Collin felt happy, but also a bit sad that their adventures were coming to an end. He looked at Morgan. "Guess you'll be glad to get rid of me, huh?"
Morgan shook her head and smiled shyly. "I thought maybe we could study together when we get back home."

"If we get back home," Courtney tossed out impatiently, "which we won't do if we don't find the puzzle piece. Did one of you guys hear the riddle?"

"I did," Collin told her, squinting his eyes, deep in thought. "Okay, here it is: As mighty as machines can be, this alone can set you free. What do you think?"

Behind him, Collin heard someone clear his throat.

"You kids don't belong here," a tall, beefy guy in a blue Air Force uniform said menacingly as he clamped a heavy hand on Collin's shoulder. "This area is off limits. You were told to stay in the bleachers with the rest of your class."

Collin attempted to shrug, but the Military Policeman's hand was too tight on his shoulder. Instead, he grinned. "Guess we forgot."

"It might be wise if you don't forget again," the man said, as he ushered Collin, Courtney and Morgan quickly toward the bleachers. Collin was plunked down on the bottom row and Courtney and Morgan scooted close to his side. In spite of the commotion, none of the people in the crowd looked their direction -- the kids and the adults were all too busy staring up at the sky, watching the trail of smoke left by the rocket.

"Look!" Morgan pointed.

Collin followed her finger and saw just a spark of light high in the morning sky, then a flash.

The loudspeaker crackled again. "Affirmative. We have separation."

The people in the bleachers hooted and stomped, and as Collin twisted around he saw a girl, almost as pretty as Morgan, wiping a tear from her eye. Girls! Always getting so emotional.

 
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