"It is empty." Olive complained as the year 6 class entered the gym for the first time. The massive area, 300-400 meters long, was almost completely empty aside from the hanging fluorescent lights and basketball hoops. Seth worries that his classmates are going to be upset, but they're just as intrigued as he is.
At lunch later, while Cale Boeman worries about how they will get ink, Seth reflects on the reltionship between the year 6 class and the "uppers", students who have already been through the contract but maintain their discretion. The only contact he had with the previous year was the box he was given that held a watch that counted the hour.
Seth thinks back to the first day. The gym seemed empty at first glance, but up on a wall in the rafters, they spot writing, even though there's no longer anything in the gym to write with. Seth and Pete manage the climb and begin to read. It is divided up into 9 sections, each section is written by a different year 6 class when they had run of the gym.
The first writing had the number 1 and a list of students' names. At the bottom are the names of the 3 hands, Martin, Tanner, and Troy. A larger name written below is Finn, the original leader and contract holder. Finally, it ends with a description of that year's game. They made a game of trying to run out of the gym at the last possible second, gambling both the contract if they don't make it, and their own health should they be caught in the scanner as it closes.
The other classes follow suit. Each writes their class list, their hands, the title of Finn, and their game. Each class also tries to take the game to the next level. Year 2 had the same game as Year 1, but they left their watch behind in the medium, and had to guess on time.
Year 7's section appears to be missing at first, but it turns out they used some sort of invisible ink. Year 8 is inspired to put a kink in the system. The manange to remove every single writing utensil from the gym, leaving all later classes with the need to write down their rules, but nothing to write with. Year 9 uses as ink that is a brownish red color. Seth and Pete realize that someone gave their blood as ink, and judging by a nearby bucket, they gave a lot (Aeva).
Seth ponders all these events every night, but he also struggles to come up with new game; one that will trump all previous years. After 2 weeks, it comes to him. A game that all classes from then on will bow to their knees in awe of. "Our game, would eventually change everything."
"It is empty." - Olive
"What do a bunch of kids who get an hour each day in an empty gymnasium do with their time? They play games." - Seth Joren
"We're going to have to use our own blood too!" - Cale Boeman
"Our game, would eventually change everything." - Seth