did in Washington, but that wasn’t something she should say to just anyone—in fact, to hardly anyone. Maybe not even to this Cal guy. Who exactly was he? Could she trust him?

“You talk to him often?”

Even without a visor of her own, she read the suspicion in his face and suddenly knew how this conversation would end. She wasn’t going to get to join the mutiny. She swallowed. Be discreet. She took a deep breath. She wouldn’t throw a fit and attract attention.

It wouldn’t matter that she didn’t talk to her dad much because he was always busy. Her mom had been in touch every single day since she’d arrived on campus, and Mom talked to Dad, so it was like talking to him. He might tip off the authorities—anyway, that was what the mutiny would think.

But he wouldn’t tip them off! It wasn’t fair to reject her for her father’s job. In fact, her father would help the mutiny if he could. Wouldn’t he?

Probably. Or maybe not. No one could trust anyone anymore. Not even family.

She said quietly, firmly, hoping to save face, “We have to fight back.” Her father had once told her to always act undefeated, no matter how badly things go—because you might see those people again, and you want them to think you never get handed a defeat, only a setback.

“I can’t help you,” Cal said.

I’ll show how strong I am. They’ll see that I can help them. But she said nothing, not trusting herself to remain discreet.

He stood up. “I’m glad we got to talk.”

“Yeah.” She tried to smile. Although she’d eaten a meager breakfast, she felt like she might throw up anyway. The music throbbed in her ears and on her temples.

“Hey,” he said, “I know it’s tough being new on campus. If I can help you out some other way, I’ll be around. This is Dejope Hall, and we have our traditions, and one of them is watching out for each other.” He was speaking loudly now. “I’m glad we had a chance to talk.”

“Thanks.” She wondered if he meant that or if he was just saying it for eavesdroppers.

He walked away. She stared at the sickly yellow crumbs on her tray. This was only a setback.

Berenike was about to break the law. She passed a man sitting on the downtown sidewalk who was obviously homeless, maybe even a noncitizen. As she did, she caught his eye—just briefly. That would be enough to tip him off. No one looked at the scruffy people sitting on the curb, their faces lined by living outdoors, with a worn, stuffed backpack that probably contained everything they owned.

Berenike took a couple more steps and dropped a piece of trash, a candy bar wrapper, and inside it was a little cash. Federal law outlawed donations to noncitizens, but the City of Milwaukee government objected to that and a lot of other federal and state actions, so it refused to enforce all the new laws. Still, cameras watched everyone everywhere, and even though the private companies hired for surveillance had lowballed their contracts and provided substandard service, they did carry out random, minimal spot checks. She didn’t look back to see if he retrieved it, but most hungry people understood the ruse.

She wished she could give him more than a measly dollar. She wished she could also give to the other homeless people she passed as she walked through downtown. Four more days of this nonsense. That thought didn’t improve her mood.

Her papa wanted to meet her for a late lunch after her shift was done at work. Fine. Late lunch for her was breakfast for him, and he’d suggested meeting at a pizza franchise he often mocked as “pizza putz.” Fine, too, and convenient, just a few blocks away from her job. The food was okay. It would be even better if he paid, at least for his own meal. She had faint hope for that.

Instead, she tried to look forward to fake pepperoni and a few laughs. Papa was a funny guy. She turned at the corner around an old brick building and saw him, a skinny man who had taken to wearing a violet-colored tie at all times, sort of a trademark. He opened his arms to hug her.

“I’ve got great news,” he said. “I’ll be going to Iowa tomorrow for some live shows.”

This isn’t great news. “For how long?”

“Weekend shows. I’ll be back Sunday night. You’ll miss me?”

“Just come home safe.” That’s not guaranteed, not the way you are.

“I’ve got a title,” he said. “‘Finding the Food Line.’ How’s that?” His ongoing comedy series was called Finding the Line. Crossing the line meant charges of disorderly conduct, if not sedition or libel, and he tended to get much too close. That was what made him popular.

And if the mutiny won—a big if—and the government collapsed, his comedy series would collapse, too, because what would he make fun of? Actually, no, it might not. He still could make fun of the old government or even the new government—old-fashioned free speech would be reinstated—but without the danger of arrest. With unfettered hindsight, he might find even more to make fun of.

Instead of all that, she said, “They’re letting you into Iowa?” Its farmland was isolated against crop contamination.

“As long as I don’t step on anything green, what could go wrong? Maybe I can start a food fight.”

“Maybe you can get beat up. Or go to jail.” He might be in custody when things started to happen.

She was hungry and began walking toward the restaurant, not hiding her frown, as if he would notice.

“Yeah,” he said, “I better not ask why rationing is for certain people. Imagine, two people come to a restaurant, but only the classier American gets to eat. Happens all the time. Why should the truth hurt?”

She knew why, and so did he. His grin said he would ask too much about it anyway.

She pushed open the restaurant’s glass door. The air smelled

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