Just as the previous chapter has passed, I'm super excited to finally bring chapter 7 to you guys, as it's my second favorite in terms of what's planned among the four remaining chapter of the first Act.
Isaac had required Georgie and Marshal to attend the wedding, which everyone involved seemed to be having second thoughts on.
Zachary has been trying to get Marshal to warm up to him since he moved in, something he believed was working until Marshal suddenly withdrew the day before the wedding.
It was after he had to go see Lyla again about Whitlock’s blood test, which left a number of options as to why he became uninterested in everything going on.
The night before the wedding, Chelsea had gotten the chance to speak with him alone. He had gotten the baby to sleep and usually wasn’t far behind him in terms of how late he stayed up since he claimed the baby had a tendency to wake up early.
“Marshal, I’ve got a question for you.” Chelsea knew to keep quiet for multiple reasons, the main one being Gillian had been tasked with keeping track of Marshal when Zachary couldn’t do it. “What were the results of his blood test?”
He shrugged but stayed silent for a moment. “You’re involved, you should probably know. The gene doesn’t have much of an effect on him because I carry a gene that counteracts it.”
“That can't be true. How can you explain what happened in the woods if he isn’t affected by it?”
“Lyla says that’s the most we’re going to get out of him when it comes to the gene. She said he’s extremely limited by the two genes, but he’s mostly a normal baby.” He seemed to tense up. “You can’t tell anybody, though. Nobody can tell your dad if nobody else knows and that’s what’s most important to me.”
“You’re right about that. Even I can’t say what he’d do if he found out.” Chelsea looked at her feet and cleared her throat, turning the door. “Well, that’s about all I had to ask so goodnight, I guess.”
“Wait.” Chelsea turned back, surprised that he wanted to continue to talk. “I’ve already got my own ideas on it, but I want to know what you think about tomorrow, it being your wedding day and all.”
She couldn’t help but feel as if he suddenly started studying her. “I’m nervous, naturally, but I think this is for the best.”
“The best for what? For the business or for your dad? I’ve got a strong suspicion that you don’t think it’s the best for you and you don’t think it’s the best for Zachary and I can agree with both of those statements.” He crosses his arms. “In fact, the only way this benefits you in that you stay here and gain a quarter of Onyx Organization. It doesn’t benefit Zachary at all because he loses the only thing that puts some respect to his name.”
The whole topic caught Chelsea by surprise, as she’d generally known Marshal to be rather passive when it came to something major like a wedding, especially if he had no business in it. “Why does it matter to you?”
Chelsea could tell the question didn’t sit well with Marshal but he was going to answer either way. “I love Elizabeth, more than anyone in my life and I adore Whitlock, I’m thankful every single day just to have him around, but I’m the relationship I have with those two, nobody wins. I’m constantly letting either them or the group down because I try to prioritize one over the other. She was weaponized because I tried to prioritize her over the group for just twenty minutes and as a result, she went missing.”
“What are you getting at?” Chelsea crossed her arms, her tone growing more defensive.
“Just like that.” Marshal quickly pointed out her stance and her tone. “You’re one of the most independent people I know and that’s where you and Elizabeth greatly differ. She’s just like Zachary, dependent on attention. I don’t know if you’ve noticed it about him just yet, but it’s like he falls into a depression if he doesn’t feel important to somebody. Elizabeth used to say she didn’t feel like she mattered that much, which was wrong for a lot of reasons, but she finally kicked herself into gear after Whitlock was born because he needed her, he was reliant on her and that’s exactly the feeling she loved. He’s the same way and you need to decide if you’re ready for that kind of life.”
She paused, genuinely thinking on what he was saying for a moment. “I don’t have a choice in this, you should know that better than anyone else.”
He watched her, certain that he’d gotten his point through. “It’s pretty scary, isn’t it? The thought of so many people depending on you when you’re only twenty-five. You’re still young enough to where you should be able to make mistakes, there’s no reason for you to be rushed into all this.”
“What will I say to my dad if I just drop out at the last minute?” Chelsea uncrossed her arms, her eyes going to the floor again. “He’d disown me for it.”
“He wouldn’t go that far. A mild stare of disappointment, but there’s nothing he can do to make you actually go through with it, unless you let him just like you’re letting him do right now.”
Chelsea crossed her arms once again, a look of frustration on her face. “What can I do to stop it?”
“Don’t even go.” He seemed to take a second to think. “Either that or go to the Voyagers. Pierre made it a requirement that somebody stay in the city for the first two weeks that I’m here and made sure that I knew who would be where. I can give you a location if that’s what you want.”
She shook her head. “Neither of those will work out, I need something better.”
Marshal caught on to what she was doing, looking over at the crib before sighing in defeat. "I can help you buy some time but I won't take the fall for it. There's too much on the line for me, but you're really not ready for this, anyone who looks at you can tell that. You have your own things to work out, so do it quickly."
Chelsea quickly bounced back, a bright smile on her face in a matter of seconds as she uncrossed her arms. “That’s great, but what can you do that I can’t?”
“Steal without remorse, shoot a clear shot, and probably jump a fence faster. We can both take a bullet, though, so that’s my new goal.”
“It sounds like you’re saying your new goal is to take two bullets.”
He nodded, clearly joking around with her. “I’m actually aiming for three.” He then uncrossed his arms, his smile fading. “You need to find a way to distract Gillian, though.”
“She’s not a problem because Zachary’s still awake, he’s reading right now.”
“That’s worse, Chelsea.” Marshal frowned. “You’ll have to distract him and shut his bedroom door for whatever you do, I need to get into his upstairs office.”
She nodded, turning away from the door to leave the room. “I’ve got an idea, but you’ll have to avoid Gillian once I go into the room since she’ll consider me a distraction.”
“I’ll already be upstairs when she registers a distraction, so that’s not a problem to me.”
Chelsea left the room, Marshal turning off the light and following behind her.
He put some distance between the two of them once she turned into Zachary’s room and started talking to him.
She shut the door behind her, immediately noticing Zachary seemed suspicious of her. “I just wanted to talk about what happened the other night.”
“Which night?” He was lounging on his bed with a file in hand, likely looking into the situation about her father, something he had started doing most every night.
“The night at the lounge.”
As soon as she said it, he took in a deep breath and shut the file. “We were both a little drunk, whether we want to admit it or not. It’s probably best we just forget it happened, right?”
She shook her head. “That’s not what I was going to say. There’s no way we’re going to be able to forget it just because of how it blew up in our faces. I was going to suggest that we work on being more real before tomorrow.”
Chelsea could tell he wanted to ask what tomorrow was before the realization suddenly hit him. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“I mean that we should be more in sync in private as well as public. You’re not going to sign off your share of Onyx until you figure of who’s trying to get my father and we don’t know how long that’s going to take, so I think we should at least be able to rely on each other to, you know.”
She knew he understood what she meant, but he simply chuckled in response. “I thought I was bad at words, but look at you.”
While Chelsea was distracting Zachary, he snuck into the office and started looking through the certain files that Zachary kept his desk.
He had a feeling the one he was looking for would be in the desk because of how closely related the person was to Isaac and Chelsea.
There weren’t many files in the desk, which allowed Marshal to quickly find what he was looking for and hurry downstairs and out the door before Gillian noticed anything was going on.
He read over the file while he walked to try and figure out what he was going tell them when he got there, but he already knew a fair amount about this person from experience and what Elizabeth had told him.
He went to the rural part of the city, a piece of the city that some people considered history and that some considered an eyesore.
Most of the buildings had been demolished or were working on weathering themselves down after they’d been forgotten about by Onyx.
There was a small one bedroom house that had previously been owned by literal rats until the newest resident had gotten fired from his job.
Marshal went to the door and knocked, finding himself in the same position he’d been in just a week before.
A shorter man opened the door, a sudden look of unamusement as he met eyes with Marshal. “What are you doing back here?”
“I want to tell you everything I know about the real you.” He scoffed, going to shut the door before Marshal put his foot in the way. “I’m serious, I want to help you make things normal for yourself. You don’t belong in this place and I can prove everything to you if you just trust me for a moment.”
Luke stopped the door, opening it slightly. “What do you have?”
Marshal held up the file. “Every incident involving you that happened before and during your employment at the Onyx Organization.” He quickly moved on to keep Luke’s attention. “You may not remember working at Onyx, but there’s so much that you did.”
Luke sighed, opening the door to allow him in. They went into the living room, sitting across from each other with a coffee table separating them. “Whaddya got?
He set the file on the table, resting his hand on it. “First, tell me your last name. I already know it, but I want to see if you know it.”
“Lowell. My name is Luke Lowell, now are you gonna stop being a spaz or am I gonna have to kick you out again?”
Marshal opened the file to the first page, pointing out two specific lines. “That’s not true. Your name is Luke Hunt, your parents are Susanne and Owen Hunt. They both owned a quarter of Onyx, just like the Bennington family did. Your first question may be ‘where did Lowell come from’ and that’s an easy explanation and I’ll get to it, but I’ll need a moment. Your parents were extremely rich, probably richer than Isaac Hampton at the time, but they had been researching the organization for a long time. In fact, most of the information that the Voyagers have from before Elizabeth’s time were taken from their estate before a proper will could be found.”
He flipped the page to see two pictures, one of a man and one of a woman. “Are… is that them?”
He nodded, flipping the page again to show a few more pictures. One was of a couple and a boy, the three of them all having the same fake smile on their faces, all of them also having black hair and blue eyes. Marshal pointed at the picture. “Those are the Benningtons. Herald and Agnes were their names, Zachary is their son. You’ll want to remember them.”
He turned the page to show a picture of a full family, all four of them with bright, real smiles on their face, three of them having light brown hair, the woman having dark brown hair. She had light green eyes, just as both the children did while the man had brown eyes. “This is the Neil family, they’re also important to this.”
He flipped the page to show one last picture. A family of three, the only one of them with a smile on their face being the daughter. The father looked stern and rather uncomfortable in the moment, the mother seeming to be caught off guard before she could put a smile on her face. The father and daughter shared the most similarities, both of their hair being blonde and their eyes being blue. “That’s Isaac Hampton, his wife Karen, and their daughter Chelsea.”
He paused on the page, resting his hand on it. “There’s a connection between all three of those families, do you know what it is?”
Luke shrugged, looking at the picture over and over again. “No, I can’t say I do.”
“The Neil family was forced into hiding after they were caught going through private records. The man was David Neil and he was a friend of Isaac Hampton, a frequent donator to the Onyx Organization. He started investigating them after his wife was having some concerns about the nature of their daughter’s genetic manipulation.” He cleared his throat. “He found some of the records that your own father had found about eight years later and tried to confront him. For that, Isaac chose to kill his own friend and attempted to have the whole family eradicated before David’s wife took the kids and left that city. Their daughter is Elizabeth Neil, my own wife. She was responsible for stealing millions of confidential records, but she always manages to get away with it. Because of what she did, we’ve finally figured out what you really are.”
“How do the Benningtons fit into this?”
He stayed on the picture of Isaac Hampton and his family, pointing specifically at the daughter. “Her name is Chelsea and for a long time, you two were thick as thieves and responsible for each other’s bad decisions. She was your best friend and some might even say she was your first love, but that couldn’t be proven by the files.” He lingered on the picture for a moment before flipping back the the picture of the Bennington family. “Herald and Agnes owned a quarter of Onyx, Isaac owned a complete half, and your family also owned a quarter. They made the mistake of going into records that they had no business in and before anyone knew it, they were arrested and executed for fraud.”
“Executed for fraud?” Luke eyed him suspiciously. “That’s the worst reason for execution I’ve heard.”
“But it’s true. In files that not even Elizabeth can break, there’s proof that they were executed and Zachary’s disappearance was quickly overlooked because he had been located by his aunt Carmella. That’s untrue, he was never located and Carmella couldn’t confirm anything because she was breaking Onyx’s laws just by existing since she’s terminally ill and never officially reported it.” He stayed on the page, focusing solely on the son. “Zachary joined the Voyagers in an attempt to find safety because he knew exactly what happened to his parents and if you ask him, he’ll tell you the full story.”
“How exactly does this all relate to me?”
Marshal could tell that Luke was losing patience and he should probably hurry up if he was interested in getting everything out. “The same thing happened to your parents. They dug into files and while there’s no records to confirm Isaac was behind their deaths, it’s a common theory among the Voyagers. You were adopted by Ben Lowell, a man who claimed to be your father up until the day he died and then you were left alone.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Because you’re about to lose the only remnant left of who you are. Tomorrow evening, Chelsea is going to be married off to Zachary Bennington in an attempt for Isaac to get hold of full control of Onyx Organization.”
Luke quickly pushed the file towards Marshal, taking a stand from the couch. “Alright, it’s time for you to leave. I’m tired of you throwing conspiracies around.”
“Wait, just one more minute.” Marshal closed the file and grabbed it, standing from the couch. “There is proof of your attraction towards Chelsea. You made a real nasty pass at my wife about a month back and because of that, I demolished your legs and arms. They were capable of a lot more before you were fired for what happened between us. The reason you made that pass at my wife was because she and Chelsea share a gene that bonds them on every level except physically and you figured that Elizabeth was close enough to Chelsea because of that shared gene.” He then escorted himself to the door, his hand resting on the handle. “If you want to stop losing who you really are, you need to be at the Fort Pierre bridge by five o’clock tomorrow.”
The Voyagers had finally reached their all-time low. They were close to giving up on faith as they found out Elizabeth was missing and Marshal departed from the group.
Leona and her people had been pulling away and attempting to reform their own identity separate from the Voyagers.
They knew they were currently in Pierre’s control, which seemed to throw more people off than help them as Pierre’s leadership style never really meshed with any of the other group members.
Milo had been helping by allowing Pierre to know what Marshal’s plan really was, telling Pierre he believed it would be best to put the plan to the side until Elizabeth was located.
That was another thing. Elizabeth’s disappearance had been taking a major toll on Milo and Leah. The two of them had started slacking on their responsibilities, which was more of a problem for Milo than it was for Leah.
Pierre eventually took notice of it and attempted to try and help them, saying it was for Kimber and Jude’s sake.
After that didn’t work, he turned to Alyssa for assistance. “I understand you’re very close with Milo and I want you to use that to our advantage. He’s distraught over what happened with Elizabeth and being separated from his nephew and he’s currently the least helpful person in the group. Something needs to change and I believe you can lead that change.”
“Are you insinuating I find a way to console him or lead the group? You’re not being entirely clear right now.”
He looked away from her, his eyes focusing on Kyle, who was seated across the courtyard. “It’s impossible to console people who’ve lost everything, but Leah and Milo still have things and are completely capable of being proactive once again. They have the children and each other, so I leave that decision up to you.” He paused, staring off into space. “I would be able to assist you in learning to lead, though, as I know you are quite eager to experience new things and achieve your best possible outcome. I can’t say the same for Milo.”
Almost as if he was talking to her all over again, Alyssa remembered the conversation they had one night at the creek with Milo before they had left for the rallies.
“What’s something you want in your future?”
“Do you want what the Voyagers want to hear or what I really want?”
“I want to know what you really want.”
“For me, what the Voyagers want to do with Onyx isn’t one of my first priorities. It is for the others, but I don’t mind the place we’re in now and I don’t want to risk what we have now when we’ve already lost so much. I guess what I want is whatever makes the group happy.”
[Attempt to convince Milo to lead the group] [Find out Marshal’s plans and have Alyssa lead the group]
One feeling she had gotten used to in her twenty-seven years of life was fear, sometimes fear that made her tremble.
She had gotten used to being afraid to the point of shaking, but it wasn’t something should would admit to her friends or family.
No, she had to be strong for them because they were weak.
She grew up being taught that she needed to be afraid of everything and everyone because all it took was one mistake to end her life.
If she had known what she knew now, she would have laughed in the face of anyone who told her that you’ve only got one life to live.
Over time, she had gotten better with her fears and learned to be more comfortable in her surroundings, but her current situation sparked something in her that she hadn’t seen in years.
She had no idea where she was at, as she’d never seen the place before but she knew the smell, it was familiar to her.
She couldn’t place where she knew it from, she just knew that it was a smell that was common around her.
There was always the joke among her family that her sense of smell was stronger than any of her other senses, which did hold a bit of truth to it.
She took a second to focus on the trembling, trying to calm herself down.
‘You’re only as scared as you allow yourself to be.’ She took a deep breath in and held it, closing her eyes. ‘You’re in complete control and there’s nothing wrong with you.’
She then let go of the breath she was holding, the trembling being noticeably lighter than it was before.
[Find out Marshal’s plans and have Alyssa lead the group]
I don't think leading the group is something Milo can handle. I think Alyssa has more experience in leading and I feel things were leading up for her too be a leader. Also, I really enjoyed some of the back stories and world building in this part.
The voting is getting closed super early this time, but I can promise that the next voting phase will be open for at least six days. The reason for that is just because I've finally gotten to a chapter that I'm having a lot of fun writing and with my current health, I don't have much to do but write and I also don't want to take too long for the chapters from this point on. There's definitely no way that I'll be done with Act 1 by the end of the year, but I'm aiming to start Act 2 by June of next year.
The choices for this chapter are going to be more focused on actual survival, whether it be from a group or becoming a sole survivor, a number of characters can be put into danger. Choices from previous chapters that built up relationships between characters are going to be primary influences on just how well the groups function and overall, I'm super excited. There won't be many relationship choices left in this chapter after this part, but the ones that present themselves are likely going to be pretty important.
In the interest of giving away some plans, I can say that the final chapter of Act 1 is going to have no relationship choices and will be just like this chapter in the terms of characters being reliant on the choices and each other on survival. Funny enough, the final chapter is the one I'm most excited about for reasons I'll be happy to say once it gets closer.
Alyssa had been spending some time with Milo after she reached a decision, hoping he’d tell her Marshal’s plans but it was something he seemed to be extremely private about. He hadn't told much to Pierre, which left him in the dark as well.
She had also been helping him with Kimber and Jude as they had started to challenge him more and Alyssa knew he couldn’t take much of that in his current state.
He really only seemed happy when the night was silent and brightened by a full moon and the stars, something he’d always been fascinated by.
What happened to Elizabeth had sent him into shock and when Marshal revealed his plans to take Whitlock into the city, it sent him into a depression. Over the course of a week, he had lost his sister, his best friend, and his nephew. It hit him pretty hard and he wasn’t too good at hiding it, which is why Alyssa determined she would be better off leading the group herself.
Alyssa had made a plan to get Milo to talk about Marshal’s plans, constantly reminding herself that he looked to be more comfortable, open, and honest when they talked by the creek, away from the other Voyagers.
They had gotten away from the group for a few moments on a clear night with a full moon and Alyssa could see the joy light up in Milo’s eyes.
While it was a sight she loved to see, she knew she’d eventually have to cut it short if she wanted to find out Marshal’s plan. “Hey, I’ve got a few questions for you.”
His eyes focused more on the creek’s flowing water that carried the moon’s reflection, but Alyssa knew he would be listening to her. “Sure, what’s up?”
“Marshal told Pierre, Monty, and I that you knew his plans when he wanted to act. I think if we’re going to act at all, we all need to be enlightened on what he thought was the best plan.”
She watched him put his hands in his pockets, his smile remaining as he watched the water. “He wanted to act in May, but there was a major problem with that plan because Elizabeth had been withholding a few details from him since she knew he’d back out of his plans if he knew about them. He knew his plan was an iffy one from the start because of Chelsea potentially moving out of the states, he found a way to work through that. He had given everyone an extremely specific position, inside and outside headquarters. Elizabeth would have taken control of the system and manually overrode it, granting her complete control of Onyx’s systems. People like Samantha, Cyrus, and Filip would have been on a constant patrol of the inside and outside of the building to keep Elizabeth safe and interventions at a minimum. I think he mentioned you would be in the back alley in case someone got injured and needed immediate care. Cecilia would be at the top floor and keeping a lookout from there since she’s proven her eyesight is better than any of ours. Marshal and I were going to be the first ones in to make sure the building was clear of any guards.”
“What was his plan if Chelsea stuck around?”
He paused and shrugged. “I don’t think he expected her to stick around and he didn’t prepare for it since Elizabeth went missing a few days before Isaac announced she’d be staying and getting with Zachary.”
“I think Isaac announced that the same day Marshal left, right?”
“Yeah, I think so.” He looked up from the water, facing her. “Can I ask why you’re interested in his plan, though?”
“Marshal wanted you to take lead since you knew the plan, but I really don’t think it’s a good choice for you.” She frowned slightly. “You’ve got a lot going on with Kimber, Jude, and your mom, the last thing you need is to have a group of forty something people to look after.”
He nodded, seeming to agree with her. “I’m glad you stepped up to do it because I would have completely abandoned Marshal’s plan. I don’t think I could have found a way to make it work, but you’re a lot smarter than me and I fully believe that you could make it work without Elizabeth or Marshal.”
“Good, I’m going to need your help rebuilding relations with Leona and her group. That’s my top priority right now.”
“Maybe just tell her you’ll be taking over, that’d be a good start.” He took his hands out of his pockets. “She got along best with Marshal because he was upfront with her, something most people are afraid to even attempt. You value honesty on all topics, she values legitimate criticism and respects people who are bold enough to try and correct the way she acts or does specific things.”
Alyssa nodded along, taking a mental note of everything he said. “By legitimate criticism, you mean things that are in her control, right?”
“Exactly.” His eyes lit up again once he realized she completely understood what he was trying to say. “She can’t control how her people act, so if you criticize her for someone else’s behavior, she’ll just ridicule you for taking a jab at her group. Her people do act up and what Marshal did to counter it was constantly challenging her leadership by making snide comments and eventually outright telling her that she was losing control of her people. They straightened up a bit after that, but you can tell they’re slipping again.”
“With that, you just became my adviser. You brought the job on yourself, sorry but I don’t make the rules, Joseph did.”
He chuckled, moving to get closer to her. “The rules were in place a lot longer than Joseph was. In fact, I think the rules are older than Cyrus.”
“Ouch, making fun of his age when he isn’t even here. That’s a new low for you, Milo.”
“You’re right, Kyle’s older than Cyrus so I guess we can assume Cyrus still has six or seven years left in him.”
Alyssa shook her head, a small hint of a smile on her face. “He’s twelve years older than Cyrus, give him some credit.”
Milo seemed surprised by what she had said. “Kyle’s seventy?” She nodded. “That means he had Marshal when he was forty and he got married at what age?”
“Thirty-six. His wife was thirty herself when they got married.”
“Huh. It must be a Kennedy thing to do things later in life then.”
Alyssa crossed her arms, a smirk on her face. “You somehow managed to take a dig at your own sister with that comment, nice one.”
“No, the Neil thing is to take things and then never do them because it doesn’t fit to our schedule that’s filled with absolutely nothing.” He paused. “Whitlock’s in for one hell of a life with both of those influences.”
“Have you met Whitlock’s family? Just about everyone in it is probably pretty close to clinically insane. He was in for one hell of a life from the start.” It was a bit relieving to see that Milo still believed Elizabeth was alive. Alyssa could tell what he said was his genuine belief, rather than some desperate hope he was holding onto.
She only knew it because right now, he was comfortable and completely open to her. “Just about everyone?”
Alyssa nodded, a smirk fixed on her face. “Yeah, I can’t say anything about Marshal's side of the family, I don’t know them well enough.”
“That’s not fair, you know one of his grandparents from each side.”
“But I also know only know his uncle on his mother’s side and let me tell you, that man is a piece of work.”
He looked back at the water, going quiet for a minute with a look of contemplation on his face before looking to her again. “I’m going to be serious with you for a minute, do you remember the things I said at the bunker a few weeks ago?”
Her smirk disappeared, a sudden feeling of concern quickly overcoming her. “You said a lot of things, but I do remember a lot of them.”
“I mean what I said about being interested in you. Do you remember that?”
“Yeah, what about it?”
He sighed, clearly trying to find something to say about it. “When I said I was interested in you, it was the truth and it wasn’t influence by any medicines, I just kind of panicked because I’ve never been so close to death before, believe it or not. I’ve had plenty of time to think on it and I don’t want to have to be near death before saying anything else, so from now on I want to be completely honest with you about my feelings towards you.” He paused, stepping away from the creek. “I know you’re going to make the group better than we’ve been for the past week and I want to be able to support you and your ideas in any way that I can.”
“Milo, you’ve already kissed me, killed someone for me, and confessed your feelings. I don’t know if-” She paused once she noticed the sudden gleam in his eyes once again. “What is it?”
“Hear me out and this is going to sound incredibly awkward because I’ve never actually done this before and I’m completely winging it, but I think I want to be more than your adviser. If you can handle all the oddness and downright supernatural occasions that come with me and my family, I want to try going steady with you.” He looked to her, the same bright look in his eyes as he smiled at her. “What do you say?”
[Agree to date him] [Turn him down] [Take some time to think on it]
She woke up to find Marshal and the baby had gotten up early and were eating in the kitchen, something Marshal typically avoided when he could.
Gillian had gone upstairs to get Carmella up and ready for the day and Zachary was still in bed, which gave her some time to talk to Marshal. “How did your plan last night go?”
“They let me tell them everything I needed to, but then they kicked me out because I guess I sounded crazy.” He paused, his vision focused on the baby while he ate. “Thinking back on it, I definitely sounded crazy.”
Chelsea didn’t know Marshal well and even after he’d been with them for a few days, he was difficult to read. Something about his refusal to look at her while he spoke to her told her something was wrong with him. “Is something going on?”
He briefly looked over at her, then looked back at his son. “Not really, he just takes advantage of people looking away from him. Though, I am curious of something and it really is none of my business.”
“What are you curious of?”
“I’m curious as to how you went in there to distract him for a maximum of five minutes and then ended up sleeping with him after we had both come to the conclusion that you weren’t ready to commit to him.”
Chelsea hurried to the chair next to him, lowering her voice. “How did you know?”
“I went to talk to you when I got back and found your room empty and his door still shut, put two and two together but didn’t actually know you slept with him until just now.”
She could see a grin on his face and feel her own face going red. “That’s evil, I hope you know that.”
He nodded. “I’m well aware and I can say I learned from the best.”
Chelsea sighed, trying to think of how exactly the night before went. “You saw the story about what happened in the lounge, well my distraction was to talk to him about that and I told him that if we were going to be convincing, we’d have to be more in sync with each other and that led to a repeat of what happened at the lounge which I'm guessing is where it started to complicate your plan as things escalated from there and I do apologize for that.”
“I didn’t actually want to know.” He continued feeding the baby while keeping an eye out for Gillian or Zachary. “I’m going to give you one last chance to get out of this. At the wedding, you can give me a cue and I’ll intervene no matter what stage it reached. I can’t help you after it’s all said and done though, I’m sorry.”
‘You’re only as scared as you allow yourself to be.’
The new task she had picked up was trying to figure out where exactly she was and how she could get out. People needed her and wherever she was, she wasn’t helping anyone by being there.
She knew there was a door at the far end of the room but she’d been hesitant on approaching it because she knew there was somebody else nearby. They’d been delivering food and water to her whenever she slept, but she had yet to catch a glimpse of them.
“You can get into their systems, can’t you do something with his body?” She heard a familiar man’s voice on the other side of the door, rather distant from her.
She crawled to the door, putting her ear on it just to listen for the voice again. She noticed from the space below the door that all the lights went off a few moments after she put her ear to the door.
This was her moment and she knew it.
Jumping to her feet, she quietly opened the door, peering out of it to see nothing but darkness. She waited a moment to see if there would be any reaction to her opening the door and took a step out once there was no response.
“How do you know your own equipment won’t be used against you?” She froze in place, hearing a different voice that she also knew well. She clenched her fists and took a deep breath, putting her fists to the wall since she was still unable to see.
She started slowly walking, her feet reminding her more of a shuffle than a walk. She stopped once again when she heard a woman’s soft voice. “You've been spending too much time with her, you're getting the attitude too.”
She stopped, taking another deep breath when she noticed the trembling had started again, attempting to calm herself down before she went on. “You really aren’t in your right mind or best shape, if I leave you then you’re going to get caught. I’m staying with you, whether I do get caught or not.”
She unclenched her fists, putting her palms to the walls and walking on, desperately trying to ignore the voices. “It’s not like it’s a life that can’t be replaced and improved upon.” The voice was a man’s voice that she had known longer than any of the other voices.
“Not only is my life in your hands, but this entire group is relying on you to succeed.” She stopped, her body feeling a wave of chills as she did.
‘Stop it, stop it, stop it. None of that is important right now.’
She took one more deep breath before she continued along the wall, a sudden silence overwhelming her.
The silence ended as soon as the lights flew back on, a sound that vaguely reminded her of fireworks going along with the lights as she looked around the ceiling that had spots of mold on it, the torn up furniture, then back at the grey brick wall.
She kept her fingertips on the wall as she walked along it, only stopping once her fingertips hit a brick in the wall that felt uneven compared to the others.
She paused to look over the brick. It looked like it could be pushed out of its current place, quite possibly hiding something behind it.
She slipped her fingertips between the top of the loose brick and the brick above it and started trying to pull it out of place. After a minute of pulling, she had gotten it halfway out, so she tried wiggling it out the rest of the way.
The brick slipped out of the wall quicker than she could catch it and crashed on the cement floor, a loud thunk as it did so. She looked up to see if anyone would react, to which there was no reaction.
She looked into the hole the brick had left and eventually slipped her hand into it, feeling around for something until her hand hit what felt like a switch and the sound of a machine greeted her.
She turned to face the sound, seeing part of the wall separate from the rest of the wall, prompting her to go investigate it.
She left the wall she had been on, going across the room to the now open section of the wall.
Looking into it, she only saw a wooden staircase that went farther down into the building but didn’t look to be all that reliable.
She put her hand to the wall once again, taking the first step down just to test how secure the staircase was.
After waiting to see if the step would hold up, she continued going down while keeping her hand on the wall.
Once she reached the middle of the staircase, the lights went off again, leaving her in the dark and making her freeze in place again for a minute before convincing herself to go on.
She could tell when she was approaching the bottom of the stairs based on how steep the steps were becoming and feeling when the wall was ending.
As she reached the end of the wall, she took one last step before she nearly fell down the remaining stairs.
She then stumbled to find the wall again, reaching out the grab for it before she lost complete track of where she was.
Taking a few steps, she put her hand out and suddenly felt a long sting of pain surging through her ring finger on her right hand.
As much as she wanted to react to it, she stopped to compose herself, attempting to feel the severity of the injury in the dark.
Running her left hand along her right hand, she could feel blood quickly covering both hands and that what she’d just obtained was far more than a minor cut, she just couldn’t feel how bad it truly was.
Feeling the blood made her panic enough, but having the lights shine back on as she heard someone heading down the stairs led to another panic in itself.
She turned to find a hiding spot, immediately seeing a computer set up that seemed familiar to her.
The confusion stunned her for a moment before she moved forward to go hide.
She figured that if the computer set up was similar to what she knew then the room just might be as well. Using that thought, she followed the wall to the corner of the room to a shut door that she believed to be a closet.
Opening it, someone fell out of the closet and onto her, causing a commotion that was sure to get her caught.
She sighed, accepting defeat early on and hoping that if she was cooperative enough, she’d at least be able to tend to whatever happened to her finger.
The thought reminded her to look at the injury while the lights were on, prompting her to raise her right hand, seeing that while she didn’t feel much, the finger had nearly been completely cut off.
She turned her head to look at the staircase, hearing the footsteps approaching the bottom steps that she had missed.
Isaac had gone out of his way to find out any possible way of Marshal causing trouble and tried to eliminate before the ceremony, only to turn around and find Marshal causing trouble in a different part of the building.
Chelsea eventually picked up on the fact that Marshal was using Whitlock to find places that he could cause trouble because as he explained it, with both his and Elizabeth’s combined knack for trouble, Whitlock was like a magnet for destruction. When Chelsea questioned how bad a six month old baby could be, he simply laughed and said that he was bad enough already.
He still hadn’t told her about what his original plan was, only that it wasn’t going to work now and he had a new idea to delay the ceremony, but he’d only do it if she gave him a cue.
Isaac had seated him in an extremely specific spot that he believed had the lowest chance of anything going wrong. He was sitting between Georgie and Carmella with Isaac in front of him and Anthony behind him, which was a smart move from Isaac because Georgie was about the same size as Marshal but already drunken when he arrived, which already made Marshal a little nervous about having his son anywhere near Georgie and would likely be focusing more on Whitlock than he would be on ways to distract or cause trouble.
Debbie was also there and had been talking to Zachary through most of the preparation, which seemed to be bothering him up until Marshal and Whitlock made their way to the area and as Zachary described it, four different light bulbs busted as soon as they got there.
Once Debbie left to get help with the light bulbs, Marshal started laughing, which caused Zachary to question him.
“I broke the light bulbs.” He showed Zachary that his pocket was filled with rubber bands that he’d also taken from the upstairs office.
“I know I should be mad that you stole from me but I really can’t be, it’s honestly impressive that you broke four in a row without me or her noticing and with a baby latching onto you.” He reached out to Whitlock, taking him for a moment. “I take it you’re the one destroying every single corner of the venue?”
Marshal nodded. “There’s rubber bands everywhere out there and most of it is him grabbing things he’s not supposed to while I’m trying to shoot a rubber band.”
“Why are you doing that?”
He paused, thinking on it. “I’m not sure. I was supposed to cause a distraction yesterday, I don’t know why I’m doing it today. I guess it’s just fun.”
“Oh yeah, I’m sure giving Isaac any more reasons to hate you is a lot of fun.”
“I know you’re being sarcastic, but it is so much fun. Everything gets him worked up and he’s not going to cause a scene right now, we all know that.”
Zachary passed Whitlock back to Marshal before picking up the four rubber bands on the floor. “You should stop because if it’s a vicious game you want, Isaac doesn’t mind playing dirty and he’ll find a way to get you where it hurts to teach you a lesson about never doing again. I’m sure he already knows it’s you causing havoc and he’s probably already thinking of how to get back at you.”
There were very few points that she caught Marshal’s eyes through the ceremony, but she knew it was because of Georgie.
She could tell he seemed pretty uncomfortable with him since he was seated closer towards Carmella the entire time.
She had some time to give the situation a full thought before she gave Marshal the cue to do something she was completely unaware of.
Things with Zachary had been rapidly progressing, which she could tell was making him a bit uncertain about it. He was in it because he mentioned it would make more resources available to him so he could better find out who was after her father and had already told her that if they did go through with it that he’d resign so he could also get more time to work on that as well.
That would work because he mentioned he had no intention of immediately signing his piece of Onyx over and that he wanted to figure out who exactly he was looking for before he did.
Staying in the deal would probably benefit the Voyagers as a last resort but it would require her to go against her father, which is something that would ruin their relationship forever and she likely couldn’t bring herself to do.
It wasn’t even to mention that she came back to Onyx in order to find out the truth behind what actually happened with Luke. Marshal obviously knew, it’s likely that Zachary also knew, and Elizabeth was supposed to be the one to tell her, but she wanted to find out for herself what really happened.
She had to ask herself it that would be possible after marrying Zachary. A lot of things would have to change and she didn’t know if she was ready for it all.
Sure, she’d be better off with Zachary than she would with Georgie, but none of it felt right to her.
One thing she wasn’t certain of besides Marshal’s distraction, was how things would go afterwards. She didn’t know if she’d still be married off to someone or if she’d finally be left alone, she didn’t know what would happen with Elizabeth’s search, and for once she felt completely in the dark.
She did her best to keep on a straight face as she briefly glanced at Marshal, both of their attention on one another. If she was going to end this, she had to do it now.
I was originally thinking that it might be better for her to think on it, but I believe she does feel the same way he does. Also, I feel like these two have waited long enough to finally make it official. Hopefully, this doesn't cause some horrible chain reaction in which everybody dies, but you never know. I feel like rejecting him here would cause Milo's mood to go way down and he might start making poor decisions. So hopefully, this was a good choice.
[Don't send a cue]
I don't really understand Marshal's reasoning to want to stop this marriage. I don't really see any downfalls and mainly positive things associated with Chelsea and Zachary getting married. First off, them getting married will definitely prevent Chelsea from getting marrived off to someone worse and possibly leaving. She and Zachary could be a powerful alliance within Onyx that could eventually help the Voyager's due to their power, wealth, and influence within the company. Their both sympathetic to their cause, and both were briefly members. We already know Chelsea and Zachery have feelings for each other based on what happened in this part and what happened earlier. It's not like they hate each other. Zachary's relationship and friendship with Chelsea might be put in jeopardy if he finds out Chelsea signaled Marshal to interrupt their wedding. Especially, if she didn't clue him on any of this beforehand. Plus, we aren't exactly sure what Isaac will do to Marshal if he interrupts the wedding. I know they currently need him, but that could change eventually. I basically feel the benefits of the marriage out way any costs, by a huge margin.
Post by LiquidChicagoTed on Dec 1, 2018 0:56:57 GMT
[Agree to date him]
Horrible chain reaction where everybody dies, here we come! Jokes aside, they are adorable and I cannot see any downsides at all. I approve of this option.
[Don’t send a cue]
Besides what Tales said and what I quite agree with, there is also the added option that we don't know what is going to happen to Chelsea then. She said it herself, she might get married off to someone else after all and it could definitely be worse than Zachary by far.
You guys chose death via dating Milo, I'm impressed.
I'm kidding! Nothing major is going to be changed by Milo and Alyssa dating and it surely won't risk any lives, but it's going to help Alyssa by having Milo as a second-in-command of the group, which he wouldn't have done if she rejected him or took some time to think on it, mostly out of embarrassment and wanting to give her space.
The bigger choice of the part was Chelsea's and I can also say that a lot of things are going to change by the decision. Had Chelsea signaled Marshal, he would have convinced Isaac of Leona's location and Isaac would have dropped everything to go get her and brought Zachary with him due to her being a high-priority target. He would have stopped the wedding, but later gotten in trouble when Isaac realized he intentionally misled him.
Chelsea turned away from Marshal, knowing that what he said about Zachary the night before may have had some truth to it, it couldn’t be the complete truth and knowing Marshal, there was a bit of a bias against Zachary when he said it.
She reassured herself that if her father trusted him enough to even consider the marriage then he really wasn’t as bad as most people believed him to be. She knew that much herself based on how much he fought with Isaac to allow his aunt to stay with him instead of being sent to quarantine once she reported her illness.
She knew he was interested in her, she knew that he cared about her just as he cared for what family he had left and she knew he wanted to help her protect her own family to the best of his ability. She looked over to her father to see he looked quite pleased that she was going through with it while Georgie looked pissed that Zachary was going through with it.
While she was thinking on it, the officiant had worked through most of his speech and addressed Chelsea, pulling her out of her thoughts. “I do.”
“Then by the power vested in me, and witnessed by family and friends, I now pronounce you husband and wife.” He then took a step back. “You may now kiss the bride.”
Chelsea had noticed that Whitlock spent most of the reception with her father, which seemed to confuse a number of people. Marshal stayed with Anthony, who was all over the venue with the other guests.
Naomi seemed particularly interested in talking to Chelsea, which was a first since they didn’t have much in common and hadn’t talked much before. “What are your plans now that you’re finally married?” She sounded excited, as if she had just watched her own sister get married.
“I don’t even think we have plans for the rest of the night, let alone the far future.”
“My mom asked me tons of questions when I got married. She figured we’d eventually move and she wanted to know where we thought we wanted to go, she wanted to know if we’d already talked and agreed on kids, she wanted to know so many things.” Naomi’s smile slightly faded. “She also made it a point to remind me that a lot of marriages end in divorce and if I’m not careful, mine could be one of those. She told me the plan her and my dad made when they first got married to keep their marriage together and recommended I make one with Anthony.” She looked over her shoulder at her husband, who was still entertaining anyone he laid eyes on, before looking back to Chelsea. “It’s a lot of work to make things work, but we’re doing it. Your dad likes to think ahead, do you guys already have a plan?”
Chelsea had known that a few select individuals in Onyx knew that Elizabeth’s plan mentioned annulment, Zachary being one of them. He hadn’t talked much about that part and often changed the topic whenever she brought it up, which told her that he was uncomfortable with the topic and would bring it up whenever he was ready. “No, I can’t say we do.”
“You guys are really just going with the flow, aren’t you?”
“The flow and whatever new task comes around.” Chelsea smiled, thinking of what she’d say next.
Before she could think of anything, someone put one of their hands gently on her right shoulder. “Naomi, could I steal Chelsea from you for a bit?’
Naomi nodded, getting up from her seat. “Of course, I should probably check in with Anthony either way and see if he needs me to do anything.”
As Naomi walked away, Zachary took his hand off of Chelsea’s shoulder and took the seat Naomi had just left. He had Whitlock, but they both looked to be pretty happy. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing big, I just wanted to bring something up with you and I wanted to do it before the reception ended and we had fifty people to talk to before we can talk ourselves.” He put the baby on his knee, allowing him to play with his keys. “I want to take you on a trip, something I’ve planned out all on my own without any specific orders from your dad. I was thinking we leave tonight and we’re back on Monday so we don’t miss much. The problem with that is they really want you around here, so I figured out a compromise.”
“I’m curious as to what compromise you’d be able to reach in that situation.” Chelsea noticed the baby was about to attempt to eat the keys and she took them from him, setting them on the table. She half expected him to freak out, instead he looked over at her with a smile before reaching out to her.
Zachary passed the baby to her and put the keys in his pocket to avoid him getting hold of them again. “It was more of a compromise with myself since nobody else knew about it, but I figured you and I could sneak out of here a bit early because there’s some things I need to start being honest with you about.” He noticed the look on her face, quickly going to correct himself. “None of it’s bad, just some stuff I would prefer not to tell the whole reception. As for that trip I was thinking about, that’s first in line for when we find Elizabeth.”
“Who’s going to look out for your aunt, Marshal, and Whitlock if we leave early?”
“Anthony is hellbent on having Marshal get acquainted with everyone here, even if he doesn’t want to. Whitlock has been with your dad most of the night and he told me to bring him back to him sometime tonight and my aunt is taking the time to get to know Lyla and Bradly since they’re pretty knowledgeable in biology.” She figured Marcella would be talking with them because they wanted to know more about her sickness, just as she did.
A thought quickly hit her once she looked down at the baby. “Then I agree with leaving early, just give me fifteen minutes with Whitlock, I haven’t seen much of him all day.”
He nodded and then got up, going to talk with some of the guests.
Chelsea stayed with the baby, who was pretty interested in her glasses now that Zachary’s keys were gone.
He eventually tired himself out of reaching for her glasses and not grabbing them, so he started playing with his own hands.
Each time she’d look down to him, he’d catch her and smile but continue doing his own thing.
She spent her time until Zachary came back trying to find out which parent he was more like. She had always believed it was Elizabeth until that day when Marshal proved himself to be pretty childish when he allowed himself to be.
The thought reminded her of something that she’d completely forgotten before the reception.
She waved Anthony down, bringing him and Marshal over to the table and then excused Anthony so she could talk with Marshal.
“Now that you’ve failed at getting tonight to stop, do you want to to explain why you’re so against it?”
“Not really, but I don’t actually think you’re giving me a choice.” He crossed his arms. “If I’m being completely honest, I’m still pissed off at him. He lied directly to an entire group about who he was for eleven years and still left without saying a thing to anyone. Of all the people that he could have told, he chose to tell Filip.”
“I thought telling Filip was a good idea too, though.” Chelsea thought on what he was saying for a moment. “Marshal, are you mad at him because he didn’t trust you with his identity?” He nodded, causing her to scoff. “From what he told me, he believes that you never liked him and have actually hated him since he joined the group. It sounds like the problem’s on your part, doesn’t it?”
As he was getting ready to respond, Georgie joined the two. He surprisingly seemed more drunk than he was during the service itself, which was unsettling to both Chelsea and Marshal. He seemed to focus on Whitlock before taking a swig of the drink in his hand. “I never particularly saw the point in children. What are they good for before they turn eighteen? Annoying you and wasting your money?”
“We figured that much when you abandoned all four of yours.” Marshal took Whitlock from Chelsea once he noticed the baby was starting to get upset when he was getting upset.
Georgie nodded, taking another drink. “It’s a good thing you don’t have any money to lose. If I’m remembering his mother correctly, you’ve got a lot of… personality to deal with.”
“I think you might be mistaken since everyone here knows you focus more on a woman’s body than her personality.”
“I pay attention to everything about a woman, something certain men should start doing.”
Marshal and Chelsea noticed Georgie briefly look towards Zachary, who caught the look and made his way over to the three. “Georgie, good evening. Is there a problem here?”
Chelsea looked to Marshal, seeing he was still clearly angry with Georgie, but he didn’t say anything about it, prompting her to say something herself. “Marshal and Georgie don’t really mesh together and I think Georgie has had a little too much to drink tonight.”
Zachary got a look on his face that told Chelsea exactly what he was thinking. ‘How am I supposed to fix that?’
He cleared his throat before putting a hand on Georgie’s back. “That’s fine, Marshal’s not the easier person to get along with and I’m sure whatever was said was justified in the moment.” Chelsea and Marshal could tell he didn’t mean what he was saying and was attempting to get Georgie away from them. “Hey Georgie, why don’t you and I go talk to Isaac about getting you on the first flight back home? Everything’s better in Australia, right?”
Georgie nodded, turning away from Chelsea and Marshal and stumbling towards Isaac with Zachary following behind him.
Marshal pulled Whitlock close, knowing he’d eventually have to get back to Anthony without the baby. “Have you ever wondered why the Voyagers do what they do? Having people like Georgie in charge. Your dad isn’t so bad, but Georgie nearly manipulated him into signing Onyx over to him and by default, Georgie would have had more power than Zachary. Georgie isn’t the type to care much about ongoing issues relating to certain groups. In fact, he’s the type to take advantage of those groups suffering. That’s what I can’t stand about him and what groups like the Voyagers are trying to stop.”
“And I’m guessing you think by overthrowing Onyx that you’re one step closer to exacting whatever you plan on Georgie?” He nodded. “You really just don’t like a lot of people, do you?”
“Think about who you’re talking about again and ask me that again.” He sighed and handed Whitlock back to Chelsea. “I should get back to Anthony, I’ll see you sometime.”
Once she opened her eyes, she saw a pair of brown eyes staring directly into hers. “Leona, I’m so sorry, I tried to help you, I did but he was smarter than me and he tricked me.” Gregory seemed to be really worked up, almost afraid.
She looked at the ceiling, noticing the peeling paint and the mold. “Forget about it. Where are we?”
“You’re at your new home!” A man’s voice cut in before Greg could respond. Leona sat up, seeing the man standing in the doorway. “You all know each other, I’m sure you’re all comfortable with each other; at least I hope so. You’ll all be here with each other until I get everyone I need.”
Leona slightly turned around, seeing Gregory directly behind her and Elizabeth sat on the wall behind them, her right hand wrapped in gauze. “What happened to your hand?”
She didn’t respond, but put her hands in her lap.
Leona looked back at the man. “Who all do you need?”
“Well, I’ll tell you and maybe you’ll see the correlation.” He grinned, pointing at Elizabeth. “She was the first one on my list and wasn’t too difficult to get, after her was your doctor, Alyssa. I obviously don’t have her, but I didn’t figure I’d get many opportunities at getting you.”
“Cut the extra shit, just say your list.” Leona sighed, rubbing the bridge of her nose as she could feel a headache settling in.
“Fine. Elizabeth, Alyssa, Whitlock, Eris, Gregory, Cecilia, you, and one of Milo’s twins, whichever I could get first.” He paused. “Rest assured, your group wasn’t the only target. I also plan to get Chelsea Hampton.”
Gregory looked to be thinking over the names for a minute. “Are you sure Zachary Bennington isn’t on your list?’
The man crossed his arms with a smirk. “Smart kid, you’ve already figured out the connection, haven’t you?”
He nodded. “Elizabeth is married to Marshal and Whitlock is their son, he also trained me specifically before he gave up leading. Eris is Joseph’s wife and the main reason he didn’t do much while leading. Alyssa and Milo are a thing and he’s basically adopted the twins, he also killed Cecilia’s ex-fiance, he’s also the intended leader after Marshal went into the city.” Greg looked at Leona before shrugging. “I don’t understand Leona’s connection to all this, but Chelsea and Zachary are directly connected to Isaac Hampton.”
“Your thing is leaders, is that right?”
The man uncrossed his arms, putting his hands on his hips. “That’s correct. Yvette is only here to see where she failed as a leader, that should completely fill you in.”
“I’m interested in something, how do you intend on getting, say one of the twins. They know not to go out of the walls and you’re gravely mistaken if you think Milo’s just going to give one of them up. Same goes for Whitlock, that kid’s always attached to somebody.” One thing the Voyagers had taught Leona was to constantly challenge people she knew who couldn’t take it.
She could tell he was put off by her tone by the defensive tone he’d picked up. “I found a way to get two of you at once and you’re doubting me?”
Leona stood up, dusting herself off. “Gregory will always be the first person to give up, he’s completely spineless and that may just be because he’s a kid, but it doesn’t change the fact that capturing him isn’t all that impressive. After all, it’s something I did too.”
“What about her?” He motioned to Elizabeth, clearly getting upset. “She’s married to one of the most influential men in the state right now and you really consider that to be no big deal?”
Elizabeth took her hands out of her lap and got off of the floor. “You’re talking to the only person who managed to kill me twice, one time drowning me while I was with somebody else.” She sounded tired, but also upset at the same time. “That reminds me, you’re the same person who tried to attack Lecia, aren’t you? She wasn’t on your stupid fucking list, so what’s your deal with her?”
Leona could sense that the aggression Elizabeth was sending off was slightly intimidating the man as he seemed to try to get away from the doorway. “She had your son, or is that just a detail that doesn’t stick with you people?”
“That doesn’t match up with what Filip said.” She seemed fixated on the topic. “You weren’t paying any attention to my son, you were focused specifically on Lecia. They both said that and Filip even brought back proof that you had malicious intent that night.” She quickly switched to topic. “But sure, let’s think of something else. I want to know how stupid you must be to think you can just abduct ten people, seven of them being adults and most of those adults being trained in, you know, revolting because that’s what the group does. How do you expect to get all of those people and not be taken over at some point?”
“You physically can’t fight back because of what you did to your hand, Gregory is a child and obsessed with appealing to whoever’s in charge, Alyssa will be focused on whatever twin’s here, and Leona won’t fight back because she’s genuinely curious to see how things pan out. It’s pretty twisted, but who can blame her?”
As Elizabeth was preparing to respond, the man simply turned and shut the door on his way out, the room being filled with silence until the lock on the door clicked.
Leona watched the door for a moment, waiting for him to return. She then turned back to Gregory and Elizabeth, sighing. “I don’t suppose you know where we are either, do you?”
“No, I don’t.” Elizabeth snapped back, her tone sounding annoyed. “In fact, that’s the first time I’ve spoken to him. How did you two get captured?”
Gregory looked nervous, his vision focused on Elizabeth’s right hand. “What did you do to your hand?”
Elizabeth noticed Gregory ignored her question, immediately figuring he had something to do with it but thought better than to call him out on it. “This place is rigged with traps. The lights are on some weird function and he left the door unlocked at first, I guess as a test. I was trying to get out of here and the lights went out after I found a secret room and nearly sliced my finger off trying to find my way through the dark.”
Leona figured she was telling the truth, but still felt something was odd about her. “Is there something going on besides the obvious?”
She stayed silent, her anger seeming to disperse. “You’re going to have to find a way to get us out of here and soon would be appreciated. The only reason I haven’t done better myself is because I have to stay alive.”
“Why do you have to stay alive? Wouldn’t it be easier for you to just die and come back?” Gregory questioned, leading Leona to her answer.
“You’re pregnant again, aren’t you?” Leona caught her attention once she asked the question, immediately noticing Elizabeth cross her arms. “You haven’t fought back because you don’t want to get hurt or killed and you haven’t used the gene to your advantage because you don’t know how it’s going to affect your second kid since it won’t have the gene and there’s nothing to say that it’ll be safe if you die. Is that it?” Leona scoffed slightly. “I never thought I’d see the day that you’d be afraid of something that bad.” She paused again, thinking on how long Elizabeth had been gone. “You’re not too far along and you haven’t told Marshal, which either means he’s not the father or you think he’d react poorly.”
“A number of things. First, I haven’t been with anyone other than Marshal so the chances of him not being the father are about as equal as the chances of us getting along through all this. Second, I found out the day before I left for the city, I didn’t tell him because I knew he would have done everything in his power to keep me from going to the city then.” She uncrossed her arms. “In retrospect, I might have made it back home if I told Monty or Filip.” She shook her head. “New topic, I find that list we got to be a little unbelievable. Even if he was gunning for previous leaders, there’s people closer than some of the people that he gave. That’s not even to mention that Zachary isn’t that close to Isaac and it’s a crime to try and lay your hands on him. There’s way too much at risk for some of those people and I think he’s bluffing for a majority of them.”
“You’ve got a point there.” Leona crossed her arms, looking to the ground. “I don’t think Cecilia is a very good target either since she’s slowly becoming more comfortable with defending herself with whatever means possible. She nearly knocked me out the other night because I snuck up on her.”
“The twins aren’t that good of targets either since Milo’s really strict on them about staying in the walls.” Gregory joined the conversation, only saying what he knew to be true. “Whitlock isn’t a good target since he’s in the city with Marshal.”
Elizabeth turned to him, a look Leona couldn’t read on her face. “I’m sorry, where is he?”
“In the city. Marshal left about a week after your disappeared and he took Whitlock with him.”
She didn’t seem happy about it, instead she seemed pretty upset. “That’s great, we’re desperately in trouble then.”
“I wouldn’t say that, there’s still an entire group that can get us out of here.”
She shook her head. “No, the best we can do is wait for Leona’s people. Nobody in the group is willing to stand up to Pierre and Milo only did it when Marshal was around because he’s a bad influence on him, that’s not something he would do one his own. He knew Marshal would always take the fall if something went wrong, so he felt completely blameless and would do whatever just for the fun of it.”
Gregory seemed to finally take Elizabeth’s word into account, looking to Leona. “We can count on your people, right?”
“We don’t have a choice, but we’ve got a bigger problem.” While Elizabeth and Gregory had been going back and forth, Leona had been thinking on the man’s list. “He’s going to go into the walls. That would be the easiest way to get Kimber or Jude, same with Cecilia since she also doesn’t leave the walls. I have a feeling he also intended to go into the walls for Gregory and Whitlock but took the first opportunity that presented itself. To get into the walls, he’d have to find a way to get rid of Monty and Filip or Cyrus, depending on who’s guarding the gate at the time.”
“The only way to do this would be by killing them and that tells me we need to leave sooner than later.”
Leona and Gregory shared a look before Leona quickly snapped back at Elizabeth. “Do you know that you’re the most back and forth person I’ve ever met? We’re not doing anything because between the three of us, there’s only one completely capable person and that’s me. Gregory is twelve years old, you’re pregnant and have no use of your right hand, and I’m not stupid enough to risk two children and someone else’s wife.”
“We’ll touch on that back and forth thing later, but tell me this, do you really believe that the best course of action is to just sit here and wait? Francine is a certified mess without Greg around and the group is just going to get lower in morale if people continue to disappear without a trace.” Elizabeth briefly looked at Gregory before turning back to Leona. “That’s not to mentioned he’s already been trained. Yes, he’s a kid, but he’s not in the same situation as Morgan or Kimber or Jude, he knows how to defend himself and other people. That’s also not to mention what we did when I was pregnant with Whitlock and I was definitely farther along when we went to quarantine.”
“If he could defend himself then he wouldn’t be in this situation.”
“You’re in the same exact situation but you’re a grown woman, what’s your excuse?”
Gregory could tell that the two weren’t going to work well together and that with each passing moment, they stopped taking the depth of the situation into consideration.
He knew he had to break it up, but he had doubts as to how well it would work. The only thing Leona and Elizabeth had in common was their respect for following a majority decision.
He’d have to go against one of them and they were both known for taking stuff like that personally, but he couldn’t let them constantly be at each other because it wouldn’t take Leona long to snap.
”We should find a way out” ”We should wait for the group”
After Zachary had gotten Marshal and Georgie separated and Chelsea returned Whitlock to her father, the two snuck out of the venue and ended up going to the roof of headquarters once again.
He still looked pretty happy, which told her that what he felt for her was genuine. She didn’t understand why he brought her there, but she knew she’d always be along for the ride when it came to him. She already knew he wasn’t the type to make plans and making plans even stressed him out a bit, but he was slowly becoming better with that.
“The last time we were up here, I realized something about halfway through our conversation.”
“This should be interesting considering you’re either talking about your failed attempts at dating or when you agreed to have a child with a robot.” Chelsea noticed a smile cross his face.
“Alright, that was a good one but it’s not about what would have been my robot child, it’s about my failed attempts at dating.” Chelsea snapped, getting a chuckle out of him. “Bummer, I know but you’re the one to blame for talking me out of it.”
She nodded. “Fair enough, go on.”
He suddenly seemed to try and play it off, putting his hands in his pockets. “Actually, it’s something that can wait. There’s something that’s more important right now.”
There were a number of things she had to ask him, some details about work, some with absolutely no connection to anything she needed to know.
They started back into the building, going to his office on the fourth floor. “What is it you need to do?”
“Connect my work computer to the house computer.” He sighed. “Again.”
“Isn’t that something you can do on Monday?”
He shook his head. “I’m only coming in Monday to work on my resignation with Anthony and Isaac. That, and to get you here on time.”
“I could walk and be on time.” He shrugged, focusing on the computer until Chelsea pulled a chair next to him and sat down. “This could totally be a stupid question, but why do you have two middle names?”
“My parents couldn’t settle on one that they both liked and like the business professionals they were, they compromised by giving me two.” He smirked. “It’s not any fun, in case you’re wondering. The one perk to what I do would be that I don’t have to do my own government paperwork. I always end up having to do it because nobody knows how to work with two middle names.”
“How does it work?”
He slid a blank piece of paper over and took a pen from the desk, signing his name on the paper. “I don’t put my full name down unless I absolutely have to. When asked for my middle name, I initial both of them and if I’m called out on that, I just use Denver. I’ll occasionally use Jamison because it feels more professional than Denver, but I don’t personally like it that much.”
Chelsea nodded, looking at the signature. “I’ve been wanting to ask that for awhile and you’re the only person I know with two middle names.”
“It’s not something I’m going to do for my kids, it’s just confusing for everyone.” He looked between the computer and Chelsea before getting out of his seat. “Let’s go for a walk or something.”
“What about connecting your computers?” Chelsea got up, going around the desk.
He shrugged, going to the door and waiting for her. “That can wait until Monday. If I do it tonight, I’m just going to work the entire weekend and regret it next week when I have nothing to do while you’re at work.”
She gave a soft smile, heading out of the office and watching him lock the door.
They went downstairs before trying to decide what they’d end up doing for the night, agreeing on a short walk before they would go home.
They stuck pretty close together and stayed relatively quiet, just enjoying the sights until Zachary spoke up. “I just remembered, your dad is already making the most of this couple thing and booked us for an investors meeting Monday night.”
“An investors meeting?” Chelsea stopped walking, Zachary stopping right after her. “Like dinner with the main investors to convince them to fund us for another year?”
He nodded. “There’s also going to be some other organization leaders present, Georgie is unfortunately one of them. There’s good news for you though, Eddie Russo is going to be there.”
“And who else?”
“Your dad isn’t going because he wants to see how well we do on our own, but Edefelic Magabaz, Nikolai Volkov, and Georgie Kenny are going in representation of their organizations. Eddie Russo and I think the entire Dumont family is coming since I haven’t met them all but they’re working with Elias to prepare for these sort of events. Your dad suggested we bring Marshal to try and convince the investors that we’re better off in dealing with the Voyagers.”
Chelsea scoffed, crossing her arms. “Good luck getting Marshal to go for that. He’s not going to take Whitlock around Georgie again and he’s not going to leave him home alone either.”
“That’s why your dad offered to watch him for the night.” Zachary started walking again. “I don’t know, I’m starting to think that your dad actually likes having Whitlock around, not so much Marshal.”
She followed after him, not buying into his attempt at derailing the conversation. “Alright, let’s assume that Marshal is completely okay with my dad watching Whitlock and being out of sight, he’s not going to deal well with the investors because coming into the city was his choice and whether we want to believe it or not, he still has the upper hand.”
“I’m glad I’m not the only one who saw that. He’s aware of it, he let me in on that much today.” Zachary paused for a moment. “It’s completely up to you if you want to bring him along. I think if we break it to him in the right way to where he sees that he’s benefiting from going as well, he’ll work with us.”
[Bring Marshal along] [Keep Marshal out of it]
I did intend for there to be a Voyager POV but this part has already turned out to be longer than the usual and the next Voyager POV I have planned isn’t really a short one, so in the interest of getting the part out in time and keeping it at a somewhat bearable length, that’s being saved for the next part.
I can’t say much about it other than it’ll be a flashback from a certain Voyager that’ll answer some questions that have come from this part. Sorry about that!
I don't think they should sit around and wait for a rescue from the Voyager's. They don't even know where they are, how is the Voyager's or Leona's group suppose to find them? They should at least attempt to find a way out. Who knows what will happen if they wait for that creep to show back up. Although, it would be beneficial for them to possibly capture him themselves and interrogate him to find out his goals and if he is working with anyone or if he is alone.
Now, I'm not sure what to do with the Marshal choice. I might have to see how others vote on that one and see their reasoning for it. Anyway, I'll make up my mind on that choice later.
Edit: [Leave Marshal out of it]
Liquid makes a good point. Perhaps, it's best if Marshal doesn't come.
Post by LiquidChicagoTed on Dec 4, 2018 2:08:07 GMT
”We should find a way out”
Aye, as always, Tales summarizes my own thoughts on the subject, this makes more sense to me.
[Keep Marshal out of it]
Honestly, I fear that Marshal is getting more reckless. Who knows what is going to happen during that dinner, but if he loses his cool, or anything unexpected happens, then he could be at risk. So, yeah, I would really prefer to keep him out of this for the time being.
Gregory will support what Elizabeth says and suggest they find a way out.
Chelsea will advise Zachary to keep Marshal out of the investor's dinner.
I can't say anything for Gregory's choice, but can confirm that the continuation of this choice will be in Sunday's part rather than today's part.
Chelsea's choice will be continued in today's part but result wise, could have worked both ways as Marshal could have proved to be pretty helpful if he went, but it would have also sparked accusations that Zachary was still heavily involved with the Voyagers.
When it comes to parts and POVs, today's part is going to have two POVs. One of which is a flashback and the other is a continuation of Chelsea's choice.
There was supposed to be a third POV but after a bit of thinking, that POV will be release as its own part with a second POV, then Sunday's part will have three POVs compared to the four that were originally planned.
Edit! Changed the upload schedule a bit for this week only!
Small note before this part! I’ve made a change to the uploading schedule for this week, basically there’s going to be a part out today, one tomorrow, and a third on Sunday since there’s certain POVs I want to get before hitting the midway of the chapter and also because this part has already beaten the length of every part to date. The votes for the part after this will be open until this Sunday and Sunday’s part will have a vote open until next Sunday!
Gregory had noticed a lot of the adults were becoming stricter on leaving the gates, even with each other.
Morgan and Kimber didn’t know anything about it, but Jude said that Milo had told him that there were bad people outside of the gates and that the group was being targeted by the bad people.
Gregory eventually confronted Pierre, demanding to know what was going on and saying that he and the other kids had every right to know since they lived at the motel too.
Pierre was the one adult who didn’t even try to sugarcoat what was happening. “There’s a man in the woods who tried to attack Lecia and is very likely responsible for Elizabeth’s disappearance. He’s known to hang around the creek, but that doesn’t mean you can go out at all.”
He also had noticed that Leona had been trying to leave the gates more often, but her people didn’t know anything about why she constantly wanted to leave.
She had made it out of the gates once without Monty and Filip noticing, which struck Gregory as something to be afraid of.
He wasn’t thinking about what he should do, rather than what he could do and had gotten Kyle to distract Filip and Monty while he took a gun from the guard’s post and slipped out of the gates himself.
When he made it to the creek, he found that Pierre had been truthful when he spoke about the man. He also learned that the this man’s threat level wasn’t something to be taken lightly as he was one of the few people who could challenge Leona to a fight and win.
One thing Marshal had always told him during training was that he shouldn’t draw a gun on somebody if he or another Voyager wasn’t being immediately threatened or if he couldn’t reasonably deduce what had happened to cause a situation to spiral to the point where a weapon was needed.
Leona was already knocked out by the time Gregory got there, but he knew her well enough to know that she was more capable than a lot of the Voyagers physically, so anyone who could take her down was a threat. He also knew that nobody in her group and no Voyager would try to hurt her since she was on their side.
The man turned to face Gregory, who immediately raised the gun towards him once he saw the man move.
‘First, you need to issue a warning and hear what they have to say.’ Gregory started going over his training. “If you get any closer to me or to her, I’ll shoot.”
The man raised his hands, but clearly wasn’t threatened by Greg. “I was trying to help her, she slipped into the creek and knocked herself out.”
‘Use everything around you to find any bluffs in what they’re saying and call them out if their story doesn’t match up.’ Gregory briefly looked at Leona, noticing that her clothes and hair were completely dry. The man sounded tired, as if he had just run for a really long time and nearby there was a stone that looked like it could do enough damage to somebody. “That’s not true, I think you took that stone,” He motioned towards the stone, noticing the man didn’t look at it, likely because he already knew it was there. “And then you knocked her out.”
“Why would I do that? I don’t even know this woman.” The man’s tone picked up to be confrontational, Gregory figured he was trying to intimidate him.
‘It’s alright to be scared, but you can’t show it. You have to be in control of the situation if you want it to play out in your favor.’ Gregory quickly eased his hands as he felt them becoming unsteady. “I bet you didn’t know Lecia either, you just picked her because she was the only one around. She’s with my group, so if you’re really here to help her then you can leave and she’ll get help.”
He lowered his hands, taking a brief step towards Leona. “Kid, she needs a doctor, she’s really hurt. I’m telling you what I saw and what I know.”
‘You can’t let yourself be stuck alone with someone who you know has the intention of harming you, you also can’t leave one of your people with someone like that either.’ Knowing that, he was stuck. He couldn’t leave Leona with the man. “We have our own doctor, she can deal with her.”
That’s when things started going downhill. ‘You can always call for help, but you shouldn’t turn your back to an active threat under any circumstances.’ Gregory turned to look back at the motel and call for help, then heard something running towards him before he turned back to the man, just in time to get hit by the same stone he had pointed out.
“I just think we need to leave Marshal out of it. He’s having a rough time getting along as it is and if we put him in a room with Georgie, without his son, and with a bunch of other elitists, I’m half certain he’ll snap on somebody.”
He seemed to agree with her. “I was only bringing it up because your dad told me to. Marshal’s not the type to sit down with a bunch of strangers and talk business for three hours, I actually don’t even think he can sit still for three hours. A lot of the Voyagers are like that, though.”
“You reformed pretty well and you’ve been with the Voyagers just a few years less than he has, how did you do it?”
He shrugged. “I had something to do here to keep me occupied, I’ve never had a free moment since I came here and I credit that to helping me reform.” He paused, something coming to him. “I think I know what he can do to help himself reform. I’ll have to talk to your dad about it after the dinner.”
The weekend had gone by completely uneventful and they surprisingly didn’t hear much from Marshal. They knew he was alright, but he had usually kept to himself and was only out of the room whenever he needed to feed Whitlock.
They had told him about the dinner and that he’d have to help out Carmella for the night, which he said he didn’t mind.
Her father had given Zachary the location and a time to be there, but he wanted to be early since he knew some of the investors were going to be there early.
Chelsea could tell he was nervous once they left the house. “You already know a lot of these people, right? I mean, I know you know Eddie, but what about everyone else?”
“I know most of the Dumont family but I can’t say that I’m familiar with them. Elias is gone for so long that I would go as far to say that I only know what he looks like. Sebastian is usually around for big events with Naomi since he’s the chairman of it all, but I don’t know Veronica or her husband at all. You met their parents when you first started, Meredith and Louis, they’re really hard to please so just don’t say anything to them that you wouldn’t say to my dad.” She paused, thinking over the people he’d said would be in attendance. “Eddie and Edefelic are pretty carefree, but I can already tell you that there’s going to be problems with Edefelic and Georgie.”
“What do you mean there’s going to be a problem with Georgie?” She looked over to see a smirk on his face. “Never would have seen that one coming.”
“Everyone’s got a problem with Georgie and he’s probably going to try to push you to your limits just because you’ve embarrassed him a lot this past month and he wants to embarrass you as well. Eddie usually calls him out pretty quick, so I wouldn’t be too worried.”
She looked over again to see he seemed a lot less stressed out about it just by knowing that Chelsea knew about these people. “Thank you for coming with me. I know it’s probably not the first thing you want to do since it’s all about business and business with Georgie, but I’m really glad you decided to come with me.”
After finding out that Marshal would be staying home, her father offered to inform the guests that just Zachary would be attending since he still didn’t trust Marshal to behave, but Chelsea quickly talked him out of it and convince him that Zachary would need her there to be successful since it was his first time doing something like this without Isaac. It wasn’t the truth, but she knew Zachary would appreciate having her there and that it was also a chance for Marshal to prove himself, so it worked out well for everyone.
They arrived at the restaurant early like Zachary wanted and waited in the car for a minute until they were both certain they were ready.
She briefly stopped him before he got out of the car, giving him a quick kiss. “You’re going to do great and even if you mess up, they’ll probably still invest again just because they love my dad and that might get you out of doing this all again next year.”
“That’s oddly reassuring but I don’t think I’m gonna throw this just because I don’t want to do it on a yearly basis for the rest on my life.” He put his hand on the handle, but didn't open the door just yet. “Instead, I think I’m gonna nail this just to rub in Georgie’s face.”
Chelsea rolled her eyes, getting out of the car with Zachary getting out just after her. “That’s an admirable goal, I’ll give you that.”
Once they went in, they found Anthony looking extremely nervous in the waiting area. He went straight to Zachary. “I’m so sorry we didn’t tell you this sooner, but nobody remembered to. There’s going to be a few more people than you’re expecting, specifically six more people. Eddie Russo is bringing his son, Sebastian and Irene Dumont are bringing their son, and this one is way too important for you to mess up; Han and Michelle Lee are also coming, they’re bringing their daughter, you cannot let them leave unsatisfied with anything.”
“That’s five, who’s the sixth?”
“Irene wasn’t supposed to be coming tonight, but she wanted to finally meet you so she decided to come along and bring the baby.” Anthony looked around. “Did Marshal not come with you guys?” Zachary shook his head. “Damn, we really could have used the baby. He’s not too much younger than Sebastian and Irene’s kid and I feel like Whitlock definitely would have won them over.”
“From what Isaac told me, Whitlock wouldn’t have come either way.”
Anthony shook his head. “Marshal would have found a way to bring him along. There’s no way he’d leave Whitlock with Isaac in a place he couldn’t see them, especially not half way across the city.”
Chelsea nodded, looking back at the doors to see that the investors had started arriving. As soon as Anthony went back to Naomi, Chelsea saw a brief moment where she could say something and Zachary would be the only one to hear it. “I don’t know anything about Han and Michelle, I’ve never met them. They don’t like coming to events like this, so it’s really strange that they’d show up to this one.”
The first couple in was a man with dark brown hair who wore a brown suit. He immediately went up to Zachary and shook his hand, his wife staying by his side. She wore a green dress the paired well with her green eyes and had left her black hair down, which gave away that she was a Dumont, but didn’t tell Zachary which one she was.
Just as Chelsea was getting ready to whisper who the couple was, Zachary narrowed it down based on the woman.”Mr. Volkov, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you, I’ve heard so many things about you.”
The man simply nodded, muttering something under his breath that Chelsea barely heard. ‘Smart.’ “It is nice to meet you in person, Mr. Bennington.” He then put his hand behind his wife’s back. “This is my wife, Veronica Dumont.”
Zachary smiled at her. “I believe we met around this time last year as well.”
Veronica laughed, which seemed to unsettle Zachary. “I recall, but you’ve really been with Onyx a whole year now?”
“Nearly thirteen months now.” He seemed to switch the topic as quick as he could. “Nikolai, Chelsea, I’m not sure if you two are acquainted yet.”
Nikolai birefly shook her hand. “If you will excuse us, your next set of guests are coming in.”
The two went to the dining area, leaving Chelsea and Zachary in the waiting area. She looked to him, noticing he looked slightly off. “Are you okay?”
He nodded and then smiled. “Yeah, don’t worry about it.”
The next couple in had a young boy with them, which Zachary quickly figured out to be Sebastian and Irene Dumont’s son.
He went to shake Sebastian’s hand, taking in a few details about him. He was about as tall as Zachary was himself, his hair was darker and his eyes were green, another factor giving away that he was a Dumont. “Sebastian Dumont, I presume?”
“You’d be right.” Sebastian didn’t seem like Veronica, his smile seemed genuine and he did seem to be actually interested in the conversation. “I’m going to presume that you’re Zachary Bennington.”
Zachary chuckled, slightly nodding. “It’s nice to meet you.”
The woman with him was holding onto a boy that seemed to be a bit older than what Anthony was thinking. She had long, white hair with blue eyes that were focused on the ring on Chelsea’s finger. “Is that a Welhaven Diamond?”
“It is. Imported straight from Norway since I couldn’t take any time off to get it myself.”Zachary commented once he noticed Sebastian’s eyes had also gone to Chelsea’s ring.
The woman held up her left hand, showing off a bright smile and her own ring that had a diamond similar to Chelsea’s ring. “Irene Dumont, and may I say that you have an impeccable taste in diamonds.”
Zachary briefly looked at the boy in her arms. “How old is he?”
“Our Benjamin just turned two and it’s quite a task.” Irene laughed, putting her hand to hold her son. “Dinner out of the house is new to him, so I must apologize in advance if he causes any disruptions.”
“Kids will be kids, especially at that age.” Zachary looked over the boy to see that he had inherited his mother’s hair and eye color, which probably didn’t make the Dumont side of the family happy. “Besides, most people in attendance have been parents themselves at a time, they understand.”
Sebastian nodded, a kind smile on his face. “It’s been a full weekend of trying to decide if we really should bring him along or not but it’s better to start learning sooner rather than later.”
They went into the dining area after seeing that Nikolai and Veronica had already arrived. Chelsea was going to comment on how Zachary was doing so far before six people came in at once.
Zachary immediately knew who they all were just on how they presented themselves. His first priority was the family of three, all of them being slender in their build but their eyes just looking for something wrong as soon as they walked in the door. “Mr. Lee, Mrs. Lee. I’m Zachary Bennington, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” He then briefly looked over to the other family. “It’s nice to see you again, Louis and Meredith.”
He saw Han nudge the girl in front of him, prompting her to introduce herself. “Hello sir, my name is June Lee. It’s very kind of you to invite us tonight and we look forward to learning about what you plan for your organization.”
Zachary nodded, allowing the two families to move on.
Chelsea had a feeling that it wasn’t going to be difficult to keep the Lee family pleased as it looked as if they were here to train their daughter. “The boy you didn’t get the name of is Elias, the Dumont family’s youngest.”
“So that’s all the Dumonts, we’re just waiting for Georgie, Edefelic, and Eddie.”
Georgie arrived and simply said hello, refusing to stick around with the two for small talk. Edefelic did the same thing, but Chelsea figured that was more because he hadn’t figured Zachary out yet and he didn’t want to test him.
Once Eddie and Brent got there, the four of them went to the dining area to see most of the investors and organization leaders mingling with each other since most of them already knew each other.
Zachary had a few things left to talk about with the restaurant staff before they could get started, so he split from Chelsea so he could handle what he needed to. Brent had gone to talk with Elias once he saw that he was also there, but Eddie stuck with Chelsea.
“Tonight’s probably gonna be rough on him.” Eddie commented, noticing Zachary already seemed a little stressed out. “Between the Lee family showing up, Georgie being here, and Irene’s baby, there’s tons of distractions to go around.”
“I’m not too worried about him. He’s already aware that most of these people are here to watch him fail purely because he’s not Isaac Hampton, but he’s not planning to give them the satisfaction of that much.”
“I wouldn’t be too sure of that. Your dad has been pulling some unpredicted cards lately and the investors are starting to expect more from Onyx, not only in your promises but also in dealing with the Voyagers.” Eddie paused. “A lot of these people don’t trust Zachary yet because it’s no secret that he was with the Voyagers for years before this, people are skeptical. They’re also skeptical about your relationship since he’s your superior and nobody knew a thing about the two of you until under a week before you two got married.”
“If it helps, he’s resigning after the conference in the Vatican next week.”
Eddie didn’t seem to care much about that part. “I personally don’t mind what he does, I think he’s doing fine for now. I’m just hoping he turns out to be his own person rather than someone like his parents.”
“Were they that bad?”
He shook his head. “They were just hard to get to know because they were just.. weird. They loved what they did but they hated certain aspects of it, events like this being something they didn’t like and always left for your parents.” He chuckled. “I remember how pissed off your mom got at her last event, his parents backed out at the last minute and your mom was already nine months along with you and had trouble getting around, but she made herself go to the event.”
“Why did they back out at the last minute?”
“They found out the Lee family was coming. There’s always been some tension between them and Herald. They’re cool with Zachary leading this event since they’re interested in seeing how he differs from his parents.”
Zachary finished talking with the staff, quickly spotting someone who didn’t belong and made his way to Chelsea and Eddie. “Chelsea, two questions. When did your dad get here and why is your dad here?”
Chelsea looked over the people in attendance, spotting her father talking with Naomi and Anthony. “I don’t know the answer to either of those questions, but he didn’t come in while you were talking to the staff.”
“He’s an investor as well, so he might be here as an investor.” Eddie commented, crossing his arms. “He was also probably here before anyone else to avoid being spotted until the last minute.”
Chelsea could tell the thought of having to appeal to her father stressed Zachary out even more, but he simply tried to shrug it off.
The staff laid out the meals they’d prepared and the investors went to the table, Zachary taking a moment to go around the table and make sure everyone was happy with what they’d gotten.
Once he had taken his own seat, the investors turned their attention to him, waiting for him to start the pitch.
“We all know how these meetings usually start, I tell you what we’re going to do and try to convince you to invest again, but I’m going to do something a little different.” He could tell the investors were interested based on the looks he was getting. “You’re our investors, sure, but you’re also our partners and that’s what’s most important. Since a partnership works both ways, I want to hear your ideas to solve our current problems and prevent new ones from forming so that together, we can make Onyx the best it’s ever been.”
Nikolai was the first to speak up. “It is an interesting idea you have, to get all of us involved, but what is your reasoning for it?”
“It gives you a reason to invest again because you know the organization is taking steps to fulfill your desires. You’re not just giving us your money and counting on us to make it worth anything.”
Chelsea looked to her father to see that he had no idea what Zachary was talking about and that they hadn’t previously talked about this, though he did seem intrigued by the idea.
Michelle cupped her hands, studying Zachary for a moment before she said anything. “I’ve always felt Onyx has had a management problem and that they take more than they can handle. From what’s developed recently, you’ve got enough staff but your management is getting careless.”
She then looked to Han, who nodded. “I agree. Michelle and I have discussed this in private and we believe that putting the former leader of your resistance with one of your organization’s owners is reckless behavior.”
Isaac knew the two were directing their comments at him since it was his decision to put Marshal with Zachary and he was going to defend the decision until Zachary stepped in. “I’d say otherwise. Marshal Kennedy is very careful with choosing his words to engineer a situation to his advantage and with the current situation we’re in, leaving him to do his own thing is the best we can do since he’s not hurting anybody. He understands what’s at risk for him and he’s currently cooperating with us, but it doesn’t hurt to have a higher figure of authority looking after him, it makes it easier to deal with him if he does steps out of line.”
“I’ve met Marshal Kennedy myself and harmless isn’t a word I’d use to describe him. That man’s a threat and just waiting for something to spark a reaction from him.” Georgie quickly snapped back at Zachary.
“There are factors that influence someone’s behavior and the very first time you met him, you got drunk right next to his infant son. He also had only been in the city for a week when you first met him.” He took a quick breath. “I’m not trying to validate him, I’m just saying that his behavior in the situation you’re referring to is the only thing we can expect from him.”
“That’s not to mention that he wasn’t even aggressive with you, he was just mouthy.” Isaac commented from his side of the table, sounding a bit irritated.
“By focusing on one man, how are you intending to take down the whole group?” Veronica chimed in before Georgie could keep arguing.
The investors then turned to Zachary, waiting for a response. “By using him the same way he’s using us. Marshal’s wife disappeared a few weeks ago and she’s got strong connections in Onyx, so he surrendered for our assistance in finding her. What he doesn’t know is that as soon as she’s found, they’ll both be chipped and their memories will be used to track down the rest of the group.”
Chelsea looked at her father, seeing something spark in his eyes. She could tell Zachary was making this up as he went along, but she had the awful feeling that he’d just given her father an idea.
Most of the investors seemed pleased with the answer with the exception of Edefelic, who had been known to be very kind to resistance members since his half-sister was the leader of the Vatican’s resistance. “So you have a plan on what to do for your resistance, but tell me something new. Zachary, what would you say is a legacy?”
Chelsea noticed Zachary looking around the room for a split second before he stopped at Benjamin. “A legacy is something you have to create yourself. It’s the basic foundation to secure a future for your people.” He then looked at Edefelic. “Don’t get me wrong, I believe that having someone to pass your legacy down to is important, but you need to have something before you can pass it on.”
“Your parents were known to be difficult to work with, how can you assure us that you’re not the same way?” Eddie decided to get his only question out of the way, knowing it would spur more questions from the others.
“Because I’m here while there’s a former Voyager in my home right now. I’ve been doing all I can to keep all of you updated with what’s happening inside Onyx for the past year and I’ve been as open as I can with all of you tonight.” Chelsea saw him look at Georgie briefly. “There are some of you that I may never personally agree with or get along with but this isn’t some dinner party, this is an investor’s dinner.”
Chelsea noticed a small nod of respect from Eddie, then looked to see that Han and Michelle seemed to be pretty impressed.
“You’ve got your Voyager problem figured out, but how do you intend to build relations with other organizations? Specifically the few you won’t get along with.” Louis spoke up from Chelsea’s side.
“The same way I’ve been dealing with other organization leaders for the past year; by only seeing them during formal events and treating them as the equals that they are, whether I believe that they’ve earned that treatment or not.”
Irene looked as if she were thinking on something before she spoke on it. “And what about building relations with your citizens? That’s crucial in the business world and I’m sure you’re already aware that some people are very unsure of you in specific based on your history with the Voyagers.”
“By getting rid of the group they’re afraid of. I can’t change everyone’s mind and I surely can’t appeal to everybody, but I can try in the best way I know how.” Chelsea noticed that he didn’t really know how to answer that question, so he decided he was just confuse the investors. He did that a lot and it worked once again, because they moved on without asking for clarification.
Eddie leaned back in his seat a bit before clearing his throat. “I don’t know about all you guys, but I’ve made my decision already.” After hearing the other investors agree, he delivered his verdict. “I’m investing again.”
“Isaac, we already figure you’re investing again.” Louis looked over the people in attendance, focusing on his children. “Naomi, Sebastian?”
Naomi held up a finger while she whispered back and forth with Anthony before nodding and putting her hand down. “We’re investing again.”
Louis then looked to his oldest son, waiting for a response. “I’m investing again.”
He then looked to Irene, who he knew was there as an investor herself but also as a representative for the Diamond Organization. “I’ll be investing again myself and will also speak with Diamond Organization investors about the opportunity available at Onyx.”
“Meredith and I will be investing once again.” Louis finished his side of the table, then looked over to the other organization representatives.
Georgie leaned forward in his seat and shared a glance with Zachary. “I’ll start investing. I may not like you in the slightest but you proved to me these past few weeks that you’ve got what it takes to stand up to people you probably shouldn’t, but you’re too damn headstrong to quit. Your citizens need that.”
Han and Michelle spoke with each other for a moment before consulting their daughter’s opinion on it. Once they all agreed, Han spoke for the three of them. “It has been an interesting experience, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t curious as to where Onyx goes from here. We’ll invest again, but we hope to see significant changes within the next year. If we don’t see those changes, we won’t return for another meeting and we won’t invest again.”
Edefelic looked unsure of his verdict and encouraged Nikolai and Veronica to go before him.
“We will invest again, but our conditions are the same as Han’s conditions.” Nikolai didn’t have much to say on it as he turned back to Edefelic for his verdict.
“I should be taking time to consider it, but why not? I’ll invest again.” Edefelic stood up, gathering his belongings. “Congratulations on the first meeting in four years that all investors choose to invest again.”
The investors saw themselves out, with just Isaac, Eddie, Louis, and Meredith sticking around to talk with Zachary and Chelsea.
Louis and Meredith were closest in proximity to him, so they went first along with Elias. “Han was right, that was quite the interesting experience and we look forward to seeing what you have to offer to Onyx. We do have a request for you, though.” They waited until the knew they had Zachary’s full attention before they went on. “You seem pretty set on handling your Voyager problem and you’ve mentioned that you’ve currently got one living with you.” Zachary nodded, allowing them to go on. “We want you to take Elias for his holiday break, to teach him how to deal with resistance groups and become a better leader. The school won’t teach the children how to deal with resistance movements and you’re closer to his age than Isaac and we feel he’d listen better to you.”
“Louis, Meredith, I don’t think I can do that. Marshal’s still not used to the city and he’s really antsy with new people around his son, I feel it’s going to cause more problems with his attempts at reform.”
“It’s your job as a leader to meet the needs of all of your people, not just one of them.” Isaac commented. “Meredith and Louis have spoken to me about this and told me they would decide based on your performance tonight.”
Zachary frowned slightly, quickly correcting himself before he said anything. “I suppose that’s right. You two are aware that Marshal was the most dangerous threat to life while he was part of the Voyagers and he’s still not fully reformed yet, right?”
“That’s the risk that comes with the job, he has to learn how to handle people like that if he wants to succeed.” Louis continued to push, seemingly like he’d already made up his mind.
“As long as you two are aware of the risks that are present in my house, I’m okay with that.” Chelsea knew why he really didn’t want to take Elias, the main reason being that it would stall his investigation into her father’s threat and delay his resignation, which was only going to lead to more stress on him.
“We’re well aware of who all resides in your home and the current threat level they possess. We expect him to go into work with you and learn what you do around headquarters and what you do work wise while you’re home.” Meredith turned to Elias. “Your sister is going to be making sure you behave and you’d better believe we’ll hear every single thing that goes on. Go get your stuff from the car while we work out the details.”
Elias took the order, Louis waiting for him to be out of the building before saying anything else. “The school has told us he’s been getting overly competitive in the wrong way, he’s started challenging his teachers, acting out and we’re worried he’s going to end up slipping somewhere and turning down the wrong path. Being around three very different people who’ve led three very different lives should help him understand that he needs to get his act together. We’re not worried about Marshal, he can say whatever he wants to him but he shouldn’t lay a hand on our son.”
Elias came back with two bags, prompting Meredith to end the conversation. “His holiday break is over in January, but we’ll take him to see the family on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Other than that, he’s all yours.”
The two said goodbye to their son, who didn’t seem the slightest bit interested in saying goodbye to them before they left.
Eddie had Brent go try to talk with him while he talked to Zachary away from the others, leaving Chelsea to talk with her dad. “You really surprised us by showing up, you know that?”
He nodded, his vision focused solely on Zachary. “He did pretty well.” He then turned to Chelsea. “Most of the guests were impressed with the determination he had. Edefelic was a bit upset since his plans don’t really line up with Edefelic’s beliefs but the Voyagers are back in hiding since Marshal gave up, they won’t be for much longer. I’m quite pleased with how this all went, especially considering he’s the same man who left his own wedding reception two hours early.”
“Why did nobody tell us that Georgie wasn’t an investor?”
“Because you have to pick your battles.” Her father put his hands in the pockets of his white suit. “We only found out the Lee family was coming after you two had already left for work and they’re significantly more difficult to please than Georgie, so we chose to tell Zachary to prioritize their satisfaction. His investment was a surprise, though.”
Zachary joined the two after finishing his talk with Eddie, who got Brent and left the restaurant. He didn’t seem mad when he left, just tired.
Isaac reaffirmed Zachary that he did a good job over the night and then left himself. Before he left, he had told them to be early to work the next day as he had a meeting for the both of them.
Once the restaurant was cleaned up, Chelsea and Elias put his bags in the car while Zachary dismissed the restaurant staff.
He met up with them at the car and they quickly started back home, knowing it would take at least half an hour to get back.
Halfway to the house, Zachary attempted to start up a conversation with Elias. “We heard stuff’s rough at school for you, do you want to talk about it?” He looked in the rear view mirror to see the cold glare he was getting in response. “I just think it might be easier for you to talk to people who aren’t your parents about it.”
Elias crossed his arms, something Chelsea knew he was doing as a defense mechanism. “You said it yourself, stuff’s rough.”
Zachary nodded, picking up on Elias’ subtle demand to drop the conversation. “You’ve got me there.”
Elias stayed quiet for a few minutes before Chelsea looked back to see he seemed nervous about something. “Is there something you want to say?”
He looked up at her and shook his head, going silent for another five minutes before he spoke again. “The Voyager at your house, he’s not too mean is he?”
Chelsea and Zachary shared a look before she answered. “Not unless you provoke him. He keeps to himself for the most part but he’s not subtle at letting you know when you’ve upset him, he gets passive-aggressive in the hopes that the conversation will end, then he gets direct and tries to end the conversation himself. His baby is more social than he is.”
“Just be careful how you act when the baby’s around or how you act towards the baby, those are the easiest ways to set him off.” Zachary paused, trying to think of something else he had meant to mention. “Gillian can help you around the house if you need it, but she’s around more to help with my aunt while I work.”
“How many people are in the house?”
“Six if you count Gillian, but she’s not really human so I guess five.” Zachary sounded unsure of his answer.
Elias went quiet until they reached the house, then he grabbed his stuff and waited by the front door. The lights were still on inside, which was unusual for a time close to one in the morning.
Zachary went in, seeing Marshal on the couch. He cleared his throat to announce that they’d gotten back. “Marshal, you alright?”
He slowly sat up, looking as if he had just woken up. “Yeah.” He took a moment to recognize Elias and fully register that he was there. “Did you bring home someone else’s kid?”
“That we did.” Zachary went upstairs, Elias following him up with his stuff.
Chelsea came in, shutting the door and locking it behind her. Marshal got off the couch and went to his room, briefly stopping in the doorway. “You’re going to run out of rooms in a week if you keep bringing people home at this rate.”
“Very funny, goodnight.” Chelsea smirked as he went in his room and shut the door.
She went around the living room, turning the lights out before heading upstairs. The lights were already off in the room Elias took, which told Chelsea that he was just as tired as everyone else.
She went into her own room to see that Zachary had already gotten ready for bed and was looking through a file while he waited for her. “In the time it took me to say goodnight to Marshal and turn the lights off, you’re already ready to go to bed and Elias has clocked out. That’s pretty impressive, I gotta say.”
“It’s only fair since I took plenty of time at the restaurant.”
Chelsea had gotten some sleep clothes and gone into the bathroom to change. “Speaking of the restaurant, what did you think of your first investor’s dinner?”
“It was an experience, that’s for certain. It felt good to secure all the investments but it just felt weird to me.”
“Like you were lying to the investors? Because I had a feeling that’s what you started doing halfway through the dinner.”
“Exactly. I didn’t believe a thing that I told any of them.” He paused. “I feel bad for lying, like really bad, but I know your dad is proud that we finally got Georgie to invest, the Lee family to attend an event, and secure each investor for another year.”
Once she had finished changing, she tossed her old clothes into the laundry basket and left the bathroom, going to her side of the bed. “Being honest isn’t really an option for you. If you had told them what you really believed about the Voyagers, they would have told my dad to chip you. It was pretty risky for you to defend Marshal, but the way you did it made them believe that Marshal really doesn’t have any choice in what he does or what goes on around him, which we both know isn’t the truth.”
He closed the file and set it on the nightstand, quickly checking his phone before laying down. “The whole thing bothered me, but we can probably save that topic for another day. We’ve got just enough time to make it an extended nap.”
Chelsea chuckled, turning off her lamp and taking off her glasses before climbing into bed. “Do you think things are going to work out with Elias?”
He quickly reached up and turned off the lamp on his side of the bed, something he normally forgot to do before falling asleep. “What do you mean?”
“Do you honestly think he’s going to open up to either of us?”
She felt him get closer, then felt him wrap an arm around her. “No, I don’t. I’ve got a strong feeling that Marshal will get something out of him. The last grade Marshal attended in school was the same grade Elias is in right now. Their situations are a bit different but Marshal’s not the type to just let somebody ignore him. He needs the validation, he just doesn’t understand how to go about getting it.”
“You did a really good job today. I know you heard the same thing from everyone at the restaurant, but they’re right. Even if you didn’t like what you had to do, you got your job done and put up with a lot of bad attitudes in one room. You made a lot of people happy tonight and I know that's what really matters the most to you.”
She heard him give off a soft laugh, which sounded pretty drained. That was the last she heard from him until she had gone to sleep herself.
Last Edit: Dec 6, 2018 7:39:13 GMT by Kal: Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!
Tuesday morning, Alyssa had been woken up by Cyrus. He didn’t say why when he woke her up, just that she needed to go to the dining hall as soon as she could.
She got ready and went to the dining hall to see everyone else had gathered, with the exception of Filip, Monty, Samantha, and Vincent. She could also tell by the expression that most of the group members shared that this wasn’t over anything good.
Pierre took her outside to tell her first. “As of right now, seven people are missing from your group. Filip and Monty weren’t at their post this morning, they weren’t in their rooms and Samantha and Vincent had also disappeared from their rooms. Nobody recalls hearing anything, but they don’t believe that the person or people responsible for Elizabeth, Leona, and Gregory’s disappearances are behind these four as well.”
Alyssa looked to the guard’s post to see that it was empty. “I should at least talk to the group about what they believe, then I’ll look over the circumstances.” Pierre nodded and the two of them went back into the dining hall. For once, she didn’t know how to address her own group. “Pierre told me what happened, I’m sure you’re all aware of it by now. He mentioned that you guys have doubts about who’s responsible for the disappearances that occurred last night, so I want to hear what you guys think.”
Francine had been a mess since Gregory disappeared. She very clearly hadn’t been sleeping and any accusations that came from her were possible to be accurate since she was awake, but had to be taken lightly since she hadn’t slept in a while. “We know that whoever’s behind Elizabeth, Leona, and Greg can handle two people, but one of the people was also a child. I don’t believe they can take on four grown adults.”
Lecia added on to what Francine had said. “That, and Filip knew what that guy looks like and he wouldn’t just overlook that.”
“I also don’t think the guy would show up on our grounds once he knew that someone here knew who he was.” Grady joined the conversation. “The gate was open when I got up this morning, which is the most confusing thing to me. Filip and Monty would have heard someone messing around with the lock on the gate unless they opened the gate for them, but why would they do that?”
“They wouldn’t.” Alyssa thought of a few ways someone could have gotten in without going through the gate. “Horatio, Grady, Pierre, Lecia, and Cecilia.” She waited until she had their attention. “I have a few ideas I want to try out and I’m going to need your assistance.” She looked between the twins for a minute. “Milo, I’m going to need to borrow Jude.” He whispered something to Jude before the boy nodded. “I’m going to try out a few of these ideas, I’ll have results before noon. Evelyn, stay on watch.”
The people she’d called out followed her out of the gate and around the fence, where she stopped once she saw a plank out of order. There was a small hole that she believed Jude might fit through. She crouched to get on eye level with him. “Jude, listen to me, okay?” His attention was all over the place, which wasn’t the normal for him. She turned him towards the fence and pointed at the hole in the fence. “I want you to try and climb through there to get into the fence. If it starts hurting you then stop and come back to us.”
He nodded and got on the ground, crawling halfway through the hole before stopping and trying to pull out of the hole, which he quickly stopped. “I”m stuck! It hurts no matter where I go!”
Alyssa reached through the fence, pulling the bottom up from the other side. Pierre grabbed him from underneath the fence, putting him back on his feet while Alyssa let go of the fence and looked over his clothes, seeing the mud that had stuck to his jacket and pants. “Pierre, I need you to keep going along the fence and try to spot places where people could get into the fence. Look out for trees that people can climb and just drop in, that’s something pretty easy to overlook.”
She took Jude back to the front gate so he could go back to Milo and get cleaned up, an unsettling feeling hitting her as she walked out of the group’s sight.
Going around the fence, she felt like she was being watched. Jude must have gotten the same feeling, because he grabbed her hand and stuck right by her side while they went back to the front gate.
The feeling only got worse once they got to the gate. She knew if she were going to get attacked, it would be at the gate when she’d have her back turned to get it open. “Evelyn, open the gate.”
Ordering someone to open the gate wasn’t something they were typically supposed to do unless there was an emergency, but Alyssa knew better than to turn her back to a threat.
While Evelyn was hurrying to open the gate, Alyssa finally realized how Elizabeth had gotten captured. ‘Her back was turned because she was trying to open the gate. She got grabbed and she kicked the truck because it was the only thing she could reach.’
Evelyn pulled the gate open, looking a bit concerned when she noticed Alyssa’s rush to get inside the fence. “Is everything okay? Where’s the rest of the group?”
“It’s okay for now, just keep an active eye out and from this point on, nobody leaves the gate and nobody comes in unless I’m with them or Pierre’s with them.” She nodded, shutting the gate.
Alyssa took Jude to the garden, where she knew Milo would be since he only had Kimber and the garden was her favorite place.
It felt weird walking through the garden, knowing that Vincent and Samantha wouldn’t be there.
She quickly found Milo and Kimber, but was stopped before she turned to leave. “What’s going on? Something’s making you nervous, what is it?”
Milo had gradually learned how to read Alyssa since they first met, but to have him call out one of her moods was surprising. He normally would try and help her without needing details. “We’ll talk about it on the way to your room so you can get him cleaned up.”
“Kim, come on, it’s time to go back inside.” The little blonde girl looked up from the flower she was smelling and ran to his side. The four of them left the garden, heading to Milo’s room. “What happened to his clothes?”
“I needed to try and find a way into the fence without using the gate, just to see if maybe someone got in through a different way. I sent him under the fence and he got stuck between the fence and the ground, then Pierre slipped him out from under the fence when I lifted it far enough to get him out.”
She could see that he wasn’t too happy to hear about Jude going under the fence and she understood why, but she felt that she needed to know how someone got in the fence, if they got in at all. “Jude, are you okay?”
He nodded, finally letting go of Alyssa’s hand. “I didn’t like going outside the fence and I didn’t like getting stuck.”
“But you know you can’t go out of the gate when you’re all alone, right? You have to have one of us with you.”
“I know, but I don’t like the people outside the fence.”
Neither of them responded, but the hurried upstairs so they could talk without the entire group hearing.
Once they got to the room, Milo picked out a different set of clothes for Jude before he went in the bathroom to get changed.
While he was in the bathroom, Milo and Alyssa took a moment to talk about what had startled her. “When I was bringing him back to the gate, it felt like somebody was watching me and just waiting for me to turn my back. I didn’t see anybody, but I could tell that Jude felt uneasy about it too. I’m not sure as to what’s happening with the people who’ve disappeared, but I’m certain now that last night’s disappearances are unrelated to Elizabeth, Leona, and Gregory. Taking a grown woman and a kid is possible for one person, but taking four adults in one night just doesn’t seem possible to me.”
“There’s no correlation between the two groups either. I wouldn’t say Greg was an intended target after what Kyle told us, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was taken, otherwise a body would have shown up by now.” He had a point. They’d been sending out scouts on the daily to search for their missing members, a sign of them or at worst, a body. “I just think everyone’s scared right now. We’ve never been in a position like this and it’s one thing to think that you’re a potential target, but it’s so different to think that the people you love could also be targets and have a higher chance of actually being targets.”
Jude left the bathroom, sitting on the floor with Kimber to play a card game.
Milo sat with the two, making sure the cards stayed down while they talked to Jude about what he had said earlier. “Jude, you said you didn’t like the people outside of the fence. Could you tell us who you mean?”
“The people hurting our friends and stealing them.”
“Did you see anybody while you were outside the fence today?”
The boy nodded but then quickly got up, going back into the bathroom and returning with his blue beanie that he had left in there. “He showed up when we left the others and he was watching us until we got into the gate.”
There was a knock at the door, which Alyssa opened to see Grady on the other side. “We found out where they got in from.” She looked back to Milo, getting a small nod before she left the room and followed Grady. “It’s in the garden’s back corner.”
She saw the entire group had gotten through the hole, they were just waiting for her to arrive. Cecilia had a flat board in her hands. “This was being used to cover it, but none of us can remember seeing the hole or the board here before.”
“That’s because it wasn’t here. Samantha would have pointed it out to someone.” Alyssa crouched to get a better look at the hole in the fence and the ground under it. “This was done last night, that much is for sure. It tells me that Samantha was the first to get caught, Vincent was either with her or caught shortly after, then Filip and Monty.”
“We’ve got a sequence of events, but that still doesn’t tell us who did it.” Lecia crossed her arms, waiting for an answer from Alyssa.
‘There was definitely an active threat. None of them would have given up without a reason to and the only reason I can actually believe they’d surrender for is that someone else got captured and was being used as a captive.’ She paused, standing and facing the group as she finished her thoughts and prepared to make an accusation. ‘Samantha was definitely used as a captive, which is possible for one person. We know he’s an active threat to life but I still don’t entirely believe he could just take all four of them. I have an easier time believing that Onyx showed up and chose to take some of our people, but they wouldn’t have a reason to sneak in.’
[Accuse Onyx] [Accuse the man in the woods]
He had been told to get up earlier the next morning because Chelsea and Zachary had a meeting to go to and he had to go with them, which something that sounded sort of interesting to him since he hadn’t gone to an official meeting before.
While they were all up and getting ready, he ended up running into the Voyager in the kitchen. It was a bit awkward since he remembered the Voyager from when he was undercover. They didn’t say anything to each other, but acknowledged each other’s presence.
Elias hurried out when Zachary said they were ready to go. He knew they didn’t live more than ten minutes away from headquarters, which was a bit of a relief since they were already cutting it close when it came to their timing.
Chelsea didn’t seem like she felt well, as she stayed relatively quiet on the ride to headquarters.
Once they got there, they went to Isaac’s office where he told Zachary that he was to be there as an owner, not as Chelsea’s partner. He then gave him a file to look over before the three of them took a seat.
“Chelsea, you remember who Eris Duke is, correct?”
“Yes, the sick wife of Joseph Duke, former leader of the Voyagers.”
Her father nodded. “It’s come to my attention that while she was here, you were forging official records and giving her medication that didn’t belong to her. You also encouraged another employee to assist you in forging the records.” He focused only on Chelsea. “I don’t have to explain to you how this is bad, right? I can only hope I raised you to understand that much.”
“That’s uncalled for.” Zachary frowned, still reading through the file.
Isaac shot a quick glare at him that only Elias caught before looking back to Chelsea. “Why did you do it, Chelsea?”
“She was really sick and she was going to die unless someone did something. It felt wrong to me to have to watch her die when I knew there was something that could be done about it.”
“You broke the rules because it felt wrong to do your job?”
Zachary looked up from the file, Elias quickly being able to tell that what Isaac had said didn’t sit well with him. “Her job isn’t to sit around and watch people die. Her job is to ensure the safety of Onyx territory and keep our systems up to date, she has nothing to do with the fourth floor and yes, she did step out of line by acting on her own accord, but why is Debbie not here? She signed these records too, she was well aware of what was going on, so why are you only getting on to Chelsea?”
“Because Debbie’s the receptionist, she’s contractually obligated to take orders from higher-ups like Chelsea.” Isaac turned to face Zachary.
“But she knows the difference between right and wrong, she’s also contractually obligated to report situations like this to one of us. What Chelsea did was against the rules but so is what Debbie did.” Zachary put the file back on Isaac’s desk before getting up from his seat. “If you’re wanting a recommendation for punishment, anything more than a week suspension for both of them is excessive but you either suspend both of them or neither of them.”
Zachary left the office, Elias getting up and following after him. He saw Chelsea leave Isaac’s office a bit after they did.
Elias didn’t say anything until they had gotten into Zachary’s office. “Is that how all of your meetings normally go?”
“No, but I don’t have time to deal with stuff like that today.” Zachary took a seat at his desk, still seeming pretty mad. “That was petty stuff, he was only denying Eris the medicine in the first place because she’s married to some guy who pissed him off thirty years ago. He’s well aware that keeping her alive would benefit Onyx, he just didn’t care.”
Zachary dropped the topic soon after and spent most of the morning teaching Elias about the procedures specific to the fourth floor, but went back to his office once Chelsea’s lunch started because he usually spent the afternoon doing whatever paperwork he needed to do.
Chelsea didn’t seem to feel any better by the time her lunch started, which seemed to concern Zachary. It was pretty weird to Elias as well, given she acted fine the night before. Zachary had her check in with Lyla before he made any decisions, knowing that going to Isaac for the rest of the day off would be a bad idea after their experience that morning.
She was gone for most of her lunch until she came back with a sheet of paper that he quickly scanned over. “Wow, I’m honestly impressed. You piss off your dad first thing this morning and now you’re going to have to leave and stay gone for the week.” He got up from his desk and grabbed his keys with a sigh, facing Elias. “We’re gonna have to take her home, then we’ll stop for lunch and come back.”
“What does she have?” Elias followed the two out of the office. “I should know since I’m staying with you guys.”
“She’s just got the flu, Gillian will take care of her until she’s better and we’ll be able to come here like we normally would.”
“Isn’t that gonna get Marshal’s baby sick?” They went downstairs, checking out with Debbie before they went out to the car.
“He’s got a point, Whitlock and your aunt are going to catch it at the first opportunity. I would be pretty surprised if you and Whitlock didn’t already have it since you two are usually always up in my face.” Chelsea chuckled, her voice sounding really gruff, likely from the sickness.
Elias could tell there was something Zachary wanted to say, but he stayed silent on it. When they dropped Chelsea off, he took her inside and made sure she got into bed before he and Elias got lunch and went back to work.
While they were working, he noticed Zachary went oddly quiet about an hour before they were set to leave, he acted kind of dazed, which seemed to be out of the ordinary for him.
[Try to talk to him] [Leave him alone] [Leave him alone and ask about it later]
Post by LiquidChicagoTed on Dec 9, 2018 3:30:50 GMT
[Accuse the man in the woods]
I actually kinda believe he sounds more likely. As Alyssa said, Onyx has no reason to sneak in... unless they expect us to come to this conclusion and snuck in on purpose, but if I start thinking in that direction, things would just get way too confusing.
[Leave him alone and ask about it later]
Here, I am kinda torn between this and talking right now. I might change my vote later, but I would like to see what the rest thinks on this.
Wow, that investment dinner was pretty interesting. It's interesting to see all the elite together and see how they interact. By the way, I was surprised that Elias is going to be staying with Zachary and Chelsea now. Also, him being a pov this early. I didn't see that one coming, but it was a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, I think Zachary may have unintentionally given an idea to Isaac during the meeting that will not be beneficial to the Voyager's. Now, to the choices.
[Accuse the man in the woods]
To me, he would seem like the more likely suspect. He might not be working alone, since they keep mentioning that it is unlikely that one person could take four grown adults. I don't think it could be Onyx because, if I'm not mistaken, they don't know we're the Voyager's new base is anyways. That's why Isaac was intrigued by Zachary's speech saying that they would chip Marshal and Elizabeth, once their found, and force them to lead them to the others. They wouldn't need to do that if they already knew were their base was and could go in and kidnap,people at random. Plus, if I'm not mistaken, some of the most recent people taken were on the man in the wood's list weren't they? I might be misremembering that detail.
[Try to talk with him]
Something might be wrong with him. Perhaps, he could talk with him to help find out. Maybe, he has the flu like Chelsea. Even if nothing is wrong with him, it wouldn't hurt to have a friendly conversation with the man his parents want him to learn from. Perhaps, if he gets a good enough relationship with him and Chelsea, he might eventually see the conflict between Onyx and the Voyager's from their perspective. Although, his parents would not like it if that happened.
I don't think it could be Onyx because, if I'm not mistaken, they don't know we're the Voyager's new base is anyways. Plus, if I'm not mistaken, some of the most recent people taken were on the man in the wood's list weren't they? I might be misremembering that detail.
Ahh, I wouldn't be too certain about Onyx not knowing their location since Onyx guards are responsible for Elizabeth's weaponization last chapter and one of them is still alive, even though she's still with the Voyagers.
As for the man's list, none of the people who were just taken were on his list, but he does have a high disdain for Filip, which could influence him attacking him since he knows Monty wouldn't really do anything about it. However, just to balance the odds, Elizabeth did mention that she was pretty certain his list was just off the top of his head and that he was bluffing so he could definitely still be responsible for it.
Alyssa will accuse the man in the woods and Elias's choice was a tie that I'm flipping a coin right this moment to break. Heads is talk about it later and tails is talk to him immediately.
Alright, it's tails. Elias will talk to Zachary immediately.
I'm going to try to have the part out tomorrow, because it's highly unlikely that I'll be finished with it today. I'm going to go ahead and give the alternate options.
Had Alyssa chosen to blame Onyx, she would have had to convince the group why she believed it was Onyx and they would be on the lookout for Onyx. I can't say whether it actually was the man in the woods or not, but I do believe that'll be answered in the next part.
Elias's choices would have influenced the timing of an upcoming talk with Isaac. If he didn't mention it to Zachary, he wouldn't find out what's bothering him and no action would have been taken to fix it. Had he waited until they went home, Zachary would have put off talking to Isaac and would have been really vague in telling Elias what was going on.
Alyssa held her silence, coming to the conclusion that as unbelievable as it was, the man in the woods was responsible for this. “Pierre, could you bring the people in the bunker back here? I’ll address this during dinner and for now I’ll fix the fence and look for more holes in it.”
The group split up, Cecilia sticking with Alyssa to help her with the fences. They picked up some tools from the construction crew and then went on their way.
Cecilia handled ways that people could get over the fence, such as tree branches, while Alyssa handled the fence itself.
Eventually Cyrus came out, watching over the two to make sure nothing happened while they were out of the group’s sight. He didn’t have much to say, as he usually didn’t, but Alyssa could tell he was more interested in committing to the task he’d taken on himself rather than conversation.
Cecilia looked as if she had something she wanted to ask once Cyrus came out, but she wanted to wait until she was on the ground before talking and getting distracted while she had a saw in hand.
Cyrus went inside once Alyssa and Cecilia had made it to a place where Evelyn could see them from her position.
Alyssa expected Cecilia to go inside once they’d reached the last of the trees, instead she briefly went into the gates to return the saw before going back to Alyssa. “I had a question for you.”
“I’ll answer it if I can.” The task of zip tying wooden boards to the fence had gotten old after the first board since Alyssa also had to drill holes through the boards to be able to zip tie them to the fence.
“What’s going to happen with the scouts?” Cecilia wasn’t usually direct with her questions, but Alyssa easily picked up on the fact that the question had been bothering her most of the day. “Whatever conclusion you’ve come to, I’ve got the feeling that we won’t be able to leave the gates. I don’t like that but I understand it. Are the scouts still going to be allowed to go out for supplies?”
Alyssa took a second to think on the answer as she hadn’t really given much thought to it herself. “They’ll have to, even if I don’t like the idea of it. We still need to survive and the garden likely isn’t going to pull through now that Samantha’s gone. Morgan learned a little but probably not enough to keep it through the winter.”
“Who will be going out?” Cecilia crossed her arms, trying to keep herself somewhat warm as the cold wind stirred around.
“I’ll talk about it when I figure out the plan for sticking around. Until then, go inside, it’s too cold out here.”
“What about you and Evelyn? I’m sure you’re both just as cold.”
Alyssa looked towards Evelyn, giving a quick wave that brought her over to the two. “Go ahead and go to lunch, stay inside for a bit and warm up.”
She did as she was told but Cecilia stayed in place for a moment before sighing. “You’ve definitely picked up Milo’s stubbornness. We need our leader and doctor around, so take care of yourself every once in a while.”
She turned on her heel and hurrying to the dining hall.
Not long after she left, Pierre had returned to the motel with Ethan and some things that Kyle had left behind when he left the bunker.
Alyssa briefly stopped Ethan before he went into the gates. “I’m going to be putting you on watch duty for the nights. It’ll start tomorrow so you can adjust your sleep schedule to fit it.”
He nodded, going inside the gates with Pierre to get set up in a room.
She stayed on her own for a bit until one of the last people she expected to join her made her way to the fence.
She hadn’t even noticed Leah standing on the other side of the fence until she cleared her throat in an attempt to get her attention. “Alyssa, what are you doing?”
Alyssa looked up to meet her eyes, seeing she looked quite unamused. “Fixing the fence.”
“It’s below freezing and you’re out here alone, working on the fence?” Alyssa nodded, causing Leah to sigh and leave the gates to meet her. She crouched next to her, taking some of the boards Alyssa had already prepared and some of the zip ties laying on the ground, watching Alyssa for a minute to see what she was supposed to be doing before helping her out. “I can’t say I understand why you’re doing this, but it would be a work of miserable irony for our head doctor and our leader to get sick because of the choices she made.”
“Miserable irony?” Alyssa went back to solely focusing on the fence, leaving her ear open for conversation.
Leah gave a soft laugh the briefly reminded Alyssa of Elizabeth before she spoke. “Yeah, David never believed in karma, so he would say that bad situation were miserable irony. He exaggerated it a lot and Milo loved it.” She briefly looked over to see a look of sadness in Leah’s eyes before she looked back to the fence. “Elizabeth wasn’t nearly as fond of it because she was terrified of the word miserable.”
Alyssa nodded slightly, moving past Leah to continue on the next part of the fence. “It does sound a lot like Elizabeth to be afraid of a word, but I figured she would have liked it just because Milo liked it.”
“Oh absolutely not, they were polar opposites back when they were little. Elizabeth has always been more interested in a quiet life while Milo wanted to live free and explore everything he could and David would just let that happen.” She paused. “I will say, I have been pretty surprised to see Milo step up for the twins”
“He’s doing really good with them, but I just think he doesn’t completely understand what to do with them. It’s a whole new adventure in itself and he loves it.”
Leah didn’t seem to have a response until she finished her first board. “Do any of us have any real idea what we’re doing? I’m just not sure if everyone’s confident in what we’re doing as a group, let alone our choices as individuals.”
Alyssa looked to her as she moved to work on the next board. “What do you mean?”
She shrugged slightly, suddenly trying to avoid the conversation. “Everything wrong has been happening at once. People got freaked out once Onyx shot Milo because they know him, they know he wouldn’t leave the gates because he likes to limit himself as he limits the twins. The thought of someone who doesn’t leave the gates getting shot is anxiety inducing because that would mean that whoever did it had to get close enough without being seen.” She shook her head. “People are scared and they really don’t know what to do.”
The both of them stopped, turning their attention just to each other. “Then what would you like me to do? I’d be lying if I said that I fully knew what I was going to do. I know what I want to do, but I don’t know what everyone wants from me.”
She quickly finished the second board and stood, crossing her arms. “The fence is one thing, but what do you plan to do about keeping your group in the loop? Everyone’s nervous right now and they’re not getting answers.”
“I get what you mean, I’ll try to fix that once I tell the group what I believe happened last night.”
Alyssa expected Leah to leave after that, but instead she started on the next board without saying a word.
As soon as they finished with the fence, Leah went her own way while Alyssa stayed on guard until dinner.
She felt safer than she had earlier in the day, like whoever had been outside the gates wasn’t there anymore and she didn’t have to worry about them.
Whether that was because they were actually gone or because they had boarded up the fence, she was unsure of.
Dinner came along and as soon as she came into the dining hall, most attention turned to her.
“I know what you’re all waiting for and I’m not going to keep it from you guys any longer.” She moved to take a place at the far end of the room where she could be seen from all places. “I’ve been trying to come up with a timeline based on when they were all last seen and when I was notified of their disappearance and I’ve come to the conclusion that Vincent, Samantha, Monty, and Filip disappeared before midnight. That’s all I can really offer when it comes to the timing of it, but I have a strong feeling that I know who’s responsible for it.” She took a deep breath, reaffirming it in her head once more. “I believe the man in the woods is responsible for their disappearances.”
In an instant, she could tell that the accusation didn’t stick well with Kyle. “How can one man be responsible for the disappearances of three other men and a woman in the same night?”
“I had the same thought myself, but I want you to remember that there’s an extremely low chance of this man doing things on his own, that much is proved by the fact that he took both Leona and Gregory at the same time. Gregory and Samantha are smaller than a lot of the people in the group, that’s the same thing with Elizabeth and Filip. Those four are automatically targets because they’re not difficult to overwhelm. Monty likely refused to act because it was a situation where his hand was forced into surrendering and considering Vincent didn’t act either, that tells me that Samantha was in trouble. Just based on how he was able to capture Leona tells me that he’s working with someone else.”
They seemed to accept that, but it brought up a new question from Kyle. “What can we do about it besides defend ourselves? There’s other people from the group with that man and what he’s going to do with them, we’ve got no clue.”
Milo nodded along. “He’s right. Most of the people he has are easy targets, but they’re also the most likely to cave under pressure, I can think of multiple instances from each of them that proves it.”
Alyssa looked to Pierre, an idea hitting her. ‘We can be aggressive, we just need more people.’
She cleared her throat, looking back to the group. “I’ll answer that in just a moment. Pierre, could I talk to you in private?”
He nodded, following her out of the dining hall. “What was that about?”
“I need a rough estimate of how many people you have back home that you can send over.”
He looked a bit surprised, something Alyssa knew was because Joseph, Rocco, and Marshal had never even shown an interest in getting Pierre’s help. “Marie is sending members of my revolution to groups who request them, but if I had to take a guess at how many are currently in France, I would say over two hundred. I can’t send them all in this phase of your revolution, though.”
“But you can still send some?”
He nodded. “I can have forty or fifty people here by this time next week if that’s what you’d like to do.”
“How much help would your people be in locating our missing people?”
“Not very helpful. We don’t have many trackers and your best tracker is in the city. Francine’s son may be somewhat decent in tracking as he was trained by Marshal, but I wouldn’t recommend relying on somewhat decent.” He thought over who was currently in the dining hall. “Jade, Bees, and Milo are the best trackers in your possession, however they’ll all need some effort to convince. My people are more trained in hand to hand combat, which could benefit in your current situation.”
Alyssa quickly narrowed down why two of Leona’s people and Milo were labelled as the best. Cyrus was good, but he was clearly slipping with age and he wasn’t in his best condition.
The problem with getting the Voyagers to cooperate with that was just as Leah had said earlier, they were scared and had no idea what to do. Milo had quickly become more concerned with the twins than anything else and had been pretty hesitant to leave the walls since he got shot and Leona’s people had reached a standstill since she disappeared and would likely take a lot of work just to have them consider the idea of it.
Alyssa knew that regardless, she was going to try and get the three to help her in leading a search, but she still hadn’t made a choice on whether she wanted Pierre’s people around or not.
[Have Pierre send some people] [Tell Pierre to wait on sending people]
“Hey man, what’s going on?” Zachary turned to Elias to see that he was still working on looking through what he had been told to but was paying a bit of attention to him.
“A bit of a moral decision, that’s all.” He debated saying more, knowing that the teenager’s parents favored Isaac by a long shot. “Actually, I want your input on it.”
Zachary turned in his chair to face Elias, who looked up and was clearly a bit surprised. “Me? You want my opinion?” Zachary nodded, making Elias put down the pen in his hand. “Sure, alright, what’s up?”
“You already know Isaac’s practically in charge of all the organization stuff, but I’m pretty tired of being disrespected by him. We’re both professionals, yet he refuses to acknowledge that much. It’s impacting my work and my professional relationship with him. What do you say I do about it?”
“I’ve dealt with a few people like that at school, I’d say just talk to him so you guys can work it out before it blows up.”
Zachary nodded, getting out of his seat and putting his phone on the desk. “Then that’s what I’ll do.” He briefly pointed to the phone. “Don’t answer that unless it’s someone from home; anyone else can call the office phone if it’s important.”
He then left the office, going across the floor to Isaac’s office, knocking before going in. Isaac looked up, then immediately turned his vision back to whatever he was doing on the computer. “What is it, Zachary?”
“I’ve got something I want to talk to you about.” Zachary shut the office door behind him, going to sit across the desk from Isaac. “I shouldn’t be bothered by this, but I’m not completely clear on what your problem with me is. Can you explain that to me?”
Isaac furrowed his eyebrows before looking at Zachary behind his computer. “I think what you should be asking is what you’re doing wrong.” He pulled out a sheet of paper from his desk drawer, the paper already having writing on it. “I can do it in the sequence of what you’ve done or the severity, take your pick.”
He had a feeling Isaac was only going to attempt to belittle him throughout the whole conversation, but he was going to hear him through. “Severity.”
“Endangering confidential Onyx Organization information multiple times.” Isaac saw he was getting ready to ask how. “That runs into the next big deal. Inappropriate relations with Onyx Organization staff, another one that you’ve done multiple times.”
“I don’t see the connection and I don’t know where you’re getting your numbers from, but they’re wrong.”
“I’ll admit, your relationship with Chelsea wasn’t much of a choice for either of you. I don’t hold that against you, but your relationship with Debbie Renolds is the biggest concern. You allowed a minor level employee into your home where you were completely aware you were holding confidential information and you didn’t even think twice about it.”
Zachary took a second to think about what Isaac had just said. Debbie had never been allowed into his house, specifically because of the confidential information. “Where did you hear that she was allowed into my home? That’s also wrong, she was never permitted to be in my house because I didn’t want her to have any access to the information you’re referencing.”
There was a panicked knock on the door before Elias rushed in with the phone in his hands. He looked to Isaac, seeing he didn’t seem very happy. “I’m sorry, sir, but it’s an emergency.”
He pushed the phone into Zachary’s hands, staying by his side as he went to talk into the phone. “Hello?”
“Zachary, it’s Marshal. You need to come take Chelsea to an actual doctor. Gillian’s been trying to watch her temperature and give her whatever medicines she knows will help but nothing’s helping her and she says she’s in a lot of pain but she won’t listen to any of us.”
Zachary got out of his chair, motioning for Elias to follow him before he went to the office door. “I’m on my way now, I’ll be there in ten minutes.” He ended the call, turning to Isaac with a frown on his face. “I gotta go, you can add it to the list or whatever but Chelsea’s condition isn’t getting any better, I’ll call you when I find out where I’m taking her.”
Elias followed him as he turned out of the door and hurried downstairs, then straight to the car, which he rushed to get on the road. He waited until after they were out of the building before he said anything about the situation. “Where can she go that’s not going to send her to Quarantine? She’s sick and that’s where the sick go.”
“There’s people who treat higher-ups and their immediate family without reporting them to Quarantine, I’m just trying to decide which one would actually be able to treat her if she’s gotten as bad as Marshal’s implying.” Elias didn’t say anything because he already knew Zachary was uneasy and any more questions might upset him even more. “You’re going to stay at the house, alright?”
Once they pulled into the driveway and parked the car, they both left the car and went inside the house. Carmella was sitting on the couch with Whitlock, which led Zachary to believe that Marshal and Gillian were with Chelsea. Elias went to sit with them, giving Zachary some space.
Zachary went upstairs, nearly running straight into Gillian when he reached the top of the staircase. She briefly looked at him, then looked back at the closed door she was staring at. “She refused my help and told me to leave, an order that I must obey.”
He went into the room, seeing Marshal sitting on the floor while Chelsea was asleep in the bed. Marshal got off the floor once he saw Zachary, quickly getting ready to explain the situation. “She just fell asleep, but she was a goddamn pain when she was awake. She wouldn’t listen to any of us and because Gillian pushed more than the rest of us, she snapped on her. It was like someone else took over her body because it was just really weird coming from her. We had to separate them for Chelsea to calm down and the last time Gillian checked her temperature, it was a hundred and five. While she was laying there, she was complaining about how her entire body was hurting and that’s a bad sign purely because she shouldn’t be able to feel much with Elizabeth out of range.”
Zachary shook his head with a sigh. “It’s been four hours since she came home, I’ve never known the flu to do this to somebody.”
“There’s no way that’s the flu.” Marshal scoffed, going to the door. “I’ve had the flu before, been around multiple people who’ve gotten the flu and it was never anything like that.”
He took a moment to calm himself down once Marshal left the room, then he went to wake Chelsea up and have her move to the car.
She didn’t say anything after waking up but did as she was told, slipping a pair of shoes on before going downstairs and getting in the car.
Zachary had left it running, which made it easier to get out faster.
He occasionally looked over at her during the ride to the doctor to see that she was still awake, much to her own dismay.
The ride to the doctor’s office was about thirty minutes but the staff’s reaction to her arrival was immediate.
They took her back for testing while Zachary worked on filling out the required paperwork, then he waited around until a doctor came to talk to him. She introduced herself with a handshake before taking a seat across from him. “How long would you say she’s been showing symptoms?”
“Not even a full day. She woke up and acted pretty weird and then came to me at lunch, telling me she needed to go home. Three and a half hours later, I got a call from home and they told me she needed to see a doctor.”
The doctor seemed to take a mental note before getting up and motioning for him to follow her. “You got a call from home while you were at work. Are you or any of the other people you live with showing any symptoms?”
“No, everyone else is completely healthy.”
She nodded, leading him out of the waiting room and down a hall lined with doors, eventually stopping at the end of the hall. “She mentioned that your coworkers said she had the flu, which isn’t completely wrong. She had the flu, maybe a week ago, and that developed into pneumonia. I’m just finding it strange that nobody else is showing any symptoms of either the flu or pneumonia. Think back on it now that you know what she has, are you certain nobody has shown any symptoms?”
“Absolutely certain. It’d be easy to spot since among the people who live there, there’s an infant and someone with a weakened immune system.”
“I don’t suppose you brought the infant with you?” He shook his head. “Is there any way you could get it here so we can test that the symptoms aren’t just drowned like they were with her?”
“I’ll make a call and try it.” The doctor nodded, leaving him at the door.
He pulled out his phone and dialed Isaac’s number, getting an immediate response.”Where are you two?”
“Saint Agatha’s. Before you come here, I need you to pick up Whitlock and bring him here so they can test him for what Chelsea got.”
Isaac hung up, which usually meant he was going to do whatever was asked of him and he wanted to get it done without wasting time on saying goodbye.
Zachary put his phone away and looked at the wooden door in front of him, seeing Chelsea’s information on the clipboard before he went in.
It felt weird to see her hooked up to multiple machines when she was preparing an investor’s meeting just twenty-four hours ago. The thought of how quickly it set in made him a bit uncomfortable.
She was awake, but looked as if she was fighting sleep. She gave a soft smile as he pulled a chair next to her bed and took a seat. “You looking forward to that inevitable talk with my dad about how you’re somehow at fault for me contracting pneumonia?”
“I’m stoked for that one, I can’t wait to hear his view on it.” He could feel his smile fade as he took her hand into his. “You should go to sleep. I already know they’ve got you on plenty just with the intention of getting you to sleep.”
“Sleep, pain, and nausea medicine. The nausea medicine is just so I can get something in my stomach, though.”
He nodded, looking at all the IVs they’d put into her arms, scanning over them one by one just to make sure they’d done it right. Something eventually caught his attention that made him stop. “Did they miss getting a needle in?”
He waited for a response, then looked up to see that she had already fallen asleep while he was looking over the IVs. He then looked back at the needle mark on her arm, a quiet urge to question the doctors about it sneaking up on him.
[Question the staff] [Wait until Chelsea wakes up and ask her about it] [Wait until Isaac arrives and have him question the staff]
It would be interesting if Pierre sent over more people from his group. It would bring in a more intriguing dynamic and the extra manpower couldn't hurt in the search. It also gives me the chance to come up with some new characters from his group that I could submit. However, I'm worried that since it will take a little while for them to arrive from France to the base that it would take a while for the search to really be underway. Anything could happen to the missing if the Voyager's are just waiting for the extra help to arrive. Alyssa will have people searching for them before they arrive too, right?
[Question the staff]
Zachary needs to find out as soon as possible what they injected her with. If he waits and tries to get Chelsea or Isaac to question the staff and something happens to her in the meantime; Isaac might blame him for not finding out sooner. Chelsea might not have even been conscious when they injected her. Zachary is one of the top people at Onyx, the staff shouldn't lie to him. If they do, and something happens to Chelsea, I'm not sure what Isaac or Zachary for that matter will do to the staff. However, they both (or at least Isaac) has the authority to probably have them killed.
It would be interesting if Pierre sent over more people from his group. It would bring in a more intriguing dynamic and the extra manpower couldn't hurt in the search. It also gives me the chance to come up with some new characters from his group that I could submit. However, I'm worried that since it will take a little while for them to arrive from France to the base that it would take a while for the search to really be underway. Anything could happen to the missing if the Voyager's are just waiting for the extra help to arrive. Alyssa will have people searching for them before they arrive too, right?
[Question the staff]
Zachary needs to find out as soon as possible what they injected her with. If he waits and tries to get Chelsea or Isaac to question the staff and something happens to her in the meantime; Isaac might blame him for not finding out sooner. Chelsea might not have even been conscious when they injected her. Zachary is one of the top people at Onyx, the staff shouldn't lie to him. If they do, and something happens to Chelsea, I'm not sure what Isaac or Zachary for that matter will do to the staff. However, they both (or at least Isaac) has the authority to probably have them killed.
Alyssa will likely already have people searching for them before Pierre's group arrives, it all depends on her ability to sway Leona's people to work with her. This is where the earlier choice of dating Milo comes into play because he understands Leona's people and is one of the people Alyssa needs to convince to search, so it's a high possibility that it'll work out in her favor because of the previous choice!
As for Zachary, it's an interesting situation. He's quite different from Isaac but I can say that he's struggling between becoming more like Isaac and sticking with the Voyager beliefs. His whole investigation requires him to be closer to people involved with Isaac and Isaac himself, which allows him to learn how to better fit in with his role at the expense of losing touch with the Voyagers. As I've told Liquid, a lot of his investigation choices might continue to sway him into Onyx but stalling or outright refusing the investigation isn't recommended.
Also, he and Isaac both have the power to order somebody dead, he's just less inclined to use it.
Zachary took another look at the needle mark, the sight of it making him a bit nervous.
He let go of her hand and left the room, going to the first doctor he saw.
It was a man, about as tall as him with blond hair and hazel eyes. The only thing about him that stuck out to Zachary was a nasty bruise on his forehead that he’d clearly been trying to cover by parting his hair to block it. “How can I help you, Mr. Bennington?”
“Were you in Chelsea’s room at all?” The man nodded. He seemed pretty young and new to the field, which was already shaping up to a bad experience. “Then can you explain to me why she has needle marks on her left arm that have been completely unaccounted for?”
His smile faded, turning into a look of fear as he realized that he’d likely lose his job that night. “I uh… I don’t know, sir.”
“You don’t know?” Zachary found the statement a little hard to believe as the only people who would be allowed into Chelsea’s room would be the people who had a task in there. “Then why were you in the room? You said it yourself, you were in her room at some point in the past hour and a half, so explain to me why that is.”
“I’m the only hematologist on staff right now, I was drawing blood from her so I did that and then I left, I gave the results to the charge nurse so I wouldn’t have to go back in the room. I used her right arm though, so I’ve got no idea what needle mark you’re talking about.”
Zachary couldn’t get rid of that odd feeling he had about this man. He had noticed he was stretching his alibi, something he easily picked up on when Isaac had left him to interrogate people. “Look, you’re young and new to all this, probably even stressed out that you’ve got a high profile patient that’s in critical care, I get that. If you fucked up, just say that you did it and that you’re going to fix it because this is going to be a completely different situation when I find out exactly where your lie is.”
The man started to avoid Zachary’s eyes, confirming that he had lied somewhere or he’d held out details. He suddenly looked past Zachary and gained a panicked expression. “You… did you call Isaac Hampton?”
He briefly glanced behind him to see Isaac with Marshal and Whitlock. He then turned to face them. “Her room is at the end of the hall.” Isaac nodded, leaving Marshal to join Zachary and the doctor. “I’ll take Whitlock to the charge nurse and let her test him, I need a favor from you.”
Zachary turned back to the doctor to see his head facing the ground. He briefly motioned to the doctor. “Some unexplained marks have shown up on Chelsea. Our guy here knows about them and probably where they came from, but he’s not talking.”
Marshal seemed to be studying the man before shaking his head and walking past him, his hold on Whitlock visibly becoming a little tighter.
Zachary pointed at the doctor. “This isn’t over, you’re not going to be in that room anymore and you sure as hell aren’t doing that baby’s blood work.” He then went past the doctor as well, hurrying to catch up with Marshal. He caught up with him once he had met with one of the doctors and was preparing to get Whitlock’s blood taken. Zachary slipped into the room, taking a seat next to him. “What was that about?”
He waited until the doctor had taken Whitlock’s blood and given him back before putting a bandage on his arm and then putting his coat back on. “He knows because he did it but the lie was who he is entirely. He’s not a doctor of any sort, that was your guy that you should be looking for to lead you to Elizabeth.”
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
“Because I wanted him to run.” Marshal got out of his seat, Zachary getting up and following after him. “He learned that you’re a threat to whatever he’s trying to accomplish and he already knew I was a threat to him. Having both of us and Isaac nearby was too much for him to comprehend and so he’s going to run back to wherever he’s based. There’s not much snow on the ground, but it’s enough to track wherever he went.”
Once they reached the entrance, he stopped and passed Whitlock to Zachary before leaving the hospital.
Zachary stopped another nurse before going back into Chelsea’s room. “I know she already had blood work done, but can you get a doctor to do another round? Just to be certain.”
The nurse agreed and then turned on her heel, going to find another doctor.
As soon as he walked into Chelsea’s room, he could see Isaac didn’t look angry for once. He didn’t look happy, but even neutral was an improvement from his usual attitude towards Zachary. “That doctor you had stopped when we first arrived, was he responsible for the mark on her left arm that the clipboards aren’t showing record of?”
He nodded, going to a spot across the room. “I’ve got no idea what it was for, but I’m gonna have them run another blood test.”
“Better safe than sorry.” Isaac then looked at Whitlock. “It’s odd, Marshal wouldn’t let me leave the house with Whitlock alone but now he’s nowhere to be seen.”
Zachary shrugged, quickly attempting to come up with a lie. “It’s family only and they normally don’t enforce that, but they know they’d get in an insane amount of trouble for breaking any rules with Chelsea.” He looked down at Whitlock, then looked back at Isaac. “They only let him through because he’s a baby and it insures that Marshal won’t just up and leave while we’re back here.”
It was a lie, but not a complete one. Zachary only let Marshal go because he knew that wherever he had gone, he’d be back for Whitlock. It may take a day or two but he’d be back and probably have more information regarding Elizabeth’s whereabouts.
A week had passed since Vincent, Samantha, Monty, and Filip had disappeared.
Alyssa had requested for Pierre to send some of his people to assist in locating the missing Voyagers as well as going forward with Marshal’s plan.
When he returned, he brought along forty people, just as he said he would. He had a few Voyagers help them get set up, but he had picked six specific people from his group to stay around to talk with Alyssa, Milo, Kyle, Horatio, Lecia, and Grady.
He had them stand in a line to face the Voyagers, a smaller woman with brown hair and brown eyes being the first. “You all already know Marie. She’s here to help in training your people and she already has a few specific people in mind.” He briefly pointed to Cecilia, who was standing on the second floor walkway, watching with Kimber, Jude, and Morgan. “That’s the one I was telling you about.”
She nodded and grabbed her bag, going upstairs to talk with Cecilia and the kids.
Once she left, another woman stepped forward. She was a bit taller than Marie was, her hair was curly and brunette while her eyes were hazel. The way she dressed struck Grady as a little odd as she wore black suit pants with a white top that was tucked into her pants, a black suit jacket to go along with it. She seemed to focus only on Alyssa as she held out her hand. “My name is Noelle Marseille, I’m in charge of cyber security for all of the cities in France.”
Alyssa shook her hand, hesitating to say something that was on everyone’s mind. Kyle chose to say it once he saw her hesitation. “I mean no offense to you, Noelle, but why did Pierre bring you along? We don’t have any computers around here.”
Noelle returned her hands to her side. “It’s my job to work on the security of our networks no matter where in the world I am, whether there’s a set up system or not, I have ways around that.”
Pierre then moved on to the next person in line. He was a rather thin man who had a far more different taste in clothing than the woman before him. He was wearing a colorful shirt that he paired with black skinny jeans and blue converse. He had his brown hair tucked under a black bowlers hat and his green eyes focused on Kyle. Pierre waited for him to introduce himself, but figured he was waiting too long. “This is Jean Luc Barre, he’s an artist and surprisingly one of the most helpful people I’ve had in my own revolution. He and Noelle work together for the most part.”
Lecia cracked a smile, crossing her arms. “Elizabeth has showed us your art before. It’s interesting, to say the least.”
His eyes then shot to her, a sudden gleam in them as he seemed to refrain from cracking a smile himself. “You have seen my art all the way over here?”
She nodded, uncrossing her arms. “It’s probably the only visual representation of the former world that my daughter has access to and she loves it. Elizabeth made a scrapbook for her that had a pretty wide collection of what you’ve done.”
Pierre cut their conversation short, going to the next man. He looked giant in comparison to Jean Luc, but he was likely closer in size to Cyrus. He was rather muscular with a simple outfit composed of jeans, a greasy white shirt, and brown boots. He kept his brown hair and beard trimmed short. He didn’t seem to have any problem introducing himself. “The name’s Carlos Durand, I run a shop for tuning vehicles, computers, mechanical objects, and weapons.”
The woman Pierre switched to seemed to be pretty neat in her appearance. Her light blonde hair was pulled back nearly and her dark blue eyes were shining as she introduced herself. “Hello, I’m Isabel Ramon.” Her clothes looked to be picked carefully, a light pink silk top to match her light blue jeans and white boots.
Pierre looked at the last man before facing the Voyagers again. “I want to explain why I’ve chosen everyone I have so far. Noelle will be assisting in leading your search for your missing people with her technology, Marie will be training your women in self-defense since it seems that whoever your problem is is targeting women and children.” He looked at Jean Luc, knowing that none of the Voyagers picked up on why he brought him along. “Jean Luc will work on spreading physical propaganda in the form of his art, Carlos will work on your vehicles, weapons, and the gates. Isabel, well, you’ll learn why she’s here in due time.” He then turned to his people. “All those introduced are dismissed.”
As the others went on their own way, the last man stood in place, simply lighting a cigarette while Alyssa looked over him. He was well aware that she was studying him. He wore grey cargo pants with a black tank top. He seemed a bit uncomfortable, yet confident at the same time. He had short black hair and grey eyes. “There’s a solution to your problem and it’s not too difficult to achieve. You need to take out your enemy before they can take your people and by doing that now, you’re saving the rest of your people, releasing the people you’ve lost, and officially starting a revolution.” He turned to Milo, quickly coming to the conclusion that he didn’t agree with that. “Don’t you agree?”
“No, I don’t.” He crossed his arms, Alyssa picking up on his discomfort towards the topic. “The organization has nothing to do with the people we’ve lost, but even if they were responsible, I’d still say no.”
He slightly tilted his head, refusing to let the topic go. “And why’s that? Would you say you’re afraid of your organization?”
“No, I wouldn’t and I’m not required to tell you anything, so cut the shit.” The past week had been pretty rough on Milo. Alyssa had been trying to get him to go scouting again, which he continued to refuse until Jade and Bees agreed to do it. The same day they had gone out of the gates, Kimber had proved to be too much for Leah after throwing a massive tantrum whenever he left. He still went out the next day and came back to find out that Jude had gotten knocked in the head while he was playing rough. He never told Alyssa that he had grown to hate going outside the gates, but it was something she easily picked up on.
Pierre interjected before the situation could get out of hand. “This man is Gustave Fortin, he’s largely responsible for the take down of Aquamarine and he’s agreed to help with Onyx.”
He looked to hope that mentioning who he was would sway Milo, but it was clear to Alyssa that he was going to stand his ground. “We don’t need help with Onyx because they’re not the same as Aquamarine. Isaac Hampton is always a few steps ahead of us and right now, we’re just fine with him. Zachary Bennington has never been and never will be a threat to us and would probably jump teams again as soon as the opportunity poses itself.”
“If we act a fool and try to do something to Isaac, we lose our alliance with his daughter and that makes our last resort a complete waste. If we do end up killing him, we still lose that alliance and we force Zachary to do something against us.” Horatio quickly backed up Milo’s statement, encouraging the others to do so as well.
“We have people in the city who Isaac would love to kill, he’s just waiting for something to spark a reaction and he’ll use them as examples.” Lecia hesitated on saying exactly who was in the city, despite Pierre knowing.
Gus looked over the people who spoke against his plan, taking a brief minute to think. “Who’s in the city?” The group waited for either Kyle or Milo to answer, assuming they both had the right to speak up about it. Neither of them spoke up, prompting Gus to shrug off the statements. “If you can’t give names or relations then they’re not that important. Lives can be replaced in just nine months, but your freedom is irreplaceable.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” What Gus had said didn’t stick well with any of the group, but Grady was the first to speak up about it. “You know nothing about any of us and you have the nerve to say something like that?”
“In all fairness, none of you made an effort to introduce yourselves.” Gus threw his cigarette on the ground, stomping it out as he figured Grady was going to start a fight.
Grady scanned the group before stepping out of line, standing next to Kyle. “Kyle Kennedy, a former Onyx employee. His son and grandson are currently in the city, his daughter-in-law being one of the people you’re here to search for, not kill.”
He then stepped ahead, stopping in front of Lecia. “Lecia Albero, her daughter’s just up on that railing, watching and listening to everything that you say. She was forced into hiding after her husband tried to pull the same shit that you want to do.”
He shared a look with Horatio before completely skipping him, going straight to Milo. “Milo Neil. He spent two years in Onyx custody before his sister and brother-in-law got him and Alyssa out.”
He moved past Alyssa, stopping right next to Gus. “Alyssa was one of the best doctors Onyx has ever had to their name and losing her was a big failure in their books.” He paused, staring Gus down. “Currently in the city is our former leader and his son, who is only eight months old. His wife is missing, along with the eleven year old son of our people and the leader of a group we’re allied with. Two of our guards have disappeared and a set of cousins that we had so unless you can find a way to replace nine people in nine months, I’d recommend staying in your own place while you’re here.”
As soon as he finished talking, Grady took a deep breath and turned away from Gus and splitting up from the group, going to the garden.
Alyssa looked to Pierre, seeing a look on his face that she’d never seen from him before. All she knew was that it was a bad sign.
Noelle and Jean Luc watched the man storm away after blowing up on Gustave, sharing a moment of silence.
“How well do you think they’re going to get on now?” Her cousin snickered from the side while watching the red-headed woman try to ease tensions.
“The better question is how Nicolas is going to try and keep them apart.” Noelle leaned over the railing, studying the other people still there. “The one with brown hair, Milo, he’s another one Nicolas is going to keep away.”
“There’s no question about that.” He paused. “I really thought one of them was going to punch Gus and I’m a bit disappointed they didn’t.”
Noelle rolled her eyes, a smirk on her face. “Nicolas said a few of them are troubled, but they’re not troubled enough to get in a physical fight with someone the size of Gustave.”
Jean Luc looked over the courtyard, pointing at an older man with dark brown hair who seemed close in size to Gustave. “He probably would.”
She followed where he was pointing before shaking her head. “No way, I bet he’s one of the good ones Nicolas mentioned.”
The two watched the group split up, Gustave heading upstairs with Pierre while most of the Voyagers went their own way, the leader sticking with Milo.
Noelle watched the archway that the man had stormed off into earlier, finding herself growing confused as to why he hadn’t yet returned. She stayed in place for another thirty minutes after Jean Luc went to talk with the mother he had met earlier and her daughter.
She eventually went downstairs herself, going through the archway to follow a concrete path.
The concrete path led her to an area that was surrounded by flowers or all sorts of colors, wilting while still barely holding onto their color.
She followed the path some more, but her focus was on the flowers and their colors as she walked. Her attention was eventually pulled as she heard a man talking. “Are you looking for something?”
She turned to see the same man with dark brown hair and a streak of lighter brown where part of his hair had likely been bleached. “No. Well, yes. I came to see if you were okay after what happened in the yard.”
“I’m fine, you don’t have to play nice just because you’re a guest here.” He leaned back in the bench he was sitting in, still visibly upset after his interaction with Gustave. “Who am I kidding? You’ve probably got more authority than half of the original Voyagers combined.”
“I agree with you.” Noelle crossed her arms, trying to think of how to phrase her words without upsetting him anymore. “About Onyx. They’re not as dangerous to life as the people as Aquamarine were and the first priority should be location your missing people, even if it just gives you a peace of mind.”
He nodded, scooting to the side of the bench, offering her a seat. “I really don’t remember if i introduced myself before it all blew up.”
Noelle took the seat, shaking her head. “No, you didn’t. You also didn’t introduce one of the other men there.”
He chuckled, a slight smile on his face as he seemed to relax a bit. “At least one of us was paying attention. I’m Grady and the man I didn’t introduce is Horatio. There’s no special story about him so I didn’t mention him, he kind of just showed up and started helping us so we kept him around.”
“That sounds like quite a few people I know.” She put her hands in her lap, the both of them keeping their own space. “What do you do around here?”
“I’m part of the construction crew here. We fixed up the building that most of your people are staying in, put the gate up, whatever we’re told to do. Alyssa did the fences herself, though.” He seemed to be interested in talking about what the construction people did for the group. “You’re in charge of cyber security, what’s that like?”
“It’s something that has taken some time to get used to. Everyone has a job that barely changed from what they did during the revolution, but I went from attacking organization systems to rebuilding and defending them once we took control.”
He shrugged slightly. “It’s a pretty important job and I’d guess you already proved yourself capable of it before they really needed you to do it.”
“I suppose you’re right, it’s just something else.” She stopped herself before she said too much, reminding herself that she barely knew this man and all she did know is that he had a temper. “I should go help my people settle in, but I believe we’ll be working together a lot, right?”
“Probably. Alyssa’s been trying to make things work with the conditions certain people in our group have and that’s been sending me to more places than just construction since I’m not too picky about where I go.”
“Your people have conditions?”
“Yours don’t?” He looked over to her, allowing to fully take in his eye color, which was light brown.
“That depends on what you consider conditions.”
Grady hesitated for a moment before going on. “I mean conditions that prevent them from being where they should. Kyle is physically unfit for anything outside of the gates and his eyesight isn’t good enough for guard duty, so he’s not allowed to do anything big. Elizabeth had major anxiety, so they let her do what she was comfortable with, whether it was helpful or not. Milo… It’s not my place to say what’s wrong with him, but he’s not suitable for much.”
Noelle noted that he sounded a bit sad when he thought on Milo’s conditions, telling her something was severely wrong with Milo. “The last thing I had heard, he was one of the scouts. Did he get hurt or something?”
He nodded. “He got shot over a month ago and he said that while he completely trusted Alyssa with his care, he was terrified that he was going to die. I’ve never known him to be emotional, that was always Elizabeth, but he broke down when he was talking to me and Kyle about it. When Alyssa asked him to go back out and join the search for the missing people, he had to work himself up to leaving the gates and force himself to stay out.”
“Was Elizabeth ever like that?”
“She had anxiety but she knew when she had to do things that whoever she was with would help her get through it and that’d be all, said and done. Milo isn’t that trusting, I don’t think it’s in him to just rely on another person.” He paused, a smile forming on his face. “They’re two extremely different people. They’re good, though.”
Noelle nodded along, her mind going straight to her cousin, Jean Luc. “I know some people that can apply to.”
In all the time he had known Marshal, he knew that he was loyal to whatever mattered most to him. He knew that Marshal would always come back, no matter how much time it took.
A week had passed since Marshal went to look for the man in the woods, which was the last time anyone in the city had seen him.
Zachary eventually took to looking through city cameras after he grew concerned that Marshal wasn’t returning, but came up with nothing. He watched him leave the doctor’s office and follow after the man who tried to pretend to be a doctor, then he watched him go into the woods that same night. That was the last he was seen on any of the cameras.
Chelsea had been staying at the doctor’s office because the doctors wanted to keep a closer eye on her during recovery when they learned what the man had injected into her, finding through her blood test that it was Hydrocodone. They couldn’t piece together why exactly he chose Hydrocodone but suspected that he intended to get her hooked onto it before luring her in as a dealer.
Isaac had learned that Marshal disappeared, he didn’t seem to care much since they still had Whitlock. He said that Whitlock was all they needed to find Elizabeth and it might even be better for the boy if Marshal didn’t return, saying it would give him a chance at a stable and normal life and while Zachary had some thoughts on the statement, he was getting better at picking his battles and left it alone.
Going into headquarters currently wasn’t an option for Zachary because he couldn’t leave Whitlock home the entire day, knowing that his aunt could be pretty demanding of Gillian and adding the baby to the mix was going to be too much for her, even if she wasn’t human. He and Elias stayed and worked from home, ultimately deciding that Chelsea would take another week off once she was able to return home and help out with Whitlock until Marshal returned.
She had been pretty vocal about her beliefs on Marshal just up and vanishing the way he did, saying it was weird and completely unlike him to just abandon Whitlock for anything longer than a night, even if he knew Elizabeth was nearby.
Zachary told Isaac what Chelsea had to say on it and he quickly dismissed the claims, saying that Marshal had probably just had enough of the city, left on his own free will, and wouldn’t be returning because he knew there’d be consequences in it for him.
Chelsea spent most of her first day back home trying to console the baby, who had completely flipped a switch since Marshal left. His normal smiles and giggles were completely gone and the only time he was really quiet was when he was asleep or eating. He started to lose sleep, another thing that had been worrying Zachary. Occasionally, he’d be sat on the ground and he’d sit in complete silence, ignoring everything going on around him until somebody grabbed him, then he’d latch onto the first person he saw.
“I think we need to take him to a psychiatrist or something.”
“Chelsea, he’s not even a year old. He barely understands his name, how’s he going to manage with a psychiatrist? Besides that, he’s already surrounded with people he’s unfamiliar with and clearly not doing well with that, why add more unfamiliar people into the mix?”
She was able to get the baby to sleep easily at night and Zachary had slowly started to realize it was deeper than a physical connection. She dealt with the baby easier because she shared the same gene as he and Elizabeth and he very likely associated her with Elizabeth. “Something’s wrong with him. You’ve said it yourself, he’s barely sleeping or eating, he’s almost always crying, he’s constantly demanding physical attention and completely signs out when he doesn’t get it. That’s not normal for him and if there’s something we should do to help him, we need to do it.”
“It’s late, I’m tired and have work tomorrow, you just got home, and he’s already asleep. We can talk about it some other time but I really don’t think it’s necessary because I can’t believe that Marshal would just leave him like that.”
Chelsea took the cue to drop the conversation, but it was clear that it was still on her mind most of the night.
She was already up with Whitlock the next morning by the time Zachary had gotten up for work. “He woke up at three thirty in the morning after going to bed at ten. He’s not getting nearly as much sleep as he should and again, that’s a bad sign. Whether Marshal’s coming back or not, we need to do something for him just to make things easier on him.” Chelsea followed him throughout the house, trying to sway his opinion. “I already know of a doctor we can see for him and I’ve only heard great things about this guy.”
Zachary stopped himself before going into Elias’ room to wake him up, taking one last thought on what Chelsea had said.
The baby needs to be taken care of until Marshal returns. I hope Marshal is alright. The only major consequence that I can see with not prioritizing Elias's training is that Zachary may get in trouble with the Dumont's later. Hopefully, they won't need to priortize Whitlock for long and Marshal returns. Unfortunately, I'm scared that won't happen. By the way, I'm surprised but happy that my French characters already showed up, and one of them already got a pov!
So this naturally isn’t going to sit well with Isaac, but it actually saves Chelsea and Whitlock from being attacked by the man from the woods since she would have done it herself if he would have continued to say no. Isaac would have blamed Zachary for it and pressure him to resign, which he would eventually do.
The chosen choice does open up to some consequences for Chelsea and Zachary but it helps Whitlock adjust a lot easier as well as helps Chelsea and Zachary learn what they can do from their end to help him.
After listening to Whitlock cry for another ten minutes before he made his decision, Zachary ended up calling Isaac to let him know he wouldn’t be going in again.
He had Chelsea set up the earliest appointment that she could, which was from one to two in the afternoon that day.
They had gotten ready early on and done what they needed to around the house before heading out. Carmella wasn’t anywhere to be found when they left but her sewing machine was sitting on the living room table, waiting for whenever she was ready to use it.
Chelsea ended up driving to the office since she had already known where it was.
Whitlock had been pretty quiet on the car ride over, which made Zachary and Chelsea believe he had fallen asleep. Once they got there, they found that he was still awake but was watching the outside through the back windshield.
It was a long drive, close to three hours. Chelsea continued to claim it would be worth it because of all the good things she had heard about this doctor.
Going into the office, Zachary had an unsettling feeling hitting him as they walked through the doors and he noticed that between the two patients sitting in the waiting room and the one patient walking out, the youngest of them seemed to be in his late teens at most.
While they were filling out the paperwork, they had gotten called back and were led to an office by a tall, thin man with tan skin. He introduced himself as Xavier Dominguez, the therapist Chelsea had made an appointment with. “You two are close to headquarters if I’m not mistaken. You’ve come a long way from home so it’s surely something important.”
They waited until they were seated in his office before they said anything since they weren’t allowed to talk much about Whitlock due to his relation to the Voyagers. “I sent you a file relating to the main reason we’re here today.”
The doctor nodded, allowing the two to take a seat across from his desk while he took Whitlock and sat him on the desk, facing away from Chelsea and Zachary. He took a seat in his chair, directly in front of Whitlock, who had already started to panic just because he couldn’t see the only people he was familiar with. “Whitlock Tobias Kennedy, born on March 29th, 2190. The son of Marshal and Elizabeth Kennedy.” He then looked to his computer screen, scrolling through whatever was on it before pausing. “It seems like you’ve got a real clingy baby on your hands. In every picture that’s in this file, he’s always being handled by somebody. Would it be a safe assumption to say that he doesn’t crawl yet?”
“He’s both of his parent’s first kid and they’re pretty different in their way of dealing with a lot of things but his dad has been working with him on being more mobile himself.” Chelsea had her hands folded in her lap, knowing the baby was going to start crying soon enough.
Her voice was enough to make him start crying as he continually tried to turn around to find her. The doctor set him on the ground so he could see Chelsea and Zachary, but stopped her as she tried to go pick him up. “If he wants to go to you two that bad then he needs to take himself to you.” He then sat back down in his chair, watching the baby. “You mentioned his father is working with him on his mobility, where is he right now? Where’s his mother?”
“His mother has been missing for nearly a month now and his father disappeared last week.” Zachary looked over to Whitlock to see him lying on the ground, flat on his stomach while his cries were muffled by the carpet. “I’m sorry, I really can’t just watch that. We can work on his mobility when he’s more comfortable with us and at home but I really don’t think now is the time.”
The doctor reached his hand out, stopping Zachary from going to the baby. “Do you intend on handling him every time he cries? The only thing he’s going to learn is that if he cries, somebody will come to get him and he won’t have to do anything himself.”
“Quite honestly, I feel that’s the point of being a baby. He’s completely incapable of doing things himself and relies on us to do it for him purely because he’s still little.”
“Mr. Bennington, I remember seeing you with your parents on the news when I was younger and when you were just a baby yourself. You were walking by the time you were one and walking on your own just a few months after that.” The doctor then looked at Chelsea. “I’m certain you were the same way. What makes that baby any different from the two of you?”
Chelsea frowned, knowing the question was directed at her and she had just gotten dragged into a conversation she didn’t particularly want to be part of. “Whitlock was born into a life that was exactly the opposite of the one Zachary and I were born into, he was only brought into all this when his mother disappeared.”
The doctor took a moment to think before lowering his hand. “This is the only time I’ll allow this. Pick him up and once he quiets down, we’ll talk about what’s causing this behavior in him.”
Zachary went and got Whitlock, grabbing a baby wipe from the diaper bag once he returned to his seat, wiping the baby’s face off. Chelsea passed him the baby’s pacifier that he rarely used, along with his blanket and stuffed animal before the baby even considered settling.
“Mom and dad have been out of the picture for a month and a week, respectively. I’ve already caught on to the fact that he’s not too keen on being left alone and as far as I can tell, he seems to be the poster child for separation anxiety. How has he been sleeping?” The doctor looked over Whitlock from his desk, seeing the baby looked exhausted.
“He hasn’t.” Chelsea sighed, leaning back in her seat. “He got five and a half hours last night and then woke up to cry until seven, then he fought sleep just like he’s doing now, then he cried some more and finally calmed down on the way over here.”
The doctor made note of it on his computer before going on. “Has he been eating?”
“Not even half of what he normally does and in the interest of actually getting him to eat, we’ve been giving him whatever he’ll take.”
He made some more notes before questioning the statement. “What will he take?”
“Applesauce, mango slices, sliced peach.” Zachary looked down at Whitlock and shrugged. “That’s about it, that’s been his diet for the past week.”
He typed up a few notes before getting out of his seat and going to Zachary and the baby, crouching so he was on eye level with Whitlock. “How many teeth does he have?”
“Just the two front bottom teeth.”
“Has he been showing any signs of teething?”
The two paused, knowing the answer was going to be no. “He hasn’t, but he also didn’t with the two front teeth. He’s not really phased by much.”
The doctor stared at Whitlock for another moment before standing back up and going back to his desk. “He’s finally given in to sleep, so I’d recommend you both being very still and quiet. How would you say his parents were with him around?”
“We can’t say much about how he was with his mom, but she adored him and was the only person in his life for the first few months since his dad was on a trip.” Chelsea was choosing her words pretty carefully, knowing she couldn’t give much information about where exactly his parents were without getting in trouble with her father. “His dad didn’t have much time to spend with him up until a month ago, but he spent whatever he could with him. When they moved in with us, they were barely separated until his dad became more comfortable around us.”
“So you would say his parents were both pretty hands-on with him?”
Chelsea nodded. “Extremely.”
“I know what you two do and how it keeps you away from home for quite a long time every day and I can promise that while it feels long for the both of you, it feels like an eternity for him. He’s likely still shaken up over his mother leaving and to have his father go just like that, he needs to know that you’ll both be back.” The doctor looked at a calendar on his desk. “That may be a problem for you two since the conference in the Vatican is coming up and I’ve heard that you’re both going this year.”
Chelsea looked over to Zachary, immediately figuring out by the look on his face that he had completely forgotten about the conference. Isaac had Edefelic postpone it until both Chelsea and Zachary could go, which wasn’t possible until she had gotten cleared by her own doctor.
“This is going to sound completely irresponsible, but couldn’t he come with us?” Zachary refused to touch on the actual event himself since he only knew it was in two days and Isaac hadn’t reminded him, which was new for Isaac. “He’s nearly eight months old and we’re going to be in the Vatican for at least a week.”
“You’d have to consult your pediatrician for that but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with him going.” The doctor paused. “It’s going to be over twelve hours flying and he’s probably not going to change his behavior overnight, but I still don’t see the harm in him going as long as he’s fed, changed, and kept on his normal routine.”
Xavier spent a bit talking with the two, eventually saying that he felt that part of the issues they were having stemmed from Chelsea and Zachary being pretty new to childcare and Whitlock not being completely used to them. He advised that they take him with them to the Vatican if they couldn’t stay home, which Zachary seemed to agree on.
As the time for their session ran out, he seemed to switch the topic. “I usually see my patients once a month but because of his age and conditions, I want to see him again when you two return from the conference and see how he is after spending more time with the both of you. I also want the two of you to be more active in helping his development and expect to see improvements by the time he returns.” He paused, looking at Chelsea before taking a deep breath. “I shouldn’t be telling you this but your father seems to believe that whatever happened to Whitlock’s father is permanent and that he’ll be staying with you two from now on. If you can’t show me and the pediatrician improvement from today, we’ll have to recommend he put Whitlock in a new home.”
“I suppose you’re looking for mental and emotional improvement while the pediatrician is going to be looking for physical and developmental improvement?”
The doctor nodded. “By the time we see him next, he’ll be eight months old and should already meet all the milestones for his age. There should be a social worker visiting your home tomorrow morning to make sure that your house is suited for him, he has what he needs in terms of clothes, food, diapers, and whatever else they feel he’ll need to be taken proper care of.”
“Thank you for letting us know this. Is there anything else you’ve been told that you don’t think we’ve been told?”
He shook his head, taking a stand from his desk while Chelsea and Zachary left their seats. He shook Chelsea’s hand and made an attempt to shake Zachary’s hand but couldn’t do much without waking up the baby.
They left the office, sitting in the car for a moment to think over what all Xavier had told them. “It sounds like we have a lot more to do tonight than we thought.” Chelsea sighed as she started driving while Zachary called ahead to the pediatrician. She waited until he had finished the call before saying anything. “Did you say anything to my dad about the specifics of why you weren’t going to come in today?”
“I told him we were taking Whitlock to the doctor because that’s all I have to do. I didn't think he’d take the liberty of guessing which doctor and calling them ahead of time.” He paused. “The way Doctor Dominguez told us, Isaac thinks this is going to be permanent. Why do you think that is?”
“I wish I knew. I also wish he would trust us without getting a whole staff on board for one baby but I kind of think that if he didn’t do it for Whitlock then he would have done it for any kid of mine.”
Zachary nodded with a sigh. “I’m almost certain he would have eventually, just because he’s the type of person to lead a dynasty, not just a family.”
“Or maybe you’re just judging him a little harsh.” Chelsea was quick to snap back, knowing that her father had good intentions and it was just Zachary being judgemental. “Any child of mine is his grandchild and with the unpredictability of the Voyagers, he doesn’t know for certain how much time he has with me or any kid I have. He’s afraid and he’s projecting that fear into helping me build a stable life, starting with Whitlock.”
“Whitlock’s going back to Marshal and Elizabeth when they come back, whether your dad wants that to happen or not. It’s not fair to them to keep their child from them just because of what they’ve done.”
“And I agree with that.” Chelsea stopped, realizing Zachary had thrown the topic. “I worked out a deal with Elizabeth and Marshal before we left the motel and I’m honestly a bit afraid myself. I’m sure other people there knew about the deal but I can’t help but wonder if they’ll stick to it. I can’t tell my dad about it and help him chill out a bit because I think he’d currently rather die than work with anyone from the Voyagers.”
“I don’t think they have any reason to not follow through on any deal. They know that in the end, it’s you they made the deal with, not Isaac.” Zachary sounded upset still, but he took a moment and a deep breath before saying anything else. “I don’t understand how or why your dad is the way that he is and I did get a pretty weird vibe from the therapist, but if you think this is the right idea then I’m all for keeping on with what he has planned.”
Chelsea knew it was taking him a lot to admit that he was going to stick with what her father her said and even if he wasn’t entirely convincing, it was still a big jump for him. “I do think my dad has Whitlock’s best interest in mind and I say we should keep up with what’s planned.”
They only had the time to change Whitlock before the pediatrician called them back and took them to an exam room.
The first thing she checked was his diaper to make sure that he was clean, knowing that they had been on the road for most of the day. “Clean diaper, that’s a good sign. Has he eaten?”
“Yeah, he did. He had a cup of cut-up fruit in the car.” Chelsea had been afraid that they were going to be late because Zachary made them stop for food. “He ate a lot, actually.”
“That’s great!” The doctor flashed a bright smile, reaching out to take the baby from Chelsea. “I was a bit worried about what Dr. Dominguez sent to me before you guys got here. I assume he slept on the car ride over?”
They both nodded as Chelsea passed the baby over to the doctor. “He would have slept the whole way, but we had to wake him up so he could eat.”
The doctor quickly sanitized her hands, putting a pair of gloves on before she put a finger in Whitlock’s mouth, catching all of them by surprise. “Dr. Dominguez said that you both said he hasn’t shown any teething behavior. That’s a little weird to me because I can feel his top front teeth already getting ready to come out. Has he been to the dentist yet?” She took her finger out of the baby’s mouth, throwing the gloves away.
Chelsea saw a look cross Zachary’s face before he shook his head. “We haven’t had much time to schedule a dentist appointment. If I’m being honest, I didn’t know we were supposed to do it before he was a year old.”
She nodded, standing and picking Whitlock up with her. “He should have gone to the dentist when his first teeth came in. If you two are going to be responsible for him then you need to be on top of all of his appointments, even if it doesn’t fit your schedules.”
She sat him on the scale that was next to Chelsea and Zachary’s seats, taking his weight and then marked it on her clipboard before going to pick him up again.
When she went to pick him up again, Zachary saw her nail hit Whitlock’s back. The baby immediately froze up and went limp in a panic before throwing himself back to get away from the doctor. On instinct, Zachary reached out to stop him from hitting himself on the scale.
He picked the baby up, knowing that he was going to start crying. The doctor looked embarrassed before she went to the other side of the room, putting some distance between herself and them. “I’m sorry, I probably should have asked if he was sensitive about any part of his body so I could be more careful. Does he have any allergies that I should know about?”
“Nothing that we know of.” Zachary passed Whitlock to Chelsea, a bit of surprise going over the two of them once they noticed he allowed her to cradle him without making a big fuss about it.
The doctor made note of it on her clipboard before she put her pen down. “He looks pretty healthy to me and normally, I wouldn’t just leave it at that but he seems like the type that has to warm up to me before he’ll let me do too much. His weight is a little below average, but with the notes that Dr. Dominguez sent my way, I can understand why that is but wouldn’t recommend following the diet he’s on right now. I’m sure Dr. Dominguez told you that he and I will be heavily involved with the social worker in making sure that Whitlock is in a good home, but I’m not sure if he mentioned that the dentist is going to be reporting whether or not you see his office when you need to. As of right now, you’re not and I would seriously recommend scheduling an appointment for tomorrow. The social worker will be by around eleven and she tries to be gone within an hour, so you’ve got the entire afternoon to do that.”
“We’ll do that, but I had a question before we go.” Zachary’s interruption stopped Chelsea from grabbing the things they’d brought in. “I’ll be leaving to go to the conference in the Vatican on Thursday and Chelsea’s supposed to come with me. Dr. Dominguez suggested we talk to you about seeing if Whitlock is in good enough condition to go with us. We’ll be gone for a week, which is why we’re not too keen on leaving him home.”
She looked over her clipboard before shrugging. “I don’t see why not. He’s in good health and should be good to fly. It might scare him a little and there’s probably going to be pressure on his ears when the plane takes off, but that’s something you can fix pretty easily.” As they got up to leave, she stopped them again. “I want to give you some advice just as a parent myself. You two don’t live far from work, so find some time for him when you’re on your breaks. It’ll make the separation anxiety easier because it’s shorter than going a full day with seeing you two. Even if it’s after a long morning shift and you just want to lay in bed, let him lay with you. If he babbles, talk to him and encourage that vocal behavior.”
Knowing that the social worker was going to be by in the morning didn’t leave them much time to rest or go shopping for what they needed, which was a lot.
They left the pediatrician’s office close to seven in the evening and went straight to the store from there.
There was an immediate disagreement on what they wanted because Zachary had a tendency to be materialistic and prefer the more expensive things, rather than the more practical options.
Chelsea knew that with everything they wanted, she was going to have to convince him on why the practical option was the better one and while the thought drained her, she at least knew to expect it beforehand.
She had seen a man in ragged clothes around the store, his face seemed pretty dirty and his red hair looked to be unwashed. He looked like he was looking for something, but couldn’t find it. She tried to talk Zachary into helping him but he took one look at the guy and refused to do it without explaining why he wouldn’t.
They had split up for a moment while looking at different objects. While split up, the man finally approached her with an uncomfortable look on his face. “Excuse me, might I ask you something?”
Having him close to her made her realize that among the dirt on his face was bruises and scratches. “Go ahead.”
She wasn’t fond of the lack of distance there was between them, but the man seemed desperate for something. “My wife is, she uh-“
She saw his eyes shoot up to look past her in a bit of fear before someone shoved him back, putting themselves directly between them. He left no space between them just as the man had done with Chelsea. “I’d think you’d be more interested in telling an owner what’s going on, not just a normal employee.”
“I’ve seen the way you look at me, you’re a biased fuck and you don’t even know me.” The man quickly grew defensive, trying to get away from Zachary.
Zachary wasn’t letting that happen as every step the man took backward, Zachary took one forward. “I know you and have a reason to be biased. You’re the one who injected Chelsea with Hydrocodone to get her hooked, you’re also the person behind Elizabeth Kennedy’s disappearance, and probably the one behind Marshal Kennedy’s disappearance. If I were you, I’d just stay quiet because you’re going to get arrested no matter what you say.”
The man looked to relax before speaking again. “You know, I can’t tell if that’s all Bennington or Voyagers. Talking to make yourself a threat because you already know I’m going to walk out of this building without any Onyx escort.”
As soon as Zachary reached out for him, a look of fear sparked in the man’s eyes before he shot up, delivering a swift knee to the groin and shoving him back before the fear in his eyes turned to panic, causing him to turn around and just run.
Doubled over, Zachary was trying to laugh it off, Chelsea couldn’t see his face but she could hear that his ‘laughs’ sounded vaguely close to crying. “Is there anyone in the direct area?”
It was an odd question, but Chelsea looked around to find nobody in sight. “No.”
He dropped to the ground, his fake laugh stopping as he tried to catch his breath and recuperate from the kick. “I hate that squirrely prick so much, it’s unbelievable.”
“How do you know for certain that he was the one who gave me the Hydrocodone?”
Zachary got off the ground and started leaning on the wall, his face a little red. “Because that was the last thing Marshal told me when he left. I was questioning him about the needle mark and I was going to have Marshal try to intimidate him into giving answers but he completely blew it off and told me who the guy was after he was already gone because he wanted to track him.”
Not long after he got up, the store manager hurried over to the area with a nervous look on his face. “Mr. Bennington, I am so sorry for what that man did in my store, it shouldn’t have happened and we’re going to do a better job on security in order to prevent it from happening again, you can take my word for that.”
Zachary slightly raised his hand to stop the manager. “It’s fine. The only good thing about the pants Isaac requires is the pockets are deep enough that my phone will occasionally slip in to block stuff like that. He probably broke the phone, but that’s not too important to me right now. Did your cameras catch where he went?”
The manager nodded, cupping his hands together. “They caught him going into the gas station across the street and they haven’t caught him leaving yet.”
Zachary pushed himself off of the wall, pulling his phone, keys, and his wallet out of his pockets and handing them to Chelsea. “I’m going to go handle him, I need you to call headquarters and have them send reinforcements to the gas station.”
He didn’t wait for Chelsea to respond before he left because he already knew she was going to do what he had told her since it related to Elizabeth.
The store manager led him out back, directing him to the gas station from the back exit.
In hindsight, crossing the highway that had iced over in the dark of night wasn’t the best idea he’d ever had, but he wasn’t thinking about that when he did it and he made it to the gas station either way so it didn’t particularly bother him after the fact.
It was normal for people to overreact to seeing him, Chelsea or Isaac in a public place, which was something that had bothered him since he returned to the city. That was the only problem he could see happening besides the man ending up being armed, which wasn’t as big of a problem.
Because of the nature of the job and Zachary’s overall iffy reputation with the public, he was required to carry a concealed weapon until his reputation got better and he felt more comfortable being in the public eye. He wasn’t too worried about the man being armed unless it was also with a gun, in which case Zachary had already accepted that he would probably get shot before he was able to draw on the man himself.
He went straight to the cashier, keeping his voice quiet. “I need you to take your customers into your manager’s office. If you see a man with red hair that looks really greasy, brown eyes, and a little out of it, don’t take him with you.”
The cashier nodded, leaving his position to do what he had been told.
While the cashier was collecting the customers, an Onyx vehicle pulled up to the gas station, the people in it waiting for Zachary to come out and give them instructions.
“The man we’re here for is responsible for abducting Elizabeth Kennedy and as protocol says, the crime is too severe to let him go again and he needs to be criminally prosecuted.”
He hadn’t finished with what he had to say before one of the officers there interrupted him. “Why do we care about a crime relating to the Voyagers? Especially a Kennedy. Isn’t it Onyx’s goal to make sure that the group can’t act?”
“Okay, if kidnapping isn’t a good enough crime for you then how about possession and distribution of an illegal substance, disorderly conduct, and assault of an Onyx official?” Zachary turned away from the officer. “All vests are to be on and secured at all time, officers should be prepared for anything, the threat level is currently unknown.”
Zachary put on a vest himself, which seemed to surprise the officers as Isaac had a tendency to stay out of trouble’s way, even if it risked more lives than it needed to.
Once he saw the cashier shut and lock the manager’s office through the gas station’s glass window, he led the officers into the building. He stayed up front, checking every aisle he passed until the very last aisle.
“Put your hands up and keep them away from your body. Get on the ground.” Zachary had already started aiming at him before he turned around.
The man turned to look at him with a nervous look in his eyes. “Sir, I meant you no harm, I just felt threatened because you were in my face and I panicked.”
“This is your second warning, get on the ground. Resisting arrest will be added to your charges if I have to issue a third warning to you.” He scanned over the man before motioning for the officers to back off. “He’s armed. Possession of an unauthorized weapon has been added to your charges now and you’re looking at a hefty amount of time.”
The man stared him down, trying to intimidate him into backing down before a sudden look of sadness came over his eyes as he threw himself on the ground.
Because Zachary was the arresting officer and the higher-up on the scene, he was tasked with interrogating the man.
He had been unresponsive for most of the night but he knew the questions Zachary had for him.
“I have to say, I’m not envious of the record you just picked up.” Zachary looked over the file that he had gotten together. “Kidnapping, possession of an illegal substance, distribution of an illegal substance, impersonation of a medical officer, assault of an Onyx official, resisting arrest, possession of an unauthorized weapon.” He looked up from the file. “Out of seven, only one of them can’t be proven and you’ll already be doing twice the time for the other six.”
He didn’t say anything but still looked upset. His handcuffs were chained to the table, clearly making him uncomfortable.
“You’re going to be serving twenty years already for all of your crimes combined. Why keep quiet?” Zachary paused, thinking on it. “Let’s talk about Elizabeth Kennedy. Her husband is certain that you kidnapped her and I’m sure if I approach any Voyager about you, they’d gladly identify you. Now, you can tell me where Elizabeth is and I can work out a deal with Isaac to take a year or two off your time or we can do this the hard way and I can charge with disruption of an investigation, adding a year to your sentence for every single day that I don’t get an answer.”
The man looked up, taking a deep breath. “Adam. That’s my name. I don’t know where Elizabeth is because she got away.” He furrowed his eyebrows, a disgusted look crossing his face. “She- she helped the other woman get away and then she and the boy ambushed me. They locked me away in my own home and then disappeared.”
“Who’s the other woman?”
“Her name is Yvette Williams, the Voyagers call her Leona.”
Zachary nodded, making a note. “Who is the boy?”
He wrote down the name on the paper, a frown coming over his face as he did so. “Did you take Gregory and Yvette the same way you took Elizabeth?”
Adam went silent before nodding. “I attacked her and he just showed up. I had a list and they were both on it, so I took him while I could.”
“Three counts of kidnapping and one of aggravated assault then.” Zachary made more notes before shutting the file. If he was going to get Adam’s cooperation, he knew he had to give him something in return. He was already aware that he had plenty of time to serve and seemed to accept that fact but without a location to pinpoint where the three were held, there was very little proof that any of it happened.
[Offer to drop one of the larger crimes] [Offer to drop a few of the smaller crimes] [Don’t drop any crimes and pressure him into answering]