy. But it’s all true, I swear.”

“Okay.” Emma lay quiet for so long that Rozena wondered if she might have fallen asleep. “Okay,” she said again. “The problem is that you don’t know who to trust. This SCRAM lot tell you all kinds of things about Natasha, but you don’t know if they are telling you the truth. What you need to do is find out for yourself.”

“Find what out?” asked Rozena.

“Find out if Natasha’s father is guilty. And more important, you need to find out if Natasha knows what her father’s been doing. If he’s guilty, and she’s been helping him, and you know that for a fact, that will help, won’t it?”

“That’s true,” said Rozena. “But how will I find out those things?”

“You’ll figure it out,” said Emma, pulling her duvet up to her chin and snuggling into her pillow. “Good night!”


Tell us: What do you think SCRAM will do if they find out Rozena has broken her oath not to tell anyone about the organisation?